One way to prevent losses in a deteriorating position is the use of stop-loss orders. A stop-loss order is activated when a stock, ETF or futures contract reaches a certain price point. Let’s use the example of Facebook. On the afternoon of Jan. 4, 2018, a purchase of FB is made at $185. After rising above $188 a stop is placed to sell FB at $184 (just below the previous high close) on Jan. 11. This means that at $184 the stop becomes a market sell order and the long position is liquidated.
With volatility over the last two years at record lows traders have been itching to trade something that really moves. Bitcoin definitely fits that description. On the first day of 2017 bitcoin traded above $1,000 for the first time since January of 2014. The highest price for bitcoin at the time was 1,216.70 in 2013. By June 5, 2017, the price more than doubled to 2,874.00. On Nov. 12 it was trading at $5,426.
From its early 2012 high until October of 2015 McDonald’s stock remained basically flat. In that same period the S&P 500 gained roughly 50%. MCD was clearly languishing. There was talk that MCD’s star had faded (see “Breakfast rally," below).
In October of 2015, MCD began serving breakfast all day. MCD then had a breakout during the next eight months, closing at $131.60 on May 10, 2016. MCD was obviously out of its rut. By Oct. 20, 2016 MCD corrected to $110.57, and has been a moonshot ever since, closing at $156.58 on July 12, 2017. That’s a 41% gain in less than 10 months.
Buy low and sell high: It’s the cornerstone philosophy of trading and investing that has been pounded into us since we all looked at our first price chart. New converts to commodities, however, learn that selling high and buying back lower can be just as easy – and just as, if not more, effective in these versatile markets.
On the night of Nov. 9, the S&P 500 E-mini futures were halted after dropping 5% on the news that Trump had won the election. Gold was up 4.3% and the Nikkei was down 5.3%. Markets are more comfortable with the status quo and Hillary Clinton representative it in this election. The panic subsided and SPY actually closed up 0.54 from the previous day’s close.
The recent bombing of a Syrian air facility by the United States sent a little jolt into the crude oil market. While Syria is not a big oil producer, it is in the same neighborhood of the largest concentration of oil production in the world. At the onset of the Gulf War in the summer of 1990 the WTI January futures contract rose from $18.40 (July 9) to $38.10