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Old 01-04-2019, 12:58 PM   #1821
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I have been paying $0 for stock/ETF trades with Merrill Edge. My option trades are only $2.95 plus $0.35/contract.

I guess I am not a day trader, but more like a month trader with my short-term options. Last couple of months, I have sold and bought back covered calls within a week when the market went nuts. I did not want to do that; the market made me.

Just did a roll on a few Jan 18 contracts to Feb 15, picking up a few hundred bucks. Minuscule compared to the loss yesterday, which was about the same as my annual expenses. Crazy stuff!
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:44 PM   #1822
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Generally, I pay no commissions and did not plan to pay any commissions today. But at TDAmeritrade, the no-commission list of ETF requires one to hold the ETF for 30 days or a round-trip commission kicks in.

Yesterday I bought with the intention of selling mutual funds in another account in the same asset class, but in the end I decided not to wait until the end-of-day when a mutual fund transaction would take place.

I suppose I could ask for some free trades at TDAmeritrade. I did that last year and was granted so many that I didn't use them up.

Also since I sold, then bought/sold the same shares in a 401(k) (no margin), I cannot use the cash until next week to buy something else or I would create a free-riding violation and get a 90-day trading restriction for unsettled cash.

But there is still more than an hour to decide whether to sell more today or not.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:24 PM   #1823
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Last update for today: My wife came home early and I decided to let her get in on the action. She sold some total US stock market and bought 2 funds: (1) Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth which has a 60/40 asset allocation and will serve as a set-and-forget benchmark and (2) Vanguard Total US Bond Index fund.

The exchange(s) will reduce amount of US large-cap in the overall portfolio a little bit. Plus the orders served as a refresher / reminder of how to make transactions in her Vanguard account which she has not logged into for many months now.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:51 AM   #1824
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It has been about a month since I started buying more equities back on December 7th (you can check my transaction notices in this newsletter). If I look at my records, I bought over $400,000 worth of equities and have gained some money over that time. Only the shares I bought on 12/7 are underwater still even accounting for the mid-December dividend payout, but the other transactions have more than made up for that.

Basically, I've built up a nice cushion of positive results, so that in 2019 I can afford to make a lot more mistakes and still come out ahead of my benchmarks. A benchmark fund I use is the Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth fund which has a 60/40 asset allocation and for the month is down only 0.6%.

Of course, the overall portfolio is still down from the beginning of December, but not as much as it would have been if I had only done buy-and-hold. And there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. I have increased the risk level of the portfolio by increasing the percentage of equities. The portfolio is still way overweighted in US large caps. I am now looking for a good time to sell things to get that overweight taken care of.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:47 PM   #1825
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OK, I sold some Vanguard Total Stock Market index shares and some Vanguard Total International Stock index shares today in a couple of accounts. The money was used to buy Total Bond Market Index shares, some small-cap foreign index shares, and some developed market (ex-US) shares.

One may wonder why sell Total International and then turn around and buy small-cap foreign and developed market (ex-US) shares? Mostly because doing it this way means no commissions now, no commissions in the future to unwind, and simplification of the portfolio by moving from 2 funds in a couple of accounts to one fund in those accounts.

Also I hope to be doubled-up in some of the equities for the last 15 minutes of today and capture a little bit of excess profit if things don't fade today before the mutual fund exchanges happen at the closing NAV.

The net result should be (a) decrease large-cap US, (b) increase small-cap foreign, (c) increase bond allocations, (d) simplify the portfolio.
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I wanted to add that I didn't do any real math on how much my asset allocation would change when I made the trades. I simply sold 100% of entire funds in 3 accounts to simplify, then bought into existing funds so as not to create new funds in these accounts. I'll check later tonight how this changed overall asset allocation and set a new course based on the results.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:04 AM   #1826
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My portfolio has rebounded a bit more than 10% from the bottom in 12/14 12/24. Of course, I lost more than the market on the way down. My stocks dropped faster, hence bounced stronger.

I have been busy writing covered calls again. Many will expire next Friday 1/18, and are in the money now. If the price hold, I will be forced to sell and my stock AA will drop perhaps 5%.

Today, seeing that the semiconductor sector is going strong while other sectors are falling by the wayside, I sold off a bit, then sold cash-covered puts to buy the shares back at below current prices.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:42 AM   #1827
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I think you might mean bottom on 12/24? Even Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund total return is up 11% since then, isn't it?
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:33 AM   #1828
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The bottom was on 12/24. I mistyped.

Yes, the US market bounced up more than 10%. But I am not 100% in stock, yet match the increase. And the emerging market which I have is still lousy too. Developed international stocks also trail the US stocks.
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Old Today, 07:41 AM   #1829
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The last trades were not helpful and I would have been better off not making them, but the degradation of portfolio performance was minimal. The performance is still more than half a percent YTD ahead of all the benchmarks, so I am now thinking of just sitting back and matching the benchmark performance. In order to do that, I just have to invest exactly like the benchmark (60/40) and make no trades.

Now that the news is out on Parliament's Brexit vote the anticipation of the vote cannot move stocks anymore. (Duh!)

Even news of any shutdown resolution is probably not going to move stocks much either. The damage has been done and it will take some time to work past it. Same for the China trade tariffs.

I've asked my wife to sell all her US large-cap fund shares in her 401(k) today and exchange the money into a bond fund. This helps get our portfolio back towards where our US large-cap allocation should be, but not all the way back. I won't know whether she actually follows through on this exchange until this evening.

I will still need to sell more equities and buy bond funds to get back to 60/40, so stay tuned.

And if I get back to 60/40 for the rest of the year, the portfolio should finish at least 0.5% ahead of its benchmarks at year end. That's a long way away though.
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