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Weekend Edition

A note to traders from Jeff Clark
Saturday, August 28, 2010

From a reader: I've been a paid-in-full Alliance member for many years. I want to thank you for what you do in the S&A Short Report. Your results are truly amazing and I've been successful because of your service! I've been trading off and on for 10 years, but have become more active this year. My goal is to retire from my day job in 5 years and live off of my trading profits.
More so than your recommendations, I value the insights and wisdom you share from your own trading... What helps you be a successful trader? I want to focus on what should be done each day to be successful, knowing that the results will follow. I appreciate any details you would share. Thanks again for everything!
Jeff Clark comment: Thank you for the compliment. If you're going to trade for a living, it's important to remember markets are dynamic. So your trading strategy has to be dynamic, too. What works today may not work tomorrow, and you constantly have to adjust your parameters in order to account for the change.
Much of my daily routine involves looking at multiple trade setups and trying to figure out why some work while others don't. For example, the wedge patterns have been terrific for us this year. We've scored lots of triple-digit gains in the Short Report by trading those setups.
But not every trade has been a winner. So I like to compare the patterns and see what adjustments can be made. Was there another technical indicator showing divergence? Would using a chart pattern over a different timeframe make a difference?
In short, I'm constantly tweaking my strategies and trying to gain every edge possible.
The best advice I can give you for trading is to take note of your emotions before you make every trade. Are you trading off logic and reason or off fear and greed? Are you feeling like you're missing out on a big move in the market and therefore chasing a position? Did somebody on CNBC just say something that got you spooked? Are you bored and trying to force a trade just to be doing something?
I pause for a few seconds before I hit the "send" key on every trade just to be sure my decision is rational and not rooted in the emotion of the markets. That keeps me from making a lot of mistakes.
Trading stocks and options is a fun and exciting business. It can be tremendously profitable too – as long as you keep the emotion out of your trades, and constantly adjust your strategy to keep up with the changing conditions of the market. If you can do that, you'll have an edge over the vast majority of traders.
S&A editor Braden Copeland attended Enercom's 15th Annual Oil & Gas Conference this week. Braden reports a packed house, with almost 2,000 in attendance. He says:
It's standing room only and 93 companies are presenting over four days. Fifteen years ago, there were 10 companies and only 83 people. My guess is there will be well over 2,000 next year, and they'll have to move it to a much larger facility.
Normally, we take a crowded conference as a sign of the top. But with gas prices depressed and capacity stretched to its limits, maybe this is a sign of more bullish times to come for certain companies in the natural gas sector. Braden reports:
One producer reported it is having surprising trouble getting water-fracturing crews in the Eagle Ford shale area. Finally, they got slots with a services company for two a month – hardly enough to satisfy the need. And who knows what they're paying?
It's worth it, though. The growth curve for gas use in the U.S. is setting up to get a lot steeper. Servicers are already raking it in, especially those with special technologies that maximize well output.
Our oil and gas guy, Matt Badiali, is also excited about natural gas. Matt has thoroughly researched the "fracking" technology Braden mentioned. He has found the companies that have mastered the technology and are most likely to make a fortune from it. To profit from the coming boom in the U.S. natural gas industry, click here.
One of the Social Security "loopholes" we've been urging people to take advantage of may soon close. The "repayment" benefit allows you to collect Social Security at age 62... then pay back your benefits down the road and restart your Social Security payments at a higher rate. Best of all, you get to pay back the money interest free... and can even deduct taxes you paid. Any interest you've earned on that money is yours to keep. It's a great deal, and many of our subscribers have taken advantage of it.
One of our readers from Albany, NY, for example, recently wrote to tell us: "We increased our monthly benefits about $300 per month... Not too bad..." A reader from Vermont said: "Based on Steve's research I did a 'redo' on my Social Security last year... [I got] an increase of slightly more than $600 per month."
The point is, if you want to take advantage of this "loophole," do it soon. The Social Security Administration has proposed a new rule to severely limit your ability to restart your benefits.
The agency has proposed limiting a recipient to one repayment in his lifetime and only if the request is made within 12 months of initially filing for benefits. The federal Office of Management and Budget has the final say on the rule. It could shut this down in the next few months. To learn more about this loophole, watch our free video.
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