Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I just can't write about stocks today. I want to, but I can't. My mind is on baseball.
You see, I manage my 8-year-old son's Little League team. And they had their first playoff game last Thursday.
Our team, the Indians, was the underdog against the Rockies. In the bottom of the final inning, we were tied 13-13. We had two outs and a runner on third base. One of my youngest and smallest players, Will, was due up at bat. Will is also one of the fastest kids on the team. So I told him, "Any ball you hit on the ground to shortstop or third base is going to score a run if you can beat the throw to first. Are you ready to do that?"
Will said, "Coach, I'm ready to hit a home run."
"All we need, Will," I replied, "is a single. A single wins the game."
"I know, Coach," Will said. "But I haven't hit a home run all year, and I know I can do it."
What could I do? "Then swing away, Will. Go get your home run."
Sure enough, on the very first pitch, Will hit the ball harder than he had all year. It sailed out of the infield and was headed over the left fielder's head. Any other time, and against any other team, that ball would have dropped and run all the way to the other field, and Will would have gotten his home run.
But on this day, the left fielder jumped, stretched way above his head, and somehow, miraculously, caught the ball in the webbing of the glove.
Will was out, and the game ended in a 13-13 tie.
No one seemed to care much. The parents enjoyed the game. Will hit the ball harder than he had all year. And both teams moved on to the next round.
But I was in a funk all weekend because we missed an opportunity for a win. "If only I insisted he hit the ball on the ground," I told my wife when she asked why I was so quiet after the game.
She looked at me with those eyes that every husband has seen when he's said something stupid and said, "So what do you do when you miss an opportunity for a good trade? Do you sulk? Or do you find a way to come up with another winning trade?"
And that's where this becomes a lesson about trading. You see, I missed a trade yesterday. After looking at hundreds of charts, I was bearish on the market. So I told S&A Short Report subscribers to buy puts on the Nasdaq 100 Index.
But just like the Indians missed a chance to beat the Rockies, we missed the trade.
The stock market gapped lower on Monday morning. And the trade I had my eye on ran away from us. We couldn't get into it at a favorable price. My first thought was, "If only I'd made the recommendation on Friday instead." But I almost never trade on Fridays. Too many unknowns can happen over a weekend. So, the opportunity slipped away from us.
No big deal, really. Traders miss out on thousands of opportunities during a career. So now, the real question is, what looks good to trade today?
We missed the opportunity to buy Nasdaq puts on Monday, but I'm still bearish on the market. I'm looking for a chance to short the Nasdaq at a good price.
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