Robinhood, you get what you pay for?

Today was not a good day for me and for many.  The Dow is at it lowest point since January so like I said in a previous post, the stock market needs a medic because all I see is red.  What I’m really getting frustrated with is the performance of my Robinhood app.   I take a peek at my watch list and the charts are nonexistent on many of the stocks.  I’m either getting a straight line or nothing at all.  How am I supposed to look at trends or activity if I’m not sure of the data that being presented?

But that’s what happens with using something so new and is it also because it’s free?  Most likely because I wouldn’t put up with this if I had to pay upwards of 9 bucks a trade.

Has anyone else see this problem?  I’ve emailed support and I’ll report back on what I have heard. But this seems like another case that trading for free may not be all that good.

 

Tough month for me on the market

By nature, I am a spontaneous person.  I liked being able to pick up and do something or go somewhere on a whim with not much planning involved.  Planning gave me anxiety and the anticipation would stress me out and once I decided I wanted to do something, I wanted to do it now.

Spontaneity is not for the stock market.

Duh! is what I’m sure you’re thinking when reading the above sentence but it’s not as obvious until you buy a stock with no planning and watch it plummet.  I’ve wrote a few times on this and I guess I’m lamenting past failings still.   I am noticing better performances out of my most recent purchases but I still have a way to go.   But I am happy to say that my portfolio ended the day up about a half percent while the DOW and NASDAQ ended slightly down today.  It’s a small victory because it’s usually the opposite.

This week was tough.  Actually, this whole month was tough for me.  I lost 23 percent of my value over the past 30 days.  When I see that number, I cringe and I almost want to sell all and call it day.  But that would be impulsive and against what I’ve learned so far.  This is marathon not a sprint.  We’ll see what I report after the next 30 days.  Stay tuned.

 

The stock market needs medical attention

“Stop the bleeding, I’m dying here!!”

That’s what I kept saying when I checked the market today.  Good thing I went to the mountains over the weekend and missed out on the blood bath on Friday.  The past few days have been brutal.  Seven straight days since we’ve seen the Dow .DJI 18,481.48 -65.82 -0.35% have any sort of gain and I read an article that said more stocks are hitting their 52 week lows more than not except maybe Google GOOG 769.64 -2.44 -0.32% or Amazon AMZN 757.25 -5.20 -0.68%.  

Just hang in there…

That’s all I can say.  With what I’ve learned about zero cost trades and helicopter investing, I know to just stick with what I have for the time being.  I just need to remember that I won’t be retiring any time soon doing this so be patient and keep learning and don’t check my stocks every 5 minutes!    I honestly don’t know how those day traders do it; trying to make money off of little market fluctuations.  I remember watching a documentary about day traders where this one trader made ten grand in one day and lost about the same the following week; all with one trade.  You have to have a stomach of steel to get through stress like that.

It’s not all bad, right?

On the bright side, I might be able to pick up a few bargains that actually might have some gains.   It would be better to buy a stock at its 52 week low and watch it rise then to buy it at its 52 week high and watch it plummet.   The question for me is not that if I’ll make money it’s when will be the exit point for me?  How will I know it’s time to move on to maximize my return?   One more thing for me to learn and I have a feeling, I’ll have some time to do some research because this slide isn’t going to end anytime soon with China and Greece are all over the place and we have a potential rate increase coming in September. I’m thinking/hoping that things will be more stable once the rate increase happens.  It won’t be the end of the world and we’ll move forward but that anticipation seems to create panic and maybe some rash investing decisions.  But I guess that’s what speculation is all about.

 

Are you a helicopter investor?

You’ve heard of helicopter parents who hover over their children to make sure everything is OK, right?  Do you think you might suffer from being a helicopter investor, constantly checking your portfolio to see that your stocks went up .01 percent only to see it down a half a percent 15 minutes later?  What a lovely roller coaster ride of highs and lows to do that over and over.  I have told myself you just checked it, what could have changed in the last minute or so?

But I still check.

I have to admit it does give you a rush to see an increase in value, much like winning at a slot machine or video poker.  But just like those games, it can bring you down and make you even feel sick to your stomach.  Watching it all day just to find out at the end of the day, not much changed.

I need to land the copter

I thought I had it under control but my day started out so well, so I kept on looking and then it began to take a turn for the worst and it was like looking at a car wreck.  That morbid curiosity got the best of me.   In my last post, I mentioned that zero cost trades might cost you in the long run and if I would have not showed some discipline, I would have sold my stocks and then proceed to the next venture that could just as well lose me more money.   It really doesn’t matter what it does today, it matters what it does over a period of time.  I just have to keep telling myself that on the bad days and trust the plan.  It’s one thing to keep on eye on it but it’s another to let it rule your day.

My plan for tomorrow.

I’m going to not look at my portfolio much at all.  Not because I have found some new strength in looking away but I will be in the mountains, camping with friends and family.   Not too much cell coverage at 11,000 feet so I’ll be safe and have something to look forward to when I come down from the mountain.

Update:   I wrote a post about Gaiam GAIA 7.95 -0.02 -0.25% being a my first “hippie stock” and at the time, it closed at $6 dollars a share.  Today it closed at $7.11.  I totally regret not buying then but if we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard someone say that, we wouldn’t need the stock market.

 

Robinhood free trades can cost you in the long run

When I first started using Robinhood.com, I thought, “Great! now I can trade without having to worry about fees.”  I could use that saved money to invest instead of wasting it on the transaction fee. Trading as it should be, I’m thinking.

What if free trades actually cost me more

I was reading an article on Market Watch that suggested investors are better off making less trades instead of more so in turn Robinhood may not be such a good thing because zero cost trades only encourages more buying and selling.  Suddenly long term only means a week or a month and short term is a day.  I’ll go even one further from personal experience is that impulse buys and sells happen more often with zero cost trades.  I’m not proud to say this but I’ve lost money because of an impulse buy; more than the transaction fee of other brokerages.

“I have a sure fire stock for you,”  says a friend.  “It can’t miss!”

You listen and you get excited about this sure thing so instead of researching it and taking your time, you buy it immediately because you don’t want to miss out.  Problem is, you bought it at the height of it’s value and now you’ve just lost money.  Do you think you would have been so rash if you had to pay a fee for that trade?  Maybe but then again, maybe not.  I know that a trade fee would have made me a little more cautious in my buying and selling of stocks.  Even at a nominal fee of $5, it makes you think twice because you defiantly won’t see the five bucks again.  Zero dollar trades can definitely make one a little more rash in their decisions.

Lesson:  What I have learned with Robin Hood is that you have to be disciplined and you must not play this app/service like a video game because it will eat up your quarters.   It all comes to having a plan and sticking to it.  Going from the gut is good for some things but I’ve found out not the best way to attack the market in the long run.

What do you think?  Does zero dollar trade fees really encourage sloppy investing?

 

Barchart signal indicators anyone?

Over a month into this new investing adventure and I’m over checking my stocks every 5 minutes.  This is probably because my stocks have not done well at all.  AMD AMD 7.43 -0.24 -3.13% started out really well for me in the first week and then went to hell and I got to say, I’m glad that I’ve started out small so I lost about $22 instead of hundreds of even thousands.

Too timid to do anything.

With past endeavors, I’ve been know to over plan myself into not doing anything or I would talk myself out of it.  This time I kind of jumped in without a real plan and decided to learn as I go.  This is definitely out of my comfort zone and I’m ready to move forward with a plan.  But now, I have learned a lot and not know enough to be dangerous to coin the old cliche’.   Barchart has the signal indicators chart that I’ve been been looking at daily for the past week or so and see it as useful information but not sure how to use it.  I’ve read many analysts give me “buy, sell or hold” recommendations but that wasn’t helpful with AMD but I will admit that the immediate change to sell saved me from losing it all.

Tomorrow is go time

My funds from selling AMD will clear tomorrow and I’m going to to see what the signal indicator feature at Barchart will do for me.  I’m an experimental learner and like to learn by trying and what better way to do it.  Right?  So to my 1 or maybe 2 reader(s), what system do you like to use?  Throw me a bone!

 

Goodbye AMD

I saw all the signs but I just wouldn’t pay attention.  AMD AMD 7.43 -0.24 -3.13% was a suck hole in the world of investment and I thought it would change.   Lesson learned.  Once again, this reaffirms to not let your antiquated knowledge of a company sway your decisions on your stock purchases.

It was a roller coaster of waiting it out.  Bought the stock at $2.53 and saw it rise a few percent over the first couple of weeks and then it went down.   I considered selling at $2.40 but thought it would come back and then I could at least get my money back.  The bar was set lower and lower until I pulled the trigger.  I’ve seen so many people try to “wait it out” and lose it all or most of it.  I realized I was heading down that road.

This really was like a relationship with a human.  You put up with a lot of stuff but finally you’ve had enough and kick them to the curb.  I’ve heard that you can only succeed when you fail every once and a while.   So this failure (monetary wise), will only be one if I don’t learn from it.  I don’t think this will be considered a failure after it’s all said and done.

 

Barchart.com to manage your portfolio

Robinhood.com is great to use and very convenient to have on my iPhone. However, for researching and managing my portfolio, I’m not really liking the limited nature of the app.  I guess that is the tradeoff to no commission trades.  What I set off to do is find something online that can track my portfolio and help with research.  I’ve learned really fast that in order for me to become successful at this, I will need better organization.

I tried three free portfolio managers.

First was SigFig.com because it’s partnered with money.cnn.com and at first I thought this would be the one. First issue was that  I wasn’t able to sync it with my RH account because I’m guessing they don’t see a need to develop that feature(this was a problem with all three thought). I had to manually add all my transactions and at first, I was impressed but that was short lived.   Seemed to not have much for me and adding transactions to my portfolio was not convenient.  It just wasn’t a right fit.

Google Finance portfolio manager.  This one was a little better and gave me the flexibility to create my portfolio pretty quickly.   I did have one problem in that it would fail in getting the AMD price.  As of right now, it’s still reporting $2.05.  I wish it was still at that price. Overall, it was pretty good and I thought this was my solution.  It was convenient, tied to my google account and all but then I stumbled onto the next option.

Barchart.com:  Once again, had to manually post my transactions but was able to do them all at once instead of one at time.  Once the portfolio was created, I had many different views which gave me more insight on how my portfolio is put together.   The thing that I liked the most is that it gives me the profit or loss that I incur on each transaction.  All the others only showed it for the whole portfolio. I like this because I have bought the same stock at different  times/prices and this gives me a better idea of how each did.   There are also many other tools that they have and I’m looking forward to seeing how the work.  One in particular is the “Top Signal Stocks” tool.  Which “Ranks stocks by the highest current Signals Rating, which is a combination of signal strength and signal direction.”   I’m still learning how that works but it’s definitely intriguing.  The question is how will I use this new tool to my advantage.  We’ll find out in the upcoming days and weeks.

What are you using for your portfolio management?  Do you know of any that will sync with Robinhood.com?   If  not, I recommend giving Barchart an go.

 

The New York Stock Exchange experiences “glitch” trading halts

As I watched my stocks tumble into the depths of a deep red pit, I received a notice that NYSE suspended trading do to a “technical” issue.   Four hours it took to get back online only to close shortly thereafter.  The NASDAQ didn’t have any issues and continued to execute trades, much to my dismay.  It meant that I had to watch AMD AMD 7.43 -0.24 -3.13% fall to it’s 52 week low of $2.01. (after hours, it went down to an even $2.00)  All in all it wasn’t a good day for the market.

Looking now for more options.

AMD is on it’s way out.  I’m doing the time honored tradition of seeing if I can make a little bit back before I sell.  This usually means I will lose more but I’m willing to take the chance.  Now I start researching how to reinvest once I do sell.   To my one, maybe two readers out there.  What do you recommend?  Something in the range of what AMD is at now and maybe I’ll bite.  This, by no means, is scientific but sometimes spitballing is a good way to get out of a rut.

Market correction?

The DJI .DJI 18,481.48 -65.82 -0.35%  has now lost about 1.73% in the past six months with January, March and June being on the negative side.  July hasn’t started off so well either. Does this mean we are starting to get that market correction I’ve been hearing warnings about?   Or is the real correction going to happen when the Fed decides to raise interest rates which could happen the next time it meets?   With the anticipation of the Fed, China and Greece it’s no wonder why the market is hurting right now.  If Greece does come to an agreement with it’s European creditors, that could stop the bleeding for a little.

 

I can’t trust AMD anymore

I’ve reached the conclusion that AMDAMD 7.43 -0.24 -3.13% is that abusive friend or partner that you swear will change but it never does.  Promises of change and a better outlook are made and you believe it or you just really want to. But how many times do you have to get kicked in the gut to realize you should rid yourself this abusive stock?   Today, AMD revised its second-quarter outlook and the stocks plunged.  A case of “it’s going to be alright” to now it’s “well I meant it at the time.”   Big lesson here:  Don’t get enamored with your stocks too much because they can betray you.  Especially ones like AMD.  I took a chance thinking it would go from the $2.53 I bought it at to maybe $3 to $4($5 was the high according to some analysts).  The flaw in my thinking which was expressed in a previous post was that I focused on the new Radeon line of graphics cards and didn’t take into consideration the computer CPU market.   Also, I’ve loved AMD processors for years and I let my past history and knowledge (which was outdated) influence my investing.  Gone are the days where AMD would challenge Intel with a better CPU.  It looks like AMD is now a graphics card maker that dabbles in CPU’s and they are barely staying afloat.

What will I do?

I’m going to stick it out because I don’t have much invested in AMD but this won’t be a long term investment anymore.  They still have the formal earnings release in 10 days and I’m thinking/hoping that it will gain back some that it lost today.   $3 or $4 in the future?   Yeah, that’s not happening any time soon.  Lesson learned, time to heal.