Monthly Archives: July 2016

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What’s Your Peloton

I went for a 7-mile run on the treadmill this morning. I watched the Tour de France. It got me thinking about something I read a few months ago on Howard Lindzon’s blog. One of his ten years of blogging lessons comes to mind:

“Invest in yourself and your network. One of the oldest races is the ‘Tour De France’. The ‘peloton’ is a french word originally meaning ‘platoon’. A well developed peloton helps reduce ‘drag’ or as I like to say, speeds you up by as much as 40 percent.”

And that got me thinking about my own peloton. For me, I think it goes beyond people (although that’s certainly a part of it). I also owe thanks to Howard for creating StockTwits, and helping me find some of my own peloton members.

In terms of tools though, here are some things that I’d be hard-pressed to live without:

  • Finviz.com: This is just one of the most robust and easy to use stock screeners. I’ve done tons of videos about free FinViz stock screens. It’s just a great tool for finding stock ideas.
  • Morningstar.ca: I just love that Morningstar has 10 year historical financial data for almost every stock. It’s a great way to start analyzing investment opportunities. I’m very grateful for this free data source.
  • Google Spreadsheets: These free online spreadsheets are my favourite way to keep my abreast of potential opportunities. You can easily pull data in from Google Finance too, which creates powerful sheets that automatically update.
  • My BrokerHaving a low-cost broker with good execution is critical to success in the stock markets. Low commissions help reduce drag. I also like that my broker has advanced order types, like conditional orders, which can help me customize the way I get filled to try and avoid getting stopped out on head fakes.

Remember, your peloton is what will help you break out from the pack. It’s the boost you need to blaze ahead. Everything else is just the desperate crowd nipping at your heels.

By the way, if you aren’t keeping up with Howard’s blog, you should be. He’s been crushing the Swiss alps with his own peleton.

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Doing What’s Uncomfortable

I’m sure I’ve written about this before. But it’s an important theme that’s always good to remember. Basically: it often pays to do what feels counter-intuitive.

I liked this Trading Nation clip from the Crossing Wall Street (CWS) Blog. The host asked, will the Dow reach 20,000? And Eddy Elfenbein, as well as the other guest, indicated it might. But here’s where it gets interesting…

Eddy shared some statistics, about how buying at new highs generally leads to more new highs. But as you might know, buying at new highs isn’t easy.

Especially as value-focused investors, there’s a tendency to try and pick bottoms. And look, I appreciate a good deal as much as the next person. But you need to be careful about being right vs. making money.

Finance is full of very bright people. And there’s a tendency to want to do things uniquely, differently or in a more elegant and complex manner. but sometimes simple is more robust.

If buying at the highs is what works (and the data is pretty compelling), then maybe it’s just best to do that. Even if it’s not easy.

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Globalization, House Prices and Walls

There are lots of anti establishment movements these days. Brexit, Trump and Sanders are the most poignant right now, but there are many similar nationalist movements across Europe. Election results are telling the story.

Is this the downside of globalization? Do people actually prefer an inefficient economy? Are you ready to compete on a global scale?

A local example, here in Toronto and mirrored in Vancouver, is endlessly rising home prices. It isn’t my fellow millennials bidding over asking price to tear down a house and build a bigger one. In the few personal experiences ive encountered it’s  always foreign buyers. The data, more broadly speaking, suggests these overseas agents are having a role.

So is the inability to own an abode the cost we pay for access to global markets? It very well might be. And for me, that’s okay. But did the majority of our politicians and government economists foresee this trade off when they voted for free trade? Do they regret it? Do their constituents? I don’t, but some others likely do.

Plus, is local home ownership something we want to encourage in our communities? Again, data and talking points suggest this could be the case. So it begs the question…

Is that how we got to talk about building walls? On one hand, it’s crass and crude. On the other, well, surely we must do something if we want to maintain our societal norms, right?

Interesting times, as always.