Friday, 30 December 2016

A Flat Pancake Trading Year

Oh well!

I guess the streak has to end some day, isn't it?

2013 - Doubled my trading account (Rampage!)

2014 - Tripled it! (Godlike!)

2015 - Up 88% (Double happiness!)

2016 - Up 13%... (Shy, Shy, Shy - Yes, its from K-Pop Twice's Cheer Up MV)

Tale of 2 halves

2016 started fantastic. Got played out as the trend reversed?

Then came mid-year where I thought surely this must be the one...

Nope. Got played out one more time... The market is such a tease!

Luckily, both times I got profit-stopped.

I'm not smart, but even I can take a hint from the price action the market is giving me!

Rather than be stuck in the middle of the ocean with my little sail boat with no winds, I decided to anchor myself back at the harbour. Safety first.

No wind at least I can still do my wine, woman, and song at the taverns that lined the harbour. Was pretty much on the sidelines for the 2nd half of 2016.

Then came mid-November for the US elections. Was positioned for a Clinton win but hey!

Lucky as lucky does!

Wrong but made money!?

Not one to look at the gift horse in the mouth so I cashed out.

A few days later, realised this Trump rally got legs! Jumped right back in.

And here we are. Up 13% for the year.

I guess can't complain. Was only up 5% before the US elections.

The extra 8% came within the last 6 weeks of 2016 - now that's trading for you!

I count in actual dollars

Accounting for my trading account is easy.

I funded it 4 years ago with $1, never took money out nor added new money in.

After 4 years, it has now grown to $12. (For the CNC precision machinists out there, its $12.43. Happy?)

From 11 baggers in 3 years to 12 baggers in 4 years.

Want to know something interesting?

In dollar terms, I made slightly more during 2016 than in 2013 - $1.40 versus $1.00.

Due to the low base effect for 2013, if we count in percentages, its an easy 200% smoke and mirrors spin!

Now you know why most who use fundamental analysis prefer to overlay the Cash Flow statements on top of the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet statements. Wink.

Cash flow is much harder to fake. (But still possible. Just ask Toshiba shareholders)

That's it!

Closing my trading book for the year.

A flat pancake trading year. Move along now... Nothing much to see.

P.S.  For new readers who are interested in the backstory:


  1. Respectable return. One day, I must buy the bagger master some coffee and learn a thing or two.

    1. Yaruzi,

      Do that!

      For your level, Starbucks Frappuccino!

      Too bad you've given up on Unit Trusts; I trade Unit Trusts for my CPIS.

      Now one less topic to talk about ;)

  2. Wow smol

    Great trading results. Even wrong trades also make money, correct trades even makes more money.

    How can trading makes you lose money? :D hehehe

    Happy new year 2017!!

    1. B,


      But cannot get carried away ;)

      You should see my face when most of my unrealised profits disappeared when the trend reversed during the China market fallout beginning of the year and Brexit in June.

      Both times I saw you buying the dip ;)

      Next time I shall use you as my exit indicator!


      Just doing my best to delay the inevitable - a losing year.

      Like the girl who puts on SKII diligently every night; I'll never grow old, I'll never grow old ;)

      Wishing you and family a fantastic and super saccharin sweet 2017!

  3. Congrats SMOL! :D

    Wishing you a blessed new year with good health, friendship, fulfillment, and prosperity.

    (As financial bloggers, should I add in "Huat ah!!!"?)

    1. Unintelligent Nerd,


      As a Chinese Singaporean who is not ashamed of our dialect roots, by all means, "Huat ah!!!"

      Have a Super 2017 and may the Force be with you, young Jedi ;)

  4. Happy new year SMol,

    Next half a year, most of it I will be away from course. Hope I enjoy it ...

    U did well. Com on, u will never run out of topics if u meet u ... lol. I so the boring also can Liao. Looking forward to the 双簧 next year. Dun say say only

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Fantastic! Use the opportunity to get out of your "routine".

      Its good to take the time to sharpen your saw ;)

      Most people do the opposite. Instead of sharpening a blunt saw, they keep sawing "harder"...

      No problem. Anytime. Both the fisherman and me got time ;)

  5. Hi SMOL,

    Still great year in 2016 :) More importantly, you had fun and learnt something :)

    Happy new year and may 2017 bring along bigger and better adventures :)

    1. LP,

      Yes, at 49 years young, I am still growing and discovering new things about myself :)

      You would have a "bountiful" harvest next year.

      Congrats and wishing you a serene and peaceful night sleep all year round!

  6. Hi Smol

    Happy new year 2017! Just wanted to say you remind me of a taiwan music composer "王治平” haha.

    You are like an alternative investment providing alternatives views that are not too mainstream. Learn a lot from your posts and keep going and moving ! Haha

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Ha ha! Bald is cool!

      Thank you. I'm one of the 2 dots in the Tao symbol ;)

      I guess a provide a little diversity here, and some comic relief I hope!


    2. Bald is cool and frugal too.

      On saving for haircut; senior citizen from $8 to $7. My wife said she knows how to shave bald and then can save from $7 to $0. LOL!

    3. CW,

      Don't get me started...

      But then, yeah hor!

      I do save $8 per month!

      Extra $8 for Toto :)

  7. Hi Smol

    2 dots are not enough for you, you need 6 dots. Haha.

    1. Small Time Investor,

      Cannot, I'm only a flower monk (花和尚)...


  8. Hi SMOL,

    Wah I'll take make more money in dollar terms than % anyday! Congrats to another fruitful year and many more of such years to come!

    1. Joyce,

      Thanks and may you clear more level of Two Dots in 2017!

      I didn't know you had a 2nd blog and stumbled there.

      Was puzzled what kind of new trading technique is Two Dots until I figured out its a game!!!


  9. Wah! Up 13% is considerd flat pancake year! Your so-called flat pancake year beat several professional fund managers flat to the pancake. If I have not been following your blog for a long time, I would have thought you are the hao-lian type.

    This is a belated congratulatory post to an accomplished retail trader. Your trading performance in terms of percentage put professional traders to shame. While your portfolio size is small by comparison, I believe you have much room to scale up given that the futures market is very liquid. With your track record, I see favourable odds of you making much more in dollars terms in the coming years. With your amazing track record, maybe it is time to start divert some capital from your investment portfolio into your trading portfolio? I remembered reading somewhere your investment portfolio consist of only 6 stocks and it is even larger than your trading portfolio. Maybe diverting some capital from that concentrated portfolio might be a good risk management move since your trading KungFu has probably reached the 9th level? Not advising (not qualified because your performance is superior), just making some suggestions based on what I have read.

    Keep us updated. I look forward to reading more of your "hao-lian" posts in future:)

    1. hyom hyom,

      Hello! I only do it once a year OK?

      Must give myself a one minute compliment once a year mah... If I don't support myself? Who will?

      Can you spot the irony of those who called themselves LONG term investors but give monthly updates on their portfolios?

      And I'm a trader! LOL!

      Its just a lucky break, my trading performance.

      Now markets much harder... I don't do well when its 2 days up, 1 day down; 2 days down, 1 day up :(

      I do better in trending markets ;)

      Its better to let my trading account slowly grow to match my investment portfolio; not the other way round ;)

      I'm not going to throw away my trading edge - I not trading for income (or for a living).


      Don't worry. I will update you all once a year. I don't count my money when I'm sitting on the table. There's time plenty to do so, when the dealing is done.

      (Its from the song Gambler by Kenny Rogers)

  10. Just read this news article that trend followers are on track to post the worst yearly return since 1987.

    If it is any consolation to you, if you have lost less than 5.4% year to date, you have already outperformed the professionals!

    Most financial bloggers here are into Singapore equities. They probably can "hao-lian" so far year to date. If the indices start crashing like 2008 (10 days down, 2 days up, another 10 days down) in the later part of the year, I will be expecting to read another "hao-lian" update from you by end of this year. I hope that Like you said, we are only halfway to the year. No need to count money yet.

    By the way, why you never blog about your investment portfolio? Hmm ... is it because the portfolio is concentrated and you're afraid greedy bei-kampings will follow and get hurt?

    1. hyom hyom,

      I prefer to count in absolute returns (like hedge funds); not relative returns.

      I don't see the point in benchmarking with others so that I can say I've "outperformed" just because I'm down -5% while others are down -10%...

      I invest/trade not so I can "break-even" one day ;)

      I've not blogged about my investment AND trading positions - not just the investment side.

      OK, past trading positions maybe once in a while at the comments when bantering with other traders.

      The reason is simple. I not into accumulation of "bei kambing followers" - you know, collect "likes", subscribers", "if you believe me follow me" clicks.

      Anyway, "what stocks to buy", "at this price can buy" readers are still trapped at the Method realm of the 3 Ms.

      I'm more interested to engage with readers who are at the Mind realm - psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, spirituality; etc.

      Financial freedom is just a tool.

      I much prefer to know the PERSON wielding the tool; not the hammer or the saw ;)


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