Time again for my latest portfolio results, this time for the December expiration month. As always, I will break down the sources of my portfolio results so that you can keep track of how each strategy is doing. Beyond the actual numbers, this report is meant to give you an over-the-shoulder look into my trading and the lessons I’ve learned. It also serves as a accountability journal, in that I know I have to stick to my trading plan with all my readers checking up on me! As a result, I’ll be less likely to ignore my rules or make flippant trades. You can access previous portfolio results via the links below:
Important Events in December
Around the time of my last report, the market was selling off quite sharply and the comparisons to the charts of 2007-08 were numerous, so it was pretty concerning and definitely things were looking very bearish. As it turns out, stock were able to hold around the 1160 mark and have since pushed higher to test (for the 4th time) the 200d moving average. In fact, today we have just broken though again, I would like to see stocks hold above this level for at least a week before getting too bullish, but I have changed my stance from bearish to cautiously bullish and will get more bullish if we can stabilize at these levels.
My trading results for the month were ok, but gains were small due to keeping my positions small and I also took a couple of losses that I would have preferred to avoid. In total I made $1,738.52 during December, down from $3.5K in November. For the year I am +$20,800.39 or +17.94%. My stated aim for yearly returns is between 12-24% so unless disaster strikes over the next 8 days I will have achieved my goal.
I decided to take out 5K from my trading account in December as a reward for the gains I have made this year.
Diagonal calls spreads were a new strategy that I added this month and unfortunately both trades experienced losses. The GLD trade I stuck to my plan and cut My losses, and SPY is still open and I am sticking to my plan there too. So my decision making has been good, I was just off on my entry points. It’s too early to write off this strategy yet. I like the strategy but volatility is a key factor in the performance so there is another variable to consider whenever you make a trade. I am currently testing out double diagonals so that may be a better way to go in future.
Iron Condors and credit spreads again performed well for me. My two losing trades were only small losses. GLD I over weighted the put side and was also probably a day too late in closing it out. I’m glad I did get out though as GLD had a big gap down the following day. I chose to take losses rather than adjust as the technical picture was very bearish and there was only a few days to expiry meaning an adjustment didn’t make much sense. Another thing I did wrong on this trade was not closing it out for a profit when I should have, so potentially some more tweaks to be made to the trading plan next month.
The USO Bear Call Spread was my best but also my worst trade. I picked almost the exact short term top so my entry was fantastic, however my trade management left a little to be desired. I missed my chance to take profits once USO sold off and then the resulting rally meant I needed to adjust my position which reduced my profit potential. Then I was concerned about USO rallying further to new highs so I tried to hedge by buying shares only to see the ETF almost immediately sell off again. A few good lessons there for me – take profits when you have them and have a better plan for adjusting and hedging before entering a trade. Still, a profitable trade, but one that could have worked out better.
Here is a summary of this strategy:
Made a total of $1,941.58
71.43% success rate (5 out of 7)
Lost a total of $341.95
0.00% success rate (0 out of 2)
Made a total of $148.95
100.00% success rate (1 out of 1)
Lost a total of $10.06
50.00% success rate (4 out of 8)
Full results are shown below broken out by strategy, losing trades are shown in red. Current open trades are ones with a balance shown in the Quantity column, you can see I only have a few open positions right now.
Thanks so much for your support during the year, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read my articles and results.