Friday, November 19, 2010

Trading Realities

The book Trading Realities: The Truth, the Lies, and the Hype In-Between by Jeff Augen is a very easy-to-read guide to avoiding fallacies, such as buying for the long term and holding onto stocks that have paper losses, and utilizing new strategies to viewing trends, analyzing and reducing risk, and making money trading.

Several interesting narratives are included, such as the incident where Goldman Sachs (GS) admitted to trading against its clients. The smoking gun email from a Goldman senior executive appears at the end of the chapter. Augen explains in simple terms how volatility works and how stock options can be utilized to increase profits and reduce risk. One of the interesting techniques that he provides is buying the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) and writing one month at-the-money calls against it. The downside is limited because the volatility will never go away. Plenty of other strategies such as this appear throughout the book.

Option collars are explained very clearly and is what he considers the most conservative of trades. One technique he shows on pages 203 and 204 demonstrates how an investor can own Apple (AAPL) for free in 72 weeks. Synthetic stock is another technique that he covers, in order to reduce the cost of a trade.

For traders who have never or rarely delved into option trading strategies, I recommend that you read Trading Realities.

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