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Guest Article Written By - Trader, Pete Armstrong - Twitter: @PeteArmstrong
2018 is drawing to a close although the markets show no sign of going into holiday mode until the
machines are switched off and forced to take a break for a few days.
As a trader in the southern hemisphere it’s our annual summer holiday period for at least 2 weeks.
I always use this time to reflect back on the last 12months, draw a line in the sand and consider
the new game starting in January……It can be a satisfying time or very depressing period.
A traders life is not anything close to what society deems as “normal”, and as such no one but us
traders can really relate to what we actually go through.
This isn’t a story about how lonely trading is because I’m one of the weird ones who trades best
in total isolation. It’s just a fact we can go through things that no other career can throw at you
and a lot of the time we bring it upon ourselves due to the nature of this business and how us
humans are wired……I brought it all upon myself this year. Here is a story of a period I went
It is amazing how easily you can lead yourself off course, down a path you know isn’t going to
end well, but at the time, in the moment, you honestly think you are making intelligent decisions.
The last few years have been hard in this game.
• Volatility contraction but now expanding dramatically forced me to alter my approach and
mindset towards the market (I struggled with the mindset aspect),
• Algo’s exacerbating “chop” in price action due to a number of factors made tight entries harder
than previous years,
• Politicians ramping up their desire to have public feuds,
• Geopolitical issues seem to be piling up, adding another risk to manage daily,
• Fake headlines from “Sources” that Algos react to with sudden bursts of price action that will
fade sometimes and not other times.
The list could go on, but markets are always evolving and we have to evolve with them, however I
found myself fighting these factors when in-fact I thought I was just working hard to adjust and
get on top of them.
This year I found myself so determined and focused on getting on top of this market that I worked
around the clock; sleep was optional and only when the body forced me or on weekends.
Down the Rabbit Hole I Go.
In my mind it was a case of; “Yes I know this isn’t sustainable or smart but if I can push through
this period, get on top of it, then I can rest, do all the right things and get back to a sustainable
balanced approach/lifestyle of making returns”
I would tell myself daily - “It’s just a phase the market is going through, this isn’t your first rodeo
you have been here before, you just need to grit your teeth and work through it.”
Telling myself to back off a little, ride it out with lower performance expectations whilst working
through fine tuning my approach would have been the intelligent thing, but with pressures of
performance and life etc, I was always feeling like my back was against the wall and I needed to
go harder at it not back off. Cue the Anxiety.
That last paragraph I think was the root cause of this stupid behaviour
Obviously my day to day trading thought process are extremely clouded in this exhausted state,
more errors were being made than normal, frustration builds and everything is second guessed.
The harder I tried the worse it become!
[ Side Story - I used to be a golf pro, and pros will play their best when they let themselves be free
of pressure and they believe in their ability to execute. The harder a golfer tries to “ steer” a shot
under pressure down the fairway the more they spray the ball all over the course. I was trying to
steer every trade instead of letting it just happen]
All this leads to crippling depression periods and constant anxiety.
The dark times are dark. Very Dark!
It takes rock bottom to snap me out of it.
Tired, exhausted, mentally drained, angry at myself, constantly sick, no confidence and for the
first time I truly can’t wait to step away from the markets.
I knew better, I made it all harder than it needed to be and I’m feeling to consequences of it.
I think I got stuck down the rabbit hole due to the pressures that I have on me. Some your typical
life pressure we all have, and likely some others all manifested in my head. Thats something to
explore during the time off.
When I return it will be fresh, back to basics, structure and discipline. Focus hard on not losing my
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Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only, and all the information contained within this post is not to be considered as advice or a recommendation of any kind. If you require advice or assistance please seek a licensed professional who can provide these services.
The US election results overnight stunned the mainstream media, wall street, world markets and millions of people around the globe. After initially falling sharply on the news, the markets eventually recovered and moved to finish higher as the mood turned from fear to bullishness.
Once the markets saw that Donald Trump moved to the lead early in the election results, the markets around the globe began to panic as the DOW futures was down over 800 points, the S&P 500 futures was down 5%, Gold jumped up over $50 and currencies moved violently as the odds turned to Trump becoming the new President.
Markets 180 Degree Reversal.
Once the S&P 500 futures fell by 5% the index automatically went to limit down, and temporarily stopped trading. Once trading resumed the S&P 500 futures began to slowly climb as the limit down measures meant the index could no longer fall more than the 5% level for the trading day.
Once the S&P 500 began to climb with the DOW, the massive fear that was gripping the markets slowly moved to cautioned optimism as the markets slowly crawled back the losses. By the time Trump was giving his President elect speech early in the morning US time, the DOW had recovered to be down 300 points. By the end of the trading day in the US with the results in for the new President the equity markets swung to a strong gain for the day.
The chart below shows that initially when the markets opened that the S&P 500 fell to the support level of 2125 before slowly climbing during the day for a big swing towards an up day closing at 2163.
Since momentum is now back into the positive and the S&P 500 closed above the 2157 resistance level the next target is 2190 which is back to it's all time highs for the broad US equity index.
US 10 Yr Govt Bond
One of the interesting swings in the markets overnight was in the bond markets. During the initial fear stages of the market the US 10 yr Govt bond yields fell all the way down to 1.70 level as investors moved into bonds bidding up bonds as the selling accelerated out of stock futures.
Like the equities market the bond market began to turn around and swing from a 1.70% yield on the 10 year to as high as 2.09% jumping by 20 basis points by the end of trade. Currently the 10 yr is sitting at 2.005 level.
The previous resistance level which is now support is around the 1.97/98 level, with the next resistance level for the US 10 yr Govt bond at 2.13%.
Lastly you can see that since June of this year that bond yields have been climbing since reaching the low 1.30's level and have broken its downtrend on a daily chart.
Crude oil had a crazy day after having been down considerably to as low as $43 and change which was also a key support level, to a swing to the green rising to 45.25. Currently in the next day of trading crude is sitting at just over $45.
Crude is currently in a middle ground with no clear direction at the moment. Having said that crude recently broke its long term uptrend which is displayed on the chart by the blue line which is a bearish signal for crude moving forward.
The key areas to look out for in the medium term are $46.25 to the high side and $43.05 on the low side. We would need to see a break out in either direction to determine its next move.
Currencies around the globe experienced violent moves overnight as the market tried to digest the news that many did not expect to occur within the US election.
The USD/JPY pair fell sharply initially to a low of 101.18, before climbing sharply during yesterday's trade to also climb into the green reaching a high 105.88.
The technical's for this pair has recently turned bullish, after reversing it's long term down trend and clearing the previous resistance level now turned support of 103.88.
Momentum has now moved positive and with the strong reversal intra day the next resistance level for the pair is 106.83. Currently it's sitting at 105.57 at the time of writing this.
The EUR/USD pair had a similar outcome to the USD/JPY but in the opposite direction. After climbing strongly when news first came out that Trump was in the lead and looking likely to win the election. The EUR/USD pair jumped as high as the 1.13 level which also market the high end of the down trend level for this pair (see chart for trend line).
The currency also reversed course during the day and swung from a strong gain for the day giving up all the gains and falling for the day to reach a low of 1.090 level.
Momentum is only just positive and looks likely to swing back to the negative. The likely next stop for the EUR/USD is down to the next support level of 1.088 as shown in the chart below.
One thing that the gold bugs had expected was that if Trump would win that Gold would jumped sharply higher.
Unfortunately for Gold investors their prediction did not remain true as the trading day continued. Gold initially jumped spectacularly higher to a high of $1,336 for the day, before giving up practically all the gains to finish around $1,277 level.
Currently in the next day of trading Gold is slightly higher sitting at $1,286 at the time of writing.
Looking ahead for Gold it has 2 key levels to clear before it could regain it's uptrend. Its first resistance level is around the $1,305 - 08 level which it breached intra day but could not close above that level. If it clears this level the next level to close above is its downtrend line shown in the chart. During the highs reached Gold hit its downtrend at around $1,336.
XJO - Aussie Stock Market
Australia was one of the stock markets that was trading as the results were unfolding for the election yesterday. The Aussie market index the XJO was initially up in the morning when the market believed Clinton was winning. It quickly swung to the downside sharply following the US futures market, hitting a low of 5,052 which was around it's strong support level reached back in late June, before recovering considerably by the end of trade yesterday.
Today the XJO has risen sharply on the back of the swing in the US markets to around 5,300 level at the time of writing.
Since the XJO is currently sitting comfortably above its previous support level of 5,190, its next target is around 5,390 - 5395.
Keep in mind though that Momentum is still well in the negative at -142 as well as the current price is sitting below its 50 day moving average. The XJO would need to see buying to continue in the US markets to help lift the XJO out of its current slump.
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Disclaimer: This post was for educational purposes only, and all the information contained within this post is not to be considered as advice or a recommendation of any kind. If you require advice or assistance please seek a licensed professional who can provide these services.
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I am a private trader and equities investor that loves the trading and investing world, following the markets and everything in between.