How I traded through October’s wild market swings


October was a very volatile month for the Aspect Large Capital portfolio. The market declines hurt the strategy, but also provided me with an opportunity to put my cash position to work.

What was most surprising was the swiftness of the decline and the subsequent rise. The market waters were definitely crashing against the rocks in the first half of the month.

 

rocky-times-in-stock-market

 

Portfolio Changes

Though I consider myself to be a long-term investor, I had one position that I decided to sell within the same month of purchase.

That position was Outerwall (OUTR) and I decided to sell the stock without holding it long term.

During the month, I also took a position in Transocean Offshore (RIG) and increased my holding in Ford (F).

 

Energy slump

Oil prices have been decimated as of late, hitting the share price of drillers such as Transocean.

However, in my opinion, low commodity prices tend to be self correcting.

If prices decline to a point where it is not as profitable to produce the commodity, production will be cut back. That in turns leads to a rise in price as demand either increases or mops us the now scarcer supply.

While keeping in mind that dividends reflect past performance and can be discontinued, when combined with its substantial dividend, I am feeling good about my position in Transocean.

I believe that a true bottom in Transocean Offshore may take a while. However, one of the things I am looking for is actually a cut in their dividend, which is unsustainable in my opinion.

Though I have no way of knowing for sure, I believe the stock may react positively to a more rational or realistic dividend policy.

Market rebound

Going into the end of the year, I expect that the market will rise, but there will be some scary moments along the way.

The central banks in may big economies continue to print money, and for the life of me I cannot understand why gold and other commodities are not reacting to it.

Still, I would not be surprised to see more M&A activity within my portfolio. Specifically, I am watching RCI Hospitality Holdings (RICK), formerly known as Rick’s Cabaret, and Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA).

It will also be interesting to see if large cap tech stocks like Cisco (CSCO) and Intel (INTC) can perform into the end of the year.

If so, I will raise my cash position yet again.

DISCLAIMER: The investments discussed are held in client accounts as of October   31, 2014. These investments may or may not be currently held in client accounts. The reader should not assume that any investments identified were or will be profitable or that any investment recommendations or investment decisions we make in the future will be profitable. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Author profile

David Levine
David Levine
I am a value-oriented investor and a former financial adviser for Prudential Securities. I left the industry in 2000 and wrote a self-published book called, “The Death of a Stockbroker” about my experiences. I found that working in the industry provided many conflicts of interests and prevented me from effectively managing my own assets. I now work as the CEO of a startup company. Yet I continue to invest my own money in the type of strategy that I offer on the Covestor platform.