Bang, We’ve Hit Bottom – Fasten Your Seat Belts For the Trip Back

As an objective analyst for the Automobile After-Market Industry as a whole, I am often asked to pull a rabbit out of my bag. Well I don’t have that bag and even less the rabbit to pull from it. That said, my twenty five years in the industry have taught me to never take advice from a poorer man.

Now why would someone ask me? On the salary of an industry analyst I am undoubtedly among the poorest of them all. However, as most readers know I have covered every gem and laggard in the industry. Laggards today are plentiful in this industry, and that includes the affiliates of behemoth corporations.

As part of my assignment I must also peruse investor hang-outs. I see a lot of talk and actions from these sources which fully define the rush syndrome. The rush syndrome is also called the herd syndrome because it relates to the attitudes and behaviors of such investors to that of a stampeding herd of cattle rushing clear over a cliff – it is axiomatic that this is not a successful course. The day traders that fill pages and pages of chat room screens don’t trade for the money but for the adrenaline rush that powers their veins every time. As luck will have it, sometimes they hit on a winner feeding their excitement. The statistics however tell a different story; The ratio of losers to winners is 1080/1.

Of the 30 day traders I interviewed, none indicated any notion of understanding the concept of weighted average yields. Most answered “that’s how it goes” when questioned on the high level of loss. Bottom line it’s a game. Much like the chat rooms they participate in.

So then how do you really make money in this game?

Well, I went to three expert full time investors (they shun the title of trader). There is a pattern in their thinking which I will share with you. Each called the method pursued for investment; “Fundamentals Trading”.

Here are the rules for Fundamentals Trading as they outlined them to me;

1. Stay under the radar, off the chats and the message boards. Stay anonymous during interviews; use the media only to read, never post on either chats or boards. When plowing through them, look for reasoned presentations or comments.

2. Unless you have multi-million dollar resources and can involve sophisticated measures there is no such thing as a successful day trader.

3. Don’t bet the charts except; (i) to marry volume with trend and trend with volume. High volume and a declining price over a period of one month, absent negative news, means profit taking often performed in a massive way. This is a very positive signal which should be followed to the bottom. (ii) A sudden stop in the volume and an unchanged stock price means a bottom. The stock will often do nothing or trade sideways for a time. (iii) An uptick of.125 or more confirms that bottom. Don’t wait for it.

4. Don’t be an amateur. If a trade or investment is worth doing, its worth doing for a fraction of a penny more. Don’t put in orders at round numbers. For example if an offer is.19 put in your bid in at.18.3.

5. Don’t be a foolish amateur. Bid your trade at the lower of 120% of the highest Market Maker bid or 110% of the lowest offer posted. Then apply the rule and finalize your bid by adding.003.

6. If trading stocks under $ 1 don’t work on percentages but on real cash. Don’t underbid 1 cent to save $20. You’ll do yourself and the stock more good bidding up 1 cent then adding.003 because that will lead to more interest and better performance for the stock. It will also clean up the lower un-posted offers.

7. Chat room traders are famous for their propensity in ignoring rules. In so doing they keep chasing the trade, and lose their money most of the time.

8. Hold the stock until you have an objective confirmation of fact. For example, if the volume dries up to near nothing after a run-up of more than 20% and the stock fails to up tick over seven consecutive days, don’t sell, watch it instead. If the stock down ticks 3 or more times in a row and only then to a level 90% below its price at that run’s high with no negative news apparent, a sell decision would be appropriate.

Never sell on a sudden down tick even if it goes below 90% because that might just be a large block trading on an AON (All of Nothing) at a favorable price. You must have dried up volume and three consecutive down ticks before a sell should be contemplated. Don’t violate the rule of three consecutive down ticks, any uptick in between or side trading at the same price interrupts an restarts the rule of three.

Too often, traders underbid as a matter of principle and sell or buy on impulse (for example, if you are buying 2000 shares at.20 cents a 1 cent increase in price will cost $ 20. If $ 20 is of concern to you, you have no business trading stocks.

Emotions have no part in successful trading. The object is to maximize profit, and in that pursuit patience is a virtue. These rules are particularly applicable to small cap or so-called penny-stocks.

What is success I asked and to that I received a unanimous answer: “Well success is finishing each quarter on the plus side with less than 10 trades”. All three of the traders agreed that less is more and that “Fundamentals Trading” means you are buying into something real, not hype or a theory on what might happen.

Fundamentals trading is investment trading. There is no need for quick sales to make money. Most of the money is made by those who buy into small companies with good fundamentals supported by excellent press and news releases. Good companies are also good world citizens – a failing in that area suggest short term outlooks by management that could lead to a disaster sufficient to take the air out of their balloons.

I left and pondered about which of the publicly traded companies in this industry might meet these rules. Much at the demand of the industry to trade associations have been about upcoming about a small company ($ 15,000,000 market cap), which trades on the OTC under symbol FLKI. Taking that direction, it took little research to confirm that the company meets each and everyone of those rules. Consequently, the company should prove of interest to those that care that their investment be backed by an operating on-going business, an apparent rarity in these over-the-counter markets I was told. By operating I mean here; substance behind the trades, a real business, real products, real sales, you know the story. Barring that I bear no qualification to recommend a stock which is a personal decision to be made by the investor based on criteria he himself will establish.

Reporting for the industry press and since 1997 on this non-conformist company has been a pleasant challenge. The company is incredibly successful, it’s a global leader in product development, has a barn full of more than 160 product concepts distributed globally and as many in the pipeline. Its unique management has created a company whose counter-cyclical business is crisis proof.

Hype is plentiful n the environment of the OTC and Pinksheet stocks. SPGE was the latest of the stocks recklessly pursued by the chat room day traders. The press including the New York Post claimed in recent articles and editorials that all the hype over this outfit was just that; hype. Its stock has been suspended and the SEC is taking an interest amongst other things on how a company claiming $ 30 million plus in sales only has $ 34,000 in the bank.

Not claiming any distinction in math, I asked the gurus I was interviewing to demonstrate an application of their rules against FLKI the company I had concluded met the standards. Refering to their background check (called “dd” in the jargon of the trade) they pointed out that the company’s stock rose 896% from 5 cents to over 50 cents to make number 1 on CNN’s Money “Best Performing Stocks”, that it had been hit with massive profit taking on rising volume depressing the share price dramatically. All of that stopped suddenly however. The volume dried up to a few thousand shares, and the stock stayed put. A confirmation of the bottom required a close on an uptick of.125 or more. That occurred and the bottom was confirmed at.19 cents. All of these facts are historical and of public record – “dd” which stands for due diligence, has for a purpose to gather these facts.

That done, and applying the rules presented, the stock, according to the gurus, is a strong buy up to.204 (its was offered at.19 cents). The high bid is.16 cents which would produce an entry bid of.176 +.003 or.179 tested against 110% of the lowest offer, i.e. 19 cents which results in a bid price of.209 +.003 or.212. Thus following a perfect application of these rules, the stock should be purchased I was told at.212 cents with anything less being considered a benefit of volatility.

I like the stability of rules that work and the proven home runs that the rule “never a negative quarter” espouses. I’m a believer. For the gurus, the company is a model target for “Fundamentals Trading”. Incidentally from its latest press releases which were similarly consulted as part of the training “dd” I underwent, it seems to follow the rule of never a negative quarter!