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Subject:  Re: DXKSX Date:  2/14/2013  9:34 PM
Author:  globalist2013 Number:  34790 of 35909

1.9% is a lot to pay for that risk. How much time decay are you willing to risk?


Fair enough questions. Let's me address each separately, plus the questions raised by the sentences you bolded.

I know that fund expenses are Bogle's big thing. But his concern is a clear instance of the tail wagging the dog. If I had followed the advice to investors he lays out in his books, I wouldn’t be pulling in the money I am today (and have been the past dozen years). Yeah, I’d have tiny expense-ratios. But I’d also have tiny gross-returns. You gotta spend money to make money, and I don’t care what my expense-ratios are *provided* my returns more than cover them.

In trying to focus investor attention on expenses, Bogle is putting the cart before the horse. What is the single most important factor in investment success? Not the minimizing of the expenses needed to put on a position, but getting the timing correct. To paraphrase, a football coach, “Timing isn’t everything.It is the only thing.” And the second most important thing is 'timing', and the third most important thing is 'timing'. Timing is the make-or-break factor. Get that wrong, and I don’t care how cheap your expense-ratios are. You’re going to go broke or just make the crap money that Dalbar's 20-years studies of investor results clearly document.

This is the advice given to new traders. "First, figure out a way to get yourself at least occasionally profitable. Next, figure out a way to get yourself consistently profitable. Lastly, figure out a way to enhance those profits by becoming efficient about things like commissions and expenses." Yes, mutual fund expense-ratios do matter. But worrying about them comes after the investment strategy has been proven to be sound. That’s what has to come first, and that’s why I put on the trade without regard to the fund’s expenses-ratios. In fact, I didn’t even look at them, because they are irrelevant. What did matter to me hugely was reading the price chart and seeing where I could do an entry.

A question you didn’t ask --but should have-- is why I chose to use a financial instrument that only has end-of-day pricing and for which volume isn’t reported, instead an ETF equivalent or the futures contract. In other words, from a trading point of view, open-end mutual funds have some disadvantages versus exchange-traded products. You’re going to suffer a one-day lag getting in and out. OTOH, you can trade commish-free and, far more importantly to me, you can trade in fixed-dollar amounts. That’s my attraction to the instrument. I don’t care if I only break even or if even if I lose a few bucks. I’m trying to buy information, and I’m willing to pay the price for it.

What’s the info I’m looking for? Can a viable trading-system be built for open-end funds that don’t have short-term trading constraints? I don’t remember the exact numbers, but Direxion offers about a dozen. Rydex (now Guggenheim) offers about 80. ProFunds, around 60. Between them, it’s possible to trade any major market (US, Europe, China, LatAm, Japan, EmgMkts, bonds, currencies, commodities, oil, gold, etc.) and many sub-markets (Consumer Discretionary, BioTech, Semiconductors, etc.), and some of the major themes from both sides of the market. In other words, between the three companies, a very full palette of choices is offered.

Last Spring, I ran a quick experiment and made about a gazillion percent (annualized) a couple of 3-4 day trades. But the reality of my workday (and personality) is that I can only only one thing at time. I can focus on bond-investing, or I can focus on fund-trading. One or other. Not both, and last year kept me fairly busy. I don’t remember the exact numbers. But in 2012, I added over one hundred positions at a cost of roughly $200k. That’s small money to some in this forum. But it’s big enough money to me that I didn’t want to screw things up with distractions. Coming out the gate in 2013, I was still finding bonds to buy, and I was spending at the same pace. But now I’m ready to throw in the towel. Yesterday, I was in and out of the market in under ten minutes. There just wasn’t anything worth buying. This morning, I forced myself to lo