NEW YORK (
) -- There is a little more than a month to go to end the autumn contrarian trading portfolio. The portfolio has rebounded slightly in the past two weeks and is now showing a gain of 0.6%.
We have only four of the nine positions open. The position in
UltraShort Oil & Gas ProShares
was stopped out on Nov. 11 for a gain of 3.7%. We immediately switched to open a position in
Ultra Oil & Gas ProShares
. We reopened two of the previously closed positions since Nov. 2.
UltraShort Financials ProShares
was quickly stopped out again and the other,
United States Natural Gas
, remains open.
Idea No. 1 -- Buy Natural Gas
This position has been closed since the stop-loss order was executed on Oct. 30 until we reopened with a buy at $9.10 on Nov. 12. The position has a trailing 10% stop-loss order, currently at $8.29, based on the intraday high of $9.21 on Nov. 12.
Idea No. 2 -- Buy North American Energy Production; Idea No. 4 -- Buy Corporate Bonds; and Idea No. 7 -- Sell the S&P 500, have been closed prior to this report period and haven't been reopened.
Idea No. 3 -- Buy Silver
The position in silver was established to try to take advantage of the ratio of the price of silver to that of gold, which is below historic averages. It turns out that gold has actually done better than silver since late September.
The charts for both
iShares Silver Trust
are shown here. There is actually a double stop loss on the long position in SLV. The stop for SLV is shown on the chart. If the stop is hit for gold, represented by GLD, dropping to $103.40, before the SLV stop, SLV will be sold.
With either stop, a short position in gold will be opened using
UltraShort Gold ProShares
Idea No. 5 - Short Financials
The first attempt to go short financial stocks produced a loss of 9%. The most recent attempt lasted only two days and lost 1.7%. It's tough being a contrarian in a trending market. Even when a correction is caught, the return to trend can quickly produce a lost. SKF gained 8.3% the first day the trade was open and lost 10% the next to produce the overall loss.
Idea No. 6 - Sell Municipals
This position keeps chugging along. It had now gained 2.5%. This is made up of $3.22 from the price decline, adjusted for 62 cents in dividends that were paid while we have been short.
Idea No. 8 -- Sell Oil
This idea has played out like a yo-yo. The original position in DUG was stopped out on Oct. with a 4.4% loss. The reversal into DIG produced a gain of 10% until stopped out on Oct. 26. The reversal back into DUG was stopped out on Nov. 9 with a gain of 3.7%. The same day a new DIG position was opened for $36.15. We will continue to follow the strategy of buying the reversal position whenever stopped out.
The swings in the oil market have produced frequent trading as a result of our tight risk-control strategy. So far the results have been positive. The latest entry into DIG is at a level that requires oil to go to a new high in order to be profitable. Based on fundamentals, that doesn't have high probability, so we may very well reverse to a short position -- buying DUG -- with a loss on the current DIG position.
We have been expecting a reversal of the gold rally for several weeks. It hasn't happened. If it was to occur without a further high in silver intervening, the SLV position could be closed with a small loss (less than 1%).
The summary of the fall contrarian trading portfolio to date is shown in the following table.
-- Written by John Lounsbury in Clayton, N.C.
At the time of publication, Lounsbury was long SKF, UNG and SLV.
John B. Lounsbury is a financial planner and investment adviser, providing comprehensive financial planning and investment advisory services to a select group of families on a fee-only basis. He worked for 34 years with IBM, and spent 25 years in R&D management and corporate staff positions. He also was a Series 6, 7, 63 licensed representative with a major insurance company brokerage for nine years.
Specific interests include political and economic history and investment strategy analysis. He holds degrees from the University of Vermont, Columbia University and the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he studied chemistry, physics and mathematics. He is a contributor to Seeking Alpha and his own blog,