If My Stock Buddies Only Knew...Posted 06/05/2009, 9:00 am EST by Sean Hyman from worldcurrencywatch.com
Today I was thinking back to my days as a stock trader. I can't tell you the amount of Pepto Bismol I went through when the markets dropped like they have this week. In markets like these, even the best players are struggling just to keep their shirts.
Then I thought, if my stock buddies only knew what I know now about currency trading, they'd hang up their stock-trading hats and come over to my market.
Let me show you a few advantages of trading currencies over stocks in any kind of market - even a market as bad as this.
When an economy falls on hard times, profits are squeezed. Companies have to lay off workers as growth slows. You can see this miserable outlook reflected in the company's stock price. Of course this doesn't just happen to a few companies, it murders entire economic sectors.
Secret Weapon #1: VIX Gives Me the Upper Hand
So as traders all around the globe watch their bottom lines bottom out and their hedge funds blow-up, I'm flat-out loving this market.
Why? I have a secret weapon that lets me profit when markets are sinking, while my stock trading buddies can barely stay afloat with their stocks.
What's that secret weapon? The Japanese yen. You see, when volatility increases in the markets and stock traders lose their shirts, their loss is my gain. The Japanese yen experiences an uptrend when almost every other asset class (even commodities) is headed downhill.
At times like these, I can pair the yen with almost any currency in the foreign-exchange market and I'll win. I know the yen thrives off of volatility, so one of my buddies' strongest tools works even better for me during bear markets.
Stock traders all over the country look to the VIX (Volatility Index) to gauge when the stock market may bottom. They wait until the VIX rises to an extreme level and then they go in and buy. However, I watch the VIX heading higher and I know it's giving my yen trades another boost.
Then when the VIX appears to peak, and these stock traders are just beginning to make some headway in their trades; all I have to do is reverse my yen trade and I'm still making a killing the whole time. If they only knew it was so easy...
Take a look at the VIX in the chart below, and the Japanese yen price right above it. When the VIX hits extreme levels (above 30 but especially around 35 or higher), the yen starts to peak. At that time, I just reverse my trade and start shorting the yen.
The VIX and the Yen...Traveling Buddies!
As a currency trader, you can buy or short the yen based on what you see using the VIX, their so-called "stock tool." If you're a stock trader and you understand the VIX, then you also understand the yen whether you know it or not.
As you can see above, the yen's run may be almost over because the VIX is showing an extreme reading (i.e. it's soaring higher). So it may be time to reverse your Japanese yen trades.
Secret Weapon #2: Collect Daily "Dividends" from the Currency Market
But there's one secret that would REALLY push my stock buddies over the edge if they knew about it. It's one I use in "up" markets, when stocks are also doing well
Most traders know the S&P 500 hasn't gone anywhere for a number of years. However, once you take into account these companies' dividends, then you could have an overall gain even while stocks stay flat.
However, these stocks only pay out dividends on a quarterly basis, while currencies pay out interest on a daily basis. Yes, you read that right...
It's like getting a dividend daily.
So I have 365 opportunities a year to profit, while my stock buddies get four. If they only knew...
Secret Weapon #3: No Commissions, So There's Less Fees in Currencies
The third advantage I have over stock traders is my stock buddies have to pay a spread AND a commission for each stock trade, while I ONLY have to pay the spread.
And I pay a smaller spread than they do because I control more currency with less money down and because the currency market has more volume which leads to tighter spreads.
So while my stock buddies are trading in this bear market, losing money on their positions AND paying commissions along the way, I'm earning profits now and paying less in fees.
Let's say my stock trading buddies and I place the same number of trades each year. My stock buddies pay a measly US$7 per trade (even though many firms charge more). If we both made only 10 trades each month, we'd both have 120 trades over the course of a year.
Now remember that stock traders are charged twice on each trade (when they buy and when they sell). So over the course of the year, my buddies must pay 240 different commissions, costing US$7 each. That's US$1,680 in commissions. That doesn't even count how much they also pay in spreads.
What do I pay in commissions for completing those same 120 trades? Nothing! I only pay my much smaller spread all year long.
My stock buddies have to earn that much more in profits before they even break even. So obviously, the deck is stacked in my favor. If they only knew...
You now know my three secret weapons that give me an edge in the currency markets.
And now they're your edge too.