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One year of trading: an audacious goal achieved!

Just one year ago, I started trading publicly on this site with an audacious goal: to see if a small, independent thinking investor (err, speculator), could achieve a 100% profit in a single year.

I started on March 19, 2010 with $10,000 in a TD Ameritrade account. Over the course of the year, I completed 25 round-turn trades in stocks, ETFs, and since the start of 2011, options, all of which were documented right here in real time or close to it. Twenty of those trades were profitable. Five resulted in losses. An additional trade is still open (and is a loser as of today).

On the closed trades, my cumulative profit was $11, 239.60. Commissions and related expenses were accounted for at the start of the New Year, so there still need to be some adjustments made, but the bottom line is that with over a 110% gain, the mission is accomplished!

Over the the same time span, the Standard and Poor’s’ 500 index rose 10.3%, so it looks like I’m on to a method that has some potential to say the least.

If you’ve been following (or want to start now), this really isn’t a “method” so much as trying to be opportunistic in recognizing market trends and predilections. Lately I have been working a lot with VIX (volatility index) options, which I think have some good profit potential when market extremes can be identified.

I will be very straight forward and say that I had no real idea at the start whether I could pull off doubling this stake in a single year. Looking back, though, I don’t think that I would have achieved that kind of profit if I didn’t set a goal and and announce it publicly.

I got lucky sometimes during the year: witness January’s Apple options trade that unknowingly co-incided with the announcement of Steve Jobs’ medical leave.

I also got unlucky (and made poor trading decisions), a good example of which is my insistence on shorting Brazil.

I’m not sure if I am going to continue with the double-the-money goal; at some point I’m bound to run out of steam. I do have a couple of ideas for the coming year, however, so stay tuned.

Finally, the whole point about starting on the 19th of March was top honor my beloved grandmother Edith Carlson (1896-2001), who would have had her 115th birthday tomorrow. She put the idea of investing in the markets into my head at a young age, and for that I will always be grateful. If she’s watching this as well, here’s to another great year!

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