It’s a little early, I suppose, to be doing any kind of “end-of-year wrap-up” kind of post, but frankly, I don’t have anything new to say about the market, and I might as well share the one semi-pithy reflection I’ve got about 2015 at the moment.
My two errors this year actually contradict one another. My first error was not holding on to positions long enough. My other error was holding on to them for too long.
To address the first error: as some readers may recall, I made a post back in November 2014 called Shifting Sands which, even at the time I marked as a “Best of Slope” post since I considered it so important. My basic thesis was that oil producers were going to be wrecked, just like gold miners had. As I wrote, “I am inclined toward individual energy-related shorts, because I think they’re going to suffer the same gruesome fate as precious metals miners have”
Well, the post was spot-on, and I’ve marked with an arrow the approximate date that I put forward my “energy is doomed” post:
To be clear, I’ve certainly made plenty of profits from my energy bearishness, but they have tended to be in bits and chunks, not in the overwhelming king-sized infernos of destruction that some energy stocks offered. Simply stated, going hold-wild with energy stocks at the time of my post and taking 2015 completely on vacation would have been a wise strategy (albeit reckless). So I regret not just “hanging tough” with this very broad theme (which, frankly, continues to this day to do quite well).
On the other hand, my willingness to “hang tough” to otherwise terrific short setups cost me dearly during some periods. October 2015 leaps immediately to mind, because it single-handedly threw a gallon of gasoline on all my VERY hard-earned profits for the year and light a match under them. Day after day, the market charged higher, and it was almost impossible to keep the faith.