Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Better Day

Finally, an upswing. After a depressing 4 days, watching with fear as my investments just seemed to dry up, I'm seeing some positive numbers again. First Majestic (TSX:FR), the silver mining company that was my first buy in the stock world, has been pummelled ever since the announcement of a new private placement. I bought initially for $5.10, and doubled my position at $4.67. Yesterday, it had closed down to $4.20. At that price, I was considering buying even more of it, but hesitated since it would have all been on margin, and I wasn't comfortable with that. It's bounced a little today, and I remain confident in the company. Its behaviour the past week seems to be following the price of silver and other commodities, which I think is unreasonable, as their production has been climbing so quickly.

Other news - I made my first dabbling into options. It had been my intention when I bought BMO shares to use them to bring in a bit of extra cash by selling covered calls on them at prices that would see a profit. My break-even point on BMO is $46.95, so today, when it was trading in the high $47 range, I decided to sell some July calls with a strike price of $52. After commision, it netted me $125. So, worst case scenario is that they get exercised, and I turn a 13.4% profit in less than 3 months, more if I get my case scenario, of course, is that the price holds a little under $52 until they expire, and I get extra money for nothing.

So, currently, I'm down roughly $100 since I started trading. While I'm hardly pleased with that result, I am learning quick, and have high hopes.

Update - Picking a Brokerage

The first thing I did when I started this blog about a month ago was to go through and pick a discount broker. I ended up going with Questrade, and, despite opening the account being a painfully slow process, I've been pleased with them.

Yesterday, they announced a change to their commission structure. And it's a good thing. Under the old system, you had to pick between either the 1c/share ($4.95 min) plan, or the $9.95 flat rate plan. You could only change on the first of a month. While this was still a great deal, there were some problems with it. The big one was that if I, as someone who normally makes small trades, were to find a 10c penny stock that I wanted to buy 10 000 shares of, I'd end up paying $100 in commission on it.

Some, my girlfriend for instance, might think that dissuading me from reckless behaviour is a good thing, but I like choices are better. The people at Questrade seem to agree with me, and they changed to a single fee structure: 1c per share, $4.95 minimum, $9.95 maximum. Options commission remains at $9.95+$1/contract. It's simple, it's cheap, and it should suit almost everybody. I'm impressed.