You have written about 'even trades.' What are those? (February 6, 2002)

  In a choppy market it is easier to get whipsawed as stocks move up and down. And in any market condition you can have some great trades and get hammered on one that gaps down on you past your stop point and just does not come back. One of the things we did when we were getting started and when there is a choppy market is to keep our several investments (and it was not 20 or 30, just a handful at most at a time) of equal dollar amounts. For example, if you have a stock that is $8 you want to invest in and one at $30 you want to buy, you don't buy 1000 shares of each. That would make one investment $8000 and the other $30,000. You could make a 20% return on the $8 stock ($1600) but lose 7% on the $30 stock ($2100) and be in the red. If you invested $8000 in the $30 stock (266 shares) and lost 7%, you lost $560. You are still in the black by $1040. In a choppy market, you don't want to let one trade where you exercise reasonable stop losses wipe out your hard won gains.

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