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Title: Top 25 Axioms Of OTC Investing
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Sunday, July 20, 2008 7:34:32 PM
Title: Top 25 Axioms Of OTC Investing
Subtitle: Understand These And You Might Have A Shot At Surviving The OTC Marketplace
I am calling these 25 points "axioms" in that they are propositions that are not necessarily proved or demonstrated but rather are self-evident to those who trade/invest on the OTC. In other words, these truths should be taken for granted and serve as a starting point or a foundation when deducing or inferring other propositions about OTC investing. I will not seek to prove these axioms to you...they just simply ARE. An axiom appeals to no other authority for verification...it stands on its own as the truth. Therefore, with these axioms we are dealing more with beliefs and less with facts. But without fundamental beliefs, you will have nothing whereby to interpret the facts. So sit up and pay attention because the following are very important ideas that could keep you from losing your shirt and help you to win nicely at playing the OTC market.
1. The Center Stage Axiom
The longer an issue stays in the spotlight...the worse. There's always one or more good reasons as to WHY a company is trading on the OTC...especially if it is a sub-penny company. There have been many times in the past couple years I thought I had found that "true gem" that was going to be another Yahoo. I believed in it big time. I bought into it big time! But after the initial run and a dead-cat bounce or two...things began surfacing that were completely damaging to the demand for the stock. Simply put, the higher a stock climbs in the investing world, the more its rear end shows...and OTC butts ain't pretty. Are there the occasional rule breakers here? Yes (usually they are reverse merger plays). But those stocks are few and far between and they generally uplist very quickly to a higher exchange. As a general rule, the longer a company stays in the limelight, the more enemies it will attract. Bashers. Shorters. Bidwhackers. Apathy. New shares from various and sundry places (especially DILUTION and restricted shares coming off restriction). It's always a war to make the PPS (read: Price Per Share) go up on any issue. Don't stay too long at the war. Fight as long as you are advancing and retreat the moment you see the enemy reinforcements gathering. Or possibly better yet...retreat before you think you even heard the enemy reinforcements. Remember, it's not your job to make a stock PPS go up, it's your job to make your portfolio grow. OTC valor is much different than armed forces valor.
2. The Carpe Diem Axiom
Always take *some* profit when you're sitting on significant gains 50% or higher. Unless you are already independently wealthy and view OTC investing *only* as gambling for FUN (which isn't an altogether bad thing to view it as), take profit. The way to accumulate wealth playing OTC issues is to always exit too soon. Furthermore, it leaves one feeling pretty dern good when he left some on the table for the next guy and was not the chucklehead that singlehandedly killed the run. If it does make you feel good that you were the chucklehead that killed the run, shame on you. Always remember...you do not know the next time buying pressure will allow you to leak out of shares without injuring a stock and/or your portfolio! Seize the day. Seize the opportunity strong buying pressure provides.
3. The Itchy Trigger-Finger Axiom
Someone always has shares to sell to ruin a run. Read it again: Someone ALWAYS has shares to sell to ruin a run. Make this statement your computer desktop and/or screensaver. Say it to yourself ten times whenever you start your trading day. Paint it on the ceiling above your bed so it's the first thing you see in the morning. Please understand that someone owns a whole lot of whatever stock you're jazzed about at much lower average than you -- and often times they own it for NUTHIN' (i.e. compensated promoters, debtors, relatives of CEO, etc.). Also, if you think that YOU are the ONE that is holding all the shares that could potentially ruin a run...think again. Only God knows where all the shares are or will be coming from...because who knows what kind of shorts will attach themselves to your play and sell you nothing but VAPOR.
4. The Domino Effect Axiom
Almost everyone that loses money playing the OTC looks to point a finger somewhere. They want someone or some entity to blame for their loss. Forget that the CEO sold 100M shares into the open market, they'd rather lash out at the popular poster that promoted, endorsed, and otherwise "pumped" the stock. Here's what folks like that should understand...there is a domino effect of people getting screwed. Here's an illustration: the CEO legitimately plans NOT to sell shares but some emergency comes up...and believe me..."emergencies" almost always come up for these guys! Selling shares is the easiest way for him to raise the money and "After all," the CEO justifies to himself, "the reason I went public in the first place was to raise money." The problem here is that the CEO failed to tell his promoters and/or closest investors about his need to raise funds and that group of people is living under the assumption that the share structure is stable (i.e the supply will remain the same). So the CEO got screwed by somebody and had to pay up. He screws the promoters and his closest investors and they had to pay up. Now the promoters and close investors will probably screw another batch of investors. Scenarios like this have happened more times than I can count! When something goes wrong and you're holding several thousand dollars worth of stock, you're not going to be looking to inform the world about things that will negatively affect the stock's PPS! You're looking for ways to bring in buying pressure, not decrease it! Folks love pumpers/promoters when they are helping the stock they are in go up. Folks hate those same pumpers/promoters when their stock is going down. Heroes and zeroes in the microcap world are one and the same...it just depends on the day. Remember this though...if the guy at the top decides to take advantage of people...he most certainly will succeed. What you need to know is your place in the food chain. And friends, if you're a rookie to the OTC world...you are a bottom feeder that gets caught eating the crap of all the other fish in the ocean when the "Domino Effect Axiom" kicks into high gear.
5. The Vapor Shares Axiom
If you see a poster battling the idea of shorting OTC issues with determination and vigil, sit up and pay attention...that poster is either a short himself or working on behalf of the shorts. People and/or groups with the right connections can and do short OTC issues...many times they short stock into oblivion with the full approval and consent of the leadership of the company. Contrary to popular belief, many OTC CEOs don't give a flying fig newton what their stock price does...what they care about is getting their hands on YOUR MONEY. There is alot of money to be made when a stock goes up. There is even more money to be made when a stock goes down if you were selling vapor all the way down to .0001 and cover there. Microocap hedge funds exist. Microcap hedge funds manipulate stocks and steal the money of good people. Unless you are a microcap hedge fund yourself, you can almost never win a battle against a powerful microcap hedgie that is shorting the snot out of your beloved stock. Remember, this is an "axiom" that stands on its own. I will not seek to prove the validity of this point to you. You must simply either accept it or reject it.
6. The Glass-Half-Empty Axiom
Bashers on message boards are a very real force to contend with and it's not a coincidence that I've put this axiom after the "Vapor Shares Axiom." It is easier to get a person to sell a stock than it is to buy a stock...and they know this very well. If your stock's message board becomes infested with bashers...be careful! Unless you believe the company has some incredible news that may force these guys to cover or unless you know of a group with mega-bank that is going to push the stock and perhaps force a cover...be careful when playing with shorty. Many of these bashers will try and convince you that they are there out of the kindness of their heart to try and rescue other investors from the perils of a diluting CEO or worse. Nope. Their motives are to bring the PPS down down down. Bashers, in the end, are almost always right eventually because they are bashing OTC issues. They know axioms like "The Center Stage Axiom" too!!!
7. The Supply IS Demand Axiom
I have seen several runs simply because a stock has a low share structure. A low supply creates demand. Know the share structure. On plays where the TA is gagged, plan to exit within hours of entering and play the momentum only unless you have STRONG and SOLID reason to believe the stock will go up. Call transfer agents. Learn what authorized shares, outstanding shares, and float mean. The share structure is the first thing I look for when making a new investment...it should be the first thing you look for too. If a company is not willing to be transparent in this area, you can bet there's a hundred other areas they're not willing to be transparent about. I have and continue to invest in plays where the transfer agents are gagged (unable to report to you what the current share structure is) but I don't plan to stay invested for long.
8. The Don't Click The Mouse Yet Axiom
Never buy a stock at the high of day after a significant run (good rule of thumb here may be 70-80%). Wait for a pullback. And while you're waiting, do some due diligence. Check the company's filings on pinksheets.com or otcbb.com. Read a few of their PRs. Check the history of the leadership there. Call the transfer agent (T/A) and ask for the share structure. And on stocks that are pulling back, buy at the bid. Remember that it takes both bid buyers and ask buyers to make a stock PPS go up.
9. The Morning Patience Axiom
The first hour of the market is "amateur hour." With most first-hours on hot issues, it'll either be extreme bid whackage which will cause some panic selling which will create some excellent buying opportunities later in the morning OR it will be extreme ask slappage which will lead to a pullback around lunchtime. I hardly ever buy during the first hour of the trading day, and I'd venture to say 80-90% of the time that decision has paid off. I'd rather watch a few missed opportunities than be stuck in a bunch of "apparent" ones.
10. The Bruised Knee Axiom
There are too many enemies against an OTC issue's PPS going up to NEVER lose a battle. Know how to take a defeat. You lost. YOU made a mistake. Evaluate what went wrong. Evaluate why YOU lost money. It's okay to lose money occasionally but it's not okay to be just as dumb after as you were before! Think, think, THINK! Don't make the error again. Get smarter. Listen, school is expensive...tuition rates are high! If you want to make money trading the OTC you had better plan to spend the first year in school.
11. The Show-Me-The-Money Axiom
I once asked a poster that was complaining about getting lied to on a message board: "Are you stupid in any other areas?" Seriously folks, everyone on a stock message board has an agenda...including ME. Including YOU. Consider how often your posts are seasoned with fiction and/or things that you simply DO NOT KNOW TO BE CERTAIN. Consider that you have most likely served up a poo-poo platter covered thickly with powdered sugar. Trusting stock message boards for accurate due diligence is like trusting the National Enquirer for accurate UFO sightings.
12. The I'm-Rubber-And-You're-Glue Axiom
Develop thick skin if you plan to post on stock message boards much. 'Nuff said.
13. The Know-Your-Anthropology Axiom
Understand the nature of man! For this axiom, you need to be somewhat of a Christian theologian. The Bible clearly teaches us that mankind is not naturally good...he is naturally evil (Psalm 14 is a good place to start). The word Christian theologians use to describe our condition is "depravity." Because of the fall of man, we are morally corrupt in every part of our being and tend toward wickedness (i.e. greed, theft, lying). We stand in need of redemption from a Savior. So understand that you are playing amongst people (including yourself) that are not naturally good...they are naturally bad. In other words, you're playing with fire. Lies, half-truths, and misrepresentations abound in the OTC world. You better take EVERYTHING with a grain-of-salt the size of Texas. Some posters require more salt than others to digest. Be an evaluator of people. Learn how to ask the right questions. Make sure your yellow flags and red flags are ALWAYS working.
14. The Early-To-The-Party Axiom
Be willing to buy lower what you bought higher. I have often arrived to a party early. By "party" I mean a gathering of people and people's money that will result in a stock's PPS going much higher. By "early" I mean I got there before the stock was sitting at a low. I am always somewhat discouraged when a purchase I made continues to go down. But if I have done solid due diligence in the company, I often take it as an opportunity to add more shares cheaper and lower my average. In other words, don't look at your initial investment as dead money and hope that it goes back up again so you can get out. Average down, do the due, and then promote your stock to others and help jumpstart the party. Be a spark plug.
15. The Next! Axiom
Be looking to get out of an issue the moment you get in. Have an exit strategy in place. By buying a stock you are not entering into any kind of formal arrangement like matrimony. You are an investor and as such your goal is to make money. If your investment should go up within the first 20-30 minutes of purchase why is it any different taking some profit then as if it took 20-30 days for it to go up? Get in. Lock in profits. Ride freebies.
16. The Grow-Up Axiom
Somebody once said: "If somebody screws you once, shame on them. But if somebody screws you twice, shame on you." In the OTC world I would modify it a bit to say: "If somebody screws you once, shame on you. If somebody screws you twice, you really are a moron." Take responsibility for ALL your investment decisions. Almost nothing ever happens as planned or hoped here on the OTC. There are too many enemies against making a stock's PPS go up. If you're going to play the game down here...you better be ready to accept FULL and COMPLETE responsibility for EVERYTHING YOU DO IN THIS INVESTING REALM. Point the finger of blame at only one place: yourself.
17. The Ask-Yourself-Why Axiom
Understand that many of the people encouraging you to buy an issue are compensated promoters whether they disclaim it or not. Most times they do not have your best interest in mind, they have their best interest in mind cause they're sitting on a mountain of stock and can't wait to turn paper into cash. It has been said that "the man that can answer the question 'what' will always have a job but the man that can answer the question 'why' will always be his boss." Be continually evaluating EVERYTHING by asking questions that begin with "WHY."
18. The What-Was-That-Again? Axiom
Understand you are almost NEVER getting the whole story. The only way optimists will survive in the OTC is if they become compensated promoters. Pessimists can either become paid bashers or fast flippers. The OTC calls for realism. Be a realist. To be a true OTC realist you need to know and understand all that you are up against to make a stock's PPS go up.
19. The Public-Versus-Private Posts Axiom
Many of the people pumping stocks are stuck in them and want to inspire a whole new wave of bagholders to come take their place. Often times what is being said on the public message boards is completely different than what those same posters are saying behind closed doors. Realize this. Digest this. Embrace this. Don't be naive.
20. The Buy-The-Story-Not-The-Company Axiom
So you bought a stock because of a solid PR that came out. Cool. Why did you buy? Because of the story. Do you really know anything else about the company? Is it real? Do they have a big building? Do they have equipment? Are they producing? Forget all that. In many ways it is irrelevant. If you are going to invest in the OTC you had better learn to invest in STORIES. Now, ironically, one of the dictionary definitions for "story" is "a lie or fabrication." Do you really think that you are investing in the same caliber of companies on the OTC as you would on the NASDAQ or NYSE? Don't be naive! Do you think what your company outlined in that lovely PR is really going to happen? Two words for you my friend: SAFE HARBOR. In the OTC you are investing in POTENTIAL ALONE; therefore, be a discerner of the POTENTIAL OF THAT COMPANY'S STORY. What has great potential? Water to China? American Idol in a 3-D world? Gasoline replacement in a weed? Oh yeah baby! All those STORIES have great POTENTIAL. But there's a monster "IF" involved in every one of those. After some time, the reality that the "IF" is gonna stay a big "IF" sinks in and the stock PPS encounters a slow death. Sadly, some of the really real OTC companies go unnoticed because they do not have a great story with potential. The term many investors use to refer to the story is "kool aid." Does your stock have good "kool aid?" Well, does the potential of your company make you want to buy it? Does it make other want to buy it? I try to avoid investing in OTC issues that do not have good kool aid flowage or the potential for good kool aid flowage. Wow. What a concept. On the OTC sometimes you have to invest in the POTENTIAL POTENTIAL of a company. (That last sentence wasn't a misprint. Read it twice if you need to.)
21. The Don't-Gamble-Away-The-Mortgage Axiom
You *should* expect to lose your entire investment. You *should* expect to lose more money than you make playing OTC issues until you wise up, learn these axioms, and behave according to them. If you are playing the OTC to try and make some quick money to pay off a debt, good luck with that. Unless you are an experienced OTC Jedi Master that does this for a living (and I'm by no means saying that I am one or that I have arrived!), you better ONLY USE MONEY YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE.
22. The Dingleberry Axiom
This is the term I save for bidwhackers. Realize that the OTC market is unfortunately full of people that don't understand the concept of selling at the offer. They are more than happy to whack out the bids on an issue for their lunch money. Realize that usually the longer an issue stays in the spotlight, the more problem it is gonna have with dingleberries, er, whackers.
23. The Bid And Offer Axiom
Level 2 is often the truest of truths in the OTC. It tells a very accurate story. If you cannot afford to spend your day glued to L2 watching the issues you're trading...you shouldn't expect winning trades on the OTC. I simply cannot stress enough the importance of having LIVE Level 2 and understanding it. Spend some time paper trading which watching L2s. Practice. Practice. Learn. You just gotta understand what the Level 2s are telling you. Some of my friends would also come in here at this point and say it is not only L2 it is also the chart. I would argue that it is MORE L2 and LESS the chart. By understanding and watching L2 I feel like I can identify dilution much faster than by simply looking at a chart and all its indicators.
24. The CEO Is A Scumbag Axiom
Now I know we're all quick to defend our favorite CEO...but the truth is he or she is a scumbag. Now what level of scumbag she or he is I cannot say...but with confidence I can say that every OTC CEO is a scumbag. Deal with it.
25. The Know Your Friends And Enemies Axiom
You will have a hard time succeeding down here without friends. Any amount of public success will bring you more friends and new enemies. Understand which is which. Keep your nose clean. Loose lips sink ships. Know when its time to sever a relationship. Know when its time to repair a relationship. Know your associates.
Now, I must ask you, knowing all of the above, do you REALLY want to mess around with penny stocks? I mean...really???
Those of you that have never traded in the OTC or are just beginning to trade down here and are right now shaking your head and thinking that you somehow transcend these axioms...you will have to learn the hard way. Traders like me will end up with your money. I want to thank you in advance for helping build my portfolio.
Those of you scared out of your gourd right now...GOOD. You should be. You should realize that you're absolutely nuts to be risking money down here (and I use the term "down here" on purpose) in the OTC!!!
Investing in the OTC is very risky. It's riskier than Alaskan King Crab fishing! But the rewards often outweigh the risk. The lure of monster profits is too much for many of us to say "no" to. The idea of finding that one true gem in a million that becomes the next Yahoo is too strong a draw for many of us to avoid. The surge of adrenalin that comes when profiting 100% on your money within the same hour you made the trade is addicting. The fun that comes from finding friends and having a successful trade with them is indeed AWESOME.
The OTC is a crazy world that attracts some pretty crazy people...and yet I have chosen to live in this world...I have accepted the consequences of investing in the OTC. I feel safer putting my money in an OTC issue than a NASDAQ or NYSE issue because I understand the OTC.
I have written all of the above as a student, not a teacher. I will always be a student of the OTC...ever learning. I do believe that is a good attitude to have if you want to truly be a successful OTC trader/investor. I do hope that some of what I have said above will help you retain and/or build your bank!
If you want to quibble about something I've stated above or you'd like to tweak something to make it a little more accurate...please feel free to come and engage me on my Van Scan board here:
NOTE: This material is original with me but please disperse and dispense far and wide as long as you give credit and you think it will be helpful.
All my posts are OPINION only. Do your own DD.
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