My Complicated Relationship with Math

X + 2y =5. ??? Why? I really can’t comprehend why this equation even exists. How come that an addition of letters results to a number? Don’t get me wrong, I like my alphabets, but why do they have to steal it and put in an equation. They taught me this in school, and yet I’m still waiting for the day I actually have to use it. Why do i have to waste time, I think I should move on and accept that x or y is gone? I’m pretty sure that it’s not just me, most humans feel the same. I can go on and rant how I hate math but I got a long list this post may not even accommodate.

i hate math

I think that Math was invented to abuse my (our) mental health. I’m disgusted with math and I don’t know why? I am not sure if it’s in my genes or I am just lazy. I would find ways to shun it when possible. But you see, Math is inevitable. The school curriculum had always included Algebra in it and there was no way for me to avoid it. As much as I liked Biology and Anatomy subjects, I dreaded having to take math classes knowing that I had to deal with terror instructors (if not, super boring). I don’t blame them, they teach the most hated subject on earth. Maybe out of pity or burden of my teachers, they let me pass anyhow. It was a relief to graduate in college having to pass all my math subjects (algebra and trigo being the most horrible), but the world keeps on with puzzles math wants me to solve.

Here are my reasons why I hate Math:

  • It’s a waste of time. Calculating letter and numbers is nuisance to me. They provide me NO value at all. I mean, what do I get with x or y? You see, Math is inconsistent, they are supposed to use numbers. It’s like saying the best part of eating involves sleeping.
  • If I deal with Math, I am either right or wrong. There is no way for me to justify on anything. Heaven knows how I love to argue in real life.
  • I can memorize every friend’s status in facebook but I never had a line memorized from the table of multiplication. I’d rather watch Animal Planet or Home shopping network.
  • When faced with my greatest enemy (Math), I can seek always see help from know-it-all Google, or to MS Excel or my long time friend-Calculator.
  • Math teachers are torturers. If teaching Math were a crime, they should be punished for a life sentence.
  • Math is like Viruses. They might be invisible but they’re everywhere. Once they hit you, you’re stuck on it.
  • They can’t make me laugh. The only emotion they give me is fear and hatred.
  • Math will seem to follow us until our last breath (and will terrorize those that are living). Blood pressure monitor shows graphs, pulse rate (in bpm), cbc (blood count), etc. After death, Math there to terrorize the living, there will be bills to pay, hospital and funerals, insurances, assets and what not.

On a second thought, Math does exist and has the right to exist. Whether we like it or not, wherever we go, whatever we do, we always deal with math. We will face it at some point in our lives, whether out of curiosity, out of necessity or a means to survive. And so I’ve learned to get along with math.

i hate algebra2

I occasionally like Math because:

  • As a Palengkera, I need to know the market price of anything I buy. I have to be efficient in counting my change from the seller or from the “sukli” on a jeepney ride. I also have to understand economies of scale, Budgeting, Costing, unit of measurements, temperature, time, etc.
  • I came to realize that whatever career path I choose, Math is always there to shadow me. As they say, if you can’t beat it, join it. So, I chose Accounting. At the very least, my long-time friend is always there to help-the calculator. I work with a Financial company that deals with payroll, munching numbers everyday is normal, out of necessity (I expect to be paid on my ATM every 15th and 30th).  I’m thinking of shifting career into programming too, and I’m certain that math will again reign supreme.
  • As a Stock Trader, I deal with technical analysis –graphs, historical prices, EPS, P/E ratios, Balance sheets, Income statements etc. Though math is my long-time enemy, I turned it as my ally.
  • On the brighter side, Math subjects can be art, wherein there are different ways to do a thing. And we don’t need to memorize historical dates of Spanish Colonial times or know all the characters in Noli Me Tangere.  Spelling and grammar is also not an issue with math.
  • Practical purposes. Understanding math can lead to a wiser financial decision (income). To know how much you need to cook for some visitors. Calculating % on a sales price on the mall will impress a window-shopping friend.

And there my friend, I have a complicated relationship with math. I admit that I’m one of those who harbors and aversion for math. But you see, I do feel the need of it in our everyday life, so I’ve learned to get along with it- a paradox. However, I still feel the need of a Math Therapist (if there is one), to help me forget my fear and horrible experiences with Math. Anyone?

For amusement, i got these Memes from Pinterest. (courtesy of rubsa, chris, hailey)

the answer to the equation X + 2y =5:

math3

I can relate to him:

math.rubsa

Funny answer to a math quiz:

math

I thought so too…

pinterest.math

math2

then the feeling after…

math.pinterest.haily k

Technical Analysis: A Letter to Mr. Luck

Dear Mr. Luck,

Hello there.  I hope you’re doing very well.

I get that the Heavens are capable of screwing me at times to allow me to hone my strength. Believe me, I’m grateful with things wonderful, but I want to be spared with misfortunes. So there must be someone I can blame, it must be your known enemy -I’ll call him Mr. Menace.  Yes, Mr. Menace mostly offers me unfavorable outcomes.  He has risks, uncertainties, fear, loss, sadness, inequalities and what have you.  While I also get your comfort at times, I’m wondering if you Mr. Luck could help us defy him.  Apart from carrying protective charms, stones, keys or burning incense or sage, what else should we do to reap your most precious gift- luck? Are there tools I can use?

I’m not so much into street gambling and casinos (because I rarely win), but I think luck is what I need while I do my stock trades.  I hated math so much so I resorted to charts.  Charts have been my friends, they’re like music to my ears. It gives me concise and clear picture without so much numbers and formulas. Believe me, they do work at times but he can be stubborn can drag me big time.

Before consulting back to you, I had some research, read some books and attended seminars conducted by know-it-all brokers and what not. All they can offer are tools and guides with their usual disclaimer “To use at my own risk”.  I’m very thankful to them though.

One said, Technical Analysis is a tool to forecast future financial price movements based on history. Like weather forecast, it uses wide variety of charts that show price over time.   They also introduced me to Chris Kacher (pronounced cocker)- the greatest technician so far.

technical analysis1

They say, charts have 3 types, the candle stick, Bar, and Line (Candle stick as the best).

type of charts

By using Charts, one must determine the Resistance and Support level.  Resistance level is the price range at which there is an increase in the supply of a stock.  The price at that brings on increased Selling.  While Support level is the price at which there is demand for a stock.  The price area that brings an increase in Buying.

types of trends

Using the Charts, there are 3 types of Trends.  One, Uptrend when the price movement of a financial asset when the overall direction is upward.  Downtrend is the price movement of a stock when the overall direction is downward. Many traders seek to avoid downtrends to cut some losses off.  Lastly, Side bars also known as Horizontal trend.  It describes the horizontal price movement that occurs when forces of supply and demand are nearly equal.

support and resistance final

Here are some technical tools we can use.

1.       Moving Average

moving average

2.       MAE (Moving Average Envelopes)

moving average 2

3.       Bollinger Bands

boliinger

4.       RSI (Relative Strength Index)

rsi

5.       Stochastic

stochastic

6.       MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence).  Most trader’s personal choice of chart.

macd

Volume can be a big part of technical analysis too.  This is the amount of shares that trade hands from seller to buyers as a measure of activity.  If a buyer of a stock purchases 100 shares from a seller, then the volume for that period increases by 100 shares based on that transaction.

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As Jim Cramer once said, “Once in a while, the market does something so stupid it takes your breath away”.  They say, in the world of investing, there are no sure bets, there are risks in everything.  Maybe even the premier traders using fundamentals and charts combined can be screwed and be cheated by Mr. Menace at some point in their investing life.

So what do you think Mr. Luck, Do I need those?  Should I stick to fundamentals? Or do I combine you and the above knowledge (which they also are not so perfect afterall)? Or maybe Mr. Menace is always there to stay, we just need to deal with him from time to time. I don’t know, but in the meantime, will you let me borrow some LUCK?  Let me know your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Palengkera

Reference materials courtesy of Carl David Cabrera of www.philstocks.ph

Fundamental Analysis: A view from a Palengkera

Recently, I have attended a seminar about Fundamental Analysis. At first, I wasn’t at all interested but it was free, so I took a chance (I’m a technician and might always be –I only use charts when trading). Not that I don’t have any idea about it, but it was the first time I heard thoughts from the industry experts. My background is on finance, so I thought I know it all. But hey, I was reminded of the basics in life, from the decisions I make every day to choosing the right stocks. As I was listening to the speaker, I can’t help but to associate Fundamentals of how I choose Mr. Right. Sounds lame? Let’s try.

The speaker tried his best to explain what Fundamental Analysis is. After all the brouhaha and occasional excerpts from Warren Buffet, it was explained “it all boils down to intrinsic value of a company” and that it uses basic tools such as Price to Earnings (P/E), Earnings Per Share (EPS), as well as macro/micro economic and industry specific factors, yada yada. Then  the disclaimer: It promises nothing but a GUIDE. My thoughts, “It makes sense”.

Why Use Fundamental Analysis?

This lesson got me thinking. It seems to me that there are certain fundamentals not only in the Stock market but also in choosing Mr. Right/boyfriend, that we should have under control before we make decisions. I was eying for the speaker as an example, he looked good (fair complexion and expressive eyes) and conventional wisdom often tells us that appearance is the sole parameter of our choices without considering their intrinsic value. Isn’t it always better to look at HIM on a macro level? Question is, “ How do I know if he is the right one for me”. If that’s the case, then I should find time to research other factors. For one, I have to consider his moral beliefs by the way he speaks and interacts with other people (in this case, the listeners).  His career (can be used to interpret his Financial Statements) can say so much. I also need to know about his family, Am I compatible with my soon to be in-laws?  I would have to study his friends, “will they lead him to the right directions?”.  And among other things like his Facebook and Twitter account which will give me an idea about his values. But again, a disclaimer, this will not precisely predict my happy ending relationship. As to my analysis with the speaker, he fared well.

fundamental analysis1Fundamental Analysis (The Speaker): Wedding ring-None (single); Long Sleeve shirt matched with blue jeans- with ragged fashion sense (far from gayish); Constant fiddling of nose while discussing means he is thinking/ smart person (or at times yucky); Taglish medium- came from a premier school (can be DLSU, UST, Ateneo or San Beda) which means he can be bankable (or maybe he can’t speak good English); Expensive watch- which means he can and might be bankable; Smile: amiable; Some Cheesy jokes- he can make me laugh;  Broker: a potential insider tip (hehe). Recommendation: Buy

In the world of Stock market, Fundamental Analysis is all about getting to know the company, the health of the business and its potentials. It includes reading financial reports (B/S and P&L), leverages, competitors and market environment.

What to look for?

  1. Before we invest in a company, we need to know if the company is making profits. A simplified view of the earnings is Earnings Per Share (EPS). It denotes the amount of earnings for each outstanding share. EPS= Earnings/Outstanding Shares.
  2. Price-to-Earnings (P/E). This is the current price divided by its earnings per share (EPS). Most says, this is the easiest way to get a quick look of a stock’s value. If P/E is high, the price therefore seems to be expensive since it indicates that the stock is priced relatively high to its earnings. But this needs to be compared to the industry where the company belongs to.
  3. Price-to-Book (P/B). A price-to-book (P/B) ratio is used to compare a stock’s market value to its book value. It can be calculated as the current share price divided to the book value per share, according to previous financial statement. This ratio gives certain idea of whether you are paying too high price for the stock as it denotes what would be the residual value if the company went bankrupt today. This is more accurate to use in the Banking/Financial Industry.
  4. Other Macro and Micro factors surrounding the industry and company.

From a Fundamentalist perspective (which I am not a fan aside from using it to choose Mr. Right), when determining whether a company’s stock is a great investment, Fundamental Analysis is a great means to reach a conclusion. Not perfect, but a good guide. It will always be up to us.

When it comes to choosing Mr .Right, the one who can be sure if you are choosing is you. We all come up with the idea of the right man and how we want our lives in the future, so we can use the fundamentals as a guide.

This is not in any way an advertisement to a broker, but if you are interested to learn about stock investing for free, you may contact:

Philstocks/ Accord Capital Equities Corp.

G/F Unit EC-05B East Tower
Philippine Stock Exchange Center
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center

Phone: +63 (2) 588 1900

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Watch out for my Technical Analysis post 🙂