Steve Sjuggerud: This was the worst mistake of my career… and it’s happening again right now
From Dr. Steve Sjuggerud in DailyWealth:
My friend, I fully admit it… I make mistakes investing, just like everyone else.
People get the impression that because I’m a well-known investment writer I somehow don’t make mistakes in the markets. That’s crazy!
Everyone makes investment mistakes… The more important factor is how you handle them. You must do two things:
1. Learn from your mistakes (so you don’t make them again).
2. Limit the pain (the losses) from your mistakes as soon as you recognize the mistake.
Sounds easy… But it’s harder than it sounds.
Today, I’ll share with you my biggest mistake, and what I learned from it.
It’s important today because what happened then is happening again today. I want you to learn from my mistake, so you won’t make it too.
Here’s the story…
On June 17, 2004, Vladimir Putin said “[We] aren’t interested in seeing Yukos go bankrupt,”
My big mistake was I believed him! I recommended the stock! I wrote:
“Until Putin claimed he didn’t want to push Yukos into bankruptcy, the oil giant was either a zero or a home run. Now the prospect of a zero has been taken away.”
Yukos, if you don’t know, was the Russian oil company that – at the time I wrote the story – had more oil than Exxon or BP. But it was dirt – I mean DIRT – cheap… trading like it was going out of business.
Our upside potential was easily hundreds of percent. And our downside risk had been taken away. I said “we know what we need to know… Putin won’t send the company into bankruptcy.”
What a fool I was! I took a politician at his word. That was the crux of my investment thesis.
Putin forced Yukos to go bankrupt not long after. The assets owned by Yukos were sold for next-to-nothing to oil companies controlled by the Russian government.
The only silver lining here is that I used a trailing stop when I entered the trade – a 50% trailing stop! I don’t remember exactly what we ended up losing on the trade – but I’m sure it was darn close to 50%!
It was the worst trade of my career, in my opinion. I say this because this trade really sticks with me as the one where I failed my readers the most. (This isn’t the biggest loser of my career… I recommended a basket of three tiny gold stocks once. I said buy all three. One of the three crashed more than Yukos, but the other two went up by triple-digits. One went up 995%. I don’t feel I failed my readers on that one.)
This week, Vladimir Putin said “I have no intention of invading other regions of Ukraine.”
The casual observer might think, “That’s nice of him – he’s done with his invading for now.”
But what do you think?
Isn’t Putin’s statement similar to what he said about Yukos in 2004?
The most-likely goal back in 2004 for Putin was to get the international community off his back. I’m guessing he has the same goal today.
The general lesson today is simple.
1. Never base your investment on a promise from a politician!
2. Use those trailing stops! They can and will save you!
Will Putin invade “other regions of Ukraine”? I don’t know… But I do know enough – after getting stung badly – to not take him at his word.
Trust me on this one…
Please, be extremely careful if you’re going to use a promise from a politician as the crux of your investment thesis. And learn from your investment mistakes! This one was from 10 years ago… And it still stings today…
Crux note: To help ensure our readers never make the same mistake, Steve has put together an incredible offer…
For a limited time, you can try the world’s most powerful and easy-to-use system for tracking your trailing stops – the same one Steve uses himself – completely risk-free… AND get access to Steve’s subscriber-only investment research absolutely FREE. Click here for all the details.
More from Steve Sjuggerud: