Robbie Burns
Robbie Burns's columns :
14/10/2005The Naked Trader Book
30/09/2005Market Downturn?
11/09/2005Soaring Portfolio Strong Markets
30/08/2005Get Rich Quick Greed
10/08/2005All about IPOs
27/07/2005What's the best way to go Short?
13/07/2005Trend Timing - Let the Trend be your Friend
08/07/2005Terrorism and the Stock Markets
28/06/2005London Stock Exchange SETS mm
13/06/2005Holiday from the Markets >>
23/05/2005Penny Shares
09/05/2005A Cautionary Tale about Stock Gossip
25/04/2005Making Money from the Markets
11/04/2005Buy Winning Companies not Losing Ones
29/03/2005ISA Shares
13/03/2005Trading Patience
28/02/2005The Bear Necessities
16/02/2005Stock Market Psychology Seminars
01/02/2005Share Imagination
19/01/20057 Deadly Stock Sins

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Robbie Burns – The Naked Trader

Robbie has been trading full-time since 2001. His book "The Naked Trader" (which also has useful information on how to use advfn) has become one of the biggest-selling finance books, reaching the top 150 books on Amazon - order it here. Trades made for Robbie's website have amassed profits of more than £300,000. You can read about his buys and sells daily at

Holiday from the Markets


What do you do when you're about to go on holiday but have a lot of share positions open?

That's a tricky one and a question I've been mulling over all week, as I'm just about to leave for a week's holiday in Ibiza. There are, of course, various options. I could:

  • Close down everything, take profits, walk away and have a good holiday.
  • Close the positions I'm most nervous about and leave the rest to run.
  • Leave everything open and nip to the internet cafe once or twice a day to monitor and trade out if need be.
  • Take part profits in a number of positions.
  • Leave everything open, don't look at the market at all during the holiday and hope for the best.

I thought I'd ask some of the excellent traders on my discussion forum on the ADVFN PBB Board on what they would do. There was a good mix of advice.

The Blackmamba said:

"I always close all my positions before going away, peps and all, but I am a shorter term trader than you. One idea is to set mobile alerts using the ADVFN alerts service. Work out your stops before you go, set the alerts, then close if they get hit."

Meanwhile SamGG contributed this:

"For anything that's in profit, take at least part-profits on anything that looks dicey - anything looking seriously dicey, take profits on the lot. Ditto for anything that's in loss and set stop losses on the rest. And have a great holiday!"

MT GLASS had this to say:

"Depends how uncomfortable you feel Robbie. No point spoiling your holiday if being away from the screen really is going to make you nervous when there is such a big sum in play.

Long ago, I was asked the same question by a friend and did a calculation of what it would cost to sell everything, and buy back after - allowing for costs (broker fees, stamp duty, spread) and checking for CGT and divi losses. It worked out at just under 4 percent of the overall portfolio value (broker fees were dearer then).

She decided to do just that: regarding the 4 percent cost as a sort of insurance premium to guarantee against any bigger loses than that while away. Avoiding the risk of a crash is far more important than missing out on any gain that may occur. The 4 percent sacrifice compared very favourably with the gains she had already accrued. And even without a crash, the markets could slip more than 4 percent anyway in the time she was away."

Meanwhile, PAULISMYNAME wrote this:

"Make a distinction between what stocks you regard as a trade and what you regard as an investment. Close all trades without exception. Set stop loses on profitable investments. Close doubtful investments, as there is always another day. Consider buying a put option "out of the money" (total risk to equal option cost) on the FT100/Dow etc, dated expiry December for portfolio insurance, and be prepared to write off the cost of the option as insurance (in the same way we insure our houses for fire etc)."

There were many other excellent comments, all of which I've considered.

So, what have I decided? Well, actually, given the huge costs of buying back I've decided to take my chance as I feel I have a very strong portfolio. And I don't think the odd visit to the internet cafe in Ibiza to check my positions on ADVFN from time to time will spoil my holiday. At least I can take action if I really need to.

Is this the right strategy? I'll let you all know when I'm back and whether I ended up trading out of any positions while abroad. Anyway, I hope I've given some food for thought for those of you with share positions who are about to go on holiday!

Meanwhile, my portfolio has been shooting up: recent value company buys have proven to be very profitable! These include VP Group, Broadcastle, Brammer, and Costain - a bunch of solid companies that I believe will make me wealthy over the next year!

Anyway, must catch the plane now and say, "Hola!" to Ibiza!

You can read Robbie’s daily market comments together with his latest buys and sells at his website

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