The Good, the Bad, the Fugly

This post is all about my 5 best and 5 worst trades, as well as a couple missed opportunities and a couple that I was lucky to get out when I did and some of the lessons learned on the way. Hopefully this will help a few people avoid a few investing mistakes.

The Good

I’ll start with the best five. All of these will be listed Highest dollar profit to lowest so the percentage gains will not be in order. A decent portion of these stocks I also did some swing trading with so the profit percentages have dropped somewhat due to the large overall volume of dollars moved.

  1. Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED. TSX) 18.18% profit. I originally bought this stock at $16.30 during the weed bubble eventually selling it for the last time for $46.95. I bought and sold this stock 6 times on the way to $46.95 which is the cause for the low profit percentage. I actually got in on the weed bubble pretty late compared to most of the traders I know and also got out of it earlier than most. You don’t need to get in super early on during a sector bubble thinking it might be the next big thing. You definitely have time to wait until you know for sure. Always try and buy one of the companies you feel is the strongest in the sector and try to make sure you get out early before the bubble pops even if you miss out on some of the potential profits. Even though I was in and out of this stock relatively early I still made 4 times as much on this trade as my next most profitable trade. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I’m not sure lol. (Canopy topped out at $76 but is now only worth $27.)
  2. SS&C Tech Holdings (SSNC. NASDAQ) 7.66% Profit. I originally bought SSNC at $56.40 and eventually sold it for $63.83. I bought and sold this stock twice before selling at $63.83. I also currently own this stock in my TFSA and RRSP. This stock accounts for almost 60% of my entire portfolio mainly because I used my profits from Canopy Growth Corp to buy it originally and have since expanded on my position. I intend to hold them long term at this point.
  3. Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (KL. TSX) 5.65% profit. I originally bought this stock at $18.47 eventually selling at $50.05. I bought and sold this stock 6 times before selling at $50.05. This is one stock I was I had just held from the start and never sold as they have basically done nothing but grow since I started watching them. Their growth seems to be slowing a bit now but I have opened a small position on them in my TFSA and will probably expand it in the future whenever the share price dips.
  4. Blackbird Energy (BBI. TSXV) 30.56% Profit. I originally bought this stock at $0.15 eventually selling for $0.18. Before I sold this stock I received shares as a non cash dividend which I ended up selling for $0.07 which is where most of my profits on this stock came from. This was mostly luck on my part because I did not know I would get shares as a dividend, though if I had held this stock until it went to $0.39 I would have made way more money on it. It was at $0.235 last time I looked.
  5. Bucaneer Gold (BGG. TSXV) 40.39% Profit. I originally bought this stock for $0.07 and eventually sold for $0.10. This was just patience and luck as the stock is only worth $0.025 currently. (Penny stocks are fairly risky and should be well researched if you are even going to consider buying one. The odds of the stock being valued incorrectly compared to the stock price is a lot higher since they get way less coverage, but that can go both ways.)

The Bad

These next stocks are the worst 5 where a lot of lessons were learned and a decent amount of money lost.

  1. Eight Solutions (ES. TSXV) 25.57% Loss. I originally bought this stock for $0.35 and eventually sold for $0.09. I was dumb enough to average down on this stock along the way instead of getting out of a bad investment. (Not the last time I would have to learn this lesson either.
  2. Baroyeca Gold & Silver (BGS. TSXV) 38.38% Loss. I originally bought this stock for $0.02 eventually selling for $0.01. I should have done more research on this stock before buying it. I also should have had some patience since I could have doubled my money holding it until today instead of losing money on it.
  3. TAG Oil (TAO. TSE) 36.15% Loss. I originally bought this stock for $0.65 and eventually sold for $0.42. I probably held this stock longer than I should have but still came out half decent seeing as how it is only worth $0.115 currently.
  4. Minco Gold (MMM. TSXV) 33.76% Loss. I originally bought this stock for $0.26 and eventually sold for $0.17. I held it longer than I should have but came out better than if I had held until now as it is only worth $0.09.
  5. Cipher Pharmecueticals (CPH. TSE) 35.79% Loss. I originally bought this stock for $6.96 eventually selling for $3.99. I also made the mistake of averaging down on this stock instead of just getting out of a bad investment.

Most of the losing positions I have taken have been on penny stocks with very little or very poor research done beforehand. This is a very poor way to trade (obviously) in my experience. The only person I know who consistently makes money trading penny stocks does months of research beforehand and actually goes out to meet the owners of the company before investing. He does buy penny stocks for a living though, not just a hobby or to save for retirement. Always do your due diligence and research any stock you are going to buy before you do it, and always make sure you are getting out of poor positions fairly early to minimize losses unless you plan to hold very long term on a stock.

The Fugly

The last part I have for this article is a couple of big winners that I missed out on due to selling early and not being patient. These are the worst in my opinion. Taking a loss is nowhere near as bad as missing out on big gains in my opinion.

  1. Avivagen (VIV. TSXV) 13.22% Profit. I bought this stock for $0.05 originally and sold for a small profit. This stock has gotten as high as $0.99 since then which is almost a 2000% return on investment. Even if I didn’t sell at the high I could have come out of this trade with a much larger bank account. If you are buying a stock and are sure it’s a good company let your winners run for a while.
  2. Daqo New Energy (DQ. NYSE) 3.45% Profit. I bought this stock at $22.87 and sold for a tiny profit from impatience. It is currently worth $50.29 and has traded as high as $81.46. This is one I wish I had researched more and held since I could have almost quadrupled my money on it. Always do your research and be patient. Sometimes you have to wait a few years for a stock to really run.

Luckily my learning curve has still left me with more gains than losses in my account but I would have a lot more in the bank if I had learned some of these lessons through someone else rather than the hard way. Hopefully this article will help a few people avoid some of the mistakes that I have made.

Published by Colby McTavish

I am a second year Heavy Equipment Technician. I also have a diploma in business management from MacEwan university. I have 2 children. In my spare time I race stock cars, play ball hockey, trade stocks and work on vehicles when I am not hanging out with my kids and my other half (who promptly notified me she was unimpressed to not be in the original version)

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