When a Model collapses…

… that’s when you shouldn’t collapse.

A model is something temporary. You use it. Successfully. For a while.

Then it starts to play up. You tweak it into yielding successful results.

You keep doing this, till the model is representable. Ultimately, it collapses.

You don’t grieve or look back. Construct a new model.

Tweak it into success.

Move on.

Construction of a market model requires you to use common-sense and your observatory powers.

How do you mould a market into your daily usage without tipping any other balance in your life?

Right, we are only going to be discussing holistic models. Such models should not make you a worse human being. Otherwise, find a better model.

You’ll also need to create some vacuum in your system to attract the required energies for the construction of a new model from scratch.

Use your imagination. Move stuff around. Donate. Write. Help. Be kind. Do good. Pro bono. Create a vacuum in your system.

Soon, your vacuum will attract what you deserve and require. A missing link might flash as a brain-wave. An obstacle might get removed. A vital family member might become kinder. Nature’ll give it back to you.

Before you know it, you’ll be working with your new model…

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Remember The Frog Who Lived in a Well?

Paramhans Yogananda once spoke of a frog who lived in a well. 

You see, this frog was visited by his cousin from the ocean, who invited him back to the ocean. Till that point in time, the well-froggy thought his well-world was the ultimate. When the well-froggy entered the ocean, his head exploded. 

Today, I feel like the well-froggy. 

Yeah, I’ve become serious about forex. I’m going to specialize in it. 

I’m already specialised in Indian equities, and am going to seal it off with this second area of specialization.

That’s after a controlled head-explosion, of course. 

Coming from the world of equity, forex feels like a borderless and unlimited party. It also feels very, very special.

Everything’s so enormous. So streamlined. So quality. 24×5. Volume. Paperless. Non-slippage. Pinnacle of technicals and fundamentals. Unparalleled and breaking newsfeed, if you want it … … …

I’m feeling blessed. This line is for me. I can feel it’s challenge. I think I’m cut out for it. I think I’m going to love it.

It’s taken ten years in finance to find this calling. 

I’ve tried everything that finance has to offer. Equity, bonds, derivatives, bullion / metals, commodities, currencies versus the INR, ULIPs, Arbitrage, mutual funds, real-estate, debt, private equity …….., you name it. 

Only pure equity has given me that kick till now. Of course I’m not going to throw it away. I’ll be in pure equity for life. 

And now, yeah, it’s forex on the world stage. 

And look how nature is responding.

It’s already directed me to a mentor. A lot of my thinking is changing. Till today, I’ve done good with just my common-sense in the world of finance. I suppose forex is a bit trickier than that, and that one needs a good mentor in the beginning. 

Wow! A world-class mentor in forex, when one is starting out with the nitty-gritty! That’s a big one!

I’m going to give it back. This blog’s a give-back too. I’m not going to be stopping any word-flow, I can promise you that. 

Cheers!

🙂

 

Playing the Stock or Playing a Scenario?

Many roads lead to Rome.

Everyone’s approach to the markets is different.

Today I speak about two approaches.

One can choose to play the stock. 

Here, one decides to follow the same stocks everyday. One decides to learn their nuances. The number of stocks that one follows is manageable. As a thumb-rule, one should be able to count them on one’s fingers. No more. One should be able to recall the stocks one follows in a jiff, with no sweat at all. 

The chart of a stock begins to make sense. Trading plays emerge. One needs to then follow the progress of the same stocks everyday, and take trades as and when entry setups make themselves available. This methodology requires following the action everyday, live, during market hours.

What if we don’t want to be glued to our screens everyday?

Can we still get one action?

Yes. 

How?

Simple.

We then don’t follow any stock in particular.

We define a scenario which contains all that we want to see in the chart of a stock at that point of time, when we decide to follow the markets and perhaps take a trade. 

We then convert this scenario into an algorithm.

Again, don’t let the word algorithm scare you.

You don’t need to know how to programme. Your market software should allow you to put your algorithm together by combining chunks of simpler algorithms which define singular pieces of your scenario. These simpler algorithms are visible in your market software. You then need to copy, paste and combine your copy-pastes together with mathematical symbols. This is a vital statement. This is technology-power at its peak. This practically puts a very powerful weapon in your hands. 

From this point onwards, trade identification is a piece of cake. Your let your algorithm run through the gamut of stocks quoted on the markets. Your software does this for you in under a few minutes. Your algorithm picks those stocks that are currently exhibiting your scenario, and opens their charts for you. You need to define your algorithm in such a way, that not more than 50 charts open up. You then sift through the 50 in about 5 minutes. Just pure eyeballing. You narrow the 50 down to 5, which are showing good entry setups. You pick the stock with the best setup. Then you feed in a trigger entry order in your trading account. The whole exercise take less than 15 minutes.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Thunder, Lightning and the Road Ahead

Why do you look here and there?

If there’s a road ahead of you which you have defined, why don’t you just go ahead and tread it?

Is it mandatory to get distracted by things that don’t concern the path?

In the marketplace, it’s all about mind-set.

Free your mind.

Unburden it.

Dump all useless stuff into the bin. 

Secure your family’s basic bread and butter.

Identify a portion of your surplus cum non-invested cash as your NGHM (nobody’s-getting-hurt-money).

Enter the marketplace with your NGHM.

You are armed with your system.

You know how to identify your trades. 

You further know how to enter, manage and exit your trades.

These are the basics.

From here on it a mind-game.

Not partially. 

Fully.

It’s fully a mind-game from this point on. 

Mentally resilient? Are you? Well, you’re going to create thunder with your system then. 

Don’t get distracted by the lightning on the path.

Tread the path with complete confidence, drawing upon your full mental resilience. 

The road ahead is painted with glory.

How to Swallow Small Losses…

… as if nothing has happened … is one of my biggest trading goals.

You see, our society teaches us not to lose. 

It doesn’t teach us that we can lose a bit 5 times, and after that we can win big, recovering all our losses and making money overall.

No. 

It teaches us to try and win all the time. 

That’s the exact reason 90%+ of all society members actually lose in the markets. They’ve not learnt how to lose small, move on, and take the next trade.

Mrs. Market won’t budge an inch for you. You’ll have to make the adjustment. 

So how does one take a loss in one’s stride?

Only one type of loss is immediately digestible – a small one. Therefore, define your risk in the market. Cut and scoot when required. Don’t get married to your trade.

Then, once the small loss has happened, and has been taken, it will nag you. 

It’ll be there, trying to bite your brain in the background. 

Focus on your next trade. 

Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – Next Trade Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – Next Trade Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – … … [what’s the difference between implementation and entry? Well, you could be implementing the trade through a trigger, which is not equivalent to entry yet].

Don’t let the nagging bother you by keeping yourself busy with Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – Next Trade Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – Next Trade Identification – Implementation – Entry – Management – Exit – … … 

Ultimately the nagging will die out, as your mind starts to revolve around your current trades. 

If you give in to the nagging, it will grow, and will slow you down. You might snap at a family member. You might go into depression. You might freeze. DON’T. Don’t give in to the nagging. Don’t let it grow. Don’t let it slow you down. Maintain your family equilibrium at all costs. Move on. 

The nagging is worst if there’s been a close below your stop, and the market is to open the next day, or after the weekend. You have to deal with this one. If you’re not able to deal with this particular situation, you’ll either need to expose your mental stop prematurely and feed it in intraday (before there’s been a close under it), or you’ll need to follow the progress of your trade from half an hour before next market open onwards.

Yes, this last one’s tough, and you need to absolutely work your way around it. 

You can do it with a bit of practise. 

🙂

The Meaning of Comfort

Your money is as comfortable as you are.

Why not make it comfortable?

Right, for that you’ll need to be comfortable.

How does one go about doing that?

There are many meanings of comfort. 

You need to choose the right one for yourself.

Mission recap – this is the marketplace, and you need to feel comfortable in the marketplace. 

Firstly, secure your bread and butter. Decouple it from the markets. No matter what happens in the markets, your bread and butter should not stop. In fact, it should not even be threatened. You got it. Enter the markets on a secondary mission. Enter it to have fun first, and success will follow. 

Secondly, where does Jack want to play? The arena is so vast. Does Jill want to do many things, or does she want to master one, or perhaps two segments. What gives you pleasure? What gives you a kick? What challenges you? Find out for yourself. Try out everything if you want. Try things out many times. Ultimately you’ll know where your calling is. Your future field of expertise will speak to you. Do what you enjoy doing in the marketplace. Whatever you do should come naturally to you. Nothing should be forced, or a burden. That’s when you’ll excel.

Before this, you’ve lost small. That’s tuition fees. The best place to study finance is in the marketplace. Embrace your tuition fees. Keep it low. Make a mistake – repeat it if you please, as long as levels are small. Don’t ever repeat any mistake as levels start to get big. Levels start to get big as basic salary pay-checks start rising with age. Mistakes then mean larger losses. 

You are not tense because of your market activity. It won’t snatch your child’s education away. It won’t take food off your family’s table. You are comfortable. That’s when you play the markets best. 

Slowly, your actions will start adding to your income. 

That’s the sweet-spot. That’s where you want to be. At this spot, your comfort-level, along with your confidence, will keep going higher. 

Soon, big wins will come. All because you’ve understood the meaning of comfort.

Go for it. 

 

Dynamics of a Long-Long System

What if your system doesn’t allow you to second-guess yourself?

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful situation?

And you’d be right there, in the middle of it all.

What would such a system look like?

Right, it would only go one way.

Long-long. “A-la-la-la-la-long”, to quote Inner Circle!

Why aren’t we talking about a short-short system?

Theoretically, we could. Theoretically, everything is possible.

Well, a short-short system would have no limits on your potential loss, if the trade went against you. That’s the fundametal problem I have against a short-short system, without even having gone into the whole leverage discussion.

You could bring the stop argument.

Fine.

Just take a deep breath.

Think clearly.

Take a look at the average price-speeds of both directions, long and short.

The average price-speed in the short direction is far higher. Price-jumps are greater. The probability of your stop getting high-jumped over is much higher in the short direction. Frankly, that doesn’t work for me.

Also, which market allows you to set an overnight stop, barring the international forex market?. None that I know of, at least in India. No stops overnight means potential exposure to a large drawdown upon next market-opening, and here I’d like to be in a long-situation, because loss is capped.

Therefore, when we’re discussing a system that doesn’t allow us to second-guess ourselves, I will only discuss a long-long system.

What does long-long mean?

Yeah, we’re talking about a system, where you’re looking for long trades all the time. You don’t look for trades to go short in-between. There’s no shorting in the equation whatsoever. The moment you start thinking about shorting, you start second-guessing your long-approach.

What does that mean for someone applying such a system?

It means that the whole world might be crumbling apart, and one is still looking for long-trades. Yes, one could take some hits here. One just needs to make sure, that one’s consecutive drawdown doesn’t exceed a bearable level. Also, as losses might pile up, one position-sizes one’s way through. The concept ot position-sizing has been pioneered and elucidated by Dr. Van K. Tharp @ www.iitm.com.

It also means that when your underlyings start to run, you’ll be piling up winning trade upon winning trade.

The thing is, nobody knows when what is going to run. If you’ve taken all second-guessing out of your equation, you’re aligning yourself with the correct direction once things start to run. Going the other way now would mean further losses.

Then, it further means that if you lock in a big winner in a running market, your paper profits can now be used to harness even greater profits in the same trade. Such big winners provide a big boost to your trading corpus, and, in my opinion, are the difference between winning and losing in the markets. One needs to keep oneself aligned correctly when such opportunities come along. A long-long system will keep you aligned, no matter what.

You could argue about dry spells.

In any dry spell, or when markets are tanking, there are still underlyings that are going up. You just have to identify them. Today, such identification is not difficult at all.

For such identification, you need market software, a data feed, and an algorithm which defines what you are looking for. Your software then scans the entire breadth of the market you’re in to try and find what you’re looking for, and opens corresponding charts for you for underlyings that are still going up, or where there is buying interest, buying pressure, unusual increment in volume or what have you.

Don’t let the word algorithm scare you. You don’t have to learn a new programming language to put an algorithm together. Common-sense is enough. You know what you’re looking for. Let’s say what you’re looking for involves volume and price. You look inside your market software. Then you couple two algorithms together into a new algorithm which defines what you are looking for. You see, a typical market software like Metastock already uses algorithms for volume moving average, price etc., and these are visible to you. Just copy-paste and make a new algorithm that suits your purpose.

Lastly for today, decouple yourself from the market during trading hours, except when you’re feeding in the trade. Analyze your current trades when the market is closed. Intuitively, you will probably feel that your decisions during off-market hours will be better than when you’re coupled to a live market. Find out for yourself. More on this some other day.