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…

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.

Emotion in the Marketplace – Enemy or Ally?

Either or…

… choice is yours baby.

I’m not going to pretend we don’t have emotions.

We do.

We need to make these work for us.

Everyone feels exhilaration upon winning.

We’re down after a loss. 

Before you enter the marketplace again, dump all this somewhere …

… which, btw, is the most difficult thing in the world.

Didn’t anyone tell you that? What about your professor in financial college? Oh, I forgot, he or she never had his or her own money on the line, so he or she didn’t know this one. 

Arghhhhhhhhhhh@#$%^!

Don’t learn anything about finance from anyone who doesn’t have his or her own money on the line, and that too regularly on the line (((financial theory is worth mud unless it is realistic, applicable, and ultimately…profitable). 

So, what is this “line”? [More about “The Line” here – https://magicalbull.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/the-line/ ].

The line is an invisible connection between the vicissitudes of the marketplace and our emotional centres in the brain. 

The line gets activated once one is in a trade, or once one has initiated an investment. 

Once the line has been activated, we need to deal with its effects upon our systems. For optimal efficiency, we need to nullify the effects of the line on our systems. After that, we enter the marketplace again. 

So, acknowledge whatever emotion you are experiencing. Then deal with it. 

Dump the emotion of a loss in a safe place, to be nullified by a big future win. 

Dump the emotion of a big win in another safe place, lest it causes you to exit improperly and prematurely. 

How does one nullify this particular emotion? 

You see, your next activity in the marketplace can make you blow up, if there is any remnant hubris from a previous big win. 

You close your eyes, tell yourself that under no circumstances are you going to suffer the humiliation of blowing up, you centre, focus, you identify the next trade, and then you just take the next trade, as if nothing has happened. 

You have to work yourself around your own emotions. In the marketplace, emotions are your allies only if and when they are properly dealt with before the next market activity. 

Otherwise, they become your enemy. 

Loss can lead to depression and ultimate exit from the marketplace. One needs to understand and accept the concept of taking small losses. Why small? Why not small? You can define your loss. You can cut it when it’s small. Once one has understood and accepted the idea of taking small losses, these won’t bother you any more. That’s how you set yourself up to win big. Big wins, unless dealt with properly, lead to hubris, which can cause one to blow up permanently. We work ourselves around the negative potential of big wins through visualisation. 

Once you’ve sorted out the emotional angle…well, just take the next trade. Don’t wait. Just take it. 

Why work for less than 1:1?

It’s a funny world.

In this funny world, many people work for less than 1:1.

Many of these people don’t have a choice. Their circumstances are such.

Some do, and they still choose losing odds.

What are we talking about?

The reward : risk ratio.

In the marketplace, our risk needs to be defined by default.

If we’re not thinking about defining our risk pinpointedly before entering the marketplace, let’s just pack our bags and study music instead, or biochemistry, if you please, with no disrespect to either music or biochemistry.

Define your risk! Set a stop!

Nobody plays to lose, right?

Once the risk is understood, one starts looking at reward.

Reward potential must be at least equal to or greater than the defined risk. This statement, coupled with a large sample size and more than 50 trades moving your way out of every 100 is already a winning combination.

Anyone can pick 50:50. All you need is a coin-flip.

60:40 is definitely achievable with research.

You don’t need more to win big.

Now make the 1:1 work for you. In 40 out of  100 trades, you’re stopped out at – 1 (minus being for trade going against you, and 1 being your defined unit of risk). I know it’s difficult to do, but take the next trade with a smile. When a trade starts to run, don’t cut your profit at the  +1 level. Let your profit run.

At +1, lift your stop to 0. At +2 lift your stop to +1. So on, so forth.

Don’t exit manually.

Let the market throw you and your profit out.

That’s called a proper exit.

I had promised that I would be speaking about proper exits.

Well, there you have it.

Cheers!

Approaching a Contrarian Buy as a Pivot Point Trade

Approaching a Contrarian Buy as a Pivot Point Trade


Long live Jesse Livermore!

In his colourful life, Jesse pioneered the science of pivot points. He went bust many times while trying to understand pivot points, but ever since the fundamentals have been delineated by him, pivot points have stood the test of time.

After falling to a pivot point, where there is heavy volume, a stock then doesn’t look back for a while. Entry into a stock is considered ideal at or around a pivot point. Due to the surge-potential at pivot points, one’s trade gets into the money very fast here.

I don’t think pivot points can be predicted off-hand. Potential pivot points make themselves visible at newer lows. Their trademark is the accompanying very high volume.

So, what does one do here?

One punches in a trigger-buy above the pivot-bar or pivot-candle.

If the point pans out as a pivot, and the characteristic surge follows, one’s entry is triggered as the price pierces the pivot-bar high. Good entry.

Now manage the trade, and exit properly.

How does one exit properly?

I’ve spoken about this many times, and will do so again, not today, but very soon.

Cheers!

… … please don’t … … reinvent the wheel … …

… it’s just a request.

You’ll be doing the world a favour.

You’ll utilize your time to do something new, something unique.

You’ll be doing yourself a favour too, therefore.

Stand on the shoulders of giants who’ve come before you. It’s absolutely ok.

Many giants have come and gone, intellectual ones, spiritual ones, geniuses, you name it. They’ve come, fulfilled their purpose, created something new, helped mankind further, and gone.

It’s your turn.

You have a choice.

You can either choose to do the same old same old, perhaps with a twist, maybe a little better, and can perhaps make an extra buck in the bargain.

Or, if you can afford the struggle, mentally, emotionally, physically and financially, well, then, you can choose to drive the wheels invented by former giants to a new destination.

Please choose the latter path if you can.

Please end your journey as a giant.

Why do I insist?

We are at a crossroads. It’s a make or break situation for Earth. New and innovative contributions will see us through and onto a safer trajectory. Our current trajectory is not looking great, to put it mildly.

If it’s possible for you, please end your journey as a giant.

Are You a Juggler?

No?

Why not?

You don’t need juggling balls to juggle.

Life in a country like India is enough.

India teaches you to juggle your way through.

You keep improvising… till something fits.

In the marketplace, a fit is big news. One struggles towards a system that fits.

Once there is a fit, you follow the system, till it continues to fit.

As the fit experiences turbulence, you struggle, tweak and juggle towards a renewed fit.

What does a fit mean?

Success.

Balance.

Harmony.

Health.

Happiness.

Peace.

What more could one want?

At times, a system collapses.

Accept the collapse.

Work out a new system.

Fine-tune it into fitting.

You’re a juggler, remember?

Am I Taking Bitcoin Seriously?

Yeah.

Bitcoin is a serious new kid on the block.

Am I getting into it? That’s the more important question, isn’t it?

Well, not yet.

First up, I know very little about it. I’m not going to get into something because of the smoke. Gone are the days.

So, I’m educating myself.

The Web tells me that Bitcoin is not alone. Numerous Crypto-currencies have emerged. Confusing.

Many of these have their main servers or their secondary addresses located in ex-Soviet / ex-iron-curtain nations. Intimidating. I’m afraid.

Then I look at the bid-ask spread for Bitcoin. There’s typically a 1% difference between buying and selling price. That is huge. In fact, it’s outrageous.

After that I look at the Bitcoin price vs time chart.  I can see the panic in the chart. I don’t like panic. I generally stay away from panic markets. If I’m entering a long-term market, I like entering on a solid base foundation. The panic dust hasn’t settled yet. Technical bases build after panic settles, and only if the underlying has long-term mettle. They’re visible on the chart as horizontal stretches. Not happening as yet on the Bitcoin price vs time chart. Means I’m not entering yet.

Then there’s this mining stuff. Like, virtual mining. I don’t understand it. Yet. Looks silly, off-hand. Could this be connected to currency-backing? Or, is this just a hype-creating gimmick that doesn’t make economic sense? I’m not sure, I tell myself.

Last point I’m making against current Bitcoin entry – theft and loss. If I store Bitcoin on my computer, it becomes a potential target. I don’t wish to have the 5 million odd extremely sharp ex-Soviet ex-chess wizard brains targeting my computer. Period.

So, where do we stand?

Meaning, why am I taking Bitcoin seriously?

The USD has nothing backing it. The US seems to be following a fiscal policy with high risk of implosion due to escalating debt. They’ve got no reserves left. Savings are nil. The USD will probably maintain its hierarchy till the world has another alternative.

A few years ago, I thought that Gold could be this alternative. Today, I think Bitcoin is a more serious contender.

First, I need to convince myself that Bitcoin is backed. Meanwhile, the noise will even out, and only the most solid crypto-currencies shall live on. I’d like Bitcoin to still be at the top of all crypto-charts once the noise settles. By then, there’ll be someone reliable in my own country offering Bitcoin investment and trading, someone I know, like an HDFC Bank, or a Kotak Securities. Volumes will escalate. Slippage will be down to a bearable 0.1% or less. Bitcoin’s chart will show a base foundation. I’ll have understood the virtual mining stuff, and hopefully it’ll be connected to currency-backing. Banks will store Bitcoin as an e-holding, which will reflect in one’s Netbanking.

That’s when I’ll enter Bitcoin.