Happy Second Birthday, Magic Bull !!

Seasons change. So do people, moods, feelings, relationships and market scenarios.

A stream of words is a very powerful tool to understand and tackle such change.

Birthdays will go by, and, hopefully, words will keep flowing. When something flows naturally, stopping it leads to disease. Trapped words turn septic inside the container holding them.

Well, we covered lots of ground, didn’t we? This year saw us transform from being a money-management blog to becoming a commentary on applied finance. The gloom and doom of Eurozone didn’t beat us down. Helicopter Ben and the Fed were left alone to their idiosyncrasies. The focus turned to gold. Was it just a hedge, and nothing but a hedge? Could it replace the dollar as a universal currency? Recently, its glitter started to actually disturb us, and we spoke about exit strategies. We also became wary of the long party in the debt market, and how it was making us lazy enough to miss the next equity move. Equity, with its human capital behind it, still remained the number one long-term wealth preserver cum generator for us. After all, this asset class fought inflation on auto-pilot, through its human capital.

Concepts were big with us. There was the concept of Sprachgef√ľhl, with which one could learn a new subject based on sheer feeling and instinct. The two central concepts that stood out this year were leverage and compounding. We saw the former’s ugly side. The latter was practically demonstrated using the curious case of Switzerland. There was the Ayurvedic concept of Satmya, which helps a trader get accustomed to loss. And yeah, we meet the line, our electrolytic connection to Mrs. Market. We bet our monsters, checked Ace-high, gauged when to go all-in against Mrs. Market, and when to move on to a higher table. Yeah, for us, poker concepts were sooo valid in the world of trading.

We didn’t like the Goldman attitude, and weren’t afraid to speak out. Nor did we mince any words about the paralytic political scenario in India, and about the things that made us go Uffff! We spoke to India Inc., making them aware, that the first step was theirs. We also recognized and reacted to A-grade tomfoolery in the cases of Air India and Kingfisher Airlines. Elsewhere, we tried to make the 99% see reason. Listening to the wisdom of the lull was fun, and also vital. What would it take for a nation to decouple? For a while, things became as Ponzi as it gets, causing us to build a very strong case against investing a single penny in the government sector, owing to its apathy, corruption and inefficiency. We were quite outspoken this year.

The Atkinsons were an uplifting family that we met. He was the ultimate market player. She was the ultimate home-maker. Her philanthropy stamped his legacy in caps. Our ubiquitous megalomaniac, Mr. Cool, kept sinking lower this year, whereas his broker, Mr. Ever-so-Clever, raked it in . Earlier, Mr. Cool’s friend and alter-ego, Mr. System Addict, had retired on his 7-figure winnings from the market. Talking of brokers, remember Miss Sax, the wheeling-dealing market criminal, who did Mr. Cool in? She’s still in prison for fraud. Our friend the frog that lived in a well taught us about the need for adaptability and perspective, but not before its head exploded upon seeing the magnitude of an ocean.

Our endeavors to understand Mrs. Market’s psychology and Mr. Risk’s point of view were constant and unfailing, during which we didn’t forget our common-sense at home. Also, we were very big on strategy. We learnt to be away from our desk, when Mrs. M was going nowhere. We then learnt to draw at Mrs. M, when she actually decided to go somewhere. Compulsion was taken out of our trading, and we dealt with distraction. Furthermore, we started to look out for game-changers. Scenarios were envisioned, regarding how we would avoid blowing up big, to live another day, for when cash would be king. Descriptions of our personal war in Cyberia outlined the safety standards we needed to meet. Because we believed in ourselves and understood that we were going to enhance our value to the planet, we continued our struggle on the road to greatness, despite any pain.

Yeah, writing was fun. Thanks for reading, and for interacting. Here’s wishing you lots of market success. May your investing and trading efforts be totally enjoyable and very, very lucrative! Looking forward to an exciting year ahead!

Cheers ūüôā

Advertisements

Cool & the Bean-Counters

Cheer up, people, it’s another Mr. Cool story, yayyyy!!

We need to catch up on his life, especially because that’s Mr. Cool there, pulling in to the parking in his spanking new X5!

And oh, that hot, blonde babe seated next to him must be his new girl-friend.

Who are those suited blokes in the back?

Well, they are his bean-counters. You’ve met one before, his broker, Mr. Ever So Clever. The other two are his accountant and his banker, respectively.

Why are they called bean-counters?

Well, they count the beans he spends on them, through them and with them.

Why weren’t they there before?

Because he didn’t have any beans? In fact, he owed beans to his very bean-counters.

So what happened?

You see that hot blonde over there?

Yup, can’t miss her.

Well, she’s not only hot, she’s got brains too.

Really?

Yeah, she’s an analyst with Sax.

Wow! I thought she was his girl-friend.

Ya, that too, but only after he hit the bean-fountain.

So how did he do that?

The story revolves around Miss Sax. She gets around. She is privy to a lot of inside info, but is intelligent enough to not get caught, yet.

How does she get the inside info?

You’ll need to use your imagination. What’s she got that a holder of inside info might want?

I see. And then?

Well, she sells the info to the highest bidder. For the last one month, that’s been our friend Mr. Cool.

How did he manage to assemble funds in the first place? I mean, the last time we saw him, he was in the dumps, out of money, heavily in debt, and contemplating suicide for all we know.

Which is when he was approached by the bean-counters. They had easy access to funds for hours at a stretch without anyone noticing, provided they’d put the funds back before someone would look. They needed an external face to deal with Miss Sax and to place their trades.

Ingenious. This way, they’d never be in trouble if something went wrong.

Correct. The only risk they took was for the first few hours that they embezzled funds. It was very necessary for that principal to be put back in time.

So that must have obviously gone off well, huh?

Yeah, their first trade based on Miss Sax’s inside info clocked two million in an hour. They cashed out, put the principal back into banks, trading accounts and other private accounts where it was embezzled from, and from there onwards, they pulled all their future trades on the back of their profits.

And it’s all been going good, is it?

Well, Miss Sax is dishing out million dollar tips week after week.

What if they get caught?

Hmmm, actually, I’m only worried about Mr. Cool.

Why?

She’ll get out of any jam. She’s too smooth to get caught. Even if she’s implicated, she’s capable enough to get herself off the hook. Then, the bean-counters don’t even have a trail leading to them. All the dealing is in Mr. Cool’s name. The four of them needed a front-runner who will take the hit if their scheme is busted.

And that’s our dear friend Mr. Cool, right?

Yeah, and he’s dumb enough not to realize it.

How does he pay them their share?

In cash. There’s no paper or electronic trail. They spend it in an inconspicuous manner. These are highly intelligent people with crooked minds.

Yeah, the only one flashing red flags is our friend Mr. Cool. The new X5, Armani suits, expensive holidays, plus the grapevine says he’s planning to buy a new penthouse.

Yup, he’s never heard of saving when times are good. Because of these red-flags, he’s eventually going to get caught. The authorities keep scanning for insider-trading, and the very people they scrutinize are the ones making quick and big expenditures, as our candidate is doing.

So are you saying that, very soon, we’ll be seeing Mr. Cool in the dumps again?

There’s a very high chance of that.

With no bean-counters and no Sax around?

Oh, they’ll be long gone, looking for their next front-runner.

Elephant in a China Shop

Mr. Cool just plugged his trading exam.

Big time, and for the umpteenth time.

It all started out like this. He partied late night. Had one too many, of course. Slept till late morning. Woke up with a headache.

Then he made his first mistake of the new day. He decided to trade.

Why was this a mistake, you ask? After all, trading is his profession.

Two mistakes here, I’d say. Firstly, there was no market preparation. Secondly, health was not up to the mark. Deciding to trade after this backdrop – hmmm – bad call.

The next set of mistakes came right after that. Coolers asked his broker Mr. Ever So Clever the wrong question, this being “What’s moving, mate?”

True to his form was Mr. Cool-i-o. Two mistakes here again. Firstly, you don’t ask your broker technical questions. You tell your broker what to do. You instruct him or her. Asking your broker to instruct you is like asking the second hand car dealer to start ripping you off.

Next, if you are asking Mr. Ever So Clever anything at all, it can be about your funds in transit, or your equity in transit or basically something mechanical. You are not in this business to give Mr. Clever even an inch more of space by asking market questions like what’s moving or what’s going to move.

If you still do, as Mr. Coolovsky obviously proved, then of course Mr. Ever So Clever is going to tout to you what his other clients are squaring off. Specifically illiquid scrips. These need buyers, and if you’ve just announced yourself as a buyer and are asking what to buy, illiquid scrips that others are selling will definitely be touted to you for buying.

Also, a scrip doesn’t have to be illiquid to be touted. One can even be dealing with a very large order which a big player is looking to off-load at a relative peak. A whole set of brokers then does the rounds to get buyers interested.

The bottom-line is this – you are not giving your broker any kind of leeway with regards to what you are buying or selling. You need to do your own technicals, or fundamentals or whatever it is that you do, to gauge what is moving. You don’t ask what is moving.

On many occasions, rallies wind up soon after big players square off. This time was no different. Coolster had loaded himself with a scrip which had already peaked. With no buying pressure to push it up any further, its price started to sink.

Next set of mistakes.

He’d marked a vague stop-loss in his head because everyone had been ticking him off for not applying stops. Specifically our friend Mr. System Addict, remember him? He had been very vocal about it. Because the stop was vague, Mr. Cool wasn’t motivated enough to feed it into his trade as the price neared his stop.

Not feeding in a mental stop – mistake.

As the scrip’s price undershot his mental stop, Coolins did nothing except to hope it would climb back to his buy level, which is when he would exit.

Hoping in a trade – big mistake.

Not taking your loss once stop is undershot – even bigger mistake.

What happened after that can’t be called a mistake anymore (on humanitarian grounds), because Coolinsky had gone into freeze mode. The reason was the sinking scrip. Huge losses were piling up. Coolitzer answered two back to back margin calls in this frozen state of body and mind. He was frozen. Didn’t know what he was doing. Scrip didn’t turn back up before Mr. Cool was cleaned out.

This chronology of events is a kind of worst-case scenario. A grade F minus in an exam.

Every trade is an exam. One needs to tread carefully from step to step, from pre-trade preparation to actual trade to after-trade emotional wind-down.

Remember that, so you fare much, much … much, much better than our F minus candidate. And don’t worry about him, Mr. Cool-Dude will be back. He’s always able to get back, you’ve gotta give credit to Mr. Cool for that.