The Department of no-frills 

Markets can be played in holes. 

No disrespect to the “hole”. 

Let’s put it this way. 

I trade the markets from a “bucket shop”. It’s actually a small brokerage. Parallels a bucket-shop, and all legit. 

There’s twenty odd people. 

Basic desktops. One gets to use them even with medium-sized accounts. A large account holder can walk into the manager’s office and get the manager to trade his or her strategy for him or her for the day. A three minute daily discussion is all it takes. This discussion can even happen on Whatsapp. 

If required, food comes from the street-vendors below, in newspapers and plastic cups. 

Welcome to the department of no-frills. 

No business-class travel or fancy-schmanzy wining-dining is required here. It’s sheer trading with no BS. 

Why? 

No overheads. 

No headaches. 

No constant terminal monitoring. Someone’s doing it for you.

Safety? Yes. Trust. Long-term relationship. Email and sms security measures. No nonsense. 

One doesn’t talk to the twenty odd people. 

One just trades. 

Trading for you isn’t really about building a consensus. You just trade. If then the market builds a consensus, that’s a different thing. You then trade the consensus. For or against is your call. 

This is as raw as it gets. 

You ask a question. 

You put your money where your mouth is. 

If your inquiry is in the correct direction, you get rewarded. If not, you lose a part of your money. 

Goes without saying, that overall, you try to win more than you lose. 

Department of no-frills cuts to the chase without useless paraphernalia. 

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Stop-Loss vs Hedge – what’s what and how?

Insurance.

Makes you sleep easy.

Simultaneously, you are able to take a calculated risk.

Risk?

Why should you take a risk?

No risk no gain.

It’s as simple as that.

You have to put something on the line to possibly gain something.

That’s what market activity is all about.

You’re doing this all the time.

Day in, day out.

You’ve become used to a steady and dynamic LINE. Your line doesn’t harm you anymore. It doesn’t disrupt your life.

Well done.

How did you achieve this?

By using stops and hedges.

What’s the difference?

The difference is technical, and then practical.

For some mindsets and positions, a stop is more suited.

When you don’t mind exposing your market-play, and want to close your terminal and do other stuff, use a stop.

You get up from your desk, engage in other activity, and have forgotten about your position, because now you don’t need to tend to its needs for 24 hours, for example.

Great.

Your position will either play out, or it won’t.

If it doesn’t, your stop will automatically throw you out of your position.

The level of the stop is digestible.

Next morning, you simply move on to a new trade.

Let’s say you don’t want to to expose your market play, or, in some cases, when you don’t need to expose your market play – how do you then insure yourself?

Hedge.

A hedge maintains general market neutrality.

It leaves windows open for what-if scenarios.

For example, the trade could make money, and then the hedge could make money.

Or, vice-versa. As in lose-lose. Sure, there are win-loss and loss-win scenarios too.

The starting point is somewhat neutral, and then there are permutations and combinations.

Some people prefer this kind of play.

They like the possibility of maximizing profit from the total position at a calculated higher risk.

Also fine.

Generally, the idea is for your main position to make money and your hedge to lose money.

It might or might not play out like that.

Some like this uncertainty and know how to benefit from it.

A stop is sure-shot and straight-forward. It is low-risk as long as it is digestible.

Hedges open you to the risks of a meta-game. Play becomes more interesting, consuming, and possibly, more profitable, for experienced hedgers.

In my opinion, a hedge is slightly higher in risk than a stop.

However, both entities lower overall risk.

Currency pair forex trades are typically taken with a stop. However, they can be hedged too.

Market-neutral option-trades are typically taken using hedges.

Step into a trade with either or, for peace of mind and career longevity.

Cheers.

🙂

Patience and Nerves Anyone?

As someone I look up to put it recently – “It’s a game of patience and nerves!”

What is?

The stock-market. 

For whom?

The long-term investor. 

Do you have any?

What?

Patience, or nerves, or both?

You do?

Well, then you’ll do well in the markets, over the long-term. 

We look for complication. Meanwhile, we forget the basics. 

These are basics. 

If you’re not patient, you’ll for example jump into a stock at the wrong time, or you’ll jump out of it too early, or what have you. 

If you don’t have patience, well, develop it. 

If you can’t, do something else instead. Trade. Don’t long-term-invest then. 

If you cannot develop patience, you are not cut out to be a long-term holder. 

One method to cause the tree of patience to grow in you is to create the correct environment. 

Just don’t do anything that will make you jump. 

Invest your sur-sur-plus, money that is then pickled away, money that you won’t miss, yearn for or require over the very long-term. 

Go in with margin of safety. 

Stay in a stock you’ve singled out and entered until there’s a glaring reason to exit. Try to exit upon a high. This is the market. Highs are its nature. So are lows. That means that highs come. Wait for them to come, to exit from anything you need to exit from. 

Nervers, well, they come into play if you’ve not invested with margin of safety. 

I do remember two instances though, where everyone’s nerves were tested. October 2008, and March 2009. At these times, stocks sold for a song. Good ones and bad ones alike. Fear did the rounds, extreme fear. That’s what fear does. It creates once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Take them. Maintain a clear head. Your nerves of steel will do that for you. Create an environment for your nerves to become strong. Or, perhaps expressed another way, create an environment where any weakness in your nerves is not required to show itself, and gets subdued into extinction. 

How?

Again, just go in with your sur-sur-plus. You’re not going to miss this money even if the sky is falling upon your head. And you’ve gone in with margin of safety. Your nerves will stay intact. 

Ensure your basics. Allow them to shine. 

The rest will take care of itself. 

Good investing. 🙂

Happy Fifth Birthday, Magic Bull!

Turning 5, tick-tock, how time flies!

Has the game changed? 

No. 

What are we in it for? Why do we play?

Bread and butter. Security. Children, their future. Ourselves. Goals. Luxury. Whatever makes us tick. 

Each time we tick, let’s tick better. 

Mistakes mean learning. We’re seeing them as tuition fees, because mistakes cost money. They are the only real learning. You learn when you’re hit. You learn from the pain. 

All other learning is – paper learning. It doesn’t translate into our DNA easily (or at all). For DNA-translation, there needs to be a biochemical change in the body. Metamorphosis. If paper-learning does that for you, well, you’re lucky. Count your blessings. To be envied. 

Rewards bring hubris. 

Hubris makes us vulnerable. 

How?

We get lazy and are caught napping. Off-guard. Hubris-condition coupled with big market-mistake can mean downfall. Don’t want to take names, but exactly this has happened to many. 

What is it about success? What does it do to the human being? Why do we stop being ourselves once we succeed? Why do we stop learning once we succeed?

Yet, each one of us strives for success. 

Can we remember to behave ourselves once we succeed? 

What kind of behaviour are we talking about?

The same behaviour that paved the way for success. Can we maintain that same standard of behaviour? Why is that difficult? It becomes difficult because the after-party causes hangovers. Let’s just scrap the after-party. Let’s continue to be ourselves even after we succeed. 

Instead of the after-party, let’s do something for society, for example. We can even pursue a constructive side-game, which has nothing to do with the main-game. It keeps us ticking on a different level. 

It’s important to tick. The opposite of that is stagnation. Ticking means evolution. 

Evolution means that the next time you take a shot, you’ve better at your game. You’ve evolved because of past learning. You are human capital, remember?

Happy Ticking!

🙂

Making Sense of Losing Battles

Winning gets boring after a while.

Unbelievable, but true.

However, losing continues to pinch, time after time.

That’s the key difference between winning and losing.

Life’s bipolar game is skewed more towards the pinch of continuous loss than towards the continued pleasure of winning.

Get used to losing… but, lose small.

Win big. Don’t nip a small win in the bud and thus stop it from becoming a big win.

Sometimes, you identify losing battles.

These are areas where you’re just not able to win.

What do you do with a losing battle?

Walk away. One option. Weigh the odds. If your walking away impacts no one, and simultaneously betters your existence, yeah, this is a very valid option. For example, one walks away from a losing trade.

Fight. Second option. You’re not beyond your stop, whether in a trade or in life. You fight, to save the battle, and perhaps to win.

Learn. Third option. You’re not able to get away from the losing battle, because your exit impacts something or someone. You hang on. No choice. Your pain teaches you big things. You learn. Sometimes, such a big losing battle suddenly turns into a glorious win. That’s because all the lessons from the scenario have been learnt. Enjoy, you deserve it.

Devolution. Not an option. Don’t allow your losing battle to devolve you into a demon.

Incorporation. Very valid option. Incorporate the learnt lessons from your losing battles into winning strategies for other battles in life.

Cheers.

Loneliness of the Successful Investor

Walked alone?

No?

Please try.

Success needs original ideas. Original ideas need solitude.

Successful investors walk alone.

Sometimes, they’re lonely.

Investing is more about sitting than action.

Sitting around inactively breeds loneliness.

The antidote is activity – other activity. Not market-related.

Successful investors do other stuff to tackle this loneliness.

Buffett plays poker.

Branson is breaking into some virgin territory or the other.

Gates is busy souping up his home.

Trump blares his trumpet on a TV show.

Jindal plays polo.

Mallya’s sole focus has been other stuff, so much so, that he’s become unsuccessful.

Mahindra loves to tweet.

Tata walks his dog.

Sachin watches Wimbledon live.

Mr. Bean is seen on the F1 circuit.

You get the gist.

These people follow one or more “other” activity / activities so passionately, that they forget about their main activity for a while.

Their system recuperates. Time is bridged to the next instance of main-frame action. While traversing this bridge, body, mind and soul have recuperated. System is fresh, ready and waiting for new action.

When you’re walking alone next time, you’ll be able to deal easily with any loneliness on the path.

One might make moderate returns, investing with the masses.

To outperform, though, one needs to walk alone.

The successful investor realizes that he can’t get out of this one.

Therefore, the successful investor creates a way to still come out winning.

This is human capital at peak performance!

Happy Fourth Birthday, Magic Bull !!

I believe in birthdays…

…and Magic Bull turns four today… 🙂 🙂 … .

When I die…

… this writing will live on. 

I won’t be taking my forex with me. Nor will I be carrying any equities. My soul will carry the satisfaction, though, of having created Magic Bull.

I love to write. 

It gives me a high. A huge kick. 

I feel totally free. Complete freedom. Have you experienced such freedom?

No shackles. 

I like to break barriers with my writing. 

I’ve reached people. Inside. People start to think whey they read this stuff. 

This is earning. For me. 

ANYWAYS, just as a breakout underlying breaks away into new highs, shattering all resistance in the process, in the same manner, words have just been overflowing over the past few months, after more than half a year of absolute dryness…

… such are words. 

However, by now, I’ve learnt enough to give them the respect that is due when they come. 

When words start flowing, there’s just one rule that applies. LET THEM FLOW. 

I don’t care how embarrassing that might be. 

What is embarrassment when the same words can bring about vital change? I really don’t care about the embarrassment. 

I decided long ago to make my tenure count. 

Contact with me is going to make an impact on you. Words are my medium. Without giving you an energy boost, I remain unfulfilled.

Why? 

Everybody has a purpose in life. 

Mine’s to make changes with the sheer force of my words. 

You have your purpose. 

I have mine. 

With Magic Bull, I fulfil my purpose of existing.  

With due respect, have you fulfilled yours? 

And, with due respect, have you even recognized yours?

Food for thought. 

🙂