Going Beyond Price Action

Is price action the holy grail?

You’ve rid yourself of all indicators in search of something that holds.

In forex, you’re probably not looking at volume either.

What you’re left looking at is the behaviour of price.

Price patterns, expressed in the form of candles, contain a psychology.

You are trying to understand this psychology in order to put on a winning trade.

However, everyone else is also watching the same patterns too, including the big boys.

Who are the big boys?

Institutions, banks et al.

Why are we talking about them?

They are the one’s capable of creating enough buying or selling pressure to determine the direction of price. Retail people, like you and I, are not.

That’s why.

And these same big boys know the patterns that you are looking out for, and are going to react to.

What do they do?

They tweak the patterns.

Think about it.

It’s the obvious thing to do. Stopping the public out will give them a smooth run later.

Is tweaking the patterns a biggie for them?

No.

Determining the direction of price is like winning a war.

What’s it going to take to win a small battle, like tweaking a pattern?

A fraction of one’s resources.

Where does that leave you?

If you’re looking at pure price action, you probably might not fare too well.

You have no choice but to look beyond.

What is beyond?

Truth is truth.

If the market wants to go somewhere, because of actual demand and supply dynamics, well, then it wants to go there.

It will reveal that with price action.

You won’t miss the message.

How can one overlook a very large-tailed candle, or an obvious support or resistance, for example?

As you are getting ready to act, based upon the obvious pattern you are seeing, you also observe, that most of the time, price is not behaving like the pattern is saying.

If the pattern is just too obvious, you need to go one step further and put on the trade, taking tweaked conditions into account.

Look at the chart for obvious points that the big boys might be targeting. Go beyond these points and set the levels for your entry, stop, and if it’s part of your strategy, your limit.

What have you basically done?

You have believed in the obvious price action that you have seen.

You have tried to factor in tweaking.

You have implemented your trade in a manner such that the negative effect of tweaking will just about give you entry, but the big boys will probably not be too bothered about going right up to the level of your stop, because its positioning is such.

This will fail.

Sometimes.

This will succeed…

…at other times.

Whether you make money or not will depend upon how you manage your winners.

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Time your Friend or Time your Enemy?

This one depends…

…on you.

How is time treated in your curriculum with regard to the markets?

Are you in a hurry…

…or is your motto “hurry spoils the curry”?

One can make any market action an extremely difficult one if one squeezes time. 

On the other hand, the same market action yields great results when time is stretched to infinity. 

One can understand this in the predicament of the trader.

Expiry is due. 

Trades are in loss. 

It seems that trades are not going to make it to break-even by expiry.

They would probably be showing a profit after expiry. 

However, time-span for validity of the trades has been squeezed to expiry. 

Hence, the trader faces loss. 

The investor, on the other hand, is invested in the stock of the same underlying, and doesn’t dabble in the derivative. 

For the investor, time has been expanded to infinity. 

The investor doesn’t feel pain from a time-window that’s about to close.

Now, let’s look at the cons for the investor, and the pros for the trader. 

The price for making time one’s friend is the principal being locked-in for that much time. 

The investor is comfortable with that. 

If not, the investor feels pain from the lock-in, and may make a detrimental move that works against long-term investing philosophy, as in cutting a sound investment at its bottom-most point during a long drawn-out correction. 

Investors need to fulfil the comfort condition before committing to infinity. 

After a small loss, the trader moves on with the bulk of his or her funds. 

Traders needs to take a loss in stride. 

If not, future trades get affected. 

The advantage of committing funds for short periods, in trades, is that one can utilize the same funds many times over. 

The price for using short periods of time to one’s advantage, however, is tension. 

One is glued to the market, and is not really able to use the same time productively, elsewhere. 

Friendship with one aspect of time works adversely with regard to another aspect of time. 

The investor is not glued to market movements. He or she can utilize his or time for multiple purposes while being invested simultaneously and then forgetting temporarily about the long-term investment. 

It is easier to forget temporarily about an investment than it is to forget about a trade. 

Over the years, I have found it difficult to combine trading and long-term investing, specifically in the same market.

However, I do take occasional trades, apart from being invested for the long term. 

This works for me when the markets in question are different, as in Forex and Equity. 

When Push Comes to Shove 

Genetically… 

… we’re savers. 

Indians. 

Save. 

That’s a good thing. 

Since the ’00s though, our banks have started pushing loans as if there’s no tomorrow.

The motto seems to be : we don’t care who you are, just borrow. If we know who you are, here, borrow some more

That is dangerous policy. 

It sets the stage for a push comes to shove scenario. Savings are being lent further, and they might not come back. 

What counts when push comes to shove? 

Deposits in the bank? No. Gone. 

Real Estate? No. No buyers. No renters. Illiquid stuff just won’t move. 

Equities? No. Dumps. Good entry levels though. No resale value for a while. 

Bonds? Perhaps. Short duration ones, provided underlying doesn’t go under. 

Gold? Yes. Big. 

Trading? Yes. Options, forex, commodities, what have you. 

Cash? Yes. Provided there’s no hyperinflation. Use it for day to day life. Use surplus to acquire great bargains. 

Farmland? Yes. You’re then sorted as far as food and water are concerned. 

Use your imagination. 

Prepare for a push and shove scenario. 

It probably won’t happen. 

However, you’re prepared, just in case. 

How I Wish to Trade

Tension?

No.

Hassle-free?

Yes.

Profit?

Yes.

Fun?

Too. 

I want it to make me want to come back. 

In the background?

Yes.

Part of my normal life?

No. 

Disturbing me in the night?

No?

Terminal on – ideally once a day. Max twice. That’s it. 

Protection?

Yes. Stops for forex. Hedges for options. No naked options. 

Exits?

Make me exit. Yeah, Mrs. Market needs to make me exit. I don’t wish to exit on my own. She needs to throw me out of a trade. 

Fear?

None.

Why?

Bread and butter secured through other-than-trading instruments.

Trading with surplus.

Surplus can potentially become zero. Will I still take the next trade?

Yes. After scanning strategy for errors.

Loss?

Will take small ones, again and again and again. That’s the only way to find the large profit moves. 

Once profit sets in, what then?

Nothing then. 

Normal. 

Behaving as if nothing has happened. 

Giving the trade room. 

It needs to make even more profit. 

It is a potential multi-x trade. Why should I nip it in the bud? As I said, make me exit. Throw me out. 

Family life?

Balanced.

Remnant anger from trading?

None. 

When yes, stop trading. Trading should never be allowed to disturb family life. 

Evolutionary?

Forever. Learning, learning, learning. 

Bias? 

None. 

News?

No. 

Tips?

None. 

Peers?

Maybe to start a strategy with. After strategy is made to fit – no peers any more. 

Discussion?

None. Hopefully. 

Don’t like to discuss trades after terminal shuts. 

Losses piling up?

Review strategy. Discard, renew, implement, trade again. 

Profits piling up?

Great. Do nothing. 

Are you getting the gist?

Similarly, you need to figure out how you might want to trade.

Many things I might be doing will not suit you automatically. 

You need to make things fit. 

If something doesn’t fit, discard it. 

Look for something new that might fit. 

Make a trading strategy that’s lucrative and gels with you and your lifestyle and environment. 

Such a strategy will blossom. For you. 

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.

🙂

Focused Diversification : Mantra for all Times

I’m more into focus.

One can focus on one thing at a time.

Agreed.

What if after that one thing starts running, it doesn’t require any more focus?

Wow.

Then I focus on another thing.

Get it running.

Then another.

Till my focus window is full.

Let me tell you about my focus window.

I focus on cash, debt, equity, forex, gold, real-estate, arbitrage, and options.

With that, my professional focus in finance is full full full.

I get something running.

That’s it.

Then I don’t need to be with it. Mostly.

Let me run you through.

1). Cash – Bind it in a worry-free and accessible manner. Done.

2). Debt – Study the underlying very thoroughly. Reject 10 underlyings. Take up the 11th which passes all criteria. Be happy with a slightly better than FD-return. Done.

3). Equity – Invest for life. Study till you drop the stock or take it up. Only invest in what meets all criteria and offers margin of safety at time of investing. On top of that – SIP (systematic investment plan). Done.

4). Forex – Get a software robot to trade it for you. Or some human-capital. All available online. Requires a bit of fine-tuning. Keep tuning till you start making a return. Done.

5). Gold – Buy physical gold. Research your source. Needs to be impeccable. Bullion. Coins. SIP. Accessible. No jewellery. Done.

6). Real-estate – Make your real-estate yield you an income. Regular income? Done.

7). Arbitrage – Understand what this is, and why it gives you a tax benefit. Get an online MF account going with Kotak MF or DWS. Divert some funds into their arbitrage MF, either or. I prefer Kotak. Monthly dividend payout option. Done.

8). Options – Get the option-strategy going. You don’t require a desktop. Mobile is sufficient. All you now need to do is take care of square-off. On mobile. This means a slightly higher level of engagement than the above avenues. Only slightly. Are you ok with that? Fine. Done.

In a flow, it’s all doable.

And, you remain focused.

Why all this?

Times demand it. You never know what might come in handy, and when.

Yeah, times are tough.

However, you are tougher.

To use Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s terminology, you are antifragile.

The Art of Addressing

Address your goals.

Daily.

Make that part of your basics.

It’s easy to sit back, when a few fundamentals are sorted.

There could be bread and butter on the table.

Family could be in their groove.

Are you quite there yet?

No.

Don’t rest on the laurels of the few fundamentals you might have achieved.

An RJ might light a cigar and open a bottle of single in the evening, but only after his goals have been addressed for the day.

A WB might invite his poker buddies and kick off a game after a round of hamburgers… after his goals for the day have been addressed.

When does BG nip into his chocolates? At bedtime. After you know what. After addressing his goals for the day.

Yeah.

Now it’s your turn.

Have a few simple goals.

What?

Don’t have such goals?

Well, make them.

Then address them.

Break down your goals to their prime number form. For example :

– Research a stock

– Trade some forex.

– Write a piece.

– Learn something new.

See. As simple as possible.

It’s convenient to address simplicity.

Laziness and complacency are enemies, though.

Fight them.

🙂