The outline of the book is very simple and well designed, consisting of four parts: Introduction to Technical Analysis, Tools For Technical Analysis, Time to Trade, and Trading Mechanics.  There is a wealth of information here so let’s look at a few nuggets.


Arps does a good job of explaining the purpose of technical analysis as a way to “help you anticipate potential changes in the direction of market prices resulting from crowd behavior driven by the emotions of greed and fear” and not as a “business of absolute predictions.”  All too often the new trader considers technical analysis to be the answer to predicting future price action; Arps tempers this expectation with a good analogy:  “Like weather forecasting, technical analysis doesn’t result in absolute predictions about the future.  Instead, technical analysis can help investors anticipate what is “likely” to happen to prices over time.”  After laying the foundation Arps begins to build a firm structure by covering topics that include market structure, charting, and various swing patterns.


Part 2 covers the technical of technical analysis.  Here Arps dissects just about every tool available to traders from trendlines to moving averages; oscillators to point and figure charts; and price to support and resistance.  These tools help the trader better  anticipate future price direction by considering recent price support/resistance areas, overbought/oversold areas, trending/consolidation conditions, divergence, etc.  “Answers to these questions can alert you in advance as to when prices are likely to change direction and thus provide you with powerful information that can significantly improve your trading profits.”  Much of what is covered here is your traditional meat and potatoes but there is a little extra gravy, such as Arps’ own Fear-Greed Index, a chapter on Volume Float analysis, made popular by Steve Woods, and the Jackson Probability Zones, a method named after J.T. Jackson.


Understanding the basics of technical analysis is one thing: applying it to current market conditions is quite another.  In part 3, Arps discusses how to use technical analysis for building the skills necessary to become a successful trader.  What is of particular interest to me is Arps discussion of developing a trading plan, which, he says, consist of four parts:  rules for entry, rules for exit, money management rules, and the selection of a strategy.  Anyone who has traded for any length of time will quickly point out that the trader may have more degrees in technical analysis than a thermostat but if he does not have a plan for using that knowledge it will be worthless.  In fact, it could be dangerous.  Arps does a great job of cautioning the would be trader who believes that technical analysis knowledge is key when it is not.  “There are several reasons to have a trading plan, but probably the biggest is the way it simplifies things.  Decision making becomes very clear cut.  The trading plan defines what is supposed to be done, when, and how.  Just follow the plan.  The plan serves as a roadmap to entering and holding, profit taking, or cutting losses.  Writing down your plan gives you an immediate edge over most traders and investors.”  Bottom line: the trader’s edge is following a plan; not the plan itself.


In part 4, Arps takes the trader through the (more…)

Leibovit, The Trader’s Book of Volume

Mark Leibovit believes that volume analysis is “the closest thing we have to a real working ‘crystal ball’” in the markets. (pp. 425-26) In The Trader’s Book of Volume: The Definitive Guide to Volume Trading (McGraw-Hill, 2011) he outlines the fundamentals of volume analysis and introduces the reader to a broad range of volume indicators and oscillators.

We have all heard the mantra that volume precedes price. As Leibovit writes, “Market price trends do not happen in a vacuum; rather, it is the behavioral or programmed responses of traders and managers that result in the volume shifts that precede a price move. As the crowd mobilizes, as reflected in the volume numbers, its size and conviction will determine the direction and strength of the price movement. As the conviction of the crowd falters and the volume numbers pull back and diminish, so too will this impact the timing and direction of the trend.” (p. 24)

In analyzing the relationships between price and volume under various market regimes Leibovit pays particular attention to divergences where volume doesn’t confirm price action and signals a possible trend change. But he doesn’t rely solely on easy-to-spot divergences. He also introduces the reader to volume overlays, including moving averages, MACD, and linear regression. These overlays can help the trader see volume trends over a longer time frame.

And, of course, there is the plethora of indicators and oscillators, some 33 in all. Thirteen apply to the broad market; the rest can be used in the analysis of individual securities. In each case Leibovit explains the indicator’s or oscillator’s formulation, its use in trend confirmation, its potential divergence with price, and its use with other indicators. He also illustrates its practicality with a sample trade setup and entry. He closes each section with trader tips.

Throughout the book the author stresses that there is no “one size fits all” solution to selecting the appropriate volume indicators and oscillators. Volume analysis is an art, not a science. It depends on the instrument being traded as well as the trader’s time frame.

But The Trader’s Book of Volume goes a long way toward taking the mystery out of volume analysis. In roughly 450 pages, amply illustrated with MetaStock charts, it offers concrete ways to use volume to improve trading results.



1)Nobody is bigger than the market.

 2)The challenge is not to be the market, but to read the market. Riding the  wave is much more rewarding than being hit by it.
 3)Trade with the trends, rather than trying to pick tops and bottoms. 
 4)There are at least three types of markets: up trending, range bound, and  down. Have different trading strategies for each.
 5)In uptrends, buy the dips ;in downtrends, sell bounces. 
 6)In a Bull market, never sell a dull market, in Bear market, never buy a dull  market. 

 7)Up market and down market patterns are ALWAYS present, merely one is  more dominant. In an up market, for example, it is very easy to take sell  signal after sell signal, only to be stopped out time and again. Select trades  with the trend. 
 8)A buy signal that fails is a sell signal. A sell signal that fails is a buy signal. 

7-Day Commercial Paper Rate Hits 18 Month Highs

The crunch in funding continues. There is $673 billion in Commercial Paper maturing over the next month and a half. The problem is that the rolling of all this paper will come at increasingly higher costs. Today the market for US 7 Day CP hit level of 0.61%. As the chart below indicates, the current CP rate is not only the highest in 2010, but higher than CP costs during the March 2009 market lows. More worrying is that despite the recent unprecedented volatility in daily rate swings, the trend is one of an accelerated increase. At this rate of increase, the Fed may soon need to put the CPFF program back in play.The most worrying is the implication 7 Day CP rates have for the FF rate: while 7 Day CP historically has tracked the Fed Funds tick for tick, over the past few months we have once again seen a major divergence between the two. In this closest proxy to short-term funding, the market is now notifying Bernanke that the Fed Funds rate is now about 36 bps off and increasing.

And the spread to the Fed Funds rate:

Livermore: Follow The Leaders

“For a new age of markets has been ushered in – an age that offers safer opportunities for the reasonable, studious, competent investor and speculator.” – Livermore

In the third chapter of How To Trade in Stocks, Livermore discusses the importance of following the leading stocks in the leading groups. He argues that a speculator needs to be in tune with the general trend of the market and to only follow leading stocks from leading groups so that he is not overwhelmed with unnecessary data.

The Trend Is Your Friend

“It is not good to be too curious about all the reasons behind price movements. You risk the danger of clouding your mind with non-essentials. Just recognize that the movement is there and take advantage of it by steering your speculative ship along with the tide. Do not argue with the condition, and most of all, do not try to combat it.” – Livermore


If you don’t understand what Livermore is talking about here, you can find an example on your TV almost around the clock. If you tune in to one of the business news cable channels at just about any time, day or night, you will find journalists and so-called experts breaking down even the slightest details of the global economy or an individual stock.

Livermore argues that this obsession with analyzing the reason behind a price movement is completely unnecessary. He says that we should simply recognize that there is, in fact, a price movement and align our investments to profit from that movement. This is pretty much the definition of trend following.

Focus Your Investments (more…)


A list of golden sayings and rules I have gleaned from many sources:

  • Plan your trades, trade your plan.
  • Trade Quality, Not Quantity.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t look for a reason to enter the market, look for a reason NOT to enter.
  • Don’t act due to “Newbie Nerves”
  • Don’t make up a trade. If you have to look, it isn’t there.
  • Never play with scared money.
  • You are not the market.
  • Buy dips in an uptrend, sell rallies in a downtrend.
  • Do not try to pick tops and bottoms.
  • It is only divergence if it came off a retracement – not a sideways market.
  • Indicators warn, price action confirms.
  • Divergence is early, cross-overs are late.
  • You cannot expect your positions to go immediately into the money.
  • Divergence means a detour, but not necessarily a new trend.
  • No-one knows what will happen in the markets.
  • Standing aside is a position.
  • Subordinate your will to the will of the market.
  • Large ranges beget small ranges, small ranges beget large ranges.
  • Once a thing is set in motion, it tends to stay in motion.
  • Sniper-rifle, not a shotgun.
  • Cut your losses short, let your profits run.
  • Only move stops in the direction of your position.
  • Do not let a winner turn into a loser.
  • Never add to a losing position.
  • Forget losses quickly. Forget profits even quicker.
  • Consistent behavior equals consistent results.

There are probably more, send ’em in…

How to Treat Delusional Disorder

This market is delusional!  I’ve heard it several times, but I am still unsure exactly what this means.  Given what I’ve seen and heard on this trading desk over the past several weeks I can begin to hypothesize about the true nature of this ubiquitous exclamation.  First, strength and weakness in the market has not necessarily translate to strength and weakness in individual names.  Dean’s portfolio has been the best barometer of this divergence.  His long cash book has felt the slings and arrows of a declining market while under performing on up days; the perfect shitstorm.  Strong balance sheets and superior management have failed to translate into upward price action.  On the other side of the coin, Moskowitz’s technical strategy has also struggled in the face of this “delusional” market.  Daily levels of support and resistance, moving averages, and pivot points have been broken, traversed, and forsaken.  Familiar setups have failed to produce familiar results.  Finally, after reviewing the charts of Schwartz’s portfolio, we came to the conclusion that the tenets of relative strength and relative weakness have been all but abandoned.  Names have shown massive intraday reversals that suck away P&L without warning.

Given the “delusional” nature of the market, there is only one strategy that guarantees success; get small.  The fact that strategies have lacked their usual effectiveness does not imply they are obsolete; however, given the unusual action we have witnessed lately, it is advisable to limit one’s exposure to the bizarre action.  Eventually the market will begin to look like its old self and when that time comes, the heavens will open and the money gods will reappear.  In the meantime, remember the old axiom: “The market can remain delusional longer than you can remain solvent.”

Technical Analysis

  • Reduce or dispose your position if a trend line you are watching is violated, especially with heavy volume. Don’t hope that the trend line break is a fake one.
  • Never trade based on indicator divergence (with price) alone. Divergences can go on for a while, with price continuing to make higher highs and the indicator continuing to make lower highs (or price making lower lows with indicator making higher lows).
Go to top