My Time at Lehman

I started at Lehman Brothers on June 1st, 2007 as a first year analyst. It was my first job out of college. Dick Fuld, the CEO at the time, publicly discussed “the road to two-hundred,” in which he would not retire until the stock reached $200 per share, almost three times the price when I arrived. Everyone at the firm believed this as though it were a fact – that there was something special about Lehman Brothers stock – it always went up.

I joined Lehman for a few reasons. The first was personal. My mother worked on Wall Street and passed away when I was a teenager. I felt, somewhat misguidedly, as though following in her footsteps would bring me closer to her. The other reasons were simpler. I had been interested in the stock market as a kid (though I went to work trading bonds and credit derivatives), I wanted to make good money, and I thought maybe, just maybe, it would be a bit of fun. (more…)

Twenty ‘Ifs’ for a Winning Attitude

  1. If you have the desire, you are halfway there.
  2. If you do your best, don’t mind the rest.
  3. If you can’t control the wind, adjust your sail.
  4. If you are headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns.
  5. If you can imagine it you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.
  6. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
  7. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
  8. If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.
  9. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.
  10. If you depend on others to make you happy, you will be endlessly disappointed. (more…)

Trading in the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes- Book Review

Some books are too clever by half. Anthony Trongone’s Trading in the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes: Balancing Probabilities for Successful Investing (W & A Publishing/Traders Press, 2010) is one of them. The idea—to encourage traders to adopt an analytical mindset and achieve emotional discipline by relying heavily on quotations from Sherlock Holmes novels and stories—sounded promising, even fun. And fun is a rare commodity in trading books. Although the book started off well, as it progressed Holmes became a less and less useful coach and analogies from detecting to trading became increasingly strained. It’s hard, for instance, to invoke Holmes in a discussion of order types.

But why waste a post emphasizing the negative when there are so many passages that will undoubtedly delight traders who are fans of Sherlock Holmes? Herewith a very limited sampling. (more…)

Japanese Public Debt 2X GDP With Deflation Threat

In summary, Japan has “$9.5 Trillion in public debt”, 2x GDP (192% 2009 estimate, #2 behind Zimbabwe at 3x from with threats of deflation and falling wages. This is after 2 lost deflationary decades and a loss of 75% on the NIKKEI index since 1990 (39,000 to 9,700 today, 1st chart below). The good news is, most of Japan’s public debt is held domestically in Japanese Yen. Some analysts believe US Treasuries could end up like Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) and catch a bid even with hardcore reflationary policies (see David Rosenberg’s debate on March, 2010). What about the S&P, would it follow the NIKKEI’s footsteps in a deflationary environment?  Or is the US economic machine too strong for that to happen.A 75% drop in the S&P from the October 2007 peak would be around 400, which is David Tice’s S&P target. What are the odds. Paul Krugman had an op-ed in the New York Times today titled The Third Depression. Hopefully Gold and the S&P move in tandem from here if more $ printing is coming. The 10-Year US Treasury Note is trading at $122 resistance in an ascending triangle (Chart 2) and I’m going to see what happens with the $USD at its 50 day moving average tomorrow.

10 Things A Trader Needs to START DOING …To Mint Money

There are many trading principles that are common among  successful rich traders. It is important to learn the things that allow them to win so we can follow in their footsteps and make money. There are 10 things that new traders can start doing tomorrow to improve their results immediately. If you have been trading for awhile but have not been profitable these  may be things that you need to start doing to stop losing money.

 1. Start trading the price action by using charts. The market doesn’t care about your opinions but the chart expresses the collective actions of all market participants. Learn to understand what the chart is saying.

Start to understand that the market determines whether any single trade wins or loses not you and not an imaginary “they”.

2. We can only surf the price waves not control them. 

Start to take 100% responsibility for your losses.

3. You enter the trade, you exit the trade, the wins and losses are yours alone. The blame game is a losing game in the markets.

Start to bounce back from losing trades quickly, move on don’t ruminate.

4. If your position size and risk management are correct no one losing trade should emotionally devastate you it should be only one of the next hundred trades with little significance by itself.

Start caring more about what the market is doing and less about what you think it should be doing.

5. ALL that really matters is current price action not your opinion of what might be price action later.  (more…)

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

No one can deny that Steve Jobs is very successful and runs a very successful company. As head of Apple (AAPL), he has provided numerous direct and indirect jobs (have you seen how many iPhone apps there are now?) and dozens of very, very popular and useful products.

The book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success by Carmine Gallo, presents a very clear road map to follow in Jobs’ footsteps, showing how to be truly successful in your occupation. Look at a few of the principles covered in the book:

Put a Dent in the Universe
Kick-Start Your Brain
Sell Dreams, Not Products
Say No to 1,000 Things

This book is especially useful to the self-employed, showing how to be more creative, have more effective work strategies, and become more successful.

The author had previously written the best-selling book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. He writes in a clear and concise manner with plenty of supporting anecdotes.

If you are looking for a good read that can help you achieve the success you want and deserve, get The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. You won’t be disappointed.

Bank Exposure To Bulgarian And Romanian Sovereign Risk

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Hungary following in Greece’s footsteps and potentially defaulting on its debt. Bulgaria and Romania are two other weak economies in Eastern Europe, and the chart below shows bank exposure by country to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Greece (source):

It’s interesting to note the exposure that Greece has to Bulgaria and Romania. Romanian and Bulgarian debt comprise more than 25% of the foreign debt that Greek banks hold. Austria also has a high concentration of risk in these four countries, at 29% of total foreign claims outstanding.  When investors talk about contagion, what they are really referring to is positive feedback loops.  We can see from the chart above how trouble at one country can quickly develop into a concern for other countries.  The situation in Greece could make it difficult for Bulgaria and Romania to roll over their debt, an event which would in itself reduce the value of Greece’s assets, creating further difficulty for Bulgaria and Romania.

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