CFTC Commitments of Traders: Euro shorts continue to build

Weekly FX futures positioning data from the CFTC for the week ending Feb 11, 2020:

  • EUR short 86K vs 75K short last week. Shorts increased by 11K
  • GBP long 21K vs 13K long last week. Longs increased by 8K
  • JPY short 26K vs 21K short last week. Shorts increased by 5k
  • CHF long 4K vs 5K long last week. Longs decreased by 1K
  • AUD short 33k vs 43K short last week. Shorts decreased by 10K
  • NZD short 4K vs 2K short last week. Shorts increased by 2K
  • CAD long 10k vs 19K long last week. Longs decreased by 9K

Are Great Traders Born or Bred?

In a recent speech to a class at Harvard Business School Mark Sellers, founder of Chicago-based hedge fund Sellers Capital, argues that great traders are born and not bred. He believes that there are seven “structural assets” that cannot be taught, adding, ” They have to do with psychology. You can’t do much about that.”

The traits:

1) The ability to buy when others are panicking, and vice versa

2) An obsession with the trading game

3) A willingness to learn from past mistakes

4) An inherent sense of risk based on common sense

5) A confidence in your convictions and a willingness to stick with them

6) An ability to have “both sides of your brain working” (i.e. to go beyond the math)

7) The ability to live through volatility without changing your investment thought process

I  think that some of the concepts discussed here are spot on (and I spend a great deal of time hammering home the importance of #7) , but I disagree with the overall idea that great traders are born, not made. I believe success in trading is not about a specific style, but rather about understanding your personality traits and then developing a trading style (and which product – i.e. stocks, commodities, fx) that fits you best.

We are who we are. That does not change throughout our life, but we can learn to wait for times when the market is paying our personality type and then generate successful returns when that window of opportunity appears.

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