Trader’s Emotions

The hardest thing about trading is not the math, the method, or the stock picking. It is dealing with the emotions that arise with trading itself. From the stress of actually entering a trade, to the fear of losing the paper profits that you are holding in a winning trade, how you deal with those emotions will determine your success more than any one thing.

To manage your emotions first of all you must trade a system and method you truly believe will be a winner in the long term.

You must understand that every trade is not a winner and not blame yourself for equity draw downs if you are trading with discipline.

Do not bet your entire account on any one trade, in fact risking only 1% of your total capital on any one trade is the best thing you can do for your stress levels and risk of ruin odds.

With that in place here are some examples of emotional equations to better understand why you feel certain emotions strongly in your trading:

Despair = Losing Money – Trading Better

Do not despair look at your losses as part of doing business and as paying tuition fees to the markets.

Disappointment = Expectations – Reality (more…)

Gambling vs. Trading

“Gambling is taking a risk when the odds are against you.  Speculating is taking a risk when the odds are in your favor.”  Victor Sperandeo

“the only difference between gambling and trading is that your amount at risk and amount of potential reward varies with trading.”  I agree, but there’s more to it.  The parallels are obvious, from the lack of control over outcome to the illusion of knowledge to the physiological effects of having a stake in the outcome.  However, the differences are substantial…and mostly mathematical.

The expectancy in gambling is ALWAYS terrible, while market speculation at times offers outstanding opportunities.  To get a 2:1 or 3:1 opportunity in gambling, one needs to accept incredibly low odds of victory.  In financial markets, those 2:1 or above opportunities come around like clockwork and offer high enough probability that long-term positive expectancy is possible.  Not only that, but the market speculator has the opportunity to adjust his or her position after the game begins…when was the last horse race where you could take a little off the table after the first turn?  Or reclaim most of your bet when your horse stumbles out of the gate?

I’ll leave the neuroscience to the experts, but it seems to me that we need to coordinate our left brain(rational) and right brain(experiential) in laying out the role of each.  We want to allow our intuition to shine through, but within the overall structure of positive expectancy.  No matter how hard one tries, the math of gambling can’t come close to touching the opportunities for building a business out of the markets.

Knight's Trading loss

Going around Wall Street last week….

Knight lost $440mil in ~45 minutes
That works out to ~$9.8mil a minute
Just for an idea of the speed at which they lost the money… they were losing money FASTER than the entire S&P was making it! (and we’re just talking Revs here not net income!)
The 500 names in the S&P made $5.06T in the trailing 12 months
Here is the math…
 S&P trailing 12 Revs  $5,062,957,971,936
 per day                  $13,871,117,731
 per hour                    $577,963,239
 per min                       $9,632,721
 Knight loss                 $440,000,000
 per minute                    $9,777,778

Ed Seykota Interview

Van Tharp:
Have you played around with any other significant ideas in terms of position sizing besides market’s money? If so, what are they?
If you could give me ten rules to consider with respect to position sizing what would they be?
Ed Seykota:
“Playing around” with “when market money becomes your money” seems to be an exercise in math-turbation.
I don’t know what you mean by playing around with ideas. I feel you either think things through or you don’t.
Ten rules for position sizing:
1. Bet high enough to make meaningful profits when you win.
2. Bet low enough so you are ok financially and psychologically when you lose.
3. If (1) and (2) don’t overlap, don’t trade.
4. Don’t go adding a bunch of rules that don’t work, just so you have ten rules.

10 Points For Successful Trading

Trading Methodology:

  1. Winning system-Only trade tested systems with a positive expectancy in the long term.
  2. Faith– Your system has to allow you to trade your beliefs about the market.
  3. Risk/Reward-Never trade unless your profit expectations are greater than your capital at risk.

Trader Psychology:

  1. Discipline-You have to keep trading your method even when it doesn’t work for a given time period.
  2. Ego-Admit when you are wrong.
  3. Emotions-Trade the math not your emotions.

Risk Management:

  1.  Risk of Ruin-Never risk more than 1% of your total account capital on any one trade.
  2. Position Sizing-Use your capital at risk to understand the right amount to trade based on the securities volatility.
  3. Capital at risk: Never put more than 6% of your total capital at risk at any given time on all positions.
  4. Trailing stops- Always have an exit strategy to lock in your winners.

10 Thing u should learn from Market

1. “There is no such thing as easy money”

This is so true, in the markets, in everything. Those who happen upon money where it DID come to them easily, it seems, as a witness, have had it very fleetingly. In my own case, although I am supremely confident in the profitabliity of what I am doing, in practically any market, in virtually any “regime,” doesn’t mean it’s easy. It works like clockwork and is incredibly painful and distressing. It would be so much easier to simply sell buckets of blood.”

2. It’s bad to try to make money the same way several days in a row
3. Markets that have little liquidity are almost impossible to profit from.
4. When the stock market is way down, policy makers take notice and do what they can to remedy the situation.
5. The market puts infinitely more emphasis on ephemeral announcements that it should.
6. It is good to go against the trend followers after they have become committed.
7. One should not make one’s analysis more precise than one’s actual trading could ever possibly be.

If the rational mind has not determined the parameters of a trade, then upon execution, the lizard brain will decide.

9. Never go on vacation with open trading positions.
10.  All higher forms of math and statistics are useless in uncovering regularities.

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.

Ed Seykota Quotes

The markets are the same now as they were five or ten years ago because they keep changing-just like they did then.
Short-Term Trading
The elements of good trading are cutting losses, cutting losses, and cutting losses.
Win or lose, everybody gets what they want out of the market. Some people seem to like to lose, so they win by losing money.
I think that if people look deeply enough into their trading patterns, they find that, on balance, including all their goals, they are really getting what they want, even though they may not understand it or want to admit it.
Market Trends
The trend is your friend except at the end where it bends.
Charles Faulkner tells a story about Seykota’s finely honed intuition when it comes to trading: I am reminded of an experience that Ed Seykota shared with a group. He said that when he looks at a market, that everyone else thinks has exhausted its up trend, that is often when he likes to get in. When I asked him how he made this determination, he said he just puts the chart on the other side of the room and if it looked like it was going up, then he would buy it… Of course this trade was seen through the eyes of someone with deep insight into the market behavior.
Predicting the Future
If you want to know everything about the market, go to the beach. Push and pull your hands with the waves. Some are bigger waves, some are smaller. But if you try to push the wave out when it’s coming in, it’ll never happen. The market is always right.
To avoid whipsaw losses, stop trading.
Here’s the essence of risk management: Risk no more than you can afford to lose, and also risk enough so that a win is meaningful. If there is no such amount, don’t play.
Pyramiding instructions appear on dollar bills. Add smaller and smaller amounts on the way up. Keep your eye open at the top.
Markets are fundamentally volatile. No way around it. Your prolem is not in the math. There is no math to ge you out of having to experience uncertainty.
It can be very expensive to try to convince the markets you are right.
System Trading
Systems don’t need to be changed. The trick is for a trader to develop a system with which he is compatible. (more…)

Larry Hite Insights and Wisdom

Larry Hite, who was profiled in Jack Schwager’s Market Wizards’ series, spoke recently to a group of students. An excerpt:

I believe I had to get into this business because it was simple. There are just a few questions you got to ask yourself. It’s like a checklist that you have to go through. I’m going to go through those questions, discuss them with you, and they can save you a lot of grief. I don’t know that they will make you a lot of money, but mostly they do. I mean, making money in the markets is more simple than it’s not. The trouble is that sometimes you get in the way, or if you’re working for a firm, they get in the way, because there are a lot of social implications. First I’m going to tell you a little about math. I have a guy that works for me, [who] graduated from Wharton, magna cum laude, and we were sitting around one day and we were, I don’t remember what we were doing but we had to figure out the compounded rates of return, and instead of using a calculator we were just looking at the numbers and doing it in our heads. He was young and just out of college, and he kind of felt puffed up about it. You know, it made us feel smart, which is a rare feeling for me. Then I said to him, “You know Michael, the problem with this is anybody can do this with six dollar calculator. You don’t have to be a phi beta kappa. Anybody can do this.”Larry Hite

Later he continued:

One of the great things about the market is, the markets don’t care about you. The market doesn’t care what color you are. The markets don’t care if you are short or tall. They don’t care about anything. They don’t care whether you leave or stay…I met the guy who wrote this best seller now called, Bringing Down the House, it’s about these MIT guys who beat the blackjack tables. And part of the problem, if you’re going to be a blackjack counter is that the casinos don’t like you. They actively don’t like you. And they come and tell you in rather strong things to take your business away. Well, the beautiful thing about the markets, they don’t like you, they don’t dislike you, they just don’t care. They are there everyday. You want to play, you can play. You don’t want to play, don’t play. And you can choose. You sit, there is no penalty. You know, when you stand you know…I don’t know how many of you play baseball…when your at bat if something comes through the strike[zone], if you don’t swing you still get a strike against you. But the markets are a no penalty game. You can stand there and wait. You can go home and wait. It doesn’t matter. And that’s really a terrific thing.Larry Hite

Many people lose sight of the main goal of trading the markets. Instead of worrying about making money, they worry about how much they are trading. Keep Hite’s words close, and don’t forget the main goal.

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