Is Trading All About Luck? – #AnirudhSethi

Luck of the Draw? There's a Lot More to Trading and I... - Ticker TapeOne of the biggest misconceptions about trading is that it is all just luck. Is trading really just a game of chance? Is there any way to improve your odds? The answer is no, and yes. Trading isn’t all about luck because you can make intelligent decisions on what trades to take, but at the same time not every trade will be successful. You have to accept failure in order to succeed.

##The idea of luck is a misconception:

The idea of luck is a misconception. It’s not about who has the most money, or even who knows what they are doing…it’s all about how your brain handles risk and reward in our complex world.

Do you know that research shows we make more impulsive decisions when stressed out? Stress may be one cause for some people to have an increased vulnerability to gambling addiction. This doesn’t sound like much fun! Some other factors which can increase susceptibility to gambling addiction include poverty, social isolation, prior mental illness, access to addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs, and family history of addictions (including “dipsomania”).

A study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies found that gamblers with a family history of addiction were more likely to have worsened gambling symptoms than those without such a history.

People who are addicted might not be able to control their behaviors and they may experience cravings for the activity – even if it’s harmful or dangerous. This is where trading all about luck comes in! If you can take your emotions out, then this will give you an edge over other traders on Wall Street. Is Trading All About Luck?

It’s possible some people just aren’t wired right when it comes to making decisions under duress which would explain why these people seem “luckier” at times – but luckily doesn’t mean there isn’t skill involved as well!

##Trading is about managing risk and being disciplined: (more…)

What’s the trade if Trump steals the election this year?

re we looking at a repeat of the dollar melt up in 2016?

As Biden leads in the polls, almost everyone has been talking up the case for a ‘blue wave’ and what scenarios may take place should that happen.

The straightforward one being “buy everything, sell the dollar” of course, but there are some risks associated with that once the euphoria begins to fade.

Over the past ten months, I grew from thinking Trump would easily win this election to thinking that Biden should have this in the bag, judging by the lead in the polls. But now, I’m less confident of that outcome as we approach the home stretch.
I would still argue that the base case remains for a ‘blue wave’ but Trump winning once again and stealing this election is not within the realms of being unworldly, if you ask me.
As a trader, it’s best to be prepared for all outcomes and eventualities, so what is the trade if we do see another four years of Trump in the White House after next week?
Is it going to be the total opposite of the reaction if we see a ‘blue wave’ outcome?



icolas Darvas viewed Wall Street as nothing more than a gambling casino; therefore, he set out to learn how to gamble.

I would like us to take a look at Mr. Darvas’ understanding of the stock market, as outlined in his best selling book How I Made $2,000,000 In The Stock Market, originally penned in 1960, as we recognize that what was true over 50 years ago still holds true today.  In other words, trading the market today is THE SAME AS IT EVER WAS.

Mr. Darvas experienced an “important turning point” in his stock market career when he learned that “there is no such thing as cannot in the market.  Any stock can do anything.”  With this in mind Darvas developed his “box theory” based on the following realizations:

1.  There is no sure thing in the market.  I was bound to be wrong half the time. Darvas adopted what he called the “quick-loss weapon”.  He already knew he would be wrong quite often (half the time); therefore, he decided to accept his mistakes realistically and get out of a losing trade with a small loss.  “This way, I figured, I would never sleep with a loss.  If any of my stocks went below the price I thought they should, I would not own them when I went to bed that night.  I knew that many times I would be stopped out for the sake of a point just to see my stock climb up immediately after.  But I realized that this was not so important as stopping the big losses.  Besides, I could always buy back the stock by paying a higher price.”

2.  My pride and my ego would have to be subdued.  Darvas surmised that with a win ratio of 50% his profits had to be bigger than his losses.  Breaking even was not a sustainable option.  For that to happen he would have to take many losses while letting the winners run.  Egotistical pride would have to give way to humble reality.  “As if stocks were made to conform to my new attitude, I handled this quite successfully for quite a while.  I bought with bold confidence when I thought I was right and coldly, without a hurt ego, I took my limited losses when I thought I was proven wrong.”

3.  I must become an impartial diagnostician. Instead of trying to force his will upon market direction, Darvas allowed the market to direct him by becoming intimate with a few stocks at a time and by not listening to others.  “To try to fit the market into a rigid pattern was a mistake.  As I only handled five to eight stocks at a time, I automatically separated them from the confusing, jungle-like movement of the hundreds of stocks surrounding them.  I was influenced by nothing but the price of my stocks.  I could not hear what people said, but I could see what they did.  It was like a poker game in which I could not hear the betting, but I could see all the cards.  Of course, the poker players would try to mislead me with words, and they would not show me their cards.  But if I did not listen to their words, and constantly watched their cards, I could guess what they were doing.”


“Who will win the election?” is the wrong question

“Will there be a clear, uncontested and accepted winner?” is a better question

"Will there be a clear, uncontested and accepted winner?" is a better question
The betting odds of a Biden Presidency ticked higher after yesterday’s debate. I believe Trump’s constant interrupting was at least partly strategic in the hope of tripping up Biden and making him look more like the bumbling caricature he’s tried to construct. By and large that didn’t work and I doubt Trump won over many undecideds.
Given the polling lead, Biden should be a large favourite but he’s stuck at 60/40 because no one can forget Trump’s upset win over Hillary Clinton, or Brexit.
For markets, I think the outcome itself is less important in the short term than the question of whether or not their will be a clear winner; and whether Trump will ever concede.
BMO’s fixed income team writes today about the tail risk of a contested election but ponders the degree to which the consensus opinion is already fully incorporated into current valuations.
Let’s face it, very few in the market are anticipating a smooth election nor for any potential transition of power to be uneventful. The extent to which November serves to disrupt functioning of the federal government or fuel further civil unrest remains to be seen and, frankly, is the most significant tail risk as we ponder potential outcomes.
I’m open to the ‘sell the rumour, buy the fact trade’ but skeptical that it’s even possible to price in uncertainty in that way. Uncertainty is — by definition — something that persists for an indefinite amount of time. If Trump refuses to concede even on a clear loss, he will still have a strong political base and I expect him to use it to dog Biden for years. It’s a question of how far he’s willing to go and with Trump, the sky is the limit.
The ‘buy the fact’ trade relies on an eventual return to Obama-era levels of civility (which isn’t saying much) but I just don’t think that’s coming.

SoftBank sits on $4B profit on options trade – FT

SoftBank up $4B

SoftBank up $4B
All the talk Friday was about SoftBank’s huge position in equity options and how it may have contributed to the blow-off moves we saw in the tech sector last week.
The FT reports that the trade is sitting on a $4 billion trade.
For all the attention it has gotten, that strikes me as a small number. Founder Masayoshi Son once lost $70B in the dot-com crash and the company is worth close to $100B. SoftBank lost $17.7B on WeWork and Uber last year.
The strategy has focused on options related to individual US tech stocks. In total, it has taken on notional exposure of about $30bn using call options – bets on rising stock prices that provide the right to buy stocks at a preset price on future dates. Some of this position has been offset by other contracts bought as hedges.
“It’s just a levered punt on the market,” said one person with direct knowledge of the trades. “The whole strategy is just momentum buying.”
Without knowing the details of the trade — including the timeline — it’s tough to evaluate. However if the whole strategy is really just momentum buying, then Thurs/Fri showed how quickly it could blow up.
For me though, the whole thing is overblown. $30B is notional (again, depending on the details), really isn’t that much.

Eurostoxx futures +0.7% in early European trading

Optimistic tones observed in early trades

  • German DAX futures +0.9%
  • UK FTSE futures +0.9%
  • Spanish IBEX futures +0.6%

European indices ended yesterday more mixed in another somewhat disappointing session, but the late gains seen in US stocks is giving risk buyers another shot in trading today.

This sets up a firmer open for equities later but that isn’t quite translating into much for the major currencies space as the focus remains on the dollar, as it meets some key technical crossroads going into the session ahead.


Number 10 - Free Picture of the Number Ten1.  Follow the Rule of Three.  The rule of three simply states that a trade will not be made unless you can carefully articulate three reasons for doing so.  This eliminates trading from an indicator alone.

2.  Keep Losses Small.  It is vitally important to keep losses small as most all of large losses began as small ones, and large losses can put an end to your trading career.

3.  Adjust Stops.  When a trade is working move your stop loss up in order to lock in gains.

4.  Keep Commissions Low.  There is a cost to trading but there is no reason to overpay brokerage fees.  A discount brokerage is just as good as a premium brand name one.

5.  Amateurs at the Open, Pros at the Close.  The best time to enter trades are after lunch when the professionals are looking to get in at a better price than one provided in the morning.

6.  Know the General Market Trend.  When trading individual stocks make sure you trade with the general market trend or condition, not against it.

7.  Write Down Every Trade.  Doing this will allow you to learn what is working and what is not.  It will also help you determine what types of trades work best for your personality.

8.  Never Average Down a Losing Position.  It is a loser’s game when you add to a loser.  You add to winning positions because they are winners and are proving themselves to be such.

9.  Never Overtrade.  Overtrading is a direct result of not following a well thought out plan, deciding it is best to trade off emotion instead.  This will do nothing but cause frustration and a loss of money.

10.  Give 10 Percent Away.  Money works the fastest when it is divided.  When we share we prime the economic pump of the universe.

Trading is a game of rules.  We either make the decision to abide by them or we break them.  We do the latter at our own peril.

With each new trade we must believe the following:

1.  Consistent profitability has nothing to do with our predictive abilities.

2.  With each new trade we cannot place any undeserved significance (e.g. “this is the perfect setup”) on its outcome.

3.  We cannot expect the trade to do anything for us other than provide the information needed for us to either hold or exit.   The process by which we have determined our trade setup will also be our guide for exiting (win, lose, or draw).

4.  We accept that we have control over the process but absolutely no control over the outcome.

5. We accept that our current trade setup may look exactly like past opportunities, profitable or not, but may produce an entirely different result due to the collective beliefs and decisions of other market participants.

China June trade data, exports +4.3% y/y, imports +6.2% y/y (yuan terms)

china trade, yuan terms:

trade balance: expected CNY 425bn, prior was CNY 442.75bn

  • Exports +4.3% y/y: expected +3.5%, prior was +1.4%
  • Imports +6.2% y/y: expected -4.7%, prior was -12.7%

Exports have now risen for 3 consecutive months

The data is only dribbling out, do not have the trade balnce announced from China yet, nor the figures in USD terms. Nevertheless, bounce of both imports and exports is encouraging for the Chinese economy.

China has said trade with the US is down 6.6% y/y in H1.

3 big doubts on the phase 1 US-China trade deal

The Financial Times flags concerns that business have with the trade truce signed by the US and China

  • left billions of dollars of US tariffs on Chinese goods in place
  • doubts about whether the truce will stick
  • a desire for US officials to complete the work by extracting further structural concessions from Beijing
The piece does say, more positively that the risk of a new escalation in tariffs and tension in the near term – and possibly even until after the November 2020 presidential election – is lower.
  •  there is still broad concern in corporate America that the truce is fragile and limited. If the Trump administration believes that China is not living up to its commitments, it could quickly and unilaterally move to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods, leading to a new escalation.
Yep … this is not over, as we all know.
FT link, may be gated.
Go to top