Trading Archive

Train Your Brain for Trading (No, Really!)

Posted September 15, 2016 By APTA.org.au

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-19/neuroscience-may-help-train-your-brain-for-trading?cmpid=BBD081916_BIZ

Recent research finds that traders looking at prices use parts of the brain associated with reading other people.

A stock’s price is ticking up and down on a screen in front of you. Do you rationally evaluate the probabilities that the price will rise before you pull the trigger on a trade? Or do you go with your gut?

You may prefer to think superior ability—that mysterious X-factor some traders appear to have—is rooted in the former scenario. But a few years ago, researchers at the California Institute of Technology went to the trouble of taking pictures of people’s brains while they were evaluating trades. Surprise: As rational as you are, you probably opt for that gut feeling a lot.

Using fMRI scans, neuroscientists can identify which brain structures are associated with particular activities. To do so, they might put a subject in a machine and have him solve a math problem so they can watch the fireworks go off. Those math-related structures aren’t what lit up in the Caltech experiment. Instead, the activation occurred in parts of the brain associated with something psychologists call “theory of mind.”

That’s essentially the ability to read other people. “It’s a viewpoint on what another person is thinking and feeling and what they’re likely to do,” says Denise Shull, founder of the ReThink Group, a New York research and consulting firm that coaches financial professionals and athletes. You unconsciously use theory of mind all the time to process experiences in the world, says Shull. It’s what helps you navigate a busy Manhattan sidewalk: You can tell that the guy in front of you is about to veer to the right, so you step to the left. It’s also what enables some traders to look at the tape, she says, and see that “someone’s slamming the bid.”

In the Caltech experiment, detailed in “Exploring the Nature of ‘Trader Intuition,’ ” a paper published in the Journal of Finance in 2010, researchers set up a stylized market. They had participants trade two “stocks” in a series of sessions. The payoff from the two stocks together was fixed at 50¢, but the portion of the payout that would come from each stock was revealed only after the session ended. One might pay 49¢ and the other would pay 1¢, for example.

In some of the sessions, none of the participants had any additional information about the payoffs. In other sessions, some participants were given a hint about what the payoffs would be. Based on that hint, those participants might bid up one of the stocks.

The trading during those sessions took place electronically and was videotaped. Later, a different group of subjects watched replays. After a while, a researcher would stop the video and ask the subjects to predict what the next price would be.

In the sessions where some traders were acting on hints about the payoff, the observers could infer information about how stocks would move just from watching the prices and flow of orders. The explanation: The fMRI scans showed the observers had engaged the theory-of-mind-related parts of their brains. Also, the observers who were better at predicting prices did better on separate tests of theory-of-mind abilities.
An fMRI image from the Caltech study shows the main activation in the paracingulate cortex, an area associated with theory of mind.
An fMRI image from the Caltech study shows the main activation in the paracingulate cortex, an area associated with theory of mind.
Peter Bossaerts

The Caltech study has some interesting implications. Among them: Theory of mind may explain how uninformed traders infer new information and act on it in such a way that prices quickly come to fully reflect it—as is posited by the efficient markets hypothesis, a cornerstone of finance theory.

Peter Bossaerts, an author of the Caltech study who’s now a professor of experimental finance and decision neuroscience at the University of Melbourne, says subsequent research also supports the idea that theory of mind may explain how information flows through markets. “We have more evidence for it,” he said in an e-mail, citing papers that show connections between theory of mind and market bubbles.

 

The Bloomberg Tradebook Trader Exercise lets you exercise your trader brain.
The Bloomberg Tradebook Trader Exercise lets you exercise your trader brain.

So, can you sharpen your skills for that? Yes, says Shull. “It’s trainable.” Although theory of mind is unconscious, Shull says there’s a conscious version of the same type of processing, which she calls cognitive empathy. “Cognitive empathy is thinking about it and trying to do it intentionally, and that’s where you can train yourself,” she says. The new Bloomberg Tradebook Trader Exercise lets you test your abilities and practice to improve them. Developed by Shull’s ReThink Group in conjunction with Tradebook, Bloomberg’s agency brokerage, the activity uses various animated shapes to challenge your gray matter. Keep an eye on that pentagon!

Asmundsson is <GO> editor of Bloomberg Markets.

Cautious Outlook For US Equities

Posted September 8, 2016 By APTA.org.au

What lies ahead in September for US Equities? Bruno Estier, Independent Market Strategist

You can view this video and the full video archive on the Dukascopy TV page: http://www.dukascopy.com/tv/en/#193388

0:00sep tember is wearing me as every September we know that sometimes if we
0:05look for example in 2014 volatility tend to write the morning brunei so we’re in
0:14September now so do you think the US equity market will continue to go higher
0:20well good morning Sally Starr yes we do have good news
0:23let’s see this morning mid cap which is a lot better for the market we see how
0:29your highs and higher lows here on the smoke up and under the cap as well and
0:33the relative strength has been rising during the old summer and it’s now a
0:38little bit poisoning but the momentum is still higher at first sight it looks
0:42good but what’s worrying you
0:44well September is wearing me as a every September we know that sometimes if we
0:50look for example in 2014 volatility tend to rise in September sometimes even
0:56start with audio in August as August has been very quite so far there is some
1:03chance that the ability would be arising if we look at that here we are below the
1:07thirteen percent levels which is a bit complacent that means nobody worrying
1:11about anything and on the other hand if we look in detail what happened in the
1:17last 10 days we had a first initial rise from eleven to fifteen percent and then
1:22the putback but this pullback with current rising momentum could be a
1:27higher lows and that could announce some more trouble later on okay what does
1:33that mean for their SMP 500 well we hope that that means that it would break out
1:38of these very narrowing bollinger bands which has been like a lasting now for
1:45almost all of july and august we see a very narrow training range again just
1:51before labor day we had a kind of a force break up on the downside that’s
1:56relatively corresponding to the seasonal that just before Labor Day doesn’t break
2:01down it’s more after late and we hadn’t even a rebound to what the top of the
2:06training range so here really what we need to to think and and watch is two
2:12levels
2:12two simple levels the first one would be a failure in the coming days to break
2:17above the resistance level which is a 21 92 93 and of course if there is a such a
2:25failure would be watching at the level of 2160 the support of course as this
2:31confirmation that something is going on there are other markets such as the
2:36European equities markets which have been doing quite well it’s been quite
2:39bullish hasn’t it
2:41well yes and he did give a relatively nice bullish signals because it’s
2:46breaking a long-term downtrend line that we see here over more than one year
2:52around the level of thirty 30 and now it’s rising up it comes at the same time
3:00as a relative strength versus the SNP is rising while it was declining so far so
3:05in fact basically if it was declining so far that means that Europe was lagging
3:10the SNP so that could just be a kind of ketchup situation and not lasting very
3:17long and he say the japanese market performing well
3:21japanese is a has been performing as expected in the sense that when it came
3:26close to 100 then there was a worried that too maybe it was too expensive yen
3:34and then the quickly corrected down 296 and at the same time we see that nuclear
3:40rebounded from 17,000 6402 to the 17,000 levels now yesterday was kind of
3:47interesting because it make a new high like a breakout above the previous
3:52resistance 6900 and at the same time the energy balance so it doesn’t go together
3:5911 of coffee is wrong so if there is a rebound because it was kind of a good
4:05move on the inside then probably the yen could be better patient we see here the
4:10oscillator the momentum is also overboard so it’s a situation where a
4:15reversal on this breakup could be with more dramatic the brunei you being a bit
4:22too cautious have how emerging markets going well if
4:26way that’s a good question you know because everything is doing well if we
4:31take some more distance and we go to a weekly chart
4:34what do we see we see indeed since during a very nice rise but this right
4:40now is approaching kosher levels first of all it’s the previous highs of the
4:46area of sep tember year ago
4:49secondly it is also a technical levels of close to this the top of this cloud
4:55and we know they’re usually that could be some resistance of some stalling that
5:00means the market could go from instead of continuing I could go sideways and
5:05put back that’s it for china so that’s why I’m worried and india was your
5:12favorite market is that still doing well
5:14india has been already making a small pose like we mentioned that two weeks
5:20ago and it’s now making a new high as if it wants to continue to go a lot more
5:26higher it is true that it outperformed the S&P that’s the black line which is
5:31rising vs emerging-market here it’s not so clear because it’s flat for now a few
5:37months so that means that’s not the leader anymore it’s just performing as
5:41well as over markets so here again we need to be careful about what would
5:49happen if we go back to below this key resistance level that we have identified
5:54already or four weeks ago and that would come together with some bearish
6:00divergence so that means what could come after is more of a stronger correction
6:06that what I have been so far and during the summer you like Brazil but has it
6:11been overbought now brazen used 22 always like when somebody games happen
6:17it’s usually uh we’re doing any country equity marketing of that country is
6:22doing well and we see that it has been rising on the relative strength is in
6:26peak away nicely vs said the imaging market it’s now also stalling because
6:32it’s also more linked not anymore with a leaping games that more with oil and
6:37here again
6:38we are close to some key resistance that we had not seen since april $DAY of
6:45$MONTH 2015 so with with the momentum starting a little bit too we need to be
6:51careful that it doesn’t go back below 44 and what could be a trigger for bad news
6:56the trigger for venues will be basically in all these market that what’s it is
7:03expected about growth is not realized so how do we measure grove indirectly in
7:09the markets usually when there is more buff expected interest rates are
7:14supposed to rise and that’s why we try to identify already since mid-july
7:19because we noticed these triangles in the interest rates of the 10-year US but
7:24it hasn’t broken up yet
7:27it’s taking its time again it’s stored at the 163 and it’s back down to the
7:33support level of the triangle so much lower yield below 150 would be a kind of
7:39a warning because we notice that when it went down in June the SNP also had a
7:45kind of a sharp correction and here it has been so quiet that it could happen
7:50the same thing and what should the second market be watching out for the
7:55second market is also linked to interest rate we mention oil if there is some
8:02expectation about inflation that means all price good should also go up as well
8:08as the interest rates and here we also have a very nice long term pattern which
8:13core for higher old price but there as well it’s taking its time it still below
8:2051 and the related transversal the SNP is also still below its key resistances
8:27so it’s not yet a good contributor to our bullish SNP so it’s still in the
8:32waiting
8:34well Bruno as always such a pleasure to have you here and we look forward to any
8:38come in next time you’re welcome
8:40that’s all for myself and Brunei if you like this segment please give it a like
8:44and comment on our website dukascopy . TV

Coworking for Share & Derivatives Traders

Posted August 22, 2016 By APTA.org.au

Coworking for Share & Derivatives Traders

Sydney, AU
7 Members

I run a financial services business and have spare office space that I would like to open up for like minded traders & investors. If you are trading / investing pretty much fu…

Next Meetup

Come and check out the coworking space.

Tuesday, Aug 23, 2016, 1:00 PM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

I run a financial services business and have spare office space that I would like to open up for like minded traders & investors. If you are trading / investing pretty much full time (from home) and wish to interact with like minded traders in a professional office environment (and get out of the house…), compare ideas and mutually support each other then come and try us out for free for a couple of days. The office is in Crows Nest, 5 minutes walk from St Leonards Station, and near the centre of the Crows Nest Café and Restaurant scene. Fully air conditioned, kitchen, wired, high speed Ethernet internet. Come and check us out or call Claus on 0410 692 943 for further info.

Come and check out the coworking space.
Tue Aug 23 1:00 PM

1st Floor Unit 8
174 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest

Comfortable office environment for traders. Modern, light with ample space and high speed Ethernet internet. Learn more
Hosted by: Claus (Organizer)

Stocks Are Breaking the Glass Ceiling: 6 Reasons to Be Bullish

At the beginning of 2000, I unsuccessfully submitted a bearish stock market article, A Turn of the Tide, to a well-known US financial publisher. At the time, in the middle of a market mania, my contrarian warning was unwelcome. Ironically, it was later carried by a Polish financial magazine—not exactly the wide distribution channel I was hoping for! This incident is being brought up now because the S&P Composite,when adjusted for inflation, has made no real progress in the intervening 16-years. That said, it now looks as though bullish forces are conspiring to take prices through the 16 year inflation adjusted glass ceiling to significantly higher levels. Guiding the way higher is our composite stock market indicator the stock “Speedometer”. Before we review that evidence, it makes sense to back up a little in order to evaluate things from a longer-term perspective.

Valuation- a Wall of Worry

Chart 1 compares the inflation adjusted S&P Composite to the renowned Shiller P/E, the so-called CAPE (Cyclically Adjusted P/E ratio).

 Chart 1 Inflation Adjusted Stocks versus the Shiller P/E

(Source: Martin Pring’s August Intermarket Review) 

High valuations are a problem but only when the trend is negative

At Pring Turner we think of the Shiller P/E as not only a valuation but also a sentiment indicator. High readings indicate confidence, as investors are willing to pay a very high price per each dollar of earnings. Compare that to depressed levels at secular lows, when there is so much fear and pessimism that those same investors demand a much lower price per dollar of earnings (lower P/E) for the huge risks they perceive.

Right now, this indicator is at a high level when compared to historical readings. It’s in what we call the equity “death zone”, as flagged by the pink shaded areas. There is no doubt that the level of this indicator concerns us, but that doesn’t mean a stock price collapse is imminent.  In fact, stocks can continue to rise despite the lofty valuations. For example, what was historically extended in 1928 and 1995 became even more stretched by the time the market peaked in 1929 and 2000. The higher you climb on Mount Everest the more dangerous it becomes, but that does not stop determined climbers from taking the risk and pushing through the “death zone” on their way to the summit. In markets, crowd psychology can cause prices to overshoot as market participants become overly confident and expect higher and higher prices. There is no question that the equity prices, by historical measures of very long-term momentum and many valuation yardsticks, are overextended. It is and should be a wall of worry against higher prices. Nevertheless, the vast majority of primary trend indicators (the “tape”) are acting positively.

The Market and the Economy

Over the last century, 3 out of every 4 bear markets occurred during economic recessions. Following business cycle indicators helps us navigate the major ups and downs of the markets. As the economy changes, we make important investment adjustments to better prepare for the road ahead. Bull moves in stocks typically emerge as investors finish discounting recessionary conditions or economic slowdowns. Prices rally as the market senses that a phase of renewed growth is in the air.  In this respect, Chart 2 compares the S&P Composite to our Growth Indicator, a composite series constructed from the momentum of several leading economic indicators. The vertical lines flag instances when it reverses to the upside from a position at or below the -12.5% level. Red highlights indicate recessions, the ending of which have been consistently signaled with a bottoming in the Growth Indicator. The signals not connected with recessions mostly developed as the economy was emerging from a growth slowdown, such as in 1962, 1966 and 1984. Each was followed by a very robust equity rally, except for in late 2001. The 2001 reversal correctly forecasted the recovery, but is one of very few instances where the market and the economy were totally decoupled.

 Chart 2 S&P Composite versus the Growth Indicator

(Source: Martin Pring’s August Intermarket Review)

When the growth Indicator bottoms expect the economy to improve and for stocks to move higher

The recent rally in the Growth series tells us that business activity will likely do its part, so let’s now turn to some market indicators to see whether they are also ready to oblige.

Long-term Stock Market Indicators

Chart 3 features our Financial Velocity indicator, or rather its 6-month moving average. This series combines the rate-of-change of bonds, stocks and commodities into one series. It triggers buy signals by reversing to the upside from a position at or, more commonly, below the equilibrium level. Examples have been flagged by the vertical lines. Most have been followed by important bull moves in inflation adjusted stocks, but one or two, like 1940 and 1978 have not. These reversals signal that sufficient liquidity is being pumped into the system to power the economy, and therefore the stock market, higher. Note that virtually every recession (red highlights) is associated with a turnaround in the indicator. This velocity series has recently reversed for the 22nd time since 1921. This reversal strongly suggests that a new up leg in the bull market is underway.

Chart 3 Inflation Adjusted Equities versus The Financial Velocity Indicator

(Source: Martin Pring’s August Intermarket Review)

When velocity bottoms, stocks usually begin a bull market of some kind

Bond Market Confidence

A strong rally in stocks is often associated with an improvement in bond market confidence. One way that this is telegraphed is from reversals in momentum calculated by the ratio between low quality and high quality bonds (government yields/ corporate Baa yields), a so called “credit spread”. This relationship is shown in long-term momentum format in Chart 4. A rising indicator reflects improving confidence amongst bond investors, as they favor higher yielding but more risky Baa corporate bonds over government bonds. The vertical lines tell us that a bottoming in momentum at or below the green “confidence” line indicates that a more positive trend sentiment has begun.  In all, there have been eight signals since 1949. In each situation, equities rallied with only the duration and magnitude open to question.

Chart 4 S&P Composite versus Credit Spread Momentum

(Source: Martin Pring’s August Intermarket Review)

Stocks are likely to rise when the momentum of this credit spread bottoms from a low level

Chart 5 expresses market breadth in the form of the momentum of stocks registering net new 52-week highs on the NYSE. The vertical green lines flag when this price oscillator, following a corrective period (blue arrows), moves above the overstretched green horizontal line. This action suggests the market is severely overbought; however, unlike most overstretched conditions, this is positive because it usually reflects a bull move in its initial stages. The chart shows that each of these six instances has been followed by a worthwhile advance since the 1970’s.

Chart 5 NYSE Composite versus a Net New High Oscillator

(Source: Martin Pring’s August Intermarket Review)

A sharp oscillator correction followed by an overbought reading means higher prices are to come

The sixth and final bullish indicator is our “Stock Speedometer”. The Stock Speedometer is a combination of a wide range of market indicators. Historically higher readings have led to better returns for the average stock; conversely, lower readings have led to poor results. The speedometer is designed to identify the primary environment of the stock market. Similar to your car speedometer, it signals how fast or slow we, as sub advisors, drive our portfolios. As the Speedometer changes, important portfolio adjustments are made in order to better navigate the financial road conditions ahead.

The Stock Speedometer has two crucial areas: a “Safety Zone” and a “Danger Zone”. Since 2000, the NYSE Composite returned +12% per year on average with the speedometer in the positive or Safety Zone. In comparison, it declined -21% per year on average when the speedometer was in the Danger Zone.  The latest reading is 90%, which is firmly in bullish territory, thereby indicating an above average exposure to equities.

Chart 6 Pring Turner Stock Speedometer

The current high reading means it is safe to drive portfolios at a faster speed

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the high reading in the Shiller P/E is a cause for concern, a definite wall of worry if you will. Still, history demonstrates that markets can, and often do, overshoot. This does not mean that breaking through  the glass ceiling denotes that the sky is the limit. Rather, it tells us to stay the course as long as our Speedometer and other indicators continue to signal safe driving conditions for portfolios.  We welcome questions or comments about any of the 6 indicators or inquiries about our sub-advisory services.

Thank you for reading.

Martin Pring

Click the following link to download the PDF Glass Ceiling 6 Reasons to Be Bullish

 


DISCLOSURES:Pring Turner Capital Group (“Advisor”) is a financial advisor based in Walnut Creek, CA. The Advisor invests on behalf of individuals, organizations, and other financial advisors that appreciate a conservative and active investment style that aims to deliver consistent results without taking undue risk. The key objective of the Advisor’s investment philosophy is to not lose big during major market declines, making it easier to compound wealth over the long run.

The Advisor is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The views expressed herein represent the opinions of Advisor, are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are presented as of the date hereof and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

In addition, this document contains certain forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results and conditions may differ from the opinions expressed herein.  All external data, including the information used to develop the opinions herein, was gathered from sources we consider reliable and believe to be accurate; however, no independent verification has been made and accuracy is not guaranteed. Neither Advisor, nor any person connected with it, accepts any liability arising from the use of this information. Recipients of the information contained herein should exercise due care and caution prior to making any decision or acting or omitting to act on the basis of the information contained herein.  ©2016 Pring Turner Capital Group.  All rights reserved.

Europe Relative Strength Rebounds

Posted August 16, 2016 By APTA.org.au

Click here to view on YouTube.

Is Brazil still a favorite? Bruno Estier, Independent Market Strategist

You can view this video and the full video archive on the Dukascopy TV page: http://www.dukascopy.com/tv/en/#191258

Click here to view on YouTube.

This video is a recording of webinar on “How to Design Quant Trading Strategies using “R”? conducted by QuantInsti on 11th December , 2014 . The webinar aimed at introducing the concepts of Algorithmic Trading and exploring-
1. ” R” as a platform for strategy back testing
2. Optimizing Strategy parameters using “R”
3. Back testing the strategy across asset classes on “R”

The webinar was taken by Mr. Anil Yadav, who is a co-founder of iRageCapital and QuantInsti, manages an Algorithmic strategy advisory team at iRageCapital and is responsible for building and benchmarking strategies for the clients across various asset classes. Prior to iRage, he has worked as Convertible Analyst at Lehman Brothers. He is IIM – Lucknow and IIT – Kanpur Alumnus.

QuantInsti (QI) is the pioneer institute in providing training programs based on High Frequency Trading & Algorithmic Trading to both individuals as well as leading institutions like banks, institutional brokers and hedge funds. It has already seen many batches successfully completing their training programs and now actively contributing to the industry after getting placed in leading institutions or while working on their own algorithmic trading desks.

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Zen and the art of trading

Posted August 10, 2016 By APTA.org.au

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/invest/zen-and-the-art-of-trading

by Rachael Boon

Nabil Mattar, who meditates every morning, says trading is not just about making big bucks

It might seem unusual to associate meditation with the dapper Mr Nabil Mattar, who is dressed in a crisp white shirt and dark blue suit for this interview.

But meditation has played a major role in his personal trading skills, and is something he practises for 10 minutes every morning before his work as a director of premium client services begins at foreign broker IG.

Mr Mattar, 34, says: “It helps you to centre your mind. A lot of people don’t see the link to trading. For example, if you made a loss or gain yesterday, you can’t be emotional the next time you trade. Emotions skew things otherwise.”

He started mediating 18 months ago, and notes it’s something that billionaire hedge fund managers like Mr Ray Dalio also practise.

Mr Mattar finds that meditating with the aim to master his personal trading skills ties in very much with a Japanese philosophy called the Art of Zanshin that he subscribes to.

He describes it as “where one learns how to fall in love with the boredom of doing work and embrace each piece of the process instead of being too obsessed with the end result”.

He discovered Zanshin – which also refers to “being in a state of relaxed alertness” – while reading a book about the “samurai way of trading” six years ago.

“Like a skilled archer, if we put the intensity, focus and sincerity into the process, then hitting the bull’s eye is simply a side effect. This example applies exactly to trading as well. It’s the process you enjoy, and it’s not just about making big money.

“People cannot be too emotionally attached to the objective of making money, but should instead put the attention to the strategy and managing our own psychology.

“The reason why it is so difficult is because our lives revolve around results and money often, so how is it possible to detach yourself emotionally? That is where the constant psychological battle as a trader lies.”

Mr Mattar enjoyed retail trading so much that he quit his banking job in 2008 to pursue it full-time, but returned to a regular job to build his capital.

He is accustomed to doing things differently from everyone, and even joined the My Paper Executive competition in 2013 – which looks for exceptional young working executives – and finished third.

Contrary to popular belief that trading in the markets is high-risk, “the biggest risk in trading is yourself”, says Mr Mattar, who prefers trading foreign exchange and indexes. “You have all the tools to manage your risk such as guaranteed stop-loss orders, but if you don’t manage your risk in yourself, you can end up ‘killing’ your trades.”

Mr Mattar manages his risk by setting a maximum loss of between 1 per cent and 2 per cent, and a maximum drawdown of 10 per cent, among other things, for his personal portfolio. “Once I lose more than 10 per cent, I stop trading for a while and review things. These are risk-management techniques that you need to use.”

The strategy he has honed over the years for himself gives him an edge over the markets,says Mr Mattar, but results came only after his “psychology matured as a trader”.

“This comes with blood, sweat and tears, not chasing the markets, but learning how to refocus after a bad decision, knowing when to cut losses, which are all psychological elements of trading that are so important. I can say that trading is 70 per cent psychology.”

Q Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

A My dad was in AIA for 30 years as an insurance manager, my elder sister Juliana and I were quite fortunate to grow up in an upper middle-class family. He always said not to keep up with the Joneses.

I’ve no debt and will think twice about buying a house. A lot of people here are “asset-rich, cash poor” but the assets aren’t really assets because they are still paying for them.

Q How did you get interested in investing and trading?

A I started when I was in Singapore Management University, and bought stocks like Genting when there was a lot of talk about the casinos. I also bought some China stocks like China Hongxing Sports which is still suspended since it stopped trading five years ago. There was a time my portfolio was up 20 per cent when I was younger, but I kept holding on, and the 2008 crisis came and I suffered losses.

I later stumbled upon an overseas trading signal company. It turned out well for the first few months, but went downhill after that. I was just following someone’s advice, but that’s how I got started on trading. Eventually, when I lost enough money, I had enough and wanted to learn on my own.

Q Describe your personal strategy.

A To me, technical analysis is like the “eyes” of the markets. Everything you need to know as a trader is on the charts. What the momentum is, where the buyers and sellers are, how is the sentiment like – that’s all revealed in the price action on the charts.

Price action is about studying the market without indicators, and I use it to determine the phase of the market – uptrend, downtrend or sideways.

I also use the support and resistance lines. These two are the leading indicators, and then I use lagging indicators like the exponential moving average and moving average convergence divergence. It’s good to combine them.

I study the swing highs and lows of the market to have an overview of whether the market is trending or consolidating.

I steer away from trading in sideways markets because you don’t want to be stuck when the markets are indecisive. For example, the euro has been trending sideways for a year or so, but if you look at commodities such as gold, it has been on a steady uptrend for the year.

Next, when I identify something interesting while studying the charts, I will drill down to specific timeframes to plan my trade.

When investing, people talk about buying low and selling high. As a trend trader, it’s about buying higher on an uptrend, or selling lower on a downtrend, and is almost the opposite of value investing. My trades tend to be shorter-term.

Planning a trade is a process that involves deciding the timeframe that I personally plan to hold the trade for, the risk to reward, and also incorporating other indicators to build a trade plan.

Take the S&P 500 index. It’s been moving sideways for the whole of last year and early this year. After Brexit, it broke the 2,130-point level a few weeks ago, which is the all-time high, and is an indication that the trend is starting to move up.

Once there is such a move on the chart, I zoom in to a four-hour or one-hour chart, and plan a trade to “buy up”.

A lot of people are always questioning the fundamentals, and they also doubted if the S&P trend could be sustained. Being a pure technician means I will follow the charts.

After five years of trading for my own portfolio, this process of trade planning, using a similar price action strategy, has been ingrained in me and solidifies the trade planning process and strategy in order to achieve consistency.

I view the financial markets as one big jigsaw puzzle. The world is so connected now that when China sneezes, the whole world catches a cold.

To plan my personal trades, I scan different asset classes, from indexes, to commodities to foreign exchange, and look for the strongest trends.

I feel these are the markets that are easiest to trade as the direction and momentum have been established and, as a retail trader, all I aim to do is to “follow the tide”.

Q What’s in your personal portfolio?

A My trading portfolio consists of more than 30 different currency pairs and some eight different indexes.

As a technical trader, liquidity is of the utmost importance. Both foreign exchange and indexes offer the most liquidity in the market.

I’ve set aside a personal base capital of at least $50,000 for trading, and I plan to grow that to $100,000 in two years. I started achieving a consistent return of a low single-digit per cent each month some years ago.

The early years were painful. Like any amateur retail trader, I blew my account numerous times.

There’s a common misperception that as a retail trader, you can be an instant millionaire. That is far from the truth. Trading is about getting rich slowly.

Now the returns from my own portfolio take care of my rent. That’s more than enough for me, and I plan to slowly increase the lot size in future.

A new trader might catch a lucky break and make lots of money taking excessive risk, but with that kind of risk management, the market will catch up with him sooner or later. The key thing to trading is achieving consistency, which is a challenge that most people face.

Q What does money mean to you?

A Linking it to trading, you can’t place too much weight or emotions on money. That’s the tough part because it’s about the “money culture” in Singapore.

When it comes to trading, you’ve got to be objective and that’s the toughest part.

I also save 50 to 60 per cent of my income, and I spent the most on travelling because experiences are the currency of life.

Q What’s the most extravagant thing you have done?

A In my books, it was an autographed boxing glove, with the signatures of boxing star Manny Pacquiao and his arch rival Floyd Mayweather, that I bought last year for about $3,000.

I was surprised, and was the only bidder. This was before the fight in May. It’s not something I’d normally do. I was at an auction which had things such as sports memorabilia at a yacht show where I brought clients, and the wealthy people there were not interested. Based on my experience as a boxing fan, I think the value should at least increase threefold in the next decade or so. The last I checked online, it was selling for US$5,000 (S$6,690).

These are two legends, one is undefeated (Mayweather), the other (Pacquiao) has won in many weight classes, so in the next 10, 20 years, who knows what the glove’s value will be. My plan is to keep it until they pass away, and I’ll give it to my future son or something.

Q What are your immediate investment plans?

A My target is to achieve at least a consistent 5 per cent return a month for my personal portfolio.

My focus is on consistency, and once I am satisfied with my progress in the coming year, I will increase my capital in the account to achieve higher exponential returns.

Q How are you planning for retirement?

A Retirement is when I have the resources and capability to be a full-time trader in my own time. To be one I’d need at least $200,000 to $300,000 – maybe $100,000 for savings and the rest for trading.

I plan for contingencies first and own many insurance policies to ensure that my financial well-being is not hampered by unfortunate events. I also contribute monthly to a regular savings plan that is invested in a mutual fund. Other than that, most of my investments come from my trading.

Q Home is now…

A A condo in the east.

•The views expressed are Mr Mattar’s own and and do not necessarily reflect the views of IG or related entities.

Spotlight On … Christian Tharp and Adam Mesh

Posted July 27, 2016 By APTA.org.au

Click here to view on YouTube.

How to Identify the Number-One Trade Every Week

Christian Tharp, CMT, is Chief Market Strategist for the Adam Mesh Trading Group. Adam Mesh has been featured in Fortune Magazine for his trading accomplishments as well as his training results.

Together, they teach you the simple routine they use for breaking down the market and identifying the best trade to make every week.

You’ll learn how to:

* Easily identify the market’s current path
* Establish near-term support and resistance levels
* Recognize standout stocks
* Determine the standout stock of the week.

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