I then cut my trade size in half, and manage to end up flat at the end of the week. The week actually would have been very profitable had I been willing to stay with my original sizing. But Ralph is correct, and I decided that if I am getting scared by a big daily loss, I'm trading too heavy, so I have left the trade size at that halfway point. On the other hand, one might choose a rule that pares back the trade size when volatility increases. These were intraday forex trades, and clearly that week was exceptional in terms of volatility. The problem is that the volatility spikes that kill me do not appear to be predictable.
Therefore I have to trade most of the time at a level that seems relatively placid in order to avoid being frightened into damaging behavior occasionally. I think this illustrates the point I was trying to make originally about the lack of logical underpinnings in the "sell half" decision: it's an emotional decision because you a get scared by the suddenness and violence of the move an its effect on your net worth b belatedly realized that you were in too much.
Now the second part is sort-of logical, but it really points to the lack of imagination about what a position can do when you get into it: you imagine a slow gradual move and the thing suddenly loses a big chunk of its value without much warning. This happened TWICE in a row on top of that, and only underscored to me that you never know enough to say with confidence that you will not lose all, and quickly. Therefore you should assume that that's the case from the very beginning.
I'm really referring to liquidity concerns; Rocky's decision to liquidate half, I assume, is a risk-management procedure here, as opposed to a strategic one based on changed fundamentals I may be, and, in retrospect, likely am wrong about this! Any risk-management concern where someone "needs" to get out, shy of that investment being entirely wiped out, will, in time, be entirely wiped out, or damn near whether by an Enron, or those gilt-edged AAA GM bonds at one time.
Although I don't typically trade that way, I don't think the sell half is necessarily an illogical or emotional decision depending on the scenario.
We have no way of knowing what the reason behind selling half is for a given individual. Reducing a losing position size is, in my mind, a way to mitigate risk of additional loss while still having some skin in the game. Keeping some powder dry is I would imagine as an amateur one of the more important survival skills in this game. The person selling half doesn't have to be in too deep to their overall capital pool to want to protect half of what remains of that position based on changing circumstances.
Losses do add up over time. I have found that trading breaks down into 1 analysis, and 2 execution.
With "analysis" being a period of calm, quiet reflection maybe with a cold beer over a crowded spreadsheet; and "execution" being whatever I have to do to manage my lizard brain once there is real money at stake. They can be such radically different modes of being that sometimes it's very difficult to establish a link. Your observation does not apply to those trading with leverage.
I am now learning to scale back the leverage, make adjustments in trade size more frequently than weekly should be real-time , and to write models which account for higher correlations during times of stress. August 22, 8 Comments. One would imagine the Sunday open to close in Israel might be predictive of the open in the US on Sunday night, and possibly the open to close of us on Sunday. And Israel would be catching. Of course the US Open is not a predictive thing since it can't be acted upon, but a descriptive one.
The whole subject of the influence of Indian, European, Asian, and mideast markets on the US is an interesting one and calls for much counting, correlation, and finesse. I'd be the first one to stress the equities "rolling wave" over the timezones, as well as inter-market influences as in currency-gold-stocks-bonds-oil, etc. Being said, there are two clear new ingredients that make historical statistics less than meaningful: central meddling and modern algos.
What can possibly be the use of percentile correlations and sequences observed over any historical duration, if current market interventions and near-global ZIRP are unprecedented.
To paraphrase Jim Simons: what feeds "our" fascination is that our former immersion into discoveries within pure science would eventually yield an ever-lasting law or theorem — while market discoveries we achieve today will only live a blip of time, and so you have to journey on almost daily to your next discovery and implementation. So in consideration of the above major influences, my current MO would be: do not rely on hard stats. Do rely on your instincts, understanding of the new world financial order and good occasional privileged information — and trade discretionary.
I can accept Anatoly's "two clear new ingredients" but reach different conclusions. My conclusions are:. Also, it's the only sensible way to trade at a higher frequency. Cycles are ever changing. Today it is because of ZIRP, tomorrow it will be because of new rules or products coming on that influence market structure.
I don't know if cycles will be shorter or longer. You trade them until they work. Counting still works. Frequency depends very much on commissions. Some regularities at shorter time frames cannot be traded if your commissions are too high. Frequency depends also on technology you have available. Also, one should trade a frequency where you have less competition. New cycles means new patterns to come up and old patterns to die. Keeping track of ongoing patterns is important and also establishing criteria to determine a pattern has stopped working. Early discovery of new patterns is vital for your performance.
But how much data and evidence do you need to validate a new pattern? More importantly on the tech side is how you implement the search of new patterns. A continuously running search can scan the data according to certain criteria and propose pattern to be evaluated further.
Trading should be fully automated to trade higher frequencies, more markets simultaneously, and decrease stress. You said: "Keeping track of ongoing patterns is important and also establishing criteria to determine a pattern has stopped working. I once asked this question how to measure the "death" of a trading strategy to the List, and the answers were disappointingly vague. Recently, I backtested a strategy a colleague was trading, to discover that in the last 6 years you would lose your entire wealth trading it. But he kept trading it, due to an anchoring with an event when "it worked", plus a kind of empirical testing of only few months.
This means he was caught by the siren song of a series of "lucky strikes" within a larger distribution of years of losses. This behavioral concept "anchoring" is quite interesting, and we smile at the poor guy who don't count. But what concerns me is that we can behave the same way, although counting , when we face a regime shift ever-changing cycles and keep trading the defunct strategy… Until when? Perhaps a rough answer would be to establish a drawdown metric related to the maximum historical drawdown?
Or maybe the reason to trade a strategy must be quantitative whether the reason not to trade it anymore should be qualitative? A final thought would be a strategy based on market microstructure — in the way it is present in ALL regimes. March 21, Leave a Comment. A couple of months ago I was trying to put together a container of coffee from Indonesia, and my experience is somewhat different from SBUX.
I find that the "speculators" responsible for the very tight current supplies are the coffee producers themselves. Many farmers have seen prices going up and up, and they therefore hold on to their current supplies in the hope that they can get even more for them. If you do manage to buy some coffee you must be very careful that what you receive is what you tested because there is strong incentive for the farmer to mix in lower-quality beans.
Thus it is very hard to put together a large order of high-quality beans. This situation will only rectify itself when prices start to decrease. In this part of the world, that may be around June or July when the new crop comes in. Buyers are now having to consider buying for their anticipated yearly needs at once and storing the beans.
Of course, due to their heavy volumes, SBUX has been using forward contracts for a long time, so they have been partially insulated from price hikes. Though I do not yet have much experience in this field, I do think that higher coffee prices are here to stay. The gross margins on coffee are pretty high, leading to an inelastic demand curve.
Many years ago a professional jockey was asked if he ever bet on horse races. His conclusion: "An increase in the speed of the pitch beyond feet per second reduced the curve only slightly and the important thing was the spin. After the pitched curveball was caught, he simply counted the number of twists that had appeared in the tape. All this talk of coffee has gotten me nostalgic for one of my life's more squandered opportunities. They do not get any benefit from doing this excellent. But often, changes in your position are due to other causes.
There is more and more demand for "specialty" coffee, which sells for higher prices and is not price-sensitive. It is also interesting that pricing for Indonesian beans tracks very closely to the New York price. An unscrupulous cantonese tea farmer in the late s had the idea too: a very detailed account of tea and its trading, of how it was evaluated, graded and which trading houses bought which varieties was described.
The usual cheating methods were illuminated for the reader-stale tea added to fresh tea, chopped willow leaves added for increasing bulk, additives of Prussian blue added for brilliant appeal.
I spoke to local geo about one such query, about a new mining venture. He mentioned a company who had claimed the title got approval for mining no easy task , shipped in all the machinery, and at the 12 hour, a man's brother appeared out of the forest waving a "title paper", and they had no choice but to pay him off. November 7, Leave a Comment. As far as I have ever been able to ascertain, Larry Williams was the first to attempt to apply the Kelly Criterion to outright position trading, and the first to openly discuss it.
His pursuit in this regard not only was my initial immersion to the ideas, but he funded those attempts. Whatever I've uncovered along the way is a product of that — Larry's unquenchable curiosity, fearlessness regarding risk, and willingness to fund pursuits others would never touch.
A couple of points further in the post worth mentioning here because I think the other interested members deserve to have light shed on some misconceptions, some of which are a little dangerous to ascribe to, but are widely held.