Saturday, June 15, 2019

Experiencing the first big winning trend

When a trader starts adopting a trend following approach, there can be a steep learning curve in terms in truly understanding the ups and downs they will experience - both in terms of open equity and the emotions involved. 

Aspiring trend followers will more often than not go straight into a drawdown on cash equity. This is due to them adopting the basic principles of cutting losses short and letting profits run, combined with the low win rate that is typically achieved. 

My observation is that people quickly develop the need for good risk control and the cutting of losses, but by far the most challenging aspect of a trend following approach is the ability to remain faithful to your exit rules once you get into a profitable trade.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Trend following, absolute returns and controlling open risk

At its core, trend following is an 'absolute returns' approach. You only have to look at the high-octane monthly performance generated by the Turtles back in the 1980's to see that. But to achieve that, you generally cannot impose too tight a control over the levels of volatility you have to endure. That is the other side of the coin.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Stick or twist?

"We have a saying here: "It is incredible how rich you can get by not being perfect." We are not looking for the optimum method; we are looking for the hardiest method. Anyone can sit down and devise a perfect system for the past." - Larry Hite

A trader is always evolving, in terms of his ideas, beliefs and his method. As an example, you often read about how young 'fearless' traders learn to appreciate the importance of risk control - often after blowing up an account or two, or at the minimum having an emotionally demoralising experience associated with a major drawdown. Even some of the Market Wizards went through this.

Occasionally, a trader moves away from their original ideas and beliefs about how to make money. Again, some of the most successful traders have done this.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Questioning some popularly-held beliefs

Stripping back our beliefs and subsequently our rules to their absolute basics, as trend followers, ideally we would want to be able to:
  • generate an entry signal as early as possible into a new trend;
  • exit a non-performing trade, if the new trend has failed, as soon as possible; and
  • allow our position to run as far as possible on our chosen timeframe until that trend is invalidated.
Around those basic concepts people can follow pure price data or utilise technical analysis to 'formulate' their entry and exit rules.

As I've said before, I can be a bit of a trading heretic, and like to challenge some of the more popularly-held beliefs about how to trade successfully.

Below are a couple of those beliefs which I believe are worth further scrutiny - the use of multiple timeframe analysis and trend 'filters'.