2011 was a poor year for trend following in general. The combination of high volatility and a lack of direction in the markets combined to make it a year of failed breakouts and repeated bouts of frustration. This can be seen when looking at websites which track numerous different trend following models. Although the timing may differ slightly as a result of the entry and exit criteria in each system, trend following systems en masse tend to make (and lose) their money in the same markets at similar times. In conditions such as those in 2011, observing strict money management rules would have kept you in the game, and be in a position to profit from future trends, which will undoubtedly occur in the future.
A new year always brings new optimism, and hopefully this year will see some good trends develop that trend followers can profit from. As always, when trading systematically we have no bias as to trade on the long or short side, or whether any trends develop in spite (or because) of the perceived fundamantal backdrop or sentiment - we simply follow the signals that our system generates and act accordingly.