Saturday, May 19, 2012

Following the information of others

One of the more dangerous things an inexperienced trader can do is to follow lots of other trading blogs, websites etc, where there is a direct conflict between your own preferred method of trading and that described on the other sites.

One of the reasons for this is that inexperienced traders will find a mass of conflicting messages and signals, even on the same instrument.

As a result, unless you fully know the system rules that others operate, you can easily find yourself questioning your own trading method, second guessing existing trades etc.

I keep track of a lot of websites, however ALL of these are geared towards trend following methods, and includes blogs of other trend following traders, sites for well known CTA's who utilise similar methods, and so on. I regularly search the internet for trend following sites, keep track of performance numbers for other trend followers etc. 

Generally speaking trend followers make (and lose) money in the same markets at the same times, even if the entry and exit rules differ, so if I am losing mnoey, and other trend followers are making money, then I am doing something wrong.

More experienced traders keep track of services just to see what others are thinking/doing, but do not necessarly allow other peoples' opinions to influence their own trading decisions. As was mentioned in more than one interview in Market Wizards, if a respected trader has a different viewpoint on a particular market to that of the trader being interviewed, then (s)he would do nothing in that market. 

However, it should be remembered that these traders were/are successful in their own right, have their methodology and would only possibly use this as a 'filter' - they would not dream of directly acting on other peoples' trading recommendations.

In general, it is far better to rely on your own method (particularly if you know it is historically proven and has a positive expectancy) and to avoid the opinions of others. It is also for that reason that I avoid listening/watching those on CNBC/Bloomberg other than clips posted on YouTube for entertainment purposes, as they see every downtrend in the market as a 'pullback' and a buying opportunity, and seem to know very little about trend following in general. This interview with David Harding of Winton Capital, who is a long term trend follower, is a good 'un:

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