Monday, June 03, 2013

How I learned to answer questions from Ed Seykota

Once in a while I may post a comment relating to the markets or a particular stock on another website or financial blog. I always try to make these as objective as possible from my point of view - something along of lines of 'taken a long position in XYZ plc, as there is the possible start of a new uptrend', or maybe 'taken my profits on ABC Inc as my trailing stop has been triggered, indicating a possible reversal of trend'.

More often than not, the first comment is met with 'Welcome aboard! glad we got a technical guy in with us. This stock is going to the moon, we are going to make a fortune on this one'. When I post something like the second comment (and even more so if I post that I have gone short on a stock) I get accused of trying to de-ramp a stock, that technical analysis is a load of rubbish and generally a load of other derogatory comments. I've even been accused of talking in riddles, when all I've done is mention whether a stock is in an uptrend, downtrend or no trend. To begin with it did affect me but now it's water of a duck's back. If others are allowed to post their comments or beliefs, why shouldn't I?

I even once got the comment that 'What you say is not worth knowing, as your win rate is below 70%'. So said someone who has no idea of how trend following works.

In Trend Following, Michael Covel talked about a seminar that Ed Seykota gave to an expectant audience in Canada in the mid-1990's.

Apparently, to questions like "Do you like gold?, Where do you think the Canadian dollar is headed? How do you know when the trend is up?", Seykota gave the following response: I like gold - it's shiny, pretty, makes nice jewellery, I have no idea where the Canadian dollar is heading, the trend is up when price is moving up, etc.

It was later discovered that a large majority of the audience were not impressed - many felt that the talk was a waste of time and money. Why was this?

"Seykota's message couldn't be clearer to anyone who cared to listen. The answers were found in the very questions each person asked....Seykota's answers effectively placed everyone in front of a huge mirror, reflecting their trading self back at them."

Whenever I get asked an opinion on the market or a particular stock (even within our own trading group) I am always careful to avoid any predictions. I simply try and state what the chart may be exhibiting, and make any comments as simple and objective as possible. Regardless of the reaction, that is the way I will continue to comment.

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