Sunday, April 30, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it,
or who said it, no matter if i have said it,
unless it agrees with your own reason
and your own common sense."
-- Buddha

Nice quote, huh? But, it could be better. Instead of following one's own reason and common sense....one should believe something only after careful observation and analysis. Then perhaps adjust your common sense to those findings.

Really sorry for the lack of system trading posts these past few weeks. Doesn't mean I've changed focus...just means I've been extremely busy in system development work. I'm building several tools to aid in my trading idea validations. Along with tools to aid in identifying the core components that lead to success in my current systems. Needless to say, it has been a learning experience. For one, this work has led me to understand more about the systems I trade. And secondly, has driven home the importance of keeping systems simple.

I see I'm not the only one reviewing trades and trying to uncover opportunities for improvement. Read TraderMike's Path to 100 R in Profits here. One suggestion I'd make in analyzing one's trades is to break your trade history into 3 groups:
Group 1 - The Great Performers
Group 2 - The Churners
Group 3 - The Lousy Losers

Spend time trying to understand Group 3's Lousy Losers. What caused those really awful losses?

But don't forget to check out Group 2's Churners. The trades that didn't do anything for your bottom line still have a cost...they tie up valuable capital and keep those brokers fat and happy.

And of course, don't forget to take a look or two at Group 1's Great Performers. That's where your Gordon Gekko personality needs to kick in and ask yourself...Could I have made more?

Later Trades,

MT

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thread of the Week - Discipline

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." -- Robert Collier

Acrary posted a great topic on overcoming discipline problems here. Acrary really nailed it on the head with the following statements:
"To overcome my discipline problems, I've been programming my life to achieve the results I desire."

"Anytime I want to consciously achieve a goal, I figure out how I can setup a process so it would be hard to fail."


Much to learn...

MT

Monday, April 24, 2006

Quote of the Week

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” -- Marcel Proust

How much time and effort do you spend on identifying the characteristics that produce winning trades? If you're like me...a lot! But, have you ever thought about increasing your time allocation to identifying the characteristics of losing trades? More importantly...the really awful ones?

Based on Pareto's Law and more specifically Sturgeon's Revelation:
If 90% of everything is crud then 100% of our investing returns come from 10% of the trades. And if 90% of our trades are indeed crud...then it follows that 90% of that is most likely crap. Which means a little over 80% of our total trades are full of crap. :)

Formula:
crud = trades * 0.90
crap = crud * 0.90
% total crap = (crap / trades) * 100

Example:
trades = 100
crud = 100 * 0.90 = 90
crap = 90 * 0.90 = 81
% total crap = (81 / 100) * 100 = 81%

Later Trades,

MT

Friday, April 21, 2006

Amortization in Google

If you didn't know this...the Google search bar is also a calculator...and pretty damn good one I might add.

Here's an example amortization formula you can cut & paste into Google's search bar to obtain the loan's monthly payment amount:
20000 * ((6 / (12 * 100) / (1 - (1 + (6 / (12 * 100))) ^ -(5*12))))
This will return a monthly payment of 386.656031 that corresponds to a $20,000.00 loan at 6% interest for 5 years in length.

To get a better understanding of the loan amortization payment formula...see below:
i = interest rate ex. 6 for 6%
n = number of years ex. 5 for 5 years
p = loan amount ex. 20000 for a $20,000 car loan
m = monthly payment
m = p * ((i / (12 * 100) / (1 - (1 + (i / (12 * 100))) ^ -(n*12))))

A big thanks to Hugh Chou for kindly supplying the amortization formula on his site. Please check out his site for further information regarding amortization formulas.

MT

Friday Links

Interesting article on Risk Homeostasis here.
"...human beings have a target level of risk with which they are most comfortable. When a given activity exceeds their comfort level, people will modify their behavior to reduce their risk until they are comfortable with their level of danger.....if a given person’s level of risk drops too far below their comfort level, they will again modify their behavior. This time though, they will increase their level of risk until they are once again in their target zone."

Can we create systems from this idea? The first question we'd have to answer is what constitutes risk for the average investor in the stock market? Is market volatility considered risk to an investor? I'm not sure many thought so at the time back in the late 90's. What if we examine only the downside portion of market volatility? Hmmmm...

The Five Truths About Code Optimization here. Great tips that relate to designing and more importantly optimizing your trading systems. Here are just a few:
"You are looking to answer two questions. First, did my change actually help? If the change did speed things up, is there now a new bottleneck? Some part of our program is always going to be the limiting factor -- otherwise your code would be infinitely fast. As you optimize things, it is quite likely that the part you sped up will fade into the background and some other section of the code will become the new bottleneck."

"I don't care if your idea is so brilliantly efficient that it can't possibly not speed things up. If Mother Nature doesn't agree, Take It Out."

"The trouble with optimization is there is no end to it."

And finally...check out the new Adam Sandler movie coming soon to a theatre near you: Click. I want one of those remotes! Ha ha.

That's it from here...where I'll be spending the weekend cleaning up the house in anticipation of the stork's delivery in the next few weeks.

Later Trades,

MT

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thread of the Week

What's the Thread of the Week you ask? Well, each week I'll try to post an interesting thread from one of the many trading forums out here on the wild & woolly Internet. The thread could be of value to your trading...or just a good old laugh. So, enjoy!

This week's thread is a very funny topic posted on the EliteTrader boards: "Altucher guesses: trend funds to disappear within the next 10 years..." You would think the thread would actually hold some value considering James Altucher and Victor Niederhoffer are some of the posters. But, the thread mostly ends up as an ideology debate similar to my football team is better than yours.

You do have to give the originator of the thread some credit...the opening post below sure did the job of drawing many traders into the fire:
"successful hedge fund manager and author, james althucher, states in his new book--"super cash"---- that the trend following funds will be history within the next 10 years. he cites the dismal performance of the major trend funds over the last several years, over leverage, and investors pulling out. his new book is fantastic reading into the cutting edge of hedge funds. definitely check it out!" -- marketsurfer

Hell, even I had to post a few comments. See if you recognize which ones those were.

As a follow-up to the thread...check out Niederhoffer's post on his DailySpeculations site here. You'll have to search down for the following post, Comments on a Trend Following Discussion, dated 12-Apr-2006.



Later Trades,

MT

Monday, April 17, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Man with one clock always know time. Man with two clocks never sure." -- Chinese Proverb

Later Trades,

MT

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life." -- Dr. David M. Burns

MT

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quote of the Week

"Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world -- to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want." - Ayn Rand

MT