Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sky is Falling...

According to this article, Jeremy Grantham believes the sky is falling.
"The bursting of this bubble will be across all countries and all assets, with the probable exception of high-grade bonds," Grantham warned. "Since no similar global event has occurred before, the stresses to the system are likely to be unexpected. All of this is likely to depress confidence and lower economic activity."
But, plenty of hedging is done as to the timing of the fall.
As for timing, he (Grantham) concedes that's impossible to predict. But here's the kicker: Even Grantham thinks you probably need to be bullish right now. The reason? Most bubbles, he notes, go through a short but dramatic "exponential phase" just before they burst. Like Japan in 1989 or the Internet in early 2000.
How does this type of prognostication help anyone...I asks ya's?

Grantham's bold statements and subsequent hedging of bets is something a lot of market pundits do. This allows them to zig and zag at the same time. If the market goes down big, Grantham claim's victory. If the market goes up big, Grantham claim's victory. A win-win scenario.

This type of hedge may prove useful in other pursuits. For example, wouldn't it be nice to lead a programming project and hedge the timeline of the project?
Yes, we will make the May 1st deadline unless we don't.
The above statement doesn't work because it's not wordy enough. Too simple...straight to the point.
We fully expect to meet the May 1st deadline. All components have been reviewed, tested, and verified to meet our stringent requirements. But, there is always the case that problems may arise due to circumstances outside our control. These problems may impact our schedule and possibly result in extending the deadline.
There, that's better. A great hedge!

Well, that's it for me this Saturday morning. I'm taking my daughter fishing today. Of course, the fishing trip may be delayed or cancelled if changes in the Earth's atmosphere produce drops of water from the sky. ;-)

Later Trades,


Monday, April 23, 2007

Quote of the Week

"If you spend some time thinking about it ("ideal position sizing") you will realize that life just isn’t so simple. Every individual has different tolerances for different types of risks. A formula won’t capture all of them and a formula most certainly hides information that might be very valuable." -- Curtis Faith
Great article posted by Curtis today . Discusses some of what I found to be true in regards to the Sharpe Ratio and smoothness of returns. In fact, through much testing I have found using any type of volatility measure in my trading systems (entry, exit, position sizing, etc.) produces sub-par results when real-world results take effect. But, sometimes, those are the best measures we have. So, what do you do?

I think it's important to do what Curtis asks...
I’ll leave you with an exercise. Take your favorite position sizing methodology and then see what might happen if you happened to take the wrong side of a trade using that methodology on September 11th, 2001 or on Black Monday (October 19th, 1987).
In regard to formulas hiding valuable information. Pay attention to your stock data. There's a formula in there adjusting your time series for splits and possibly dividends. The longer term your system is...the more important this adjustment formula will play in your overall results. Common entry/exits formulas such as Average True Range (ATR) become rather out-of-date when processing IBM back in the 1960's. Something for all aspiring long-term trend-followers to consider when backtesting their systems.

Enjoy your week! I'm enjoying my first day of vacation since moving up to Missouri. And what a pretty day I picked out. What to do...what to do... ;-)

Later Trades,


Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Year Down...

Enjoyed a great birthday today. Co-workers took me out for lunch. Wife and kids took me out for dinner. Wife and daughter baked a birthday cake. Between all the eating...received some great presents. Gifts centered on my favorite things...

Movies...some goodies for movie nights at the Taylor House.

Music...received the iPod Nano...and loving it. Can't wait to get back to music during my working hours. Bring some calm to the ADD. Serenity Now!

Coffee...all kinds of great flavors. And a few trips to Starbucks are in my future.

With another year in this world notched in my belt...what have I learned? What wisdom can I share? Well...

1) Moving your wife and kids out of state...miles and miles away from home, family, and easier than I thought it would be. Of course, we went into this move 100% committed. And chose a great city to live, company to work for, and people to work with.

2) Moving away from your home state draws you closer to your home state. Make sense?

3) Winters are cold in the Midwest! But, the snow is fun! Still upset I found the best place to sled on the last day of the last snow.

4) I miss living in the country...the quietness...remoteness. But, city living sure has its perks. A Starbucks a few blocks away is one of them. ;-)

5) I still don't know why every Fall and Spring when the weather is beautiful...I want to hop in my truck...grab a cup of coffee...throw on some Charlie Robinson and look for houses to fix-up. What's even stranger...a friend of mine noted the same feeling to me today. Maybe it's a guy thing? Or maybe it's because I spent the last 8 years fixing up houses. This is the first year I don't have a fixer-upper to fix-up.

6) So much time is wasted on the market. I know...I've wasted it. But, this wasted time is the filtration process of learning what's important in investing. The more time wasted and time wasted acknowledged...the closer you come to what's important.

7) Learning is hard. Scary. Stressful. And very rewarding. Of course...
"Learning is not compulsory...neither is survival." -- W. Edwards Deming
8) Life is up for grabs. Whatever you is yours to take. It's usually not the brightest, best, or most deserving person that gets the job...raise...or whatever opportunity you wanted that they now have. It's usually the person who wasn't afraid to take it that takes it. The person who won't let things such as not being the brightest, best, or most deserving from getting what they want. One of the most amazing things in life is...Momentum Builds. And as long as reasons prevent you from taking that first'll never get anywhere else than where you are right now.

9) Great mentors are another amazing thing in life. If you don't have one out. I think this was one of the biggest problems in my life. I attempted to do everything on my own. And this works up to a point...until you get stuck. And when you get stuck...mentors have the ability to...
"share their hindsight which can become your foresight."
10) And finally, birthday's are just another day. Unless you make more of them than that. They are after all...the day you started Life University. And each year marks your progress towards your chosen degree. You do have a chosen degree don't you? Otherwise, how else are you going to graduate? ;-)

Later Trades,


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Showing Up

"Seventy percent of success in life is showing up." -- Woody Allen
You will earn more respect recovering from a failure than by never failing at all. Weird, I know. But, very very true. Question do you recover from a failure?

Show up, don't give up, pound away at your problem until it is no longer there. Steve Leslie discusses the essentials of "pounding the rock" and never giving up in this post over at Daily Speculations.
"It also provides inspiration for all of us who tend to get absorbed in our own challenges and problems, and serves as a reminder that most of success in life is showing up for work every day and "pounding the rock". And if we stay the course and never yield and keep swinging, eventually the rock will yield and break up and victory will be had. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if we do not quit and no matter the challenge, success is far closer than we think it is."
Steve mentions the Daniel Ruettiger's story...the inspiration for one of my favorite movies of all-time...Rudy. I can still remember watching it with my wife before we were married. Tears, laughs, and all. Good stuff!


Quote of the Week - Losing

"It turns out that it is much easier to make money when you are wrong most of the time. If your trades are losers most of the time, that shows that you are not trying to predict the future. For this reason, you no longer care about the outcome of any particular trade since you expect that trade to lose money. When you expect a trade to lose money, you also realize that the outcome of a particular trade does not indicate anything about your intelligence. Simply put, to win you need to free yourself and your thinking of outcome bias. It does not matter what happens with any particular trade."

-- Curtis Faith in Way of the Turtle --


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Quote of the Week - Explore, Arrive, and Know

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

-- T.S. Eliot