Thank God I’m a trader, not an analyst!
There is a huge difference between being a trader and being a market analyst.
Analysts are paid by being right. On this basis alone I am not smart enough to be an analyst. Traders are paid by managing risk. These two skill sets are a world apart. In my experience, people who try to be traders by being analysts usually lose their grip at both ends of the rope.
An analyst will be judged negatively by poor market calls. When wrong, a trader closes the trade and moves onto the next opportunity. Hopefully, little harm done! Being wrong is a fundamental assumption for a trader.
Analysts study industries, companies and economic conditions. Traders, at least most traders, study price and could care less what company the price represents.
Analysts – even technical analysts – become heavily vested in the rightness of their opinions. Analysts gain reputational equity based on their correct calls. Traders become economically vested by what they do with their losing trades. Traders gain capital equity based on their handling of losing calls.
When an analyst changes an opinion on a stock or the general market, it is called a “revised forecast due to changing fundamentals.” When a trader changes an opinion on a trade, it is called “flexibility for capital preservation and survival.”
I am a classical chartist. I view charts as a trading tool, not a method to forecast prices. I don’t believe charts can forecast prices. I have a disdain for “chart book economists.” I do believe that charts can provide unique high potential/low risk trading opportunities. To me, that is the only real value of charts. The idea of forming some grand economic scenario based on a chart is absolutely ludicrous.
The reality is that most chart formations fail to deliver the goods, especially chart patterns of shorter durations. This is why so many novice traders give up on charting, claiming that charts don’t work.
Chart patterns fail and morph into new and larger chart patterns, which morph again and again and again. I term this process “chart redefinition.” All massive chart patterns of six to 12 months in duration are made up of dozens of short-term daily patterns and hundreds of intra-day patterns that mostly failed.
Eventually a chart pattern will mature and provide a grand speculative opportunity. It is this type of opportunity that I seek. But along the way I am wrong on 65% of my trades. During some shorter-term periods of time that figure can be as high as 80%.
This is why I look for particular chart set-ups that offer a reward to risk relationship of 10 to 1, or 20 to 1, or even as high as a stage in a recent trade I made in Apple Computer, 70 to 1. I am not sure what the price of AAPL will do in the days and weeks ahead, but if refuse to take a trade with this type of reward to risk relationship I need to be put out to pasture.
One of the mental hurdles a novice trader must get past is the connection between being right on a market and making money in a trading operation. The two are disconnected. It is hard to explain this concept to a non-combatant, but all front-line soldiers reading this blog posting know exactly what I am talking about.
Trading is not for you if you have some pride of ownership in forecasting prices. If this is you, find a diet not consisting of buy and sell orders. Heck, perhaps you can find a job as an analyst.