For 25 years now I have either been trading on a
bank desk or at a hedge fund. I am successful but I could be
much more successful if I didn't always fight the trend. Within
a global macro portfolio, I trade the financial futures
intraday, and somehow I am always fighting the intraday moves.
It's like I'm sabotaging myself or just need the excitement. I
don't know. Have you ever known anyone who can't stop trying to
fight the market?
Let me guess: Your father was an engineer, or a
mathematician, or maybe a doctor, right?
Now that you are asking how the heck I knew that, I'll tell
you. Every single time I work with a PM or trader who fights
the trend, we deduce that what they are really up to is trying
to be the first to find the bottom or the top…the first
to find the turn. And why, oh why, do they do this? They know
they lose boatloads of money. They have told themselves to stop
10,000 times. But, alas, the machine somehow acquired a big
short (again) smack in the face of the banks and the techs all
being up and an advance/decline line at +1850 and climbing-at
2pm no less.
But let me ask you, what if you were right? What if you
nailed that last ES contract at the very tippy top of the day?
At a minimum, you would slap your desk and let out a whoop,
right? Yeah yeah, I know. But what's the FEELING? I'll bet you
your next vacation that you feel brilliant and it feels
See, the gig with fighting the trend is really about being
the first to see the end, and being the first to see the end is
really about being smart. And being smart is about getting Dad
to be proud of you. That's always a tough thing to get out of
men who became engineers and doctors in the 1960s and
Believe me, I already know you are smart. And so do most
women. Dad is also duly impressed. Actually, he's probably
jealous, so save the money you're losing every day and send him
on a vacation instead.
Readers are invited to write to trading coach Denise
Shull, a recognized expert in risk psychology and author of
Market Mind Games. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newly-minted PM asks "What's the point?" •
Avoiding afternoon impotence