TLC Weekly Update January 8, 2021

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US electoral dispute is now over. But we are left with more questions than answers on the future of United States. Given how ugly this 2020 election has become, I can’t imagine what will happen by mid term 2022 …

Luckily I am just a Canadian. Canada being such an unimportant country, its political dramas do not lead to any meaningful impact on the world. This makes me feel much better during our elections.

Here is an older article about human brain’s approach to process sensory information. The article came out back in Oct 2019. This understanding of the human brain has helped computer scientists to breakthrough many of their problems in AI last year. So not everything happening last year was bad.

For some mysterious reason, youtube chose to put this on my front page. It turns out to be a charming video that I watched years ago.

I forgot to mention that I finally stopped my 20+ years habit of writing down notes on notepads some 2-3 weeks ago. I took the leap of faith to replace my written notepads with Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite. It takes some adjustments to my routine but I can tell you after 2 weeks of notes taking on the tablet, I will never go back to pen and paper.

I chose this tablet over other options because of the included software for notes taking is better than ipad and ipad pro. I can now easily include clips by taking a picture using the tablet, or taking a screenshot from the browser. But most important of all, I no longer need to find space to store even more notepads.

I picked up a Rubik’s cube over the holiday with the intention to practice my cube solving skill. Then I found this on youtube. I want that cube!

I was asked by many friends about my year 2021 outlook. I will summarize the main points here. Some are technical view based on market data. Some are astrology based projections. And some are just wild imaginations. Consider this a mocking of all the predictions people made for 2021.

  • shortage of food and essentials
  • worldwide cargo transportation cost going much higher
  • interest rate goes up
  • civil unrest everywhere
  • a real pandemic will arrive that reduce global population by 10%
  • major earth quake happening somewhere
  • aliens finally public broadcast their existence among us
  • gold to crash 50% in a year or two
  • bitcoin to crash 80% in a year or two
  • aliens giving us warp drive and unlimited energy technology

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update January 1, 2020

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Holiday season coming to an end this week with the US stock markets closing at all time high on the last trading day of 2020. Who would have thought this is the outcome of COVID-19?

A epiphany came to me yesterday that it should not be a surprise. Back in 1987, the first stock market crash the US Federal Reserve had to deal with, it was caught by surprise and reacted to the situation carefully. Back then, the US Fed held the belief that they should not interfere with the free markets.

Since then, every financial crisis had resulted in the Fed reacting to the situations more quickly. And the amount of money being thrown behind each crisis gets bigger and bigger. The belief of the Fed has clearly changed from non-interference to central planning. There is no more deliberation within the Fed whether they should react to a situation or not.

At this point Fed will answer to all major and minor economic issues with automatic money pumping.

But isn’t central planning a “feature” of communism that the United States claims to be the root of all evil?

The Fed sees no consequence from their actions. However, normal people around the world are feeling the consequence everyday. The wealth gap has grown so much many people are now debt slaves. Isn’t this the cause of almost all the revolutions in human history?

What I worry about most, however, is something else. All the past crisis were singular events spaced out by at least 2 to 3 years. They hit the financial system hard but we have time for people to adapt and recover. What if the frequency of these events increases significantly? Would money pumping still work?

Talking about unintended consequence, here is a piece of local news that I am sure this problem is happening everywhere in the world. Kids with no supervision … you really believe they would not cheat?

Here is an interesting read on the work of a mathematician turned biologist. What I liked most is that patterns can emerge everywhere without the participants knowing. Stock market is a prime example – everyone are guessing and many traders just cannot see beyond their own point of view. In aggregate, recurring patterns emerge from their actions.

And this piece makes me thinking … special organizations would definitely create their next generation operatives with no finger print now that someone have figured out the DNA signature.

Taking a break today and will back to normal schedule tomorrow.

Wish you all a Happy New Year!

TLC Weekly Update December 11, 2020

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Another interesting trading week almost over with all eyes on next week’s US electoral vote event (Monday, Dec 14) that may result in some shocking twists and turns. All these states filed their cases with the US supreme court may not impact the outcome though. But what if they do? I can’t imagine the mess we are going to see …

This is the time of the year people start to read up the astrology predictions for the coming year. One recurring talk about Dec 14 and Dec 21 this year keeps coming up. The other funny one is the talk about Mayan end of the world year was not 2012 but 2021. I am not a believer in astrology based on Zodiac birth month. It is still fun to read and watch astrologers, both experts and pretend ones, making forecast about people’s future.

I just learned about Russia’s organic food industry and I am very fascinated that how long will it take US to condemn all organic food because it is mostly imported from Russia.

My research on history for some mysterious reason landed me on this story about the evolution of bats. It is a good read though.

A good video by Yahoo Finance asking Paul Tudor Jones his view of the market. It is a short video packed with good info and his thoughts about the stock market may surprise you.

I am writing my 2021 business plan at the moment. After a year of total chaos and surprises, I have so much to add to my usual contingency plan. Trying to anticipate what has never happened in our own life time is difficult. Hence the research into past history to see what can happen and how that impact the economy and our lives becomes very useful.

For example, what if we have another major power outage like year 2003. Or that something like Ebola, instead of COVID-19, is spreading worldwide. The goal is to figure out what has to be done so that I will not react to these crisis level situations unprepared.

And of course, end of the year is a good time to clean out the junk. I finally have to throw away my trusted Samsung all-in-one printer / scanner. It served me well for over 10 years. Over the years, its drum died first, so I could not use it as a printer but I still keep it as a scanner. Then the scanner cover broke last time I moved so all it can do was doing autofeed scanning. And now its autofeeder gave in.

So after all, I ended up buying something this holiday season. Like it or not, life is a series of surprises.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update December 4, 2020

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This Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) week has surprised many people who keep talking about how overpriced the stock market is while all week the market just levitated to stay near all time high. Can’t blame them. Normal people, which include majority of the traders, do not pay attention to the obvious bullish biases during NFP weeks. It is a good thing for those who are aware of it and act on it.

Holiday season now in force so trading volume should be reduced somewhat. However, given the uncertainty of the US election still hanging around, I don’t know if the traditional Christmas rally can happen in a normal way like the past. Well, what’s normal this year at all?

Interesting read about the Donut King, there are lessons we can all learn from this story. From rags to riches once we all heard of but twice, makes it all more interesting.

This touching story about old couples who have to face the hard decision to send their loved ones to nursing home or palliative care is a problem many of us have to face eventually. From my personal experience and also shared knowledge from close friends, it gets harder if you are old and frail yourself as the caregiver. It is important to ask for help when you are exhausted and feeling hopeless.

I came across an interesting video talking about the discovery of how Ancient Egyptian sounds like. I wonder if they really got it right, or, like what most economists do, that everything they do are just pure guessing.

Here in Toronto the lockdown has escalated and a new trend has emerged. People are moving to houses in small towns outside of Toronto. It is like a mass exodus thanks to the technology we have available nowadays making it possible to work from home. These small town house prices have skyrocketed some 15-20% in a few short months while Toronto downtown core condo prices dropped 10-15% overall. This is a price shock event that will take time to absorb.

I reached a major milestone with my trading venture for which the automated day trading model I envisioned some two years ago is now mostly completed. It covers about 80% of the strategies I deem important. Looking back, if I did not made the decision to aim higher, this would never happen. Doing this while the stock markets going through its craziest time was a tough challenge. It also makes it much more satisfying.

For my trading venture, having the first model completed is just the first step, although a very important step. From here my team will have to expand on what I have accomplished and expand the research and development work across many more markets. It will be even more challenging when we start to tackle markets we are not familiar with. Can’t wait to see what we will accomplish in year 2021!

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update November 27, 2020

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Today is Black Friday. Many shopping malls and online stores, however, have already kickstarted their holiday sales since the beginning of the week. I don’t usually participate in this holiday sale period thanks to my lack of interest in buying the latest whatever consumer items. No exception this year. I will kick back and relax a bit more at home while finishing up several projects.

An interesting story about the origin of Manuka honey. We are so used to read horror story of introducing a specie to a foreign environment can cause disaster. This one, however, is an exception.

And here is another bizarre story I bumped into when I am doing my research about important historical moments in the past. Human history is really fascinating and it can be tasty too.

A long video from Wharton School featuring Howard Marks. Not that many people have watched this video because it does not contain catchy phrases or keywords. However, this video is filled with wisdom you can hardly find from the YouTube trading gurus.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

TLC Weekly Update October 23, 2020

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Finally, the last US presidential debate is over. Now we just have to sit tight and wait for the outcome by election day. For traders everywhere, hopefully there will be a slow down of random news shock from the two camps. Giving the world a break until the results are in on election day would be nice. I am sure more chaos will follow after the election though …

Bitcoins is on the move again and the crypto traders are getting all excited about it. Although I don’t hold a lot of BTC anymore, it is nice to see more and more famous financial gurus willing to bet on the concept. The latest being Paul Tudor Jones. What he says 5 months ago and what he says yesterday. Of course, he is talking his book because he just bet $100 million (I can be wrong on the figure) on BTC in the beginning of the year.

Read a story about the old Nintendo NES Zapper. It is so interesting to see how game developers managed to overcome the hardware limitations back then. Since I have not played console games for a long long time, I wonder what kind of technology the current generation of shooting games uses for better gaming experience.

I encounter this question pretty much every week in random conversations all the time, “Why do people fail at trading?” All those “gurus” out there giving their personal accounts of determination and perseverance needed to win the game are pure bullshit. Some of them are the lucky ones belonging to the 4% I explained here, the rest are fake gurus who copy the answers from the others on the internet. Here is another take on the issue based on our physiology and that’s why I told everyone that they have to be awaken first before they stand a chance.

To be awaken is a process. High level of awareness is needed for anyone who want to accomplish real mastery in anything. It is a very easy task to do if you choose to practice awareness deliberately. The hard part is making it your second nature or making it effortless. Since majority of the population refuses to do anything that gives them a sense of defeat, thus people with high level awareness is very rare.

For those of you who really want to improve your awareness but lack the guidance, you can start with something easier to digest, like, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, so that you have some background understanding about human minds. From there you can progress to learn basic breathing techniques to control your mind. Once a slightly better foundation is built, you can then learn to observe yourself.

Just like anything that worth pursuing, you must be willing to transform yourself in order to stay the course.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update October 16, 2020

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This was option expiration week but then thanks to the way Softbank and its copycats cornering the stock market like no tomorrow, the option market makers have no choice but to accept defeat. Many gurus out there keep saying the stock market is not following the reality of the real economy. I have a slightly different take on the detachment of correlation though – underneath the major indices, only a handful of stocks are driving the indices to all time high while majority of the other components have not recovered like the real economies around the world. The stock markets are reflecting the reality – that only a handful of companies benefited from the situation.

Interesting read about the energy efficiency of computing. CPU overheat is something that affect computer performance ever since they were created. It looks like we finally learn more about this issue over the past several years that can contribute to major breakthrough in computer performance.

Scary tell from Loy Machedo in this YouTube video. Young people who are fortunate enough to grow up in the better parts of the world should know about the reality out there. The world is full of dark corners and the willingness to pay attention to these issues can help you develop a proper perspective of the world we are living in.

For the programmer readers, here is a long read about Amazon’s epic failure at cracking the online game industry. Sometimes, doing everything in-house just because you can afford it may lead to massive waste of resources and failure to deliver anything of significance. The same problem persists with majority of the aspiring traders who think they can afford to lose enough money to hack their way to trading success …

I have so much work to catch up with so I will wrap up here.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update September 25, 2020

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Roller coaster ride in the stock market continues. Nasdaq 100 rallied 5% higher from Monday low and then fell back down to Monday low right after. Such high volatility can induce even higher volatility going into election month. Investors and speculators should be more careful in coming few weeks. Powell may have very limited power in popping up the market should some kind of panic kicks in …

Learned something new here on how ants decide when and where to build bridges. Sometimes things are far more simple then we choose to believe in. One good example is the microstructure of the stock market. People cannot help themselves to make things so complicated when they look at the price movements that ultimately leading them to make bad trading decisions.

Sometimes brand building can be very bizarre because human nature is – crashing two trains to make a train company famous. As suggested by one of my staff, that I should record my trading computer 7/24 so that they can produce ASMR videos for those trading addicts on YouTube. Been thinking about it and may give it a try.

In case you do not know what ASMR videos are, you can search for “What is ASMR” on youtube to knock yourself out.

With all these riots and emotional “heated debates” among people with different viewpoints of things happening around us, maybe it is time to remember that Socrates hates democracy. My point is, you don’t need to have an opinion on things you don’t know. You don’t need to make a call on what is happening around you as if you are an expert of the subject. Listening too much to the news, which are by design to focus on extreme events to get your attention, is bad for your health.

Lately I’ve heard a lot of talks of the inevitability of the financial system breaking down. For example, Ray Dalio publicizes the idea that eventually the Fed will hit a wall with what they are doing. And some people are already thinking about bartering if “shit hits the fan”. Bartering has been around ever since human existed. Only after cash being accepted as the default form of medium for transactions that barter became less popular over time. So pay attention to the rise of bartering will give you a clue how close we are from that “wall”.

So much to get done this weekend again, got to run.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update September 4, 2020

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What a week for the stock market – when everyone was talking about the market would never go lower because of the Fed policy, next thing you know we got a one day drop of more than 6% in Nasdaq 100 and 3% in S&P500. Usually September and October are the more volatile months so more fireworks is very likely in coming few weeks. On top of that, we have US election in early November. This is going to be very interesting for aggressive traders going into the end of this year.

Robert Greene just released a new video on human irrationality. It is a long video (about an hour) that I think everyone should watch and learn from it.

For those of you who grew up with the Apple II computers, you probably played the game Prince of Persia. Here is an interesting video on its creator Jordan Mechner who figured out how to break the Apple II hardware limitations. What he has accomplished shows the importance of having multiple voices in any large scale projects. If he had stayed the course of doing what he thought the game was all about, Prince of Persia would not have becoming the iconic classic games of all time.

And remember, never ask a surgeon whether you need a surgery – interesting talk of clash between Canada’s CMHC outgoing chief and Canadian real estate industry.

Looks like this weekend I will have a break from my marathon meetings. I need this badly as my biological clock is totally messed up over the past few weeks. Some “me time” for meditation and exercise sounds like a plan.

Have a great long weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update August 14, 2020

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Finally face to face meetings after “stage 3 re-opening” is here in Toronto area. Meeting marathon still. So much changes have to be implemented in everything and everywhere. The businesses I invest in all have to change the way how things are done so that the latest health guidelines are followed. Any failure to comply with the regulations can result in hefty fine …

This week we also had a major hardware failure. Last time that happened was several years ago. There are lemon cars … now I wonder if there are lemon servers.

An interesting article about the maintenance of 747s. It definitely echo the same theme of another article I linked to back on April 17. These systems just do not die. It is a very important lesson for modern equipment makers to pay attention to – it is just irresponsible to make appliances and capital equipment that do not last.

Here is a well balanced video on Canadian real estate market now and its future. I like his data driven approach. You may want to apply his methodology to analyze the real estate market in your area in case you are interested in buying or selling a property.

It is really impossible to speculate what will happen when the relief programs introduced by all these governments coming to an end. For Canada, there are more than 4.7 million Canadians receiving government support money (CERB) at $2000 every 4 weeks as of August. Canada is a country with an estimated population of 38 million people with about 22 million people in the workforce. It is 1 out of 4 people in the country receiving support payment.

There are also many full time college students getting CESB at $1250 every 4 weeks. But these special programs are going to stop by the end of August. Mortgage deferral programs the government asked the banks to provide are 6 months long. Those will end soon too.

What it means is that by September the impact of permanent job losses due to COVID19 will finally be felt. Since new businesses would not just pop up from nowhere, and that all existing businesses are in survival mode, it is going to take a long time before new job openings are created.

Similar problems for sure happening to many other countries. It is pretty clear that a global recession is coming. How to navigate through this difficult time is a tough question. Many people asked all kinds of questions on various financial decisions. It is really a matter of personal situation thus I can’t generalize the answers here.

What it looks like to me is that we are transitioning into yet another new era driven by technology. Thus “old economy” businesses will have a tough time. Technology companies enabling work from home, remote communications and secure remote access of corporate data would do very well.

But we really don’t know much about the future at this point. Hence my best advice for my readers is to stay conservative financially if possible. Reduce unnecessary spending is always a good idea. And if you are stressed out by the pandemic, read my last weekly update. There are some materials that you can learn from to cope with this.

Stay safe, keep fit and have a wonderful weekend all!