Mercury Retrograde: Blessing in Disguise

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Everyone talks about Mercury retrograde as if it is a time of trouble. This year (2020) Mercury retrograde from February 16 to March 9, then in June 18 to July 12 and once more in October 13 to November 3. We are about to see the end of the first retrograde period. Let’s sum up my experience so far with this retrograde.

The famous electronic device failing issue:

  • my cell phone used up all its battery once
  • one of my UPS (uninterruptable power supply) battery suddenly died
  • my laptop suddenly dropped its speed to 0.4G
  • my remote trading server works fine, but Tradestation crashed like an hour before market close

The famous communication issue:

  • I ask for one document, people give me something else all together, several times
  • Some deals just stuck on unimportant points

Is it a time that we are supposed to experience more hiccups? Sure.

But should we be afraid of it? Hell no.

Learn to make use of the positive side of Mercury retrograde is what matter most.

Instead of pushing hard on getting deals done, I know it is a time to take things slow and review documents carefully. So things may not progress as fast as I like, at the same time I get to hammer out all the details with time to spare.

This is also the best time to push hard on conducting research projects. As someone who spend a lot of time studying the financial markets. This is the best time for me to review what I have done in the past and see if I can improve on what I have accomplished before. Even past research that ended up not useful can become inspiration of a new research direction.

During this retrograde, I found one significant flaw in one of my trading models that leads to the large drawdown that I do not feel comfortable trading. This particular problem is there for 12 long years since I started trading the model. Some of you may recognize that 12 years is also an important cycle.

The breakthrough to this issue helps me drop the drawdown on this model by half. And in turn, the new research helps me applying similar ideas to a number of other models to improve their trading stability. I never thought I can improve these trading models any further until now.

I am very happy with the results.

The key to utilize Mercury retrograde is to first dive deep into research / study something important to you before the retrograde at least several weeks prior. Then revisit the subject again during the retrograde to see if you can gain new insights. Incorporate the new insights to further your understanding of the subject. It’s effectively a hack to gain expertise quickly.

I am looking forward to the next Mercury retrograde already.

Mercury retrograde is really a blessing in disguise for traders and anyone who conduct serious research.

TLC Weekly Update March 6, 2020

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I spent significantly more time with the market this week due to the wild moves all week. My automated trading models all have built-in filter to avoid trading in such high volatility environment so nothing much happened there. Engage in manual trading was fun riding all these 50 to 100 points moves.

I came across this video on How to Control Your Negative Thoughts. If you want to achieve anything in life but you are stuck right now, watch it. I can’t explain the subject and the concepts better than this guy.

If you have not watch Tim Ferriss on Mastery: Start with End Game and Make Space for Creativity before, do it. You may not get the message first time around though, perhaps it is not the right time for you yet. In that case bookmark the video and watch it again in the future when you need to shake things up in your life.

Workload still on the high side due to sudden need to assist my friends on several business deals. In turbulent time like this, looking out for friends and family is of high priority.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update February 28, 2020

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I saw so many articles and news media quoting brokers that “they have never seen anything like that”, referring to the 500 points drop in Dow over last 45 minutes trading on Thursday. That is just absurd. I remember that it was no big deal back in 2008-2009. It was also nothing comparing to year 2000 dotcom bubble burst. People really have a short memory of these things …

Here is an interesting read about Magnus Carlsen, the best chess player alive, who groove around internet chess websites for fun and excitement.

A good video summing up the COVID-19 situation, watch it so that you are properly informed.

The CORVID-19 is spreading all over the globe. If your community is a high risk area, make sure you keep up with your personal hygiene routines so that you can minimize your chance of contracting the diseases. I was asked by some friends wondering if there is any Chinese herbal medicine can help in terms of prevention. There is really no magic solution so don’t fall for any scam out there.

I am experimenting with making videos myself instead of having someone else handle that. Sometimes the idea is so simple, like I am just trying to show a clip of my trading strategies working in real-time, it is much easier to assemble the video quickly and have it uploaded.

Stay safe and have a great weekend everyone!

TLC Weekly Update February 21, 2020

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Took me long enough to gather the daily trading records on the reference account to produce the updated monthly performance on Big-Game Hunter ES. Some people messaged me that I must be afraid of disclosing the losses. Some even think that the model must have lost everything. Well, BGH has been doing fine.

I do not pay much attention to the daily activities of BGH and downloading the daily statements is something I don’t like to do. Hence I batch process it once in a while. Until I find a way to automate the process, I will limit the updates to the monthly performance only.

I came across this video made by Nassim Taleb on some major misunderstanding of risk by the economist Richard Thaler. It is a must watch for all traders and investors. I have been advocating defensive money management for decades now. Nothing changed. People everywhere still not able to grasp the risk they are taking can actually put them out of any speculative game.

This week I finally get back on track with my exercise regime. My goal is to up my game this year from normal pull ups to single arm pull ups. It is a big challenge – I recall I was able to do that when I was a teenage. Wonder if I can train myself to do that at this age.

Given the virus outbreak, people are getting more cautious everywhere. Restaurants used to have long line up now have empty tables at peak hours. Fewer people going out to the malls. Personally, I am thankful to the technology we have now that I can video conference with people pretty much everywhere.

I guess it will be a long fight against the outbreak so stay safe and keep up with the hygiene routine!

My Journey to Fully Automate My Trading: How Did It All Begin

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In this internet age, people always question the authority of anyone who tries to make a point. That’s especially true when the point of view one has is completely different from what the mainstream beliefs are. Since my beliefs are at odds with the mainstream trading education community, I guess it is time to set the record strict so that you can decide for yourself why you should listen to me on things related to trading.

Interviewing Myself

I have a habit of interviewing traders (if they allow me to) and collecting answers from them if they prefer the questionnaire format. That adds up to several boxes of records over the years. Many of these traders are good traders whose life long trading experience are extremely useful to newcomers. However, my trader friends also prefer not being put in the limelight, so to speak. I can only use the information myself as oppose to publishing volumes of trader interviews.

One of the questions I always ask these traders is, “How it all begin?”

I am going to answer that myself. Right here, right now.

How It All Began

Many people get into trading because they learn about it from a friend or saw on TV how traders are making big money. If you are interested in making money quickly, you will give trading a try. That’s not what happened to me at all.

When I was young, I have no interest in money making. I did not have what they call entrepreneur spirit. I was not interested in the financial markets. My hobbies were reading books, playing chess and making my own electronic devices.

My older brother was completely opposite. He liked creating his own businesses. He had a keen sense about the financial markets since he was young. He was the person who, at the first opportunity he found, became a floor trader in the Toronto Stock Exchange.

As a young trader, being Asian no less, in a place dominated by very aggressive western people, who would have imagine that he can last six months?

He went on to set a record there – as a first time newcomer, he not only survived the game for a full year but also made 4 times his trading capital by the end of the year. He was the hottest new guy.

From there the direction of my life took a sharp turn. My mother believed that my brother’s new found prosperity was the way to go. My brother thought that my intention to become a full time academic was stupid. Without any other option, I had to give trading a try.

So I followed my brother’s footstep to became a floor trader at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

I also set a record there – I was the youngest floor trader they have accepted thanks partly to my brother’s star power and partly for my perfect score in their exam which never happened before. I had an advantage over others in taking the exam – the hardest part of the exam was related to option pricing and strategies which was damn easy for someone who spent most of his life studying math and science.

That’s why I do not think like others who try to beat this game.

I did not even want to play this game, for God’s sake.

That’s how my trading career started some thirty years ago.

TLC Weekly Update February 14, 2020

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I am busy working with my team to port the trading strategies from my training courses to support NinjaTrader. To my horror, we’ve found significant discrepancies among the data which in turn making the performance results not consistent. I will write more about this on DaytradingBias after we have completed our investigation.

I did not know that there has been no complete explanation explaining how planes can stay in the air. Interesting read for those interested in science and engineering stuff.

The coronavirus outbreak has serious implication to the global economy. At this point we do not have enough information to understand its full impact yet. One thing I know for sure is that retail stores and restaurants are in terrible shape everywhere where the virus has landed. The damage is done and it will show in first quarter economic data worldwide.

Earlier this week I uploaded a new video to Youtube to mock those people who brag about their day trading. From time to time, my readers will send me links to these videos and ask what I think about them, whether they are legit, etc. It is really a mindset issue – I think I explained very well in my Smarter Way to Trade series but who wants to be told that “they are not the chosen one”?

Just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Valentine’s Day!

TLC Weekly Update January 24, 2020

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Time flies when you are having too many correspondence at the same time! My week was flooded with all kinds of messaging – emails, conference calls, instant messages … Many still ongoing so no end in sight with this challenge, yet.

Things should get better next week.

I came across this article on a better way to teach kids mathematics. Just as I thought, it is all about building a better foundation that matters most. I’ve been advocating this concept in trading education for years now … rarely anyone would listen. Maybe I should try harder.

Here is an interesting video of a stock market bubble you may never heard of. Check it out.

This Saturday is Chinese New Year. I guess I will have some unavoidable social gatherings then. Hopefully my schedule is not affected much by then.

My second webinar will be held on this coming Thursday 4:30 pm Eastern Time. For those of you interested in participating, check out my post here for more details.

Happy Chinese New Year!

TLC Weekly Update December 20, 2019

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I read this article about the earlier days of Tekken, the famous arcade game created by Namco. Very interesting how things were done back in the days. I don’t think you will see that in any game development companies nowadays.

Meetings still pile on everyday and more people asking to meet up for discussion of their concerns from immigrating to Canada, to alternative investments that generate reasonable return with relatively low risk. Seriously, we can’t blame people for seeking better return – with the current zero interest rate environment, keeping money in the bank hurts.

Good news for my premium members – several new breadth models are now in beta and will be introduced shortly. I need to catch up with the documentation though.

I am returning to Toronto early next week. Hopefully when I arrive the weather will be reasonably good. It is not fun to brave a snowstorm after a long flight.

Have a great weekend everyone!

And Happy Holidays!

TLC Weekly Update December 13, 2019

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I finally uploaded the first video lesson for DaytradingBias youtube channel. Let me know whether you like it. All inputs are welcome.

I am typing this update in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The weather here is pretty hot. I am hoping to explore some investment ideas here before leaving early next week.

I came across this article while waiting for my flight. If you live in North America, you need to know about this dangerous mushroom. Check it out.

I was asked very often by traders and investors alike about this US-China deal. Well, no deal is good enough. That’s all I can say. How can the stock market be 15-20% higher from a time that there were no trade conflict at all to the current state of getting a partial deal is good enough?

TLC Weekly Update December 6, 2019

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I came across this article on The Sugar Conspiracy telling us the sad story of how the modern nutrition science being all wrong thanks to power struggle and manipulation of data. I especially feel the sadness of how the scientist, John Yudkin, being persecuted by the mobs.

Someone shared this video of the Tonight Show having Gary V on wine tasting. Shortest intro on the subject that is fun to watch too. Since this is the season of drinking, maybe you want to learn a few tricks to show off to your friends.

I just posted a new article to the Defensive Money Management series on position sizing. It is the result of a lengthy conversation with some aspiring traders. As I mentioned last time, there is a very serious disconnect of correct trading concepts and the active trading crowd in Hong Kong. This new article focuses on explaining how to grow your trading business in a way that is sustainable.

I am travelling over the next few days to explore some investment opportunities. Hence the need to post early again this week. Will write about my experience after I go back to Hong Kong.

Have a great weekend everyone!