TLC Weekly Update November 20, 2020

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Another week that the stock market flirting with all time high yet not quite able to stay that way. More vaccine news but not good enough to offset the other pressing issues. Traders should be happy that next week is Thanksgiving week. Traditionally, pro traders who are doing fine up to this point for the year would wind down their trading and take a break all week. Let’s see if trading volume will drop like the past this coming week.

I have been reading books and studying history to try to get a better perspective of the current global situation. It feels like we are going to see drastic changes in coming few years as the post COVID era is getting very chaotic already. It is important to figure out what to do and prepare for this “interesting time”.

I came across some amusing reads that has nothing to do with the big picture though.

For example, this one on the birth of chaos theory and this other article on Olive Oatman the pioneer girl are good read.

During this holiday week, would you be interested in trying the sport of egg boxing? I find this quite funny since we can never guess what people do with their spare time …

Lately, I have this burst of creativity that keeps me going 12-14 hours a day working on my projects. Very good progress is made and I am happy for that. Hopefully this can last long enough so that I can complete several projects before the end of this year.

Have a great weekend all!

Happy Thanksgiving Week to my US readers!

TLC Weekly Update November 13, 2020

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Today is Friday the 13th. Famous for handing out chaos and troubles. Well, the whole week was a mess for the financial markets thanks to Pfizer’s vaccine announcement spiked the stock markets much higher. And then everyone learnt that its CEO filed to unload most of his holdings of the company. Talking about sarcasms …

With the hanging issue of US election, everyone I talked to are as confused as I am about the near term outlook of the financial markets. A weekend break is much needed to reflect on all these latest developments. Some friends of mind are talking about using psychedelics this weekend to clear their minds. For those of you interested in New Age stuff, here is a piece on DMT trip … interesting I must say.

And for astrology fans, or just astronomy enthusiasts, the last Jupiter Pluto conjunction in this year just happened on Nov 12th. It will not happen again until Feb 4, 2033. That’s 13 years away. I am not sure what this signify. I hope, though, that it implies COVID-19 is over.

Someone sent this video to me on making a simple toy. This can be a fun project for kids and adults alike. Enjoy!

I am kind of re-reading a book I have. “Kind of” because it is a different edition. The book is The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks. This edition has additional comments from other people and the author himself. It is a great book for anyone interested in longer term investing.

So much work to get done before the year end. I guess no holiday break for me this year.

Have a nice weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update November 6, 2020

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US election was over but the messy process of getting a US president for the next term has just started. Hopefully my prediction, that it will take years to resolve the issue, is wrong. Some people suggest that US should really be split into two countries instead of one since the votes are so distinctly divided at 50/50 level. They may have a point.

I have an extremely productive week. Multiple issues with deploying automated trading strategies are resolved. New strategy development effort has achieved great progress. Since travel around the world is still quite troublesome, looks like I will stay in Toronto doing R&D all the way into end of this year.

I grew up playing 2D fighting games. And I am pretty bad at it. Somehow I watched this video on the Tekken 7 world championship final. Amazing precision and control. How do they do that?

Just a fun video on the fastest robot solving a Rubik’s cube.

It is disappointing to see US sinking into chaos. Once upon a time, it was safe to send your children by US postal. What went so wrong that this once superpower of the world has turned into a disgrace?

I guess politics is really not my thing. Better focus on my trading.

Have a great weekend all!

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 October 2, 2020

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First debate of three scheduled just took place this Tuesday and we already have a taste of what is coming up. I wonder if the viewership would drop over time though as there is really nothing new or useful being discussed. Unless, of course, some super juicy conspiracy facts are exposed in coming weeks …

And now Trump declared that he tested positive with COVID, the plot thicken with even more uncertainties in coming weeks. How the stock market will react to this can be complicated because no one knows the outcome.

Someone referred me to this short video of Hugh Jackman being interviewed by an YouTuber. Either the youtuber has made a serious impression from the past, or that Hugh Jackman has a very good memory. I will let you decide.

I was asked lately by a number of people about the importance of statistics in trading. My point of view is that, before one even talk about statistics, they need to understand the difference between frequentist and Bayesian approaches. The two camps lead to distinctly different way to formulate their conjectures and inference methods. I personally do not believe that the frequentist approach works with trading and it is proven by Nassim Taleb that financial markets are all fattail animals. Here is a good short piece on the subject.

And having the correct understanding of Bayesian inference, is all more important in this post COVID world. Check out this video from Veritasium on the subject. It can help those of you who are so influenced by the reporting of daily cases to calm down and rethink about the whole situation.

Coming week I will be extremely pre-occupied by all kinds of paperwork and business chores. Better get things started now.

Have a nice weekend all!

p.s. belated Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to all of you who celebrate the occasion!

TLC Weekly Update August 28, 2020

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A very productive week coming to an end while leaving me quite happy and exhausted. For one, finally closed a deal that has a marathon run of six months of negotiation. On trading side, I am making great progress with MultiCharts automated trading. Persistency and being patient have again proven to be useful when you want to accomplish something that worth the effort.

I am learning how to take night sky pictures lately. It is very different from taking regular photos due to the need of long exposure and other complicated settings. Will post some of the results here when they are reasonably enjoyable. Since I don’t have anything good yet, I have to use a stock photo this time.

Here is an interesting story on why the Sistine Chapel does not allow people taking pictures. I have been to Rome many times and stayed there for quite a bit in the past. Never thought of the reasons behind the no picture rule are so obscure.

For those of you who are trying to do intermittent fasting, you should read this good research paper on fasting from Japan. It will add to your understanding and help you stay the course.

I found a good video on YouTube with Jeff Gundlach talking about the problem of finance illiteracy. There is a link to the complete interview in the description as well. The fully interview is long but it is a very enjoyable one covering many aspects of his life. It is like reading his biography uncensored. I found the part on astrology about him very fascinating. As someone like myself who have a similar scientific background and beliefs, yet accepting the fact that astrology can be useful and helpful to people.

Have a great 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!

TLC Weekly Update Aug 7, 2020

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Another hectic week passed with me not knowing what time it was until the alarm clock fired off for the next meeting. It was not pure business meetings though. My friends who need my help called more often during this outbreak. Glad that I can give them a hand in this crazy time. Things are getting difficult everywhere in the world while the stock markets and precious metals are flying to the moon.

One thing I learned from friends with connections is that many Canadian banks are no longer willing to renew mortgages for clients who are self-employed. Or that they would tighten up the requirements so much that these self-employed individuals are forced to take on second mortgages. I never get the logic behind this line of thoughts by the Canadian banks.

Maybe, it has nothing to do with the banks because they are forced to follow a stiff guideline from Bank of Canada on all mortgages. Any irregular income makes it very difficult to satisfy the one-size-fits-all metric. At the end, Canada and other countries taking a similar approach to banking regulations are destroying their economies from within.

Latest discussion about the zero bond yield situation from Bridgewater should be useful to those who are wondering what to do with their retirement funds.

Lately, I have to help quite a number of friends with their life crisis due to COVID-19. Be that losing their jobs, businesses and lockdown depression, I found I keep referring them to this old video from Tim Ferriss on defining your fears instead of your goals. And for those who manage to find meaning from the video, I ask them to go read either The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday or a easier read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson.

If you know of anyone who may benefit from the video or the books above, spread the words.

Life is tough. But there is always hope.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update July 10, 2020

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Another extremely busy week has passed. For some mysterious reasons, all kinds of equipment failure has happened. From power outage to internet outage and Tradestation going crazy in last hour of trading … I can really use a break.

One good news though is that the deployment of my trading models on MultiCharts has been a success. It is working better than I anticipated. No complications at all and the automated trading works as expected. I will write about it once I gather more data.

Due to the hectic schedule I could not really sit down to do the recording for the video lessons I planned to do. Have to squeeze some time out to get that done.

I am often attracted to read all about lefty since I was young. Here is an interest read about lefty. In traditional Chinese culture, it is a bad omen to be a lefty. So, when I was young, I was persuaded (by violence, of course) to not use my left hand to hold chopsticks or to write. Well, it worked, sort of. I ended up using right hand to write and eat most of the time but then when my right hand is busy, like using the mouse on a computer, I would switch to left hand to write things down or eat.

While I am going through many meetings to raise funding for my new prop trading venture, I often came across this belief that generating north of 50% a year is too good to be true. And when I try to explain how it is possible, it often leads to rejection at once. People don’t like being lectured on what is possible because to some, it implies that you are challenging their ignorance and no one likes that. However, after I include an introduction about Renaissance Tech, it makes the meetings much more pleasant.

Here is an article about Renaissance Tech for those of you never heard of James Simons or his legendary Medallion Fund.

The stock market indices, mainly the Nasdaq 100, continue to push higher has caused quite a lot of debate in the media and on the internet. Expert opinions are all over the place. Personally, I think the broader stock market will be range bounded in the near future as Fed and other central banks reduce their presence in the markets. Without more stimulus, there will be limited upside. And the game is to wait for the US election result. I have no idea what to expect from there so no comment on that.

For those of you interested in applying AI to trading, check out this video of NVidia’s team using AI to create the PacMan game from just watching the game. Look at how far AI has improved over the past 20 years. The current iteration of AI platforms that auto create trading strategies are still very primitive in comparison. And none of that has the correct framework of price discovery built-in hence the trading strategies created are mostly useless at best.

My bet is that we will never see such a platform becoming available to the retail traders because, for a functional tool like this, the creators will work with big money instead. Serving retail traders does not make sense because retail traders are not equipped with the knowledge to appreciate the power of such tools. The theme is an echo of what I experienced with my fund raising effort.

Got to go.

Have a great weekend all!