The Monotony of Trading

Boris Schlossberg

MT4Traderfest 2019 -- A FREE Weekend Webinar Spectacular for All Retail Forex Traders

Someone on Elite Trader posted this the other day, “People never realize the monotony of trading. Making money is exciting but can you go stay in and day out with the same repetitive discipline and not get bored when the market is slow or you are accumulating losses.”

Of course not.

Which is why so many of us get in trouble with prop trading, which above else requires the discipline to NOT trade. Take a walk down memory lane and it’s almost certain that most of your biggest losers were simply bored trades gone wrong.

Which is why it’s been such a pleasure lately to hand over most of my trading to my robot who has no problem with boredom and can sit in a position for a day, a week, a month -- whatever it takes.

We’ve had an extraordinary week in BK so far, capturing 500 pips in our little algo land. And sure, most of it is due to the confluence of strategy and market regime and when things change we can puke up just as much (hopefully less) but the thing that struck me the most about the past few weeks is how robots have made us much better prop traders.

I was sitting at lunch with K today (who has been absolutely killing it with her prop calls in the chatroom this week) and remarked how much better her market vision has been recently. Same with me. My own little prop account in which I putz around on the side has been consistently green every day since the start of the year.

And then it hit me.

The robots have taken all the pressure away. There was no longer a need to “find fresh” trades every day. The robots found them, took them, managed them. This gave us the time to think, to react intelligently to the news putting us on the right side of the trade more often than not. The prop-trading got better without much effort on our part.

Mind you, this isn’t an argument for 100% algo trading (although you do NEED to COME to my MT4 Traderfest this weekend) rather this is just a simple observation that sometimes the best benefits of algo trading are ones you didn’t even consider.

Weekly Forex Trading Calendar for Jan 7, 2019

Weekly Calendar Calls

We have just posted our weekly news trading calendar for the week of Jan 7 2019. You can download the pdf and excel file by clicking on the Read More Link. These are soft biases on economic data and not trades that we directly trade or track like BK Swing and News.

PDF version of calendar010719

Excel version of calendar010719

Three Trading Truths I learned This Year

Boris Schlossberg

1. “Never” and “always” are the two most dangerous trading words in the English language.
Idiotic statements like “smart money is never wrong” or “this setup always works” are a straight path to a blowup. The other day I was watching a YouTube video with more than 150K views where the guy was arrogantly pitching as his own the SSI strategy that K and I helped develop back in our FXCM days. Basically, the FXCM SSI index measures the client positioning in any given currency pair and then takes the opposite side especially as the positioning goes to the extremes. Now generally that is mostly a good idea. Most of retail is usually on the wrong side of the trade most of the time. But not always. In the case of SSI the FXCM brass was so sure of their new little indicator that they convinced a large French bank to trade the model with a very sizable prop account. Unfortunately, at that time the euro went on about a 3000 pip slide with no stops along the way and as retail kept getting shorter, the bank kept getting longer and blew out more money than you can imagine. So no. The “dumb money” is not always wrong and you can lose even on “never-gonna-happen” bets. The only proper way to use those words in trading is: “There is always a chance I am wrong,” and “I will never bet my whole bankroll on this one trade idea.” In short, the most important things I learned in 2018 is to be humble. Always. And arrogant. Never.

2. Robots trade better than I.
After years and years of resisting rules-based trading, I finally realized that my strategies are much more profitable when they are executed systematically. Robots don’t hesitate on entries. Robots don’t pull stops. Robots don’t sleep and miss out on trades. Robots don’t accidentally hit a buy instead of a sell button and robots don’t trade ten times the intended position size (unless you configured them wrong). None of this means that systematic trading will automatically make you profitable, but it does offer you a multitude of advantages over point and click trading. One of the traders in my chat room noted that we should view our trading robots as assistants -- and I think that a perfect analogy for how we should view the systematic process. There is no such thing as set it and forget it trading. Robots help you with execution and logical structure, they free you from the tyranny of looking at every tick on the screen but it is still up to you to analyze and adjust the strategy and always be aware of the market. The future of retail trading is robot. The sooner you realize that the better a trader you will become.

3. F- passive. After several years of ranting against the mindless advice of Bogleheads that passive investing is the only way to get rich, we are finally seeing the disaster that it truly is as we close out the worst December in market history. The pain is just starting. If you have all your retirement money in equities prepare to possibly lose 50% of your money, just like Bitcoin traders. The worst part is that passive investors couldn’t do anything about it even if they wanted to because they don’t have the skills to manage risk. They’ve been taught to ask no questions and drop money in their retirement account every month, with the same monolithic fervor of a North Korean people’s rally. Even if I am 100% wrong ( and I certainly can be -- see #1) most passive investors will not survive this dip because they are completely unaccustomed to risk and they certainly capitulate at the bottom. On the other hand, we retail traders live and breathe risk every day and at very least know a thing or two about position sizing and stops. So let the passives enjoy a few more months of illusion. As market regime changes from an unending one-way rally, we retail traders will be ready to surf the price waves and keep risk under control. Here is to a great 2019!

Happy Trading everyone.