Sunday, June 13, 2021

Computer technology for trading

From time to time I get questions from visitors to my site at This rather popular niche website, that has been around for over 15 years now, deals primarily with day trading e-mini futures, especially stock index futures such as YM or ES.  

Some of these questions concern what one would loosely call trading technology, by which I mean both computer hardware and software that e-mini futures traders should equip themselves in to be able to compete with large and growing, multinational, a crowd of other market participants. 

A number of articles on my site were inspired by such questions and I just added another one, specifically about the computer trading technology. Thus instead of  addressing this issue anew here, let me simply highlight these pieces. 

The one just mentioned is dedicated mostly to Sierra Chart, an excellent charting and trading platform, that I first started using way back around 2003, and continued using it throughout my whole e-mini futures day trading career. I also talk about Bracket Trader in there, another program that I was using for many years. Its use, however, is limited to Interactive Brokers, and so its popularity is naturally also limited compared to Sierra Chart that can be used not only with this particular broker but many others as well. 

Let me also point out that both Sierra Chart and Bracket Trader along with a few other trading software products are featured in a special section called Recommended

There is also an article in the same section of my site, called A Word of Advice, that addresses the computer hardware for traders. Written in 2014, it may be dated a bit now, and will most likely be updated by me at some later point, it talks about the best computer equipment for trading e-mini futures markets

More articles like that may be coming in future, so you may want to revisit my site from time to time, if interested. It is now being updated more often than in the recent past and this is likely to continue for months if not years to come.  

Monday, April 26, 2021

Is Bitcoin really a scam?

Nassim Taleb definitely thinks so (see my tweet below). He talks about Bitcoin being a Ponzi scheme, which is just a special kind of financial scam. 

Taleb is a well-known finance personality with a respectable Twitter following, cultish to a large extent, which I consider rather problematic - in general, not just in his case - though I am not saying he is to blame for that. He is an author of several popular books, which I have found interesting and even recommend at least one of them on my website. He is known for strong opinions, not in the least about his adversaries, whom he considers pretty much universally stupid - well, I may be simplifying things a bit, just to be facetious, but probably not that much. 

Anyway, as I noted in my tweet (a retweet, actually), my take on this Bitcoin issue is a bit subtler. I presented it in a pretty recent post on this blog and also addressed it briefly on my site

Taleb is certainly not alone in his opinion. And hardly the first one to state this so bluntly on social media or on a blog. 

Still, the public appears to be very divided on this issue, with the Bitcoin advocates trying to justify the current cryptomania as the beginning of something so totally new that only few can really comprehend it. Well, they may be right as only those early few will surely benefit from this bubble. Taleb's opinion is shared by those convinced that bubbles sooner or later burst as the history of such events shows. Count me in this camp. The laws of economics would have to change for this case to be different. Now, this would really be something extraordinary. 

I am, however, betting that Elon (of the Musk family), the guy behind some of the pretty recent Bitcoin activity, will sooner land his people on Mars than this will happen. And they are not getting there by 2030, for sure. By then, the Bitcoin bubble may just be a bad memory for too many, I am afraid.  

Keep in mind that Elon has very deep pockets. He can afford more than ordinary pikers, and most of us are just pikers from the point of view of the size he can trade. He may even know who that Satoshi guy is and what he has really been up to with his scheme. Impossible? Perhaps not if you are the richest guy in the world, which he was just recently. He may trade on information you are not and will never be privy to and he may time his moves the way you will never be able to. And with his large clout through social media he may use you to facilitate his moves. This is not a sound proposition. Even if we talk only about possibilities here. This is always a problem with poorly regulated markets. They can be easily manipulated. By the big fish, and you ain't it. 

This is not to say that I suspect Elon Musk to be engaging in some Bitcoin shenanigans, but merely that there is plenty of room for manipulation for whales like him and others we may even never heard of that are pulling the strings. Judging by how much volatility is in the Bitcoin price, some of it may as well be due to that.  

I find the whole situation pretty dystopian. It's like living in a split virtual financial Universe that is bound to disappear eventually like a bad dream as they, by their very nature of being virtual, always do. 

I have no position in the crypto markets and look at the whole spectacle from the position of curious and increasingly amused a bystander. Still, I would not advocate any crypto investment at this point to anyone except really those with money to burn. Nor do I plan to take any long term position in these markets myself. Trading them is a different story, but I have no plans for that either.

However, I am also afraid that if Nassim Taleb is right, and he may well be, then many people will get burned really bad and this may forever project on their view of financial markets. There are always good trading opportunities in the markets that have been around for many decades, are well regulated, and decently liquid. Once you have mastered trading them, you can easily augment your income without chasing another dogecoin or some other crypto. 

In fact, the very term "crypto" sounds like a warning from the future. In 10 years or so, we may be telling tales from the crypt (pun intended) whose protagonists are hapless Bitcoin "investors." 

The recommended markets I alluded to above include stocks and futures, the latter, due to leverage, for the less risk averse crowd. You may want to check out what I have to offer in this respect. 

For stocks, especially if you are just a beginner, you may be interested in my original trading method that is based on fundamental analysis rather than technical one as is the case much more often. 

While I used to trade the stocks for several years, mostly during the Internet mania of the 90's, for nearly two decades by now I have specialized in trading e-mini futures markets and my flagship trading product is an e-mini futures day trading course, which I particularly recommend your attention. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Bernie Madoff is gone forever... but the financial scams will continue

The world famous "financier" has left the building, as they say. Madoff passed away in prison, where he truly belonged, on April 14th, aged 82. He died of natural causes; perhaps not surprisingly for apparently he was quite a celebrity in his last residence. Celebrities enjoy special treatment anywhere they happen to go. That's one heck of a perk to be a celebrity. 

I wish I could say that his departure from this glorious world of ours makes it a better place, but, sadly, the damage he has done with his monumental Ponzi pyramid scheme is here to stay. Some people committed suicide because of him. Not only people who have lost all their savings, but also his own son. 

He has made history by committing the biggest financial fraud the world has ever known, to the tune of a pretty hefty sum of about 65 billion US dollars. 12 years after he was sentenced in 2009, less than 15 billion has been recovered and returned to his victims. Say what you want about the guy, but he certainly deserves to be called a "great equalizer," although not exactly in the positive sense of this expression: his victims were not just ordinary hard-saving folks, but also Hollywood celebrities like Kevin Bacon or Steven Spielberg. 

He was supposed to serve 150 years of prison time for his crime, but he managed to avoid over 90 percent of it. It appears then that it pays off to be a Ponzi schemer or a scam artist in general. No wonder thus that financial scams crop up all the time. 

The hotter an investment or trading sector, the more likely you are to run into scam operators. The more popular you are, the easier it is for you to run a large scam operation. Madoff was very popular, in large measure thanks to being the Nasdaq stock market chairman at some point of his finance career. Hence, his operation was able to scam quite a number of people for quite a long time, though some actually ended up net winners. The wins are due to the donations from the losers of the pyramid he had run for nearly two decades, though some suspect that for much longer, and which eventually collapsed when the market went way too south during the Great Recession that started around 2008. 

Very recently, I dedicated two tweets to Bernie Madoff (see above), but not long ago I had also tweeted about other scams that target retail traders or investors (see below).

Moreover, there is some more information about these things and the trading marketplace in general on my site, specifically in its main trading advice section called A Word of Advice. You may want to check it out to educate yourself about the dangers you potentially face from miscreants that populate every marketplace.  

The schemes you have to be particularly cautious about these days have to do with cryptocurrency, the most popular representative of which is Bitcoin. There have been several of them over the last few years and since this is a very hot sector and largely unregulated, they are more likely to crop up in it than in less novel and more regulated trading or investing fields such as stocks, bonds, or futures. Forex is also known for its greater share of scams than the other three areas mentioned. 

I believe that you are better off to learn how to trade in order to manage your own money instead of relying on services of "trading wizards" for some of them may well turn out to be ordinary (and sometimes, as is certainly the case with Bernie, even extraordinary) frauds. Being less dependent on others is the way to go in general, and this is just one way to accomplish that. Once again, let me recommend A Word of Advice as a good starting point. 

Then you can explore other things I have to offer, in particular my flagship product, an e-mini futures day trading course that has turned quite a number of people into successful traders. And convinced many more that trading can be a winning proposition without relying on trading gurus. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Another four years of this bull market?

Probably not, even with this hefty stimulus bill courtesy of the Biden administration that will most likely add at least two more years to this already pretty extended bull market in the US equities, the bull that has been around for about 10 years now. 

The previous such a period in the broad US stock market did not last longer than 7 years, culminating in a housing bubble that was followed by a severe recession. By this benchmark, 14 years would be quite a  whopper. For this reason and the fact this market is already in the bubble phase that often occurs in the final stages of bull markets, I am not too keen to bet on it. 

Still, as I have recently tweeted, we can look forward to another two years of raising stock prices, and perhaps even Dow Jones at 40,000, though I would be rather surprised by that. It hit 30,000 only a few months ago, and is about to launch its attack at 33,000. Since as of this writing it is less than 300 away from it, I expect this number to be broken by April 2021, and 36,000 by the end of 2022. 

We'll see, if I am right, but I think these are pretty safe bets. Of course, I have no crystal ball, so may as well turn out to be flat wrong.  

To celebrate the reinvigorated bull, the approaching winter (sorry that only in the Northern hemisphere, but that's really beyond my control), the almost certain defeat of Covid by this year's end, and all kinds of other positive things, I am extending discounts on some of my popular trading products. But only until June 15th. 

Check out the new prices of KING, a popular e-mini futures day trading course, and Easy Money in Stocks, my original stock trading method. (You may need to refresh these pages in your browser to see them updated.)

How good KING can be in the hands of a well-trained futures day trader is perhaps best attested to by the image right below. Many more images like that can be found in KING's trading results section.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Extraterrestrials and the reaction of financial markets or will Bitcoin survive?

Imagine that one fine day, aliens, meaning full-blown extraterrestrials and not your fellow humans south off the border if you live in Gringoland, show up on your doorstep and ask you, telepathically, of course, in their finest English with a bit of that Proxima Centauri accent, to take them to your leader. This may eventually happen, though probably not during the lifetimes of those persevering through this dreary pandemic period. 

Now, what would the reaction of financial markets be once the presence of the extraterrestrials became public? Would they go up in an exuberant frenzy or crash spectacularly? 

Hard to tell, but one thing seems to be pretty certain: they would go crazy. One should expect wild swings; their volatility would likely be higher than ever recorded before. It's conceivable that their activity would even be suspended for a few days, just as it was the case after the 9/11 attacks. 

Surely, what we are considering here is pretty outlandish (pun intended), but the behavior of financial markets during the Covid pandemic, whose tenure in the Western world has just been extended to another year, has been quite outlandish too. With the worldwide economy pretty much depressed by this pesky Covid virus, it's not easy to understand the financial bubble we are in right now. Even if we account for the hope of the pandemic ending soon. 

This outlandish behavior manifests itself in some markets to a greater extent than in others, but it's particularly visible in fintech, a new technology sector known largely for cryptocurrencies. The people betting on the future of this technology seem to believe, just as countless participants of similar bubbles in the past did, that this time is different

Even though I like this upbeat attitude quite a bit, the economic history teaches us that it never is. Different, that is. Intelligent trading or investing requires one to grasp some (not even that fine) aspects of human psychology. As Richard Feynman, a famed American physicist, who, I am sure, would make an outstanding trader too, wisely observed, "you are the easiest person to fool." Let me officially call these words the Feynman dictum

I still remember very well the Internet stock mania of the golden 90s. The market bubble created back then eventually deflated and some of the stocks that seemed to defy gravity are not even listed on stock exchanges any more. This is especially true of the stocks of first search engines. 

Who now knows what Lycos is? Only old timers, I am afraid. And that's not even the most extreme case because Lycos, founded in 1994 is still around, as you can find out using... Google. Yes, Google that back then virtually nobody even heard of  - founded in 1998, went public in 2004, a few years after the Internet stock bubble deflation -  and which now dominates the search engine market. 

But let us go back to the cryptocurrencies. How many of them do we really need in this world? 

Well, here is an auxiliary question: how many search engines do you really use on a regular basis? Probably just one or two. There are more, of course, but in the developed world the most commonly used are Google and Bing, the latter a poor cousin of the former. If you are more sophisticated, you may be using Yandex from time to time, but its main market is in Russia. Still, it's a good search engine. The Chinese use mostly Baidu, more than Russians use Yandex, but outside China it's even less popular than Yandex, I suspect. 

Thus, the answer by way of analogy, I think, is that there isn't that much need for all those cryptocurrencies and it's only a matter of time before they (most of them, at least) share the fate of the many original search engines (Lycos, Infoseek, Excite, and more). This may even happen to the most buoyant of them. Such as Bitcoin. 

Bitcoin, the most popular of cryptocurrencies, is a very bad candidate for anything even remotely related to the idea of currency for the thing one expects most of the currency is its stability. Yet, Bitcoin with its wild price swings cannot obviously guarantee it. 

And then there is another issue, quite important too. Mining Bitcoin, that is, creating new digital coins, is a very wasteful enterprise. It is estimated that this activity on the global scale consumes as much energy as Argentina, which, believe it or not, is still a country, though not without persistent financial problems of its own. In the world that wants to be greener and greener, and there seems to be nothing stopping this trend, Bitcoin may well be replaced by something else, by some Google of cryptocurrencies yet to emerge from someone's garage.

Remember AltaVista? Don't worry, not too many do these days. Established in 1995, it was a very fine search engine, yet lost ground to Google, and acquired by Yahoo! in 2003, was eventually shut down in 2013. Such stories are not uncommon in the world of technology. 

Even if Bitcoin survives for another decade or longer, what are the odds that it will remain as dominant as it is now? It may as well, if not at best, end up as a Bing of cryptocurrencies. Or may follow the trajectory of AltaVista. 

This brings me to the bottom line or two: yes, there is future in cryptocurrencies and other fintech solutions, but the first solutions, especially not well though-out, are not that likely to survive. Keep this in mind when considering your investment in Bitcoin. In these circumstances, short term trading appears to make more sense, though it's also not for everyone. 

For the record, I hold no positions in cryptocurrencies nor do I plan on taking any in the near future. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Jerry Seinfeld gets discretionary trading

I am a yuge Seinfeld fan.

His eponymous show is by far the best sitcom ever, if you ask me. And perhaps even the best TV show ever. Definitely in the top ten TV shows of all time.

While I am hardly a Seinfeld fanboi, I do like to watch a video or two that features Jerry if I come across of it/them. Not only is it usually enjoyable, but sometimes may also provoke you to deeper, unexpected reflections. What's more, these reflections may even happen to be related to trading.

For instance, check out this video that shows an interview with Jerry and George (not this George, Seinfeld's famous sidekick, but Stephanopoulos) in main roles.

Feel free to watch the video in its entirety, but pay special attention between 2:35 to 3:05 minute of its running time. This is the part at the end of which Jerry says: "98 percent is the way you do it." 

See, he gets it. He gets discretionary trading. That's how it really is. Every discretionary trader has his own unique style and that's how he gets much of his trading edge. 

The other part comes from strategies that have been demonstrated to serve well traders, and not just any traders, but discretionary ones. KING, an e-mini futures day trading course and discretionary trading methodology, is what fills the bill in this regard better than most trading methodologies out there because most of the other methodologies are not even advertised as methodologies for discretionary trading. 

And while we at it, a brief reminder that I am now offering a very special special on KING related to some special occasion that does not happen even every decade (and that's not necessarily Covid, though this has unfortunately been quite a special event recently too).

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Some recent updates

This is just a brief note about some recent changes that have taken place on my e-mini futures site and on this blog. 

My website has just been updated with some new information after about two years of hiatus; you may need to reload (refresh) pages in your browser if they appear not updated. I have also extended my domain with GoDaddy for two more years.  

As I mentioned in one of the recent posts here, I don't expect my site to be updated more than a few times a year. Most of my online publishing activity has now shifted to this blog and to my Twitter feed.  

A new page has been added to this blog. It's about my Twitter feed. Twitter is the Internet media platform that I am likely to post most frequently, so you may as well follow me there if you are interested in trading matters, especially related to trading e-mini futures markets. 

I have been on Twitter since 2007, have accumulated over 8000 tweets. I especially recommend that you visit the media section of my feed. It was very busy between 2013 and 2016, having accumulated about 2000 screenshots of the kind that a trader and especially a newbie trader should find rather interesting. 

Some things I was planning for this year did not happen, mostly due to Covid 19, a major economic and social disruptor of 2020. I was hoping its effects would be more limited, lasting perhaps 3-6 months. Alas, we will probably not be entirely free of this plague until the second quarter of 2021, and even that is somewhat optimistic. 

Still, what I have not accomplished in 2020 will only get postponed to 2021. That includes a new, upgraded version of KING, all custom indicators for this e-mini futures day trading methodology, and a forum for KING users, if there is enough interest for it. Also, my site that is now being updated, will become fully up-to-date in the first quarter of 2021, if not in the first month of 2021. 

In other words, I want to have my site and my business fully operational as soon as possible, and that means in the first few months of 2021. I say so also in this recent article on my site that addresses some of major changes on my site and in my business that I recommend your attention. 

Let us hope that 2021 is vastly better than 2020. No one, probably, expected 2020 to be as bad as it turned out to be, but life is not always as smooth and predictable as we would like it to be. Luckily, major pandemics don't happen that often, and the next one is less likely to cause as much disruption as Covid has for we are now better prepared for it. Or, so one hopes.  

Have a very happy holiday season and the greatest New Year possible. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate this traditional family holiday.