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I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert.
I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning.
When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts
Why it mattersThe first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.”
You have to keep it before you grow it.
Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around.
The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices.
Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizingThe first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose.
Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market.
A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples.
So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000.
We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be?
We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator".
So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital.
You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk.
Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later.
The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work.
As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you.
Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints.
For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly:
To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you.
Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown.
It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance.
Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k.
Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money.
Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
Kelly CriterionIf you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number?
The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round.
This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet.
Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin.
Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips.
Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds.
Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this:
Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio
If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically.
If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss.
So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%.
Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit!
With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not.
Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account.
Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see.
This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders.
Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How to use stop losses sensiblyStop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them.
A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter.
The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’.
This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK.
Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty.
You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter.
Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not.
Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates
There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”.
It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong.
Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear levelWhere you leave your stop loss is key.
Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible.
If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop
You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200.
The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up.
Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD.
If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend.
So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level.
There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high.
Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part IIEDIT: part II here
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Coming up in part IIISqueezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Firstly, thanks for the overwhelming comments and feedback. Genuinely really appreciated. I am pleased 500+ of you find it useful.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
If you didn't read the first post you can do so here: risk management part I. You'll need to do so in order to make sense of the topic.
As ever please comment/reply below with questions or feedback and I'll do my best to get back to you.
Letting stops breatheWe talked earlier about giving a position enough room to breathe so it is not stopped out in day-to-day noise.
Let’s consider the chart below and imagine you had a trailing stop. It would be super painful to miss out on the wider move just because you left a stop that was too tight.
Imagine being long and stopped out on a meaningless retracement ... ouch!
One simple technique is simply to look at your chosen chart - let’s say daily bars. And then look at previous trends and use the measuring tool. Those generally look something like this and then you just click and drag to measure.
For example if we wanted to bet on a downtrend on the chart above we might look at the biggest retracement on the previous uptrend. That max drawdown was about 100 pips or just under 1%. So you’d want your stop to be able to withstand at least that.
If market conditions have changed - for example if CVIX has risen - and daily ranges are now higher you should incorporate that. If you know a big event is coming up you might think about that, too. The human brain is a remarkable tool and the power of the eye-ball method is not to be dismissed. This is how most discretionary traders do it.
There are also more analytical approaches.
Some look at the Average True Range (ATR). This attempts to capture the volatility of a pair, typically averaged over a number of sessions. It looks at three separate measures and takes the largest reading. Think of this as a moving average of how much a pair moves.
For example, below shows the daily move in EURUSD was around 60 pips before spiking to 140 pips in March. Conditions were clearly far more volatile in March. Accordingly, you would need to leave your stop further away in March and take a correspondingly smaller position size.
ATR is available on pretty much all charting systems
Professional traders tend to use standard deviation as a measure of volatility instead of ATR. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Averages are useful but can be misleading when regimes switch (see above chart).
Once you have chosen a measure of volatility, stop distance can then be back-tested and optimised. For example does 2x ATR work best or 5x ATR for a given style and time horizon?
Discretionary traders may still eye-ball the ATR or standard deviation to get a feeling for how it has changed over time and what ‘normal’ feels like for a chosen study period - daily, weekly, monthly etc.
Reasons to change a stopAs a general rule you should be disciplined and not change your stops. Remember - losers average losers. This is really hard at first and we’re going to look at that in more detail later.
There are some good reasons to modify stops but they are rare.
One reason is if another risk management process demands you stop trading and close positions. We’ll look at this later. In that case just close out your positions at market and take the loss/gains as they are.
Another is event risk. If you have some big upcoming data like Non Farm Payrolls that you know can move the market +/- 150 pips and you have no edge going into the release then many traders will take off or scale down their positions. They’ll go back into the positions when the data is out and the market has quietened down after fifteen minutes or so. This is a matter of some debate - many traders consider it a coin toss and argue you win some and lose some and it all averages out.
Trailing stops can also be used to ‘lock in’ profits. We looked at those before. As the trade moves in your favour (say up if you are long) the stop loss ratchets with it. This means you may well end up ‘stopping out’ at a profit - as per the below example.
The mighty trailing stop loss order
It is perfectly reasonable to have your stop loss move in the direction of PNL. This is not exposing you to more risk than you originally were comfortable with. It is taking less and less risk as the trade moves in your favour. Trend-followers in particular love trailing stops.
One final question traders ask is what they should do if they get stopped out but still like the trade. Should they try the same trade again a day later for the same reasons? Nope. Look for a different trade rather than getting emotionally wed to the original idea.
Let’s say a particular stock looked cheap based on valuation metrics yesterday, you bought, it went down and you got stopped out. Well, it is going to look even better on those same metrics today. Maybe the market just doesn’t respect value at the moment and is driven by momentum. Wait it out.
Otherwise, why even have a stop in the first place?
Entering and exiting winning positionsTake profits are the opposite of stop losses. They are also resting orders, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price.
Imagine I’m long EURUSD at 1.1250. If it hits a previous high of 1.1400 (150 pips higher) I will leave a sell order to take profit and close the position.
The rookie mistake on take profits is to take profit too early. One should start from the assumption that you will win on no more than half of your trades. Therefore you will need to ensure that you win more on the ones that work than you lose on those that don’t.
Sad to say but incredibly common: retail traders often take profits way too early
This is going to be the exact opposite of what your emotions want you to do. We are going to look at that in the Psychology of Trading chapter.
Remember: let winners run. Just like stops you need to know in advance the level where you will close out at a profit. Then let the trade happen. Don’t override yourself and let emotions force you to take a small profit. A classic mistake to avoid.
The trader puts on a trade and it almost stops out before rebounding. As soon as it is slightly in the money they spook and cut out, instead of letting it run to their original take profit. Do not do this.
Entering positions with limit ordersThat covers exiting a position but how about getting into one?
Take profits can also be left speculatively to enter a position. Sometimes referred to as “bids” (buy orders) or “offers” (sell orders). Imagine the price is 1.1250 and the recent low is 1.1205.
You might wish to leave a bid around 1.2010 to enter a long position, if the market reaches that price. This way you don’t need to sit at the computer and wait.
Again, typically traders will use tech analysis to identify attractive levels. Again - other traders will cluster with your orders. Just like the stop loss we need to bake that in.
So this time if we know everyone is going to buy around the recent low of 1.1205 we might leave the take profit bit a little bit above there at 1.1210 to ensure it gets done. Sure it costs 5 more pips but how mad would you be if the low was 1.1207 and then it rallied a hundred points and you didn’t have the trade on?!
There are two more methods that traders often use for entering a position.
Scaling in is one such technique. Let’s imagine that you think we are in a long-term bulltrend for AUDUSD but experiencing a brief retracement. You want to take a total position of 500,000 AUD and don’t have a strong view on the current price action.
You might therefore leave a series of five bids of 100,000. As the price moves lower each one gets hit. The nice thing about scaling in is it reduces pressure on you to pick the perfect level. Of course the risk is that not all your orders get hit before the price moves higher and you have to trade at-market.
Pyramiding is the second technique. Pyramiding is for take profits what a trailing stop loss is to regular stops. It is especially common for momentum traders.
Pyramiding into a position means buying more as it goes in your favour
Again let’s imagine we’re bullish AUDUSD and want to take a position of 500,000 AUD.
Here we add 100,000 when our first signal is reached. Then we add subsequent clips of 100,000 when the trade moves in our favour. We are waiting for confirmation that the move is correct.
Obviously this is quite nice as we humans love trading when it goes in our direction. However, the drawback is obvious: we haven’t had the full amount of risk on from the start of the trend.
You can see the attractions and drawbacks of both approaches. It is best to experiment and choose techniques that work for your own personal psychology as these will be the easiest for you to stick with and build a disciplined process around.
Risk:reward and win ratiosBe extremely skeptical of people who claim to win on 80% of trades. Most traders will win on roughly 50% of trades and lose on 50% of trades. This is why risk management is so important!
Once you start keeping a trading journal you’ll be able to see how the win/loss ratio looks for you. Until then, assume you’re typical and that every other trade will lose money.
If that is the case then you need to be sure you make more on the wins than you lose on the losses. You can see the effect of this below.
A combination of win % and risk:reward ratio determine if you are profitable
A typical rule of thumb is that a ratio of 1:3 works well for most traders.
That is, if you are prepared to risk 100 pips on your stop you should be setting a take profit at a level that would return you 300 pips.
One needn’t be religious about these numbers - 11 pips and 28 pips would be perfectly fine - but they are a guideline.
Again - you should still use technical analysis to find meaningful chart levels for both the stop and take profit. Don’t just blindly take your stop distance and do 3x the pips on the other side as your take profit. Use the ratio to set approximate targets and then look for a relevant resistance or support level in that kind of region.
Risk-adjusted returnsNot all returns are equal. Suppose you are examining the track record of two traders. Now, both have produced a return of 14% over the year. Not bad!
The first trader, however, made hundreds of small bets throughout the year and his cumulative PNL looked like the left image below.
The second trader made just one bet — he sold CADJPY at the start of the year — and his PNL looked like the right image below with lots of large drawdowns and volatility.
Would you rather have the first trading record or the second?
If you were investing money and betting on who would do well next year which would you choose? Of course all sensible people would choose the first trader. Yet if you look only at returns one cannot distinguish between the two. Both are up 14% at that point in time. This is where the Sharpe ratio helps .
A high Sharpe ratio indicates that a portfolio has better risk-adjusted performance. One cannot sensibly compare returns without considering the risk taken to earn that return.
If I can earn 80% of the return of another investor at only 50% of the risk then a rational investor should simply leverage me at 2x and enjoy 160% of the return at the same level of risk.
This is very important in the context of Execution Advisor algorithms (EAs) that are popular in the retail community. You must evaluate historic performance by its risk-adjusted return — not just the nominal return. Incidentally look at the Sharpe ratio of ones that have been live for a year or more ...
Otherwise an EA developer could produce two EAs: the first simply buys at 1000:1 leverage on January 1st ; and the second sells in the same manner. At the end of the year, one of them will be discarded and the other will look incredible. Its risk-adjusted return, however, would be abysmal and the odds of repeated success are similarly poor.
Sharpe ratioThe Sharpe ratio works like this:
You don’t really need to know how to calculate Sharpe ratios. Good trading software will do this for you. It will either be available in the system by default or you can add a plug-in.
VARVAR is another useful measure to help with drawdowns. It stands for Value at Risk. Normally people will use 99% VAR (conservative) or 95% VAR (aggressive). Let’s say you’re long EURUSD and using 95% VAR. The system will look at the historic movement of EURUSD. It might spit out a number of -1.2%.
A 5% VAR of -1.2% tells you you should expect to lose 1.2% on 5% of days, whilst 95% of days should be better than that
This means it is expected that on 5 days out of 100 (hence the 95%) the portfolio will lose 1.2% or more. This can help you manage your capital by taking appropriately sized positions. Typically you would look at VAR across your portfolio of trades rather than trade by trade.
Sharpe ratios and VAR don’t give you the whole picture, though. Legendary fund manager, Howard Marks of Oaktree, notes that, while tools like VAR and Sharpe ratios are helpful and absolutely necessary, the best investors will also overlay their own judgment.
Investors can calculate risk metrics like VaR and Sharpe ratios (we use them at Oaktree; they’re the best tools we have), but they shouldn’t put too much faith in them. The bottom line for me is that risk management should be the responsibility of every participant in the investment process, applying experience, judgment and knowledge of the underlying investments.Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
What he’s saying is don’t misplace your common sense. Do use these tools as they are helpful. However, you cannot fully rely on them. Both assume a normal distribution of returns. Whereas in real life you get “black swans” - events that should supposedly happen only once every thousand years but which actually seem to happen fairly often.
These outlier events are often referred to as “tail risk”. Don’t make the mistake of saying “well, the model said…” - overlay what the model is telling you with your own common sense and good judgment.
Coming up in part IIIAvailable here
Squeezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Squeezes and other risksWe are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.
EventsEconomic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.
SqueezesShort squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.
There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.
Asymmetric lossesAlso known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.
Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.
Market positioningWe have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.
A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.
Raw format is kinda hard to work with
However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.
But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.
Bet correlationRetail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.
Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limitsOne common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.
Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.
That's a wrap on risk managementThanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
|ADM Investor Services||No API|
|Ally Invest||Does not support futures instruments|
|Alpaca||Only supports US Equities|
|Alpha Vantage||Does not support futures instruments|
|AMP||Broker with a huge number of platforms available including some with APIs|
|Arcade Trader||No API|
|AvaTrade||Does not support futures instruments|
|Backtrader||Not a data feed; otherwise looks cool but also looks like a one-man shop|
|Cannon Trading||Broker with a variety of platforms, some have API access such as TT|
|Charles Schwab||API does not support futures instruments|
|Daniels Trading||No API|
|Discount Trading||Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs|
|Edge Clear||Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs|
|Eroom||Now part of Dashprime. Offer a variety of APIs including CQG, TT, CBOE's Silexx, and others via FIX.|
|ETNA Trader||Only supports equities, options (including multi-legs), ETFs, Mutual Funds (Forex with cryptocurrencies coming soon)|
|ETrade||API seems robust but OAuth authorization needs to be refreshed via login once per 24 hours|
|Futures Online||No API|
|Gain Capital Futures||API available, based on .NET; unsure if they are open to retail clients|
|GFF Brokers||Broker with a large number of platforms including some with API access|
|High Ridge Futures||Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs|
|iBroker||API available; contact them for more info|
|IEX Cloud||Looks great but does not support futures instruments|
|Infinity Futures||JSON API available; contact them for more info|
|Interactive Brokers||Client Web API looks promising if clunky|
|Intrinio||Supports futures instruments but is expensive|
|Lightspeed||C++ API available|
|marketstack||API for equities available. Does not support futures instruments.|
|Medved Trader||Windows app with a streaming API to various data sources and brokers. See comment below about API beta access.|
|NinjaTrader||Does not support futures options|
|Norgate Data||Not a broker; supports futures data for $270/year|
|Oanda||Forex only; API last updated in 2018|
|Optimus Futures||Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access|
|Phillip Capital||Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access|
|polygon.io||Expensive but looks slick; does not support futures instruments|
|Quandl||API looks solid; $49/monthly for personal use, does not allow distributing or sharing data; not a broker|
|Quantconnect||Does not expose raw data|
|Quantopian||Does not expose raw data|
|Quantower||Software that connects to multiple brokers and data feeds; API to their software via C# interface|
|Saxo Markets||Broker with extensively documented API|
|Stage 5 Trading||API available through Trading Technologies|
|Straits Financial||Broker with several platforms available including some with APIs such as CQG, R|
|Sweet Futures||Broker with a large number of available platforms including some with API access|
|TastyWorks||There's an unofficial Python API|
|TenQuant.io||Does not support futures instruments|
|ThinkorSwim||Does not support futures instruments via the API|
|Tiingo||Free account tier but does not support futures instruments|
|TradePro||Broker with a number of platforms available; unclear if any are available with API access|
|Tradier||Free developer API account for delayed data but does not support futures instruments|
|TradeStation||Nice looking API docs and supports futures instruments; requires opening an account and a minimum balance of $100k and there’s no trial available|
|TradeFutures4Less||Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs|
|TradingTechnologies||API looks robust; pricing starts at $700/month|
|TradingView||Does not expose data API|
|Tradovate Technologies||API exists, documentation unknown; need to talk to their account team|
|Wedbush Futures||Broker with several platforms offered, a few of which have API access|
|WEX||.NET/COM only; pricing not disclosed on website|
|Xignite||Pricing not disclosed on website but they do support futures instruments|
|Yahoo Finance API||Available through RapidAPI or via direct access; but it’s discontinued and unreliable|
|Zaner||Broker with a variety of platforms including CQG, Rithmic, TT, some with APIs|
“Reeee can’t read, strike?” - random_wsb_autistBitch you better read if you want your Robinhood to look like this:
Why am I telling you this?
Because I like your dumb asses. Even dickbutts like cscqb4. And because I like seeing Wall St. fucking get rekt. Y’all did good until now, and Wall St. is salty af. Just google for “retail traders” news if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll see the salty tears of Wall Street assholes. And I like salty Wall St. assholes crying like bitches.
That said, some of you here are really motherfucking dense & the sheer influx of retardation has been driving away some of the more knowledgeable folks on this sub. In fact, in my last post, y'all somehow managed to downvote to shit the few guys that really understood the points I was making and tried to explain it to you poo-slinging apes. Stop that shit yo! A lot of you need to sit the fuck down, shut your fucking mouth and listen.
So I'm going to try and turn you rag-tag band of dimwits into a respectable army of peasants that can clap some motherfucking Wall Street cheeks. Then, I'm going to give you a mouthbreather-proof trade that I don't think even you knuckleheads can mess up (though I may be underestimating you).
If you keep PM-ing me about your stupid ass losses after this, I will find out where you live and personally, PERSONALLY, shit on your doorstep.
This is going to be a long ass post. Read the damned post. I don't care if you're dyslexic, use text-to-speech. Got ADHD? Pop your addys, rub one out, and focus! Are you 12? Make sure to go post in the paper trading contest thread first.
This shit is targeted at the mouthbreathers, but maybe more knowledgeable folk’ll find some useful info, idk. How do you know if you’re in the mouthbreather category? If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, then you are:
Table of Contents:
I. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS
IV. Busting your retarded myths
V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND
VI. The mouthbreather-proof trade - The Akimbo
VII. Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers
Chapter I - Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
I'm not here to rip you off. Every fucking time I post something, a bunch of dumbasses show up saying I'm selling you puts or whatever the fuck retarded thoughts come through their caveman brains.
"hurr durr OP retarded, OP sell puts" - random_wsb_autistSit down, Barney, I'm not here to scam you for your 3 cents on OTM puts. Do I always get it right? Of course not, dumbasses. Eurodollar play didn't work out (yet). Last TQQQ didn't work out (yet). That’s just how it goes. Papa Buffet got fucked on airlines. Plain retard Burry bought GME. What do you fucking expect?
Meanwhile, I keep giving y'all good motherfucking plays:
Chapter II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
Do you really understand what happened? Let's go through it.
I got in puts on 2/19, right at the motherfucking top, TQQQ at $118. I told you on 2/24 TQQQ ($108) was going to shit, and to buy fucking puts, $90ps, $70ps, $50ps, all the way to 3/20 $30ps. You think I just pulled that out of my ass? You think I just keep getting lucky, punks? Do you have any idea how unlikely that is?
Well, let's take a look at what the fuckstick Kevin Cook from Zacks wrote on 3/5:
How Many Sigmas Was the Flash Correction Plunge?
On 3/5, TQQQ closed at $81. I just got lucky, right? You should buy after a 5-sigma move, right? That's what fuckstick says:
Meanwhile, on 3/3, I answered the question "Where do you see this ending up at in the next couple weeks? I have 3/20s" with "under 30 imo".
Well good fucking job, because a week later on 3/11, TQQQ closed at $61, and it kept going.
Nomura: Market staring into the abyss
Well guess what, by 3/18, a week later, we did get another 5 standard deviation move. TQQQ bottomed on 3/18 at $32.73. Still think that was just luck, punk? You know how many sigmas that was? Over 12 god-damn sigmas. 12 standard deviations. I'd have a much better chance of guessing everyone's buttcoin private key, in a row, on the first try. That's how unlikely that is.
Yup, everyone got clapped on their stupidly leveraged derivatives books. It seems Citadel is “too big to fail”. On 3/18, the payout on 3/20 TQQQ puts alone if it went to 0 was $468m. And every single TQQQ put expiration would have had to be paid. Tens or hundreds of billions on TQQQ puts alone. I’d bet my ass Citadel was on the hook for a big chunk of those. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to all the other blown derivative trades out there.
Y’all still did good, 3/20 closed at $35. That’s $161m/$468m payoff just there. I even called you the bottom on 3/17, when I saw that bailout:
"hurr durr, it went lower on 3/18 so 3/17 wasn't the bottom" - random_wsb_autistIdiot, I have no way of knowing that Billy boy Ackman was going to go on CNBC and cry like a little bitch to make everyone dump, so he can get out of his shorts. Just like I have no way of knowing when the Fed decides to do a bailout. But you react to that, when you see it.
Do you think "Oh no world's ending" and go sell everything? No, dumbass, you try to figure out what Billy's doing. And in this case it was pretty obvious, Billy saw the Fed train coming and wanted to close his shorts. So you give the dude a hand, quick short in and out, and position for Billy dumping his short bags.
Video of Billy & the Fed train
Here's what Billy boy says:
Also, “the single best trade of all time.” my ass, it was only a 100-bagger. I gave y’all a 150-bagger.
So how could I catch that? Because it wasn't random, yo. And I'm here to teach your asses how to try to spot such potential moves. But first, the technical bootcamp.
Chapter III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS
RULE 1. YOU NEVER BUY OPTIONS AT OPEN. You NEVER OVERPAY for an option. You never FOMO into buying too fast. You NEVER EVER NEVER pump the premium on a play.
I saw you fuckers buying over 4k TQQQ 5/22 $45 puts in the first minutes of trading. You pumped the premium to over $0.50 dudes. The play's never going to work if you do that, because you give the market maker free delta, and he's going to hedge that against you. Let me explain simply:
Let's say a put on ticker $X at strike $50 is worth $1, and a put at strike $51 is worth $2.
If you all fomo in at once into the same strike, the market maker algos will just pull the asks higher. If you overpay at $2 for the $50p, the market maker will just buy $51ps for $2 and sell you $50ps for 2$. Or he'll buy longer-dated $50ps and sell you shorter-dated $50ps. Max risk for him is now 0, max gain is $1. You just gave him free downside insurance, so of course he's going to start going long. And you just traded against yourself, congrats.
You need to get in with patience, especially if you see other autists here wanting to go in at the same time. Don't step on each other's toes. You put in an order, and you wait for it to fill for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't fill, AND the price of the option hasn't moved much recently, you can bump the bid $0.01. And you keep doing that a few times. Move your strikes, if needed. Only get a partial fill or don't get a fill at all? You cancel your bid. Don't fucking leave it hanging there, or you're going to put a floor on the price. Let the mm algos chill out and go again later.
RULE 2. WATCH THE TIME. Algos are especially active at x:00, x:02, x:08, x:12, x:30 and x:58. Try not to buy at those times.
RULE 3. YOU USE MULTIPLE BROKERS. Don't just roll with Robinhood, you're just gimping yourself. If you don't have another one, open up a tasty, IB, TD, Schwab, whatever. But for cheap faggy puts (or calls), Robinhood is the best. If you want to make a play for which the other side would think "That's free money!", Robinhood is the best. Because Citadel will snag that free money shit like no other. Seriously, if you don't have a RH account, open one. It's great for making meme plays.
RULE 4. YOU DON'T START A TRADE WITH BIG POSITIONS. Doesn't matter how big or small your bankroll is. If you go all-in, you're just gambling, and the odds are stacked against you. You need to have extra cash to manage your positions. Which leads to
RULE 5. MANAGING YOUR WINNERS: Your position going for you? Good job! Now POUND THAT SHIT! And again. Move your strikes to cheaper puts/calls, and pound again. And again. Snowball those gains.
RULE 6A. POUND THOSE $0.01 PUTS:
So you bought some puts and they’re going down? Well, the moment they reach $0.01, YOU POUND THOSE PUTS (assuming there’s enough time left on them, not shit expiring in 2h). $0.01 puts have amazing risk/return around the time they reach $0.01. This is not as valid for calls. Long explanation why, but the gist of it is this: you know how calls have unlimited upside while puts have limited upside? Well it’s the reverse of that.
RULE 6B. MANAGING YOUR LOSERS:
Your position going against you? Do you close the position, take your loss porn and post it on wsb? WRONG DUMBASS. You manage that by POUNDING THAT SHIT. Again and again. You don't manage losing positions by closing. That removes your gainz when the market turns around. You ever close a position, just to have it turn out it would have been a winner afterwards? Yeah, don't do that. You manage it by opening other positions. Got puts? Buy calls. Got calls? Buy puts. Turn positions into spreads. Buy spreads. Buy the VIX. Sell the VIX. They wanna pin for OPEX? Sell them options. Not enough bankroll to sell naked? Sell spreads. Make them fight you for your money, motherfuckers, don't just give it away for free. When you trade, YOU have the advantage of choosing when and where to engage. The market can only react. That's your edge, so USE IT! Like this:
Initial TQQQ 5/22 position = $5,000. Starts losing? You pound it.
Total pounded in 5/22 TQQQ puts = $10,824. Unfortunately expired worthless (but also goes to show I'm not selling you puts, dickwads)
Then the autists show up:
"Hahaha you lost all your money nice job you fucking idiot why do you even live?" - cscqb4Wrong fuckface. You see the max pain at SPX 2975 & OPEX pin coming? Sell them some calls or puts (or spreads).
Sold 9x5/20 SPX [email protected], bam +$6,390. Still wanna pin? Well have some 80x5/22 TQQQ $80cs, bam anotha +$14,700.
+$21,090 - $10,824 = +$10,266 => Turned that shit into a +94.85% gain.
You have a downside position, but market going up or nowhere? You play that as well. At least make some money back, if not profit.
5/22, long weekend coming right? So you use your brain & try to predict what could happen over the 3-day weekend. Hmm, 3 day weekend, well you should expect either a shitty theta-burn or maybe the pajama traders will try to pooomp that shite on the low volume. Well make your play. I bet on the shitty theta burn, but could be the other, idk, so make a small play.
Sold some ES_F spreads (for those unaware, ES is a 50x multiplier, so 1 SPX = 2 ES = 10 SPY, approximately). -47x 2955/2960 bear call spreads for $2.5. Max gain is $2.5, max loss is 2960-2955 = $5. A double-or-nothing basically. That's $5,875 in premium, max loss = 2x premium = $11,750.
Well, today comes around and futures are pumping. Up to 3,014 now. Do you just roll over? You think I'm gonna sit and take it up the ass? Nah bros that's not how you trade, you fucking fight them. How?
47x 2960 calls
-47x 2955 calls
Pajama traders getting all up in my grill? Well then I buy back 1 of the 2955 calls. Did that shit yesterday when futures were a little over 2980, around 2982-ish. Paid $34.75, initially shorted at $16.95, so booked a -$892 loss, for now. But now what do I have?
46x 2955/2960 bear calls
1x 2960 long call
So the fuckers can pump it. In fact, the harder they pump it, the more I make. Each $2.5 move up in the futures covers the max loss for 1 spread. With SPX now at ~3015, that call is $55 ITM. Covers 24/46 contracts rn. If they wanna run it up, at 3070 it's break-even. Over that, it's profit. I'll sell them some bear call spreads over 3050 if they run it there too. They gonna dump it? well under 2960 it's profit time again. They wanna do a shitty pin at 3000 today? Well then I'll sell them some theta there.
Later edit: that was written yesterday. Got out with a loss of only $1.5k out of the max $5,875. Not bad.
And that, my dudes, is how you manage a position.
RULE 7 (ESPECIALLY FOR BEARS). YOU DON'T KEEP EXTRA CASH IN YOUR BROKER ACCOUNT. You don't do it with Robinhood, because it's a shitty dumpsterfire of a broker. But you don't do it with other brokers either. Pull that shit out. Preferably to a bank that doesn't play in the markets either, use a credit union or some shit. Why? Because you're giving the market free liquidity. Free margin loans. Squeeze that shit out, make them work for it. Your individual cash probably doesn't make a dent, but a million autists with an extra $1200 trumpbucks means $1.2b. That's starting to move the needle. You wanna make a play, use instant deposits. And that way you don't lose your shit when your crappy ass broker or bank gets its ass blown up on derivative trades. Even if it's FDIC or SIPC insured, it's gonna take time until you see that money again.
Chapter IV. BUSTING YOUR RETARDED MYTHS
MYTH 1 - STONKS ONLY GO UP
Do you think the market can go up forever? Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr? Do you think SPX will be at 5000 by the end of the month? Do you think $1.5 trillion is a good entry point for stonks like AAPL or MSFT? Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap? Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2? Well, this section is for you!
Let's clear up the misconception that stonks only go up while Fed brrrs.
What's your target for the SPX top? Think 3500 by the end of the year? 3500 by September? 4000? 4500? 5000? Doesn't matter, you can plug in your own variables.
Let's say SPX only goes up, a moderate 0.5% each period as a compounded avg. (i.e. up a bit down a bit whatever, doesn't matter as long as at the end of your period, if you look back and do the math, you'll get that number). Let's call this variable BRRR = 0.005.
Can you do the basic math to calculate the value at the end of x periods? Or did you drop out in 5th grade? Doesn't matter if not, I'll teach you.
Let's say our period is one week. That is, SPX goes up on average 0.5% each week on Fed BRRR:
2950 * (1.005^x), where x is the number of periods (weeks in this case)
So, after 1 month, you have: 2950 * (1.005^4) = 3009
After 2 months: 2950 * (1.005^8) = 3070
End of the year? 2950 * (1.005^28) = 3392
Now clearly, we're already at 3015 on the futures, so we're moving way faster than that. More like at a speed of BRRR = 1%/wk
2950 * (1.01^4) = 3069
2950 * (1.01^8) = 3194
2950 * (1.01^28) = 3897
Better, but still slower than a lot of permabulls would expect. In fact, some legit fucks are seriously predicting SPX 4000-4500 by September. Like this dude, David Hunter, "Contrarian Macro Strategist w/40+ years on Wall Street". IDIOTIC.
That'd be 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4000 => BRRR = 1.0257 and 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4500 => BRRR = 1.0358, respectively.
Here's why that can't happen, no matter the amount of FED BRRR: Leverage. Compounded Leverage.
There's currently over $100b in leveraged etfs with a 2.5x avg. leverage. And that's just the ones I managed to tally, there's a lot of dogshit small ones on top of that. TQQQ alone is now at almost $6b in AUM (topped in Fed at a little over $7b).
Now, let's try to estimate what happens to TQQQ's AUM when BRRR = 1.0257. 3XBRRR = 1.0771. Take it at 3XBRRR = 1.07 to account for slippage in a medium-volatility environment and ignore the fact that the Nasdaq-100 would go up more than SPX anyway.
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^4) = $7,864,776,060
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^8) = $10,309,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^12) = $13,513,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^28) = $39,893,000,000.
What if BRRR = 1.0358? => 3XBRR = 1.1074. Take 3XBRRR = 1.10.
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^4) = $8,784,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^8) = $12,861,500,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^12) = $18,830,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^28) = $86,526,000,000
And this would have to get 3x leveraged every day. And this is just for TQQQ.
Let's do an estimation for all leveraged funds. $100b AUM, 2.5 avg. leverage factor, BRRR = 1.0257 => 2.5BRRR = 1.06425
$100b * (1.06^4) = $128.285b
$100b * (1.06^8) = $159.385b
$100b * (1.06^12) = $201.22b
$100b * (1.06^28) = $511.169b
That'd be $1.25 trillion sloshing around each day. And the market would have to lose each respective amount of cash into these leveraged funds. Think the market can do that? You can play around with your own variables. But understand that this is just a small part of the whole picture, many other factors go into this. It's a way to put a simple upper limit on an assumption, to check if it's reasonable.
In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Fed goes BRRR, if TQQQ takes in it's share of 3XBRRR. And the Fed can't go 3XBRRR, because then TQQQ would take in 9XBRRR. And on top of this, you have a whole pile of leveraged derivatives on top of these leveraged things. Watch (or rewatch) this: Selena Gomez & Richard H. Thaler Explaining Synthetic CDO through BLACKJACK
My general point, at the mouth-breather level, is that Fed BRRR cannot be infinite, because leverage.
And these leveraged ETFs are flawed instruments in the first place. It didn't matter when they started out. TQQQ and SQQQ started out at $8m each. For the banks providing the swaps, for the market providing the futures contracts, whatever counter-party to whatever instrument they would use, that was fine. Because it balanced out. When TQQQ made a million, SQQQ lost a million (minus a small spread, which was the bank's profit). Bank was happy, in the long run things would even out. Slippage and spreads and fees would make them money. But then something happened. Stonks only went up. And leveraged ETFs got bigger and more and more popular.
And so, TQQQ ended up being $6-7b, while SQQQ was at $1b. And the same goes for all the other ETFs. Long leveraged ETF AUM became disproportionate to short AUM. And it matters a whole fucking lot. Because if you think of the casino, TQQQ walks up every day and says "I'd like to put $18b on red", while SQQQ walks up and says "I'd only like to put $3b on black". And that, in turn, forces the banks providing the swaps to either eat shit with massive losses, or go out and hedge. Probably a mix of both. But it doesn't matter if the banks are hedged, someone else is on the other side of those hedges anyway. Someone's eating a loss. Can think of it as "The Market", in general, eating the loss. And there's only so much loss the market can eat before it craps itself.
If you were a time traveller, how much money do you think you could make by trading derivatives? Do you think you could make $20 trillion? You know the future prices after all... But no, you couldn't. There isn't enough money out there to pay you. So you'd move the markets by blowing them up. Call it the Time-travelling WSB Autist Paradox.
If you had a bucket with a hole in the bottom, even if you poured an infinite amount of water into it, it would never be full. Because there's a LIQUIDITY SINK, just like there is one in the markets.
And that, my mouth-breathing friends, is the reason why FED BRRR cannot be infinite. Or alternatively, "STONKS MUST GO BOTH UP AND DOWN".
MYTH 2 - YOU CAN'T TIME THE MARKET
On Jan 14, 2020, I predicted this: Assuming that corona doesn't become a problem, "AAPL: Jan 28 $328.3, Jan 31 $316.5, April 1 $365.7, May 1 $386, July 1 $429 December 31 $200."
Now take a look at the AAPL chart in January. After earnings AAPL peaked at $327.85. On 1/31, after the 1st hour of trading, when the big boys make moves, it was at $315.63. Closed 1/31 at $309.51. Ya think I pulled this one out of my ass too?
Yes you can time it. Flows, motherfucker, flows. Money flow moves everything. And these days, we have a whole lot of RETARDED FLOW. Can't even call it dumb flow, because it literally doesn't think. Stuff like:
And many many others. Spot the flow, and you get an edge. How could I predict where AAPL would be after earnings within 50 cents and then reverse down to $316 2 days later? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. The market was so quiet in that period, that is was possible to precisely figure out where it ended up. Why the dump after? Well, AAPL earnings (The 8-K) come out on a Wednesday. The next morning, after market opens the 10-Q comes out. And that 10-Q contains a very important nugget of information: the latest number of outstanding shares. But AAPL buybacks are regular as fuck. You can predict the outstanding shares before the market gets the 10-Q. And that gives you EDGE. Which leads to
MYTH 3 - BUYBACKS DON'T MATTER
Are you one of those mouthbreathers that parrots the phrase "buybacks are just a tax-efficient way to return capital to shareholders"? Well sit the fuck down, I have news for you. First bit of news, you're dumb as shit. Second bit:
On 1/28, AAPL's market cap is closing_price x free_float_outstanding_shares. But that's not the REAL MARKET CAP. Because the number of outstanding shares is OLD AS FUCK. When the latest number comes out, the market cap changes instantly. And ETFs start moving, and hedges start being changed, and so on.
Oh my fucking god you're dumb as fuck. FLOWS change. And the next day, when TQQQ comes by and puts its massive $18b dong on the table, the market will hedge that differently. And THAT CAN BE PREDICTED. That's why AAPL was exactly at $316 1 hour after the market opened on 1/31.
So, what can you use to spot moves? Let me show you:
Market topped on 2/19. Here’s SPY. I even marked interesting dates for you with vertical lines.
Nobody could have seen it coming, right? WRONG AGAIN. Here:
In fact, JPYUSD gave you two whole days to see it. Those are NOT normal JPYUSD moves. But hey maybe it’s just a fluke? Wrong again.
Forex showed you that all over the place. Why? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. When everything moves like that, it means the market needs CASH. It doesn’t matter why, but remember people pulling cash out of ATMs all over the world? Companies drawing massive revolvers? Just understand what this flow means.
But it wasn’t just forex. Gold showed it to you as well. Bonds showed it to you as well.
Even god damn buttcoin showed it to you.
And they all did it for 2 days before the move hit equities.
Chapter V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND
You see all these bankruptcies that happened so far, and all the ones that are going to follow? Do you think that’s just dogshit companies and it won’t have major effects on anything outside them? WRONG.
Because there’s a lot of leveraged instruments on top of those equities. When the stock goes to 0, all those outstanding puts across all expirations get instantly paid.
Understand that Feb-March was a liquidity MOAB. But this will end with a liquidity nuke.
Here’s just HTZ for example: $239,763,550 in outstanding puts. Just on a single dogshit small-cap company (this thing was like $400m mkt. cap last week).
And that’s just the options on the equity. There’s also instruments on etfs that hold HTZ, on the bonds, on the ETFs that hold their bonds, swaps, warrants, whatever. It’s a massive pile of leverage.
Then there’s also the ripple effects. Were you holding a lot of HTZ in your brokerage margin account? Well guess what big boi, when that gaps to 0 you get a margin call, and then you become a liquidity drain. Holding long calls? 0. Bonds 0. DOG SHIT!
And the market instantly goes from holding $x in assets (HTZ equity / bonds / calls) to holding many multiples of x in LIABILITIES (puts gone wrong, margin loans, derivatives books, revolvers, all that crap). And it doesn’t matter if the Fed buys crap like HTZ bonds. You short them some. Because when it hits 0, it’s no longer about supply and demand. You get paid full price, straight from Jerome’s printer. Is the Fed going to buy every blown up derivative too? Because that's what they'd have to do.
Think of liquidity as a car. The faster it goes, the harder it becomes to go even faster. At some point, you can only go faster by driving off a cliff. THE SQUEEZE. But you stop instantly when you hit the ground eventually. And that’s what shit’s doing all over the place right now.
And just like that fucker, “I’m standing in front of a burning house, and I’m offering you fire insurance on it.”
Now is not the time to baghold junk. Take your cash. Not the time to buy cheap crap. You don’t buy Hertz. You don’t buy USO. You don’t buy airlines, or cruises, or GE, or motherfucking Disney. And if you have it, dump that shit.
And the other dogshit that’s at ATH, congrats you’re in the green. Now you take your profits and fucking dump that shit. I’m talking shit like garbage SaaS, app shit, AI shit, etc. Garbage like MDB, OKTA, SNAP, TWLO, ZM, CHGG etc.
And you dump those garbage ass leveraged ETFs. SQQQ, TQQQ, whatever, they’re all dogshit now.
The leverage MUST unwind. And once that’s done, some of you will no longer be among us if you don’t listen. A lot of leveraged ETFs will be gone. Even some non-leveraged ETFs will be gone. Some brokers will be gone, some market makers will be gone, hell maybe even some big bank has to go under. I can’t know which ones will go poof, but I can guarantee you that some will. Another reason to diversify your shit. There’s a reason papa Warrant Buffet dumped his bags, don’t think you’re smarter than him. He may be senile, but he’s still a snake.
And once the unwind is done, THEN you buy whatever cheap dogshit’s still standing.
Got it? Good.
You feel ready to play yet? Alright, so you catch a move. Or I post a move and you wanna play it. You put on a small position. When it’s going your way, YOU POUND DAT SHIT. Still going? Well RUSH B CYKA BLYAT AND PLANT THE GOD DAMN 3/20 $30p BOMB.
Chapter VI - The mouthbreather-proof play - THE AKIMBO
Still a dumbass that can’t make a play? Still want to go long? Well then, I got a dumbass-proof trade for you. I present to you THE AKIMBO:
STEP 1. You play this full blast. You need some real Russian hardbass to get you in the right mood for trading, cyka.
STEP 2. Split your play money in 3. Remember to keep extra bankroll for POUNDING THAT SHIT.
STEP 3. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy SQQQ 9/18 $5p, pay $0.05. Not more than $0.10.
STEP 4. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy TQQQ 9/18 $20p, pay around $0.45. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, 7/17 $35p’s for around $0.5.
STEP 5. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy VIX PUT SPREADS 9/15 $21/$20 spread for around $0.15, no more than $0.25. That is, you BUY the 21p and SELL the 20p. Only using Robinhood and don’t have the VIX? What did I just tell you? Well fine, use UVXY then. Just make sure you don’t overpay.
Chapter VII - Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers
Quick tips, cuz apparently I'm out of space, there's a 40k character limit on reddit posts. Who knew?
Good luck. Dr. Retard TQQQ Burry out.
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