As I add this post in a wild start to October, last month seems tame. For the month of September I finished with a 0.6% gain and maintain an outperformance relative to the IASG Systematic Trader Index.
Larry Swedroe was recently on one of Michael Covel’s podcasts and he discussed how in times of great uncertainty there is an inclination for investors to look for guidance. Sometimes that search leads them to listen to what forecasters have to say. Swedroe said “There’s only three type types of forecasters: those who don’t know where the market is going, the second type is those who know they don’t know and the third and most prevalent kind are the ones you see on CNBC or read in Fortune magazine they are the ones who know they don’t know but get paid a lot of money to pretend that they do.”. I remember Dr. Sherry Cooper stating in an interview on CBC in 2008 how, when it comes to market direction, the young economists don’t know that they don’t know. She said “I know that I don’t know.”. At times like this when volatility picks up, despite all the talk in the financial media we must constantly bear in mind that nobody knows what will happen next and that is why I believe in using a rule-based trading system.
August was a positive month with my trading generating a 3.1% gain.
The markets are fairly quiet now and my trading activity has dropped off significantly.
On a different note, if you are looking for a new audio podcast to listen to I would suggest “Masters in Business” by Barry Ritholtz which you can find here. Ritholz has interviewed some interesting guests recently such as James O’Shaughnessy and Michael Mauboussin.
When the markets closed on July 30, my Collective2 account was up 2.3% for the month so I expected to have a positive performance for July. What happened on July 31 killed my performance for the month. US stocks fell by 2% but worse for me was that volatility shot up and I was short volatility. Fortunately, going into the open on July 31 I had a number of “Sell at Open” orders for the stocks and ETF’s I was holding but my short positions on volatility did their share of damage. My mistake, and it was the biggest one this year, was being short VXX and holding XIV (inverse VIX) at the same time. My short volatility trades had worked well for me earlier in the year and I guess I got complacent. Lesson learned!
If you like Dr. Howard Bandy’s work but didn’t know that he is having a free webinar presentation this week to discuss his new book, you can register for the webinar here. The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing later by those who register.
Barry Ritholtz recently interviewed Michael Mauboussin, author of The Success Equation. Among many other topics, the two discussed the role luck plays in trading and how difficult it can be to distinguish between luck and skill when most of the participants are highly skilled. To listen to the podcast, click here and then click on the relevant “Download” link.
If you prefer video over an audio podcast or would like to hear more from Mauboussin after the interview with Ritholtz, a recent “Talks at Google” featuring Mauboussin is available on Youtube.