May.03

April 2016 – Crossroads

It might come across as an odd choice of word to describe April, which was a really hectic month. Call it a month in “high gear”, with lots of things going on.

I’m going to start with trading. I’ve gotten back into equities, taking on a more active role at the current moment. That has been going well, as I employ a pretty strong repertoire of options strategies combined with other analysis techniques.

This is in addition to my futures trading, which has taken many twists and turns. Getting into scalping futures has led me down a very interesting path. It’s been a lot of learning, researching, and experimenting… definitely an exciting journey. But the end is no where in sight just yet.

Trading aside, April saw PTT83 wrap up. With 83 done, that sorta wraps up the weekly batches for the first half of this year. 2016 definitely got off to a hectic start in terms of tutorial activities, and this break is definitely more than welcome. I’ll be taking the time off to focus on trading, wrapping up school, and focusing on the future.

And I guess that’s where the namesake of this blog post comes in. April presented itself with yet another major decision at the crossroads. This was largely an unexpected decision point, and I had not expected it to come in this early. Unfortunately, things have to be done, and decisions have to be made. At this juncture, that decision has already been chosen. For me, it’s a step out into the unknown, and I only pray for God’s guidance and blessing.

Looking ahead, May is going to be a noticeably quiet month. Other than the usual routine of life, I’d like to think May is nothing special. PTT84 starts and ends in the first half of May, and school wraps up at the end of the month.

May should be a good time to focus on the markets and put some real money on the line.

Blog

Mar.30

March 2016 – Business as Usual

March2016

Well, that’s March 2016. A pretty busy, if not boring month. But that’s what the calendar is like, isn’t it? Festivities at the start and end of the year, and in the middle it’s called slogging.

This past month, we finished batch 82 of the Pattern Trader Tutorial, which was without a doubt a pretty exciting batch to work with. Batch 83 also wraps up in April. Just in a span of a few months, we’ve pushed out quite a sizeable number of changes to the tutorial, and there’s still a lot more lined up in store.

The first ever Commodities & Futures workshop also wrapped up early in March. I think the word to describe it would be eye-opening. The Futures space is a truly professional space, unlike the Equity or Forex space, which is today open to most speculators.

And that brings me onto my trading front. The market has been… boring, to say the least. A straight up month doesn’t do us any good. But boring is profitable, so I shan’t complain. I’ve also begun putting the Futures space as a permanent member of my trading repertoire. It has been (and I use this word sparingly) grotesquely successful, and I can only imagine where this is going to take me. It’s still in infancy, and I’m putting April to the test here.

However, putting the Futures space into action also requires a lot more development on many other things. The Daily Market Analysis has already expanded with a Weekly Commodities Recap. There will be a lot more coming along the way.

The new semester in school has kicked off, but in all honesty, school hasn’t been a particular concern for me. It’s just nice to have something to occupy my time for the most part.

April, I reckon, is going to be pretty exciting. At least, I want to think it is. Tutorial work takes a step back with no new batches running, so that would give me more time to focus on trading. School, on the other hand, picks up quite a fair bit. But I reckon life goes on as usual, with or without school.

Going forward in the markets, I intend to run the Futures space through the real test, and we’ll see how April comes out. Perhaps grotesque may not even be an appropriate word anymore. That said, the equity space continues to do well, although I suspect April may be more happening than March, with perhaps a little more volatility.

Well, that’s it for the first quarter of 2016. Time certainly flies, and we only have 9 months left.

Blog

Mar.02

February 2016 – Roller Coaster

roller-coaster-ftr

Well, that was February. One heck of a roller coaster ride – on almost every front.

The markets were a hell of a ride, with the equity markets benched on oil, and oil equally volatile. I’ve made minimal trades this month, mostly running into sectorial portfolios rather than aggressive stakes. It’s been minimally profitable at best.

Markets aside, February was a ride in life. I went through Chinese New Year down with a massive flu bug, which put me out of commission for about 1-2 weeks. That was quite a bad ride. Apart from that though, Chinese New Year celebrations were a happy one.

All in all, I think I had expected February to be more optimistic, as it was an opportune time away from school. March will be a lot more busier, as classes pick up again. I’ll also be looking to get back more actively in the markets.

Blog

Jan.28

January 2016 – Loss

Jan2016

No, the title “Loss” doesn’t mean that I’m down for the year. In fact, trading performance wise, I am up 100% for the year to date. But the month of January hasn’t been kind in other ways, and I have had to contend with the loss of a family member this month.

It’s one thing to acknowledge the inevitability of death. I think it’s something that we all, one way or another, come to accept cognitively. But to face it emotionally is an entirely different issue. Having had that experience this month has given me much thought about things in life. In some ways, strengthening my prevailing view. In other ways, making me rethink them.

But then, it’s another thing to overcome the experience itself. In some sense, then perhaps Yoda was right: “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

For some reason or other, health hasn’t been a positive spot this month either. And for some reason or other, it’s not just me. Looks like 2016 is shaping out to be a year of negative energy, considering how the financial markets are going. As it stands, I am still recovering. But with 2016 also starting off in exceptionally busy fashion, it’s difficult to find any rest.

On that note, it’s been a busy month no less with final exams, Batch 82 of the Pattern Trader Tutorial, and more responsibilities. But if there’s one thing I’m pretty confident in – it’s coping. I’ve at least had to deal with worse conditions before.

Final exams in University are still ongoing as January draws to a close. Curiously, despite the expected stress, it’s not that taxing as expected. I only pray that results don’t turn out the same way.

Batch 82 has so far been a fantastic group. While it has only just started, it’s a load of fun, and I’m looking forward to finishing the entire journey with them. They’re learning in exciting times in the market, and I’m sure they’ll make excellent traders. As always, the tutorial develops further every year, and 2016 is no exception. There’s gonna be more work this year, and more growth. It’s equally exciting too.

As mentioned earlier, my market performance this year has been exceptional. I am up 100% YTD, and I could pretty much stop trading for the rest of the year. I have actually stopped trading for the past 1 week. But no, I don’t intend to stop permanently. The year is shaping out to be a pretty exciting year, with the poorest start in history, and what looks like a lack of respite, with global macroeconomics getting steadily worse.

Looking ahead, February is shaping out to be equally busy. It’s a break from school, which gives me time to rest and focus on other things. But with Chinese New Year, and the tutorial moving into full swing, I have enough deadlines to work with for now. I am also taking the opportunity in February to update and upgrade my trading station, which likely means my trading activity will continue to be minimal.

I also plan to be more active on my blog. I have been researching a handful of topics which I intended to publish in January, but with how the month turned out, the opportunity didn’t come along. I look to February to be kinder.

But for now, my focus is on health. It’s one thing I need to tackle before I run head-on into anything else.

Blog

Dec.30

December 2015 & The Year in Review

December wasn’t a particularly busy month for me. I’ve practically been off the markets for the entire month. If you’ve been following my DMA, it’s been pretty obvious that my calls have been going off in every direction possible. For the most part, I haven’t been keeping in touch with the world. For the most part, I’ve been hiding in my hermit hole, if you allow me to call it that.

December then provided the nice opportunity to reflect on 2015 and set out plans and goals for 2016. December presented the opportunity to recenter and refocus, and continue to shape and define my priorities. Life has its ways of throwing up distractions, and I find it essential to keep one’s priorities intact.

Dec2015

Looking back, 2015 was a heck of a year.

Trading-wise, it’s been a rock and roll year. I’ve covered most of my trades in my November update, and I won’t repeat it again. I’ve also spent 2015 studying new strategies, and many of those things will go into play in 2016. Despite the success in 2015, I’m definitely not sitting on my laurels. The focus is always to grow – whether in depth (specialization), or in breadth (expertise).

My journey with the Pattern Trader community has thus far been great. I actually lost count of the number of tutorial batches we went through this year, but I definitely remember going through the first ever Options M3. That was exciting. But coaching aside, we also have fun outside. From a night of beer to MI: Rogue Nation to Star Wars The Force Awakens, it’s been pretty memorable.

Studies have also been fast and furious, given the pace of a trimester education system. I’d like to say that I have at least coped well and done sufficiently well. Thus far, I haven’t had any reason to be disappointed. But the year ends on a make-or-break note, and I’m gritting my teeth into January.

On a more personal note, in the grand scheme of things, 2015 wasn’t a very big step. But looking back, it is an important step. In building anything, the foundation is always the most important – and that was 2015 for me. And that’s what every year is about – that one more step to the bigger picture, one more step to finishing that grand scheme.

2015 marked the first complete year where I could focus on trading throughout the year (exception being December, but hey, everyone needs a holiday). This first year has been quite an information archive, with lots of progress and development. I’ve worked and matured my personal statistical standards for historical market trends, and am now working toward an academic standard to quantify the statistics. I’ve also started development of my personal Market Strength Index, which fundamentally, is a means of interpreting the broader market internals. Thus far, it has proved to be more reliable than I expected, but my research continues into 2016.

Academically, I’ve centralized and focused my research interests. I have at least worked on one research project on my primary research focus, and several others on my secondary focuses. And this is something in particular I enjoy about psychology – you get to do stuff that you’re interested in. Many of my research topics and papers are indeed derived from my personal interests, and this all the more provides the opportunity to build up a foundation of research experience in a particular area.

On a more personal academic note, I’ve also expanded my field of certification. This year, I added the Strengths Deployment Inventory to my repertoire. As a relationship-oriented tool, that comes in as an excellent complement to the performance-oriented Harrison Assessments. As already mentioned, this all goes to a building up of the foundation. In the grand scheme of things, everything is but a puzzle piece.

So if 2014 was the Year of Beginnings, then 2015 would be the Year of Foundations.

Looking ahead, 2016 is shaping out to be a busy year:

The Pattern Trader Tutorial kicks off in January with 2 back to back batches until mid-2016. It’s two weekday batches non-stop for a good part of the year. Preparations are already underway, which reminds me that I don’t have much time left.

Final exams in school commence in end-January, and after that, I only have one study period left before I commence my final year. That entails a complete research dissertation. (See where the foundations lead to?).

Markets wise, 2016 is already shaping up to be a little uncertain. But uncertainty aside, I think the key theme of 2016 is going to be “normalization”, and that should see the markets and the US economy return to the norm. Nonetheless, I am definitely looking forward to 2016 in the markets.

All in all, 2015 wasn’t a big year by any order, but I am contented, and 2016 is going to be a bigger year yet.

Blog