Shanghai is a Nasdaq Déjà vu

“All through time, people have basically acted and re-acted the same way in the market as a result of: greed, fear, ignorance, and hope – that is why the numerical formations and patterns recur on a constant basis” – Jesse Livermore

Jesse Livermore says it better than me and he is a big part of the reason why I study chart patterns so intensely. Stock charts organize human behavior in patterns that allow us to anticipate future moves based on past results. Based on this assumption, I wrote a post last October titled: Is Shanghai a Nasdaq Déjà vu

I compared the 1929 Dow Jones to the 2000 NASDAQ (as many have before me) and then the 2000 NASDAQ to the 2007 Shanghai Composite Index. The three looked so eerily similar that I knew I had to write an intense post with excellent graphics to back up the possibilities. The entire post is pasted below or can be found on the link above. This is what I had to say about the future developments of the Shanghai Composite Index based on my studies of 2000 and 1929:

This won’t happen overnight but human nature always repeats so expect a huge decline in the Shanghai Stock Exchange within the next several years.

“The price pattern reminds you that every movement of importance is but a repetition of similar price movements, that just as soon as you familiarize yourself with the actions of the past, you will be able to anticipate and act correctly and profitably upon forthcoming movements” – Jesse Livermore

Well, take a look at what has happened to the Shanghai markets since my post last October: The chart has dropped in almost an exact shape and slope as did the NASDAQ in 2001 and 2002. The index is now down more than 65% since my blog post and more than 70% since its peak.

The moral of this post (I’ll leave it to Livermore one last time):
“Wall Street never changes, the pockets change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes” – Jesse Livermore.

Take a look at the charts from 2007 and compare them to the charts above. Human nature!

*************October 3, 2007 Blog Post*************
The rise of NASDAQ in the late 1990’s has been compared to the rise of the Dow of the late 1920’s. Chart overlays are amazingly similar.

Image from

Well, the current two year rise of the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index looks remarkably similar to the rise of the NASDAQ of the late 1990’s and the charts below explain better than I can!


The NASDAQ rose from 1,250 to 5,132 from March 1997 to March 2000: 310% gain!
The Shanghai Stock Exchange has moved from 998.23 in June 2005 to 5,552.30 today (10/2/07): 456% gain!


As you can see, the blue line of the late 1990’s NASDAQ has moved meticulously with the Shanghai Index of today.


Will the Shanghai Stock Exchange end up with the same result as the NASDAQ of the late 1990’s. As you can see, the NASDAQ went from 1,250 to 5,132 back down to 1,192 (all within a five year period).


This won’t happen overnight but human nature always repeats so expect a huge decline in the Shanghai Stock Exchange within the next several years.

1929, 1999, 2007, etc…

Is Shanghai a Nasdaq Déjà vu

Coach Yourself as a Trader

I was recently asked a question by one of the most respected trader development psychologists/ mentors that I know of in the business. Brett Steenbarger, working on a new project, asked if I could elaborate on what strategies and/ or courses of action I take to mentor/ coach myself as a trader. Brett’s excellent blog can be found at Traderfeed. He specifically asked:

What are the three things (i.e. courses of action, strategies, resources) that you’ve found most helpful in mentoring/coaching yourself as a trader?

And here is how I answered:

  • 1. Understand me. The most powerful tool I have found in life and in this specific case, the market, is what I, as a person, am capable of doing as a trader. I finally understand that personal characteristics that are engrained in my DNA will only allow me to trade successfully under specific circumstances. For example, I am much more consistent and profitable as a medium term and longer term trend trader than as a day trader (even more so on the long side). I don’t need to be everything, all the time as long as I continue to focus on the areas that bring me the greatest success. Understanding “me” has been my holy grail of understanding how to trade the market with some type of consistency and profitability.
  • 2. Learning to cut losses. It’s almost cliché but not many people can do it (in any aspect of life). I have learned to cut losses in my trading, my career, my hobby of competitive poker and everything else in life where the rule applies. Without this rule, there wouldn’t be a third rule.
  • 3. Study and work hard. Sounds so simple but we live in a very lazy society. It is extremely important to my success for me to continuously study the markets on a fundamental and technical level and learn from my successes and mistakes. If you think about it, we would all start at square one on every trade if we didn’t learn from past situations where we succeeded or failed. Applying the knowledge gained from past experiences allows me to properly analyze similar situations in the future with slightly greater odds of success (or at least I would like to think). Never stop learning is a phrase that I will never stop saying as it proves to be truer the older I get.

P.S. – Sorry for the lack of posts over the past few weeks as I have been in and out of town without much focus on the market. It’s better for me to be mostly in cash at this point in time due to the lack of opportunities crossing my screens. Regular posting will resume as soon as my schedule allows me to focus 110% on the market. I will look to post occasionally as long as I have something of value to add.

10 Steps to Profitable Trading

The secret to winning big in the market is not to be right all the time but to lose the least amount of money possible when you are wrong. As long as you win larger than you lose, you will be a profitable trader at the end of each year. Pride, ego and stubbornness prevents a trader from reaching the levels that very few can master.

To become a profitable trader, you must:

  • 1. Manage Risk: Learn to trade a manageable portion of you portfolio (I recommend to risk less than 2% of you overall portfolio equity on each trade). Always establish a risk/reward ratio before making a trade. Without the ratio, how do you know your risk?
  • 2. Understand Position Sizing: All traders must learn to know “how much” to trade on each position. Do not overtrade or you will runt he risk of ruin. Position sizing is rule number one of managing risk.
  • 3. Cut Losses: Do not allow losses to run wild. You must learn to cut losses and understand that losses are a part of the game, a large part of the game. Check you ego of winning at the door. We are here to make money, not go undefeated. Play sports if you want to keep score with a record rather than your bankroll.
  • 4. Learn when to Sell: You must learn when to sell. Selling is more important than buying as it ties directly to risk management. Use stops if you haven’t yet developed the discipline to get out at your predetermined stop or profit goal.
  • 5. Average up in Price: I will never hesitate to add shares in a stock that is moving higher (see Mastercard) but I always avoid averaging down. Remember, cut losses and never throw good money after bad because we know that’s a quick way to the poorhouse.
  • 6. Have Patience: It takes years to master trading as an advanced skill; even then, you are never done learning or adapting.
  • 7. Buy 52-week Highs, not 52-Week Lows: Don’t be afraid to buy stocks making new highs. The garbage sits at the bottom of the market along with poor earnings, weakness and further downward pressure. Buy strength and the momentum moving higher. Stocks are typically priced at the levels they trade for good reason. This applies to most premium items in life.
  • 8. Ignore the Talking Heads: Do not listen to the stories, gossip and rumors flying around on network television, stock forums or the major financial newspapers. It a surefire route to bad information and clueless advice. Do your own research; you’ll come out much further ahead. This applies to crappy blogs and internet sites as well.
  • 9. Understand Technical Analysis: Fundamental analysis is a solid part of my trading system but technical analysis brings in the dough. You must learn, understand and use technical analysis on a daily basis. Fundamental analysis tells me what and technical analysis tells me when, where and how.
  • 10. Control Emotions: Enough said – You must control your emotions or the game is over! Understand you!

Focus on You

It is never the system or author writing the trading book that fails.
It is YOU! It is your lack of focus.
Focus on yourself and then you can focus on trading successfully.

Trading is at least 98% psychological. It’s a mental state of mind based upon your beliefs of what may happen. Books, systems and technical indicators can only take you so far! You must accept and understand that the market is all in your head. It is you versus the other trader. If you don’t understand YOU, how will you ever understand other traders; thus taking advantage of market moves based on their mental state of mind and their underlying beliefs.


Many investors, both novice and experienced, drift from book to book to book and system to system to system, never understanding why they produce inconsistent profits. They are confused, looking at too many things, complicating the entire process while ignoring the essentials to success.

Keep it simple.

Why complicate things when simplicity works; especially when it comes to trading? We know that trading may be the most difficult endeavor that any human may attempt to undertake.

Thousands of different systems work in the stock market so we can conclude that it is the user that ultimately fails because of lack of concentration and motivation to stay the course. Wall Street is not for drifters and most people can’t play the game profitably because they never sharpen their own mental skills while applying basic money management techniques. They focus on the wrong set of skills.

We all see people come and go every day: rags to riches to rags. They are motivated for weeks, months and sometimes years but most fizzle away after they fail and can’t figure out what they are doing wrong. Some investors copy a system from a so-called guru and may find success for a while but they don’t tailor it to their personality, integrate it with their investing style and focus on their mental state of mind, therefore, it will become obsolete and they will fail. Working hard to become successful in the market is fine but understand that working smarter will always take you further.


Our goal as traders and investors is to understand the crowd and anticipate how they will act and react based on the thoughts we had, prior to focusuing on the proper skills, when we were just one of the sheep (waiting to be slaughtered)!

Focus on what is important and the success will follow.

Stop focusing on iffy stochastics, Bollinger bands, MACD, ADX, earnings releases and bogus news stories. Yes they can aid you to success but the main focus is on you!

Personally speaking, I require specific fundamentals, price, volume and basic daily and weekly charts to succeed but they are secondary tools. They can help me make money as long as I am focusing on the overall picture which is my mental focus and my emotional balance.

I know I am getting all “Dr. Perruna” on you but it is true.

Once your conscious mind understands how the beliefs of the crowd work, your subconscious mind takes over and intuition kicks in and you start making some of the best decisions of your life by flawlessly following your system.

As Jesse Livermore said:

“Wall Street never changes, the pockets change, the stocks change, but Wall Street never changes, because human nature never changes”

Why? Because humans never change!

Once you understand this and learn to trade other humans, you will become successful. Yes, you will need some of the tools mentioned above but don’t focus your attention in this area. Focus when investing by mastering the beliefs of the crowd and you will always be one step ahead.

The Holy Grail of Trading

I have been hearing a lot about trading systems failing or not working properly over the past few months and it makes me smirk every time. A recent article in SFO Magazine states that traditional technical analysis no longer applies due to program trading or computer algorithms making the trades. The author claims that computers don’t have emotions, therefore they don’t buy based on patterns or make decisions the way a human would. He specifically states that moving averages are now useless. Really? I guess I am screwed. Maybe this has some merit but I don’t buy in to it completely.

Traders and investors always seem to blame their systems and/ or indicators for poor performance when 99% of the time they should be looking in the mirror. They need to look in-between the ears to locate the problem. As I have explained in the past, the system is not the Holy Grail of Trading. I wrote a post last year that was missed by many since it was written shortly after the fourth of July holiday. Now seems to be the time to discuss this topic, more so than last summer.

  • What do you think?
  • What is your Holy Grail of Trading?
  • Has your system stopped working or have you disconnected with the changing market environment?

The Holy Grail of Trading:
Understanding you and combining that with sound money management rules. Conquer these two entities and you will be successful beyond your wildest dreams!

Original Post:
Do you have a wonderful trading system, one that consistently makes you money? You probably believe that you have found your holy grail but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your system has very little to do with consistent profitability in the markets.

I often here amateur investors talk about that the “best way” or “only way” to invest and argue why their way is better than everyone else’s. The passion and energy exuded by these novice investors is wonderful but they are missing the point completely. No one can say that options are better than stocks, commodities are better than options or forex is better than everything, etc… Each investor develops a system that is suited to their own personal character traits and they use a vehicle (stocks, options, forex, commodities, real estate, etc…) that can help them reach their goals.

Investors also debate systems within a market such as: trend trading, swing trading, scalping, shorting, day trading, buy and hold, fundamental trading, technical trading, Elliot wave theory, moving average crossovers, etc… They all work if the “person” understands the holy grail of trading. And that is being able to understand YOU and how your mind works.

However, it is not the system that makes one successful. It is YOU that makes the system work properly. What do I mean? Each individual must master their own personal psychological impacts on their trading results. You must work on YOU to become consistently successful! I recommend reading The Disciplined Trader by Mark Douglas if you would like to understand the psychological trader in you.

To say that one system or vehicle is the “way to go” is ignorant.

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