Dreams and fantasies, that's what's on Michael Covel's mind in Saigon today. The US stock markets have had a lot of volatility this past week. Bernanke might be moving on; there might be a replacement. QE might be ending. People are preparing for that or maybe not that. In reality, you can't predict anything. That's why Covel opens up today's podcast with an old heavy metal ode to fantasy. Can you believe what your eyes are showing you? Even if you have the perspective to see beyond the fantasy, do you have a tool to make money in these volatile markets? Of course, markets go through periods, cycles of volatility. It's nothing new. The key is, can you be detached? Can you view it as a game? Can you observe and tune it all out emotionally? It's that kind of mindset where you'll make the best decisions. Covel moves on to discuss a TED Talk called "We Can Predict The Next Financial Crisis" by Didier Sornette. Covel shares some beliefs with him, but as Covel opened up talking about dreams and fantasy, prediction is just the same: a fantasy. Even if you could predict the next financial crisis, we make the assumption that prediction equals profit. Even if you could predict, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to profit. Profit comes from having a specific set of rules that tell you when to buy, when to sell, and how much to buy or sell. Covel agrees with some of what Sornette says, but is anybody making money with it? Sornette says that his predictions work, but it's not tied to real money? Sornette's hope is that never again will there be a financial crisis that will take us by surprise, yet does anyone buy that? Human nature will now end due to his predictions? Covel thinks it sounds like a bunch of bull, and explains why. The ability to predict tomorrow is a dream. It's not something you should be thinking about. It's not a useful endeavor for your life. Instead of trying to predict tomorrow why not just react to what happens with the trend following way of being? React to market movements, follow along, and be prepared for the bubble, the crisis, the unforeseen 100-year flood. Trend following is the best solution for that. Prediction is just a dream. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with Dan Collins of the Dan Collins Report. Collins was the managing editor at Futures Magazine for over a decade, and has talked with many trend following traders. Recently, he put out an interesting post on his website commenting on an article called "Quant Hedge Funds Hit By US Bonds Sell-Off" which originally appeared in the Financial Times. Covel and Collins discuss the article and other subjects such as why trend followers are speculators rather than investors; why the Financial Times article showed a misunderstanding of trend following in general; headlines and what drives them; equity-centric writers; why long term trend following is disrespected and why there is a bias towards higher frequency, shorter term traders; why keeping it simple is a good strategy; fees in the managed futures and options industry; "volatility value trading"; "style drift"; why quality trend following traders under the umbrella of "managed futures" allow some lesser strategies to "free ride" on their success; different time horizons in trend following; and why trend following is declared "dead" so often. Collins also shares his views on several traders (Michael Clark, Bob Moss, Bill Dunn, Salem Abraham, and Bill Eckhardt) with short synopses of their styles and trading personalities. Collins provides a wealth of information and insight and some eye-openers along the way. Would you like a free trend following DVD? Go to: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel is a skeptic, and that's how he likes it. If you've listened to him more than once, it's probably because you relate. He wants you to show him the truth. He's agnostic to the market, too; he knows that price is the only truth. Covel starts off today's episode with a song from XTC that reflects that sort of agnosticism. In a continuing search for more truth, Covel spends the rest of the episode providing commentary on a speech called "God Is A Genius Because He Is A Sloth" by Hugh Hendry, who has become a fairly noteworthy hedge fund manager in recent years. Covel points out that Hendry doesn't appear to be a trend following trader; at least not in the classical sense. But his response to questions will make you think. Covel discusses elements of Hendry's speech that includes the impossibility of being able to predict the future; emotional intelligence; "not wanting to know"; why procrastination can kill you; disciplined curiosity; being agnostic to the market; being wary of "the brightest guy in the room"; and why falling in love with your analysis is not risk management. Hendry gets right at some of the root essence of being a trend following trader. Although he isn't a technical trend following trader by definition, he sure sounds like one. Would you like a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel tells his friends in China and Vietnam, "At least you know where your government stands". They know what the deal is. Unfortunately, Covel's home country of America seems to only pretend that there are certain basic civil liberties; that you have a right to privacy. In the midst of the revelations that have occurred surrounding the NSA scandal, Covel discusses an article titled "Big Brother Is Really Watching Us". Covel talks about the extraordinary invasion of privacy we're experiencing and why people don't seem to care. If the revelation is that the United States government is basically spying on everybody, it says that things are extremely unpredictable. In Covel's world--the trend following world--you can benefit from the chaos. The extravaganza happening right now is just another example of why you can't trust the system. You have big brother tracking everything you do, so why do some people not seem to care? Covel explores, questioning whether there is a grand Stockholm Syndrome present in the US today. Covel surmises that the unpredictability today means that we'll have chaos and market movement. So how do you make money in this situation, where you can't trust Social Security or retirement programs, or what the Federal Reserve is going to do next? You need to be in an absolute returns mindset. The idea of going for the averages, mimicking the index, is going to keep you by definition average. In the midst of the chaos, trend following is a fantastic opportunity. Covel also comments on an article by Sam Jones which doesn't seem to understand that trend followers have losing months, which gives way to a conversation on media manipulation of trend following strategies. Covel doesn't care about the masses that are frightened; they're just going to stay frightened. He wants to help people that want to see it clearly for the first time and get motivated, or just to reinforce those out there that already acknowledge the chaos and still want to make money in this crazy environment. Don't trust that the man behind the curtain will take care of you. You can get ahead in an unpredictable world, and trend following is a great way to benefit from the chaos. Free trend following DVD: trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel plays a clip from investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. Cuban says some not-so-kind words about buy & hold, and notes several other trend following concepts along the way: don't just put positions on your account just to have them; take action when the market moves. Cuban's success doesn't mean we should blindly follow his wisdom, but shouldn't you be curious if someone like Cuban calls buy and hold a "crock of sh*t"? Covel often hears people say, "I can't be a trend following trader because I can't take the drawdowns". But at least with trend following you've got a chance to make a heck of a lot more money. Cuban also makes a great point regarding volatility. You can't make big profits without volatility. Jack Bogle of Vanguard fame came out squarely against Cuban, and Covel plays another clip. Covel critiques the clip and discusses "the average investor", exit strategies, and Bogle's view of buy & hold investing. When do you get out of a buy and hold strategy? What if you pick the wrong decade? What if, when you retire, it's the fall of 2008? Bogle says to expect two 50% drawdowns in the next ten years. You might see that in a trend following strategy too, but at least your upside makes it worth the investment. Bogle notes that all investing could be considered "buy & hold". However, the strategy he vouches for is essentially buy & hold with no exit strategy. If you want to go ahead and call trend following buy & hold with an exit strategy, more power to you. But which do you want? A system with an exit strategy, or a strategy where you're put in a position that makes you have to trust the system? A system where you have to trust that you'll exit at the exact right time? Covel isn't saying it'll be the exact right time for trend following either, but historically, trend following has a chance to make so much more money. So if there are mistakes to be made, if things don't happen at the exact right time for you, at least you've made that much more money along the way. This is your money. What else are you gonna do? Rely on Social Security? It basically guarantees to take your money and earn you less than inflation. That's what you're up against. You've only got one life. Put your kids on the right path. Break the cycle. Do something novel. Trend following is novel. It's fresh. Philosophically, psychologically, trend following makes a lot of sense. Take a chance on a strategy that isn't "average". Free trend following DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks with James Altucher in his second appearance on the podcast. Altucher's new book, "Choose Yourself!" was released on June 3; he believes so much in the message that if you can prove that you bought and read "Choose Yourself!", Altucher will pay you back for the cost of the book. Covel and Altucher discuss the new book and why all the rules we thought of as normal ("The banks will always finance my house", "The stock market will always go up", "The big corporations will always hire me", "If I have a college degree, there will always be a job for me") are imaginary. Covel and Altucher also discuss why a good trader trades their own self first, and the importance of choosing yourself and making a consistent inner life; the need to become an entrepreneur and artist in today's climate, and why you might be looking down the barrel of a career in temp staffing if you don't; the collapse of the middle class and 9-5 "jobs" as we know them; the importance of doing the un-obvious; why you're only as valuable as your network; the need to exercise your idea muscle; sunk costs and opportunity costs; breaking the cycle of consumerism, buying memories and not buying objects; commitment bias; finding a career at 27, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, endurance, and the importance of doing something for yourself today; David Gilmour of Fiji Water and the benefits of adventure; medication, lifestyle choices, and the necessity of good sleep hygiene; and the need to be an artist where your life is the canvas. Diversity! Free DVD: trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel goes straight for the jugular of organized education on today's podcast. Organized education is broken and the typical university experience is a fraud. Tenured professors make a ton of money, and students are stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. The whole situation is vicious, and a student's best hope for a steady job after school is to serve lattes. Millions of people think that if they go and sit through classes at a university for four years, listen to professors who have never made an entrepreneurial dime in their life, that they'll be in a better position to make money. Covel discusses an essay found on oftwominds.com (http://www.oftwominds.com/blogmay13/genX5-13.html) about one specific generation of college graduates. People don't want to talk about this, but the moment the US stock market takes a prolonged dip, that's when the dam will break. Are there alternatives? Yes. With access to the internet, we're in a better place than ever before to educate ourselves. Covel further illustrates his view with excerpts: The first is from entrepreneur David Gilmour, who started Fiji water, extolling the virtues of travel. Next, Covel plays a clip of a TED talk from Ken Robinson, who talks about the connection between education and curiosity--which is the true engine of learning--and the difference between education and learning. Covel notes that it's not about following the rules; it's not about doing what you're told. Automation is eliminating so many blue and white-collar jobs so quickly, there's no hanging on anymore. So where does that leave the college student? The final excerpt comes from Angela Lee Duckworth, who talks about what she thinks the real key to success is: grit. Passion and perseverance for long-term goals; stamina. Sticking with your future, day in, day out. Not just for the week or for the month, but for the rest of your life. Duckworth says that those with grit look at life like a marathon and not a sprint. Covel notes that the idea of grit works perfectly with trend following: it's a marathon. There are ups and downs, but over the long haul trend following grit delivers a healthy mind as well as a healthy wallet. Free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Michael Covel talks about the idea of resilience and the ability to operate with variability as the norm. There's going to be volatility and you can't make it go away; to operate with variability as the norm is to be a trend following trader. If you try and make it go away, you might end up falling with the next 50% drop in the S&P killing your account. Because it will happen. There will be another major equity drop. There will be the same panics that we saw in 2000 and 2002, the fall of 2008, and October of 1987. Most people will lose 50% of their net worth because they don't have a strategy that deals with variability. The 100-year flood doesn't happen every 100 years; it happens every 2-3 years. Covel moves into a clip with David Harding of Winton Capital Management and quotes author Nassim Taleb about surviving when the black swan flies in. It's the difference between taking a punch when you're prepared for it or being caught off-guard with a punch to the gut when you least expect it. Those that simply buy and hold and put their trust into the government and the Federal Reserve? They're the ones getting a punch to the gut that they don't see coming. Next, Covel moves into another clip from Michael Lewis (author of "Liar's Poker" and "Moneyball") about what was behind "Moneyball" and how rather than being a story about baseball it is about misinterpreting value and misappraisal. Building off what David Harding said, Lewis also talks about the idea of measuring, counting, and using statistics to make good judgments. What David Harding and Michael Lewis are getting at is not generally accepted. Most aren't paying attention. Covel shares a quote from a Stanford psychologist: "A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." In many ways, that's what Covel feels like when he's trying to get the ideas of trend following across; that's what he's up against. He's also up against the buy & hold mutual fund industry, who love fees. They have no desire to tell their clients about trend following strategies, how to look at the world from a statistical perspective, or how to prepare yourself for the next black swan. Covel is fully aware of the controversial nature of his views and the idea of trend following in general, and he closes by reading a polemic and playing a clip from author Christopher Hitchens, as well as another king of controversy: Glenn Danzig. Where else do you find such diversity on a podcast about making money? Free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel, author of Trend Following, The Complete TurtleTrader, The Little Book of Trading, and Trend Commandments, introduces his podcast--Trend Following with Michael Covel. This is the first episode, the starting introduction, of the podcast. Want to get started in your trend following understanding? Receive a free trend following course to your home or office: www.trendfollowing.com/ecourse.
Michael Covel talks to Jim Woods. Woods is a financial journalist with Trader's Reserve. His book "The Wealth Shield, A Wealth Management Guide: How to Invest and Protect Your Money from Stock Market Crashes, Financial Crisis and Global Economic Collapses" is available now. His aim is to make sure you're prepared for whatever black swan might come your way. Covel talks to Woods not to discuss how to find absolute returns, but to talk about the market, the economy, and uncertainty; to talk about the idea that things don't always don't go up. How do you think about the options and the possibilities of the market, and how do you think about what might go wrong? Covel and Woods talk about zero interest rate policy, or "ZIRP", and why normal people are taking on more risk to get the same returns; if another 50% meltdown happened in the S&P while rates were at zero, what might the chain reaction be? Would you be prepared trading wise for that?; technology taking away the need for human capital; the power structure in Washington; the societal implications of ZIRP; what the stock market might do if interests rates went up; the concept of "blowback"; the importance of having a plan; protecting yourself, and the eventuality mindset; the US as a "prison" banking system; and the importance of investing in other currencies for beyond trading reasons. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel speaks with Jason Russell, the President and CIO of Acorn Global Investments in Canada. Russell brings a unique perspective to the show with a very clear strategy on how his firm makes money for their clients. Covel and Russell discuss Russell's background and how he came to form Acorn Global Investments; Russell's strategy for Acorn and "the baker analogy"; the idea of "winners stay, losers go"; showing his investors every position that Russell has; how the terms "commodity trading adviser", "trend follower", "quantitative trading" don't exactly describe what many traders do; Ed Seykota and the "trading tribe"; letting go of "why" and simply riding out trends; where strategies like Russell's fit in the context of a portfolio; the importance of delivering uncorrelated results to the S&P 500; drawdowns and the psychological effect of going through one alone, uncorrelated to other markets; and how there's nothing more important than risk management. More info on trend following? Receive the free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
There's no better lyric than "Life of Illusion" by Joe Walsh to describe the most recent trading performance that was reported by J.P. Morgan. In the first quarter they were profitable on 63 out of 63 trading days. Think you can develop a trading strategy that can compete with J.P. Morgan? You can't. What J.P. Morgan has done is not trading performance; it's an incestuous union between them, the United States government and the Federal Reserve. You don't make money 63 out of 63 days trading. That's not trading; it's a gift. Of course, if you have a position in J.P. Morgan, that's great; ride the trend. But what's unfortunate is that we're in the middle of a societal tsunami on Wall Street that makes it very difficult for the average person to know what's real. To the average person that wants to learn about trading, J.P. Morgan's performance looks like a noble goal. Unfortunately, this level of making money has nothing to do with a trading strategy. It has everything to do with being in a symbiotic union with the government and the Federal Reserve. It's not trading, it's taking. Can you replicate a trading strategy where you get the same advantages that J.P. Morgan does? And what happens when the black swan flies in? Covel goes on to explain comparing the performance records of Bill Dunn to J.P. Morgan. When these black swan events happen, strategies like Bill Dunn's excel, and fundamental strategies don't. It's that simple. You're left with the idea of worshiping a false idol (JP Morgan) or the Bill Dunn strategy that doesn't make money every day, but in the long haul makes more money and protects you when the tsunami hits. Covel closes by talking about the high priest himself, "Venus", the man from Omaha. Even though his fourth quarter profit rose 49% on gains tied to derivatives--derivatives that he once called "weapons of mass destruction"--it's no matter to his worshipers. Covel gives him all the credit in the world for amassing his great fortune; he's one of the greatest capitalists of all time. However, it's the disingenuous, manipulative nonsense of telling people not to trade derivatives but then doing it himself that really gets to Covel. Venus pretends that his words don't matter. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel talks about getting "picked" on today's episode of the podcast. Starting off with Blind Melon's "No Rain" Covel sets the groundwork for what's inspiring him today. This isn't a trading specific podcast today, at least for those of you out there that think that trading psychology and trading philosophy are irrelevant. Covel meets people all the time looking for the "secret sauce". Today, you aren't going to get the secret sauce; or at least the secret as you perceive it to be. Inspired by Seth Godin's recent thoughts on being picked Covel talks about Marc Maron, a comedian who recently has found success through his own podcast. Covel talks about how Maron wasn't picked through traditional means: Meeting with Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, Maron's meeting went sideways, he was rejected, and he ultimately had to carve out his own path. Maron started a podcast which became viral, and now even though Lorne Michaels did not pick Marc Maron, Maron sits with his own destiny in front of him, chosen by him. All because he looked at the world slightly differently. Today, he enjoys massive success through an IFC television show, a new book, and a top rated podcast all because of setting out on his own path. Circumstances forced him to do this, but he learned that being picked was not the end all be all. Covel relates this back to his audience: you weren't picked for the trading job, you weren't picked for the investment banking team, and you're already psyching yourself out. A lot of people do this: they don't get picked and then complain for the rest of their lives and essentially quit. If you don't see the relevance in picking yourself to success in trading, you might not ever see it. Godin received complaints through his article on Marc Maron and Covel has received similar complaints which he retells here in the podcast. Some people want to do specific things. Doing "this" requires being picked: "I want to play the flute in this particular orchestra", "I want to trade for Goldman Sachs". At the end of it all, there is a great Buddhist thought: "Live like a mighty river". A mighty river flows. A mighty river does not complain. A mighty river gets it done. Covel talks about his own experience of not being "picked" for CNBC. They were looking for Jim Cramer, Jr. Covel went into the meeting with his eyes wide open and was looking to get the experience to pass along to you today that CNBC, behind the scenes, is a farce. Covel wanted to see behind the scenes for himself, and he got that opportunity being interviewed for CNBC. Covel wasn't picked by CNBC, but they weren't picked by Covel either. That's the attitude to have. Covel concludes with a recent story about being picked that he experienced himself in Thailand, and with what Godin says in his blog post: The problem is that it's frightening to pick yourself, Godin says. "It's far easier to put your future into someone else's hands than it is to slog your way forward, owning the results as you go." Free trend following DVD? Go to http://www.trendfollowing.com/win.
In his first podcast back from China Michael Covel talks about trend following in the context of The Middle Kingdom. Through five flights, four cities, untold hotel rooms, two speeches before crowds of 500 people, and over a dozen presentations in front of some of China's largest hedge funds, Covel brings the wisdom gained through his excursion back to his podcast audience. First, he responds to a reader from China who heard about one of Covel's presentations, and the criticism that Covel didn't give the "secret sauce" to win at trend following. Richard Dennis was famous for saying that he could publish his rules in the newspaper and nobody would follow them, and Covel could explain exactly how to be a trend follower and it'd go over many heads. So it's not surprising that in a crowd of 500 some would have their expectations of learning about some kind of "secret sauce" not met. Covel isn't trying to impress that person, and they aren't the type of person that would ever get it anyway. They're looking for the shortcut-- the angle, the quick fix. If you have Covel speak to your group, after fifteen years of his life spent researching the topic and putting together the best educational materials for new and experienced traders alike, if your first thought is "you didn't give me the secret sauce", it might not be for you. But Covel did reach a great many people, and he got a great deal of excellent feedback. He discusses the typical Chinese investor mindset and what got them to take a second look at trend following. Covel also waxes on the idea of trust in China, the parallels to America, and how the acceptance of "the new" in China might go down easier than elsewhere. Next, Covel adds some lessons to the overall trend following education. Covel's journey shows that an outsider can get to be an insider. Unfortunately, one of the common questions posed to Covel by the media in China was to ask if any average person could succeed in trend following. Covel discusses how this is a defeatist question. If you consider yourself average: quit now. Suitability, however, is something different. Is trend following, or investing in general, suitable for everyone? If you don't have the education, it might not be. Covel also gives some examples from his journey that help to put trend following in context. Covel notes a bit of censorship in his presentations via the Chinese regulatory committees. One slide was not allowed in his presentation. What was that slide? Covel explains. Also, Covel recently discussed Ray Dalio at Bridgewater, the biggest hedge fund on the planet. Covel reads a letter from a listener that gives anecdotal evidence about how Dalio could be a closet trend follower. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to trendfollowing.com/win.
Charles Faulkner visits the podcast for his third on-air conversation with Michael Covel--a conversation that started while Covel was recently in Malaysia and finished while he was in Vietnam. Faulkner is an author, trader, and international expert on modeling the knowledge and performance of exceptional individuals. He was originally featured in "The New Market Wizards" by Jack Schwager. Faulkner has a new book coming out this fall called "Higher Level Trading: The Five Stages To Trading and Investor Mastery". In their free-flowing conversation Faulkner and Covel cover wide territory. Covel and Faulkner discuss Faulkner's thoughts about human behavior and the investor's psyche. This brings the conversation to the idea that the world is getting more complex, and the increase of "magical thinking" in response. Covel and Faulkner move on to discuss further topics such as how Faulkner came to put together his newest book, "Higher Level Trading", and the qualitative differences between the five levels of experience, knowledge, and understanding; developing the different levels of thinking that lead to expertise, and the correct path to take to developing these skills; preparation, effort, "doing the work", and the right way to jump into investing; some of the commonalities between those profiled in the "New Market Wizards" book; Ed Seykota's recent statements on day trading; behavioral economics; the idea that the less you know about something the more convinced you are that it is true--and how a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing; "perfection seekers", variation, and letting perfection slow you down; outliers and the potential to make a change in your thinking; efficient markets, Vernon Smith, and bubbles; imagery, stories, prediction, and the skill of conceiving multiple scenarios; reducing information, and vetting your inputs to find out what information is important and what isn't; and why we are most influenced by parts of our environment that we are unaware of. Free DVD? Go to www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel interviews trader and original student of the first Turtle class, Jerry Parker. In 1983, Parker was accepted into the Turtle Program, a select investment training program developed by successful Chicago portfolio manager Richard Dennis. He appears in Covel's "The Complete TurtleTrader" and has been the most successful TurtleTrader. Parker founded Chesapeake Capital Corporation, a global investment manager headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, in 1988. Chesapeake provides investment and portfolio management services to both private and institutional investors worldwide. Covel talks to Parker about the mistake of combining different strategies with trend following, and the importance of having a concentrated strategy that you can rely on; how discretionary moves can get in the way of your system, and "systematized discretion"; the psychological effect of following a trend following strategy for decades; the idea of going for positive expected value over what's least risky; why Parker doesn't like to use the term "managed futures", and why it doesn't really tell the story of trend followers; trend followers performing well at different points in time compared to long-only; using trend following as another strategy for investors who only invest through a long-only value-based system; the importance of not letting your views on politics and society influence your trading, and maintaining a systematic and disciplined approach; the growth of news media since 1984, information overflow, limiting your variables, and using price as your primary indicator; how Parker has learned over the years to deal with drawdowns, loving your losses, and the importance the Turtle program played in his education on drawdowns; why governments are the ultimate counter-trend traders; why buy and hold is not a good place to be even if people are saying it's turned around; Parker's stock-only trend following program, and why the diversified program will do better than the stock-only system; and leverage as a tool. Enjoy! Free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Is Michael Covel on vacation or a journey? Covel opens up today's monologue distinguishing between the two by answering a piece of listener mail. Covel gives credit to Tim Ferris and the four hour work week mentality, and discusses his ability to work from abroad and travel to a different country every two weeks. Next, Covel answers a piece of listener mail regarding his recent comments on day traders. Covel just gives his view. He's done his homework, done the research, and put the proof out there. It's not just Covel pontificating only about how the world should be, but trying to be objective. Day trading track records don't appear to exist, while trend following has a track record that's available for anyone to see in the back of Covel's books. Tons of people out there imagine that day trading is a legitimate way to operate, but there's just no proof that it works. Next, Covel reads another piece of mail talking about poor returns of hedge funds in the first quarter, and how certain hedge fund managers had picked the wrong direction. Covel gives another Seykota quote on the matter: "Artful politicians and religious leaders carefully keep their promises in the future, and their tithing and taxation in the now." Covel adds: Investing gurus are part of that list because investing gurus all want to be paid right now. Covel also talks about outlier events. Are you prepared for an outlier event? Whether a crazy North Korean dictator drops a nuke, whether one of the central bank policies across the world don't work as expected, or something else? What if the prescribed plan doesn't work? That's where fundamentals break down and when they do you need a plan. There's a great video that Covel posted recently by Dr. Vernon Smith stating that standard econometric models were not explaining what was happening in the real world. They weren't explaining bubbles, and not until Dr. Smith started studying the psychology of how people behave did he finally start to understand what was going on. Are you going to believe that Vernon Smith and Daniel Kahneman had figured something out about the human psyche when it comes to markets and money, or are you going to trust that government agencies have figured it out and are going to manage it all for you perfectly? If you do trust Dr. Smith, as Covel highly recommends, how are you going to prepare for the next event? Do you really think there's a chance that the S&P will only go up, and will never drop by 50% again? Get a strategy to help you out when there's an outlier move. That's the key. Covel moves on and talks about his time so far in Vietnam, including an all female motorbike tour, avoiding getting run over crossing busy traffic circles, and an incredible Vietnamese dancer. Are the communists doing better capitalism better? The question of the day! Free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel comes to today from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam after spending several weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and a few days in Singapore. Covel talks about some of his experiences is Singapore and Vietnam, but first he shares a quote from legendary trend following trader Ed Seykota regarding day trading: "Traders use it medicinally as distraction from deeper issues." Seykota has a remarkable ability to take complicated thoughts and reduce them down to only a few words, holding a mirror up to you and your life in the process. Covel talks about the "screen watchers" who have to look at their trades all day long and questions their performance. Where are all the day traders' performance data? They simply don't exist with only a few exceptions for big traders like Steve Cohen. Take that and compare it to trend following which has the performance data to prove its success. Without that data Covel's "Trend Following" book would have simply been opinion with no foundation. Covel digs deeper into the Seykota quote and discusses the core issues of what he's really talking about: is day trading simply the answer to your other problems? It's very similar to the lottery mentality regardless of how people try and talk it up: there's a very small chance of you winning big in the end. Covel also recounts some of his experiences abroad and compares it to the situation in America today. Compared to Singapore, America simply can't compete with what they are able to get done. Singapore has great economic freedom and there's a wide desire there to make money--not just live off the State nipple. Economic freedom and the desire to make money, however crass, leads to a better life. Covel mentions a book he's currently reading about how the Russian oligarchs came to power and made their billions. It's really rooted in the system that was the old Soviet Union system: the state-run economy and taking advatnage of that. Everything was run by the state: the banks, the delivery of bread, the production of produce, etc. Covel brings it up because he's currently in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Today, there's nothing that feels remotely communist to Covel. He saw a couple of flags on some government buildings, but that's about it. Instead, it's mostly commerce and entrepreneurs. There's an energy there and people are clearly ready to make something happen. Ultimately, this brings Covel back to America. America does not have the ability to build a Singapore right now. Covel discusses the voting process and whether it's better to have a system where you know you don't have certain rights and freedoms (like Vietnam) or to have a system that gives you those rights and freedoms, but it's more akin to a fantasy. He's not some angry ex-pat: Covel simply wants to point out that the American system was founded on pure and noble ideals, but the bureaucracy has gotten so big and so unwieldy that the average vote makes no difference. Even a change in political leadership doesn't make a difference, and those on the right and left have more in common than not in common. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to http://www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel presents a series of great audio clips rather than his normal monologue or interview today on the podcast. Most of these are clips that Covel hasn't played on a podcast before, and they all loosely connect around the idea of risk, the unexpected, and black swans. First up, Covel plays a clip from Warren Buffett talking about Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that almost took the system down in the summer of 1998 (a huge winning time for trend followers). Covel follows it up with two clips from David Harding of Winton Capital Management--one of the top trend following traders of all time--talking about the lack of data on history's greatest manias, crashes and panics; a second clip of Harding talking about the difference between today's crashes and panics and ones that have happened over the past century; author Peter Bernstein (whose book, "Against the Gods", Covel calls a must-read book on risk); Dr. Vernon Smith, who appeared in Covel's film, "Broke: The New American Dream", talking to ReasonTV; Nassim Taleb, author of "The Black Swan". Finally, Covel ends with a clip of Ben Bernanke walking down the street. Somebody asks him about Nassim Taleb, the author of "The Black Swan". You would think that after we've just listened to all of these pragmatic voices lay the foundation for why you have to know there's always going to be another black swan to arrive, Bernanke completely dismisses it and says he doesn't read Taleb's work. Isn't it good to know that Bernanke, the man who is control of the Fed, doesn't even pay attention? All of these great voices that Covel has played today show how imperitive it is to prepare yourself for the next black swan; the next unknown event. Want a free trend following DVD? Go to http://www.trendfollowing.com/win
Trend following wisdom with the most inspiring Market Wizard Ed Seykota.
Michael Covel talks to Nick Radge in his second visit to the podcast. Radge operates The Chartist (www.thechartist.com.au) and is the author of the book "Unholy Grails". Radge lived in Singapore for two years and he and Covel talk about their shared experiences traveling in Southeast Asia. Covel brings up the lack of familiarity with trend following when giving presentations in Southeast Asia and how, just like in the US and Europe, 99% of the people out there really don't understand what constitutes a real trend following strategy. Radge and Covel break it down to the basics and use Apple as an example of how a trend following trader might look at one particular example. In Apple's case it's possible to see 700 as an anchor and think that although it's at 450 now, it's got to go back up. It's easy to take the value investing perspective and think that you're buying a quality stock on discount. However, there's one core thing that Radge stresses people have to understand is the undeniable truth: every company that goes bankrupt exhibits the exact same traits. They all trend down in a sustained manner; they don't just open and go bankrupt on one day. A company trends down over a sustained amount of time and eventually goes bankrupt. Of course, Radge isn't saying that Apple is going to go bankrupt; he simply says to pay attention and not get anchored to a higher price. Warren Buffet's idea of buying a good company on sale doesn't apply because he's obviously looking at things that people can't or won't pay attention to-- and his performance can't be replicated. Anchoring yourself to a price is dangerous, and Covel and Radge break down the idea of "anchoring" even further. Radge defines it as when an investment has reached a particular level that an investor has become emotionally attached to and has future expectations of the investment reaching past performance peaks. A trend follower would follow a stock that is at least moving in the right direction to start. Covel and Radge further discuss education, how the trend following world is foreign to many people who have been educated in the "right" places, and how the idea of taking losses and being incorrect in your position seem to be counterintuitive to them; the importance of drawing distinctions between traditional value investing and alternative systems like trend following; how the name of the game for many fund managers is not necessarily performance but funds under management; playing the game of mathematics vs. playing the game of picking the right stocks; why the US stock market has gone straight up despite all the fear going on elsewhere in the world, and why you shouldn't "fight the tape"; closet trend followers; why price can't be faked (and how sentiment plays into the picture); trade restrictions, cultural attitudes, and the importance of being able to step out of the crowd; why individuals have an advantage over fund managers; the value of understanding trend following even when you don't actually use it as a strategy; spotting 'trends', how you can't spot a trend until it's started or until it's over, and using hitchhiking as an analogy for trading; how trend following is useful when outlier events and black swans appear; using rules and strategies to fight fear; the difficulty of using Warren Buffett as an example, and the problems the arise when managing larger amounts of money; and Radge's thoughts on being an entrepreneur. Dig in! Free DVD? www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel has done a podcast on Apple before, but today's podcast focuses on the media coverage surrounding people calling the top. Covel just saw an interesting article called "Following a Herd of Bulls on Apple" by James Stewart. Covel reads through the article and gives his commentary and notes that the premise of the article is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. The main subjects of Covel's criticism are the people that they bring on to criticize the Wall Street analysts. Covel isn't here to defend the Wall Street analysts--anyone that makes a buy or sell decision based on a report from a Wall Street analyst after looking at the last 20 years of Wall Street history isn't doing their homework. The "funny" part of the article, Covel says, lies in the people who were quoted in the article--and the author. Jim Stewart has been around Wall Street for a long time. Did he just dial this piece in? Stewart knew it was impossible to predict Apple's top. Yet, for this article, they find one guy out there who pegged the top. And we're all supposed to look at this guy as some sort of miracle worker? You don't pick the top. People who pick tops like Apple at 700 are lucky. It's not a skill. If you can only find one guy to do it, you've found the lucky survivor, and Jim Stewart built the article around him. Covel saves the most ire for the professors quoted in the article. The men who teach that markets are efficient. The ones who have the basics of finance wrong and continue to push this nonsense to their students: "Markets are efficient". The big scam is that the very people out there writing Wall Street research probably sat through that very professor's class. Wall Street is populated with people who obtained this sort of education. One other thing Covel covers is momentum: a great way to have traded Apple is through a momentum trend following style. A momentum trend following style wouldn't have had you getting in at the bottom or out at the top. All you can hope for is capturing the the middle meat of the trend. The trend following way doesn't require you to be worried whether wall street analysts are right or wrong; doesn't require you to be worried whether or not Jim Stewart had an agenda; or whether a Harvard university professor had conflicts of interest himself. Covel only brings it up to make a point and to sharpen the divide between these very different ways of looking at the world. On one side you have all the university nonsense; the efficient market hypothesis; Wall Street giving you buy/sell/hold decisions; and adulation for the one guy that picked the top. On the other side, you have the trend following traders who know that absolutely all of that is junk. Make your life simpler. Walk away from the nonsense and stick to the other side of that divide. Free DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel starts with an interesting blogpost from a reader quoting Dow theorist Richard Russell. Covel discusses his thoughts on Russell, noting that he saw him speak in San Diego and followed his writings some in 2009-10. Here's the thing: Russell got it all wrong at the time. He was calling for the end of the world and the Dow has gone up--way up. Russell isn't a trend following trader; he was using subjective discretionary technical views on what he thought the markets were doing, would do, and what the government or Fed might do or was doing wrong. Covel shares many of Russell's views about the economy and the Fed; however, his way of thinking about the markets in 2009 and 2010 was the kind of predictive technical analysis that Covel has rallied so much against in recent podcast episodes. Bottom line, if the market's up, you're long; if the market's down, you're short. Trend following is not Elliott Wave, it's not Dow Theory, it's not Gann, it's not anything Tom DeMark is describing. It's price action based and that's it. Covel goes onto discuss the gentleman's blogpost in further detail, and notes how taking hold of data such as trading volume and confirming the Dow and transports together are almost fundamental-like in their approach. From a trend following perspective, all of this is irrelevant. The gentleman's blogpost ends with the phrase the pressure in the market is building, and we may be watching the beginning of the most spectacular stock market blowoff ever. Just before an even more astonishing decline." The operative phrase there is "may be": if you hear a sentence like that, it's not trend following. Covel goes on to discuss more local Malaysian food, Yoga, getting the tar beat out of him in a Thai massage, General Patton, and invites listeners to write in with questions about predictive vs. reactive technical analysis. Covel ends with a clip from famed basketball coach John Wooden at UCLA. He had a brilliant way about himself, inspired many, and Covel notes how Wooden got down into the nitty gritty in coaching--even teaching players how to properly put their socks on so they didn't get blisters. Free DVD? www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Today on the podcast Covel gives us a peek into the presentations he's been giving and the responses of audiences abroad. Since February 25th he has been in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). He's given 23 presentations--anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes long--spread over 4 cities. Covel speaks to us today from Kuala Lumpur where he was only supposed to stay for two days. However, Covel was so taken by the city that he decided to stay for three or four weeks. Covel weighs in on the food, the culture, and the experiences surrounding his recent travels before getting into the kind of presentations he has been giving abroad and the investment style of the people to whom he has been speaking. Unsurprisingly, many of the largest fund managers in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur are unfamiliar with trend following; they have the a similar understanding of many in America and Europe. Most of the fund managers Covel sat down with were long-only, fundamental and value-based. Perhaps they used some predictive technical indicators on top, but that was it. Covel would go through the big picture differences between trend following and what his audience was doing. While most of these investors were unlikely to wholly adopt trend following, if you can bring a trend following strategy in-house that produces returns at a different point in time than your typical fundamental value returns--that's extremely useful information. Covel also discussed behavioral finance aspects, the idea of the black swan, and outlier move issues. Ultimately, it's about this scenario: you wake up tomorrow and you're on a desert island. You've got nothing except the closing price of the 75 most liquid global markets (which somehow magically appear in the sand), and a phone to your broker to make the trades. You have nothing else--no Bloomberg, no Wall Street Journal, no CNBC. Can you look at that data--and only that data--over time, and figure out a way to make money? That's the challenge. Can you find a positive mathematical edge in that stew of data from all those different markets? You don't even need to know the names of the markets you're trading. All you need are the prices. Can you find a positive mathematical edge in the great spirit of Ed Thorp and "Beat The Dealer"? That is the rallying cry of the trend following world--the desert island trading scenario. Even if someone elected not to make an allocation to a trend following firm (or did not want to trade as a trend follower themselves) Covel invited them to create a model portfolio. That way, you can at least know when trend following is doing well. That piece of information can be a useful piece of fundamental data for your fundamental trading shop. Some criticisms? The idea that Covel is not revealing the "secret sauce", holding back, or not revealing the "new thing". You have to ask yourself: Can you look at a trend following system? Test it? Look at professional trend following managers and see how they have performed? Compare it all? And believe in it? Or do you allow yourself to be distracted by other peoples' comments? Distracted by society? Ultimately that might be the big picture issue that Covel is seeing in his journey. Distraction kills focus. Free DVD? www.trendfollowing.com/win.
Michael Covel starts off the podcast with two famous film speeches: one that you've probably heard and one that perhaps only those with some Wall Street experience may be familiar with. Covel notes that this is how most young men begin their understanding of Wall Street: through the brokerage lens (hence the 2nd speech). It's how Covel first understood it, too: through the lens of Liar's Poker and Salomon Brothers. The idea is that if you work for this big investment bank and become a broker, you can make yourself a fortune. And you can call yourself a trader. But, being a broker doesn't make you a trader. You have to put your time in and you have to allow yourself to be in learning mode. Can you put off all the distractions and focus on the education of learning a trend following system and trend following psychology? Or do you operate under society's rule that if you lift a finger someone has to pay you first? If you have the opportunity to learn trend following trading don't worry about the silly stuff: how much time it will take, how much money you'll have to spend, etc. As long as you don't go broke it will be fine. The important thing is taking the proper amount of time and effort to prepare. In stark contrast to the earlier clips Covel transitions into playing and analyzing several excerpts from legendary trend following traders Bill Dunn, Jerry Parker and David Harding. These excerpts are not the Hollywood speeches: they're real, raw and full of priceless trend following insights. Covel ends with a quote by Harding: "We know that we know almost nothing, but the almost nothing we know isn't completely nothing and we only bet on that." We all know the price action; we know whether a market is moving up or down. We can follow that flow. If you can follow the flow of a market either up or down you've got a chance. Don't try and predict tomorrow, it's impossible. Take what you do know for sure and look for a way to use it and be prepared for when the next black swan swoops in, the next big event appears suddenly. As Bruce Lee says: "Be water, my friend." DVD: www.trendfollowing.com/win.