Trading Wisdom – Umesh Shanmugam

Markets are highly random and are very, very close to being efficient.

If you are a new trader, trading is probably harder than you think it can be. If you’ve been trading a while, you know this. Financial markets are one of the most competitive environments in the modern world. New information is quickly processed and incorporated into prices. This means that you cannot outsmart the market consistently. You cannot invest based on what you think makes sense or should happen because you are up against investors with superior access to information, knowledge, experience, capital and other resources. Most of the time, markets move in a more or less random fashion; you can’t make money if market movements are random. (“Efficient”, in this context, is an academic term that basically means that all available information is reflected in prices.)

It is impossible to make money trading without an edge.

There are many ways to create an edge in the markets, but one this is true—it is very, very hard to do so. Most things that people say work in the market do not actually work. Treat claims of success and performance with healthy skepticism. I can tell you, based on my experience of nearly twenty years as a trader, most people who say they are making substantial profits are not. This is a very hard business.

Every edge we have is driven by an imbalance of buying and selling pressure.

The world divides into two large groups of traders and investors: fundamental traders who base decisions off of financial analysis, understanding of the industry and a company’s competitive position, growth rates, assessment of management, etc. Technical traders base decisions off of patterns in prices, volume or related data. From a technical perspective, every edge we have is generated by a disagreement between buyers and sellers. When they are in balance (equilibrium), market movements are random.