Monday, March 7, 2011

Is The Correction Over Already?

I am amazed at how quickly a number of commentators have reversed their views from a correction to impending upside breakout.  Perhaps that is correct and there are supporting arguments, but what is not correct is most of the incorrectly drawn triangles that I have seen.  Even if there is a triangle underway, it is way too early for it to be over and it is possible that the triangle is a b wave that will lead to a downward thrust in wave c down to complete the correction, or it is part of a flat/expanded flat correction that will lead to a retest of the February low.  The August correction took approximately 12 trading days, and the November correction took approximately 16 trading days.  So far, we are only 9 days into this one.  There should be more action to complete this pullback before a breakout to new highs.  A break of Friday's low will be the first step in that direction.

Oil is headed to the cited targets with the next one at 107.15 which has been approached this morning.  Bearish calls on oil have been the norm over the last year and even now that oil has broken solidly to the upside there doesn't seem to be any abatement.  This bodes well for oil's chances for hitting the next target zone of 118 to 122 which, if it occurs soon enough, will leave the door open for retesting the all time high.

I just got back early this morning from a trip to Houston with my son who was competing in his first national qualifying meet as a junior elite in power tumbling and trampoline.  The trampoline is now an olympic sport but doesn't get the kind of attention that traditional gymnastics does even though some of the skills that the athletes perform are beyond what you see in traditional gymnastics.  After doing well in a home town meet in February, he unfortunately had his worst performance in years and failed to qualify for the national meet.  This was purely a case of performance anxiety and I think there is a lot we can do to correct the situation before the next qualifying meet.  He only gets two chances.

I have been amazed in recent years at the growth in psychology related books and blogs for trading, but how do you know if your trading problems are due to psychology and not your trading system?  I suspect that as often as not it is the latter and not the former.  To turn problems with a bad system or a typical drawdown into a case for therapy could make a bad situation worse.  First examine your trading plan.  Are you following it?  Even if you are not following it exactly, is it close?  Is your drawdown within the expected limits of the trading system.  If so, your problem is probably not a psychological one.  On the other hand, if you keep changing your trading system and plan after every loss and you have trouble accepting losses, then maybe it's time to take a break and examine the psychological motivations behind these behaviors.

In sports it can be fairly easy to determine when performance anxiety is the problem.  In trading it is not so easy.  Take a careful look at your trading system and plan before you jump to unwarranted conclusions.

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