Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Wonderful Therapy

Read this wonderful therapy and inform your friends about it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Zimbabwe Today

Inflation at 231 million percent. One US$ equals ZW$25 billion. Two loaves of bread cost ZW$50 billion.

Truth is stranger than friction. Here's the article:

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's central bank will introduce a $50 billion note -- enough to buy just two loaves of bread -- as a way of fighting cash shortages amid spiraling inflation.

Zimbabwe's dollar is virtually worthless, with foreign currency now being used to purchase basic items.

The country's acting finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, made the announcement in a government gazette released Saturday.

Although Chinamasa did not give the date on which the $50 billion and new $20 billion notes would come into circulation, an official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the notes would be distributed to all banks by the end of Monday.

Zimbabwe is grappling with hyperinflation now officially estimated at 231 million percent, and its currency is fast losing its value. As of Friday, one U.S. dollar was trading at around ZW$25 billion.

When the government issued a $10 billion note just three weeks ago, it bought 20 loaves of bread. That note now can purchase less than half of one loaf.

Realizing the worthlessness of the currency, the RBZ has allowed most goods and services to be charged in foreign currency. As a result, grocery purchases, government hospital bills, property sales, rent, vegetables and even mobile phone recharge cards are now paid for in foreign currency, as the worthless Zimbabwe dollar virtually ceases to be legal tender.

Once a regional economic model, Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis, with unemployment running at more than 80 percent and many families unable to afford a square meal. President Robert Mugabe's critics blame his policies for the economic meltdown, but he says the West is sabotaging his efforts.

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In order to attract foreign currency, Zimbabwe's central bank has, since September, licensed at least 1,000 shops to sell goods in foreign currency. All mobile phone service providers are now licensed to accept foreign exchange for airtime and other services.

John Robertson, an economist in Zimbabwe, said he's puzzled by the introduction of the $50 billion and $20 billion notes.

"I am not really sure what these notes would be for," he said. "No one now accepts the local currency. It is a waste of resources to print Zimbabwe dollar notes now. Who accepts a currency that loses value by almost 100 percent daily?"

In August, the RBZ slashed ten zeros from the currency. But the zeroes have bounced back with more vigor.

A power-sharing deal between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed in September, and brokered by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki, raised hopes of halting Zimbabwe's plunge into economic destruction.

But the pact has stalled over the allocation of key cabinet ministries, with Tsvangirai accusing Mugabe of grabbing all key posts such as defense, home affairs, local government, foreign affairs and finance.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gann's 29 Rules of Success

Gann's 29 Rules of Success

©Halliker's Inc. Reprinted with permission of Traders World Magazine (

Rule #1 : Strive for Success

To be successful the most important rule is to strive for success. This means you must exert effort and put a lot of hard work into your effort. You must have both the short term and long term charts necessary for trading the markets you trade. They must be always up-to-date and you need to watch them on a daily basis so your mind gets use to their price and time movement. You will then learn the secret of trading and see how the entire price movement continually evolves.

Rule #2: No One Owes You Anything

You must succeed on your own. It is all up to you. The markets, stockbrokers, brokerage firms, news letters don't owe you anything. Gann never took anyone's newsletter. He did it all himself. The markets are there to provide you a service for buying and selling the markets you are trading. They really don't care that you make money. The markets are there for the brokerage fees. The more you trade, the more money the brokerage firms and exchanges make. You must be knowledgeable of a reliable trading method that you can use to extract money from these markets. This method must be able to help you understand the price structure of the markets in regards to time and price movement.
Rule #3: Plan You're Way to Profit
When you enter a trade you should have a figured a game plan for both the entry and exit of the trade. The plan should be definite and not subject to changes to your psychology during market hours. Gann knew exactly what he was doing all the time. You should have a stop in the market at all times, because you never know when a time cycle might turn against you. You should also have a profit objective in the market. So many traders today lose because they are using computer oscillators to trade with and they never know where they are going. They usually end up on trading with rumors and tips and use hope and fear to try to make a success of the markets.
Rule #4: Plan your Orders
You should always use price orders to enter the market. By doing this you will limit your risk and you can have a predetermined stop loss for the trade you are making. It also eliminates slippage on the entry. When you exit the market, it can be with a limit order based on the time and price objective. However, if the price has not been met by the end of your time cycle, you should then exit at the market.
Rule #5: Profit Ratio
You should set your profit ratio at 3 times your risk factor. Go back on the previous charts of the market you are trading and determine how much the market has risen or fallen and then set the loss ratio based on that. For example, if you have found that wheat usually rallies 12 cents then you should have a stop set at 4 cents.
Rule #6: Trade in Private
Never under any circumstances reveal your trading positions to anyone. Your mind must be in complete harmony with your trading positions. When you reveal your positions to someone, they will immediately start to question the trade and start to erode your confidence and concentration in the trade. You will then be a less effective trader and eventually lose.
Rule #7: Margin
Over trading on low margins is why so many people lose in the markets. You should never put a position on the risks over 10% of your capital. Every position you have in commodities should be backed with 3 times the minimum exchange margins. That means if the minimum exchange margins on wheat is $700 then when you buy a contract of wheat, it should be backed with $2100. This backing can be done in several ways. You don't have to have the money sitting in the brokerage account. It can be in a money market account or in Tbills.
Rule #8: Double Tops
Double tops offer you the best method of selling a market. What is happening is that a time and price high is being challenged. In most cases, the upward timing of the market has run out and it is in a downtrend. You should use the first rally to test the top as a selling point. In many cases, it ends up being a double top. Check back on the particular market you are trading on previous double tops and see what the market needed to do to get through and break the double top. It is usually 1-2 percent of the price of the current market. You should then set your stop based on that. The distance between double tops is important. The longer the distance the more important it is. Double tops on yearly charts are the most important, and then monthly and then daily are important. This is why you should always be looking at long-term charts to see these tops
Rule #9: Double Bottoms
Just like double tops, a good double bottom offers an excellent trading opportunity. Most major bull markets are created from these bottoms. Always keep an eye on all charts for this development. Place the orders and use your protective stops to take advantage of these trades.
Rule #10: Inside Day
Watch the markets for inside days. This means that the previous day's market high and low is inside of the previous day's range. You will find that after a long-term price. Brokers are constantly bombard with conflicting news which distorts the current view move that this signal gives you an early warning that the market is about to reverse in the opposite direction.
Rule #11: Reversal Signals
Understand and look for reversal signals. This will tell you the trend of the market short term. When the market runs up for more than five days and then gaps up, fills that gap, and closes lower for the day, it indicates low prices. You should expect the trend has changed. This is the strongest reversal signal. Another reversal is a market that runs up for 5 days or more and opens steady goes higher and then closes lower and under the previous days close. In many cases, the market will move at least 3 days in the opposite direction after one of these reverse signals.

Rule #12: Fibonacci Sequence Numbers

Gann never talked about Fibonacci Sequence Numbers, but he did use them. This was one of his secrets he kept to himself. Everything in nature and in the markets is based on Fibonacci Ratios of .382, .500 and .618. Markets will move according to the Fibonacci Numbers of 1, 3, 5, 8, 21 and so on. Watch for turns of the market on these numbers.
Rule #13: The Right Broker
You should choose a broker who complements you and thinks like you. The broker should take your order and fill it with the utmost speed. In commodity trading today it is important that your order gets to the floor within seconds. The new electronic trading has helped increase the speed. The broker should be willing to give you all the technical and fundament research you need to succeed without question and in a timely manner. The broker should never question your orders as you have put in the many hours of research into this trade and you know the trend of the market much better than he does of the market. Their only job should be to provide you with the best execution service possible.
Rule #14: Diversification
You should diversify your money so that you are in more than one group. For example, if you are a commodity trader you should have positions in grains, metals and meats. This helps to protect you from having adverse things hitting your one sector. This also destroys your confidence. In the stock market, you could have positions in different industries for protection.
Rule #15: Stops Based on Percent
All the stops you use should be based on percent of the price of the current market. Check back and you will find that a certain percentage stop works on the market most of the time and it is based on the current price of the market. Usually a 1 percent stop will protect you. Check back and see what previous stops have held the market and you will find one secret to trading successfully.
Rule #16: Trading Positions
There are three different positions you can be in at any one time. Those being long, short and neutral and not in the market. Don't be afraid to be out of the market. When cycles are changing, there are times when you should not be in. Changing cycle markets give you poor signals. You are also constantly being stopped out in these markets. If you are stopped out of 2 - 3 trades, you probable won't take the next trade because of psychology and that will be the one that works.
Rule #17: Odd Price Orders
When you place limit price orders, they should be not even but odd. That means if you want to buy corn at $3.00 you should place the order at $3.01. That is a little above the price level. The price level of $3.00 is a strong psychological level and many orders are placed there. The chances are that you would not be filled at that price level and the market would then rally sharply.

Rule #18: Fundamentals
You should not dismiss fundamentals. They are what move the markets. You should always be aware of upcoming reports, weather and other fundamentals in the commodity's markets. In stocks, you should know what's happening with sales, earnings, new products, management and other fundamental factors. The technical charts will then give you a leading indicator as to how those fundamentals will change. For example, in commodities the market will often go up into a report. The report will come out bullish and will jump the day of the report, just to turn down again the next several days. Checking further you will find that the report was on a cycle high day in a major down trend.
Rule #19: Anniversary Dates
Anniversary dates are very important. If you check back on your long-term charts (using daily) you will find that harmonic years many times will move in the same direction. The important harmonic years are every 10 years back. Therefore, if you find that December Wheat made a high on October 20, 1978 and we are approaching October 20, 1988 watch that anniversary date, If it reverses that same day it is very important and could lead to a major reversal.
Rule #20 Gaps
Gaps are extremely important. There are three types. One is the breakaway gap, which occurs after a congestion area. It usually leads to a big move in the market. The next is a midway gap. This is a gap, which occurs after the market has moved in the same direction for some time. It usually will tell you the market will move the same amount in the same direction for another extended period. The last type of gap is the exhaustion gap. It is where the market exhausts itself. For example, in a bull market when the bear finally gives up, throws in the towel and the market gaps up, and trades a few days up there, then finally starts down the market is through. The market will start a major downtrend.
Rule: #21 Swing Charts
Swing charts are extremely important. They tell you the direction of the market. When a previous swing low is broken, the market should be sold on any rallies and when a swing top is broken the market is ready to start up and all lows should then be bought. Using a stochastic oscillator on your charts sometimes tells you the relative importance of any particular swing high or low.
Rule: #22 Pyramiding
Pyramiding can be extremely profitable. You should buy 50% of your position on the cycle low or known bottom according to your time and price cycle work. Keep your stop below this low. Then at the wave two bottom you should add 25% of your position. Yes, you need to know Elliott Wave to trade. Place your stop for that position below that low. At wave, four buy another 25% and place your stop for that position below that low. On the last wave up which is the Fifth, you should start peeling off positions and removing stops starting with the first positions taken. When you think the market has topped take off all positions, cancel all stops, and wait for the next major trend to develop.

Rule: #23 Trade with the Main Trend
Gann always said go with the main trend. It is very important. You can buy reactions against the main trend and this can be very profitable. Reactions will usually be 1, 3 or 5 days, weeks, or months. That means that if the market reacts beyond 5 days then it will react 1, 3 or 5 weeks. If the market reacts beyond 5 weeks then it will react 1, 3 or 5 months.
Rule: #24 Harmonic Cycles
Harmonic cycles are time cycles and they are very important. The major cycles are every ten years back. You should have available long-term charts going back as far as possible in daily format. Overlay these long-term harmonic charts on top of each other. If 90% of them are going up during a time period then there is a high probability that the current trend will go up.
Rule: #25 Square Time and Price
If the market bottoms at a set price then it will rally in hours, days, weeks, months or years to square that price. For example if Dec Wheat bottoms at 250 then it will rally 250 hours, days, weeks, months or years from that bottom.
Rule: #26 Timing Points
Timing lows and highs are based on time and may not necessarily be the high or low of the market. Sometimes momentum will carry the market further than the high or low.
Rule: #27 Time Overbalancing Price
Watch the rise and fall of the markets carefully. If the 2nd last reaction in an uptrend drops for example 5 cents in corn in 3 days and the last reaction drops 5 cents in 6 days, then time is changing to the downside and the market will soon decline.
Rule: #28 Watch the Timing Swings
Timing swings are important. Watch both time and price from lows to highs, highs to lows, bottoms to bottoms and tops to tops. Keep track of them; as in many cases, they are the same.
Rule: #29 Psychology and Health
Psychology is very important. Trade only when you are mentally and psychologically strong. Your mind and body must be at its top condition when making critical decisions, which risk large sums of money.

The Mental Aspect of Trading by Linda Bradford Raschke

Many traders quickly come to acknowledge that despite being familiar with winning strategies, systems, and money management techniques, trading success is dependent on your psychological state of mind. If you're a trader just starting out, where do you find the initial confidence to pull the trigger? How do you deal with the down times without digging yourself deeper into the hole? If you are in a hole, how do you work your way back out? How do experienced traders push through the ceiling of profitability that caps their initial trading years and make a truly fabulous living?

Trading is a performance-oriented discipline. Stress and mental pressures can affect your ability to function and impact your bottom line. Much of what has been learned about achieving peak performance in both business and sports can be applied to trading. But before looking at some of these factors, let's first examine the ways that trading differs from other businesses.

Intellect has nothing to do with your ability as a trader. Success is not a function of how smart you are or how much you have applied yourself academically. This is hard to accept in a society that puts a premium on intellect.
There is no customer or client good will built up each day in your business. Customer relationships, traditionally important in American businesses, have little to do with a trader's profitability. Each day is a clean slate.
The traditionally 8-5 work ethic doesn't apply in this business! A trader could sit in front of a screen all day waiting for a recognizable pattern to occur and have nothing happen. There is a temptation to take marginal trades just so a trader can feel like he's doing something. There's also the dilemma of putting in constant hours of research, having nothing to show for it, and not getting paid for the work done. Yet if a trader works too hard, he risks burn- out. And what about those months where 19 out of 20 days are profitable, but the trader gives it all back in one or two bad days? How can a trader account for his productivity in these situations?
If you were to invest time, energy, and emotion into developing a business venture and backed out at the last minute, it would be considered a failure. However, you should be able to invest time and energy into researching a trading idea, and yet still be able to change your mind at the last minute. Market conditions change, and we cannot be expected to predict all the variables with foresight. Getting out of a bad trade with only a small loss should be considered a big success!
What IS the definition of a successful trader? He should feel good about himself and enjoy playing the game. You can make a few small trades a year as a hobby, generate some very modest profits, and be quite successful because you had fun. There are also aggressive traders who have had big years, but ultimately blow-out, ruin their health or lead miserable lives from all the stress they put themselves under.
Principles of Peak Performance

The first principle of peak performance is to put fun and passion first. Get the performance pressures out of your head. Forget about statistics, percentage returns, win/loss ratios, etc. Floor-traders scratch dozens of trades during the course of a day, but all that matters is whether they're up at the end of the month.

Don't think about TRYING to win the game - that goes for any sport or performance-oriented discipline. Stay involved in the process, the technique, the moment, the proverbial here and now.! A trader must concentrate on the present price action of the market. A good analogy is a professional tennis player who focuses only on the point at hand. He'll probably lose half the points he plays, but he doesn't allow himself to worry about whether or not he's down a set. He must have confidence that by concentrating on the techniques he's worked on in practice, the strengths in his game will prevail and he will be able to outlast his opponent.

The second principle of peak performance is confidence. in yourself, your methodology, and your ability to succeed. Some people are naturally born confident. Other people are able to translate success from another area in their life. Perhaps they were good in sports, music, or academics growing up. There's also the old-fashioned "hard work" way of getting confidence. Begin by researching and developing different systems or methodologies. Put in the hours of backtesting. Tweak and modify the systems so as to make them your own. Study the charts until you've memorized every significant swing high or low. Self-confidence comes from developing a methodology that YOU believe in.

Concentrate on the technical conditions. Have a clear game plan. Don't listen to CNBC, your broker, or a friend. You must do your own analysis and have confidence in your game plan to be a successful trader.

Analyze the markets when they are closed. Your job during the day is to monitor markets, execute trades and manage positions. Traders should be like fighter pilots - make quick decisions and have quick reflexes. Their plan of attack is already predetermined, yet they must be ready to abort their mission at any stage of the game.

Just as you should put winning out of your mind, so should you put losing out of your mind - quickly. A bad trade doesn't mean you've blown your day. Get rid of the problem quickly and start making the money back. It's like cheating on a diet. You can't undo the damage that's been done. However, it doesn't mean you've blown your whole diet. Get back on track and you'll do fine.

For that matter, the better you are able to eliminate emotions from your day, the better off you will be. A certain amount of detachment adds a healthy dose of objectivity.

Trading is a great business because the markets close at the end of the day (at least some of them). This gives you a zero point from which to begin the next day - a clean slate. Each day is a new day. Forget about how you did the week before. What counts is how you do today!

Sometimes what will happen during the day comes down to knowing yourself. Are you relaxed or distracted? Are you prepared or not? If you can't trade that day, don't! - and don't overanalyze the reasons why or why not. Is psychoanalyzing your childhood going to help your trading? Nonsense!

The third important ingredient for achieving peak performance is attitude. Attitude is how you deal with the inevitable adverse situations that occur in the markets. Attitude is also how you handle the daily grind, the constant 2 steps forward and 2 steps back. Every professional has gone through long flat times. Slumps are inevitable for it's impossible to stay on top of your game 100% of the time. Once you've dug yourself out of a hole, no matter how long it takes, you know that you can do it again. If you've done something once, it is a repeatable act. That knowledge is a powerful weapon and can make you a much stronger trader.

Good trades don't always work out. A good trade is one that has the probabilities in its favor, but that doesn't mean that it will always work out. People who have a background in game theory understand this well. The statistics are only meaningful when looking at a string of numbers. For example, in professional football, not every play is going to gain yardage. What percentage of games do you need to win in order to make the playoffs? It's a number much smaller than most of us are willing to accept in our own win/loss ratios!

Here is an interesting question: should you look at a trade logically or psychologically? In other words, should every trade stand on its own merits? Theoretically, yes, but in real life it doesn't always work that way. A trader is likely to manage a position differently depending on whether the previous trade was a winner or a loser.

How does one know when to take profits on a good trade? You must ask yourself first how greedy do you want to be, or, how much money do you want to make? And also, does your pattern have a "perceived profit" or objective level? Why is it that we hear successful winning traders complain far more about getting out of good trades too soon than not getting out of bad trades soon enough? There's an old expression: "Profits are like eels, they slip away."

Successful traders are very defensive of their capital. They are far more likely to exit a trade that doesn't work right away than to give it the benefit of the doubt. The best trades work right away!

OK. Realistically, every trader has made a stubborn, big losing trade. What do you do if you're really caught in a pickle? The first thing is to offer a "prayer to the Gods". This means, immediately get rid of half your position. Cut down the size. Right off the bat you are taking action instead of freezing up. You are reducing your risk, and you have shifted the psychological balance to a win-win situation. If the market turns around, you still have part of your position on. If it continues against you, your loss will be more manageable. Usually, you will find that you wished you exited the whole position on the first order, but not everyone is able to do this.

At an annual Market Technician's conference, a famous trader was speaking and someone in the audience asked him what he did when he had terrible losing trades. He replied that when his stomach began to hurt, he'd "puke them at the lows along with everyone else." The point is, everyone makes mistakes but sooner or later you're going to have to exit that nasty losing position.

"Feel good" trades help get one back in the game. It's nice to start the day with a winning scalp. It tends to give you more breathing room on the next trade. The day's psychology is shifted in your favor right away. This is also why it's so important to get rid of losing trades the day before. so you don't have to deal with them first thing in the morning. This is usually when the choice opportunity is and you want to be ready to take advantage of it.

A small profitable scalp is the easiest trade to make. The whole secret is to get in and get out of the market as quickly as possible. Enter in the direction of the market's last thrust or impulse. The shorter the period of time you are is the marketplace, the easier it is to make a winning trade. Of course, this strategy of making a small scalp is not substantial enough to make a living, but remember the object is to start the day out on the right foot.

If you are following a methodology consistently (key word), and making money, how do you make more money? You must build up the number of units traded without increasing the leverage. In other words, don't try going for the bigger trade, instead, trade more contracts. It just takes awhile to build up your account or the amount of capital under management. Proper leverage can be the key to your success and longevity in this business. Most traders who run into trouble have too big a trade on. Size influences your objectivity. Your main object should be to stay in the game.

Most people react differently when they're under pressure. They tend to be more emotional or reactive. They tense up and judgement is often impaired. Many talented athletes can't cut it because they choke when the pressure's on. You could be a brilliant analyst but a lousy trader. Consistency is far more important than brilliance. Just strive for consistency in what you do and let go of the performance expectations.

Master the Game

The last key to achieving mental mastery over the game is believing that you can actually do it. Everyone is capable of being a successful trader if they truly believe they can be. You must believe in the power of belief. If you're a recluse skeptic or self-doubter, begin by pretending to believe you can make it. Keep telling yourself that you'll make it even if it takes you five years. If a person's will is strong enough, they will always find a way.

If you admit to yourself that you truly don't have the will to win at this game, don't try to trade. It is too easy to lose too much money. Many people think that they'll enjoy trading when they really don't. It's boring at times, lonely during the day, mentally trying, with little structure or security. The markets are not a logical or fair playing ground. But there are numerous inefficiencies and patterns ready to be exploited, and there always will be.