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With precious little interesting to do in lockdown London – other than going for walks and enjoying the beautiful sunshine – I decided to attack paperwork at home. Not the utility bills, insurance policies and income tax, but the piles of things generated over many years as a journalist, author and keen technical analyst. You can tell I, like so many others, have not exactly embraced paperless work.
I consider my very long term charts – of markets, economic trends, demographics and whatever – like gold dust. However, I can see that the ink on some is fading and that eventually the paper will probably crumble and turn to dust too. Over the years these have been adequately filed and needed little rearrangement. More recent finds, currently in the pending box, were sorted and added to these.
Years ago disgruntled from Surrey would write a letter to the editor; pedantic fool complain about spelling and punctuation; ‘expert’ in the subject pick on the minutiae in an academic paper. Same old, same old as these issues exist today, transported to electronic means of communication, but remain constant themes. The difference is in the relative speed of action and reaction, and the subsequent issues raised.
With lockdown being de rigueur this season, and all the talk of family bubbles, travel corridors, quarantining and social isolation, I happened to spot a few potential island reversals in the charts. Which then set me thinking about their validity, considering the other idea that gaps should be filled.
The rather dry title of this month’s STA webinar presented by Andrew Pancholi who promised us a ‘’40 minute whistle-stop tour of 30 years of work’’. He lived up to his threat and I urge all and sundry to watch this fascinating presentation – regardless if one’s interested in technical analysis, cycles, or financial history.
You probably remember this expression from the film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. This makes sense, because in those days Spanish coins were minted with silver mined in Latin America, based on a system of 8 ‘reales’ – as Brazil’s currency is known today (real). In 1537, after some debasement, Spain introduced the escudo (as Portugal’s currency was later called) gold coin, worth 16 reales. After further debasement, the gold doubloon (from the word double) was introduced and worth 32 reales. I remember trading and charting – on appropriate graph paper – gilts in thirty-seconds – as US Treasury bonds are still priced today.
In a week when even President Trump was called out for spreading dubious facts on social media, you know that the format has a big problem. The obvious scare-mongering is often easy to spot, and we all know that screaming headlines sell newspapers. But when it comes to the coverage of financial markets, the economy, and long term trends, the record is truly terrible.
Almost exactly 10 years ago – 6 May 2010 at 14:32 US Eastern Time – the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its second worst ever intra-day loss of 998 points – in just 5 minutes; it then took half an hour to get back to where the shambles started. Five years on, in April 2015 at the age of 36, Navinder Singh Sarao was indicted on 22 charges of financial misdemeanours. The authorities realised that market integrity was at stake and so, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities Exchange Commission, the FBI and the UK Met’s boys in blue swung into action.
Sometimes in today’s ‘’instant knowledge at the touch of a smartphone’’ world, it’s very easy to become overconfident. Or assume that everyone, and anyone, could know what they need with a quick Google search.
The STA’s May monthly meeting was, unfortunately, conducted via webinar because of the Corona-19 virus; a pity as veteran (3rd time) invitee Zaheer Anwari is someone I look forward to catching up with over networking and drinks at our regular events. What I found out in this week’s presentation is that he has had a varied and interesting career, though he claims to be from a rather ordinary background.
Very recently the 2020 Cost of Living Report was published covering 133 cities around the globe, listing which were the most expensive to live in. Tied in top spot were Singapore, Hong Kong and Osaka, with New York in 4th place and Paris 5th. In case you’re interested, the cheapest was Damascus, Tashkent one place off the bottom, Almaty next, with Buenos Aires and Karachi tied at number 129.
Artist and prize-winning potter, Grayson Perry, has been busy during the lock-down. A social butterfly by nature, oft-spotted at Royal Academy parties sporting a little girl Alice in Wonderland look, last night he and his wife hosted an hour-long TV programme on Channel 4 encouraging us to take up portrait painting and drawing. Yes, really, and comedian Joe Lycett (briefly called Hugo Boss) quickly produced a very convincing one of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
Published on the 10th April 2020 in the Financial Times newspaper, this wasn’t the first time Mr Coates had contributed an article. Acting on a hunch he had had when running a trading desk for Deutsche Bank, he then retrained in neuroscience and physiology at Cambridge University. He wanted to find out whether ‘the rollercoaster of physical sensations a person experiences while immersed in the markets alters their risk-taking’.
As a handful of countries start lifting corona-virus related restrictions, Britain looks set to enter another 3 weeks of lockdown. Tuesday the 14th April was the second STA Monthly Meeting that was held online due to limits to the size of indoor gatherings. Our guest speaker, Sankar Sharma, was obviously delighted to be invited, saying he was proud to be ‘among the best in the world of technical analysis’.
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar came to a sticky end on the 15th of March, lending the phrase negative connotations ever since. In fact, an Ide is a very ancient word for certain dates in the calendar, the first full moon of the month (March, in this case). Tonight, the 7th April, we have another full moon, a pink super bright one as the moon’s elliptical orbit around the earth brings it closer to us than usual. It actually looks orange, and the ‘pink’ comes from the phlox that flowers at this time of year.
I’m a regular presence at Tuesday’s monthly meetings of the Society of Technical Analysts at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales’ lovely premises at One Moorgate Place, City of London. Partly because I so enjoy catching up with members over drinks after the talk, but also because I’m tasked with doing a write-up and blog for those who didn’t make it. The meeting on the 11th March was cancelled – such a pity.
For a fortnight now I’ve been working from home. In fact, for almost 6 years I’ve been working partially from home and partially at a large office building in the City of London. The set-ups are, needless to say, very different and will not suit everyone. Today’s reality, however, means that many of those who can are being asked to self-quarantine and take their laptops with them.
Quite by chance, about 10 days ago, someone put me on to a video available (to those who pay a television licence fee) on BBC iPlayer. Called ‘The Markets’, it was released in 1976 and is an interesting vignette of how things used to be in the City of London, and how the plumbing really works. I don’t go back that far, though I did study at the London School of Economics, but many of my work colleagues in the early 1980s were around then and regaled us with tales of the old days – not the ‘good old days’ mind you.
A very brave Joshua Mahoney of the IG platform faces an incredibly tricky time explaining the carnage in all sorts of markets on the morning of Monday 9th March 2020 – plus, trying to forecast the next step. Well done, we say, as this is precisely the time and space when we need clear advice and cool heads.
A phrase dreaded by market makers in all areas of finance who, because they are obliged to make two-way prices for existing clients throughout the business day, means there are more difficult orders on the way and the most recent price the client accepted was because it went in their favour. In other words, the dealer’s got stuck with a nasty position and scrambling out of it is about to get even harder.
Book review: ‘Unchartered: How to map the future together’ by Margaret Heffernan, published by Simon & Schuster
The Weekend FT is strong on book reviews, generally well-written, some good, rarely bad, and never indifferent. Mercifully, they cover a lot more than fiction because, as my friend the Supreme Court judge says: ‘’when you have to read a lot for your work, fiction becomes less and less satisfying’’ – as is also my case.
- ‘Applying macro fundamentals to short-term trading’: By Anthony Cheung October 14, 2021
- Energy Trading Week: In conjunction with CommoditiesPeople.com October 7, 2021
- STA Freedom Party: Something to celebrate September 28, 2021
- New Lessons from Brain Science: and how they inform risk taking September 23, 2021
- Market reaction to EU July Industrial Production September 17, 2021
- A fireside chat with author Jack D Schwager: He of Market Wizards fame on
- Market Wizards – and their lesser known cohorts: Jack Schwager hits the book launch circuit on
- Colours, clashes and clichés: How and why use colourful charts on
- Do you know Aroon? I do, but not very well on
- Must read classics: Richard W Schabacker – the real bible of technical analysis on
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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA. The STA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information on the blog or found by following any link on blog, and none of the STA, STA Administrative Services or any current or past executive board members are liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. None of the information on the STA’s blog constitutes investment advice.