Feb 11 2008
So you want to learn about me, eh? OK. Here goes.
Well, I was first really exposed to the markets when my mother forced me to take a portion of my weekly paper route earnings and apply it to the investment in Dow Chemical’s divident reinvestment program (DRIP). That got me looking at stock prices at least once each quarter when my statements came in the mail. I probably didn’t really get into the whole thing much beyond that until I was a senior in high school, though, and that was thanks primarily to an Economics class, if I recall correctly.
The real catalyst for my active participation in the markets was the Crash of 1987. I was amazed at what happened and somehow intuitively knew the losses were completely out of line with reality. For example, my Dow stock lost half its value in one session. That showed me just how powerfully the emotions of traders could put prices around. I was intrigued and hooked. At that point I was still only 17, but a few months later after I hit 18 I opened my first brokerage account with Charles Schwab, one I still have to this day.
Of course my early years as a trader were less than spectacular. I didn’t really lose much money, but nor did I really make much. The one trade that stands out for me from those days was a short bet on the NIKKEI. It was perhaps 1990 and I bought put warrants on the Japanese index because I held the view that it was going down. I was right. It did. Unfortunately, I didn’t hold on nearly long enough. I bought the put warrants at about $5 and sold them at about $9. Nice gain, to be sure, but they eventually went to about $25. Ugh!
I stuck primarily with stocks until probably the middle 90s when I started playing around in futures (index, forex, financials, sometimes commodities). Then in 2000 I made the plunge into spot forex for the first time. Forex and stocks have been the main thrust of my trading since.
It seems like forever ago that I started my first job as a Junior Analyst for a company that was then called Technical Data. Basically, I was a data entry clerk. These were the days of DOS programs like Lotus Symphony. My days were spent walking from computer to computer to collect prices and other information from Telerate, Knight Ridder, and othersÂ on a clipboard and enter it into a spreadsheet or other application for processing.
It was rather painful, but I definitely learned a ton. The group I was in focused primarily on fixed income – meaning mostly the Treasury and Eurodollar markets. Within a few months I was writing EOD analysis of my own for the service. I think the candlestick page was my first real responsibility in that regard. Eventually I would graduate to running our “trading pages” on a fill-in basis, meaning I was providing real-time trading strategy. I also did some fill-in work on an energy product where I wrote about Crude and Natural Gas and all that stuff.
About 18 months after I started with Technical Data I was promoted to full Analyst and made a move to the forex group.Â I had already been primarily focused on technicals, and this move just locked that in. My main responsibility was covering the array of trading pages the service featured covering the various major pairs and crosses (though we had . I was in that position during the time when USD/JPY first broke the 100 mark. It was really exciting. I can remember almost going in on Sunday evening to see how trading was going to be in Asia as Monday started there!
It was during this time that I was first pubished in Stocks & Commodities. I also saw my first quotes in major newpapers then, and was sometimes featured live on Reuters TV as a call in guest. That’s all less impressive than it might sound – believe me.
After about a year and a half away at grad school (U. Maryland MBA) I came back to Technical Data (later renamed Thomson Global Markets, and then merged into IFR to become IFR Markets)Â and for the next couple of years operated in several analytic, development, and production roles. Before I left I was actually preparing for a transfer to London (from Boston) as a Managing Analyst for a fax service which covered both forex and fixed income.
I took a bit of a detour into coaching college volleyball, though. Over the next seven years I was a Division I coach and ran a local volleyball club. Not that I got away from the markets, though. I kept trading and writing articles and stuff. For the better part of 2005 and the early part of 2006 I was the Content Editor for Trade2Win.
At the end of 2006 I gave up the volleyball, though, and in 2007 I rejoined my former employer – now most easily referred to as Thomson Reuters after the merger of Thomson Financial and Reuters, though my group is still IFR Markets – to work on a newly developed equity service, Thomson Squawk Box. It operated in the same basic manner as the fixed income and forex services I previously worked on, but focuses on US stocks instead. I’m basically the market strategist in that my main role is to concentrate on the index and sectors, though I do write some individual stock analysis as well. Early in 2009 the plug was pulled on the Squawk Box service and I switched back to forex once more.
And yes, I’m still primarily a technician, though I can certainly talk fundamentals when called upon to do so.
On the Side
While I was coaching I was involved with a professor friend of mine, helping him develop and present trading content for his courses. In fact, we actually put together a full-on trading class. Of course it was part of a general finance program, so it was very academic, but still, we got to talk about real trading and not just the stuff you get from most finance courses.
During the process of working through and planning outÂ that course, I took a look around to see if I could find a good basic, non-specific trading book. I wanted something that wasn’t focused on a specific market, trading style, or anything like that. I also wanted something that cover the most basic subjects. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote The Essentials of Trading to fill that void.
That book then kind of spun off into a whole trading education effort, which is the focal point of www.TheEssentialsOfTrading.com. I love teaching and helping people develop their skills, so trading education is something I can really get into.
I’m always into something, so no doubt I’ll be adding to this page in on a fairly regular basis as time goes on.