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"Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."
Although the above quote may not be from John Maynard Keynes as is widely attributed, it nonetheless is a great reminder for traders. Although everyone wants to be then next great trader, this is a tough business and very few are able to profit over time. So, we gathered the best trading advice from some of the most iconic traders. Throughout the years, we have written about most of the things they discuss, so be sure to check out those longer pieces.
"I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will."
“Investors should be skeptical of history-based models. Constructed by a nerdy-sounding priesthood using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like, these models tend to look impressive. Too often, though, investors forget to examine the assumptions behind the models. Beware of geeks bearing formulas. ”
“The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.’”
"Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell. If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd."
― Sir John Templeton, Founder The Templeton Mutual Funds
"One common adage about trading that is completely wrongheaded is: You can’t go broke trading profits. That’s precisely how many traders do go broke. While amateurs go broke by taking large losses, professionals go broke by taking small profits… The success rate of trades is the least important performance statistic and may even be inversely related to performance"
― William Eckhardt, Founder Eckhardt Trading Company
"Traders should avoid putting stops in the obvious places… If you’re going to use stops, it’s probably best not to put them at the typical spots. Nothing is going to be 100% foolproof, but that’s a generally wise concept."
"I think paper trading is the worst thing you can do… It’s like shadowboxing and then getting in the ring with a professional boxer. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to crawl up into a turtle position and get the crap beat out of you because you’re not used to really getting hit. The most important thing to becoming a good trader is to trade."
— Gil Blake, Inventor of mutual fund timing strategies
"My weakness has always been being a bit premature on entering positions. I’ve learned to think to myself, 'Patience, patience, patience.' I try to wait until things set up just right before I take a trade. Then, when I am ready to take the trade, I slowly count to ten before I pick up the phone. It’s better to have the wrong idea and good timing than the right idea and bad timing."
— Linda Bradford Raschke, President of LBRGroup, Inc.
"Risk control is the essence of my trading style and success. I never think what I might make on a given trade, but only what I could lose. I mentally mark each of my positions to market. No matter how large a profit I may have in a position, in my mind my entry price is always the previous night’s close. This approach allows me not to get complacent about my positions."
— Paul Tudor Jones, Founder of Tudor Investment Corporation
"A peak performance trader is totally committed to being the best and doing whatever it takes to be the best. He feels totally responsible for whatever happens and thus can learn from mistakes. These people typically have a working business plan for trading because they treat trading as a business"
“What sets successful traders apart?... Most people think that winning in the markets has something to do with finding the secret formula. The truth is that any common denominator among the traders I interviewed had more to do with attitude than approach.”
— Jack Schwager, Author of "Market Wizards" series
"The best fertilizer is the farmer's shadow. This adage applies equally well to trading as it does to farming. Trading profits are cultivated in the rich soil of market discipline, strict money management and consistent adherance to a proven trading strategy."
— Howard Abell, Author of "The Day Trader's Advantage"
Tomorrow morning markets will react to the release of the November unemployment number. This release will be watched very closely as market participants look for clues for when the Fed might taper its $85 billion a month bond buying program.