Jeff Hirsch is the Author of the Annual Stock Trader’s Almanac. He, and before that his father Yale Hirsch, has been publishing the must-read almanac every year since 1967. This year is the 53rd edition of the Almanac and a lot of the smartest traders I know keep the most recent copy on their desk. I personally have issues I’ve kept going back decades. When it comes to Seasonality, whether it’s the 1-year cycle, Presidential cycle, or even intra-month and intra-week cycles, Jeff is the person I turn to first. The month of January brings along a ton of information we can use to help us make decisions in the stock market the rest of the year. The track record is pretty spectacular, as we discuss in this episode. Today, Jeff uses these seasonal trends to help him in his role as Chief Strategist at Probabilities Fund Management. In this episode of the podcast we discuss what the down January might mean for the rest of this year, how markets tend to behave on Election Years and why Seasonal trends are so important to recognize.
On this episode of the podcast I’m really excited to bring in Quantitative Researcher Chris Cain. Chris found his love for building trading systems while he was a market maker in the bond market for over 10 years. Today he works with Larry Connors and just published a book called The Alpha Formula that you can purchase at a discounted price at Tradingmarkets.com. (Use the Promo Code: “TAF2020” to get the book at half price!) We laugh during the podcast that Chris is so hardcore about this stuff the he actually teaches a course in Python specifically for traders and building strategies. His goal with these systems is to recognize and take advantage of our human behavior flaws so we go over a bunch of those, which I always think is helpful. He also walks through one of the 4 models and explains how having several uncorrelated strategies increases risk adjusted returns. This was a really fun conversation with one of the smart ones!
I can’t believe I’m publishing the 100th Episode of this podcast that I started in the summer of 2017. My first guest ever was Ralph Acampora! I mean, how could it not be right? Since then I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Portfolio Managers, Traders, Analysts, Best Selling Authors and even a World Series of Poker Champion! People all over the world have approached me how much they’ve learned from listening to the podcasts. It’s been an amazing experience for me all around.
Since it’s Episode 100, how can I not invite Ralph back on the show to talk markets? In this episode Ralph describes the recent trip that him and I took to India. We both had an awesome time and are blown away by the interest out there for Technical Analysis. It really is incredible. He thinks we’re going to see breakouts in Gold and Silver soon but that’s not necessarily bad for stocks. Both can rise together.
I always enjoy my conversations with Ralph. He has great old stories about technicians that we’re too young to remember or even know about. He’s good with giving credit to some of his predecessors that probably don’t get the recognition these days that they deserve. Louise Yamada for example gets a lot of credit for the phrase, “The bigger the base, the higher in space”. But she’ll tell you that she got that from her boss and mentor Alan Shaw. And Alan will tell you that he learned it from his boss.
So I think it’s important to remember the ones who came before us. I would argue that over 95% of what you see me do, say and talk about comes from something I learned from my colleagues and/or predecessors. I didn’t make any of this stuff up. The credit goes to all of them and in most cases they have all been guests on this podcast. I want the world to be able to learn from the people that I learned from and continue to learn from every day. Ralph is a great example, obviously!
Annie Duke is the author of one of my favorite books, “Thinking In Bets”. I often find myself recommending it to both colleagues and friends and family who aren’t even in our business. While the book might be written by a poker player, and is somewhat about poker, it’s really about the way we think, and this applies to market participation, but also life in general. It’s a book I believe everyone should read, at least once.
In this podcast episode, I asked Annie about the differences between being humble in the face of the game we’re playing vs being humble in the face of your opponent. This is a really important concept that really helps put things in perspective.
Behavioral Finance in general, as my friend Phil Pearlman puts it, is very descriptive in nature. We are quick to judge and describe, while prescriptive models, at least in this field, have taken a back seat. So Annie provides a few different things we can do to continue to improve and become more self-aware. She says that there is no “cure”, but even incremental improvements can compound over time. She is also coming out with a new book in September of 2020 that you can pre-order here: “How To Decide: Simple Tools For Making Better Choices”. She says this is also prescriptive because of the workbook portion that is included
This was a really amazing conversation that could have gone on for hours and hours. This is her favorite topic to talk about and it’s certainly near the top of my personal list. But we got through a lot of material in a short period of time, so definitely make sure to give this one a listen!
I want to thank Annie Duke for being a guest on the podcast. This one really meant a lot to me! I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
Neil Blalock is my guest this week on the podcast. I believe he is absolutely the perfect compliment to all of the other guests we’ve had on over the years. While many technical analysis, especially on this podcast, come from an equities background, Neil was raised in Missouri and brought up with commodities all around him. It wasn’t until much later in his career that he focused more on the stock market. Because Technical Analysis can be applied to asset classes of all kinds, Neil is able to use his expertise across markets. What’s funny is that you can take Neil out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm away from him completely. When I asked him about what interests him out there, he went right for the Soybean Markets! Neil just can’t help himself and it’s a beauty to watch. In this episode we dive into the agriculture commodities market as well as the softs, precious metals and ultimately into the equities and interest rate markets. This was a really fun conversation with a different perspective than what you might be used to!
Andrew Thrasher is the person I turn to whenever I have questions about Volatility and the $VIX. I know he tracks the data much more closely that I do and he does a good job of simplifying what may seem like complicated concepts. With the current market environment pricing in very low volatility moving forward, one can argue there is too much “complacency” towards stocks. Historically, corrections are sparked from this sort of setup. Who better to bring on to the podcast for this special Volatility Episode than Andrew Thrasher, winner of the 2017 Dow Award for his paper on Forecasting a Volatility Tsunami. In this conversation we talk about the current volatility regime, the VIX curve looking out into early 2020 and how he incorporates breadth data to supplement his volatility analysis. I really enjoyed this conversation and it seems like the perfect time to talk about Volatility!