Saturday, February 13, 2010

Horoscopes for traders and investors

I’m trying something new. The seemingly mandatory disclaimer: I am not an astrologist, I don’t believe in astrology, and I’m not making any actionable predictions. If you act on any information in your horoscope and things go badly, you can’t hold me responsible. On the other hand, if things go well, feel free to think kindly of me. In these posts (weekly if I can come up with enough material, monthly otherwise) I will offer a few insights in horoscope format. I have no idea how many of these posts I’ll do; if the concept is stillborn, I will quietly bury it.

Aries March 20-April 20—Think twice before making that fearless trek into the unknown. Do you have the proper training, gear, and escape plan? If not, consider the safety of the paper world. You will not meet a real piranha in a simulated Amazon.

Taurus April 20-May 21—Get your feet out of the mud or you’re liable to get seriously stuck. Have someone throw a couple of planks across the mud. It doesn’t matter what kind of planks you use; the cheapest fir will work just as well as curly maple. By analogy, you don’t have to spring for the most expensive data provider, trading platform, or educational program to get yourself going. Free is sometimes surprisingly good.

Gemini May 21-June 21—Take advantage of your astral ability to go with the flow. You have no idea how great a gift this is. Most people end up in a dance studio for traders following footprints on the floor; you have the potential to be a Fred Astaire. Be cautious, though. Fred Astaire became more famous than his more talented sister because he had “durability.”

Cancer June 21-July 22—You can’t retract that losing trade, but stop brooding over it. If you made a mistake, learn from it; if the market simply didn’t accommodate you, suck it up. That’s part of the trading business. Some inventory you have to move at a loss—that battery-powered hula hoop for couch potato exercisers, for instance, that you thought was such a good deal at $10. Consider yourself lucky to have found a sucker to take it off your hands at $8.

Leo July 22—August 23—If you truly love being center stage, think about becoming a TV commentator or a trading guru. Both fields are crowded, but trading skills are not required. An oversized ego helps.

Virgo August 23-September 23—Continue to pursue your penchant for detail. Trading success comes in large part from perfecting the many details of trade execution, position sizing, risk management, and post-trade analytic metrics. With so much in trading beyond your control, you’ll have a genuine edge over other traders if you perfect what most ignore.

Libra September 23-October 23—Trading is a lonely business; seek companionship elsewhere. Once you opted to be an online trader you exchanged conversations around the water cooler for independence. Cultivate your social ties outside of trading hours and make these relationships count.

Scorpio October 23-November 22—If you are a discretionary trader, your keen sense of intuition should serve you well as long as you’ve done your analytic homework and have honed your intuition through many, many hours of screen time. Discretionary trading is in large measure an art where an ounce of intuition can often trump a pound of pondering.

Sagittarius November 22-December 22—So you’re feeling both lucky and smart? Dirty Harry doesn’t scare you? Well, maybe he should. Overconfidence leads to a sense of invulnerability, to overtrading, to trading in disproportionately large size. Start each trade by asking what could go wrong if it turns out you were both unlucky and made a stupid mistake. Perhaps then you really will be lucky and smart.

Capricorn December 22-January 20—Your disciplined, methodical work will pay off if only your perfectionism doesn’t get in the way. No trader has a perfect track record, not even those who advertise “no losing trades in three months.” Trading is about probabilities, so lighten up. After all, dear Capricorn, we’ve all heard that goats eat tin cans, certainly not the perfect cuisine. Oops, that report falls under the category of farmyard legend.

Aquarius January 20-February 18—Your quirkiness may be endearing, but make sure it isn’t hurting your trading. Don’t confuse Joe’s trading business with the quirky Trader Joe’s.

Pisces February 18-March 20—Take those rose-colored glasses back to the optician but keep your sense of optimism. When you’re in a positive mood your visual cortex takes in more information; negative moods result in tunnel vision. And there’s lots of actionable information that can be gleaned from the periphery.

Note: The image that accompanies this post is the horoscope of Prince Iskandar, grandson of Tamerlane, the Turkman Mongol conqueror. It shows the positions of the heavens at the moment of Iskandar’s birth on April 25, 1384. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.


  1. Brenda,

    Hahaha, some really funny stuff there - as well as some priceless advice.

    The inevitable question: so, what's your sign?

    Best trading,


  2. Jorge,

    I am the quintessential Capricorn, at least as described at