Monday, September 14, 2009

Speculation as a fine art

I've recently just readthe booklet "Speculation as a fine art" which was written by Dickson G. Watts in the 1880's. This was written long before one of my favorite books "Reminiscences of a stock Operator" the story of Jesse Livermore, it was mentioned by Jesse at one point "Watts wrote the book on speculation" i had never found until recently exactly what book that was.
listed below are 4 absolute laws Watts' believed in following when trading. I find it incredible that trading rules which were around 130 years ago are still true today

1. Never Overtrade. To take an interest larger than the capital justifies is to invite disaster. With such an interest a fluctuation in the market unnerves the operator, and his judgment becomes worthless.

2. Never "Double Up"; that is, never completely and at once reverse a position. Being "long," for instance, do not "sell out" and go as much "short." This may occasionally succeed, but is very hazardous, for should the market begin again to advance, the mind reverts to its original opinion and the speculator "covers up" and "goes long" again. Should this last change be wrong, complete demoralization ensues. The change in the original position should have been made mod- erately, cautiously, thus keeping the judgment clear and preserving the balance of the mind.

3. "Run Quickly," or not at all; that is to say, act promptly at the first approach of danger, but failing to do this until others see the danger, hold on or close out part of the "interest."

4. Another rule is, when doubtful, reduce the amount of the interest; for either the mind is not satisfied with the position taken, or the interest is too large for
safety. One man told another that he could not sleep on account of his position in the market; his friend judiciously and laconically replied: "Sell down to a sleeping point."
He also had some Conditional Rules as well, i have just highlighted one which i find important:

3. In all ordinary circumstances our advice would be to buy at once an amount that is within the proper limits of capital, etc., "selling out" at a loss or profit, according to judgment. The rule is to stop losses and let profits run. If small profits are taken, then small losses must be taken. Not to have the courage to accept a loss, and to be too eager to take a profit, is fatal. It is the ruin of many.

No comments:

Post a Comment