Link: Bridging the Gap Between Cognitive States

Jul 9, 2007: 7:43 PM CST

Have you ever wondered why you have a difficult time applying what you learned in your peaceful room to the actual frenzy of active trading?

Dr. Steenbarger discusses how to take what we study and analyze in quiet times (when the market is closed) and apply that knowledge properly when the market is open and trades are executed in real-time when price is moving constantly, likely creating anxiety.

He summarizes the post in this opening statement:

Behavioral finance researchers observe that our perception, judgment, and decision making in cold cognitive states–those in which we are reasoning analytically–tend to be different than when we’re in hot, emotional states.

Some go as far as saying that we are actually ‘two different people’ in different circumstances (‘cold’ vs. ‘hot’ or possibly ‘study’ vs. ‘active’). Thus, decisions are made differently and we arrive at poorer results that we anticipated, which enhances frustration and confusion if we don’t make the connection between the two states.

Read over the entire short article for tips on how to bridge the gap and look forward to the next post by Dr. Brett on this topic.

He also gives a bonus link to an earlier post entitled Inside the Trader’s Brain: Decision Making and Emotional Arousal that will be of great help to many traders.

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Weekend Update – Bond, Dollar, Sector Rotation

Jul 8, 2007: 9:35 AM CST

Here are your major intermarket analysis charts at a quick, timesaving glance for you:

First, the 10-Year Bond Price is reconfirming its downtrend:


This is an example of an “Impulse Sell” trade where price makes a large impulse down, retraces back up, finds resistance at a key moving average, and then turns back down hard to continue its trend.

On the exact flipside, Bond Yields are participating in an “Impulse Buy” type scenario where price is confirming its uptrend (which has been a harbinger of bad news for the overall market):


Next, the US Dollar Index experienced a hard sell-off and just stopped short of making new lows.  It could be due for a quick bounce.

Finally, according to our 30-day sector rotation model, we are right on schedule near the peak of the cycle, yet the ‘money flow’ predicted by sector rotation theory calls for continuation of our ‘bull-market’ scenario we have now, as investors/big funds are currently in Technology (evidenced by new 6-year highs in the Nasdaq), industrials, materials, and (the big one) energy prices.


On the contrary, investors are currently punishing the sectors that do well in bear markets:  Consumer Staples, Healthcare, & Utilities.

Taken together, these evidence a strong case for the current bullish overall market environment.  However, rising bond yields could throw some confusion into the mix should they continue their recent trends.

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AAPL Triangle Breakout

Jul 8, 2007: 9:24 AM CST

This week, AAPL, as a likely direct result of the success of its iPhone sales/hype, broke out of a triangle consolidation chart pattern.

Remember the market rule “Price alternates between expansion and contraction” as supply and demand gets imbalanced following a period of quiet (rangebound) trading.


Price is now extended short-term above the upper bollinger band, and almost all oscillators are showing overbought conditions.

Use this as a study in the pure triangle consolidation pattern.  The buypoint would be slightly (enough) above the apex, or at least outside the converging trendline.  A stop would be placed either on the other side of the trendline (aggressive) or within the trendline following the break (conservative).

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Weekend Index Updates

Jul 7, 2007: 8:57 AM CST

We managed to survive a light volume, holiday week and end the week higher in all major indexes, yet only the Nasdaq is making fresh new highs (although they are merely new 6 year highs).  This tends to be good for the overall market, as it assumes that traders are taking more speculative risk in technology/volatile stocks rather than value or defensive stocks.



The Dow Jones is about 100 points away from fresh all-time highs, and it wouldn’t take much to push the index to a new high.  There is resistance at 13,700, as we have had six tests of this zone so far.

The weekly chart is working off its formerly overextended conditions, while the daily charts are showing stark consolidation and rangebound trading.



I am glad to report new price highs and new momentum highs on the Nasdaq index (on the daily charts).  Price is a bit overextended, and odds favor a sell swing coming up to make another higher low to confirm this major uptrend we have been experiencing.  Although the Nasdaq is making new (six-year) highs, it is just over halfway to its all-time highs (around 5,000).

The weekly chart is showing a momentum divergence, but this is absolutely no cause for panic.

The S&P 500 looks very similar (technically) to the Dow Jones, and the Russell 2000 is making a similar pattern of consolidation (no new highs yet, but they’re not far away).

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Link: Overcoming “Frozen with Fear” Syndrome

Jul 6, 2007: 7:16 PM CST

Active Options Trader posted a pertinent quote from coach Heather Walter entitled “I Think I Can!”

He references the childhood story of “The Little Engine that Could” and describes how determination and perspective can help you achieve your goals.  Often this burning desire comes after a few failures that cause us to dig deeper and realize we have what it takes to overcome any reasonable obstacle.

Here are a few quotes from the post:

“It was when he changed his focus – alerted his perspective – that he felt powerful. In fact, it seemed the more he believed in himself the stronger he felt, and the easier the climb became. His new focus became his new reality!”

“… choose the reality you wish to create, not the one you’re afraid might occur.”

Browse over and check out the entire quote and think about your “hills” in life and in trading and know that you have the power to overcome obstacles if you keep studying, learning, and trying.  Do not give up.

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