May 25, 2006 at 5:13 pm | | Comments 1

Very Superstitious

There’s little controversy over the idea that trading is largely a head game. Throw in the spectrum of emotions which ranges from pure elation (home-run trade) to all-out fear (blown stop-loss), and there’s a lot of ground to cover. Somewhere in between the extremes is the topic of superstitions, and traders have a LOT of them! Those with risky jobs are the most likely to have superstitions or rituals in an effort to maintain emotional stability, so traders certainly fit the mold! What about you?

As a rule, I’m not a superstitious person. I’m not afraid to step on sidewalk cracks or walk under a ladder. I don’t carry a rabbit’s foot or consult my daily horoscope. I really just do my thing each day and try not to worry about the things which are out of my control, even though it sometimes rains after I wash my car ;-).

When it comes to trading, there are lots of opportunities to think that our actions lead to certain results. The only one I can think of for me is that early on in my trading career, I’d set my dream car of the week as the wallpaper on my PC. It was completely unrelated to trading, but somehow I found that about every time I’d do that, I’d go on a losing streak! I think it probably just made me overly aggressive in an effort to make the money to buy the car, but the result seemed to be poor trading. These days, you won’t find a sports car as my PC wallpaper, which is probably ironic coming from the guy who just claimed not to be superstitious! (Traders know when to break the rules, right?)!

I’ve seen and heard of some interesting trader superstitions:
– I knew one trader who insisted on using the same keyboard he started trading with, no matter which PC he happened to be using. There was nothing special about the keyboard of course, he just felt it was his connection to good trading mojo.
– One trader avoided the number ’13’ at all costs. He wouldn’t bid or offer at the .13 level, he wouldn’t take a 13-cent winner or loser when he wanted out, and he traded more carefully when it was the 13th of the month.
– Jim Cramer has mentioned wearing a lucky green shirt to snap out of a losing streak back at his old hedge fund.

What about you? Do you have some funny trading rituals or quirks like refusing to wear red when you’re long? Do you avoid specific restaurants because of the “poor track record” it’s left you with on trading days after eating there?

Let’s have a little fun with this…..if you’ve got some trading superstitions, post them in the comments section below and let the rest of us know if we’re missing out on something that works for you!

Have a fun & safe holiday weekend,

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.

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  1. From Triumph Over the Trading Jinx | on Nov 17, 2008

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