When you find yourself in a foreign land or in an unfamiliar area of town, do you ask for directions or do you just try to plow through the situation using pure instinct? Personally, I prefer to wing it, which doesn’t make my wife happy. Sound familiar? Putting a little cultural color into this blog, we found that in some countries the locals will try to please you with directions even if they have no idea what you are talking about. I’m sure those traders out there that travel or live abroad can relate. When I followed one lady’s advice in Pucallpa, Peru, where I worked for over six years, I ended up returning to the same location where I had started, which was quite impressive. Then again, it was the first month into my job. My Spanish was “un poco malo”.
Speaking of cultural differences, here’s Jim Carey’s take on asking for directions:
Asking for directions can also be applied to the market. Where are we? Are we going up? Are we going down? Why is that man selling a squirrel on the corner street? That’s about as relevant to my trading success as those other questions.
The theme today in this blog is just that. Asking for directions in a land of uncertainty. The below quotes were taken at various time frames. You essentially could wake up and say the following almost any day of the year and the listener would think you are totally dialed into the market. The irony is that I pulled these from random sources using random dates. Most importantly, the information is absolutely useless in getting you to that “profitable” destination.
“These are great opportunities (in the market) I think. But here you have to be extremely careful if you’re the average investor.” Carl Icahn, Yahoo Finance
“What I’m saying is that there are bargains right now, there are stocks right now that if you’re shrewd enough, you will be able to buy them at the opening today and you’ll make money in a year from now.” – Jim Cramer on CNBC
“I think there’s a little more room to run here on the S&P 500. We’re going to stay very short-term positive.” – Stephen Suttmeier on CNBC
Here are a few popular paraphrased statements that we all have heard and we’ll continue to hear:
“There’s a lot of uncertainty out there. I’m going to wait it out until the market settles down.”
“The damn (fill in the blank). (Fill in the blank) is screwing this all up!”
“It’s just too difficult to tell where we are going.”
“We should know more by next week when (fill in the blank) is announced.”
“This market is just driving me mad. It’s behaving a little different than normal.”
“It really is tough to say what will happen tomorrow. It all depends on (fill in the blank).”
Then there are the “what’s” and “why’s”, which are stated almost minute by minute on any financial network. Just turn on CNBC, Bloomberg, etc. It’s all rearview mirror reporting of what happened followed up with a “why”, which is quite irrelevant. I just want to get to the destination. How?!
So, what have I learned? It’s best to keep your trap shut, roll out the big map and look like that silly tourist. Just stop wearing those black socks with shorts. Oh yeah, the “map”? Easy. That’s your plan. Just follow that. The “how”? Easy. That’s your strategy. Just follow that.
Written and contributed by John Wilson