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Ep. 308: Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC and Trend Following with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC and Trend Following with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
Lawrence Delevingne, CNBC and Trend Following with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Michael Covel opens up his first monologue of 2015 with a quote from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. There you have it: Willy Wonka completely outlining behavioral economics and proper investing all in a film about candy. Next, Covel quotes John Hussman’s recent piece regarding cognitive dissonance. Today, Covel has three examples of cognitive dissonance. First, Covel speaks of a recent case where a high school student was said to have made 72 million dollars. Of course, the story was false, but Covel explores. Many want to believe that these savants exist, but we all know the truth. Next, Covel discusses Hugh Hendry and why he now believes as an investor you have to sometimes believe in things that don’t necessarily exist. Good strategy doesn’t need to change based on the political winds blowing across the world. Next, Covel gives an example from a CNBC writer named Lawrence Delevingne who wrote recently on “hedge fund robots” doing well in 2014. Covel discusses these “robots” vs. “gut-driven human managers” and picks it apart. Why did trend following have such an excellent year in 2014? Covel explores and notes that trend following isn’t concerned with the previous year–it’s concerned with right now.

Listen to this episode:

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CNBC Calls Trend Followers “Robots” and Yearns for “Gut” Traders

Mainstream Financial Media & Wrestling: Hip Tied

Great connections from Ben Hunt:

My point is not that mass-mediated financial advice is kinda like professional wrestling. My point is that mass-mediated financial advice is EXACTLY like professional wrestling. And I know that it must seem like I’m slamming Cramer and CNBC and the rest of the mass media financial guru-sphere by equating their efforts with professional wrestling, but I’m really not. I just want to call things by their proper names. I LOVE professional wrestling. Second only to professional politics, professional wrestling demonstrates Narrative creation and execution at an extremely high level of artistry, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. And it’s NOT a fake representation of wrestling in the way that an episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” is a fake representation of medical practice. Professional wrestling is scripted and choreographed, like a TV medical drama, but there are actual athletic feats executed here. It is “real wrestling” in that sense, where there is no “real medicine” being practiced in the filming of “House”. But no one in his right mind believes that professional wrestling is the same thing as Olympic wrestling or collegiate wrestling. Professional wrestling is its own thing – a marvelous and entertaining thing – and it deserves to be understood in that light. Well … mass-mediated financial advice is its own thing, too, where Narrative creation and execution is the only thing that matters, and everything you see or read is driven by the economic diktat of driving the Narrative du jour forward. No one in his right mind should believe that mass-mediated financial advice is the same thing as professional, individuated financial advice. And yet here we are, in a world where the notion of trust has become so warped that every day, thousands of investors question the trustworthiness of their flesh-and-blood financial advisors and tens of thousands more act on their own because they trusted a piece of Narrative-driven advice they heard on the TV or read in the newspaper. Why is it so important to distinguish between real people and mass media representations of people when it comes to matters of trust? Because in the wise words of J.K. Rowling, never trust anything that thinks for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.

More.

Ep. 249: An Agenda or Acting Job with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

An Agenda or Acting Job with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio
An Agenda or Acting Job with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Michael Covel opens up by discussing a 2011 David Harding appearance on CNBC in his book Trend Commandments. The other day, now in 2014, Harding appeared on CNBC again with Joe Kernen. Covel goes over the clip, discussing CNBC’s policy of prediction and picks, their ignorance of Harding’s style and outlook, and the talking heads in general. Covel then went onto Twitter and posted, eliciting a response from Joe Kernen. Covel analyzes their Twitter exchanges, noting there are plenty of questions beyond what Kernen asked. Why does Harding enter? Why does he exit? How much does he bet each trade? Behavioral finance? Black swans? Trading only price action? It’s always fun to put a lance into the boil of the system and watch it pop, as Covel shows here. Covel surmises that either Kernen was not prepared, or there’s an agenda–it’s an acting job. SPECIAL NOTE: I welcome all of my listeners to join this debate on Twitter. My Twitter is @Covel and Joe Kernen is @JoeSquawk. Check out our conversation and please add smart feedback. However, please keep the conversation above board.

Listen to this episode:

Not Even Close

From CNBC recently:

“Such [trend following] funds use computer models to predict trends in the prices of stocks, bonds, currency, commodities and other markets, betting that valuations tend to revert to a mean following swings up or down.”

On the basic description of trend following strategy how does he get it so wrong? Not even close. Predictions? Valuations? Mean reversion?

Note: My email exchange with the author:

Me: In your piece you say this: “Such funds use computer models to predict trends in the prices of stocks, bonds, currency, commodities and other markets, betting that valuations tend to revert to a mean following swings up or down.” On the basic description of the strategy how do you get it so wrong? Like not even close. Curious.

CNBC: Thanks for the feedback. What about it do you think is off?

Me: When did trend following become about predictions, mean reversion and value? If you did not know and got it wrong, ok. But should correct it.

Making Money on the Desert Island

Some news can be interesting and entertaining. The majority of news completely wastes your time. But all news does have something in common… It will not help with your trading. Consider the following:

Mike, did you see this? I know you do not like following the news, and I heed your comments you made previously on “it’s in the price”, but if markets such as currencies are zero sum games, if certain parties are colluding to rip money out of the market illegally, then doesn’t this mean that the markets are not zero sum, particularly when adding to the cost of transacting?

Kind regards,
Nick

I don’t understand what this has to do with trading price? Imagine you are on a desert island and you have no news…except price data. Now what? You can make money on that desert island.

Who Makes the Sausage? Ryan Vlastelica!

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Ever stop for a second to observe who makes the sausage? A headline written today by Reuters Ryan Vlastelica:

“NEW YORK (Reuters) – As a last-minute deal to resolve spending negotiations in Washington appeared less likely, U.S. stock investors braced for what had previously seemed remote: a shutdown of the U.S. government that could spark a major equity decline.”

That background of course allowed him to make a prediction of a major stock market decline.

Party on Garth.

Note: If you happen to be a much larger player in the media that immediately thinks I am unfairly picking on a young reporter — I could care less. The financial media matrix is gross from top to bottom. Plus, I pick on the top too.

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