Profiles and Motivations of Habitual Commodity Speculators

Discussions about personal psychology for the individual trader.
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sluggo
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Profiles and Motivations of Habitual Commodity Speculators

Post by sluggo » Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:33 am

Fun excerpts:
  • The typical trader ... wins more frequently than he loses (over 51% of the time) but is an overall net loser in dollar terms.
  • ... the primary motivation for continuous trading is the recreational utility derived largely from having a market position.
  • ... our sample does not appear to be especially risk-averse, and is probably not trading solely for profit
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... t_id=11181
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Habitual_Speculators.pdf
An Analysis of the Profiles and Motivations of Habitual Commodity Speculators (May 1997)
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LeapFrog
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Post by LeapFrog » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:14 am

Interesting old article indeed. Confirms a lot of the folklore about the profile of the typical retail trader, i.e. the great majority lose, lots of middle age "professionals" trading part time (like doctors), not using stops, trading for "recreational utility" (or gambling), under capitalized trading accounts, suffering through margin calls. And so on and so forth.

I suspect this profile would apply to nearly no one on this forum.

Thanks for sharing Sluggo!

LeviF
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Post by LeviF » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:51 am

I wonder what the aggregate dollar value of trading accounts are for the "majority of losing traders" vs. the "minority of winning traders". If 99% of traders are losers, but the losers only control 1% of trading assets, than their actions are likely inconsequential...

sluggo
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Post by sluggo » Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:37 pm

Position trading in futures is a very good approximation of a zero sum game:
  • (Total amount of money lost by losing traders) ~=~ (Total amount of money won by winning traders)
The total amount of money lost, is simply (the number of losing traders) times (the average amount of money lost by a losing trader).

Similarly the total amount of money won, is simply (the number of winning traders) times (the average amount of money won by a winning trader).

If losing traders outnumber winning traders, then the amount lost by the average losing trader, is indeed smaller than the amount won by the average winning trader. No great surprise.

Winning traders, on average, win more money than losing traders lose, on average. Simple math.

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