Self- attribution bias (or self-serving attributional bias) refers to the tendency of individuals to ascribe their successes to innate aspects, such as talent or foresight, while more often blaming failures on outside influences, such as bad luck. There are actually two kinds of self-attribution bias, namely self-enhancing bias and self-protecting bias.

Self-enhancing bias represents people’s propensity to claim an irrational degree of credit for their successes, for example, if people intend to succeed, then outcomes in accordance with this intention will be perceived as the results of them acting to achieve the intention, regardless of whether the actions indeed played a crucial role.

 

 

Self-protecting bias represents the corollary effect – the irrational denial of responsibility of failure, for example people trying to maintain their self-esteem by protecting themselves psychologically as they attempt to comprehend their failures.

Irrationally attributing successes and failures can impair traders in two ways. First, people who aren’t able to perceive the mistakes they’ve made are, consequently, unable to learn from those mistakes. Second, traders who disproportionately credit themselves when desirable outcomes do arise can become detrimentally overconfident in their own market savvy, leading to overconfidence bias.

When trades turn out well, people like to think that their method or analysis was fantastic, and that they are good traders. When trades do not turn out well, people will blame their broker, their platform, the news – basically anything but themselves. As you can see, over time, this leads traders to think that they are much better than they actually are.

What is the best solution for this?

One way to overcome this bias is to treat both winning and losing trades as objectively as possible, tabulating and recording them to obtain a running record. It also helps to do an objective post-trade analysis, reviewing your records to learn from past mistakes. With sufficient data, one can then objectively analyse the consistency of the methods and returns, and as they say – the numbers do not lie.

“Don’t confuse brains with a bull market.”

 

The latest headlines from Bloomberg proclaims, “Germany May be Ready to Surrender in Fight to Save Greece”. Once again, the attention has shifted to the Europe crisis, just after the anti-climax jobs and stimulus talks in the US. Looking at the weekly charts of the Dow Jones and S&P500, we see that both have violated a major trendline after exhibiting the same H&S pattern. This is bearish. Now, prices are consolidating in a tight range. We might see a test of the previous high if there is any good news. Otherwise, this bear flag might break strongly to the downside. We will have to watch the news closely. You can sign up for our mailing list by clicking here.

Leonardo Da Vinci once said that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Let’s take a moment to ponder that. This applies to research analysis as well. When you hear people talking about some sophisticated trading system or some flashy indicators or some complex wave projections, think again. It is more likely to be smoke and mirrors. All these tell you nothing new if you know how to read the bare charts. It’s as simple as that. Simple, and yet sophisticated. Looking back at my last few stock picks, I found that it is possible to read and understand what is happening on the charts. This makes it possible to pinpoint the low risk entry points, as seen in some of my previous posts.

https://synapsetrading.com/2011/08/dbs-are-the-banks-leading-the-decline/
https://synapsetrading.com/2011/09/noble-group-evening-star-signals-turn-to-the-downside/

Compare that with indicators. If you see a green arrow, do you know why it is a buy? Maybe it worked the past 3 times, but will it work this time? Maybe. Or maybe not. You won’t know. In fact, you won’t have any idea why there is a green arrow. You won’t know what is happening in the market. You won’t know what the smart money is doing. That is why chart-reading is an important skill everyone should master. Banks, funds and proprietary trading firms use it as their main tool. Maybe you should consider it too.

 

After the rebound for Noble, it is now setting up an evening star pattern, which is a short-term psychological pattern signalling an exit by the smart money. This trade was triggered last Friday, and I am expecting the SG markets to open down tomorrow after the bad news (or rather lack of good news) on the US markets. Since the US markets are closed tomorrow, there will be much apprehension in the SG markets, as evinced by the extremely low volume last Friday. I will be watching for more short opportunities. Good luck trading!

In my previous post, I mentioned that Genting was going to continue its decline, and currently it is below 1.50. The STI Index has closed on a new low, below the previous low of 2720. What does this mean? It means that there is a good chance of seeing new lows, either with or without a consolidation phase first. One tell-tale sign is the weakness in major sectors like the financials and O&M. Let’s take a look at DBS, one of the 3 financial giants.

After a classic evening star reversal early this month, DBS has gone down to make a new 20-month low, providing several good shorting opportunities (can you spot them?) along the way. The worse part is, there seems to be no immediate support level. This means that the markdown has potentially a lot of room to go, since there will be no psychological level for the bulls to rally. I would be keeping an eye out for more opportunities to go short.