Bruce Kovner Quotes and Expertise | Exploring Markets

Bruce Kovner Quotes and Expertise

Bruce Kovner is a Global Macro trader and runs a massive Hedge Fund called Caxton Associates. His insights are valuable by way of 30+ years in the markets.

Some of his quotes are brilliant. Here is a list:
Technical analysis tracks the past; it does not predict the future. You have to use your own intelligence to draw conclusions about what the past activity of some traders may say about the future activity of other traders. For me, technical analysis is like a thermometer. Fundamentalists who say they are not going to pay any attention to the charts are like a doctor who says he’s not going to take a patient’s temperature. But, of course, that would be sheer folly. If you are a responsible participant in the market, you always want to know where the market is – whether it is hot and excitable, or cold and stagnant. You want to know everything you can about the market to give you an edge. Technical analysis reflects the vote of the entire marketplace and, therefore, does pick up unusual behavior. By definition, anything that creates a new chart pattern is something unusual. It is very important for me to study the details of price action to see if I can observe something about how everybody is voting. Studying the charts is absolutely crucial and alerts me to existing disequilibria and potential changes.
First, I would say that risk management is the most important thing to be well understood. Undertrade, undertrade, undertrade, undertrade is my second piece of advice. Whatever you think your position ought to be, cut it at least in half. My experience with novice traders is that they trade three to five times too big. They are taking 5 to 10 percent risks on a trade when they should be taking 1 to 2 percent risks. 
I assume that the price for a market on any given day is the correct price, then I try to figure out what changes are occurring that will alter that price.One of the jobs of a good trader is the imagine alternative scenarios. I try to form many different mental pictures of what the world should be like and wait for one of them to be confirmed. You keep trying them on one at a time. Inevitably, most of these pictures will turn out to be wrong – that is, only a few elements of the picture may prove correct. But then, all of a sudden, you will find that in one picture, nine out of ten elements click. That scenario then becomes your image of the world reality.
One of the reasons I am in this business is that I find the analysis of worldwide political and economic events extraordinary fascinating.
It doesn’t feel like work, except when you lose – then it feels like work.
You have to be willing to make mistakes regularly; there is nothing wrong with it. Michael taught me about making your best judgment, being wrong, making your next best judgment, being wrong, making your third best judgment, and then doubling your money.
First of all, I try very hard not to risk more than 1 percent of my portfolio on any single trade. Second, I study the correlation of my trades to reduce my exposure. We do a daily computer analysis to see how correlated our positions are. Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.  
They are strong, independent, and contrary in the extreme. They are able to take positions others are unwilling to take. They are disciplined enough to take the right size positions. A greedy trader always blows out. I know some really inspired traders who never managed to keep the money they made.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Whenever a trader says, “I wish,” or “I hope,” he is engaging in a destructive way of thinking because it takes attention away from the diagnostic process.