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Gamblers, Speculators and Investors

by Bruno Deshayes on 28 Apr 2016 permalink
Gamblers rarely see themselves as gamblers nor would they want their spouse to know what they are really doing. If there are some winners in the market there must also be some losers and I am afraid gamblers make the bulk of it. They compound their misfortune by trading with borrowed money rather than some set-aside capital they can afford to loose if it comes to that. They are attracted to the market for all the wrong motives and supply the grapevine with reasons why you should not be trading. They have no discipline no patience and no accountability. They have no notion of a calculated risk and do not take a break to regather themselves after a loss. Instead they try to make up for it by trading double the original quantity. Their demise is deserved. They suffer from a psychological addiction which blinds them to the consequences of bankruptcy to themselves and their family if they still have one.

Speculators are savvy traders who have a nosy interest in the market. They like to uncover profitable patterns and only trust what they have observed after some long and meticulous research. They use math and charting to document their findings but unlike specialists who know it all but never trade speculators take trades every day as a matter of personal discipline. They learn to take losses in their stride knowing that the next gain is just around the corner if they keep trading and maintain their safeguards. Speculators tend to trade commodities, forex and indices which cannot be manipulated by a single large player. Speculators are predominantly short term and use technical analysis.

Investors are in for the long term and use mainly fundamental analysis. They have a vested interest and inside knowledge of a given industry. They know the main players in the game and keep themselves informed of anything that might impact their industry. Investors tend to trade stocks of all capitalisation. They might know that so and so has been appointed to the board of directors of some unnoticed company and vote with an order for a bundle of shares. Investors are experts at sifting through information. In fact recent scandals have highlighted the fact that what you know and what you do with that information can make you a fortune. Insider trading is hard to quantify, hard to prosecute and hard to expose. Retail investors are in danger of being duped by insiders and recriminations are the norm at company annual general meetings. Share options and the plethora of new weird and wonderful share issues muddy the waters for newcomers.

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