Every morning I get to wake up and do what I want to do, not what I have to do. Life doesn’t always work out that way, so I promise not a day goes by that I’m not incredibly thankful for the opportunities that I have. With a tremendous amount of luck and some hard work, I get to play in the biggest game in town, in every town. Throughout my career, most of my interactions with traders and investors came from living in New York for 15 years. Over the past 18 months, however, I’ve been traveling throughout Asia learning from investors who come from completely different cultures and bring brand new perspectives to my process.
It’s difficult for me to write about these experiences because I truly don’t even know where to begin. When I write blog posts and research about technical analysis, I can just tell you what I’m thinking. That’s easy and enjoyable for me. But when it comes to really digging down into what the hell I just experienced on the other side of the planet, it’s not that simple.
Let me start out by saying that India was the first place I wanted to visit when I decided to invest in myself and go learn from traders who don’t live in Long Island, Westchester or New Jersey. I love those guys with all my heart, but there has to be more right? That’s what I was thinking anyway, so I dedicated both time and resources to be able to travel throughout Asia to meet with traders and investors who don’t go to happy hours in midtown Manhattan.
For reasons beyond my control, India was on hold until this January. So prior to my first India trip I had already visited Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Philippines and Taiwan. I gave multiple presentations in these cities and was able to grab drinks, lunches and dinners with the locals. Like Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching”.
It wasn’t just the interactions with traders that I was looking for, I also wanted to embrace the culture. I went to the Sumo Championships in Tokyo, ate the Chicken Rice in Singapore, walked through the Batu Caves in Malaysia that is actually a giant Hindu temple. After we were done high-fiving traders on the floor of the Philippines Stock Exchange, we went to eat the local cuisine – even the deep fried fish balls that looked as sketchy as they come. I went speakeasy-hopping in Taipei and found myself deep in Kowloon in restaurants where the food will blow your mind and English speakers are non-existent. Thank goodness for picture menus!
So by the time I made it to India this January, I had already made a few trips out east. But there is something different about India. There’s an energy among the people and optimism that I’m simply not used to seeing in America. As someone who studies the behavior of markets and people for a living (and for hobby), it’s been clear that stocks keep ripping higher and more people are upset about it than happy about it. There is a level of pessimism among Americans that I don’t see in India. It’s a fascinating difference in sentiment. For the record, the people have their political differences as well, so it’s not that.
In my first trip to India I was able to have several meetings with traders and various brokerage firms and funds. Bloomberg in Mumbai put on an event with over 200 people where I was the keynote speaker. That was really cool. It was then that my theories about India were confirmed. People always say how India is growing and there is opportunity in India, but it wasn’t until I actually saw it for myself that I finally understood.
I am a first generation American born of Cuban parents giving a presentation in India, to Indians about Indian stocks, and they didn’t laugh me out of the room. They got it. Looking at the market objectively and mathematically made perfect sense to them. I didn’t have to explain things 3 times like I find myself having to do with journalists, academics and fundamental thinkers in America. They got it right away, and they wanted more!
The best part about this whole experience has to be people. Let’s just say I’m not quite used to everyone around me throughout the day being the nicest person I met that day, every day. The food is incredible, despite the absence of meat. I learned the hard way to load up on burgers and steaks before flying to India. I didn’t miss meat at all this trip because I had plenty before leaving. So I got to really enjoy the fish, chicken, mutton and yes, even the veg dishes!
Over the past 6 months we’ve been putting our research out there, getting feedback and building around what is needed for investors in India. As it turns out, it’s the same thing we need in America: Reliable data, momentum analytics, identifying support and resistance, sector rotation and a top/down approach. Sure, they have a few more sectors than the U.S. and different sector weightings, but the approach remains exactly the same.
Our hard work has paid off and the research is gaining traction throughout India. I was asked to come present at the 7th annual Traders Carnival May 24-27. They took care of all of the arrangements and I booked my trip right away. This was a 4-day event and they wanted me to give the first presentation of the entire conference and then host an all-night open bar charting session starting at Mid-night on Saturday night. So I said, Sure why not?
The first presentation was more about process and how I approach the markets, India or otherwise. I also tried to explain a few of the differences between the U.S. and India but more importantly the overwhelming similarities. We had some good questions and for about 80 minutes we just rapped about Technical Analysis. It was great!
In between sessions all of the local traders were coming up to me asking me more questions and showing a lot interest in my analysis. It was cool to see that most of them were extremely familiar with the concepts I discussed. They’re reading the same books as we are. That was eye-opening. Nothing I spoke about was completely foreign.
But at the same time, there were some more advanced techniques that I’ve grown accustomed to taking for granted that really made an impression on the audience. Things like Sector Rotation, Equally-weighted indexes and Breadth Measurements were extremely well-received. I thought that was interesting. It shows me that while the level of sophistication in India is much higher than what you might expect, the market place and its participants are still in the infancy stages compared to where they will be say, 5-10 or even 20 years from now. I am so bullish India and even more bullish of the people in India!
Bloomberg covered the entire event so I sat down with Navneet SalujaDsouza to talk about process and NIFTY stocks. Here is that interview in full:
— BloombergQuint (@BloombergQuint) May 26, 2018
On Saturday night I hosted the all-night open bar charting session. We didn’t even start until midnight. There were people purposely not drinking just so they could stay up longer. I appreciated that. So what I tried to do was go over a few of the concepts that I didn’t cover in the first presentation just so everyone is on the same page before diving into the current market environment. I took some questions to start out because I had been asked really forward thinking and intelligent questions in between session throughout the prior 2 days. I felt it was appropriate for everyone to hear my answers instead of just the select few that were able to steal me away in the hallways.
This went on for 4.5 hours. We didn’t get done until almost 5 o’clock in the morning. Which worked out great for me, because the NBA Conference Finals started at 6AM local time over there, so I just stayed awake. My body still hates me from all the time changes and unusual sleeping habits. But sometimes you just have to suck it up right?
By almost 5AM, I was surprised at how many people stayed. This included legend Atul Suri who works directly for Mr Rakesh Jhunjunwala. Atul was asking questions and participating the entire time. I was blown away that traders of that caliber would be interested in what I had to say, particularly on a Saturday in the middle of the night! If you’re reading this Atul, thanks for sticking it out! You have no idea how much that means to me.
Here is a picture we took at the end of the session with only the ones able to make it to 5AM:
I didn’t really know what to expect from the Traders Carnival. I’ve been to some pretty sleazy “conferences” in America in the past and I’ve sat through too many horrible, self-promoting presentations that add little or no value. I thought there was a tiny chance this might be one of those. Boy was I mistaken. The level of experience and expertise from the presenters was incredibly eye opening. I was blown away by the sophistication of the questions I got from the audience. This was no joke. These are serious traders and investors and I made sure to tell DJ, the host of Traders Carnival, how I felt and how impressed I was.
Here is a picture of a bunch of the attendees. See if you can spot me:
Many of you have contacted me wondering if I could write about my experiences in India. Considering the fact that I’ve taken two trips out there already in 2018, I’m starting to get a good feel for what’s going on over there. For you who are interested, I definitely encourage you to make the trip. Life has to be more than Florida beaches and bars in Brooklyn. That’s not learning. That’s hanging out with New Yorkers in different locations.
I was in India for about 9 days. I interacted with zero Americans. I didn’t see a single one. I have fully embraced the culture of India and I’ve become their #1 fan. The people, the food, the sports, the national pride, are all amazing.
Traveling throughout Asia, as much as I have the past couple of years, has been incredibly eye opening. The cultures are very different that what I’m used to, the markets have their differences as well, but the people…..it’s the people that remain constant. We’re still homo sapiens at the end of the day. We all make the same mistakes. We all think the same way. Fear and greed still dominate our actions and they can be exploited for profit in the stock market. There is no question in my mind.
This was really cool to learn. You can read as many books as you want, but until you actually see it, you really don’t know for sure. We’re only in early June and I am already reading book #10 for the year so far. That’s a personal record for me. I get to add tools to my arsenal and wisdom that I get to learn from others about markets, life, health and business. But I promise you that my experiences traveling throughout Asia completely outweigh anything I can learn in a book. Seeing, smelling, eating and feeling my way through a culture is something that cannot be replicated.
My friends always ask me what they should invest in: stocks, crypto-currencies, real estate, etc. I’m sure all of those can be good ones at certain points, but investing in myself has easily brought me the greatest rewards. If there is anything I can bring back and share with you guys, it’s that. Get out of your comfort zone and you’d be amazed at how at home you can feel on the complete opposite side of the planet. I know I do.
Here are some more pictures from my recent trip to India:
Feel free to follow me on Instagram to see more photos of my trip