In Sept 2005, I attended a week-long stock and commodity trading camp by Dr. Alexander Elder and Mr. David Weis on the island of Cyprus. I learned two vastly different methods of technical analysis for trading, plus money management and all-important trading psychology. The camp structure and side trips also helped me to meet other traders and create friendships that last to this day. This post in the Cyprus series focuses on the seminar itself.
The camp is structured with Dr. Elder lecturing in the morning, a generous lunch break, guest instructor in the afternoon, and group dinner in a neighboring village. We also met each morning for optional walk/run and breakfast buffet. Everyone stayed in the same hotel and the class was held in one of its professionally outfitted conference rooms.
Elder’s lectures bring alive the material in his books. Prior to attending this camp, I had read Elder’s Books and participated in his monthly webinars for a year. So I had a good idea of the material but seeing how Elder applied it, the extensions beyond the books, and Q&A were valuable. I feel like I learn also from getting to know someone, and Elder does put alot of his personality into his classes.
I’m not going to detail the whole class -for that you should get a book or attend the next camp. I will give a summary though. Elder teaches three aspects of trading:
- Mind= mainly self-discipline, but also treating yourself well.
- Money Management = using stops and not letting losses exceed a fixed percentage of account size.
- Method = discretionary rules for judging entries/exits using a small collection of indicators and color-coded analysis of sectors. Its grown from his Triple Screen strategy, which is a great way to reconcile longer term trends, short movements, trend-following indicators and oscillators.
David Weis, in contrast, teaches trading based on the unadorned chart — just price and volume. He has studied, taught, and traded this way for decades. The closest reference for Weis’ strategy were writings by Richard Wyckoff. Now Elder.com offers a video of Weis in action. My summary is that Weis examines each bar on the chart for subtle clues to who is winning the tug of war continually taking place between bulls and bears. He is particularly concerned with support and resistance, distinguishing false breakouts from the real thing, and sensing when a trend is losing momentum or getting ready to change.
One of the best sessions in the camp was when Weis and Elder gave their own real-time analysis of charts brought up by the class. The two very different strategy would often agreed but sometimes not. It gave a good illustration of how indicators are abstractions of price/volume action.
Due to the European time zone, the US market opened as we ended class and we got to see some live analysis of the eMinis. The US market closed after we finished dinner, and a few hardy campers stayed up to check the day’s results. I sat in a couple times, although I was standing aside from the markets while in class. I didn’t want to make too late nights because although he encouraged us to enjoy the local villages in the evenings, Elder expressed a zero-tolerance policy for being late to class in the morning.
This post gave a brief outline of the main purpose of my trip to Cyprus — to study technical trading at Dr. Elder’s week-long seminar. An earlier post talks about my sightseeing prior to the course. Next up I plan to write about the cultural aspects of the trading camp with visits to nearby villages and a group side-trip across the Green Line to Northern Cyprus.
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