Back in the 90’s when Nasdaq dealing was still done by human beings I remember a particularly volatile stock that like so many stocks of that era started a parabolic rise in the morning session but came to a dead halt in afternoon trading.  No matter how much volume was sent its way  the price would not budge and the lead  offer on the ladder was the familiar ticker GSCO  - Goldman.

A guy I used to work for called the Goldman trader on direct dial ( this was the 90’s after all  :)  ) and said what the f- are you doing? I have a client with a huge bid. To which the Goldman guy replied - Your client wants the stock?  I’ll sell him the whole f-ing company right here!

The stock naturally backed off at that point and no doubt GSCO was able to cover his naked shorts for a profit.

Times have changed. We no longer live in the big swinging d-k-Liar’s-Poker glory day of Wall Street but the Goldman trade remained forever in my mind as one of the iconic times one player was able to muscle the market. 

The Goldman market maker did not have proprietary information on the company. He did not have better trading skills than us. True, the stock was grossly overvalued but so were all the stocks we were trading at the time and they would remain so for many years to come. What the Goldie market maker had that one else had was access to GSCO's massive balance sheet and because at that time Goldman often let their traders run wild he really could have sat on the offer all day long getting short millions of dollars of the stock with no threat of a margin call. That knowledge helped him bluff the market into a retreat and as happened many times before Goldie ended up golden.

During the COVID panic the bond markets were melting down. The Fed, which up to that point never bought anything but sovereign bonds, announced a program to buy all sorts of credit including corporates in order to stabilize the market. This was unprecedented and critics wailed in outrage warning that this would destroy the credit markets. Here is the funny thing. The Fed actually bought very little product. The bond markets stabilized all by themselves just knowing that the Fed was a willing buyer. The Fed was able to muscle the market and relieve the panic.

Now here is some very important advice you need to hear. You are not Goldman. You are not the Fed. You will never be able to muscle anything or anybody and the sooner you stop trying to do that the better you will trade.

You may protest and proclaim that you never do such things, but I bet you do. Anytime you average down into a trade. Anytime you martingale into a position you are implicitly trying to muscle the market and since you don’t have the unlimited bankroll of Goldman or the Fed that course of action will never end well.

I’ll grant that it's a very tempting approach.  Yours truly is just as guilty perhaps much more so than many of you in  taking this path many times. It creates a very smooth equity curve because almost every market trade can be resolved positively until it can’t and then like a skyscraper that you’ve built brick by brick over months everything comes tumbling down in one quick, vicious collapse.

A while back I stopped sizing up any of my losing trades. No avering ins. No doubling downs. Just the same size on every trade. My win rate immediately deteriorated 30 points but my overall winning improved markedly. And over time I started to make more accurate entries so that my win rate began to improve as well. 

Stop using size as a crutch. Stop trying to muscle the market. Leave that to the Fed and just try to make better trades. Your account and your psyche will thank you.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Trading forex carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as for you. Before deciding to trade any such leveraged products you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the risks associated with trading on margin, and seek advice from an independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.

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