Daily Speculations

The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer & Laurel Kenner

Dedicated to the scientific method, free markets, deflating ballyhoo, creating value, and laughter;  a forum for us to use our meager abilities to make the world of specinvestments a better place.

 

Home

Write to us at: (address is not clickable)

7/14/04
The Art of Technical Analysis by Ken Smith:

Anyone looking at an oil canvas by a noted painter might wonder about its value, seeing it is priced at 3 million dollars and not even for sale. At first the picture looks like colored mud thrown on a canvas with a small paint brush, and not too carefully at that.

Well, I said anyone, but I meant myself; that is my usual reaction to Impressionists and Surrealists and Cubists and the like. I've never seen Wild West Art of which that can be said, however.

But the art is more than mud and color and the result of an artist's superior perspective. What is behind the art is more important and is the focus of this email.

What is behind the canvas is the history of the artist. The dedication, the 10,000 hours of practice, canvases thrown away in disgust, meals sacrificed for paint brushes and colored mud. Humiliation from rejection. Long depressions caused by the emotional traumas to the ego, the psyche - to the harmony in life.

Even with many years of practice an artist's work can still be bad, in that the public ignores it, nothing sells, no one wants the stuff on their walls. And maybe it is bad; poor technique, poor perspective, poor choices of color, of subject. And poor marketing skills.

Even here, however, there is worth. The worth is in the example. The character example, the will example, the dedication example, the passion for art.

In the elder years many individuals have taken to art as a new pursuit. One can sit before a canvas when it is no longer possible to tromp 18 holes around a golf course. Especially if one were holding cash in the bank with which to hire young nude models.

I have taken up a pursuit of art. My choice, however, will surprise many because it is not young nude models I am studying and painting. I have no skyline on my canvas. I have no portrait there, no human models, no nature perspectives.

And this art is exciting for an old man. Something young nude models would no longer do for me. True. That's old age, believe it or not, even though many will not want to believe they will be incapable of such excitement when they are only 75 years old. And this is a good thing. You see this state of affairs provides freedom, calm, peace of mind. I am no longer tormented by the demands of my dick.

The art I am pursuing is the art of interpreting point and figure patterns. Yes it's an art. Not a science. I don't consider it technical analysis either. There's nothing technical about it. The so-called techs use math to arrive at esoteric indicators, they use geometric patterns to tell them what to do. What's the art in that? What's the science in that?

I think of point and figure as a painter thinks of his work on a canvas. The market put points and figures on my canvas and I am dedicated to understand the art I see in
that.

A young man wrote to me today about my negative comments on certain technical promoters on this list. That comment prompted me to recall that what I am doing, studying art, might be something to write about for members of the list who are perplexed as to how retrospective analysis of bars, triangles, double this and double that, triple tops and triple bottoms - all in the past - how these forecast the future (Lack wrote about this today, re Feynman).

Point and figure can be counted also. It can be counted and it can be interpreted as an art. It can be melded into one's experience and become crystallized as intuition.

When I look at a point and figure chart I see mystery, such as that in the heavens. When I look at a point and figure chart I see things thru a glass darkly, but then, when I have mastered my art I will see clearly.