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Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Branch

What does a Trader do?

A trader buys and sells securities, which include currencies, stocks, bonds, and options, to make a profit. The worth of these securities is derived from the value of an underlying asset-and commodities (oil, gold, cocoa, coffee, sugar, etc.). Traders are employed by hedge funds (partnerships that invest in stocks, futures, options, and currencies), the fifteen or twenty largest banks in the United States and Europe, and large companies. Primary markets are located in New York, London, Singapore, and Tokyo. A company trades to hedge its exposure, much like a gambler hedges bets. For example, Microsoft sells products in Europe, where the Euro is the common currency. Today, the value of one Euro may be equal to $1.00, but in six months that value could be $1.15, meaning the value on the books is worth more when converted back into dollars. The company, therefore, has to offset its foreign exchange exposure. While all markets are cyclical, trading currency is generally the most fast-paced, and the currency traders days are almost always frantic. At the same time, I have to listen to six brokers shouting different prices all at the same time. I have to listen to what my colleagues are doing and what the spot desk is doing in the back. I have to listen to marketers calling me for prices for their clients. Over time, you learn how to deal with mayhem. A traders day starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m., and the work is creative as well as routine. You go through the same motions and your mind is set to work in the same way, but you have to be creative with ideas in order to make money. You need discipline, which is related to routine, and you must be able to make quick decisions, think fast on your feet, and be a risk-taker. Traders are disciplined and creative gamblers at heart. Theres no way you can be calm in this job. Trading demands a particular temperament and an aggressive, type-A personality. Definition of Speculation: The act of trading in an asset, or conducting a financial transaction, that has a significant risk of losing most or all of the initial outlay, in expectation of a substantial gain. With speculation, the risk of loss is more than offset by the possibility of a huge gain; otherwise, there would be very little motivation to speculate. While it is often confused with gambling, the key difference is that speculation is generally tantamount to taking a calculated risk and is not dependent on pure chance, whereas gambling depends on totally random outcomes or chance. The four emotions of the market: 1. Greed could be defined as a traders desire to trade in order to obtain an unrealistic profit. Greedy traders focus only on how much money they could have made. This emotion frequently leads to ignoring proper money management and often prevents a trader from taking profits on a winning trade. 2. Fear is a survival response and probably the most powerful of all human emotions. When afraid, a trader will sell a position regardless of the price. Fear usually leads to panic, which leads to further poor decision making. 3. Hope is what keeps a trader in a losing trade after it has hit the invalidation level. It may be the most dangerous of all human emotions when it comes to trading. 4. Regret is defined as a feeling of sadness or disappointment over something that has happened, especially when it involves a loss or a missed opportunity. This is one that traders may find it easiest to get over versus the other three.
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