We’re about to close the books on this year, and around this time we look back on what went wrong or right, where we can make changes for better results in the new year. I don’t spend too much time looking back, but if I don’t look at the mistakes then I’ll never learn – probably go insane as Albert Einstein reminds us; the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. 2011 presented traders/investors with some of the biggest challenges ever, let’s hope for a bit more ‘sanity’ and calmer waters in 2012.
We know each year gives us some unknowns that are tough to handle, but I cannot ever recall a year like 2011. The turbulence was unreal and not all natural. The quake/tsunami in Japan was a gamechanger and really set the tone for what would be a volatile year. As the uncertainty unfolded from that fallout there were several uprisings in the Middle East/North Africa that would change the look of that region forever. If it weren’t so oil-centric the revolutions in Egypt, Libya and other countries would have been largely ignored.
Let us not forget about the uncertainty from our own government. The decision-makers are woeful, I won’t spend much energy discussing what we already know, but suffice to say the voters will let them know about it in 2012. Lest we forget the European debt crisis, a case study of ineptitude with governments unable to come to an agreement on fixing their problems. One thing is certain – if anything, we have some good can kickers around. Let’s hope for less stress and angst in 2012 from the Euro zone.
It wasn’t an easy year, but with all that we saw in 2011 that could have taken markets down into the abyss we find ourselves slightly higher on the year. An amazing achievement with bonds having another stellar year, gold likely to finish higher for an 11th consecutive year and the big Chinese economy slowing down from dizzying heights. They should still be a driver of growth for the world in 2012 along with the US.
Lastly, I should remind everyone that we take our trading cues not from the macro events, chatter, rumors and stories…rather we trade based on what we see in markets. The noise makes us tone deaf to what is really happening. If there is one thing I can pass along to help you become better in in the new year and beyond it would be to pay less attention to the noisiness, focus on what is meaningful – data, charts, statistics and trends.