Trade What You See?

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I read a (disappointingly rude) post on another financial blog this weekend which took an image from my site and criticized me for, it seems, attempting to speculate what was going to happen next in the market.

I get this kind of sentiment from time to time, and it's something I've tried to address before. On one hand, you have folks like me who try to use charts to assess the probable outcomes in the near future, and on the other, you have people who piously state that having any disposition toward a predicted outcome represents a fatal bias and one should simply "trade what they see."

To me, "I trade what I see" is a cop-out for a person who simply wants to tell you what is happening at the moment in the market (or, worse, what has already happened). There's no skill in stating what's happening. You can just stare at the screen and read off quotations. It's not going to make you any money, although it certainly keeps one's risk of being wrong at zero.

I suppose if you are a true day-trader – – one whose timeframe is measured in minutes, seconds, or even less – – then keeping an extraordinarily myopic timeframe makes sense, since things are changing moment to moment.

But the reason I try to "see the future" is because that's my entire raison d'être as a technician and trader. I am trying to anticipate what I think is probably going to happen next, not report it as it's happening. So while it's unfortunate that other individuals are galled by my graphs and speculations, it's really none of their business to cast dispersions upon my method of analysis.