The Sultans of Swing Trading

You get a shiver in the dark
It’s raining in the park but meantime…

The daily convulsions available in this tape for the quick and the nimble are nothing short of legendary, but they’ve required a willingness to play the downside, embracing the “shivers in the dark” to quote the lyrics of Mark Knopfler’s ode to an aging jazz band, Sultans of Swing

South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie double four time
You feel alright when you hear that music ring

Like The Sultans, the old school swing traders I’ve talked with recently are doing their thing in an environment that has made many other forms of trading extremely painful. 

You check out Guitar George he knows all the chords
Mind he’s strictly rhythm, he doesn’t want to make it cry or sing

Like Guitar George, the swing guys I know aren’t trying to “make it cry or sing” right now – they are keeping position sizes modest and just keeping time with the rhythm of the tape, not attempting any heroics in light of the nightly newsflow from overseas.

And Harry doesn’t mind if he doesn’t make the scene
He’s got a daytime job, he’s doing alright

Not minding if I don’t always “make the scene” has kept me out of a lot of the worst days we’ve experienced this spring.  I’ve written about the allure of the sidelines, especially considering that I am not a swing trader by any means.

And a crowd of young boys they’re fooling around in the corner
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
They don’t give a damn about any trumpet playing band
It ain’t what they call rock and roll.

To the “young boys” who are naive enough to believe that there are always opportunities to swing for the fences in trading, the slow and deliberate process of grinding out profitable days holds little appeal.  Trading small and cautiously in a minefield like this simply “ain’t what they call rock and roll”.

And then the man he steps right up to the microphone
And says at last just as the time bell rings
‘Thank you goodnight now it’s time to go home’
And he makes it fast with one more thing
‘We are the Sultans of Swing’

The swing trader may still be long or short when that “time bell rings”, but unlike the band in the song, the best of them stay far from announcing any kind of victory into a microphone – rather, they are too busy preparing for the next directional shift.

They are the Sultans of Swing Trading.

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