Chapter 1
The Beginner: Everyone Starts at the Beginning 3
Learning to Walk All Over Again 4

A Positive Outcome Can Reinforce a Bad Habit 5

Risk Management—Don’t Leave Home without It 8

Don’t Blame the Guy behind the Curtain—You Chose This Job 9

The Famous Bre-X Scandal 11

Listen to the Tape; It Is Never Wrong 12
Chapter 2
Turnaround: Small and Safe 15
Opening a Third Eye 16

Confidence Grows from Experience 20

The Territory and the Map 24 Coming around the Mountain 27
Chapter 3
The First Profitable Year: Charting Success 29
Using a Trading Journal 30

Using Your Chart of Your Account 33 Imaginary Friends Are Important People Too 3

Chapter 4
Learning to Trade for a Living 37

Learn or You Are Bankrupt 38

Keying In on Those around Me 39

Not Everyone Gets an A for Effort 40

You Decide Your Fate; the Market Doesn’t 42

Additional Important Beliefs 43

Trading Is Not a Need-to-Know Business 44

Making the Odds Even 45 Making the Probabilities Work for You 46

Taking Stock of It All 47 Chapter 5
The Trader’s Circle: Bridging the Gap between Art and Science 49

Strengthen the Mind as Well as the System 51

Finding Out More about Myself 52

Getting through the Stages 53 The Final Stage 53

Completing the Circle 55

Discovering the Satisfaction of Teaching 57

Reveling in the Triumph of Another Trader 59

Rediscovering the Circle 60 Chapter 6
A Trader’s Edge 63

Pros Assess Risk; Amateurs Assess Potential 64

You Don’t Have to Be in the Middle of Every Battle 65

The Dichotomy of the Guilty 67

Finding the Elusive Edge 72 Chapter 7
A Trader’s Intuition: The Real Art of Trading 75

What Is Intuition? 75

Be Careful of Intuitive Traps 76

Trading Mantras 77
Chapter 8
Rules for and the Mindset of a Mature Trader: The Dos and Don’ts of Trading 83 Contents vii
Chapter 9
Tape Reading: Revitalization of a Lost Art 89

One Size Doesn’t Fit All 89

Discovering What Tape Reading Really Is 91

Are You the Majority or the Minority? 93

Market Irony 94

The Accumulation/Distribution Relationship Chapter 10 95
The Role of Setups 107
Different Methods of Entry 109
Chapter 11

Stop-Loss Placement and Trailing
Revisiting Risk Management 116

Confidence Levels 121

Chapter 12 115
Trading Setups 123

Jump-Base–Explosion (JBE) Setup 124

Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 124
Open-High– and Open-Low–Break Setups Cup-and-Handle Setup 130

Capitulation 130 Trader’s Action 135
Chapter 13 130
Trading Market Ranges and Miscellaneous Points 137
Trading Ranges 137 Miscellaneous Points 142
Example 1: Accumulation and Distribution 146

Example 2: Entry on Pullback 151

Example 3: Jump-Base–Explosion (JBE) Setup 154

Example 4: Capitulation 158

Example 5: Capitulation 162

Example 6: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 167

Example 7: Capitulation and Euphoria 171

Example 8: Finding Entries in a Strong Trend 176

Example 9: Open-Break Setup 180

Example 10: Open-Break Setup 183

Example 11: Open-Low–Break Setup 186

Example 12: Trading within the Range 189

Example 13: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 193

Example 14: Stop Loss 196

Example 15: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 198

Example 16: Jump-Base–Explosion (JBE) Setup 201

Example 17: Jump-Base–Explosion (JBE) Setup 204

Example 18: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 206

Example 19: Trend Continuation 209

Example 20: Open-Low Break and Reversal 211

Example 21: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 214

Example 22: Trailing Stops and Confidence Levels 217

Example 23: Jump-Base–Explosion (JBE) Setup 221

Example 24: Cup-and-Handle Breakout 223

Example 25: Capitulation 226

Example 26: Open-Low–Break Setup 229

Example 27: Fading Breakout 232

Example 28: Short of the Range Resistance 234

Example 29: Open-Low–Break Setup 237

Example 30: Open-Low–Break Setup 239

Example 31: Drop-Base–Implosion (DBI) Setup 241

Example 32: Cup-and-Handle Setup 244

Example 33: Cup-and-Handle Setup 246



First and foremost we would like to thank the past and present members of RealityTrader.com. Without their sincere interest and desire to take the journey through myth and disinformation to trading the reality of the market, this book would not have been possible. To Steve Demarest, Ross Ditlove, and the entire TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  team of professionals at MBTrading.com, thank-you for providing the best trading services that the industry has to offer. The Navigator is one of the best execution tools available today. We would also like to thank those at TheStreet.com who have provided us with a forum to interact with not only other professionals in our field but also with those subscribers who offer their personal insight and views on a daily basis. Specifically, we would like to thank James Cramer TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING for his ambition to start such a venture and Dr. Richard MeCall for his constant encouragement and uncanny insight into today’s changing market. We also owe the greatest debt of gratitude to the many professionals in the trading industry:
Alan Farley, who has the amazing ability to see through the curtains of the market’s uncertainty. Discussion with you is always a challenge. We continue to appreciate your friendship and conversation. Tony Oz, it’s a real pleasure to continue to see your successes as a true leader in this industry. Chris Wheeler for your continued friendship and faith in our objectives and goals for the education of traders. Jim Sugarman and Tim Bourquin from the Online TradingExpo.com for TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING having the drive and initiative to create a dynamic forum for traders to learn and exchange educational ideas. Mike Diplock for spending tremendous hours developing and fine-tuning our principles and setups into the RealityTrader Intelliscan Market Scanner. Kenneth Reid for working with us to define the problems and the solutions that plague traders and in the creation of our interactive Trading Psychology CD Series.
And finally to the entire staff at RealityTrader.com who burned the midnight oil to make RealityTrader.com what it is today. Thanks to Bo Yoder and Allen Zuckerman for becoming part of our trading services and helping us to grow not only as a company but as traders as well; Russ Van Der Biessen for his continued efforts; and Nestor Suarez for his endless and tireless work ethic. To Jeff Tappan, whose unique marketing insight enabled us to grow our company to what it is today. And to Vic Jung, who TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  is simply the best IT professional and Webmaster on the planet—without you, we would still be dreaming this on paper. Last but not least, a special thanks to Larisa Bondarenko for everything you have done for RealityTrader to make it a better service. Your wisdom and guidance made this all possible. You are a true friend.

This book describes the story of Vadym Graifer, a former Soviet citizen who was forced to flee developments in Ukraine which jeopardized his company, his life, and his family’s life. The story is a so-called American success story that has been told time and again about immigrants fleeing religious, economic, and racial strife in search of a better life for themselves and those around them. Although Vadym is currently a Canadian resident, it’s a story that most everyone can relate to. The personal struggles, journey of self-discovery, and eventual success he attained will reveal many lessons you may have already learned, and, more important, lessons you have yet to realize. Part One of this story deals with these events and the principles that Vadym has come to use every day in his trading. This part also delves into one of the most important aspects of a trader’s development—the mindset of a successful trader. The principles discussed in these pages will show you how a totally inexperienced trader went from market illusions to market reality, from the point of near TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING financial destruction to the freedom of everyday trading life. These principles are ultimately linked to the understanding of tape reading described in Part Two of the book. In this sense, tape reading will not be described to you in a manner that the majority of people think this lost art is. It will not be described to you as a verb, in the sense that you are “tape reading.” Rather, after reading Part Two, you will understand the deeper concepts of how tape reading allows you to see and distinguish between the actions of smart money and the public mentality. Realizing how accumulation and distribution actions taken by market participants through movements of price and volume will give you a strong understanding of an entry and exit strategy for any sys-tem or methodology that you currently use. It’s this reality at the root of price action that will ultimately lead you to knowing why and how Vadym and those who trade with him use the motto “Trade what you see, not what you think.” Part Three presents trading setups and examples taken from trading experiences over the past 2 years. Some are presented in fraction form, while others are in TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING decimal form. These setups and examples will ultimately lead you to understand that, while methodologies and systems may come and go, tape-reading principles will stand the test of time. They have been around since the beginning of speculation some 400 years ago and have been improved over the past 100 years. The principles, therefore, can be applied to any system currently being used and to any system that may be invented in the next millennium of speculation. Upon completion of this story, you will fully appreciate the journey of Vadym Graifer as a trader who was participating in a market about which he initially knew nothing, in an economy that was different from that of his native country, and TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  in an environment that was difficult to function in. It wasn’t his great understanding of company reports, of valuating news events, or of how GDP figures govern market movement that made him successful. It was his rediscovery of the true meaning of tape-reading principles that go far beyond what most current presentations offer. It was his movement to an unemotional state of reality and the ultimate truth of stock movement, the language of price and volume, that turned his trading, his account, and eventually his life into something to be proud of. This is the story of a true reality trader.

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In the late 1980s—early 1990s in the Soviet Union—the birth of a new, rapidly changing economy emerged, a free economy. It started with simple co-ops but quickly expanded to encompass more complex ventures such as private banks, financial companies, and merchandise exchanges. Although welcomed with open arms by the active part of a society that had spent 70 years under oppressive rule, it also opened the door to the rise of the Russian Mafia. I was a well-educated engineer, and I started my own business in 1987 and developed it into a successful enterprise with over 100 employees. Slowly the dark side TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING of the transition to a free market economy soaked into every facet of business life. As time progressed, the situation became less and less stable. Economic links were disappearing, and inflation was climbing at a gallop. Citizens became the target of criminal attacks on a scale that citizens of a civilized country could not imagine. Kidnapping and assassination became the methods of choice to handle everyday business disputes. The economy and society as a whole began to unravel at an alarming rate. Fearing for the safety of my family, I emigrated to Canada in 1996. This new life had its own set of challenges. Imagine moving to a new country and learning a new profession without speaking the language of the country. I learned English by TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  watching popular television sitcoms like Married with Children. Al Bundy became my excuse for awkward, language-related situations for years to come. At the same time, I set my sights on finding and mastering a new profession, day trading. Trading over the Internet was a logical choice for me, as it allowed me to move at my own pace unlike other professions TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  that would require well-developed language and communication skills. Although day trading was not yet a buzzword in 1996, it was the major direction of my quest. The reason I focused on such a short time frame as intraday trading was because I realized that I lacked knowledge about the U.S. economy and couldn’t make much out of company reports. Therefore, I instinctively wanted to exploit the movements that were less affected by those factors. As I searched the Internet, I tried to uncover everything that could help me find direction. There weren’t as many Web sites devoted to trading then as we have now, so my education was incredibly superficial. Here’s why .


After a couple of months, I had an online broker and was armed with quotes and with the Wall Street Journal as my news source. It looked pretty simple to me. I would find positive information on a stock, buy it, watch it go up, and sell it when it stopped rising. I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work. Do stocks go up on good news? The answer seemed obvious. Yes. It was supported by comments I read like, “ABCD gained 21/4 points today on news that the company was granted big new order,” or “XYZ soared 4 points after the company announced positive study results in mice.” Did I ask myself some obvious questions like, “If it’s that simple, then what are all those trading books about,” or “Why isn’t everybody doing it?” Yes, I did. But I also managed to come up with some answers TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING that supported my confidence. Maybe those books are for professionals who need to manage millions of dollars and not for small-time traders like me with a desire to make just a few hundred dollars a day. After much research and preparation, everything was in place, and finally I started trading. It was a typical start for someone who commenced trading in a bull market. I made money. I always found this to be a fascinating and interesting phenomenon—a novice making money right from the start is a common occurrence. Maybe, to a degree, it was just beginner’s luck. But there are two important factors to consider. First, people are more likely to start trading during the bull phase of the market’s cycle. Media excitement and the obvious rising of prices attract new traders. This kind of  market is very forgiving. Selecting a stock is fairly easy, as many stocks go up with the tide, and, therefore, mistakes might go unpunished. Also, in a bull market, bad timing and missed stops don’t kill as surely as they do in a bear or a flat market. So it’s just a matter of statistics. The second important factor is that the novice often has no fear. In some paradoxical way, the state of the mind TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING of the beginner may be very close to that of a great professional trader. Of course there is a huge difference in that beginners have no fear because they are unaware of how harsh the outcome of their recklessness can be. The professionals’ lack of fear is based on their experience and self-control. New traders have their hard hits ahead of them, while professionals have left them behind. Later we will see how this difference is reflected in different motives for initiating a trade: Professionals take the trade when they are comfortable with the risk, while amateurs do it when they like the potential profit. Regardless of motives, the state of the mind of amateurs and professionals may be fairly similar. This results in correct action despite the amateurs’ lack of experience and knowledge. However, as we will discover later, success without the knowledge of why or how it is achieved only delays learning some hard realities and making mistakes, and perhaps experiencing even total failure.

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I was not making a killing. But my first experiments confirmed my initial assumption that it was possible to make a living exploiting intraday movements. It was not too hard to get an order filled at that time, even with an online broker. Competition was not nearly as tough as it was later when traders discovered more online tools or when crowds started chasing and running stocks. During that first period of my trading, I learned one extremely important thing: I saw people arguing about the value of news and about the impact the news had on a stock price. I realized that news has no absolute value. It became clear to me TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING that people’s perception of the news is what affects the stock price. This made me uncomfortable, since I had no tool for reading perception. For a while I was able to calm myself down by thinking that I could foresee how the majority of people would perceive the news. But I soon learned that this was not the case. Stocks were reacting negatively on good earnings because street expectations were higher. Stocks were reacting negatively even after beating street expectations because whisper numbers were even higher. And stocks would just drop on good news without the slightest reason that I could see. I saw no consistency to my train of thought, and it shouldn’t have been a surprise. At that time my thoughts revolved around the news— getting the best news source, evaluating the news, predicting the news impact, and—the killer of killers for a trader—forming opinions based on the news. Despite my newfound understanding of the relative value of news, I continued to make the same assumptions: “Up on good news, down on bad news.” It was a dead end, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I needed a push from the outside to make me overcome this barrier, and, of course, I got one. The TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING market sends us plenty of hints. It’s always talking to us in its specific language, sending us messages about what we do right or wrong. We don’t always hear these messages or understand them. And, if we don’t, the market sends more. Eventually, they become louder. If we still don’t hear the message, we don’t change our ways of acting, thereby exposing ourselves to the same danger again and again. Then some of the messages finally come in as thunder, changing our entire lives as traders. For me such a message came in March 1997. The stock was ESOL, Employee Solution. It came down hard from above $30 to under $15. Following the standard beginner’s idea, “If you loved it at $30, then $15 must be real value,” I bought 2000 shares overnight. I was totally confident that nothing awful could happen to me based on the “value” of the stock and the fact that the market was definitely bullish at that time. The next morning I saw ESOL open at around $8. What a shock! When I was losing $100 or $200 here and there, I was okay with it. Losing is a necessary part of the game; I already knew that. However, I could not have imagined taking such a hit on a single trade. My reactions were typical for this situation. The first thing I did was to TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING ask the opinion of other traders about the stock. This was the wrong thing to do. Sure enough, everyone who got caught in this mess with me said something like, “It’s going to be back in no time,” “This is a bear raid,” “Shorts are having their hoopla day, but they will get burned,” and other “useful” things. It all sounded comforting, but the stock was not rebounding as sellers were pounding it even further, both from the distribution side and from the short side. Clearly, value by itself is not a timing mechanism for intraday trading, as value is intrinsic to individuals and is the basis for speculation, not for timing trades.

This was the time to make an important decision. I could stay in a psychologically comfortable zone of denial and do nothing, or I could admit the mistake and bite the bullet. The pain of watching each tick became unbearable in a few days. I sold the stock as it lost $5, effectively cutting my trading capital base by over 50 percent. ESOL never rebounded and only got lower. It eventually got delisted and is trading now on the Bulletin Board at $0.004. Following is an illustration of this disastrous trade. (See Figure 1.1.) At this point I was in the first stage of a trader’s development. My first steps were quite typical of a beginner who hadn’t found the right teachers. First of all, it’s very common for a newcomer to experience a kind of euphoria. Everything seems to be too easy, as if money is just waiting to be picked up. Every new trader who starts by winning experiences this feeling. Eventually, the market punishes such careless attitudes and awakens the trader to the rude reality. In a strange way, this euphoric state of mind is combined with nervousness. Each trade is perceived as the most important one, as a battle that a trader cannot afford to lose. Therefore, the more significance that is placed on each TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING separate trade, the more difficult it is to admit defeat.This leads to exiting positions at worse price levels than originally intended, which is referred to as a “blown stop” (assuming we are familiar with the very concept of cutting losses). I perceive my trading today as a whole, as a never-ending process in which each separate trade is just a separate trade, and I measure my success by the favorable ratio of wins to losses in combination with the reward-to-risk scenarios. This is the correct approach and eliminates the exaggerated significance of each separate trade, thus making it natural to take the stop if the trade goes wrong. No single trade is so important that it would be worth tying all my thoughts, time, and money to. Newer traders also tend to view the trade outcome as a reflection of the people they are. A loss makes them feel foolish. They feel wrong when they take a loss. People don’t like to be wrong. Our desire to be right can be stronger than our desire to make money. In trading, this feeling is evidenced by traders who hold a losing position in order to prove that they are right. Our ego takes over and keeps us from admitting that we made a mistake. I see many comments like, “Sellers are wrong. They are being fooled. They got it wrong.” That is ego talking. Today, I never relate the outcome of a single trade to who I am. I do not feel foolish when I take a predetermined loss. This trade is not who I am. What is it we really want? To be right or to be profitable?



There is one more important point to cover about the first stage of my trading career. As a beginner, I didn’t have the slightest idea about risk control and money management. It was not uncommon for me to buy 2000 shares of a stock when the total number of daily shares traded for that stock was only 20,000. I did not understand what liquidity meant, how it impacts risk, and how to measure it. Being from a different country, and never before having dealt with market information, I had a few unexpected blows coming to me. But I never lost the confidence that I could learn. I was always able to create more options for myself and was always certain to have TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING them available before I needed to use them. I had to experience the negative aspects of money management and risk management in order to create and maintain the right attitude toward profitability. For example, the number of shares I was going for was linked to my trading capital. I did not realize that the number of shares played should be linked to acceptable risk. Today I always have my risk defined, and I trade according to it. If, for instance, risk is defined as a $250 loss per trade and based on the way the stock trade shows that you can keep a 50 cent stop with confidence, then my share size on this stock is 500 shares. How and where the stop loss should be placed is another matter, which I will discuss later by using a few examples I learned later in my career.



There is another important trait of beginner traders that they should recognize in order to get rid of it. This is that the traders feel that trading is a fight. Every day is a battle. Every trade is a battle. Every morning they go to war. If this is a war, then there should be an enemy. The next natural step is that traders define their enemies. A list of the traders’ foes will most likely be familiar to the reader: market makers, specialists, analysts, short sellers, CNBC commentators, and so on. I often see something like: “Market makers run the stock down to shake the traders out and to buy stock cheap,” “Darn short sellers killed the move,” and so on. This mindset creates a powerful and extremely harmful concept of the so-called them—some unreachable, mighty force that TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING  manages all the market movements and ruins the traders’ brilliant plays. This concept satisfies the traders’ ego while excusing them of responsibility for their own actions. Unfortunately many self-proclaimed gurus support this approach. It allows them to place the responsibility for their recommendations that go badly on some of those traditional enemies. They reinforce this wrong way of thinking in their followers, thus significantly lessening their chances to learn the game. When your teacher, or the one you trust, says something like, “Their manipulation ruined our play,” it’s time to look for another teacher.

Let’s Compare Two Approaches

The first approach is that my trading decision was great. I figured it all out. I was right all the way. My trade outcome was a loss because they ruined it. They knew traders bought the stock, and they brought it down (or kept it from running). When frustrated traders sold, they bought from them cheap and ran the stock back up. There was nothing I could do. They had deeper pockets, and it was impossible to fight them. They robbed me on this trade. The second approach is rather than blaming the ubiquitous them, I can assume that if the trade went against me, then the trade wasn’t right. With this mindset I could assume that I timed my entry incorrectly, or I had a wrong TECHNIQUES OF TAPE READING trading idea. I had to cut off my loss to prevent it from getting bigger. The market proved me wrong on this trade. It’s over. I was then able to move on with my search for the next trading opportunity. My trading system assumes losses. Each trade can turn out to be a loser. It’s normal because of the uncertain nature of the market—it works on probabilities, not on certainties. My trading system provides a high enough percentage of wins, and no single loss can shake my confidence in the system. We can see how mature and effective the second approach is compared to the first one. However, notice that the first way of thinking is psychologically comfortable. It places us in a comfort zone where there is no personal responsibility. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy. Of course there is frustration caused by monetary loss, but we feel comforted by being with the majority and by losses not being our fault. Remember what my first impulse was when I found myself in the losing ESOL trade. I looked for comrades in disaster to ask their opinion. Was it their opinion that I was looking for? Was it a desire to make sure that I was not alone in this? And what was it that I felt after talking to them? Relief (there are plenty of traders that got caught with me); anger (darn bears that arranged this trap); secret hope (it’s going to be back; if they orchestrated this drop then they should have some purpose; in this case, they apparently want to buy cheap shares and run the stock back). Yes, this approach has always been a killer for a trader’s account, but does this always outweigh our desire for psychological comfort? Apparently it does not. The second approach is the one that mature successful traders have adopted. However, we can feel how less comfortable it is. Undivided personal responsibility with no one to rely on but ourselves does not make us feel good. We try to avoid this cold unpleasant spot. And, if we avoid it, we effectively stop learning. If some unmanageable higher power controls the trade we take, why learn? It’s easier (and makes more sense since you can’t control anything) to put on the trade and wait for them to decide what to do with it, hoping we get lucky this time. That’s where gambling entirely replaces trading. Control is lost (or was never there in the first place). And what is it a trader needs to control? We know we cannot control the market. All we need to control is ourselves, our own behavior. And this self-control is what enables us to win in the market. It’s just uncomfortable. It requires discipline; unclouded, unbiased thinking; and the willingness to admit mistakes without ego intervention. Discomfort and profit go hand in hand. Does all that mean that a trader is always uncomfortable and that monetary winnings come at the price of constant stress or depression? No, it does not. The joy of self-control, of getting the best out of oneself, of being able to pull through is a huge reward. With time, this approach stops being uncomfortable and becomes the only approach that feels right.




After a few weeks an interesting thing happened in the stock market from which I learned a lot. I am talking about the Bre-X story. Bre-X was a small Canadian mining company. A huge gold mine was “discovered” in Indonesia. Soon thereafter the chief geologist committed suicide by jumping out of a helicopter. Then an independent analysis of samples was conducted and revealed them to be fakes. The incident was dubbed the “fraud of the century.” Figure 1.2 shows the huge drop in price followed by the stock being delisted. I got interested in the developing story because of its huge exposure. It was hard to believe that stockholders could be misled on such a huge scale. When the ultimate results of an analysis were pronounced, I learned another big lesson (at no cost this time). Anything can happen in the markets. No matter how reliable and truthful information appears, we can never know all the details surrounding the story, and we cannot figure out the outcome. I read with great interest of all those investors who were full of hope only to become desperate as they realized that they had lost a vast amount of money by investing in what they believed was the truth.



Release date :  1996 –  Copyright © 2004 by GST Captial Group

Number of pages : 259


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