The Traders Journal

Investing: The Probability Tool


Investing and thinking in probabilities should go hand in hand.  Probabilities can be expressed both quantitatively (as a percentage from zero to one hundred percent) or qualitatively.  I use both, but recently I have found myself gravitating more to qualitative assessments and descriptions.

Determining the precise probability of any particular trade working out is always subjective.  In evaluating a trade’s potential, I find that it’s somewhat unreasonable to pin it down with a specific probability label of say, 75%, for example.  Such an exact number implies a mathematically accurate calculation, and as all experienced traders will tell you, that is hardly the case. 

When assigning a probability label to my own trades and when discussing investing probabilities with my students, I gravitate to certain qualitative labels that are open to individual interpretation and imply an encompassing of probability ranges rather than a specific probability such as 75%.

The six probability descriptions I have found useful are these: (1) Highly Likely; (2) Probable; (3) Possible; (4) Improbable; (5) Highly Unlikely; and (6) Virtually Impossible.  Your own labels might be similar but different.  I suggest you use what you are most comfortable with in your own trading and amongst your own personal investment circle.  

A closing thought – wouldn’t it be more valuable if those hot shot Wall Street analysts who follow our favorite stocks and set specific price targets were also required to go out on a limb and label their projections with a Highly Likely, Probable or Possible call?  But then again, I believe in Santa Claus. 

Trade well; trade with discipline!
-- Gatis Roze 

P.S. Click HERE for information on my future appearances & seminars.



Gatis Roze
About the author: , MBA, CMT, is a veteran full-time stock market investor who has traded his own account since 1989 unburdened by the distraction of clients. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a past president of the Technical Securities Analysts Association (TSAA), and is a Chartered Market Technician (CMT). After several successful entrepreneurial business ventures, Gatis retired in his early 40s to focus on investing in the financial markets. With consistent success as a stock market trader, he began teaching investments at the post-college level in 2000 and continues to do so today. Learn More
Subscribe to The Traders Journal to be notified whenever a new post is added to this blog!
comments powered by Disqus