Leveraged Investments |Day-Trading | Current Economic Crisis

By Staff Editor | September 22, 2017

Is Leverage Dead?
The liberal use of leverage was a major factor in the current economic crisis.
However, use of leverage can sometimes be justified for short-term, technical traders,
provided it is paired with appropriate position size and a responsible, automated stop-losses policy.

Leverage, a euphemism for borrowing money to invest in risky ventures, was the turbo-charge behind outsize profits in the boom years. And it was the fuel that made the fires flare that much higher when investment banks crashed and burned.

Have we seen the last of heavily leveraged investment?
For the short term, it would seem so. Even if some investors are still brazen enough to play the leverage game, it appears that for the time being banks and other sources of capital are unwilling to be so free with their money.

There will not be money available to borrow for risky ventures in the same quantities as in the past.But in the longer term, we can expect to see leverage making a comeback. One particular area where leverage is very useful is in day-trading based on technical analysis. Technical analysis is notoriously unreliable as a determinant of long-term price movements. Yet without leverage, it is not realistic to use technical analysis for intra-day investment positions, because the fluctuations are far too small to generate returns that justify the investment of time and energy inherent in active trading.

By heavy use of leverage, investors can amplify the quantitative impact of small intraday technical fluctuations, which are actually the most reliable technical trading opportunities. The use of leverage per se should not be viewed as an inherently risky approach. The critical question is what percent of an investor’s available capital would be lost on a given position in a worst-case scenario. When heavy leverage is used, the investor should check to be sure that he could not lose more than 1 percent on the same position, or on parallel, concurrent positions, which are expected to act in concert.

Setting an automated stop loss and refusing to readjust it is critical to enforcing discipline in this regard; without it, an investor is risking all of his principal in every position.

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