The Biggest Shows On Earth 11-07-2018
Undoubtedly, the World Cup football, in progress now, is one of the biggest sports spectacles of the world. Watched by almost all the countries of the world, it is THE major sporting event that is ever staged.
Like everyone else I am also caught by this fever every four years. Though I have been wanting to go for a World cup match since 2002, it has not yet transpired for one reason or another. I don’t think I may want to go to Qatar (next, in 2022) because I cannot imagine sitting in the stadium at a sweltering 40 degrees temperature. Unless Qatar can come up with some solution for that (which is a distinct possibility, considering what a loaded country it is!). The other great football spectacle of course is the Euro Cup and the Championship League. Maybe one of those would be something to aim at, considering that one is not growing any younger!
Football holds a lesson (as does every sporting event) to markets- whether investing or trading. But first lets look at what the first week has thrown up. We have had established players (Argentina, Brazil, Germany, England) struggle while minnows are making it thru or playing rather well (Mexico, Nigeria, Croatia). We have a star like Messi completely faded while another one, Ronaldo, is shining. We have Lukaku of Belgium competed with Ronaldo as top scorer for a while- something that the Belgian striker will be relishing considering that he has many critics- Harry Kane squeaked past them with some help from a deflected goal!. Ronaldo of course is always at odds with Messi for the tag of GOAT (greatest of all time) and he pointedly made reference to his small goatee on his face in one of the games. Messi, in contrast, seemed jaded and mostly forlorn in the two matches he played. Croatia, a country that I am now slightly partial too after a recent holiday there, is playing brilliantly while Belgium team looked formidable until they succumbed last night in the semis! What a disappointment as I was backing them as a Cup probable! England, given the familiarity with EPL, remains a permanent favourite but they have disappointed me over the past 3-4 World cups. But one does like to see players one is familiar with win. Brazil looked a bit pale all thru but Germany deserved their early exit, playing like a shadow of their formidable self. France has a good squad and now become the favourite for the cup.
Well, so much for the teams. What about the parallels with the market? Well, first up, games like Germany (must win) tell us that one must never give up. The winning goal was scored almost in the dying minutes of injury time. In trading and investing, you need to wait for that one big scoring chance that can change the game. But patience is the key and remaining focused the character that is necessary. Similar was the situation for Ronaldo of Portugal when he HAD to score with that free kick to avoid defeat to Spain. The magnificent free kicks of both Ronaldo (Portugal) and Kroos (Germany) saved the day for their teams. It shows that individual brilliance is needed but it has to be harnessed at the right moment if we are to pull thru difficult times in any situation. Such brilliance comes from endless practice of skills. Hence if we have to triumph we need to possess skills that we can call upon when most needed. That can happen only with dedicated practice. Trading is execution and for good execution, practice is mandatory.
Germany had never lost at the league stage of the Cup in the past 80 years but they were quite rattled by Mexico (lost to ) and Sweden (who almost won) because their defence was patchy and full of holes. They finally succumbed thru continued poor play. It’s a good lesson that even if you are a long time player in the game, it does not permit you to ignore basic rules of the game. In trading and investing too we need to make sure that we don’t lose and we take adequate care to see that our defences are well marshalled before we launch into our offense. At the same time, teams like Costa Rica and South Korea suffered because they had poor strikers and great defenders. We need to have all the skills to win- being able to defend is just one aspect. When the time comes to attack, one needs to have those skills as well- something that Belgium used with great effectiveness with superb forwards like Lukaku and Hazard and a few more.
Individually brilliant players like Neymar(Brazil), Mueller (Germany), Suarez (Uruguay) and Messi (Argentina) have been unable to make their mark as they have been heavily covered. This parallels with the market creating problems for even the most skilled players in trading and investing. And reinforces how one needs to raise the game when it is at a higher level in order to win. Strikers like Ronaldo and Lukaku managed it. Messi and Neymar couldn’t. After a while, skill gets equated among people and it is the performance on the day that really matters.
And of course, there is the aspect of luck. A few centimeters is the difference between a ball going into the net and hitting the goal post. The strike may be the same from a player but sometimes favourable wind conditions can make the ball curl that extra wee bit that beats the goal keeper from saving the goal. Everyone knows how to head off a corner ball but you need a little bit of extra luck to be able to leap that inch or two above the defender to aim it at the net and you need that slight bit of luck to catch the goalkeeper on the wrong foot while sliding the ball in from some confusion near the goal mouth. In the same way, despite all your skills, some slight luck will make you buy the stock before the big advance or sell it before that sharp drop. You need that luck to pick the right one from the sector that is moving that day or week so that, for the same effort, you end up with a greater amount of profit!
As the World cup football, probably the greatest sport spectacle on earth, draws to a close at the end of the week, it will turn into yet another memory. But the lessons for the markets will remain the same. Get the skill, practice that skill, know when to play offense or great defence, raise your individual skill to a higher level when demanded by the market and finally, acknowledge the role of luck so as to stay humble.
Enjoy the rest of the world cup!