Friday, January 31, 2014

Drobny, The Invisible Hands

In his preface to the new edition of The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money (Wiley, 2014) Steven Drobny contends that “real money investors remain stuck in their antiquated ways. They will view their investments from a notional allocation standpoint, and diversify their holdings by asset class names, not by underlying risk characteristics.” Investors are unprepared for another crisis, despite the fact that “quantitative easing is coming to an end, and tremendous uncertainty exists everywhere.” Hence the renewed timeliness of the interviews, conducted in the spring of 2009, with traders who managed to navigate the financial crisis of 2008.

With the exception of Jim Leitner, who was also interviewed for Drobny’s Inside the House of Money, the managers—ten who run global macro hedge funds and one real money manager—remain anonymous. Drobny “chose the anonymous route to increase candor as well as keep the focus on the ideas as opposed to the personalities.” (p. xxx)

The Invisible Hands is a terrific book even though many of the strategies described in it are difficult if not impossible for the individual investor to implement. But the thinking behind these strategies and the way their risk is managed are often so compelling that everyone who is active in the markets can learn a tremendous amount from the interviews. Moreover, even though most of the contributors are anonymous their life stories are fascinating, sometimes even inspiring.

Here are just three snippets. They are not representative of the book as a whole because it doesn’t lend itself to such piecemeal extraction.

“The Philosopher” finds opportunities in our flawed attempts to understand an uncertain economic future. “The human brain,” he notes, “is not wired to understand probability very well. We are particularly bad at understanding low probability events, which we tend to think of as either inevitable or impossible. Therefore, a very small change in the underlying fundamental probability can sometimes cause wild swings in sentiment because the potential outcome went from impossible to inevitable, whereas the underlying fundamentals did not move substantially. Shifts in sentiment cause markets to move much more frequently and violently than shifts in fundamentals do.” (pp. 98-99)

“The Predator” always wants to know what kinds of people are on the other side of his trades. “You need buyers to short against at the top of the market and sellers to buy from at the bottom. You have to identify the type of person who shorts at the bottom or the one who leverages on the way up and use the liquidity they provide to do your trades. You need to understand where other people get it wrong in order to see if their errors create an opportunity for you.” (p. 315)

And, finally, “The Plasticine Macro Trader” opines that “even a true contrarian is only really contrarian about 20 percent of the time; it’s all about choosing the right moment to fight convention. The rest of the time is spent trend following.” (p. 344)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bhansali, Tail Risk Hedging

Vineer Bhansali’s Tail Risk Hedging: Creating Robust Portfolios for Volatile Markets (McGraw-Hill, 2014) is a book that unfortunately will never reach a mass audience. I say “unfortunately” because by and large investors are horrible risk managers. Most have long-only portfolios; the savvier among them pride themselves on being diversified. But in a major sell-off, where correlations usually increase dramatically, they are unprotected and will most likely end up bloodied.

Bhansali argues that “typical investment portfolios … suffer from too much asset-class diversification and not enough risk diversification.” (p. 184) The problem is that “even assets that are fundamentally uncorrelated may become correlated on the tails if they are affected by a common liquidity factor.” (p. 18) This problem, however, can be converted into an opportunity. “For example, if we believe that there are concentrated carry positions in some currency pairs that will come under liquidation pressure if the equity or credit markets come under pressure, then a carry currency put option bought in advance of the stress would prove to be a cheap way of hedging.” (p. 19)

Bhansali emphasizes that “the use of market-traded options is a simplification that works only if the underlying hedge objective is rather plain vanilla. If the objective is more complex, for example, ‘hedge so that at no point in time does the portfolio suffer a loss of more than x percent,’ the reference index security would have to be more of an exotic option such as a knock-in option.” (p. 41)

Options are not the only way to hedge tail risk. “We should use cash, diversification, alternatives, and explicit hedging within a consistent cost-benefit tradeoff to construct the most efficient and practical solutions.” (p. 43)

Bhansali explores the advantages of static hedges versus dynamic hedges. “In static hedging, the buyer of protection buys a contractual obligation that if a particular event were to happen, the seller of the protection would pay according to a predefined formula. By contrast, in dynamic hedging, the protection seeker uses some algorithm to create the payoff he would have as if he had actually purchased the static hedge but without actually paying for the hedge now. In other words, static hedging is outsourcing of risk management to the options, whereas dynamic hedging is doing option replication in-house. In practical terms, static hedging consists of buying options, for example, S&P500 put options or indirect options, whereas dynamic hedging is done by replicating the option using the underlying instruments, for example, by selling and buying S&P500 futures.” (pp. 146-47) Bhansali suggests that the investor should “pay as you go for small losses using rebalancing and dynamic hedging, but … combine this strategy with sufficient static hedges on the tails to avoid the possibility of permanent losses from the rare but severe fat tails.” (p. 152)

When trying to hedge tail risk for retirement accounts, the investor is confronted with “the interplay among risk aversion, horizon, and the dynamics of markets over long periods of time.” The author says that everything he has written about tail hedging for asset allocation “still holds true, such as the need for active management, its role as an offensive risk-management tool, and its role in mitigating downside risks. However, the introduction of time to retirement and risk tolerance as new variables makes the exercise even more complex and fruitful.” (p. 186)

Although Bhansali oversees PIMCO’s quantitative investment portfolios, he introduces relatively little math in this book. The reader should, however, be familiar with options and the basic metrics of risk management.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Drobny, Inside the House of Money

If you haven’t read Steven Drobny’s Inside the House of Money: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Profiting in the Global Markets, newly revised and updated (Wiley, 2014) you should immediately add it to your “to do” list. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a global macro trader or not. I’m not, and yet it’s one of the very few books I keep returning to and learning from.

Originally published in 2006, the book is a collection of twelve interviews with top global macro practitioners. Although times have changed—the interviews were conducted before the financial meltdown and since then global macro has gone mainstream—the book remains a font of trading wisdom.

Few of the interviewees are household names; notable exceptions are Jim Rogers and Peter Thiel, and Thiel has since closed down his fund. The other named traders (one is anonymous) are Jim Leitner, Christian Siva-Jothy, John Porter, Sushil Wadhwani, Yra Harris, Dwight Anderson, Scott Bessent, Marko Dimitrijevic, and David Gorton and Rob Standing.

It’s, of course, impossible to summarize this book, which is one reason it’s so valuable. But, just to give a bit of its flavor, here are a couple of excerpts.

First, from Scott Bessent, at the time of the interview running his own fund but now the chief investment officer of Soros Fund Management. He said that his fund uses technical analysis as a way to see what the crowd is thinking. “And we also use it to keep us on top of things we might not be seeing. We have a system that screens about 1,400 stocks and commodities around the world every week. We never trade based on it, but if all of a sudden 10 stocks in Indonesia show up, then we’ll look at Indonesia.” In response to a question about the source of his information, he said: “A lot of newsletters, thought pieces, magazines. We get very few ideas talking. We basically just sit around here and read.” (p. 271)

Second, from the thought provoking interview with Jim Leitner of Falcon Management. His fund—at least at the time of the interview—allocated 10 percent of its NAV to a baseline portfolio, which dynamically adjusts the weights on how much money it holds in equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and real estate, based on a momentum following model. It is a model “with no forecasting, no thinking, and no work to implement. We rebalance the model book every Thursday and do not do anything in between.” The fund’s overall performance the previous year was 29% as opposed to the 14% return of the baseline model, but, Leitner said, “the baseline model keeps me sharp. I know that there is always someone out there who is trying to each my lunch.” (p. 77)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Crouhy, Galai, & Mark, The Essentials of Risk Management, 2d ed.

In this second edition of their critically acclaimed The Essentials of Risk Management (McGraw-Hill, 2014) authors Michel Crouhy, Dan Galai, and Robert Mark update their work to reflect lessons learned from the financial crisis. The authors focus on the banking industry, but they consider issues in nonfinancial corporate risk management as well.

The book, which runs some 650 pages long, is a veritable encyclopedia. Its seventeen chapters cover such topics as banks and their regulators, corporate governance and risk management, theory of risk and return, interest rate risk and hedging with derivative instruments, measuring market risk, asset/liability management, credit scoring and retail credit risk management, commercial credit risk, quantitative approaches to credit portfolio risk and credit modeling, the credit transfer markets, counterparty credit risk, operational risk, model risk, stress testing and scenario analysis, and risk capital attribution and risk-adjusted performance measurement.

As the chapter titles indicate, it is not light reading. The book is probably best viewed as either a textbook or a reference book.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Borman, Forex DeMYSTiFieD

The DeMYSTiFieD series prides itself on making hard stuff easy. David Borman’s Forex DeMYSTiFieD (McGraw-Hill, 2014) goes a step further; as the cover says, it offers the reader the opportunity to “master key forex trading principles painlessly.” Who doesn’t like easy and painless learning? I’m not poking fun at this series. I myself have been known to turn to books in the series for a quick introduction to subjects about which I was woefully ignorant. And I always got at least “a little learning.”

David Borman’s book on Forex covers the basics pretty well. The problem is that it often makes profitable Forex trading seem like, to mix metaphors, a joy ride and a slam dunk. Although the book deals extensively with risk management (sometimes a bit idiosyncratically), it also has an element of hype. Here are a couple of examples. “Traders can make a profit on as little as $250 USD. Even $100 can still reward you with gains and the thrill of participating in a worldwide market.” (p. 68) “Change how you play the market game to fit your rules in day trading. Reduce the risk, raise your enjoyment level, and you may find yourself truly enjoying a new hobby of day trading.” (p. 70) Or referring to times when markets are expected to be subject to wild swings, “Uncertain times like these also give you the opportunity to take some of your profits out of your account and spend them on a much-needed vacation or other enjoyable activity.” (p. 32)

As for risk management, Borman recommends pyramiding. “The best procedure is to know ahead of time the dollar amount you would like to commit to the trade, and then divide by five. This new dollar amount should be the most you spend on that trade. … With this one-fifth entry amount, you will have adequate cash in your margin account to buy-in more when the price moves against you (which it will, no doubt!). Keep buying in as the price gets lower, and even as the price gets higher and your trade gets into the profit point. … To fully round out the idea of Forex pyramiding, sell off the position in the same manner in which it was bought. … The net effect of getting into and out of trades with the pyramiding method can go a long way, acting as a risk management technique that is very easy to manage, control, and execute. A good Forex pyramiding technique will, on average, work to keep the most profits in your account while keeping losses to a minimum.” (pp. 52-53) Except, of course, when currencies trend against you.

Forex traders with some experience can pick and choose their way through this book and undoubtedly come up with a few nuggets. Beginning traders beware.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Morris, Investing with the Trend

Gregory L. Morris has been a technical market analyst for over forty years, which means he’s pretty much seen every kind of market—bull and bear, choppy and meandering, bubbles and crashes. He’s also seen the ups and downs of technical analysis’s reputation: it “used to be greeted with as much enthusiasm as Jeffrey Skilling addressing the Better Business Bureau.” (p. 399)

Investing with the Trend: A Rules-Based Approach to Money Management (Bloomberg/Wiley, 2014) is technical analysis at its finest. It is thoughtful and chock full of data and charts that support Morris’s overarching, well-developed theses that (1) markets trend much more than not and (2) risk is drawdown.

Morris challenges many tenets of conventional financial wisdom and practice, delivering well-placed punches, often with an element of humor. He starts with some flawed assumptions, such as that the markets are efficient, investors are rational, returns are random and normally distributed, alpha and beta are independent of correlation, and volatility is risk. And even though (and perhaps because) his own formal education was in aerospace engineering, he decries the insane overuse of advanced mathematics, “usually in the form of partial differential equations,” in financial papers, “more often than not just to hide an intellectual void.” (pp. 65-66)

He offers up some compelling images. For example, he writes: “When the market starts to decline significantly it is not the same as when someone yells ‘fire’ in a theater. In a theater everyone is running for the exits. In a big decline in the market, you can run for the exits, but first you have to find someone to replace you—you must find a buyer. Big difference!” (p. 138)

For Morris, technical analysis is “much more art than science; the science part is more related to the process of research than the actual analysis.”(p. 148) He is no fan of Fibonacci numbers, which he considers so much numerology. “As far as Elliott Wave theory goes, there are often so many complications and conditions introduced into using this type of analysis, that it is incapable of being proved wrong. Sometimes I think it gets adjusted more often than earnings estimates.” (p. 150) Seasonality doesn’t fare much better. He suggests that “seasonality is a perfect example of observable information; you just can’t make a trading decision based on it. … [I]nvesting decisions based solely on statistical evidence are unsound.” (pp. 156-57)

What Morris offers the technically inclined investor is research using a simple process of filtered waves and time to determine market trend, guidelines for selecting securities to buy, and a way to measure market risk. He spells all this out in great detail, with supporting evidence. He does not offer the system. Instead, he provides guidelines on how to set parameters that best meet an individual’s goals. The investor who follows a good system will have a major advantage over most folks who are invested in the market. As Morris writes, “a rules-based model along with the discipline to follow it will help remove the human subjectivity and those horrible human emotions that we all have.” (p. 399)

Morris’s own list of ten investing rules starts with an admonition to turn off the TV. He continues: “Develop a simple process, one that you can explain to anyone…. Create a security selection process based on momentum. Devise a simple set of prudent and reasonable rules and guidelines. Follow your process with discipline; without it, you will fail.” (p. 403)

Sounds deceptively easy and perhaps a bit vague, but Investing with the Trend is neither. It’s a first-rate account of how to develop a custom-fit trading model.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pignataro, Leveraged Buyouts

Paul Pignataro, the founder and CEO of the New York School of Finance, recently wrote Financial Modeling and Valuation: A Practical Guide to Investment Banking and Private Equity. He has now followed that work up with another “practical guide to investment banking and private equity”: Leveraged Buyouts (Wiley, 2014). Earlier he used Walmart as his case study. This book is a detailed case study of the Berkshire Hathaway/3G Capital $28 billion buyout of Heinz.

Pignataro’s step-by-step approach is ideal for anyone trying to learn or hone the analytical skills necessary to model the basic viability of an LBO, from the point of view of the company as well as the investor. He explains valuational concepts and how to capture them in Excel spreadsheets, the latter described down to the level of individual keystrokes.

A full-scale LBO model will include the assumptions underlying the proposed purchase, the company’s income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, balance sheet adjustments, depreciation schedule, working capital, balance sheet projections, debt schedule, and projected LBO returns.

Pignataro also takes the reader through advanced leveraged buyout techniques such as accelerated depreciation, preferred securities and dividends, debt covenant ratios and debt fee amortization, and paid-in-kind securities.

The book has a companion website which contains models on Heinz for download, chapter questions and answers, and a second practice LBO model.

All in all, Leveraged Buyouts is a self-contained course in rudimentary financial modeling (and a crash course in Excel as well). It’s a perfect read for anyone wanting to enter the world of investment banking or private equity.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Siegel, Stocks for the Long Run, 5th ed.

It’s hard to imagine, and somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I never read any of the first four editions of Jeremy J. Siegel’s Stocks for the Long Run. Yes, I knew the thesis, but that was about all. The fifth edition of this classic work (McGraw-Hill, 2014) is fully updated; it features new analyses of the financial crisis, the role of emerging markets, and international investing.

For those who have lived under a rock since Siegel’s book was first published in 1994, his claim is that “over the last two centuries the total return on equities dominates all other assets. The amount of $1 invested in a capitalization-weighted portfolio in 1802, with reinvested dividends, would have accumulated to almost $13.5 million by the end of 2012. Even the cataclysmic stock crash of 1929, which caused a generation of investors to shun stocks, appears as a mere blip in the total stock return index.” (pp. 76-77) “The compound annual real return on stocks is approximately 6.6 percent per year after inflation” (p. 81) and “has displayed a remarkable constancy over time.” (p. 90)

In the long run, Siegel maintains, stocks are less risky than bonds. What does he mean by “the long run”? Over one- and two-year periods, he readily admits, stocks are risker than bonds; in every five-year period since 1802 “the worst performance in stocks, at -11.9 percent per year, has been only slightly worse than the worst performance in bonds or bills. And for 10-year holding periods, the worst stock performance has actually been better than that for bonds or bills.” (p. 94) Moreover, “for 10-year horizons, stocks beat bonds about 80 percent of the time; for 20-year horizons, about 90 percent of the time; and over 30-year horizons, nearly 100 percent of the time.” (p. 96) Yes, bond returns nudged out stock returns for the 30-year period from January 1, 1982 through the end of 2011, but Siegel considers that period an aberration unlikely to be repeated in the coming decades.

Siegel presents a host of data and detailed analysis to guide the investor in his quest (probably futile) to outperform the market. He looks, for instance, at the impact of taxes on stock and bond returns, sources of shareholder value (earnings and dividends), yardsticks to value the stock market, as well as the importance of size, dividend yields, and price/earnings ratios. He devotes four chapters to how the economic environment impacts stocks. He delves into stock fluctuations in the short run with chapters on ETFs, stock index futures, and options; market volatility; technical analysis and investing with the trend; calendar anomalies; and behavioral finance and the psychology of investing. The book concludes with two chapters on building wealth through stocks.

Stocks for the Long Run is a book that all investors--nervous Nellies in particular—should read. I personally am very glad to have filled a gaping hole in my library.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Mills, Be Unstoppable

I have been immersed in the dark side of life of late, watching in bits and pieces the marathon rerun of Breaking Bad and finally reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. It was time for some upbeat pap. Be Unstoppable: The 8 Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything by Alden M. Mills (Cadent Publishing, 2013) filled the bill perfectly. It’s short and has no intellectual or literary pretensions. Written by a former U.S. Navy SEAL platoon commander and co-founder and CEO of Perfect Fitness, it is, as a blurb on the cover says, an “allegory of how to create and pilot your own ship against the inevitable obstacles of life.”

The setting is the town of Uptoyou, where every resident gets an identical boat the day he or she is born and all the townspeople spend their entire lives learning how to captain their boats—boats that can change as their captains grow.

The hero of the allegory is Tim, a kid who had to work hard for everything he got but who had big dreams: he wanted to navigate the high seas. He didn’t want to live his life like a barge captain, “helping other captains fulfill their dreams. He wanted to go after his own dreams, and he was willing to sacrifice everything to live that kind of life.” (p. 30)

Captain Peter became his mentor and explained the eight actions he needed to take to realize his dream. To wit: understand the why, plan in three dimensions, exercise to execute, recognize your reason to believe, survey your habits, improvise to overcome obstacles, seek expert advice, and team up.

Mills intersperses his allegory with insights from his days with the SEALs. Take, for instance, planning. “Training for a SEAL mission and going after your own Milestone Goal both require three-dimensional planning.” Each of the dimensions Mills describes “conveniently” begins with the letter “D”: define it, divide it, and do it daily. The idea is not to create a perfect plan, “because there is no such thing. It’s about creating a plan to succeed no matter what obstacles you encounter.” (p. 54)

So, first define your goal: what are you after and when do you want it? Second, create an action plan, “dividing each action into bite-size daily steps you can take to meet your goal.” Third, work toward your goal every day.

Mills reminds the reader that “a plan is a step in your journey to success; it’s not the destination. Be aware of ‘planning paralysis’—getting so wrapped up in creating the perfect plan that you never take any action toward your goal. … In the SEAL teams, we would say there are two plans: the one you create before a mission, and the one you carry out during the mission. Never forget that the mission is to accomplish your goal, not create a pretty plan for it.” (p. 55)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pring, Technical Analysis Explained, 5th ed.

Here and there a book becomes canonical. It is extolled as a “bible,” the standard work in its field. Such is the case with Martin Pring’s hefty, 800-page Technical Analysis Explained: The Successful Investor’s Guide to Spotting Investment Trends and Turning Points, now in its updated and substantially revised fifth edition (McGraw-Hill, 2014).

Pring’s book is divided into three parts: trend-determining techniques, market structure, and other aspects of market analysis.

Pring spends more than half of the book on techniques for determining trends, including business cycles, support and resistance zones, trendlines, price patterns, and indicators (moving averages, envelopes and Bollinger bands, and momentum). Among the momentum indicators he discusses is his own KST, which stands for “know sure thing”: “most of the time, the indicator is reliable, but you ‘know’ that it’s not a ‘sure thing.’” (p. 317) He also introduces the “Special K,” which combines short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term KST indicators into one summed cyclicality indicator.

In the section on market structure Pring covers price, time, and volume, all with a view to identifying secular trends and cycles. He analyzes such phenomena as sector rotation, seasonal patterns, and market breadth.

The final part of the book begins with a discussion of market sentiment. Among the indicators and relationships that measure investor confidence are the relative action of consumer staples to the S&P, high-yield versus government bonds, brokers as market leaders, and inflation-protected versus regular bonds as a commodity barometer. On the last point, Pring notes that “in recent years there has been a strong relationship between the trend of commodity prices and the ratio between inflation-protected and regular bonds [TIP/TLT].” (p. 609)

The last part also includes chapters on contrary opinion, interest rates, the technical analysis of international stock markets, and automated trading systems. In a very brief appendix Pring introduces Elliott wave theory.
Those seeking to become a chartered market technician (a designation of the Market Technicians Association) are required to read four books on technical analysis for the Level I exam: Edwards, Magee, and Bassetti, Technical Analysis of Stock Trends; Kirkpatrick and Dahlquist, Technical Analysis; du Plessis, The Definitive Guide to Point and Figure, and Pring’s Technical Analysis Explained.

This is a good starting point as well for the individual trader or investor who wants to become proficient in technical analysis.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Carr, Market-Neutral Trading

Thomas Carr is the CEO of an advisory and trader training service, designer of a MetaStock add-on toolkit, and partner in an investment firm. Known online as Dr. Stoxx, he is the author of Trend Trading for a Living and Micro-Trend Trading for Daily Income. His latest work is Market-Neutral Trading: Combining Technical and Fundamental Analysis into 7 Long-Short Trading Systems (McGraw-Hill, 2014).

Carr is an excellent marketer which, as might be expected, is the downside of this book. Without the tools that he sells, the reader cannot implement all of the book’s strategies. He may not even gain the confidence to trade any of them since Carr admits that “blindly following a set of systems” doesn’t work. When real money was on the line, he traded “in a very detached, mechanical fashion” and lost a lot of money—both in his own account and in a small fund for clients. By contrast, he made a lot of virtual money for the subscribers of his newsletters. The difference (aside from the obvious real vs. paper money distinction) was that he added discretion when making calls for his newsletters. He applied “God-given skills of discretionary analysis, skills that [had] been honed by years of apprenticeship under some of the great masters of the game, in addition to a long slog of real-time, real-money trading experience.” (p. 131) How does a trader learn the discretion that is necessary to make trading systems profitable? “You need to find a mentor who already has it and sit by their side for a while.” (p. 134) Yes, Carr is also a mentor.

Now that you know that, without a further outlay of funds to Carr, you won’t be able to trade all of the systems described in this book and that, even if you can trade them all, you will still lose money if you don’t overlay them with a large dose of discretion (gained only by spending still more money), what does this book have to offer?

Carr essentially suggests that the individual investor set up his own long-short hedge fund. He introduces the reader to the potential for double alpha—long-short pairings that will render the account as a whole profitable over time. The minimal expectation is for an outperformance of the long portfolio over the short portfolio during rising markets and the outperformance of the short portfolio over the long portfolio during falling markets. “The maximal expectation, which historical performance demonstrates to be a reasonable one, is that both sides of the system, long and short, will be profitable over time, regardless of general market direction.” (p. 17)

Carr does not himself use the word “hedge” to describe his market-neutral strategies. He views hedging as “paying an insurance premium: It is a pain to pay it each month, but you are glad to have the coverage when disaster strikes. The trading we teach here, on the other hand, operates from a very different mindset. If hedging is about paying a premium to buy down the risk inherent in your market exposure, our trading is about reducing risk without having to pay a premium. Hedging is motivated by the fear of substantial losses. Our trading is motivated by the quest for double alpha gains.”(p. 18)

Carr introduces seven systems—four fundamentals-based and three technicals-based. They are the Piotroski F-Score system, the earnings estimate revision system (Zacks), the O’Neil CAN-SLIM system, the Carr hybrid system, the blue sky/blue sea system, the pullback/relief rally system, and the mean reversion system. He points the reader to several free or modestly priced online tools that will help with some of the scans underlying these systems.

Long-short strategies are tricky to pull off. But investors who want to venture into this kind of “market neutral trading” without handing their money over to a hedge fund manager will find some helpful hints in Carr’s book. They will, however, still have a lot of work cut out for them.