Since few of us want to risk looking a complete dingbat through being annihilated by the selections of a dartboard and an astrologer respectively, entrants tend to play it a little safer by taking some kind of middle ground.
For my "home run" picks I went for four small- and mid-cap stocks in industries which I felt should have decent prospects - the month of May being the time of the budget, I plumped for the infrastructure and healthcare sectors - and strong "technicals", since in such a short competition you have to go for something with momentum behind it, and ideally with some blue sky potential.
And so it has been.
Whereas in the event Downer lost a major $360 million BHP Billiton coal contract which was cancelled in the month of June.
Pretty simple in theory, but much harder to pull off when you are reading the charts from left to right rather than looking back at what has gone before. There are apparently a million experts in reading the charts from right to left.
Harder than it looks!
Instead what most beginner traders do is snatch at profits in order to "lock them in" and let the losing trades run and run in the vain hope that they might "come back" to somewhere close to a notional break even point.
Moreover, during each share market cycle the market tends to be chock full of amateur traders who think they are pretty smart when the market is going up, but have little or no protection on the downside and no workable strategy for when the market reverses.
In each dramatic market correction or secular bear market they get wiped out and the cycle rinses and repeats.
In my experience most expert traders who succeed over the long term, including the proven successful traders such as Assad himself, have only become so through learning their lessons in the markets the tough way, by losing some trades in the bear markets in their early days and resolving to learn from the mistakes.
They generally know how to deal with bear markets better the second time around, and the third time around they are making decent money on the way down as well as on the way up.
Only those with a clearly defined strategy and the iron clad discipline to learn money management skills will continue to make profits in both "good" markets and in "bad". Most will be flushed out and give up well before they reach that stage.
Disclaimer - these are not share trading tips and I don't recommend individual stocks. Always consult a licensed professional before making financial decisions.