Star Traders

Mark D. Cook: Story of challenge


Mark D. Cook became a famous trader for the first time in 1989 when he finished second in the US Investing Championship. By 1992, Cook won the U.S. Investment Championship with a 564% return.

Since then, he has turned to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and NASDAQ for day trading, while keeping the options and stocks for intermediate- and longer-term trading.

Cook is from East Sparta, Ohio, and operates M.D. Cook, Inc. from his family farmhouse. He manages his own account and offers a trading advisory service, “Mark D. Cook’s Trader Advisory,” which focuses on S&P 500 futures, T-bonds, and OEX options.

He shared with the audience his first few years of unsuccessful trading, including losing all his capital several times, while learning to trade including one occasion when he lost more than his entire net worth. 

In 1982 when he sold naked calls on Cities Service that expired deep in the money. His account dropped from $165,000 to a deficit of $350,000 in a matter of days; a total loss of $815,000 when taking into account for the money that he lost in his family’s accounts. Not one to give up, after five years Mark had totally recovered from the losses but vowed never to sell another naked option.

Yes, he came back from the brink. Sheer determination and hard work are factors Cook cites that turned him into a successful professional trader.

He developed the Cook Cumulative Tick indicator, and overbought-oversold indicator, which draws on correlations between the S&P 500, T-bonds and S&P 100 index (OEX) options. His indicator is very close to momentum indicators suggesting shifts in extreme overbought and oversold cases.

Nowadays, he is in the market to pay for his Ohio farm and his company’s operating expenses, not to mention room and board.

Cook’s best sayings

* Have a trading “battle plan” before entering the trade.

* Traders should have complete faith in the indicators they use to trade.

* Trading losses will occur with every trader.

* The key is to manage those losses and not let ego get in the way of sound decision-making.

*The road is long, perhaps five to 10 years.

* The emotions will sometimes be an obstacle that just plain wins that battle.


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