At Zero Hedge there was this post on market manipulation.

Is this an admission by Goldman Sachs that there is the possibility of manipulation in the market? Does anyone think that this is the only program in the world that can “manipulate” markets? With all the programmers in the world, we can only imagine how many more manipulative programs are out there.

Ah yes the old market manipulation argument. Ok, so let’s say that there is market manipulation? So what? Yes you read that right SO WHAT! The stock market is not your friend, it is not democratic, and it has no sympathies, which means get over it!

You see I actually don’t believe that there is manipulation because with every market trade there are two sides, and the question is are you on the right side. Let’s say that the market were manipulated and you happen to be on the right side, would you care? Answer not likely. Let’s say that the market was still manipulated, but you were on the wrong side, would you care? Absolutely! You would cry foul, and that is why I don’t believe that there is market manipulation. At least not like in the 20’s.

Let’ me further illustrate the point. In March you were presented with a buying opportunity of a lifetime. Yet did you buy? Just last week I had a conversation with some peers in the IT industry. And one guy said that he was thinking of buying, and should have. Ah yes, the old should have in hindsight argument. But the reality is that they did not buy and missed out on a fabulous run. They did not buy because of fear!

This is the entire problem with the market because it is run by either fear or greed. I am a contrarian investor. In one book there was a telling argument that said people would rather be wrong as a group than right as an individual. This does not mean being opposite. It means have an own unique opinion, that might not agree with what the consensus is saying. There is a reason why this is the case. We are social animals and while we were hunting and living in caves we need a consensus for survival. Because otherwise you would die since then you survived being part of a pack. Thus the market goes 180 to the basic psychology of a human.

In fact yesterday on Fast Money there was a really telling example of this.

Watch as Tim Seymour is giddy and says, “I am not long enough”. Yet then as Karen Finerman says something to the contrary Tim suddenly becomes negative. WTF? Right there what I see is manipulation of the people, and what they say. So in that case yes there is manipulation and if you are following their advice then you are only as stupid as they want you to be.

Do I trust any of those Fast Money folks? Or CNBC folks? Absolutely NOT! I have my own opinion, and so should you. I am not a fan of Goldman Sachs, and I often refer to them as Goldman Sucks! BUT, I have respect for Goldman’s. I respect that Goldman’s is often willing to play the hard cards, and that makes them unpopular. Yet people say they manipulate the market because after all if you win too often you are obviously manipulating the market..

Markets are a zero sum game – somebody wins and somebody loses. Where do you think these “many millions of dollars” are coming from? They are coming from you – the average retail investor and the large institutional investor. These programs are taking advantage of real order flow and are siphoning off small profits throughout the day that belong in the pockets of the retail investor and the traditional money manager. [TD: highlight mine]

Ok so how do they take away money from the retail investor? Is it because the retail investor is too stupid to play games that they should not be playing?  The stock market is not a sport. It is not a place where you can be a hero by taking your lumps, and it definitely is not a place where the motto “no pain no gain” applies.

The stock market is a game of psychology and being able to outsmart the person on the other side of the trade. Personally I love the fact that retail thinks this way because it makes it easier for me to take their money. Yes I said it, I love the fact that there are stupid people in this market willing to loose their money because they see this as a sort of gambling venture. So if you lost your money TOUGH, your own bleeding fault!

But it does not have to be this way. You could be smarter than the other side of the trade. You can learn, adapt and figure it out. Yet most retail investors don`t do this. They see greed! They want 100% returns a year. They want free money, and sadly that simply does not exist. You need to approach this market in a cold calculating manner devoid of emotion.

I follow the Options mailing list and there are people who post the following question.

I bought all the hype, now I want to earn the money spent, back and more. I dont want to watch the market. am I asking too much?

Ah yes, the I went to all of the courses and still can’t make money so somebody please tell me what to do cry for help. Sorry, but to make it in the stock market it is about blood, sweat, and tears and the ability to be calm in a storm.

So if you are a retail investor what do you do? Stick to what you can do, and what you know. Don’t go hunting around for the magical investment strategy because there is none. Otherwise if there were you could make money with it yourself. If somebody developed a money making strategy that prints money why are they selling it? Don’t you think that they would either start a fund or trade it themselves?