Slow day? That's when they let their guard down
Sometimes, it's not about smelling fear — it's about sensing the comfort.
Typically summer Fridays are considered unproductive and not very actionable. The office is quiet and people feel a little more at ease. And a beautiful thing happens: Analysts and portfolio manager have candid conversations with traders. They might be talking about an individual stock or the market in general, but it's free of fear.
Read MoreThe best fights on Wall Street—and this trader had a ringside seat
They're not paralyzed by the flashing red and green on their screens. When you ask them what they think about stock XYZ, they don't have to check the price action before responding. It's these unfiltered ideas and thoughts that provide great trading ideas.
On a slow day, an analyst might say, "Man, if AAPL ever trades back down to $550 I'd back up the truck and buy every share I can because of these three reasons." But something funny happens a few weeks later when the action comes to fruition. When you walk into the analyst's office and AAPL is trading at $550 they no longer want to buy it. So, I'd ask, "Has anything changed?" Are your reasons to back up the truck still intact? Even when they'd respond, "yes," they still didn't want to pull the trigger. Fear had taken over.
So then I'd have to resort to Jedi mind tricks to get them to buy the stock. I'd either say, "Fine, we'll just buy 200k and see how it trades." After they accidentally choked on their pen cap, I could get them to agree to buy 100k and they'd feel like they won the battle. Or I'd just tell them I was buying it on my own and they wouldn't get credit for the trade. The fear of missing out usually persuaded them to get on board with it.