18 October, 2009

The Greatest trading lessons I have learned

by Michael Storm aka Robinhood

#1.) Price has MEMORY.

Where there is a pivot or a turning point on any given chart and then a subsequent rise or downdraft, it takes TIME to overcome or correct such a move. Candlesticks tend to stall or consolidate around such areas. This of course depends upon how recent the event was. The more recent the event, the more resistance to overcoming a prior high, or breaking through a prior low. The BREAKING of such areas is called the breakout or breakdown.

#2.) Fear is far greater than greed.... always analyze from the perspective of "what are other traders thinking/feeling" at these moments or what will they feel if price goes to X? With Forex, buying in one currency IS selling in another. Due to the nature of the massive margin, traders cannot hold for large moves against them. So, selling begets more selling as stops are being triggered. Buying begets more buying (because the other side of the currency is being sold and again stops being triggered cause price to continue in that direction).

#3.) Patience is a virtue. ALWAYS wait for each bar to complete. Waiting for a setup to complete is of the greatest importance because failed setups are more common than completed ones.

#4.) Disciplined stops are vital to survival. Always place a stop immediately after entering a trade. What if a tree drops on your cable lines or the computer crashes in the middle of a trade? (personally had this happen several times)

#5.) Reversals and breakouts have the most meat in them

#6.) Charts are the "footprints" of money. Our job is to be an expert tracker/hunter.

#7.) Trade what you SEE, not what you believe. How does one explain this to someone.... that is the question. Stop having a bias short or long, let the charts tell you. Is price rising? Then only place trades to the long side. Is price descending? C'mon. What is the trend? Your going to bet against the trend? Only a fool tries to catch a falling knife. Let the knife fall first. ONLY trade in the direction of the trend, for we know not how far down is down, or how low or how long the trend will last. It always goes further than you think.

#8.) News is (somewhat) irrelevant. If it is going to move, it will show up on the charts. The price action rules!

#9.) Its ok to lose. Lets try and keep it to no more than half of all trades. All losses must be small. Let the winners run. For you WILL go broke taking profits too soon and/or letting losers run. It is NOT my job as a manager of my family's money to allow a trade to go massively against me. I "hired" that trade to perform and it better darn well perform and right quickly or I am OUT. When in doubt get out. Can always re-enter later.

#10.) Everyone has an agenda. Believe nothing. Read between the lines. Many times contrarian thinking rules and trades go the way to HURT the most traders.

#11.) Education is cheap, its ignorance that is expensive! Your never too smart or know it all. Keep learning till you stop breathing.

#12.) Again... Patience pays. It is best to sit in cash and WAIT for a truly awesome trade opportunity. I do NOT get paid to trade. I get paid to WAIT. I get paid to POUNCE when the pouncing is right!

#13.) Examine all trades in the light of multiple time frames. I personally use a 1, 5, 15 minute and 1 hour chart. Always keeping my mind on each candle in each time frame. How far can that bar move? The ATR (average true range) can be visually seen and taken into account with the other time frames.

These are the biggies for me. As a professional scalper in stocks for 10 years, trading sometimes 100K shares a day, I really needed to be right. Here is a list of a few more. If you trade stocks as well, you may understand most of this: WHERE is the 800 pound gorilla trading (the market maker, the axe)? How many "bullets" does he have? What is his goal? Where are his danger levels (price levels that should not be broken, for the selling would trigger stop losses forcing him to take on more shares than he can, or wants too)? Where is the next level or pivot that price is heading to.? Where is the next resistance level where price will stall out? And for God's sake remember the power of the trend is almost unstoppable. Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading. This is one of the first articles I have ever written. Hope it will be a help to someone. If so perhaps I will write more. Follow the rules you establish for yourself, and good luck!

Sources: http://www.winnersedgetrading.com/trade-of-the-day/the-greatest-forex-trading-lessons-i-have-learned

13 October, 2009

Two Types of Trading Losers

There are a whole host of characters who regularly lose money in the market place, and most fall into two catogories:

1) False Ego Traders

2) Nervous Traders

The false ego mistakes come from a mixture of false pride and bravado and are the most dangerous mistakes to make. The trader, generally a beginner or intermediate — call him Tader A — gets an opinion in his head about market direction. His analysis may have even been sound, but his opinion keeps him from reading/seeing the signs that a change is occuring in the market he has targeted. He subconsciously see the changes, but false pride is the devil, and blocks the information from making it into his conscious decision making process. The change he needs to see may even be pointed out to him by a fellow trader –Trader B– but Trader A’s false ego blocks this because he knows “I’m smarter than Trader B…In fact I think its a good idea to fade Trader B”.

Trader A is also likely someone who is accustomed to being listened to. He may have been upper management in a company, or even owned the company. “People better listen to me” is how he sees it. He is likely more accustomed to talking rather then listening.

Despite trader A’s previous success’ Mother Market will bring him down quickly. Any early success he has in the market will only make for bigger losses down the road as he gets caught in the spiral of trying to make up for lost money and still make money. He doesn’t just want to get his money back, he wants that and then some. His time is valuable. He is going to make the market pay.

Well we all know how that works out, which is to say we won’t be seeing Trader A around for long.

Then there is Trader C, who is a nervous trader. Trader C is nervous because he had a bad day trading early on, and could not stop thinking that if he lost that same amount of money every day, he would be penniless in 54 trading days. Trader C worked hard his whole life, and despite having never got the big promotion or raise Trader C managed to save some money. Trader C is not used to people listening to him. But he is good at seeing things develop around him which makes him sensitive to change. This is a good thing for Trader C, who is more an analyst than a trader. But Trader C can never seem to catch the big one because every time he sees a trade up decent money, he remembers that loser in the begining, and he grabs the money rather then let the profit run. He also sets his stops too tight, and has a hard time following the rules when a trade goes against him. Trader C needs a shot of Trader A’s bravado. There are a lot of Trader C’s in the market place.

Often times Trader A types who survive will morph into Trader C types. Trader C though is in his rut becasue he can’t seem to make more than he risks.

The way to avoid being someone who ends up paying the advertising costs for the big Forex firms like Trader’s A & C is to understand how dangerous and competitve trading is to begin with. And prepare for it from that mind-set. Be “reality orientated”.

Two things I hear a lot in this business:

#1) I wish I would have started out demo trading.

#2) I wish I would have stayed in my demo account longer.

I’ve been around the trading game since 1980 and I can tell you that most of you will see something in yourself in Trader A & Trader C.

Beleve me, we all have more in common than we are different.

And when you shine a light on something that had been in the shadows, the shadows disappear.

Source: http://trading-u.com/blog/index.php/archives/52

08 October, 2009

How to be a Professional Trader

Isn’t this the ultimate goal? Chances are if you are reading this, the answer is a resounding YES! There are thousands of traders who dream about one day waking up, grabbing the morning cup of coffee and walking down the hall to their home office to start their trading day. More still question if it is even possible. I myself have been sitting at home, having blown out my third trading account and asking myself, “Can I really do this?”

The answer by the way is “yes”. But it all depends on how you approach your trading. Do you have a blueprint for success? Do you have a plan? Have you laid the groundwork both professionally and personally, technically and emotionally that will allow you to be successful.

With these thoughts in mind I thought I’d take some time over the next several weeks and go through some details about how you should go about the process of becoming a professional trader. We’ll be attacking this subject in detail, taking on a different topic each week. This week we’ll be talking about Decision Making.

Decision Time

As is the case with most anything we decide to do, if you want to be successful (and I mean really successful) the first step is to make a commitment. Decide to succeed. It sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many traders I work with who have not taken this very simple step. So take a minute and answer in your own mind this simple question, “Do I want to be a professional trader”?

What was your answer? Was it, “I’d like too” or “That’s the hope”? Or did you say, “Yes! Without a doubt. I don’t care what it takes or how long or how hard I have to work. I am committed to success.”

In my work with traders what I have noticed is that those who could not answer that question with confidence fell into one of two categories.

1. They had not truly made a commitment to succeed (because they lacked a belief in themselves or in the very idea that someone could become successful) or…

2. They don’t really want to be professional traders.

If after some soul searching and honest reflection you find you don’t truly want to be a professional trader, great! You can stop reading and move onto something far more productive. For everyone else, read on.

If you’re still reading I want you to get out a piece of paper and write down this very simple affirmation:

I will be a professional trader.

That’s it. Simple isn’t it. Keep it in your wallet, on your desk, wherever. Look at it every day. Say it out loud. Why take this seemingly simple step? Three reasons.

1. Because those that actually write down their goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.

2. Because you’ve probably never done it before.

3. And three because that’s what professionals do.

Keep this little nugget in the back of your brain. 90% of traders who open a live account will close that account with less money than they started with. You may find yourself part of the 90% more than once on your way to ultimate success. Most traders will stop trying before they reach their goal. You will not.

Trading has what is referred to as a “low bar for entry”. You don’t need an education. You don’t need skills, you don’t need a personality. All you need is enough money to open an account. (And brokers are making it easier and easier to do that.) Subsequently there is a very high attrition rate. Most people get started with grandiose dreams but no real idea what it takes to succeed. Over the next several weeks we’ll attempt to fix that.

Contrary to popular belief trading is not easy. It takes a long time to LEARN to do well. But make no mistake. Trading is a SKILL. It can be TAUGHT and it can be LEARNED. So commit right now. Decide to be a success. If you haven’t done it yet, stop reading and WRITE IT DOWN! Tell your wife, husband, close friend, anyone who will keep you accountable to your new goal.

Now that you’ve made your commitment we’re going to talk strictly in terms of professionalism. You may not be a professional trader yet, but you CAN be a Trading Professional. This might seem like semantics but I assure you it is not.

“When you start looking like Marines you’ll start feeling like Marines, and pretty soon…..you’ll start acting like Marines.”
-Clint Eastwood, Heartbreak Ridge-

Just because you don’t trade professionally yet, doesn’t mean you can’t conduct yourself as a trader who does. So from now on I want you to think of yourself as a professional. Stop referring to yourself as a novice or a “newbie”. Those titles are self-limiting and destructive. The sooner you start viewing yourself a professional the sooner you will start acting like one, and pretty soon…..you’ll actually be one.

We’re not going to go into goal setting to any great length although we will talk about expectations when we cover Trade Plan Development, but I would highly suggest you take some time and write down your goals. Not just your trading goals but your personal, emotional and spiritual ones as well. When times get tough and you begin to question yourself, they will help to uplift you and keep you focused.

That’s all for this week. Next week we’re going to talk about Trade Plan Development. It has been my experience that 99% of new and novice traders have not taken the time to write out a Trading plan. This is not an option. It is a necessity. Next week we’ll talk about what needs to be in it and how to get started.

Until next week, Good Luck, and Good Trading,

Jason Stapleton (FOREX GUY)

Sources: http://forexmoments.com/forums/market-insights-new/451-how-professional-trader-part-1-a.html