Monday, April 04, 2005

Stay Positive in a Negative Market

Trading is not always easy. They say if it were easy, everyone would be doing it! Not to mention that if that were the case, we wouldn’t be paid as well when we are right.

The recent market has certainly tested the patience of many traders, mine included. I am more than willing to go short, so the market’s direction is not the problem; it is the price action which has been tough. The past several weeks have been marked by trades starting to work only to reverse and cause teeth gritting and desk banging! Take heart! You are not alone if this is how you have felt.

Possibly the most frustrating part is that the market has been drifting steadily lower but the intraday moves have been sloppy and sudden, making it hard to chase trades if you did not already have a position. For me, this has resulted in some winning trades and some losing trades and overall, not a lot of progress. We are not seeing smooth moves followed by small pullbacks that offer multiple chances to get on board a trend, but rather quick whooshes followed by complete reversals on a dime. This will not last forever, I am confident of that.

In my trading past, I would continue to trade aggressively during times like this even when my results were less than great. This resulted in greater frustration and deeper account drawdowns, which meant that once conditions smoothed out and I got back on the profit wagon, I had some ground to cover to get back to where I had been. I was also mentally tired after wrestling with the market to no avail.

This year, I am trying to take a different approach, and so far so good. I made it a New Year’s Resolution to back off significantly when my trading results started to slow down or suffer, hoping to shallow out my account drawdowns during rough trading conditions. My new approach has me being much more selective with not only which trades I take, but what size I do those trades in.

Hopefully, once the market moves become more predictable (they may never be easy, keep in mind), I can resume profitability from the same place I had been, rather than make my own money back before growing my account again.

When day trading or swing trading, we often feel obligated to always be in a trade to stay busy. Busy is not always good in trading, I have learned. The mark of a great trader isn’t just measured by profits made when correct, but how little do they lose when they are wrong. Recent market conditions are ideal for putting this thought into practice, with many narrow-range days and only an occasional move to catch. Fighting this whipsaw market action will have your confidence lowered and your confusion heightened to the point that when smoother waters do arrive, you are unwilling to set sail. Be willing to patiently wait for your favorite trading conditions. They will be here so be sure you are ready for them mentally when they do arrive.

Stay patient in this market, and make your trades prove to you that they are worth keeping. With commission costs so low, the willingness to exit and re-enter is an inexpensive way to step back for some clarity.

Overall, make it your goal to stay positive in a negative market, with your account balance and your mental toughness intact. Keep a good trading book on your desk, and stay mentally sharp for the better conditions which are sure to return!

The Stock Bandit
Swing Trading - Stock Picks


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Bandit -- awesome call on the short oils from yesterday's newsletter. (too bad you didn't have VLO too!). You've been great in this correction -- really disciplined and not trying to call a bottom and when you saw nothing you gave us nothing. (even though I really liked your PNRA just one pick night-- that's all I focussed on and it worked beautifully. I'd rather have v few excellent clean picks than a bunch of them -- that way often I watch them all and end up getting nothing!). Anyway, just wanted to pass on the kudos -- great job. keep it up.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Stock Bandit said...

Thanks very much, I am glad you are doing well! I appreciate you taking the time to pass your comments along to me, don't ever hesitate to let me know what you think. Have a great afternoon!

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAR what an eye, what a pick. I agree, sometimes few picks are best, then we can concentrate on a few instead of getting overloaded. Great job SB. Glad I locked in my rate with you -- you're going places.

7:57 PM  

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