RSSArchive for June, 2008

Trading Video – Relative Volume and Day Trading

June 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Here’s another video of a trading lesson to keep in mind this holiday-shortened week.

Shortened trading timeframes might mean tighter stops and a better ability to manage risk, but there are still some important factors to consider, such as relative volume. Today’s video discuses exactly that.

Feel free to share it if you’re a fellow blogger, the embed code is on the YouTube page.

Without further delay, here’s today’s video. Enjoy the show!

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

[tags]Stock Market, Day Trading, Stock Trading, Swing Trading, Trading Video, Investing[/tags]

More on Learning from Trading Disasters

June 26, 2008 at 12:22 pm

The best way to stop a losing streak is to STOP!….Stopping lets your emotions calm down and lets you reestablish your momentum with your intellect.
– Marty Schwartz, Pit Bull

A couple of weeks ago, I received a pretty sad email. The trader who sent it had been losing money over the course of 6 years to the tune of $150k (yes, you read that correctly). He couldn’t stop. On this particular day the trader lost his last $16k gambling on an earnings release (the same gamble I caution against in my trading rules), sealing the fate of his account.

Another trader I know has really struggled to accept losses. Whenever she finds herself on the wrong side of a trade, instead of taking her medicine and stopping out, she often adds to the position and hopes her double-down is well-timed. In the past it has meant going through periods of inactivity while she waits for her stocks to come back, choosing to become a stuckholder rather than a trader. That hasn’t always worked either. Currently she’s stuck in losing trades with her capital tied up, unable to keep her money compounding due to her refusal to accept a loss and move on in expectation of making up for it elsewhere in another trade. She’s now hoping that the market will rebound to bail her out, babysitting those bad trades in the meantime.

Losing Control

Now, I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here 😀 , but the fact of the matter is that it happens all the time. Traders lose their heads, then they lose their way, and then they lose their shirt.

I continue to find reasons to harp on this lesson, and I suppose there will always be examples of the pain, frustration, and opportunity costs associated with letting losses get out of hand (my biggest trading fear). But to those of us who intend to survive, persist and succeed in the trading game, it’s worth occasionally stopping to examine the other side of the coin. After all, the mistakes of others serve as excellent reminders to us of what to avoid.

Get A Grip!

You might be struggling in this market right now, and if so, remember that there are a couple of things you can do. First, stop trading. Close out your losing positions and clear your head for a little while. It’ll be well worth it, both monetarily and mentally. Second, regain your focus. Remind yourself what you’re aiming to do with your trading, what your style consists of, and what you need to see before taking new trades. If you don’t see it, don’t push any buttons! And finally, don’t try to “get it back” quickly. That is the fastest way to compound your problem and double or triple the size of the hole you find yourself in.

It’s been said before that the market will expose your every weakness, and that’s certainly true right now, particularly if you’re biased to trading the long side. This is the kind of market environment that can bring the pain if you aren’t careful or in control of your trading. Fighting the current downtrend we’re in can make for a very tough road to travel.

As this market corrects, if you aren’t short, then cash is the next-best alternative until the technicals improve. So be very careful out there, don’t be a hero, and make sure you’ve got your game face on before getting active!

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

Guest Post at StockTickr

June 18, 2008 at 7:05 am

Just want to give you a heads-up that I wrote a guest post today over at the StockTickr Blog called Finding New Edges from Old Trades.

I think you’ll want to check it out, because it goes hand-in-hand with some of the things we’ve been discussing here recently (such as my previous post).

Here’s that link to today’s post one more time, and while you’re over there be sure to take a good look around – there’s a lot of great stuff!

Trade well today,

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

Evaluating Trading Performance

June 12, 2008 at 7:25 am

A trader recently asked me how I evaluate my performance as a trader, and while to many the answer might seem obvious, in reality there’s certainly more than one answer.

That’s because there are numerous ways to evaluate our performance as traders, but let’s look at 2 general categories for the purpose of this post.

The most common way to evaluate performance is based purely on the results…P&L, win rate, max gain vs. max loss, drawdown depth from account highs, etc. That’s the quick conclusion most people jump to, and those statistics are definitely important, particularly to those who simply want to know the bottom line.

The only problem with the data is that it only tells part of the story. Many traders know the bottom line, but they aren’t sure where to get answers pertaining to how to improve it.

Getting across that bridge requires another strategy.

Another way to evaluate our performance as traders is to closely examine our trading process. Doing this in an honest and objective manner can reveal some very useful information when it comes to modifying our trading plan moving forward.

In order to accomplish this though, we have to ask ourselves some difficult questions in search for the truth, some of which might be:

Did I have a specific plan for that trade and follow it?
Am I taking plays which I understand and which are suitable to my trading timeframe?
Am I trading too large, and as a result making poor decisions as I respond only to my P&L?
Am I preparing myself for the trading day by doing my homework?
Am I trading responsibly?
Do I have some reliable strategies which can produce a profit over time?

I think the deciding factor between these two main evaluations is the difference between data and our mindset. Sometimes we trade with the proper attitude and emotions, yet our data needs fixing. Sometimes our data is a little off, but what really needs fixing is our attitude or our mental approach (overtrading, revenge-trading, carelessness, fear, etc.). Taking notice of the symptoms will help us know which way to turn.

Personally, I used to evaluate my data at the end of every month, but now that I’ve been at this for a while, my frequency and evaluation style will vary as needed. When things are going well, I really don’t evaluate much at all, I just try to keep doing what is working.

When I get in a slump, I’ll first look at my routine to be sure that’s in order. Then I’ll turn to my win rate and determine if something is causing that to falter (like certain chart patterns not working, for example). If I’m still seeking a solution, I’ll then see if my max gain vs. max loss during that period is out of whack, or if my average gain vs. average loss size comparison needs to change.

As I go through this process, total honesty with myself is required or else I’m simply wasting time. And as I see certain things begin to stand out, I’ll impose some restrictions or new rules on myself in order to first stop the bleeding, and then hopefully right the ship.

So the next time you get to thinking about how your trading is going, be sure to look at some different angles than purely your P&L. While that may be the bottom line that you’re striving to improve, examining some other areas of your trading process can shed some very helpful light on how you can go about growing your trading account.

Trade well today!

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

Worden Blocks Raising Eyebrows

June 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

In case you haven’t heard, the charting program that two years ago I referred to as “the future of charting” is now… (wait for it)… FREE!

In a similar spirit to that of the ever-evolving trader, the fine folks over at Worden and The Blocks Company have shifted their approach and are now offering their revolutionary charting program free of charge for end-of-day data.

That means that those of you who have considered checking out this amazing trading tool can now get your hands on it free and right now. This does not appear to be a limited-time promo, which is really incredible when you consider what this thing can do.

I have a feeling that everyone who is currently using free charting packages such as QuoteTracker or web-based StockCharts are about to step out of an old pick-up and into a Ferrari and find out that it’s completely in another league from what you’ve been using. Build watch lists, annotate your charts, add indicators from a plethora of choices, scan and sort without any limitation on what’s possible…it’s all in Blocks and it’s fully customizable.

To those of you who want integrated news, BackScanner, or of course real-time intraday data, each are available (along with several other services) with separate pricing. But to those who have been needing a charting program and didn’t want to pay for it, you’ve now got the very best at a price that you literally cannot beat!

To download and install the program:
– Visit
– Click the Blocks icon at the top of the page
– Click the Download Now button.

Trade well today!

Jeff White
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service

Skipping Trades Can Be as Bad as Overtrading

June 3, 2008 at 6:30 am

This guest post comes from a friend of mine, Dave Mabe of StockTickr, an automated trading and performance analysis tool designed to help traders improve their results. Dave’s post outlines the benefits of adhering to a trading plan, as well as the pitfalls of deviating from it.

Most traders are aware of the dangers of overtrading, that is, taking too many trades or trading with size that’s too large. Overtrading can quickly turn a reasonably bad day into a disaster. However, the less obvious problem of undertrading or skipping valid trades can be almost as bad.

If you’ve been trading for any length of time you’ve no doubt experienced it. A setup comes along that fits your trading rules just fine – but you find a reason NOT to take the trade. No harm, right? We all know what happens next – it runs and runs and had you taken that trade it would have been a nicely profitable trade. But you’re still sitting on the sidelines.

There’s More Lost Than Just an Opportunity

In the scenario described above, there is the obvious opportunity loss of a perfectly good trade. You could have made money on that trade, but you spent time warming the bench instead. But there’s a more important loss that is often overlooked. By skipping trades that meet your trading rules, you’re going to have an incomplete picture of your trading system’s performance. Think about it – when you go back and review your journal to gauge the performance of your trading system, you’re looking at the trades you took. If you’ve skipped trades that met your trading system’s criteria then those performance results are skewed and less meaningful than they could be.

It’s easier to imagine how a losing trade that you skipped can skew your results – when you review your trading metrics your system looks like it performed better than it actually did – it’s a little like looking through rose-colored glasses.

What Those Skipped Trades Might Actually Mean

If those skipped trades are starting to mount up, it might mean that your system needs a little more clarity. There are probably some additional trading rules that need to be more clearly thought through and applied to your trading plan. A well defined trading plan will allow you to be decisive and give you confidence to take trades that meet your critieria without hesitation. I’m not one of those guys that preaches that you need a fifty page thesis for a trading plan before you start making trades, but you do need a clear definition of the setups you’ll trade. You also need to be flexible enough (and humble enough!) to be able to look at your results objectively and make adjustments to your plan over time based on what the market and your journal are telling you.

“Small” Mistakes Can Often Lead to Bigger Ones

The seemingly benign mistake of skipping a trade can lead to more painful ones. Think about your worst trading days – many times they start with a small mistake that leads you into making larger trading mistakes that do put a dent in your trading account. It’s easy to slip into revenge trading after missing a good trading opportunity. Sometimes these skipped trades can snowball into a disaster.

Your Trading Plan is There For A Reason

Having a game plan is critically important. Without a well defined plan you’ll be subject to our human emotions which often encourage us to do the opposite of what is required for profitable trading. Take the trades that meet your criteria – no more AND no less.

Dave Mabe