Here’s a post that’s more of a FAQ for newer or maybe even more experienced traders.
I recently made an ACATS transfer this week. What is an ACATS you ask? ACATS stands for Automated Customer Account Transfer Service. In a nutshell, it is a transfer of your positions from one brokerage to another brokerage. It removes the middle man of transferring from broker to your bank then to your new or other broker.
My old broker was Scottrade. I was mostly doing swing trades and using my 3 day trades per week as well. I’ve decided to take the plunge and fund a $25k+ account so that I can day trade freely without the PDT restriction. The broker I transferred to was Interactive Brokers.
So I had 3 open swing trade positions in MU, S and AMD. Each position transferred over without any hiccups. The only thing to watch out for is that you cannot sell/buy during the transfer period which could take up to 4 days. For me it only took 2 business days so it happened relatively quick. And luckily none of those positions took any huge swings in the 2 days it took to transfer over.
For those of you looking to make a switch in brokers, I thin ACATS is the best and easiest way to do it since it removes the hassle of using wire transfers and losing a few dollars in fees and commission as well.
Been a few weeks since I’ve done some journaling on here but I have been busy tracking some stocks and focusing on myself.
As a newer trader I have been trying to focus on one asset class and even currency pair or stock or whatever to really get good at. Problem is that (I’ve mentioned this before) as a new trader we are like the dog in the movie “Up.”
And we end up dabbling a lot. Triangle pattern on a 5 min time frame, then oooh look here, a break-out trade on a daily chart. Oh, wow, it’s a pull back on the 1 min chart. And what happens is that it’s like the guy trying to build a beach bod for the summer. Instead of focusing on a set of exercises or a plan that he found online for a week and giving it a chance, that guy instead sees someone doing the bench press, jumps on to do 1 set, then sees someone else doing sit-ups, goes over and does 20 sit-ups and then finally tries out the squat rack. Look over there, that guy is huge. I’ll ask him what he does and do that…. Oh, maybe crossfit works? Doing this everyday is just not really going to get you any results and the reason why, like trading, probably 90% of people who go to the gym either quit or don’t get any results.
So I really did give it a good shot in forex trading the EUR/USD on the 1 min chart. About 2 months of live trading. And I didn’t really get anywhere as far as profits or loss. I’m sure if I kept at it that I might have found more success.
The problem I find in forex was that a lot of times I just didn’t have any trades to take and I forced a lot of things. After sitting and watching for 2 hours with no real trades setting up, I would dabble. Just like the fatso at the gym.
Some days (well actually a lot) of days are just mumbled jumbled noise to me. No real trend or 20 pip spikes up/down leaving a huge pin bar, only to reverse out the other side and do the same thing. It was so erratic for me that I just found myself getting really frustrated. And I felt a bit limited only have one currency pair to trade. You really need patience to trade one future or one currency pair because that’s it. You have that 1 instrument to sit, stalk and watch with perhaps no opportunity for any trade. *SQUIRREL!*
So I got back into what originally brought me into the realm of trading – stocks. Might be my next dabble or maybe I am really onto something. Difference this time though is that I actually did all of the data tracking, analysis and strategy formulation by myself. I didn’t watch a youtube video or try to copy someone else’s style. And what makes this a better personal fit for me is that I will know within 30 minutes of the opening bell, whether I have a trade or not. I don’t need to sit and stalk for 2-3-4 hours like I did with a future or currency pair. So,
First, I look at the pre-market movers. Big volume with usually a big gap up. Usually news or acquisitions. Found here:
I have been tracking the behavior of these stocks now for the past 2 months. Tracking the HOD, LOD, range, morning tendencies, average volume, etc. Reason I tracked them was that they had the biggest volatility and room for profit. What better stocks to trade than the ones that give you the highest potential of dolla bills ya’ll?
My data has shown that the HOD or LOD is almost always set within the first 10 minutes of the day. 9:35 seems to be a very common time when these are made. So for the sake of simplicity, when I say ~9:35 it could mean 9:33 or 9:38 or something pretty damn close. Using this data I found that day 1 of the big volume push almost always has a morning spike. I am only looking on the long side to trade these.
What is the criteria for entering? Well, usually prices will pull back from the ~9:35 HOD and re-test later and either break out or fail. So you can plan your entries a number of ways:
Front fun the breakout by entering after the ~9:35 HOD is made and the pullback stalls and begins moving upward again.
Wait for the actual break out a few cents above the morning ~9:35 HOD. Or,
A combination of both.
Of course nothing is ever 100% in trading. What I don’t want to do is to blindly enter long after a pullback from the HOD as it may just fade off to the downside all day. So I think entering with a small starter position of a few hundred shares when price starts to move up after the pullback is a good way to get a better average on the price and then adding to the position at the break out point. If your starter position fails, just get out quick with a small loss. If it fails at the break out point, you might walk away with a small profit or break even. A lot of times it will go back to re-test that HOD again anyway and having a small starter position with a lower average price gives me a bit more peace of mind to add to my position or re-enter again later.
Entry criteria is outlined above. I think the part that makes a successful trader though is having the confidence to enter a trade with conviction. Since I’ve put the work in and have traded my own strategy for profit, I can sit through a pullback or unrealized loss without panicking because I know the strategy and I know when it fails. I don’t watch the P/L ledger. I let the chart dictate what I do. So the stops I use are usually not fixed. It’s not like .05 below entry or slightly below the previous swing, etc. Tracking and watching these, I usually just have that feeling that it’s not going to work out and exit.
Here’s one that failed but ended up doing what I thought it would, but I exited with a small loss once it rocketed back down after the break out.
When to take profits? Well, I think taking off a portion as the price spikes and begins to stall is a good way to stay patient. Even though you may have been able to make more by holding onto the full size, locking in profits never hurt anyone. And doing so will allow you to sit through one, two maybe even 3 pullbacks so that you can realize the meat of the move. AND, you can always add back to your position. You entered on a break out, took partial on the first spike up, it pulls back and is ramping back up? You can always add more shares and repeat until you get a lower low or prices are really parabolic and struggling to go higher, then take off the full position. *I’d almost always recommend exiting before noon though. Profit taking and those heavy short sellers start coming in making it difficult to profit on the long side.
Of course, how much to lock in, how many times, is up to the trader. We all have different tolerances, trading account sizes, etc. Best thing to do is figure out how you like to trade. I like sipping fine single malt scotch, you like pounding Bud Ice. Both get drunk but different ways of doing it – it’s about how you like to do it.
I started out, like most, with stocks. I’m not really sure why I left because I’ve always some some success with stocks. But I think it was mostly due to the PDT rule and me not having the $25k to day trade stocks.
Made a pretty major switch lately back over to day trading stocks. Although the forex trading was going ok (it’s very grindy… up a little, down a little…. even…and so on), I was taking stabs at a few stocks that were moving nicely each day. After a few weeks and booking some nice profits each week, I decided to focus more on stocks for now.
I may go back to forex or maybe even futures but for now I seem to have found a nice little groove in stocks. How much longer will these stocks move the way that is conducive to my trading style? I don’t know, but as long as it does I’ll keep taking the trades. And being limited to 3 day trades per week really has me focusing in on only taking my perfect setup – which is a great lesson for teaching patience and really taking each trade seriously. I’m really looking forward to putting $25k into an account soon so that I can day trade freely.
Will get into the details of the kinds of stocks I’ve been trading and how I trade them but it’s not rocket science and I am using only basic support/resistance.