Jump to content

Welcome to the new Traders Laboratory! Please bear with us as we finish the migration over the next few days. If you find any issues, want to leave feedback, get in touch with us, or offer suggestions please post to the Support forum here.


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by JLJ

  1. Thanks everyone, this is all helpful.
  2. Anyone know of an internet service that will let me display about a dozen charts at the same time? I trade stocks and a few ETFs, I do a few hundred trades a year. I've been happy with Fidelity as my broker - among many plusses, their Active Trader Pro lets you display as many charts simultaneously as you want. But I just received some bad news. I have to move my account to Merrill (I'm married to a Bank of America employee) - I asked for an exception and was denied. Merrill's trading portal, if that's the word, looks pretty lame. Among its many limitations, you can only display one chart at a time! Sheesh. (It will display a list of tickers and current prices, but I want charts.) The way I work, I always have at least 10 charts open at the same time so I can monitor my positions and also keep an eye on stocks I migth want to buy. Can anyone recommend a service that will let me display about a dozen charts at the same time? I'll have that open on one screen while I trade on the other machine. Thanks for any input, guys. (P.S. - This whole thing is ridiculous because Merrill already requires I give them my Fidelity account number and I know for certain they're been monitoring all my trades for a while. If a Merrill analyst up or downgrades a stock I can't buy or sell it for 24 hours, even it it's been public knowledge since 9 am. I have to ask my spouse before every blasted trade I want to make so he can check their 'restricted' list. That should be enough for them, but it's not. It's absolutely infuriating. I strongly doubt this is really about compliance with the SEC in terms of preventing insider trading. Merrill and BoA has hundreds of thousands of employees and if you add in their spouses, that adds up to an enormous number of new brokerage customers for Merrill. Incredibly, Merrill's trading software doesn't even prevent an employee or spouse from making a prohibited trade - don't tell me they can't figure out how to add that functionality.)
  3. Oh,one more thing... I don't short, don't even know how. But if I can't tell if the price is going up or down, I think I'd lose money shorting.
  4. Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies. I do know about how institutional investors drive prices, the importance of expected earnings, etc. However I don't know what 'reversal bar' and 'price action' are. I need to find some really basic info on technical analysis - the info I've read assumes you're familiar with a lot of terms I don't understand, so it's above my head. What I did was to buy based on fundamentals - using my primitive knowledge of stocastics to avoid buying when the price is peaking - then I'd ride it up for a while, then sell. It was working great until a few weeks ago when the market started going down. I lost about two-thirds of my gains in the past few weeks. No, I didn't lose all my gains. I think I had good 'beginner's luck" - I benefited from a good market in September and October. Interesting that I don't hear a lot of people here saying "you can't make money the way it's been the past 2 weeks" - does that mean you can, if know what you're doing? I'll admit that I don't I don't have a problem with admitting I made a bad buy and should sell before the price drops further. In the beginning, if the price dropped much after I bought, I'd sell - and it cost me. I keep detailed records of all my trades and I spend a lot of time looking at what I did, when, and why, then I look at the charts and see what the price did _after_ I sold. What I saw was that almost every time I sold, the price would come up, often substantially, anywhere from minutes, to a day or two, after I'd sold. Once I realized I was selling too soon, I began to hang on and the price would go back up and I started to have good gains. ...Unfortunately, that also meant when the market started to fizzle a couple weeks ago, my stocks would go down - down - down then my stops were hit. However, even then, most of the time when my stops were hit, the price only dipped a few cents, maybe 20 cents max, below my stop - then it came back up, often quite dramatically. (There was only one stock that continued to go down and stay down.) So if my stop had been 8.25% below what I'd paid (as opposed to 8% below) I would not have been stopped out and would have still been there when the price came back up. I think a closer stop would backfire. Obviously my position sizes should be smaller so I don't lose as much if the stop is hit. Or I could buy stocks that are less volatile, as one of you guys here suggested. The thing is, I've often done well with volatile stocks because it would go up a couple bucks a share in one day, I'd sell, then when it would drop I'd buy it again. I've made great gains from buying and selling a small number of stocks, repeatedly. If they don't have pronounced price swings this isn't possible (in the short term, at least). I'm willing to spend the time to learn. I appreciate folks here reminding me that it takes a long time to get good at this.
  5. I was actually making money swing/momentum trading - tho admittedly the market was very good in Sept which helped a lot. I was gaining much more than I was losing. I buy smallish lots (200 shares sometimes 300) and hold for anywhere from a day or two to a week or so. I always have a stop loss in place. Always. The past couple weeks, I've lost most of my gains of the past few months. My account is currently not much above where I started. I know that the whole market has been down - the international backlash against QE2, China's inflation problems, and now Ireland - but I don't know what I should do differently. Problem is, my stops (I allow for pretty good wiggle room - I usually set the stop about 8% below the purchase price) have been repeatedly hit, generating losses. (Sadly, after my stop is hit the price usually goes right back up.) Of course _when_ I buy is important - I look at stocastics to see when prices are likely at the peak or bottom so I can avoid buying just before the price starts to drop. That method used to work, maybe 70% of the time, but with everything down it's not working, except in hindsight. None of the stocks I've bought in the past week or so were much in the green ever, because everything started dropping, so when my stop is hit I lose, and that's happened several times lately. As soon as it became clear a couple days ago that we were heading for a 'correction,' I started selling what I had left and moving into cash so I'm less exposed. I'm OK so long as I can identify my mistakes and not keep making the same ones, but I just don't know what I should do differently in the future. Short of buying a crystal ball. Thanks for any input.
  6. When I compare a stock to the S&P I get a very different picture when I change the chart to "Dual Axis Charting Mode." I've attached stock charts for MFB, both covering the same time period - the yellow lines show MFB and purple line shows the S&P. In the plain vanilla chart, it appears that MFB consistently out-performed the S&P. But on the chart below, with Dual Axis Charting Mode turned on (see numbers on left), it now it looks like MFB underperformed the S&P until about August 17 when the lines crossed. How can this be? I understand that sometimes a chart must be compressed to fit the highs and lows of the lines, but that's not the case here. BTW, I tried to delete my first attempt at this message where my charts didn't post the way I wanted them to, but I can't delete my first post. Sorry for the duplication.
  7. When I compare a stock to the S&P I get a very different picture when I change the chart to "Dual Axis Charting Mode." I've attached stock charts for MFB, both covering the same time period - the yellow lines show MFB and purple line shows the S&P. In the plain vanilla chart, it appears that MFB consistently out-performed the S&P. MFB compared to S&P.docx But with Dual Axis Charting Mode turned on (see numbers on left) it now it looks like MFB underperformed the S&P until about August 17 when the lines crossed. MFB with Dual Axis charting mode.docx How can this be? I understand that sometimes a chart must be compressed to fit the highs and lows of the lines, but that's not the case here. (I'll try to re-do-this post with the proper image uploading technique.)
  8. Browns, It makes sense that your broker's procedures, and of course trading volume, are critical in how your stop functions. But why would it matter if you're swing trading vs. day trading? The system (for lack of a better word) doesn't 'know' whether you've held your postion a couple hours or a couple days....or does it know? Thanks to everyone for your patient answers.
  9. Thanks, looks like i need to call my broker and ask. Didn't know it could vary.
  10. I've heard of the risk of a stop-loss order being "gapped through" or similar language. Does this mean when the stock price drops so fast that sell orders aren't executed - i.e., it 's a matter of how _fast_ the price is dropping? Or does it mean that, for my stop loss to be executed, the market price has to hit my stop loss exactly, to the penny? For example, if I've set my stop to $21.20 and the stock's market price drops directly from $21.21 to $21.19 - never actually touching $21.20 - does this mean my stop loss won't be executed?
  11. Thanks for the feedback!
  12. What do you guys think of the 'Frontier' ETFs? I'm looking at Claymore/BNY Mellon Frontier Markets (FRN). It doesn't have the wide price swings of other Frontier ETFs like EEM or VWO. FRN also has less volume - what happens if I want to sell and nobody is buying? How little volume is too little? As for the whole frontier thing, obviously you wouldn't buy an ETF that was only one country or sector, that would be way too risky. Might one of these be a good buy for a small position with a close stop? Or is there an increased risk of a scary fast drop that would blow past your stop loss order? I know this is at least two questions in one, I appreciate any input.
  13. brownsfan, Does that include announcements about interest rates, unemployment figures, etc? Should we avoid trading whenever any such announcements are expected? But if the news is good, isn't that a good time to trade?
  14. I read somewhere that because stock prices may not behave normally, you shouldn't buy during 'earnings season." In my limited experience I've sometimes done well buying - minutes after the opening bell - stock from a company who just released good news early that morning. Obviously if they have a bad earnings report - of if they have a good report but their stock price isn't climbing - I don't buy. Am I missing something? Is it still to risky to buy then?
  15. thanks for the input, folks. Sounds like I should ask my broker.
  16. Looks like my question was not clear. If my account has $10,000, 2% of that is $200. Let's say I'm looking at a stock that's $50 a share. If I want to risk no more than 2% does that mean I should buy no more than 4 shares? But let's say I set my stop loss at $49.95 (not that I would set it so close, it's just a simple example). Then to guarantee a loss no greater than $200, I could buy 4,000 shares. Which is right?
  17. Everyone seems to agree you should not risk more than 2% (absolute 5% max) on a single trade. But what does that mean? Does it mean no more than 2% of your account should be spent on one buy? Or - that you should calculate and set your stop loss relative to the number of shares you buy, so if it goes south the max you can lose is 2%? If the latter, that allows you a much greater position size re: the number of shares you can safely buy.
  18. I always hear about using leverage for Day Trading, but I don't hear leverage mentioned re: swing trading. Is it not permitted by brokers (since they're basically lending you the money)? Or is it because leverage is too risky when you hold a position longer than a day, so people just _don't_ use it, even though they could?
  19. thanks everyone. you've given me a lot to think about.
  20. Hope this isn't a dumb question, but what is a trading 'system' and where would you find one? I understand that people devise their rules based on months - or years - of back testing and practice trades, but are you saying there's something pre-fab you can buy? Can you give an example?
  21. thanks! You guys have given me a lot to think about and digest.
  22. This is very helpful. Thank yoouuuu!
  23. Thanks everyone for your feedback. Part of my confusion is that I was thinking simplistically that day traders look at technical analysis and investors look at fundamentals. I don't yet know how to assess a stock for swing trading. It had not occurred to me that technical analysis was the way to go when contemplating buying a stock I might hold for a matter of months. I thought TA was more for day traders. I see there's a section on TL for Swing Trading, so I'll start reading that to bone up. Thanks, folks, for your patience with my painfully basic newbie questions.
  24. the stock is ANN. I wasn't even attempting to look at technical analysis for this, more fundamental. And you're right that I've only taken a superficial look. My next step, I suppose, is to learn more about the company and the industry to discern why the stock has gone up and whether that's likely to continue. No one has said, yet, that I should rule it out simply because the P/E is 184 and the average for its industry is 17. To my newbie mind, that does not sound good.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.