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  1. Trading today is more popular than ever. Countless individuals flock each year to the markets, hoping to make large amounts of money, many attracted by misleading commercials promising simplicity and easy access to riches. Many of these aspiring traders fail. In as much as we would like to think that each individual commits different and very particular mistakes in his quest for success, my experience as both a trader and Pristine Certified Trainer (PCT) has shown me that most traders typically fall prey to the same problems and mistakes. The following are just but some of the typical ones: Lack of a Trading Plan. Most traders lack a well conceived plan to trade the markets, and most mistakes committed by them can be summed up in this category. The lack of a decent plan means that the trader won't know which "events" to focus on, the rules to trade those events, money management rules, etc. Typical mistakes such as not taking stops and overtrading can be attributed to this problem. Lack of Confidence in his Tactics. Traders will only execute effectively if they're confident about the odds of any particular tactic. Learning it in a seminar isn't enough. You have to test it yourself, and reach a level of comfort and confidence that will allow you to execute with precision. Trading Under Monetary Pressures. Since people think that this is an easy road to riches, many leave their jobs or expect to make an immediate living trading the markets. Nothing is more detrimental to your success as a trader than facing the pressure to perform. Now, traders are focused on money, instead of technique and this leads to "dollar counting" which is detrimental to a traders progress. Trading with Insufficient Capital. Undercapitalized traders face two typical problems. One is the fact that they'll tend to take positions that will utilize a big percentage of their accounts, which in turn might produce losses that will be more significant than they should be. This is another reason why traders don't take stops. Lack of Proper Technology or Too Much Reliance on Only Technology. Traders that lack the proper technology, either because of the fear of using advanced systems or lack of commitment to obtaining them as a necessary cost of doing business, face a debilitating disadvantage as they can't process information quickly enough, and as we all know, this is a business that deals with the rapid analysis of information. On the other hand, there are those that think that technology alone, without the proper training and method, can solve their problems. An aspiring trader with no method, who just relies only on technology, is operating at a huge disadvantage. KURT CAPRA Contributing Editor Instructor and Traders Coach
  2. We are day traders. We only trade for short time-frames that are by definition, within the trading day. So why look at daily charts? Daily charts show the big picture or in other words, the overall trend. This is important to watch because it gives us an edge to trade in the same direction as the dominant trend even if we are intra-day traders. If a trend is going to go up over several days, it will also go up intra-day. As day traders it is easy to get tunnel vision, see only what is going on minute-by-minute, and forget what the overall trend is. I use the daily charts to help me see the overall trend and then use 30-minute and 10-minute charts to locate good entry and exit points. This is what I see right now, as of Saturday October 13, 2012 in the S&P mini's. The chart below is a daily chart covering the last 2 months or so in the S&P mini’s. In that time, we have bounced off resistance twice at about 1465.00. On Friday we went about 5 handles below the support level of September 26 (the mid-point between Support on September 11 and last Friday, October 12). Although the market has been reaching new lows, these lows were not much lower on Thursday and Friday of last week. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this, as it suggests we may be reaching support levels and due for another climb back up to resistance. I will be watching for signs of reversals that may include sideways action for a few days, or I’ll be looking for more days that barely reach new lows. I will want to see the market start to go above the high of a previous candle 1-4 days prior to it, in order to get confirmation. In addition, I would like to see the market NOT go lower on bad news -- this is an excellent sign that support is firming up. What I'm talking about really, is just an analysis of the Value Areas that Hoag prepares every morning for the recruits here at TopstepTrader. Value Areas are basically previous support and resistance levels that all traders can see. They represent where the balance has shifted between buyers and sellers, making such an indication worth paying attention to. I'm going to be watching for an Open that initially trends down, then reverses 30-90 minutes after the Open and goes up the rest of the day. I'm expecting that to happen this week or next week at the latest. However, if we drop convincingly below the September 11 lows, then all bets are off and the next support level is down near 1400.00. Many Profitable Returns, Trader Gregg Mr. Killpack has been studying the markets since 1988. He has read over 40,000 pages about trading and investing strategies, fundamental and technical analysis, and related topics. He began day trading in 2001.
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