If I’ve learned anything in my decades of trading, I’ve learned that the simple methods work best. Those who need to rely upon complex stochastics, linear weighted moving averages, smoothing techniques, Fibonacci numbers etc., usually find that they have so many things rolling around in their heads that they cannot make a rational decision. One technique says buy; another says sell. Another says sit tight while another says add to the trade. It sounds like a cliche, but simple methods work best.
- The first and most important rule is – in bull markets, one is supposed to be long. This may sound obvious, but how many of us have sold the first rally in every bull market, saying that the market has moved too far, too fast. I have before, and I suspect I’ll do it again at some point in the future. Thus, we’ve not enjoyed the profits that should have accrued to us for our initial bullish outlook, but have actually lost money while being short. In a bull market, one can only be long or on the sidelines. Remember, not having a position is a position.
- Buy that which is showing strength – sell that which is showing weakness. The public continues to buy when prices have fallen. The professional buys because prices have rallied. This difference may not sound logical, but buying strength works. The rule of survival is not to “buy low, sell high”, but to “buy higher and sell higher”. Furthermore, when comparing various stocks within a group, buy only the strongest and sell the weakest.
- When putting on a trade, enter it as if it has the potential to be the biggest trade of the year. Don’t enter a trade until it has been well thought out, a campaign has been devised for adding to the trade, and contingency plans set for exiting the trade.
- On minor corrections against the major trend, add to trades. In bull markets, add to the trade on minor corrections back into support levels. In bear markets, add on corrections into resistance. Use the 33-50% corrections level of the previous movement or the proper moving average as a first point in which to add.
- Be patient. If a trade is missed, wait for a correction to occur before putting the trade on.
- Be patient. Once a trade is put on, allow it time to develop and give it time to create the profits you expected.
- Be patient. The old adage that “you never go broke taking a profit” is maybe the most worthless piece of advice ever given. Taking small profits is the surest way to ultimate loss I can think of, for small profits are never allowed to develop into enormous profits. The real money in trading is made from the one, two or three large trades that develop each year. You must develop the ability to patiently stay with winning trades to allow them to develop into that sort of trade.
- Be patient. Once a trade is put on, give it time to work; give it time to insulate itself from random noise; give it time for others to see the merit of what you saw earlier than they.
- Be impatient. As always, small loses and quick losses are the best losses. It is not the loss of money that is important. Rather, it is the mental capital that is used up when you sit with a losing trade that is important.