Dennis Gartman’s Trading Rules List

Some food for thought for the weekend. Trading rules from great traders are always worth reading. If you spend some time to understand the concept behind each trading rule this will improve your trading skills and take you to the next level. Also check this video where Dennis Gartman talks about the concept of keeping it simple.

1. Never, under any circumstance add to a losing position…. ever! Nothing more need be said; to do otherwise will eventually and absolutely lead to ruin!

2. Trade like a mercenary guerrilla. We must fight on the winning side and be willing to change sides readily when one side has gained the upper hand.

3. Capital comes in two varieties: Mental and that which is in your pocket or account. Of the two types of capital, the mental is the more important and expensive of the two. Holding to losing positions costs measurable sums of actual capital, but it costs immeasurable sums of mental capital.

4. The objective is not to buy low and sell high, but to buy high and to sell higher. We can never know what price is “low.” Nor can we know what price is “high.” Always remember that sugar once fell from $1.25/lb to 2 cent/lb and seemed “cheap” many times along the way.

5. In bull markets we can only be long or neutral, and in bear markets we can only be short or neutral. That may seem self-evident; it is not, and it is a lesson learned too late by far too many.

6. “Markets can remain illogical longer than you or I can remain solvent,” according to our good friend, Dr. A. Gary Shilling. Illogic often reigns and markets are enormously inefficient despite what the academics believe.

7. Sell markets that show the greatest weakness, and buy those that show the greatest strength. Metaphorically, when bearish, throw your rocks into the wettest paper sack, for they break most readily. In bull markets, we need to ride upon the strongest winds… they shall carry us higher than shall lesser ones.

8. Try to trade the first day of a gap, for gaps usually indicate violent new action. We have come to respect “gaps” in our nearly thirty years of watching markets; when they happen (especially in stocks) they are usually very important.

9. Trading runs in cycles: some good; most bad. Trade large and aggressively when trading well; trade small and modestly when trading poorly. In “good times,” even errors are profitable; in “bad times” even the most well researched trades go awry. This is the nature of trading; accept it.

10. To trade successfully, think like a fundamentalist; trade like a technician. It is imperative that we understand the fundamentals driving a trade, but also that we understand the market’s technicals. When we do, then, and only then, can we or should we, trade.

11. Respect “outside reversals” after extended bull or bear runs. Reversal days on the charts signal the final exhaustion of the bullish or bearish forces that drove the market previously. Respect them, and respect even more “weekly” and “monthly,” reversals.

12. Keep your technical systems simple. Complicated systems breed confusion; simplicity breeds elegance. (more…)

Risk Management Game

A random person is pulled off the street and given $10,000 to trade.  They have no prior experience which, on the bright side, means they have no bad habits, emotional baggage, or preconceived notions.  Before trading they go through a five day crash course on market basics (order entry process, chart reading, pattern recognition, etc…).  Suppose you are tasked with the responsibility of drafting a set of risk management rules which they are required to abide by.  The objective is to make them survive as long as possible in the trading arena so they can learn as much as possible through first-hand experience.

What types of rules would you set?

The ideal approach of course is to structure a set of rules which makes it as difficult as possible to blow up the account while still leaving them open to accumulating profits.  The goal isn’t so much helping them capture large gains as much as it is helping them survive.  After learning how to survive, then they can modify their approach to being more aggressive and seeking larger gains.

Here are two of my top rules: (more…)

Intuition Discipline Confidence Risk

Intuition although seemingly spontaneous, apparently emotional, stems from a form of “information” that has become built-in from past experience. Discipline means choosing what to do unencumbered by the fear of making a mistake. Confidence means trusting our intuition that what we “see” is what we “know.” There’s no escaping to the external, to the objective, and no standing on the shaky ground of emotions. So the question becomes, How do we create within ourselves the heroic condition of confidence wherein risk is not danger but life?

DENNIS GARTMAN’S -Trading Rules

1. Never, under any circumstance add to a losing position! Ever! Nothing more need be said; to do otherwise will eventually and absolutely lead to ruin!
2. Trade like a mercenary guerrilla. We must fight on the winning side and be willing to change sides readily when one side has gained the upper hand.
3. Capital comes in two varieties: Mental and that which is in your pocket or account. Of the two types of capital, the mental is the more important and expensive of the two. Holding to losing positions costs measurable sums of actual capital, but it costs immeasurable sums of mental capital.
4. The objective is not to buy low and sell high, but to buy high and to sell higher. We can never know what price is too low. Nor can we know what price is too high.  Always remember that sugar once fell from $1.25/lb to 2 cent/lb and seemed cheap many times along the way.
5. In bull markets we can only be long or neutral, and in bear markets we can only be short or neutral. That may seem self-evident; it is not, and it is a lesson learned too late by far too many.
6. Markets can remain illogical longer than you or I can remain solvent according to our good friend, Dr. A. Gary Shilling. Illogic often reigns and markets are enormously inefficient despite what the academics believe.
7. Sell markets that show the greatest weakness, and buy those that show the greatest strength. Metaphorically, when bearish, throw your rocks into the wettest paper sack, for they break most readily. In bull markets, we need to ride upon the strongest winds as they shall carry us higher than shall lesser ones.
8. Try to trade the first day of a gap, for gaps usually indicate violent new action. We have come to respect gaps in our nearly thirty years of watching markets; when they happen (especially in stocks) they are usually very important.
9. Trading runs in cycles: some good; most bad. Trade large and aggressively when trading well; trade small and modestly when trading poorly. In good times even errors are profitable; in bad times even the most well researched trades go awry. This is the nature of trading; accept it.
10. To trade successfully, think like a fundamentalist; trade like a technician. It is imperative that we understand the fundamentals driving a trade, but also that we understand the market’s technicals. When we do, then, and only then, can we or should we, trade. (more…)

Trading Emotions


Confidence Without confidence it is not possible to achieve much in other streams of life. In the equity markets, it is doubly true. If you lack in self-confidence, doubts may creep up in your mind. This may lead to indecision, which in turn lead to missed opportunities and losses. For day-trading and short interval trades, confidence is of utmost importance.On the other hand, on down days be careful. In many instances, you may be tempted to book small profits just to make your day balance sheet look pretty. This is not the issue. When you are faced with loss-making trades sooner or later, that same daily balance sheet will not look pretty at all.Never be far away from the correct principles of trading no matter what your mind is tempted to think. It is just too painful to reinvent the wheel.
Discipline
In order to be a successful investor/trader, you must be very disciplined. Stick to the plan of action. This means that you will stick to trading policies, trading plans and so on. Know your objective and work accordingly.
Ideas
Do not seek to implement new ideas that come all the time during markets. Remember, ideas are just ideas. If you feel there is value in them, they have to be thought about, refined, tested and then brought to the trading room. If you try to implement new ideas immediately to trading all you will do is to erode capital and confidence.
Hope
Do not allow hope to loiter anywhere close to your trading system. Hope has the potential to do maximum damage to your capital.

Become an expert at one market behaviour

 Simplicity and focus is the mother of success.  “You need to start as small as possible and then gradually allow yourself to grow into greater and greater amounts of market information.  What you want to do is become an expert at just one particular type of behavior pattern that repeats itself with some degree of frequency. To become an expert, choose one simple traing system that identifies a pattern.  Your objective is to understand completely every aspect of the system.  In the meantime, it is important to avoid all other possibilities and information”

Trading Wisdom

One of my favorite trading tales involves a very wise, veteran trader who, when asked his thoughts on the market, would simply respond by saying “It’s a bull market,” or “It’s a bear market.” Younger traders simply seeking out a hot tip from the seasoned pro would often leave discouraged – or even annoyed, believing they were being fed a line. JL himself didn’t understand until years later the wisdom that was actually being dispensed with those words: The veteran was simply relaying the path of least resistance, or the trend for the general market, and therefore giving the trader an incredible edge in determining one of the many variables that makes up stock trading.

Traders should equate the general market to that of a big river with individuals stocks as floating logs. If ones objective was to ride in the general direction of the current, they would not stand on the bank looking for a log that was bucking that trend? Furthermore, even if they found one that temporarily headed in the wrong direction, more than likely it would only be a matter of time before the log reversed course and also headed in the way of all the other logs.

Traders would be wise to understand there are 3 directions a market can travel; up, down or sideways. As long as we trade stocks, this will be true – and just as valuable as Livermore’s seasoned trading friend’s advice was then it would be today.

Markets, like rivers, don’t change courses overnight – or even in a few days. It often takes many months if not years to properly establish a trend. Simply pull back any weekly chart over the past couple years and assess where the trend is going. If you aren’t quite sure, then more than likely cash remains the place for you.

Understand this basic, yet key, principle of trading, and you will already be well ahead of most.

Respect the Trend

One of my favorite trading tales involves a very wise, veteran trader who, when asked his thoughts on the market, would simply respond by saying “It’s a bull market,” or “It’s a bear market.” Younger traders simply seeking out a hot tip from the seasoned pro would often leave discouraged – or even annoyed, believing they were being fed a line. JL himself didn’t understand until years later the wisdom that was actually being dispensed with those words: The veteran was simply relaying the path of least resistance, or the trend for the general market, and therefore giving the trader an incredible edge in determining one of the many variables that makes up stock trading.

Traders should equate the general market to that of a big river with individuals stocks as floating logs. If ones objective was to ride in the general direction of the current, they would not stand on the bank looking for a log that was bucking that trend? Furthermore, even if they found one that temporarily headed in the wrong direction, more than likely it would only be a matter of time before the log reversed course and also headed in the way of all the other logs. (more…)

Getting Back Up

Sometimes in trading you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. It is the simple truth and anyone who has been involved in the game for longer than a cup of coffee will tell you the same. There will be times when you are caught with a blow up, caught in a squeeze or simply caught leaning in the wrong direction but over the years what I have learned is it is always about getting back into the ring for another round.

It’s important to have a routine for handling those times when not only your financial capital gets bitten but your emotional capital sinks as well.

1) Reposition:  Whether you are caught in a downturn or short squeeze, removing the position is often the best way to remain objective. So often when people start to see a position run against them they freeze up and start to rely on hope rather than remaining in control of the trade. When I see stocks breaking down or acting poorly, they are sold immediately and I am able to start fresh.

2) Check the Charts and your Bias:  I have written many times before that price action is never wrong. If you are caught on the wrong side of price action it is a must to re-evaluate the charts you are viewing and check any bias you may have. It is imperative to embrace the prevailing direction and avoid seeing what is not there. Having raised cash and avoiding any further significant draw, take a fresh look at the action and once again analyze your position accordingly.

3) Embrace the New Day:  Trading is unique in that each and every day presents a new opportunity. This must be embraced as it is one of the features that makes trading so great. Rather than dwelling on the past, embrace the future. Each and every day presents new opportunities but not unless you are looking for them.

4) Move Slow and Small:  Most people make the mistake in believing that restoring financial capital will improve emotional capital when I would argue it is actually the opposite. One can only trade at peak performance when his emotional tank is filled and confidence is high. Regardless of how long you have been trading there will be times when this tank takes a dip and before moving on to make any new financial progress, it is imperative to restore the emotional side first. The best way to do this is to move very slow and small. Rather than taking full positions, take quarters or even tenths. Paper trade if you need to and analyze results. As time goes on your emotional capital will be restored and you will soon have the confidence to re-enter the game at full speed.

If you trade, one thing is for sure, you will have good times and you will have bad times. The best way to handle the bad times is to know they will come and have a plan in place to follow so that you may bounce back quickly and put them in the past.

Respect the Trend

One of my favorite trading tales involves a very wise, veteran trader who, when asked his thoughts on the market, would simply respond by saying “It’s a bull market,” or “It’s a bear market.” Younger traders simply seeking out a hot tip from the seasoned pro would often leave discouraged – or even annoyed, believing they were being fed a line. JL himself didn’t understand until years later the wisdom that was actually being dispensed with those words: The veteran was simply relaying the path of least resistance, or the trend for the general market, and therefore giving the trader an incredible edge in determining one of the many variables that makes up stock trading.

Traders should equate the general market to that of a big river with individuals stocks as floating logs. If ones objective was to ride in the general direction of the current, they would not stand on the bank looking for a log that was bucking that trend? Furthermore, even if they found one that temporarily headed in the wrong direction, more than likely it would only be a matter of time before the log reversed course and also headed in the way of all the other logs. (more…)

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