Monday, February 12, 2007

Four Categories of Trading

There are literally thousands of ways to make money in the market and in this post, we will be covering only four methods. However, that being said, these four methods do count for a good percentage of trading methodologies currently in practice. Our apologies in advance if we have mis-labeled a blogger or if we have made an error of omission.

We personally partake in #1 and once in a while in #2. We do not trade in methods #3 or #4.

1. Scan charts at night looking for bullish/bearish patterns on the daily chart. Make a list, set your alerts, and the next day enter according to these alerts. This is simple break-out trading and this is what we do day in and day out. To summarize this in one line: trading based on support and resistance on the daily chart. The nuanced part comes in whether you take the trade or pass—and this is based on the intraday pattern, volume, market mood, et cetera. As far as we know, we practice this method, as well as Wall St. Warrior, Richard, DownTown Trader, Ugly, PinoyTrader, Tyro, Phileo, Bubs, Market Speculator, KnightTrader, and many others.

2. Repeat step #1 but also have a list of momentum stocks that are close to important spots, or which are trending in a clear direction. Use longer intraday time-frame for entry (for example, we use 10 day, 30 min or 10 day, 60 min while others prefer 5 day, 30 minute, et cetera). In terms of blog participants, basically same list as in #1.

3. Use a scanner to look for gap-ups/gap-downs with high volume and trade these stocks based purely on intraday patterns. This can be a successful method if one can come up with a sophisticated system for entry spots. In our opinion, this is the most difficult method to master as the decision process is more subtle, with more nuances and subjectivity than method #1 and #2. Candle-stick knowledge is a plus. Some successful participants of this method are Maoxian, Trader-X, Trader Mike, Estocastica, Trader Gav, Zoomie, Prospectus , Dave, and the promiscuous Ugly and Wall St Warrior who seem to partake in all three methods.

4. The last trading approximation really isn’t a method but it’s worth mentioning since probably most new traders enter trading via this methodology. No usage of daily charts, no usage of scanners, no real system: these traders often have a list of volatile stocks and look for intraday patterns to trade. These traders often hang out in large chat rooms, with hundreds of traders making different calls on anything that moves. They often buy/sell for very small moves, with a 1-1 risk/reward ratio. This isn’t really a system and this kind of scalping, in our opinion, has the lowest-win rate, and the highest burn-out rate. We know of no bloggers who would belong to this section.

We should actually include a miscellaneous section for Prop Firm traders who make money by trading literally thousands and thousands of shares every day. We do not know enough about their methodology to be able to summarize their way of trading -- however, we can say -- NYSE Trader does a great job consistently pulling in the money. (sorry dude if we have just mushed you -- don't worry, it shouldn't last for more than a few days).

Conclusion? As said, there are literally thousands of ways to make money in the market and what each individual has to do is to find their edge. However, in order to achieve the latter, one will require a disciplined system that can only come after a lot of pure, hard work. If you're lazy by nature, then trading might not be for you, and it might be best if you looked for a profession in the civil service (yes, yes, we're kidding, please no hate mail).