The Ten Rules of Trading

Rev Shark, who write an excellent trading diary for RealMoney, refers to trader Daniel Rosenblum’s 10 rules successful trading.

Since this not anywhere else on line, and because Daniel did such a nice job with it, here’s a taste of his perspective — for your reading and investing pleasure:

1. Don’t swing for the fences; Never put it all on red.

Never, ever, let one trade determine your profit and loss for the year, or if it goes wrong, put your capital at risk. I did it once and the memory of that experience burns me almost daily. In most cases, margin should be avoided and "doubling down" a bad trade is a sucker’s bet. Most times it just pays to take the loss and move on. The good thing about being a trader is that every day there are new opportunities to make money. Just make sure you can stay in the game.

2. When the market is bad, its time to be more cautious.

Sounds obvious, but when the market is below key moving averages, unless that trade looks really enticing, it is probably better to sit on your hands. We did a lot of hand-sitting during the bear market and we survived better than most.

3. Most times you won’t find the perfect entry or exit, so don’t worry about it.

Many traders waste too much energy looking for that perfect trade. What I like to do is "partial buy and partial sell," that is, when a stock looks good, buy some and you can average up and down as warranted. When you have a gain, you can take profits on the way up or down likewise.

4. Volume is the key.

When looking at a chart for a good entry, many times the key to whether the trade will turn out well is if there is an increase in volume; chart breaks without volume are not as meaningful.

5. Keep your emotions in check.

Don’t get too up when things are going well and too down when you hit a bad streak. If trading were easy, it would be called winning, not trading. It’s important to keep your emotions in check on a daily basis to grind it out longer term.

6. Patience, patience, patience.

For me personally, this is the hardest one to abide by. When the market isn’t giving you anything, don’t compound the problem by doing what I like to call a boredom trade, that is, to buy a stock because you’re "bored." If the trade isn’t there for you, don’t do it. Likewise, if a stock you are holding has done nothing wrong, don’t sell it just because it hasn’t "moved." If you don’t need to put your capital in something else, it usually pays just to be patient and hold on. I have found it easier to hold on to a position when one is holding a smaller amount of stock. When one is loaded up in something, it is much harder not to get caught up in every tick.

7. When the odds are in your favor, go for it.

Although it’s important to be cautious and very careful with your capital, there are times, like a poker player who has that great hand, that you find that potentially great trade. When this happens, don’t buy a tiny amount and watch it; be aggressive.

8. Don’t get caught up in guruism or CNBCitis.

We all like to both hear and give predictions and prognostications about next month, next year or next decade, but that doesn’t help the trader make money. All it does is possibly freeze your decision-making process when there is a trade to be made. The market will tell you when to be bullish or bearish, not some loudmouth in the media.

9. Invest for success.

Anything that can lead you to trade better is vital. Trading is hard enough with all the proper tools at your disposal. Buy a comfortable chair, get as many screens as you need, buy enough memory for that computer, and have at least two brokers in case one goes down right when you have to sell your biggest position. (Yes, it has happened to me).

10. Take breaks.

Trading is very stressful on both the body and mind. Sitting in one place staring at six screens for hours on end is not easy on the eyes or back, so take frequent walks and stretch. It’s also good sometimes just to get away from trading for a while to rejuvenate yourself, so don’t be afraid to take that vacation. The market will be there when you get back.



The Ten Rules of Trading
Rev Shark, 12/7/2004 2:42 PM

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  1. schadefreunde commented on Dec 13

    Re: Ten Rules of Trading

    I like Barry Ritholz’s blog often, it’s a great one if you want to be on top of the markets. He recently posted an entry citing The Ten Rules of Trading. If you’re going to be active, or semi-active in…

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