Some Useful Trading Tips

Here is a few tips to help you to become a better trader:

Cash is a positon too!

Most new traders think that a trader should be trading all the time, never miss a good opportunity! However, the reality couldn’t be more different. We are humans not algo traders. Day trader, momo trader or swing trader, quality is always more important than quantity. NEVER enter in a trade without a plan and certainly NEVER enter in a trade because of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Don’t ever forget that CASH is a strong position, too. It enables you to act when there is a good opportunity.

Consider Swing Trades

I personally like swing trades for number of reasons. I am a busy guy with number of Business interests. I don’t (and some cases can’t) spend my all day in front of a PC watching stocks. In swings, I generally look for good setups to enter in a trade, add, add more, hammer and exit. This tried and tested method generally works very well for me but wouldn’t work for most of the new traders (or traders with small account sizes) because of their account size and the maximum pain they can take in a swing positon. Perhaps starting small, testing the system and learning from it is the best for the new guys. I always have a plan while swinging. This plan includes where I enter, where I add, where I cover or if it goes against me where I exit the trade. Before entering into any trade, I always know what my maximum loss will be (NEVER change this during the trade!) and what I expect from the trade (i.e. how much I want to make from that trade – when reached, I am out). If it works against me and if it makes me nervous, I cut it out and move on to the next one. Sounds easy? Probably yes. However, in practice, this method needs immense discipline which you can’t develop overnight. It takes years for change to take place and constant practise to maintain it. Most new traders are looking for that magic formula to enable them being profitable overnight. Let me tell you: IT DOESN’T EXIST. If anyone telling you otherwise is after your wallet.

Set Trading Goals

I covered importance of setting goals previously in here. Setting goals for yourself will make you not only a better trader but also a more successful person in every part of your life. The goals you set should be achievable and measurable so it is crystal clear to you when they are achieved so you can move to bigger goals. If you are a new trader, your first goal should be not making profit but PROTECT your capital. If you can achieve this, then the sky is the limit…

Admit Mistakes and Learn From Your Mistakes

We are humans. We all have Ego. Admitting mistakes is not in our DNA. However, one thing you will notice from successful traders is they all admit their mistakes to themselves and to others. We all do mistakes daily. Important thing is learning from those mistakes and try not to do them again. It is a process and will take time. In trading, the same mistake can manifest itself in many different ways. The only way to learn is to experience it. You can ask, read or learn from others but the real learning only happens when you experience it in real life. The most important thing here is minimising the impact of your mistake. This in my opinion comes to admitting mistakes quickly, take action and always trade with correct trade size that you are comfortable with. You can read more about trade size here..

Constant Learning & Adapting & Having an EDGE

One of the most important things in life for me is constant learning. I am a student of life and I love learning new skills whenever and wherever I can. Similarly, I love getting more out of my trading and adding more ‘weapons’ to my trading arsenal by learning different types of trading, different types of trading vehicles and methodologies. Don’t forget, the market is constantly changing, there are number of different ‘cycles’ in the market. The best traders can see and analyse these cycles and make informed decisions about their positions and type of stocks in their portfolios. They scan stocks accordingly. They plan accordingly. One thing you need to do to become a better trader is ADAPTING. You need to adapt to the market conditions and change with the market. As a trader, you always need an EDGE. The change in market and your speed of adapting to that market is one way of having an EDGE. Information is another. Always KNOW what you are trading. Research the stock (or chart if more of a technical trader) and always know why you are trading it and what is your EDGE against other traders. If you can’t find the answer, move on to the next stock until you know you have an edge. And don’t foget any fool can enter in a trade, but only smart one knows when to exit a trade. Be smart.




Why I shorted ZINC – Horsehead Holding Corp.

Horsehead Holding Corp. (ZINC) is the parent company of Horsehead Corporation, producer of specialty zinc and zinc-based products.

Following ZINC for some time but when I saw 2 negative revisions in the past few weeks and its current year earnings consensus has moved lower over the last 30 days, I thought there may be more trouble down the road…

I’ve also expected an offering at some stage (to be honest not this quickly – thought some PR on the way first) but it once again confirms how desperate things have been for ZINC. Yesterday evening (after hours) ZINC announced that it has established an at-the-market (“ATM”) equity program under which the Company may offer and sell, from time to time, shares of its common stock having an aggregate value of up to $50 million through Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, as sales agents….

Apart from the company itself the overall outlook for the Zinc as a material is not great at the moment (hence a stronger short arguement). Zinc metal market prices have been under pressure since September, falling 18%  to a low of $1,981 per tonne (from $2,416). The Zinc is in over-supply at the moment and expect falling prices in the short term. Infra structure projects in China was fuelling Zinc’s growth but as China is slowing down it is more bad news on the horizon for ZINC….

I am not intending to keep my short for a long time, I will cover soon to pay myself and move on before the longs show interest…

ZINC  Capture2


The Story of the Fisherman (and being ‘selective’ in your trading)

One of my favorite short stories and this story has been shared many times on the net, I am sharing Courtney Calver’s version here:

“An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The Mexican Fisherman smiled and thought, “isn’t that what I already do?”.

As the Mexican Fisherman demonstrated you can have more with less, in trading we should find a way to maximise gains with the least amount of risk and work. We should let the trade work for us (not the other way around).  This means being very ‘selective’. Easier said than done. I add quite a few tickers on my daily watchlists but most days I only try to heavily focus on 3 or 4 tickers at a time (sometimes these trades are only day trades, sometimes a few day swings). In my opinion, this enables taking advantage of  less risky trades (better risk/reward ratio compared to some other trades out there), consistency and selectivity. Think about it before the next trading session…

I hope this helps.