One of the biggest keys to successful trading is the way we manage our trades, writes Rob Mitchell of MarketTradersJournal.com.
There are many different ways to trade and each is more becoming to any given personality and account size. You can buy or sell for longer-term benefit such as a, buy-and-hold kind of approach, you can swing trade by trying to catch intermediate-term cycles in the market. Then, you can go down into the intraday time frames where you can intraday trend trade, or counter trend trade. You can take even a shorter outlook by scalping for small amounts inside the micro cycles that make up each of the above larger cycles. In this article, we will focus on intraday or day trading time frames where trading is active and can be a lot of fun.
Each of these different trading styles has an impact on what kinds of risks you are exposing yourself to and your level of patience. Other factors come into play such as which market you decide to trade. If you want to trade intraday for trends, then a market like crude oil is quite the mover. Crude oil is a fast-moving market so large changes can happen very fast; often $700-$1,000 per contract moves can occur in as little as five minutes. If you like things a bit slower, you can go to the Russell futures or the E-mini S&P futures markets. There are, of course many other markets you can trade as well, including stocks and forex markets. The key is to make sure there is good liquidity and tight bid-ask spreads so it is possible to get good execution and a fairly low cost of doing business.
The same goes for intraday counter-trend trading. Counter-trend trading is where you take positions against the larger trend with the intent of "catching a bottom" (or top) for example. Counter trend and trend trading each have different profiles of win/loss ratio and average win to loss. For example, a counter-trend strategy may have a high win percentage with the losers being smaller when compared to winning trades. In trend-oriented approaches, the win percent is often lower but you may tend to get caught in trades that are many times the losers. This shifting of statistics from one profile of trading to another is a key factor you will want to consider when you are a trader regardless of the time frame you trade on (intraday or day).
NEXT PAGE: Buy the Dips