Matthew Kerkhoff, options expert and editor of Dow Theory Letters, continues his 14-part educational...
4 Emotions That Are Hazardous to Trading
06/09/2014 6:00 am EST
As humans, we can’t totally divorce ourselves from emotion, but if we can learn to control them better, we should have better trading results, notes Stephen Bigalow of CandlestickForum.com.
The psychology of investing not only affects individual investors but also affects the market as a whole. Many investors often underestimate or are unaware of the affects that our emotions have on our return on investment. Many well educated and competent traders lose money due to trading anxiety and trading emotions. In today’s article we will discuss various emotions felt everyday by online stock investors and how each emotion affects trading decisions and trading performance.
Greed and Fear
Greed causes traders to buy at high prices or buy a large amount of the same share, therefore increasing risk. Fear causes investors to exit the markets too early causing a loss of otherwise attained profits. Traders suffering from fear are afraid that the price will decrease further so they get out before the timing is correct, instead of letting the trade play out.
Traders who are overconfident tend to trade more rapidly and tend to over trade. These traders lose money in commissions, taxes in addition to simply losing out on trades themselves due to the illusion of control. Greater participation in trading stock makes some traders feel more in control even though they are not. These traders also tend to invest in smaller and riskier companies and lack portfolio diversification.
The psychology of investing tells us that many investors tend to follow the crowd. They hear of hot stocks and they jump on the bandwagon only to lose money. What they fail to realize is that those stocks were hot until you and everyone else in “the herd” heard about them. Pass on these hot stock market picks. Even if they were money makers at some point, that time has passed. Find your own stocks to invest in based on your own proven research and analysis.
Too often investors believe what they want to believe. We pay attention only to the information that supports what we believe, and ignore information that does not support what we “think we know.” Confirmation bias directly results in poor investment decisions and a loss of profits. An example of confirmation bias is when we become attached to a certain stock. Perhaps it performed very well in the past so we ignore all signs that it is currently not performing as well as it did and we invest anyway.
There are many factors to consider when studying the psychology of investing and how it affects stock traders every day. Successful investors understand investment psychology and all it entails, they have determined their strengths and their weaknesses, and they proactively practice and develop the skills necessary to controlling their trading emotions so that they are successful in the stock market.
By Stephen Bigalow of CandlestickForum.com
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