Pre-Market Prep Key for Stock Traders

12/20/2012 9:36 am EST


Toni Turner

Author, Short-Term Trading in the New Stock Market

Trader Toni Turner shares her pre-opening routine, including which markets she watches and how she handles the release of economic reports.

When getting ready for the next day of trading, you could follow a specific routine, or look at a watch list, or do, as you call it, Toni, a pre-market analysis? What's that?

Oh, exactly, Rob. I mean it is, while investors do a bottom-up technique where you just look at a stock and the fundamentals and so forth, when we trade we need to do what the entire market is doing, or at least a good portion of it.

So I would not think of diving headlong into my chair in the morning, grabbing my coffee and hitting a stock to trade and going right at it, because you need to know absolutely-if you know nothing else-you need to know where the S&P 500 is. That's our benchmark, of course, and if you know nothing else...

If you're involved in tech stocks, or Nasdaq stocks, you need to know where the Nasdaq-100, or the Composite or the QQQ is. How is that trading? Are these trending above the 50-day moving average, or are they below it? Or what's the mood and manner, what economic reports are coming out today? How would they, could they, influence the market?

As traders you need to be nimble these days with a fear in the market. We look at the VIX, the volatility indicator out of the CBOE.

I look also at the US dollar. That's something we have had to bring in the last couple of years, is it strong or weak and that affects the markets. We also look at oil, but that's my own special thing, because if the market is going up and oil is starting to go down, that can almost be an early warning sign a lot of people don't think about, because a diminishing demand on oil means the global economy may be tapering down.

Well, that's some intermarket analysis that most of us don't often take enough time to consider. You mentioned economic reports coming out that day. Do you tend to advise traders to avoid days with really, really influential or volatile economic announcements like the non-fund payroll report or interest rate announcements?

I do. And the FOMC meeting, of course, is the granddaddy. It comes out about every six weeks, and on that day, usually leading up to it depending on the overall news, the market can go up if it's reasonably happy, and then go sideways into the report.

But then after the report if there is any news in it that is unexpected, then even if your stock pops up, it can fall down just as fast. And that time frame after the FOMC or the fed interest rate comes out can be a real rollercoaster.

It's a circus after that happens.

It's a circus, so...

Why take part in that if you can just sit on the sidelines?

Yeah, because you know what? The most important thing for a trader or investor, any of us, Rob, is to protect our principal. And we have to keep that utmost in our minds all day long, and especially during that time.

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