Run Your Stock Market Trading Strategy Through This 3 Question Filter for Greater Success

Any stock market trading strategy much be looked at critically and objectively before it is employed in the market. A seemingly perfect trading strategy often fails because the traders does adequately understand the strategy or them self. By asking the following three questions in regards to our trading strategy we are more likely find a strategy that works for us personally, not wasting our time and money on something which stands little chance of bringing in profits.

These questions can actually be employed for any situation, not just trading. These questions focus us, and make sure we are constructing a proper plan for action whether it be in relationships, business or negotiation. It is recommended that you write down your thoughts on each question so you reach a sense of finality, truth and self-awareness.

After you have devised a stock market trading strategy, make sure you run the plan through these three questions. You can also go through these questions before you create a trading strategy, but make sure you do it after as well.

1. What outcome do I want to achieve in (or through) the stock market?

Simple enough, but not so fast. This is actually a more complex question than most people realize. Do not say”Make more money” or “Be able to quit my job to trade stocks.” These are vague and mean nothing-you must get precise in what you want to achieve. The results must also be tangible and measurable-“get rich” is not measurable (how much is rich and how will you get there?).

You must also consider the short-term and long-term and how the two need to work together for the same ultimate goal. For instance, if your goal is simple to make money as quickly as possible you will likely try for home-run trades, usually risking too much on each trade. While you may get lucky and have some short-term success over the long-term you will lose everything you have with such reckless action. In other words, this short-term goal is likely at odds with a long-term goal of sustained capital growth into retirement (which is also vague, get specific!).

Take a phrase like “I want to get rich” and widdle it down to a specific target outcome which is measurable and achievable. Write all your thoughts and considerations down, and then take the final result, and put it next to your trading computer so you will be constantly reminded of the outcome you want to achieve.

Your final question related to outcome is: Does my trading plan get me to the outcome I want in the short-term and the long-term? If it does, proceed to the next question. If the trading strategy falls short, go back and rework the trading strategy so it is in line with your desired outcome.

2. What are the consequences of my trading strategy?

You now have an outcome you want to achieve, and everything looks great on paper. Yet, most of us like to indulge our fantasies especially when it comes to our trading strategies. We assume we are smarter than others, and our sheer brilliance will make us money. Wrong. Therefore, write down everything that could go wrong with your trading strategy. Be brutally honest and specifically critique what could blow your strategy to bits.

After you have your list, go over it and ask yourself once again if the outcome you desire is still achievable given the potential consequences of the strategy? Given the realities of the market (no delusions here) can your plan make money? If your trading strategy meets your desired outcome and you can handle the consequences then proceed to the next question. If you can’t handle the consequences your strategy may dish out, then re-work your plan till it is within your personal risk tolerance given the harsh reality of the market.

In this step also consider other consequences outside of the markets. For instance, will the time required to execute the trading strategy take away from family time or beers with the buddies? Can you deal with those consequences? Can your family and friends deal with it? We don’t live in a bubble; our actions affect others, and their actions affect us. Consider the consequences of what you are doing and the effect it will have on yourself and others. Make sure you can handle such consequences.

3. Is my trading strategy consistent with who I am?

This is by far the most important question, as it is where most people fail to account for their individuality. Your trading strategy may look good on paper; it meets your objectives, you can handle the consequences/losses which may result from it, but if it is inconsistent with who you are it is all for not. If you do not like stress and constantly having to watch the market, no matter how much you want to be a day trader it is not going to work–your plans will fail because it is at odds with who are. Alternatively, someone who can’t sleep while they have an open position in the stock market (or any market) is unlikely to achieve long-term success as a swing trader.

Look at your plan and then take inventory of you who you are. Do you and the trading strategy mesh? If not, re-work the strategy. If you feel you will constantly need to fight internal urges and aspects of yourself, then your strategy will likely fail. Or you may need to set physical barriers to keep you from your tendencies, such as turning off monitors after entries, stops and profit targets have been set. This will help you to avoid exiting positions too early if this is one of your tendencies. It may mean having to leave the house or trading office during lunch if you continually violate your rules during this sedate part of the day.

Know yourself, and then build your trading strategy so it factors you and your tendencies into the equation. If you and your trading strategy do mesh, make sure you are not lying to yourself, and then proceed with executing your plan in the stock market. If the plan has passed through these questions in an honest fashion, you will be well on your way to achieving your stock market and financial objectives.

Summary

If you are struggling in life in or in trading, run your decisions and trading strategies through these three questions. The questions, if fully and honestly answered, will clarify your objectives, make you aware of potential risk and ultimately determine if the strategy you have chosen is right for who you are. Trading is more than just plunking a plan on paper or striking the buy and sell keys, you must make sure your trading strategies align with your life and your personality. Stop losing money in the stock market (any market) and get honest with yourself. Trading strategies that do not align with who you are will result in let-down after let-down. Trading strategies that have passed through the three question filter honestly and completely, are more likely to bring you success.

The Four Keys of Identifying Winning Trading Strategies

Most traders are on a constant quest to discover winning trading strategies. And yet, very few Traders are ever able to find and successfully implement these winning trading strategies.

Why is that? What is it that is so elusive about these winning day trading systems and strategies? Where can you go as a Trader to find the most powerful and accurate winning trading systems and strategies available?

The fact of the matter is that most well-thought-out day trading systems and strategies can and should be winning day trading strategies IF the Trader has discipline – both in following the day trading strategy exactly, and also in sticking with the trading strategy.

Yet it seems that most day traders will try what should be a winning trading system or strategy just once or twice, and if it doesn’t immediately yield positive results, these traders quickly abandon it and move on to the next “hot trading tip”.

And these same Traders wonder why they can NEVER create consistent Day Trading success – why they can never lock in on that one winning trading strategy.

To help you along on your quest, we’ve created a four-step punchlist for you to follow as you continue your quest to identify winning trading strategies. Pay close attention to this list – it could be the “game changer” you’ve been looking for as a Day Trader.

The Four Keys To Identify Winning Day Trading Strategies:

1. Keep It Simple, Stoopid! The best day trading systems and strategies are also the easiest to learn, understand, and master. The more complicated a trading strategy (and believe me, in the world of technical analysis, there are PLENTY of ultra-complicated trading strategies), the less like you’ll ever be able to turn it into a winning trading strategy for yourself.

When looking for winning trading systems or strategies, find those that are simple, easy to execute, and that don’t require an advanced degree in statistical theory to comprehend.

2. Speed Is Your Best Friend. The longer you’re in a trade, the more time there is for something to go wrong. When searching for those elusive Winning Trading Strategies, find one that allows you to be in and out of a trade very quickly (my average trade lasts less than one minute).

Find day trading systems that don’t focus on “long term” trading (i.e. anything longer than a few minutes) – it’ll be better for your trading account AND your stress level.

3. Don’t Be A Stock Chart Zombie. Most (nearly all) trading systems or strategies require you to spend hours and hours a day chained like a slave to your computer, making trade after trade after trade, all…day…long. Is that really the life that you’re looking for? Wouldn’t it be better to be in, out, and on with your day?

In fact the slogan “get in, hit your target, get out…like you were never there” is speaking directly to this idea. The problem is that MOST trading strategies require you to watch for indicators that will “predict” when market movement will happen, and also which direction to enter the trade.

Wouldn’t it be easier, and flat-out BETTER, if you already knew exactly when market movement was going to happen, and then how to take advantage of that movement? Couldn’t you significantly reduce your trading risk if you had these three factors in your day trading arsenal? The less time you have to spend executing a winning trading strategy, the more like you will be to maintain your discipline as a Trader. Speaking of…

4. Maintain your discipline. No matter what day trading system or strategy you ultimately decide on, discipline is absolutely 100% necessary for you to become a successful trader. You MUST maintain your discipline as you execute your chosen strategy, and also as you keep working at perfecting it.

Lack of discipline has perhaps ruined more would-be Traders than any other flaw. Even as an experienced Trader, I sometimes find myself growing impatient with my own trading system (even though these strategies that I use develop almost instantly and I’m usually in a trade for less than a minute). And its when I veer off course of these winning trading strategies that I find myself limiting my profits, or even turning winning trades into losing trades.

As a day trader, there is no characteristic more important in your trading practices than the ability to exercise a high level of discipline. And ironically, there is no trading skill that is harder to master than unbending, unyielding discipline. It’s something of a Day Trading paradox. But its also a real trading skill that you MUST master if you are going to ever achieve consistent day trading success.

So there you have it – the four keys of identifying winning trading strategies. Of course, not all trading systems are created equally…and if you’re going to achieve day trading success, it’s on YOUR SHOULDERS to identify those day trading systems and strategies that will give you the greatest chance of success.

How to Design a Share Trading Strategy

Before we start:

All Traders should have a mantra, as follows:

I will educate myself on how the market works.

I will learn how to find and place a trade.

I will create a trading plan and trade my plan.

I will not chase the market with emotions.

I will decide to be a day trader or an overnight trader (or longer) before I enter the market to help to control my emotions.

I will be patient and wait for a market set up.

I will never trade without a protective stop loss order.

The market will meet my criteria or I will not trade.

 have refined a standard procedure that I use for the process of creating a trading strategy. I always start with the big picture and make increasingly more detailed decisions about the strategy.

I begin with the assessment of what type market action I want to trade and what kind of trader I am. Then I end up with making decisions on exits, and how far away to put my money management stops.

How can you adapt my strategy making to your personal psychology?

You Must Pick the Market

The first decision you must make is what type of market you want to trade. Although this may look like an easy decision, in fact, it is a difficult judgment, because most new traders only consider the profit aspect. They simply try to pick the strategy that they think will make the most money. Focusing on money will probably lead you to make the wrong decision. It is the psychological aspect of trading each of the markets that is the most important consideration. It does not make sense to create a very profitable strategy if you are unable to trade psychologically.

What is Your Trading Time Frame?

You need to decide whether you will day trade or trade on daily or weekly charts. It is very difficult to have a job and trade intra-day. It is not totally impossible, just very difficult.

Most people want to trade part time and still hold down a day job. If you want to do this, it is better to trade daily or weekly charts. You will only be able to look at the market outside of your working hours and your strategy design will have to take this into account.

The strategy should not require you to check the market during the day. I think that there is only a certain amount of money that you can get from the markets and that depends on the time frame you choose to trade.

Time frame choice is a personal decision, and of course there are no right or wrong answers. The ultimate decision is personal preference influenced by financial your considerations. But you have to make this decision before you start looking for indicators, as the choice of indicators is influenced by the time frame selection.

However remember the old saying: “if you ‘buy and hold’ then eventually everything will be fine. Remember the expression touted – “It’s time in the market, not timing the market.”

My guess is that more active investment management will be the key for anyone wanting to make a better-than-inflation return from shares over the next five years.

What I am trying to point out is that short term or day trading in this type of market is better than buy and hold. But it must fit in with your time availability.

The Types of Market

There are three types of market action: trending, directionless and volatile. I think a directionless market is very hard to trade, thus I will not discuss the directionless market here. I would suggest trading either a trending market or a volatility market.

You can choose a trend strategy, knowing that you are going to have to trade through periods of corrections during the directionless phase, or you choose a volatility strategy that will give you extended periods of doing nothing while you wait for the next trade. Which one is for you?

We will look at a volatile market and a trending market and build our strategy accordingly.

What is a Volatile Market?

A volatile market is characterized by sharp jumps in price, up or down. This type of market action involves a quick and unexpected change in volatility. One measure of volatility might be the difference or spread between two moving averages – the spread increases with volatility. Price action, such as gap openings or an increase in the daily range, can also be considered an indication of an increase in volatility.

Each of these two types of markets (Trending and Volatile) are tradable, but with markedly different trading strategies. Let’s take a look at each type of market behavior and the strategies that are appropriate to that type of market.

Strategy: Volatile market

Trades generated by this type of strategy are usually short-term, and when trading this type of strategy, you will be out of the market a significant amount of time.

Volatility strategies generate a high percentage of winning trades, although these trades usually generate small profits per trade. The Foreign Exchange (Forex) market is a typical market that I would class as volatile. Trend following strategies don’t work well in the Forex market.

Today’s market volatility is unprecedented, but so is the market opportunity if you have the right trading methodology. With CFD Trading you don’t have to worry about whether the market goes up, down or sideways as long as it stays within your boundaries. The record volatility has created great value for CFD or day trades, while allowing you to set conservative strike prices.

Whether you are a novice or experienced day trader, you now have the opportunity to learn how to take advantage of today’s chaotic market conditions and target attractive profits.

However you must realise that trading a volatile market, e.g. day trading, is inhabited by the sharpest minds in the game. They are all out to grab your money. The best way to start day trading is slowly, calmly and armed with all the education and the best mentorship you can muster. Look at your market indicators and learn how they interact.

Comparing medium or long term trading with day trading is like comparing a wombat with a kangaroo. Entry points, exit points and risk reward ratios are different. Go slowly when you begin day trading. Preserve your trading capital and most of all, don’t trade without a trading plan.

Let us have a look what indicators I use.

I use volume, 3 moving averages (MA), MACD and stochastic indicator.

Generally, I use a 5 minute chart with the MA set at 18, 39 at 50 periods. The MA18 and 39 are my main ones, while I keep the 50 as my trend indicator. I have also volume, MACD and stochastic on the chart.

When trading CFD, I set my daily range as per my Bias Indicator, as outlined on my web site. Then I look for possible trades on a number of charts in my watch list. I look for trends and volatility.

If the trend is going up, I watch for an opportunity to go long, if the trend is going down, I seek to go short. Always wait for a retracement, watch the MACD and stochastic indicators. In this discussion, I will concentrate on going long, however you can apply the opposite technique to go short.

Let us assume that we have an uptrend and the last few candles show a retracement. Watch your stochastic indicator. If it shows oversold, wait for it to turn up. Also watch your MACD. It should also start to turn up. If possible, candles should show a clear swing low.

A swing low requires at least three periods (bars on a bar chart) to be established. A swing low is formed when a period’s low is lower than both the period before it and the period after it. A swing high is the reverse. It is formed when a period’s high is higher than both the period before and after it. You cannot say that a particular bar on a chart is the lowest the stock will go until the stock experiences a period in which it does not continue to go lower. Therefore, in its simplest definition a swing low is not established until a period occurs in which a stock does not make a new low for the move.

This should establish your entry point to go long.

Exits are somewhat more intuitive, especially once you are in profit. I generally exit when I get a swing high, when the MACD starts to turn down or when the stochastic indicator starts to turn down. I am happy to exit with small profits rather than let them turn into a loss.

Day trading is part mechanical and part intuitive. You have to watch all the time, adjust your trailing stop loss and take profits when you can.

I believe it is one of the toughest ways of trading, but in a volatile market, can also be one of the most profitable.

Now let us explore how to set a strategy for a trending market.

Should we use weekly or daily charts?

Weekly charts are much more difficult to trade because it takes more discipline. To trade weekly charts, you must make your decisions on the weekends and not make any changes until the next weekend. For most traders, this is very difficult to do. It is very easy to yield to temptation and move a stop loss or a money management stop, or want to keep your profits and exit the market early.

Most people don’t think of trading weekly charts. My experience is that when following trend trading, there is a lot of money to be made trading weekly charts, simply because so few traders are able to do so. To make money in the markets, you have to walk where the average traders do not venture. Weekly charts are one of those places. However, whether you us weekly or daily charts, the strategy remains very similar. There is more price detail in the daily chart, but also more price noise.

What is a Set-Up for a Trade?

Let us look at some of the indicators which we could use. For a trending market, trading for the medium or longer term, I prefer to use Exponential Moving Averages (EMA) of 150, 50 and 20 periods. I would like to point out that I rarely enter a trade long if the price is below the 150 day EMA.

The other guide I use is volume. Volume indicates interest by other traders and momentum in the market.

I am sure that most traders have tested the Moving Average Crossover Strategy sometime in their trading career. The average trader will look at this strategy and believe that the only thing to test is if the two or more moving averages cross over.

New traders will experiment with many different lengths for the averages. As I said before, I prefer to use Exponential Moving Averages (EMA) of 150, 50 and 20 periods.

When they don’t find any that work to their satisfaction, they discard the moving average strategy concept entirely and move on to something else. They keep looking for that Holy Grail indicator that they hope can instantly make them successful.

We have all been there and have all discarded many great ideas. The discarding of an idea, more often than not, is a mistake. I believe that for the most part, any indicator can be made into a profitable strategy. Yes, I said any indicator. When we discard the moving averages, it is usually a mistake because the moving averages by themselves only represent one half of the strategy development process.

The second half of a strategy, the half that most traders ignore completely, is what I call the “Entry Point.” I will talk about exactly what these two terms mean and how using them. Together they can turn something as simple as a moving average crossover into a promising new trading technique.

To develop and execute a successful strategy, we need a set-up and an entry signal. The set-up is the set of conditions that are necessary prior to considering taking a position in the market. It consists of the indicator or group of indicators that tell us to get readyto enter the fray. Set-ups don’t get you in the market; they simply make you aware that a trade could be possible.

Here are some examples of a trend following set-up:

A fast moving EMA crossing over a slow moving EMA.

Price moving close to or outside a channel, e.g. Bollinger or Standard deviation channel.

Prices reaching the upper or lower line of a moving average envelope.

Sudden increase in volume.

There are countless other indicators and conditions that could be used as set-ups. In the final analysis, you are limited only by your creativity.

Once we have defined our set-up rules, we can then establish our Entry rules.

Creating Entry Rules

By trading only set-ups, you lose the added accuracy and increased profitability of a strategy that uses both set-up and entry. If trading set-ups by themselves worked and was profitable, trading would be easy and all traders would be rich.

An entry is the signal by which the trader purchases the contract in the market. It is the technique that a trader should use to take a market position once the rules for the setup have been met.

Entry selection is dependent on the type of set-up you’ve designed. The entries must be designed differently depending on the type of strategy you choose to trade.

There are two rules which should be followed to enter a trade.

The first rule requires prices to move in the expected direction before entering the market. If our set-up indicates a long position, we would require the price action to move up in some specified manner before we would be comfortable taking a position. We want the price action to confirm the set-up and force us into taking a position.

For instance, let us assume that on today’s close our set-up has given us a long signal. We might require a breakout above the high of today’s bar to confirm that the market is in bullish mode. With this breakout as a condition of entry, we have now required specific market action in the direction of the set-up before we risk taking a market position.

You may decide to place a buy order if the price is a set number of points above the previous day’s close. It is up to you to decide what your entry point should be, once you have a set up.

The only limit to creating viable entries is your creativity. There are potentially many techniques that make interesting entries.

The second rule requires you to enter the trade if your entry point is met. You should not hesitate to enter.

Trading the set-up and entry concept and making sure that you follow the rules gives far superior results when compared to trading either set-ups or entries by themselves. Using both a set-up and an entry together enhances the performance and profitability of a strategy.

I wish you success with your trading. Please do not hesitate to email questions to me.

It is of benefit to look for a good mentor to help you to keep on the path of learning. If interested, look on my web site where you can find a good (I hope) and affordable mentoring program. I may well be of help to you.