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How To Become A Day Trader

Like all businesses, day trading can be extremely lucrative. I suppose that is the reason why so many people want to become day traders. However, the risks are equally great and it is important to know what it takes to become a day trader.

There are a few things you need to consider before you decide whether a day trader job is suitable for you.

A day trader’s job can be very stressful and taxing. Since you have to sit all day looking at a computer terminal spotting mar...

day trading, currency trading, currency day trading, forex, trading, forex trader, day trader

Like all businesses, day trading can be extremely lucrative. I suppose that is the reason why so many people want to become day traders. However, the risks are equally great and it is important to know what it takes to become a day trader.

There are a few things you need to consider before you decide whether a day trader job is suitable for you.

A day trader’s job can be very stressful and taxing. Since you have to sit all day looking at a computer terminal spotting market trends and movements, some people may not be suitable for this type of job.

You need to have an analytic mind to analyze large amounts of data and derive which stock to trade and profit. This isn’t easy and comes about partly from experience. However, you need to have lots of patience to analyze such data.

When you are first starting out in day trading, the odds are you will lose money first. Therefore it is important you have enough financial banking to cover the losses especially when you are starting out.

Always remember a day trader does not invest in stocks, they ride with the stocks. It means they buy a particular stock when it’s rising and sell them the moment it’s heading the other direction. All done in a single day.

Day traders do not buy stocks and hold them. You should also not get emotional with any stocks you have. You should treat stocks like commodities, buy when low and sell when high.

If possible, you can join a trading company and learn the ropes. Usually, if you are new to day trading, a mentor will offer advice and show you the day to day trading. Most trading companies have expert traders who can provide you with tips and experience.

You can also try trading simulations that mirror the real world to test your knowledge of day trading. Using trading simulations are a great way for you to learn the in and out of day trading without actually losing money.

It is very important you seek the right advice when you start a career as a day trading. You want to look for day traders or trading companies who have made their clients money.

Day trading can be an easy way to make money in a short period of time but also remember you can lose a lot of money in a short period of time as well. That’s why it’s important you have the knowledge, experience and financial resources before pursuing day trading.

 

How to Find a Day Trading System that Works

Find out the steps that would enable you to find a Day Trading System that works wonders for you and allow you to start from scrath and grow big with time.

Daytrading system

Trading with a system will dramatically improve your chances of making money in the markets.
The next challenge is to find a <a href="http://www.rockwelltrading.com/daytradingcoach/01_dtc_moreinfo.html#STRATEGIES"><b>daytrading system</b></a> that works. Today you have the chance to choose from more than 300 trading systems available. Unfortunately just 10% of them are trading profitably.
In the next three minutes I will present you the 10 Power Principles for Successful Day Trading Systems, which will help and support you in your research.
Principle #1: Few rules - easy to understand
It may surprise you that the best <a href="http://www.rockwelltrading.com/daytradingcoach/01_dtc_moreinfo.html#STRATEGIES"><b>daytrading systems</b></a> have less than 10 rules. The more rules you have, the more likely you "curve-fitted" your trading system to the past, and such an over-optimized system is very unlikely to produce profits in real markets.
It's important that your rules are easy to understand and execute. The markets can behave very wild and move fast, and you won't have the time to calculate complicated formulas in order to make a trading decision. Think about successful floor traders: The only tool they use is a calculator, and they make thousands of dollars every day.

Principle #2: Trade electronic and liquid markets
We strongly recommend that you trade electronic markets because the commissions are lower and you receive instant fills. You need to know as fast as possible if your order was filled and at what price, because based on this information you plan your exit.
You should never place an exit order before you know that your entry order is filled. When you trade open outcry markets (non-electronic) you might have to wait awhile before you receive your fill. By that time, the market might have already turned and your profitable trade has turned into a loss!
When trading electronic markets you receive your fills in less than one second and can immediately place your exit orders. Trading liquid markets you can avoid slippage, which will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Principle #3: Make consistent profits
You should always look for a trading system that produces a nice and smooth equity curve, even if in the long run the net profit is slightly smaller. Most professional traders prefer to take small profits every day instead of big profits every now and then. If you trade for a living, you need to pay your bills from your trading profits, and therefore you should regularly deposit profits into your trading account.
Making consistent profits is the secret of successful traders!
Principle #4: Maintain a healthy balance between risk and reward
Let me give you an example: If you go to a casino and bet everything you have on "red", then you have a 49% chance of doubling your money and a 51% chance of losing everything. The same applies to trading: You can make a lot of money if you are risking a lot, but then risk of ruin is very high. You need to find a healthy balance between risk and reward.
Let's say you define "ruin" as losing 20% of your account, and you define "success" as making 20% profits. Having a trading system with past performance results let you calculate the "risk of ruin" and "chance of success".
Your risk of ruin should be always less than 5%, and your chance of success should be 5-10 times higher, e.g. if your risk of ruin is 4%, then your chance of success should be 40% or higher.

Principle #5: Find a system that produces at least five trades per week
The higher the trading frequency the smaller the chances of having a losing month. If you have a trading system that has a winning percentage of 70%, but only produces 1 trade per month, then 1 loser is enough to have a losing month. In this example, you could have several losing months in a row before you finally start making profits. In the meantime, how do you pay for your bills?
If your trading system produces five trades per week, then you have on average 20 trades per month. Having a winning percentage of 70% - your chances of a winning month are extremely high.
That's the goal of all traders: Having as many winning months as possible!

Principle #6: Start small - grow big
Your trading system should allow you to start small and grow big. A good trading system allows you to start with one or two contracts, and then increase your position as your trading account grows. This is in contrast to many "martingale" trading systems that require increasing position sizes when you are in a losing streak.
You probably heard about this strategy: Double your contracts every time you lose, and one winner will win back all the money you previously lost. It's not unusual to have 4-5 losing trades in a row, and this would already require to trade 16 contracts after just 4 losses! Trading the e-mini S&P you would then need an account size of at least $63,200, just to meet the margin requirement. That's why martingale systems don't work.

Principle #7: Automate your trading
Emotions and human errors are the most common mistakes that traders make. By all means you have to avoid these mistakes. Especially during fast markets, it is crucial that you determine the entry and exit points fast and accurately; otherwise, you might miss a trade or find yourself in a losing position.
Therefore you should automate your trading and look for a trading system that either already is or can be automated. Automating your trading makes it free of human emotion. The buy and sell operations are all automatic, hands-free, with no manual interventions and you can be sure that you make profits when you should according to your plan.

Principle #8: Have a high percentage of winning trades
Your trading strategy should produce more than 50% winners. There's no doubt that trading systems with smaller winning percentages can be profitable, too, but the psychological pressure is enormous. Taking 7 losers out of 10 trades and not doubting the system takes great discipline, and many traders can't stand the pressure. After the sixth loser they start "improving" the system or stop trading it completely.
Especially for beginners it is a big help to gain confidence in your trading and your system if you have a high winning percentage of more than 65%.

Principle #9: Look for a system that is tested on at least 200 trades
The more trades you use in your back testing (without curve-fitting), the higher the probabilities that your trading system will succeed in the future. Look at the following table:
Number of Trades 50 100 200 300 500 Margin of Error 14% 10% 7% 6% 4%
The more trades you have in your back testing, the smaller the margin of error, and the higher the probability of producing profits in the future.

Principle #10: Chose a valid back testing period
I recently saw the following ad: "Since 1994 I've taught thousands of traders worldwide a Simple and Reliable E-Mini trading methodology".
That's very interesting, because the e-mini S&P was introduced in September 1997, and the e-mini Nasdaq in June 1999, therefore, none of these contracts existed before 1997. What kind of e-mini trading did this vendor teach from 1994-1997???
The same applies to your back testing: If you developed an e-mini S&P trading strategy, then you should back test it only for the past 2-4 years, because even though the contract has existed since 1997, there was practically nobody trading it (see chart below):
Now you know how to separate the scam from good working trading systems. By applying this checklist you will easily identify trading systems that work and those that will never make it.

Author’s name
Markus Heitkoetter
Author's Info:
Markus Heitkoetter is a 19 year veteran of the markets and the CEO of Rockwell Trading. For more free information and tips and trick how to make consistent profits with online daytrading, visit his website www.rockwelltrading.com.

 

How to Develop a Profitable Day trading System

Developing a day trading system can be tricky, but it’s by far not as complicated as many vendors make you think. In the following we will present you a simple trading system that we developed using these steps.

day trading system

In this article I will explain to you how to develop a profitable <a href="http://www.rockwelltrading.com/daytradingcoach/01_dtc_moreinfo.html#STRATEGIES"><b>day trading system</b></a> in five steps:
Step 1: Select a market and a timeframe
Step 2: Define entry rules
Step 3: Define exit rules
Step 4: Evaluate your day trading system
Step 5: Improving the day trading system
Let’s take a closer look at these steps.
Step 1: Select a market and a timeframe
Every market and every timeframe can be traded with a day trading system. But if you want to look at 50 different futures markets and 6 major timeframes (e.g. 5min, 10min, 15min, 30min, 60min and daily), then you need to evaluate 300 possible options. Here are some hints on how to limit your choices:
• Though you can trade every futures markets, we recommend that you stick to the electronic markets (e.g. e-mini S&P and other indices, Treasury Bonds and Notes, Currencies, etc). Usually these markets are very liquid, and you won’t have a problem entering and exiting a trade. Another advantage of electronic markets is lower commissions: Expect to pay at least half the commissions you pay on non-electronic markets. Sometimes the difference can be as high as 75%.
• When you select a smaller timeframes (less than 60min) your average profit per trade is usually comparably low. On the other hand you get more trading opportunities. When trading on a larger timeframe your profits per trade will be bigger, but you will have less trading opportunities. It’s up to you to decide which timeframe suits you best.
• Smaller timeframes mean smaller profits, but usually smaller risk, too. When you are starting with a small trading account, then you might want to select a small timeframe to make sure that you are not overtrading your account.
Most profitable <a href="http://www.rockwelltrading.com/daytradingcoach/01_dtc_moreinfo.html#STRATEGIES"><b>day trading systems</b></a> use larger timeframes like daily and weekly. These systems work, too, but, be prepared for less trading action and bigger drawdowns.
Step 2: Define entry rules
Let’s simplify the myths of “entry rules”:
Basically there are 2 different kinds of entry setups:
• Trend-following
When prices are moving up, you buy, and when prices are going down, you sell.
• Trend-fading
When prices are trading at an extreme (e.g. upper band of a channel), you sell, and you try to catch the small move while prices are moving back into “normalcy”. The same applies for selling.
In my opinion swing trading is actually one of the best trading strategies for the beginning trader to get his or her feet wet. By contrast, trend trading offers greater profit potential if a trader is able to catch a major market trend of weeks or months, but few are the traders with sufficient discipline to hold a position for that period of time without getting distracted.
Most indicators that you will find in your charting software belong to one of these two categories: You have either indicators for identifying trends (e.g. Moving Averages) or indicators that define overbought or oversold situations and therefore offer you a trade setup for a short term swing trade.
So don’t become confused by all the possibilities of entering a trade. Just make sure that you understand why you are using a certain indicator or what the indicator is measuring. An example of a simple swing daytrading strategy can be found in the next chapter.
Step 3: Define exit rules
Let’s keep it simple here, too: There are two different exit rules you want to apply:
• Stop Loss Rules to protect your capital and
• Profit Taking Exits to realize your profits
Both exit rules can be expressed in four ways:
• A fixed dollar amount (e.g. $1,000)
• A percentage of the current price (e.g. 1% of the entry price)
• A percentage of the volatility (e.g. 50% of the average daily movement) or
• A time stop (e.g. exit after 3 days)
We don’t recommend using a fixed dollar amount, because markets are too different. For example, natural gas changes an average of a few thousand dollars per day per contract; however, Eurodollars change an average of a few hundred dollars a day per contract. You need to balance and normalize this difference when developing a day trading system and testing it on different markets. That’s why you should always use percentages for stops and profit targets (e.g. 1% stop) or a volatility stop instead of a fixed dollar amount.
A time stop gets you out of a trade if it is not moving in any direction, therefore freeing your capital for other trades.
Step 4: Evaluate your day trading system
The first figure to look for is the net profit. Obviously you want your system to generate profits. But don’t be frustrated when during the development stage your day trading system shows a loss; try to reverse your entry signals. On our website www.rockwelltrading.com you already learned that trading is a zero sum game: So if you are going long at a certain price level, and you lose, then try to go short instead. Many times this is the easiest way to turn a losing system into a winning one.
The next figure you want to look at is the average profit per trade. Make sure this number is greater than slippage and commissions, and that it makes your day trading worthwhile. Day trading is all about risk and reward, and you want to make sure you get a decent reward for your risk.
Take a look at the Profit Factor (Gross Profit / Gross Loss). This will tell you how many dollars you are likely to win for every dollar you lose. The higher the profit factor the better the day trading system. A system should have a profit factor of 1.5 or more, but watch out when you see profit factors above 3.0, because it might be that you over-optimized the system.
Here are some more characteristics you might want to consider besides the net profit of a system:
• Winning percentage
Many profitable day trading systems achieve a nice net profit with a rather small winning percentage, sometimes even below 30%. These systems follow the principle “Cut your losses short and let your profits run”. However, YOU need to decide whether you can stand 7 losers and only 3 winners in 10 trades. If you want to be “right” most of the time, then you should pick a system with a high winning percentage.
• Number of Trades per Month
Do you need daily action? If you want to see something happening every day, then you should pick a day trading system with a high number of trades per month. Many profitable day trading systems generate only 2-3 trades per month, but if you are not patient enough to wait for it, then you should select a day trading system with a higher trading frequency.
• Average Time in Trade
Some people get really nervous when they are in a trade. I have heard of people who can’t even sleep at night when they have an open position. If that’s you, then you should make sure that the average time in a trade is as short as possible. You might want to choose a system that does not hold any positions overnight.
• Maximum Drawdown
A famous trader once said: “If you want your system to double or triple your account, you should expect a drawdown of up to 30% on your way to trading riches.” Not every trader can stand a 30% drawdown. Look at the maximum drawdown the system produced so far, and double it. If you can stand this drawdown, then you found the right day trading system. Why doubling? Remember: your worst drawdown is always ahead of you.
• Most consecutive losses
The amount of most consecutive losses has a huge impact on your trading, especially when you are using certain types of money management techniques. Five or six consecutive losses can cause you a lot of trouble when using an aggressive money management.
In addition this number will help you to determine whether you have enough discipline to trade the system: Will you still trade the system after you have experienced 10 losses in a row? It’s not unusual for a profitable trading system to have 10-12 losses in a row.
Step 5: Improving your system
There is a difference between “improving” and “curve-fitting” a system. You can improve your day trading system by testing different exit methods: If you are using a fixed stop, try a trailing stop instead. Add a time stop and evaluate the results again. Don’t look at the net profit only; look also at the profit factor, average profit per trade and maximum drawdown. Many times you will see that the net profit slightly decreases when you add different stops, but the other figures might improve dramatically.

Don’t fall into the trap of over-optimizing: You can eliminate almost all losers by adding enough rules. Simple example: If you see that on Tuesdays you had more losers than on the other weekdays, you might be tempted to add a “filter” that prevents your day trading system from entering trades on Tuesdays. Next you find that in January you had much worse results than in other months, so you add a filter that enters trades only from February – December. You add more and more filters to avoid losses, and eventually you end up with a trading rule that I saw recently:
IF FVE > -1 And Regression Slope (Close , 35) / Close.35 * 100 > -.35 And Regression Slope (Close , 35) / Close.35 * 100 < .4 And Regression Slope (Close , 70) / Close.70 * 100 > -.4 And Regression Slope (Close , 70) / Close.70 * 100 < .4 And Regression Slope (Close , 170) / Close.170 * 100 > -.2 And MACD Diff (Close , 12 , 26 , 9) > -.003 And Not Tuesday And Not DayOfMonth = 12 and not Month = August and Time > 9:30 ...
Though you eliminated all possibilities of losing (in the past) and this trading system is now producing fantastic profits, it’s very unlikely that it will continue to do so when it hits reality.

Author’s name
Markus Heitkoetter
Author's Info:
Markus Heitkoetter is a 19 year veteran of the markets and the CEO of Rockwell Trading. For more free information and tips and trick how to make consistent profits with online daytrading, visit his website www.rockwelltrading.com.




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