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The Traders Wheel
9/19/99 by Alan Farley

The Truth about Day Trading

On a popular stock board recently, a serious-minded trader noticed just how much the "house" was stacked against him trying to earn a living in the markets. Given all the recent negative publicity, can ANYONE really succeed at this fascinating discipline?

Here is my response:

Good instruction on short-term trading techniques has been available for years. While it often focused on the futures markets, stock traders knew they could apply those same principles to their own game.

Teaching of scalping strategies based on fast execution systems is a relatively new phenomenon. EDT (electronic day trading) brokers did not invent day trading. Nor was it discovered by the masses that have taken it up as a hobby the last 18 months. Expensive Level 2 training has always had the taint of being a front to sell you a broker's software system. Scalping was how the principals at these BDs (broker-dealers) made their living before they bought the brokerage. For most of them, it's all they know so they can't teach you anything else.

Unfortunately, scalping is the last technique that should be taught to a new trader. Forget the quick trigger stuff. Scalping at every level requires a seasoned instinct for how the markets move in waves of buying and selling behavior. New traders need years to comprehend and act on that flow.

Success in trading is not about ECNs, SOES, BDs, MMs, etc. It's about buying low and selling high, period. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this "technique" is easier the longer that you hold a stock and harder the shorter you hold it. Most of us who found success in the markets started by investing or position trading, not day trading. It's close to suicide to day trade before learning longer holding techniques as position trading teaches you all of the skills that you'll need to know in day trading but at a pace your brain can assimilate them.

When day trading, you must apply all that stuff at an accelerated pace. That takes many years of experience for most people. To jump into the day trading game with a lack of seasoned market-based skills, acquired through experience, is like getting thrown into a meat blender.

Think market-wide and not industry-wide. The EDTs are a transitional industry. Their proprietary product is slowly being absorbed into the mainstream. And the extreme business sloppiness of a few has brought wrath upon all of them. But they did not invent nor do they control this game or ever will.

New traders should seek out classic forms of teaching and training and avoid the video game suicide trap. After you learn how, what and when to buy and sell, the use of software systems becomes so much easier. The natural flow of trading opportunity will have you acting contrary to the ISLD, ARCHIP and SOES order flow that mindlessly chases small shifts in momentum.

(Author’s note: See you at the Daytradingexpo in Ontario, CA 9/25 and 9/26!)

An hour of EBAY can last a lifetime. Scalping techniques teach new traders to take advantage of short swings in price and momentum. But it can take years to develop the finely tuned instincts required to make quick and accurate jumps in and out of fast moving stocks.

 

 
Alan Farley is a full-time trader and author residing in Denver, CO. He publishes The Hard Right Edge premier web site for trader education, technical analysis and trader resources featuring both Morning Trader and Traders Workshop. The site provides traders with comprehensive resources including original tactics and strategies on multi-trend technical analysis and short-term trading .

  Alan also authors on-line training technical analysis in association with independent sites. His most recent publications include the Mastering The Trade on-line workshop, Momentum: Riding The Tiger, and Time of Day. In addition to writing, he is an outstanding speaker and lecturer on short term trading strategies.

 He has been featured in Barrons, Smart Money magazine, Tech Week, MoneyCentral and TheStreet.com.

 

 

 

 
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Last modified: April 02, 2001

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