Top 10 Day Trading Strategies for Beginners Part 3
Day Trading Charts and Patterns
To help determine the opportune moment to buy a stock (or whatever asset you're trading), many traders utilize
- Candlestick patterns, including engulfing candles and dojis
- Technical analysis, including trend lines and triangles
- Volume—increasing or decreasing
There are many candlestick setups a day trader can look for to find an entry point. If used properly, the doji reversal pattern (highlighted in yellow in the chart below) is one of the most reliable ones.
Typically, look for a pattern like this with several confirmations
- First, look for a volume spike, which will show you whether traders are supporting the price at this level. Note: this can be either on the doji candle or on the candles immediately following it.
- Second, look for prior support at this price level. For example, the prior low of day (LOD) or high of day (HOD).
- Finally, look at the Level 2 situation, which will show all the open orders and order sizes.
If you follow these three steps, you can determine whether the doji is likely to produce an actual turnaround and can take a position if the conditions are favorable.
Traditional analysis of chart patterns also provides profit targets for exits. For example, the height of a triangle at the widest part is added to the breakout point of the triangle (for an upside breakout), providing a price at which to take profits.
How to Limit Losses When Day Trading
A stop-loss order is designed to limit losses on a position in a security. For long positions, a stop loss can be placed below a recent low, or for short positions, above a recent high. It can also be based on volatility. For example, if a stock price is moving about $0.05 a minute, then you may place a stop loss $0.15 away from your entry to give the price some space to fluctuate before it moves in your anticipated direction.
Define exactly how you'll control the risk on the trades. In the case of a triangle pattern, for instance, a stop loss can be placed $0.02 below a recent swing low if buying a breakout, or $0.02 below the pattern. (The $0.02 is arbitrary; the point is simply to be specific.)
One strategy is to set two stop losses:
- A physical stop-loss order placed at a certain price level that suits your risk tolerance. Essentially, this is the most money you can stand to lose.
- A mental stop-loss set at the point where your entry criteria are violated. This means if the trade makes an unexpected turn, you'll immediately exit your position.
However you decide to exit your trades, the exit criteria must be specific enough to be testable and repeatable. Also, it's important to set a maximum loss per day you can afford to withstand—both financially and mentally. Whenever you hit this point, take the rest of the day off.
Stick to your plan and your perimeters. After all, tomorrow is another (trading) day.
Once you've defined how you enter trades and where you'll place a stop loss, you can assess whether the potential strategy fits within your risk limit. If the strategy exposes you too much risk, you need to alter the strategy in some way to reduce the risk.
If the strategy is within your risk limit, then testing begins. Manually go through historical charts to find your entries, noting whether your stop loss or target would have been hit. Paper trade in this way for at least 50 to 100 trades, noting whether the strategy was profitable and if it meets your expectations. If it does, proceed to trading the strategy in a demo account in real time. If it's profitable over the course of two months or more in a simulated environment, proceed with day trading the strategy with real capital. If the strategy isn't profitable, start over.
Finally, keep in mind that if trading on margin—which means you're borrowing your investment funds from a brokerage firm (and bear in mind that margin requirements for day trading are high)—you're far more vulnerable to sharp price movements. Margin helps to amplify the trading results not just of profits, but of losses as well if a trade goes against you. Therefore, using stop losses is crucial when day trading on margin.
Now that you know some of the ins and outs of day trading, let's take a brief look at some of the key strategies new day traders can use.
Basic Day Trading Strategies
Once you've mastered some of the techniques, developed your own personal trading styles, and determined what your end goals are, you can use a series of strategies to help you in your quest for profits.
Here are some popular techniques you can use. Although some of these have been mentioned above, they are worth going into again:
- Following the trend: Anyone who follows the trend will buy when prices are rising or short sell when they drop. This is done on the assumption that prices that have been rising or falling steadily will continue to do so.
- Contrarian investing: This strategy assumes the rise in prices will reverse and drop. The contrarian buys during the fall or short-sells during the rise, with the express expectation that the trend will change.
- Scalping: This is a style where a speculator exploits small price gaps created by the bid-ask spread. This technique normally involves entering and exiting a position quickly—within minutes or even seconds.
- Trading on news: Investors using this strategy will buy when good news is announced or short sell when there's bad news. This can lead to greater volatility, which can lead to higher profits or losses.
Day trading is difficult to master. It requires time, skill and discipline. Many of those who try it fail, but the techniques and guidelines described above can help you create a profitable strategy. With enough practice and consistent performance evaluation, you can greatly improve your chances of beating the odds.
Source : Investopdia
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