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Discussion Starter #1
So who here trades stocks regularly and holds a 9-5 job?

If so, how do you do it? Here's a few things I'm curious about:

- Does your brokerage have a web-portal you can use, or do you tap away on your smartphone/blackberry to execute your trades?

- Do co-workers know that you do this? Or do you wait until you're off the job and trade in the evening hours, when markets usually arent moving as much?

- What sort of info do you consult to make your trades; charting websites, newsfeeds etc.?

- How do you handle it when the markets suddently move against you, and you have to abruptly short a position and end up losing a handful... how do you compose yourself, and focus for the remainder of the day?

thx.
 

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I do. I usually trade before 9:30 at home (I work 10 to 6 Pacific Time), and I only trade a few times a month. I do my homework both at home and at work. For me, the homework takes a lot longer than the actual trading.
I don't do high frequency trading and if I were I would program an ATS, otherwise I'd stand no chance.
- all brokerages have web portals and most have smartphone dedicated apps
- I use specific strategies that were backtested. I don't care about charts except to check what my current trades are doing.
- I always expect the market to move in any direction with a log-normal price probability distribution, so it never moves "against" me, lol (although sometimes I do lose a lot, it is not unexpected).
 

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I don't waste much time at work researching the stock market or businesses I want to invest in etc, but I do trade occasionally during working hours. It generally doesn't take that long because I have alerts set, so when I receive an alert, I usually can quickly decide if I want to buy, and if yes, how many. Takes maybe 5 mins or so.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I guess i'm sort of trading the wrong products... or products that simply require you to be on the ball alot more since they're more volatile I suppose.

Namely; FX (USD/CAD), and commodities such as Crude Oil and Gold.

I mean I try to read the analysis I get emailed, read the market news briefs, try to map the patterns i see on the charts 50 ways to sunday, and they still end up bouncing all over the place usually right after i click 'execute'... lol

If you guys only trade a couple of times a month, or if you're able to make up decent profits simply by working off of price alerts, which dont eat into more than a few minutes of your work day... i'm thinking i need to change my game a bit.

Especially if there's mention of being able to do homework 'before hand'... sounds like it would be applied to company specific performance, and purchasing their shares.

I really want to fine tune my strategy before i trade any further... i've been burned far too many times by the markets now.

Heck, i'm even thinking of giving this a try :eek:
https://secure.thestreet.com/AAP/AG...&partneruri=/flow.aspx&uoid=014154&prodid=765
 

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You definitely need to lean more towards buy and hold if you can't trade during the day.

I'd be comfortable holding dividend paying, strong blue chip companies as well as bond ETFs but that's about it.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
You definitely need to lean more towards buy and hold if you can't trade during the day.

I'd be comfortable holding dividend paying, strong blue chip companies as well as bond ETFs but that's about it.
Well according to Jim Cramer 'buy and hold' is one of the pitfall strategies in today's investing, in his book 'Real Money' which i'm currently reading...

So confused... lol

However I'm sure there are exceptions to everything, and an appropriate strategy for each situation... (something I hope I'll actually learn someday..)
 

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Well according to Jim Cramer 'buy and hold' is one of the pitfall strategies in today's investing, in his book 'Real Money' which i'm currently reading...

So confused... lol
Look at what the man does when he invests on behalf of charities etc.

Buy and hold all the way, plenty of index tracking ETFs. This says a lot!
 

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I do my research at home and set alerts

When I get an alert on my smartphone I check the news first and then place an order if I want. I don't trade that much and it doesn't affect my work. I consider being on top of current events part of my job

If the markets suddenly move against me when I'm busy there's nothing I can do. I set some limit orders for things I'm planning to sell anyways but I don't sell in reaction to a crash..
 

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I will pick the stock I would like to buy, then set a buy limit order on my brokerage account and wait. I normally have my msn.ca portfolio view open in the back ground and take a look at it once and a while. I'll also check the odd blog / forum...
 

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Also, having an account with a broker that offers a trading platform with complex orders might help. In Canada the best choice seems to be Interactive Brokers. Here is an example of your hypothetical buy order:

When you enter a buy order at a price of your choice (limit, market or buy-on-stop) the following "child" orders" will be attached and held on IB servers:

- target: +2
- initial stop: -1.25
- trigger level to adjust the initial stop: +1.25
- when trigger level is hit move the initial stop to: +0.25

http://img594.imageshack.us/img594/152/testge.png

You could also add a trailing stop by specifying Adjusted Trailing Amount as, let's say, 0.75. In that case if trigger level was hit there would be another child order present, a trailing stop calculated from the latest High less 0.75 (as long as it was lower than the initial stop set here to Buy Price + 0.25, the trailing stop would be ignored).

You can enter the buy order and all the child orders with one mouse click, after you have setup one of Buy or Sell buttons shown below:

http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/2969/test2.png

All this can probably be done from a BlackBerry, although I have never used IB's BB app so can't confirm this.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone.
I really got my reading cut out for me... and I plan to complete as much of it as I can before i execute another trade.

I think what happens to a lot of newbie traders is that they just start trading with little knowledge or hunches... and after a few successful (lucky) trades cockiness sets in relatively fast. And once they hit a few negative positions and lose, the mentality of 'recovering the lost amount' sets is really fast.

Following that emotional and baseless trades are made... and further escalating the loss values.

I can say that based on my trading experience, this has certainly happened to me a few times...
 

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This is a good thread. I've tried the FX trading at night but found that the price action just wasn't significant enough to beat the wider spreads.

So I've been sticking to research at night. Entering limit orders (buy/sell) over morning coffee and usually checking in on globeinvestor and marketwatch a couple times a day depending on how busy things get.
 

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Price action at night wasn't significant enough to beat the wider spreads? You probably had an account with some ripoff forex broker that grabs a few pip profit for itself with each trade. Here is a screenshot of EURUSD taken on May-17 around 02:30 AM ET from Interactive Brokers IdealPro:

http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/5351/test1q.png

You will often get a fill in between this official spread shown on the screenshot, eg. at 1.22632.

The only slow time and wider spreads in EURUSD are between US RTH close and Tokyo open, which will be 16:15 - 20:00 EDT. Tokyo and Hong Kong have lunch breaks (no trading) in the middle of the session, around midnight EDT, which might affect forex markets. USDCAD has wider spreads, especially at night. I often trade EURUSD system that targets 1 pip profit and has 3 pip stops, it works pretty good around London/Frankfurt open at 3 AM EDT.
 

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kirk just for once could you please post a message that doesn't pump IB. Thank you indeed.
 

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I might, when I find a stock/option/futures/forex broker, officially regulated in Canada, with client funds insured by IIROC, that offers low margin, tight spreads, low commissions and the trading platform, that match or beat IB. In the past I have looked at TradeFreedom and Questrade and their forex offer didn't even come close to that of IB. Questrade's forex platform was based on Microsoft's .Net framework, really scary.

I have never tried MF Global, they have lately opened a Canadian office, so if you have had a look at their forex platform, please post your comments.

I post all those screenshots on purpose, assuming that most Canadians, stuck for years with big bank brokers, don't have a clue what kind of orders and trading platforms our neighbours south of the border, and brokers in Europe, offer to their clients.

The only direct access platform (stock/options trading only) comparable to IB's TWS, offered under different branding nicknames by big banks, is AxisPro (TD Waterhouse Active Trader, Scotia iTrade Pro, etc.) but it doesn't have the ability to enter target/stop/trailing stop orders with one mouse click, doesn't have API for auto trading, won't allow converting account's cash (CAD to USD, CAD to EUR, CAD to JPY, etc.) at interbank rates, and has too many outages. Another choice worth investigating would be Jitney Trade's Tradient platform.

IB is not perfect, but definitely the best for Canadian active traders. The only problem is you can't use IB with low priced stocks (commissions and ECN fees are way too high). Also, lately IB got into some patent problems with Trading Technologies, which apparently "invented" the BookTrader layout shown on my screenshots, so you might need to use a third party front end, like Button Trader, to get BookTrader layout working with the latest version of TWS.
 

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My companies IT policy actually states that we can check our stock market portfolio, so long as it does not interfere with work that we are supposed to be doing. ( I guess we can check it on break)

In the past I did trading at work when the markets were open, I just made sure no one saw it.
 

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might you ? that would be nice. You see, everybody knows that TWS is a leader for forex trading, but this isn't a forex trading forum. Not only is there no forex topic, but i haven't noticed even as much as a ratty little thread on this subject during the past year.

i for one have zero interest in glitz n gamesz. I don't care if my orders are auto-trailing-backstopped in one click or none. All i want to do is make as much money as possible with my portfolio. For that i need robust trading platforms, fast & perfect order execution, and good customer service. I don't trade forex, i sometimes buy speculative stock in large quantities - for which IB commissions would be outrageous - and if i see a rare order of mine getting into trouble i appreciate the fact that an experienced rep will answer the phone in a minute or two.

there's one other reason not to trade at smaller firms that are privately held, or mostly privately held. I doubt you or anyone else will believe or even understand this criticism. However, it's valid, so i'll persist. During the crash of 2008/09 the world came close to losing its banking system. Countless financial institutions would have gone under, in many countries. These days there is always the risk that such circumstances could cluster again. Meanwhile, we have no idea how the small private firms like jitney & questrade are capitalized, because they're not required to publish their financials and therefore they don't. All we know is that they meet the requirements of the exchanges. This, for myself at least, is not good enough.

never mind that they may be members of the canadian investor protection fund. This is a joke. These insurance funds - even the CDIC, which guarantees bank deposits & GICs, as well as its bankrupt counterpart the FDIC in the united states - were created in order to bail out an isolated institution, here & there, that had got itself into trouble. They were never created to withstand a global collapse; they can't; and they won't. There is not enough money in any of these funds to take care of zillions of individual retail clients. You may have noted that the FDIC, once the proud guarantor of the american banking system, is hobbling along now by assessing the surviving banks dues that are some 3 years into the future, last i heard ...

therefore i believe that a discount brokerage backed by one of the top 5 canadian chartered banks may be in a slightly stronger survival mode if the worst should happen.
 

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You are absolutely right about funds protection. Having some funds with IB and some with big banks would be one possible solution.

Unlike Etrade-US, which almost went belly up, IB survived the latest crisis unscathed because they kept focused on their core business, that is on brokerage services, and never strayed into housing market. However there is no guarantee they are going to stick to this policy in the future, it all depends who is in the corner office at the time. So yes, there is always more risk when the funds are held with a smaller firm.
 
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