The secret to trading success in 2009

This little trading tip can and will make a difference in your trading results in 2009.

Stops are enormously important part of a traders arsenal of trading tools. Some traders confirm that stops are the most important part of their trading armour.

So here are three ways to use stops to protect your capital and lock in profits from a trade. These three money management techniques can be used in stock, futures and forex trading.

The important rule is that you do use a real stop in the marketplace. A friend of mine joked with me that that he had never seen a "mental stop" filled in the pits.

If the market is good your stop will not be hit. If the market is bad or changing direction then you'll want to be out of it anyway. That is why stops are so crucial to trading success.

Here are the three most commonly used types of stops. Which one do you use?

(1) Dollar stop.
(2) Percentage stop.
(3) Chart stop.

If you chose (1) you'd be correct, but, you would also be correct if you had chosen 2 or 3. All three are money management stops and are used to either lock in profits or protect capital.


1) A dollar stop, is when you set a predetermined dollar amount to a trade. Let's say you want to risk $500 on a grain trade or $750 on a stock trade. Once you get your fill back from your broker or electronically online you simply figure from your fill price where to put your stop.

Pros: Easy to implement and use.
Cons: Can place stops too close in a volatile market


2) Percentage stop, is a very simple way for you to place a stop on a position. Here's how it works. Let's say your trading account is 100,000 dollars and let's say you only want to risk 1% of your total portfolio on any one trade. You simply take a $1,000 risk which represents 1% of your over all portfolio. This can help enormously in avoiding taking BIG LOSSES. A 1% loss is easy to absorb. A 30% or 40% loss in a trade is an account killer, and should be avoided at all costs.

Pros: Easy to implement and use.
Cons: Can place stops too close.


3) Chart stop, a chart stop is where you place a stop that is either above or below a crucial chart level. The good thing about a chart stop is that this level is often used by other traders. That can both be a good thing and a bad thing, here's why. Using either one of our first two examples only you know where the stop is. With a chart stop, a great many traders/brokers know that is where the stops are. In an illiquid market this type of stop should not be used, as many times brokers gun for the stops. In a highly liquid and active market this is a good stop to use.

Pros: Very easy to implement and use.
Cons: Can't be used in thinly traded markets.


So there you have it. Now you have all three ways to manage your money and protect your profits in 2009.

Use stops…let them work for you.

Have a great 2009.

Adam Hewison

8 thoughts on “The secret to trading success in 2009

  1. Another con is that you can be taken out of (what later proves to be) a profitable trade by an unusual spike in the wrong direction. Also, a gap up or down overnight can blow right past your stop, which could be a problem if you're swing tradeing or even longer term rather than day trading.

    You could also trade option spreads where you have a pre-defined profit zone. You can calculate (or chart) your maximum loss ahead of time, with no need for a stop.

  2. That is some great advice, except I never tend to use these for my trades. Sometimes the market can fluctuate greatly, and even though a stock may be at it's lowest point in years, it could easily jump back up to higher point in less then a day at times. It's important to be able to spot these patterns in order to know when to sell out. It can be bothering when you watch a stock price drop way lower than what most people would have sold them at, but IF and when they go back up to a higher point, you can laugh at all the people who wimped out a lost out on these profits.

  3. It suddenly dawn on me that i can use the 3 different STOPs interchangably with respect to the different market types/volatilities. Thanks.

  4. A great article which should keep both novice and pro traders accounts happy in the New Year ahead.
    Thank you.

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