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Trading System – Are you A System Trader?

Todays Date: August 18, 2017

A trading system is a methodology of trading. An investor who uses one system and follows a specific set of guidelines when making a decision, follows system trading, and will usually never deviate. A trading system is only one method of trading, and usual requires no thinking. It is possible to have one system that is governed by multiple system.

For example, to have 10 different systems, and select only one stock from each system every month according to the main system’s qualifications.

Someone that uses several Trading Systems is a multiple system trader. They have to either have an overall system that encompasses all of them, or make their own decision on which to follow. Doing so can be dangerous, as the purpose of system is to prevent human error. It is advised to be a system trader who trades one system at a time, or trade multiple systems within a larger core system, and avoid being a multiple systems trader.

Trading System – Trading can be awfully hectic without some kind of methodology. You can’t expect to take on the best traders in the world who have teams and resources at their disposal just by throwing around money at will hoping that it works. You need an actually defined system in order to be able to trade effectively.

Many successful systems are based on earnings and high potential for growth. Stockbee’s trading system often swings for the fences. As a result, it requires a solid degree of protection. Obviously you shouldn’t limit yourself to someone else’s system, you need to find one that is right for you.

There are two kinds of traders, technical traders, and fundamental traders, each has their own system. Of course there are some who use both.

Technical traders

Some system traders, are day traders. Others are swing traders. Still other people are more of a trend trader. Each will have it’s unique system. The system will be based on the technicals. Is it volume that triggers the buy? Is it price movement? A combination of both? Or perhaps it’s pattern trading.

Some people even have trading machines or robots that do the work for them. Others rely on pattern recognition done by a system. The method is to sign up for email alerts, or some form of alerts, then make a purchase based on the software’s recommendation. There are some people that screen down a stock based on strong fundamentals, and only trade those stocks, but trade them based on the technical chart patterns and volume.

They will sell based on a trend break, or rules on when to take gains such as 20% gain according to their system. They will set a stop loss based on their system as well. It might be 4%, or 8%, or it may be a trailing stop.

Fundamental traders

Fundamental traders might do things a little differently. They are looking for improving fundamentals, or stocks that pass through a certain screener. Zacks.com is a great resource if you want to rely on fundamentals. Earnings is always a big part of a system, and the Zacks’ ranking uses earnings revision to get in early when the earnings and company internals appear to be improving. Zacks’ has several screens, and their software allows you to screen stocks according to many different options.

Regardless of your trading system, one thing remains important in every single system. Money Management and loss protection.

It doesn’t matter what the upside is or win rate is, if you can’t protect yourself from major declines, you shouldn’t be trading. I don’t care if your system is 90% effective (no system is and if they say they are, they’re lying), and if the gain is 1,000%. If you put all your money on it repeatedly, eventually you will suffer a loss so catastrophic you will never be able to recover without borrowing money. By taking one loss, you hinder your ability to make money. That is more costly then the potential for greater gains that you would gain by taking additional risk.

Just to illustrate if your system causes you to take a 95% loss, you need a 2000% return just to make up for that loss. You cannot trade like this. No system is better then it’s weakest link. That weak link unfortunately for many people is the ability to manage money. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned, and doing so will make you a better trader. Better yet, if you do not wish to be a better trader, you can simply follow the rules of a system that contains a methodology on how to manage money and how much to invest before placing a trade.

I recommend that you either have a trailing stop or a hard stop. You can also buy a protective put if you are afraid of a stock bottoming out overnight and plummeting through the stop. Protective puts are like owning insurance. Unfortunately, you have to continue to buy the insurance as it eventually expires if you don’t use it. Don’t trade options without learning everything about them.

Some puts are not good for some strategies. Longer term trades and Investments will require long-term equity anticipation securities, or LEAPs, where as you may not need to risk as much capital for short term protective puts. A trailing stop should be usually 20%, where a hard stop should be more like 7%. Different systems will require different stops so take this with a grain of salt.

A good investor or trader actually will rarely need to ever be fully invested. There are people that trade on complete margin for a few times the entire year, and the rest of the year they’re on the sideline, but generally the best traders that have a career that lasts have lots of money on the side, even more so if they use options and are unhedged. If you are unhedged, that is only playing one side of the market, (all buys, or only playing one theme such as only playing inflation or only playing deflation), you need to have even more cash on the side.

The lower the win rate, the more money on the side you need, and the smaller your positions should be. Any good system won’t require you to analyze. Having to do a lot of the thinking can cause you to panic and make incorrect decisions. Most people aren’t cut out for that, and that’s why it is a smart thing for many to use a trading system.

If you trade within a system, you have a much better chance at placing winning trades. A trading system will have a solid record of success, evidence that it works and has been working, an understanding of the decline and proper money management planning. If you trade within a system, you can estimate your results, and by doing so attain measurable success consistently with a trading system.

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