How to trade days like this

By Jani Ziedins | End of Day Analysis

Jan 31

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The following is a brief excerpt from today’s premium analysis that I emailed to subscribers at lunchtime today. This does a good job of explaining how we should respond during sessions like this.

Market Mentor

We always knew this retreat could happen and it shouldn’t surprise us. I liked the mid-week resilience, but that was no guarantee this situation was resolved. But as long as we included this possibility in our trading plan, it won’t catch us off guard and we will respond to it intelligently.

This intelligent and thoughtful response is miles away from the way most people have been trading this situation. Rather than buy early in the rebound when they could keep a sensible stop close to their entry point, they waited until it looked like things were safe and jumped in at much higher levels. Now the market tumbled under their entry points and their positions are in the red. What felt safe at the time turned out to be anything but.  Now many of those same late-buyers are having second thoughts and dumping their stocks for a loss today.

While today’s retreat proves my initial purchase wrong, having a sensible purchase point [near Monday’s lows], appropriate position size [1/3 position], and nearby stop-loss [under Monday’s lows] means any resulting losses will be trivial.

Today’s lows undercut my stops, meaning I’m not out of the market. But rather than give up, I’m already looking for the next opportunity to get in. If today’s weakness proves to be fleeting and is a false alarm, I’ll buy back in and try again. While these whipsaws can be frustrating, the protection against bigger losses while still maintaining the opportunity to profit from the rebound is more than worth it. As long as we are smart about our entries and stops, we won’t lose much from these swings and will be ready to profit from the inevitable rebound.

(All of that said, if the market has an absolutely horrid close this afternoon, I might be tempted to buy a small position just before the close. The lower we go now, the less room we have to fall on Monday, so any selling today actually reduces the risk of holding over the weekend. This definitely counts as trying to catch a falling knife, but if we do it with a reasonable position size, it can be more entertaining than dangerous.)

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Tags: S&P 500 Nasdaq $SPY $SPX $QQQ $IWM


About the Author

Jani Ziedins (pronounced Ya-nee) is a full-time investor and financial analyst that has successfully traded stocks and options for nearly three decades. He has an undergraduate engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines and two graduate business degrees from the University of Colorado Denver. His prior professional experience includes engineering at Fortune 500 companies, small business consulting, and managing investment real estate. He is now fortunate enough to trade full-time from home, affording him the luxury of spending extra time with his wife and two children.