Thursday, August 14, 2008

What it takes to be a great trader

There are a number of traits that someone must obtain if they want to be a great stock market trader. These traits are critical to your success as a stock market trader.

1. Controlling your emotions. This is an extremely important part of trading. How many times have you gotten into a stock because everyone was making money with it. You are afraid of missing the opportunity so you jump in only to see the stock crash. Emotions control most traders and often leads to a loss of capitol.

2. Don’t give up with a few losses. Trading is abundant with both wins and losses. If you have one or two bad trades that does not mean that you should stop trading all together, especially if you believe in your system.

3. Cutting your losses short. This is one of the most important parts of trading. Losses are nothing to be scared of. They are a part of trading. The trick is to cut your losses short and let your winners run to make up for any loss you may encounter.

4. Manage your positions. The best trader in the world will go broke if they do not use proper position sizing. You only want to risk a small part of your account for any one trade 2-5%. This way if you are wrong it is not the end of the world. You will still have capitol to make future trades with if you are wrong.

5. Learn from every loss. It is important to learn something from every loss. If you don’t you will just end up losing again on a similar trade in the future. As the old saying goes, “Those who do not study the past are doomed to repeat it”.

6. Never lower your stops. It is natural to want to lower your stop if your stock pulls back, after all no one wants to take a loss. But lowering your stops can often lead to bigger losses, remember cutting your losses short is the best thing you can do when trading.

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