My Trading Day

I get many questions on what a typical day looks like for me.  This is an important question because the PROCESS of trading is extremely important.

Friday afternoon late
• Print out a list of my positions and open orders

• Scroll through weekly charts of the “long list” of markets I monitor on a weekly basis. This typically includes about 50 futures markets, 25 forex pairs and 25 equities.
• Create a “short list” of markets of interest, including all the markets in which I am entering a new week with a position. The “short list” usually included about 20 to 30 markets.
• Scroll through the daily charts of the “short list” to determine those markets that could generate a buy or sell signal the following week. From this review I create my “active list” which includes the markets in which I hold a position and markets in which I will develop a trading strategy.
• The “active list” typically includes 10 or so markets. I monitor this list carefully. I may even monitor this list inter- day for an asymmetrical trading opportunity.
• For open trades, I review my target and stops orders to determine if any modifications are needed
• For possible new trades, I determine an entry strategy, risk management guidelines and trade sizing

Sunday afternoon
• I begin to enter orders. A trader is nothing more than a glorified order enterer. For existing positions, I make sure a GTC limit order exists to take profits. I use GTC 24-hour stops to protect trades in the most liquid markets – in less liquid markets, I use day-order stops. I am willing to take the overnight risk in these markets.
• For new trades, I use a combination of GTC 24-hour entry stops, day-only entry stops and close-only stops. The close is extremely important to me.

Monday through Friday – Throughout the trading day
• I check on markets about every three or four hours just out of curiosity. Periodically I will be motivated to change an order or make a trade. For the sake of full disclosure, trading action taken intraday has not positively contributed to my bottom line over time.
• If I am filled on entry orders, I immediately place GTC 24-hour target orders and protective stop orders (either day or GTC 24-hour orders)

Monday through Friday – Usually about 5 AM Mountain
• I enter the day-only stop orders – these may be entry or exit orders.

Monday through Friday – Usually around 4 PM Mountain
• I print a list of all my positions and all my GTC orders
• I review the daily chart of every market on the “active” list to modify any orders, if required

Friday afternoon late
• I get back on the same merry-go-round – and have been for 30 years

I would not expect you to have a process of speculation similar to mine. But the point is this – if you do not have an organized and repeatable process for trading, you should not be trading.

Up until a few years ago I was an instrument rated private pilot. I stopped flying and sold my plane due to a neurological condition. Pilots have detailed checklists and contingencies to which they must submit. In many ways being a pilot and a trader are quite similar. It is important for a trader to find a process of doing all that is necessary for his or her speculative endeavors.