Avoid emotional trading
Avoid emotional trading
When traders get bad news about a certain stock or about the economy in general, they naturally get scared.
They may overreact and feel compelled to liquidate their holdings and sit on the cash, refraining from taking any more risks.
If they do, they may avoid certain losses but may also miss out on some gains.
Traders need to understand what fear is: a natural reaction to a perceived threat.
In this case, it´s a threat to their profit potential.
Quantifying the fear might help.
Traders should consider just what they are afraid of, and why they are afraid of it.
But that thinking should occur before the bad news, not in the middle of it.
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Fear and greed are the two visceral emotions to keep in control.
By thinking it through ahead of time, traders will know how they perceive events instinctively and react to them, and can move past the emotional response.
Of course, this is not easy, but it´s necessary to the health of an investor´s portfolio, not to mention the investor.
There´s an old saying on Wall Street that "pigs get slaughtered." This refers to the habit greedy investors have of hanging on to a winning position too long to get every last tick upward in price.
Sooner or later, the trend reverses and the greedy get caught.
Greed is not easy to overcome.
It´s often based on the instinct to do better, to get just a little more.
A trader should learn to recognize this instinct and develop a trading plan based on rational thinking, not whims or instincts.
A trader needs to create rules and follow them when the psychological crunch comes.
Set out guidelines based on your risk-reward tolerance for when to enter a trade and when to exit it.
Set a profit target and put a stop loss in place to take emotion out of the process.
In addition, you might decide which specific events, such as a positive or negative earnings release, should trigger a decision to buy or sell a stock.
It´s wise to set limits on the maximum amount you are willing to win or lose in a day.
If you hit the profit target, take the money and run.
If your losses hit a predetermined number, fold up your tent and go home.
Traders often have to think fast and make quick decisions, darting in and out of stocks on short notice.
To accomplish this, they need a certain presence of mind.
They also need the discipline to stick with their own trading plans and know when to book profits and losses.
Emotions simply can´t get in the way.
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