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Night Trading Is Nothing to Lose Sleep Over

Even if it actually happens, it won't be a revolution.

"You say you want a Rev-o-lu-tion ..."

Boy, does anyone else miss the

Beatles

? Nah, probably just a generational thing.

Anyway, I started with that little ditty as an entree to talk about this evening trading brouhaha. Of course, just when I had all my thoughts ready to go, the

New York Stock Exchange

apparently backed off, because you know, they have to concentrate on "decimalization and Y2K." Right, as if they didn't know all this a few weeks ago. As my kids would say, that is

so lame

.

Excuses aside, though, as an expert on all things important, I've been asked by many for my thoughts on the subject. And here they are:

Thought No. 1:

Read

Bronchick and

Cramer on the topic. Basically, if there is night trading, it will, uh, suck. I think they stated all the valid reasons, so there's no need to go further. Basically if seven hours a day of trading isn't enough, then 24 still won't quench your thirst.

Thought No. 2:

I'm really not sure it'll ever happen. Look, if this doesn't just reek of a bull-market phenomenon, then nothing does. Yeah, yeah, trading 'round the clock is fantastic ... but only if you're making money. We get into a tailspin, and P.U. -- who will want to trade

at all

?

Thought No. 3:

Let's say it does happen, but it's only the

Eclipses

of the world that participate. Hmmm, isn't that kind of what we have now? I mean, I generally ignore the

Instinet

stuff. Won't I also ignore the Eclipse stuff? You bet I will.

Thought No. 4:

Let's say it eventually does happen, and the NYSE and

Nasdaq

both join in. OK, that definitely ups the stakes. But I have to say I'm really counting on

TheStreet Recommends

Maslow's

hierarchy here: food, shelter, clothing, SLEEP! (Yes, I know, technically sleep isn't one of the building blocks but, shoot, it's right in there.)

Yeah, if we do go 'round the clock, let's see who's going to play: Cramer for sure. West Coast guys, I guess. That wacky Euro community. And, OK, maybe a few night crawlers who don't have any kids. So, that's what, 33 maybe 34 folks? Ah, nothing to worry about then. Let them duke it out themselves with those monstrous 8-point spreads.

Thought No. 5:

It really, truly does happen, and I can't just joke around with it. Rats! That's such a long shot, but I guess there's a 1% chance I'll have to deal with it. Given that, I have a few strategies.

Option No. 1:

Base everything off what becomes the official closing time for the day session. There will be a time, of course, because Ma and Pa Kettle still have to read how their PCLN is doing in the

Morning Beacon

. I mean, not everyone is wired in like a day-trading jockey.

So, whatever time that is -- and I'm guessing it'll still be 4:30 p.m. EST -- then that's what I'll use as my baseline. Realistically, charts are pretty fluid anyway, and I could probably do just as well picking 2:27 a.m. or 11:13 p.m. as my cutoff time. Volume is volume and price bars are price bars. As long as I have enough of both to make a reasonable assessment, I'll be in good shape. I already set my stop and limit targets as soon as I'm in the trade, so the exact timing of when the day ends is really academic.

Option No. 2:

Go long term. Really, why even screw around with this stuff? I can just flatten this entire evening BS by lengthening my time horizon. Bronchick kind of summed up this approach, and he made a lot of valid points. Of course, it goes against my basic nature, so that leads me to...

Option No. 3:

Day trade. Ugh! From frying pan to fire. But at least I have a modicum of skills in that area, and certainly enough to scratch out a decent paycheck. Definitely not something I want to do, though.

Option No. 4:

Forget trading altogether. Let's see, where does trading rank on my priorities anyway? Oh, I'd say about fifth. First is family, then my health, then my writing, then goofing off, then the Corps (whoops, sorry, I've seen

A Few Good Men

too many times!) and then probably trading.

Of course, who would really want to read about a trader who doesn't trade? Well, I'll have to work on that angle.

Bottom line:

There are so many ways to approach trading that, even if evening hours are a force, I'll be able to avoid participating and still be a player. Any of the above options are valid, and what I'd most likely do is try a combination, which is basically how I trade now. I guess more emphasis on the "combo" part, of course, but I could pull it off.

Notice, though, there's one option I never presented, and that was to actually trade past 4:30 p.m. And, duh, if you read more than one of any of my columns, you know the reason: I need to be around to yell at my kids!

Here's my gut feeling, though: First, this night stuff will never get off the ground for some of the reasons I mentioned. Second, if it does get off the ground, it'll be a non-issue. Why, even

Newsweek

just ran a story saying folks are calling in sick more, and actually working less than they were a few years ago.

Yep, between Maslow, lack of liquidity and a potential flattening of the Great Bull Market, GBS is just not worried. And you shouldn't be either.

Gary B. Smith is a freelance writer who trades for his own account from his Maryland home using technical analysis. At time of publication, he held no positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Smith writes five technical analysis columns for TheStreet.com each week, including Technician's Take, Charted Territory and TSC Technical Forum. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback at

gbsmith@ibm.net.