Here's the second half of the trader survey, with Gary's answers.
Take profits too quickly?
See above on "letting profits run." I like to think I take them neither too quickly nor too slowly, but rather at the appropriate time to maximize return
I'm like a recovering alcoholic, I'm afraid. I can be so good for so long, and then one trip to the quote screen, and I'm in the midst of a three-day bender!
Get whipsawed too often?
I do get whipsawed. Everyone gets whipsawed. But, that's trading, and I'm fairly certain not method-specific. It's also a "highlight" of this recent market. Nothing we can do about it other than sit out.
, other traders, chat rooms, etc.?
I have a secret crush on many of the
women, starting with Liz Claman at 6 a.m. But my
viewing is pretty much limited from 6 a.m. until 6:08 a.m. (it takes me that long to make the bed!). Other than that, no TV, no chat rooms, no message boards, no nothing. Boy, I really miss those things. Not!
Can't cut losses quickly?
I'll tell you, if I didn't have hard stops on the books, I'd be broke. A man's gotta know not only his weaknesses, but how to correct them. This was something I learned early on, thankfully.
Do too many trades a day?
As above, I like to think I do the optimal amount of trades per day, limited rather by quality than quantity. For the record, though, I think the most longs I ever did was 39; the most shorts, 22.
Do too few trades a day?
Ah, now here's a GBS flaw, ironically, and I will confess: Sometimes the market psyches me out, particularly on the downside. You see, what happens is that I've seen so many snap-back rallies, that in the back of my mind, I figure that after about three big down days in a row, we're due for a ramp-up. So, if I have say 12 shorts to do on day No. 4, I might just pass, thinking I'll get nailed. But, what happens? You guessed it: eight of the 12 would still be winners, no matter what the market does! I need to work in this area for sure!
Get emotionally involved?
I wish I was an iceman. But, if you look at the quote screen, it's like watching the home team. Shoot, I didn't watch
play at all this year until the
. But, I turn them on for five minutes, and I find myself screaming at Shane Battier to box out!
Same thing with my trades, as I swear up and down based on every good and bad tick. Does it help? Of course not. Is it good for the blood pressure? Of course not. Is it a complete waste of time? Duh.
So, a pretty neat little snap shot, and some key items for me to work on: Stop watching intraday quotes, take
good trades, regardless of what I think the market will do, and show a little patience even if a trade turns against me. All in all, not great, but not bad, either.
Now, you do the same. Really. Actually spend a few minutes writing down your answers, as nothing crystallizes your thoughts like putting pen to paper. I think you'll find the results very interesting.
To return to Part 1 of the survey, click here
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