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Question
Hi there

I am currently attempting to trade breakouts of US stocks using a 1 minute timeframe. I currently use just a candlestick chart and time & sales.

I do manage to keep losing trades quite low - maybe 2 - 5 cents, however, the majority of my trades are losing trades and my winners are not big enough to cover them! So I must be doing something wrong.

My issue is primarily, I look to a stock to break out to a new high or new low and it does so with, it seems, reasonable momentum, however it then quickly turns and becomes a losing trade.

Is there something else I could be looking at to help avoid these instances or do you think that this strategy is no longer viable?

I would be happy to investigate other strategies within a similar time frame however, the internet seems full of people wanting to sell you things and it is hard to know what is genuine and what is a scam.

I would also, in addition, be very interested in learning a swing trade strategy that I could hold positions over a few days. because of the same issue as above, could you recommend anything that you feel does work in modern times?

Thank you very much for your time

Answer
Hi Olly,

I want to begin by saying that I've personally found that day trading futures, and using range bars, is an easier way for me to day trade. So I personally do not trade 1 minute breakout on stocks.

However, based on my own trading and from my experience working with others, there are usually some "typical" concerns that need to be addressed.

1) If you're risk is appropriate and your winners are not big enough to cover your losers, you might be taking profits TOO early. Do you keep a log of all of your trades? Are you taking profits at the best time, or are you leaving profits on the table? You'll never be able to get out at the PERFECT time (you'll always exit a little too early, or too late), but if your emotions say get out and you could double your profit potential by staying in a trade, this is where your focus should be.

2) If you're maximizing your profits but you have too many losses, it could be that your taking losses TOO early. A 2-5 cent loss might "feel" good, but if you constantly get out for a 5 cent loss and then miss out on a 50 cent profit, your stops are too tight.

3) Are you trading with discretion or using a rules based system? It can be hard to trade with discretion, ESPECIALLY if you are new to trading. With rules you can test your method and you can refer to "expected" results. Of course there is no guarantee that performance will be the same in the future as it was in the past, but if you know that your system risks $1 for every $2 gained and you have a 50% winning percentage, you're set. You also have some expectations you shoot for.If right now you're risking $1 for every $1 gained and you have a 50% winning percentage, you won't be making money.


With this said...

Do you know the rules to your system?
Do you have a written plan?
Are you keeping a journal of all of your trades?
Have you reviewed this journal to see exactly what is holding you back?

Often times the 4 things above will clarify what's going wrong.

If you're interested in a new trading idea, I'd encourage you to download our Simple Strategy eBook on Amazon. It will set you back a whopping 99 cents! :) I just ask that you leave feedback for the book after reading it. The link is: http://www.rockwelltrading.com/day-trading/products/ebook-the-simple-trading-str

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Mark Hodge

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Questions related to technical analysis, strategies, risk, trading plans, trading psychology and money management. Experience in trading all markets and time-frames with expertise in futures (e-minis, currencies, commodities) and equity options. Unfortunately I am not allowed to offer any specific trading advice (i.e. should I go long the E-mini S&P today).

Experience

I have been involved in the industry since 1995 working for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and American Express Financial Advisors before becoming a full time trader. As Head Education Coach with Rockwell Trading I have coached hundreds of students around the world to achieve their trading goals with simple strategies, a sound trading plan and proper money management for the leveraged markets.

Organizations
Currently serving as Rockwell Trading's Head Education Coach www.rockwelltrading.com and moderator for Rockwell's Student Trading Room where we follow opportunities in the minis, interest rates, currency and grain markets daily.

Publications
Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities, "Day Trading With Volatility", June 2010 SFO Magazine, "Home on the Range: Lasso Trades Without Time", August 2010 SFO Magazine, "Day Trading Indicators, Part 1", January 2011 SFO Magazine, "Day Trading Indicators, Part 2", February 2011 SFO Magazine, "Technical Strategy", April 2011 SFO Magazine, "Advanced Trading Techniques - Futures Spread Trading", October 2011 Active Trader, "A Simple Day-Trading Strategy", November 2011 Marketplace Books, How to Trade Commodities: Simple Strategies for Gold and Crude That Traders Can Use in Any Market, June 2011

Education/Credentials
Formerly licensed as a financial advisor with Series 6, 7, and 63 licenses. B.A. in Organizational Communications with a Business Minor from California State University, Sacramento.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked with institutional traders, brokers, proprietary trading firms and private traders.
One of the few distinguished World Cup Advisors www.worldcupadvisors.com

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