Becky Smith is professional day trader. In 2007 She entered stock trading contest by The Street. Com. She competed against 26,000 participants and beat them all. For her efforts Becky was awarded a check for $150,000.00. The Beginners Investing Guide contacted Becky to shed some light on her day trading strategies and she quickly agreed. As we have discussed day trading in a serious business with serious rewards and serious consequences. We have changed the stock symbol on her example for legal reasons. However examine all the factors she considers when day trading a stock.
To all of you out there that would like to try your hand at day trading, you need to keep some things in mind. The market has been in a downtrend since December. We have been in a Bear market for the past couple of months. A bear market is when a market index (Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq) is down over 20%.Right now the indexes are all down between 30% to 50%. In a down market, most stocks are going to go down. There will be individual stocks or sectors that pop on news, but then they will follow the market back down, for example GOOG, ISRG, POT (some of Wall Streets darlings) these companies beat their earnings expectations in the last couple of weeks, but are selling off because the market is trending down. Because of the reasons I stated above I have not been going long with my day trades, I look for stocks to short that have released bad news after the close.
Some things that I look at when I locate a possible short is the float. The float is the number of shares available for the retail investor to trade. The smaller the float the more unpredictable, and wild the swings. I usually do not short a stock that has less than a 15 million share float. I check the volume, I like 75,000 minimums, more is better. I look at the PE (price to earning ratio) the higher the pe the more expensive the stock the better chance it will come down a lot, on bad news. Also check how much of the float is shorted the higher the percentage there is a good chance that a big drop in price they will start covering and the price will start going back up.
If you do not have the time to sit at your computer and watch a stock that your thinking about day trading do not do it! For example last night XYZ reported earnings after market close. Their EPS was .25 vs .26 analyst estimate, their revenue was 130 million vs 142.8 analyst estimate they also issued a downside full year forecast, 562.1 million vs 582.1 analyst estimate.(This is the kind of news that I personally look for). Their float is 64.49 million, average daily volume is 1,059.310 shares traded, and the short ratio is 18.10%. This morning you could have shorted shares of XYZ at 4.90 at the open and within 15 minutes covered your short and made hundreds of dollars, depending on how many shares you shorted.. The share price fell to 3.70 a share within 15 minutes before recovering some. It is best to take your profits while you have them. When the price is falling fast or going up fast and you have a profit take it, don’t wait hoping for a little more. Over reaction is something that happens on good news and bad news, and the price usually adjusts.
It could be that the market has made a bottom and is going to start to rally again, we have had our best week in a very long time, but it was in the worst month that the markets have had in years. Next week will be interesting, with the election on Tuesday you might want to wait and see who gets elected and how the markets react. The job numbers are also being released on Friday, which could affect market direction.
To anyone that is just starting to day trade I would suggest that you paper trading stocks and see how you do before risking your money. This is not an easy thing to do consistently. There are also games that you can enter on the Internet and you can practice your strategy and possibly win prizes and money in the process. Wallstreet survivor has Online Paper Trading weekly and monthly games going and CNBC is starting a contest November 10.
However you trade short or long, may all of your trades be profitable!
Just like we have said, day trading takes lots of research and experience. We hope to have Becky Smith back as a guest columnist. If you would like to read more from her leave a comment and we will forward them to her. Becky is developing her own website, The Stock Trading Housewife, thanks Becky