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Market lesson: Planning your trades helps you trade your plans

Davis MartinDavis Martin ·

The story: Like many full-time traders, I swing trade and day trade. There have been maybe two nights year-to-date when I’ve gone to sleep without at least one open position in my portfolio, usually a stock- or index-options trade.

On Tuesday night, in total, I was carrying 14 open positions. I wouldn’t have held them overnight if I hadn’t liked them, of course, but my typical number of open positions held overnight is somewhere in the three-to-seven range. The bigger-than-normal number of holdings meant that when the market opened green on Wednesday, things were going to get crazy, a time crunch made worse because oil-inventory numbers were coming out at 10:30 a.m., meaning I had to manage energy-related trades before then too. It was frantic, but I was able to get good exits and get paid.

That was the good news; the bad news was that I was so busy with those trades that I had no time to day-trade calls or puts on a beautiful cup-and-handle chart pattern that the SPDR S&P 500 ETF ( SPY) was building on Wednesday morning, meaning I missed out on what should have been some easy trades.

It was a good reminder that I mostly want to do what works best and do not want to get over-extended; it was a day when it might have been possible for me to not only miss out on trades but to misplay some of those overnight holds.

The moral of the story: If you both swing trade and day trade, have a plan and stick to it. Don’t try to day trade at those times when you have a ton of money tied up in swing trades (and don’t let swing trades distract you when you have great patterns to day trade). You have enough to manage; the difference between having the perfect market exposure and having too much is the point where you are so busy that your trading suffers.


 Davis Martin is the head trader at Dailyprofitmachine.com. He trades SPY calls and puts and swing trades individual stocks and stock options, and last traded SPY Oct. 4 $250 calls on Sept. 26, moving in and out in 45 seconds for a gross profit of more than 7 percent.

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