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Trader tip: Enjoy your holiday, skip the trading

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A lot of people think that to make money as a trader you have to work longer and harder and when the other guy isn’t. I think you need to work smarter.

To me, that means enjoying the market holidays and slow days.

You might think there is some market inefficiency to exploit when everyone is on vacation or itching to get out of the office and you’re one of the people stuck to the screen, but in my career I have never found any advantage for getting into or out of trades on the market’s short days.

The same goes for Fridays pre-holiday – like this one – when people are looking for ways to take an extended break. Face it, the big desks have their third- or fourth-rate people working the holiday times; you’re stuck dealing mostly with guys who aren’t high enough on the ladder to get today off.

On most Fridays – with or without a holiday – I want to be out of short-term trades by the lunch hour, but I certainly don’t want to add to positions on a Friday afternoon pre-holiday, when you basically have to sit and wait until Wednesday to see what is really happening; a lot can happen overseas and around the world in a few days.

Trading tip: The advantage you gain on the market today won’t come from trading, but from getting on top of upcoming earnings dates and making sure you are ready to go when earnings season starts. If you are going to work on the holiday, don’t do it to get an edge on a day when almost no one is trading. Do it to help yourself when the market is trading as usual.

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   Petra Hess runs PetraPicks.com. She is a technical swing trader and long-term investor in domestic and Canadian stocks. She only trades stocks, not options.

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