I am a successful day trader and Jacob Bernstein has been key in my success. I have built numerous successful systems based on his principles from his books. Here are ten of the cardinal rules from this book:
1. Do your home work. You need to be prepared for all your trades through each stage of the cycle from the set up, to trigger to follow through. Keep your charts up to date, watch your signals, trail your stops to lock in profits, keep to your stop losses. Most importantly decide on your system before you start trading do not make up rules as you go. Study how systems performed in the market and then follow them in real time.
2. Focus and specialize. Pick only a few stocks or markets to trade and become an expert on them. Understand their time of day action, volume, price range, and risk parameters. Do not be a Jack of all Trades and master of none.
3. Be consistent. You must be consistent in your application of methods. Work the same schedule each week. Follow the same systems take the same stop losses. Trading is a business and must be ran with the same discipline as a business. Be consistent to give your methods a chance to work. Once you have back tested and proven your system has worked do not abandon it when you you have a few losing trades. Even the best systems can easily have six consecutive losing trades. Aim for an average win per trade.
4. Trade with sufficient capital. You must have a minimum of $25,000 to day trade, $30,000 is preferable to be able to withstand draw downs. Your chances of success increase with the more capital you have to begin with. You must have enough capital when you start to be able to withstand your initial losses while learning to trade.
5. Don't trade any stock or futures contract that scares you. You must be comfortable with the amount of risk you are taking on in any trade to be able to make good decisions under the stress and pressure of trading.
6. Avoid reacting to news reports unless you have used specific triggers. Do not chase the market after news is reported unless you have a system for doing that. Generally the people that buy the rumor or expectations and sell the news are successful, not the people rushing in after the news is reported. The news is usually expected and priced in.
7. Avoid internet chat rooms. The vast majority of these are filled with novices and people trying to pump or dump their holdings. I have found no value in these over the years either.
8. A day trade is a day trade. One of the riskiest things you can do is carry a losing day trade into the next day. This one rule has saved my thousands of dollars. You must cut your losses no matter what before the closing bell each day.
9. Do not combine time frames. Stocks move in different directions within different time frames. A day trader must take his signals at the daily level regardless of what larger time frames tell him or her.
10. Your big money will be made in the big moves. Traders must understand that on average 80-90% of their profits will be made on 10-20% of their trades. It is important to have a large enough stop loss to allow your trade to be successful but to cut your losses when your system says to. Also it is crucial to allow your winners to run by using trailing stops to lock in profits. You must have a limited down side with an unlimited upside, that is what will cause you to be a winning trader more than anything else.
Unless a trading method is 100% objective in its rules and implementation, your odds of success will be limited. Success in day trading is limited by the emotional responses that are born from subjective decisions. This book explains the psychology needed to be a successful day trader and gives many strategies and systems to get you started in the day trading game. This book will also help day traders that need to begin to win on average. I highly recommend.