Day Trading Indicators and Indicator Trading
Did You Begin Day Trading As An Indicator Only Trader?
Did you start day trading after buying a book on technical analysis, and getting a charting program – probably a free one that you found online – in order to save money? While reading your book you learned about trading indicators which could ‘predict’ price movement, and what do you know, the ‘best’ indicators were actually included in your free charting program – let the games begin.
Now that you have all the day trading tools that are necessary, the book for education AND the free charting program with those ‘best’ day trading indicators, you now need a day trading plan so you can decide which ones of those ‘magic’ day trading indicators you are supposed to use. This really is a great book, besides telling you how to day trade using indicators to ‘predict’ price – it also said that you need a trading plan to day trade.
So what should this plan be? The book told you about trend following using an indicator called macd, and it also told you how it was possible to pick the top or bottoms using an indicator called stochastic; my guess is that you picked the stochastic indicator to start your day trading – this must be the ‘best of the best’ since this indicator was going to ensure you of entering your trades with the ‘best’ price. Amazing, simply amazing how easy this day trading stuff really is. In fact, why even bother taking the trades, each time your indicators give a signal – just call up your broker and tell him to stick $100 in your account.
My book was Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets. My charting program was TradeStation with an eSignal fm receiver; that was the one that if you hung the antennae wires just right, and you put enough foil on the tips, you might even get quotes. I had sold a business before I started trading so I did have some capital – isn’t that how everyone gets into trading, you either sell a business or you lose your job? My indicator was the macd as I had decided that I was going to be a ‘trend follower’ instead of a ‘top-bottom picker’. I also decided that I was going to be ‘extra’ clever, if one indicator was good than two indicators must be better, so I added a 20 period moving average. My first trade was a winner, then after many months of extensive therapy, I was finally able to forget the next twelve months – ahhh the memories
Learning To Day Trading – The Learning Progression
Beginning to day trade, or learning to day trade, as an indicator trader is very typical. This is also logical when you consider – HOW are you supposed to initially learn how to trade? Trading indicators are available to anyone who has a charting program, and simply using line crosses, or histogram color changes, provide ‘easy’ signals to understand. If you will also take the time to learn the arithmetic behind your indicators, as well as learning what each indicator is specifically intended to do, not only is this a logical way to begin, it is also a good ‘step’ in your learning progression – understanding the WHAT you are doing, instead of attempting to create ‘canned’ indicator only trading systems, without any regard as to WHY you are trading this way.
This does become one of the ‘sticking’ points in your learning progression, as you come to find out that you are unable to profitably trade indicators as signals only – now what? Now what – you ‘can’t’ develop your own indicators, so you start doing Google searches for day trading indicators and start buying your ‘collection’ – they don’t ‘work’ either. Now what – you buy a mechanical trading system – what does hypothetical results may not be indicative of real trading or future results mean? Now what – you start subscribing to signal services OR you start joining the ‘latest and greatest’ chat room – am I really the only person using the signals who isn’t profitable?
Now what – you never learn how to trade.
I began trading as an indicator trader, and I did try to learn everything that I could about the various indicators, as well as trying to combine indicators that were consistent with how I wanted to trade – I just could never develop a mechanical day trading system from what was available to me. I read a couple more books that didn’t really help me, so I then started looking for someone who could teach me. From what I now know about gurus -vs- teachers, I am very lucky that I got involved with a money manager-trader who taught me a tremendous amount, but I still couldn’t get profitable, in part because there was also ‘pressure’ to learn how to trade using real money. As well, any discussions or thoughts about trading psychology and the issues involved, especially to beginning traders, was non-existent.