Thursday, December 31, 2015

51 Essential Swing Trading Posts From 2015

This has been an incredible year for both me and this blog. Personally, I hit a major level in my trading accounts, moved my family to San Diego, mentored 14 new students, continued to run the part-time swing trading program over at my former student's industry leading website and started a new significant income stream through day trading.

Specifically with this blog, I made a conscious effort to focus this blog on the mental aspect of swing trading. Judging from my inbox, these posts have had a major impact on many of you.

Let's review some of the best posts. I've divided them into two categories: the "mental game" and "setups". One sentence accompanies each post, giving you it's essence. 

Without further ado, here are 51 killer trading posts that are guaranteed to increase your swing trading IQ.

The Mental Game

Practical Setups, Strategy and Trades

Monday, December 28, 2015

9 Steps to Making Your 2016 Trading Goals Stick

The new year is always a good time to hit the reset button and create new trading goals for the coming year. Most traders set fantastic goals, but few actually achieve them. In fact, after a month or two, most don't even think about their 2016 goals because most have already become impossible to achieve. 

Let's fix that. Here is how we set our 2016 trading goals to guarantee success.

1. Call them goals, not resolutions.

A resolution is an intention to do something. Basically you are saying you will start something. I am going to start exercising is a resolution.

We want to move from intention to action. A goal is more specific because we focus on the process and end result. You do not merely say you will exercise in 2016, you get more specific and say I will lose 20 pounds. The intention is no longer open ended. You have something specific to work toward.

2. Say "I will" or "I am"

Language is important. It sets the tone and puts us in the right frame of mind. If you say "I plan to lose 20 pounds", it's something you do in the future. If you say "I will lose 20 pounds", you are demanding you complete the task. Even better, if you say "I am losing 20 pounds", you are already in the act of accomplishing the goal, there is nothing to start.

3. Create specific actions.

Frame the goal with specific actions, not just the goal itself. For example, after stating that you will lose 20 pounds, be specific in how you will achieve that goal. I will lose 20 pounds by cutting out sugar, running 4 miles 5 times per week, sleeping 8 hours per day and drinking more water. These are specific actions that give you a road map for how to achieve your goal.

4. Focus on mastery

You will not accomplish your goal with a superficial understanding of what it takes to achieve the goal. All top performers gain mastery of what they are trying to achieve. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you must master nutrition and exercise with a deep understanding of the subject matter.

5. Focus on the Few

Less is better. You can not master many things. Take a few things and learn them inside and out. Once you achieve mastery of one or two things, only then move on to something else.

6. Act on your Goals

We spend a lot of time coming up with fantastic goals and dreaming of achievement. Few act and even fewer continue to act once they start. Take that first step and do not put it off. Once you take that first step, keep taking steps until the goal is met.

7. Change Your Habits

The goal must become a part of your life. You eat, you breathe and you accomplish your goals. Work hard at creating habits that make your goals routine.

8. Persevere

Most people quit after the first set back. Those that achieve their goals push through the inevitable first set back. They don't give up. If you gain two pounds, regroup and get back to doing what you need to do to achieve your goal.

8. Review and Analyze Weekly

Your goals need to be your number 1 priority. Reviewing your goals every week does two things. First, it makes sure they remain a priority and keeps you from slacking. Second, it helps you figure out what is working and what isn't. I have my calendar set every Saturday morning for in depth goal review.

Following these 8 steps puts you in the position to achieve your 2016 goals. In the next blogpost I will layout my 2016 trading goals.

If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

5 Steps That Will Save Time and Create the Perfect Swing Trading Watchlist

Every trader knows time is money
Beginning swing traders make trading way too complicated. The beauty of swing trading is that once you know what you are doing, it does not take much time to trade like a pro. This is why swing trading is great for part-time trading.

If you are spending more than an hour a day researching swing trading stocks, you are probably doing too much. Here are ways to save time without sacrificing quality setups.

Check out my 14 tips for handling market selloffs on

1. Run fewer scans

Many traders see scanning as the holy grail, and cutting down on scans seems counter to the idea of saving time since scanning is supposed to narrow the universe of stocks to trade. I disagree. There are a number of problems created by scanning.

When we scan, we often lose our "feel for the market" because we are focused on the "now" and haven't participated in the day to day of the stock.

Many traders don't actually understand how to trade what they scan. So you've got a list of 12 stocks that broke out 5 percent on heavy volume, breaking out over a key resistance level. Now how do you trade this stock on a down trending market? What about a range bound market?

When scanning and narrowly focusing on specific setups, we often lose many potential setups. Stocks go through cycles. A parabolic short often leads to a bounce, which may lead to a failed breakout, which leads to a first thrust short, which  leads to another bounce and finally developing a second thrust short. You will get a better feel for this if you have been watching the stock throughout the cycle.

The number one question I am asked is "what scans do I run". Most traders are shocked when I tell them I only scan 5% breakouts and breakdowns and a scan for overbought and oversold stocks. Every other stock in my watchlist comes from my weekly and daily sector analysis. 

Scanning for stocks to put in my watchlist takes 5 minutes per day.

2. Weed out your watchlist every day.

I keep to lists. A watchlist which consists of 50-200 stocks and a narrower focus list with actionable setups, which usually has 5-20 stocks. Every evening I review my lists and weed out stocks that are no longer setting up.

Why is weeding the watchlist important?

First, it is a time saver. You no longer are wasting time on what is no longer a strong setup. Second, I see many traders trade bad setups because that stock was still in their watchlist. Weeding out the stock makes sure you do not trade average or poor setups.

Weeding and reviewing the watchlist takes 10 minutes.

3. Review the top and bottom performing sectors weekly.

My weekly sector analysis is the biggest reason I don't need to run scans. I review the best and worst sectors every weekend for two reasons. First, it helps me develop a feel for the market and what is trending. Second, I know the best and worst stocks, along with the most volatile, are in my watchlist.

Sector review takes about 10 minutes per day.

4. Create a daily focus list.

Once I have run my two scans, weeded out my watchlist and analyzed the best and worst performing sectors, the final step is to create my focus list.

The focus list narrows the watchlist that has developed from setups 1 though 3 with actionable stocks that are setting up for possible trades over the next day or two. It's a lightening quick process. Once you have seen a setup hundreds and even thousands of time, you develop a sixth sense for pattern recognition.

Reviewing 100-200 charts to create my focus list takes me less than 5 minutes.

5. Create the plan

Now that you have a focus list, you need to know the entry trigger, stop and target placement. Having a plan leads to better decision making when it's time to enter.

Created a trading plan for each stock in the focus list takes 5 minutes.

My daily "process" for identifying the stocks I will trade is organic and builds on itself day after day. This process gives me an intuitive feel for the market, cuts down on waste, identifies the high quality setups I should be trading and keeps me focused. Best of all, it only takes 30-40 minutes per day to have a professional's understanding of the market.

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If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at

Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Embrace Your Fear in Trading: The Trading Intelligentsia Has it Wrong

Most trader's and coaches think of emotion as if it is trading kryptonite. The worst of these emotions is thought to be fear.

If you Google "fear" and "trading" you will see a host of "how to overcome fear in trading" articles. No disrespect to those authors, but they are worthless. Don't read them. Every one of these articles misses the point.

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Fear in trading is a good thing. It is an emotion that is telling you something. To a trader it is warning that "something is wrong here. Past experience and pattern recognition is a signal that I need to adapt my strategy." 

Why would you want to overcome this legitimate warning signal? Ignoring your emotion and sticking with the plan is a likely bad move. Rather than overcoming this vital emotion, embrace your fear and investigate why the sirens are going off in your head.

The 3 Step Process Embracing Fear

When fear grips me during a trade, I analyze the situation using a  3 step process:

  1. I ask myself why I am scared. I review the setup, patterns, risk parameters, position sizing and market conditions. If something has fundamentally changed in any of these factors, I reassess the trade. 
  2. If I can't find anything wrong with the trade, I think back to the last time few times I felt this way. Was there a common theme. Did something significant happen in those trades, or was my fear ultimately misguided?
  3. If I still can't come up with anything, I look inward. This is where self actualization comes into play. I try to take a step back and "watch the watcher". Is this emotion based on flawed perceptions? Are there factors outside trading making me feel this way? Am I focusing too much on recent profits and losses rather than the trade? 

If my perceptions are flawed or the fear is based on my own mental anxiety rather than a change in trade conditions, I make no trade adjustment and come up with a plan to work on myself.

After this three stop process, a plan is in place to fix the trade or the trader. By doing so, I end up becoming a better trader. This is accomplished not by overcoming my fear, but by embracing it. 

If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chart of the Day: PANW and Relative Strength During Market Selloffs

Today's chart of the day is PANW, which gapped and broke out over it's 50 dma yesterday, and is holding that level this morning.

This makes PANW a relative strength stock. During market selloffs,  it pays to keep a list of relative strength stocks that have the potential to beat the market and will likely be the next big momos if the market recovers.

Check out my 14 tips for handling market selloffs and

Keep an eye on on the 50 dma level. If it holds, PANW is at a good entry level and could retest all time highs.

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If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Trade During Market Selloffs and the Power of Support

The one key element for traders looking to "buy the dip" is support. Support levels are powerful because this is the level where we see buying interest due to previous buying, trend lines or moving averages.

Even during market selloffs where the drop seems to have no floor, support can have a powerful impact. Let's study these momentum stocks during the current selloff. Notice that all of these bounced at previous lows or key moving averages. 

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Remember, we are always trying to make the complex simple, and nothing is simpler than buying at support levels.

SPY bounces off October '14 low

GOOGL bounces off pre-earnings breakout gap level

CMG bounces off 200 dma

UA bounces off 200 dma

These charts are great examples of the power of support and how to trade during market selloffs.

Next week I will present a webinar on swing trading and handling market selloffs. Keep your eyes peeled for info from

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If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Chart of the Day: Facebook and the Round Number Breakout

Today's chart of the day is Facebook, which despite a tepid earnings reaction this quarter is showing strong relative strength versus the market and looks to make a run to $100.

Keep an eye on this $100 level, which also is near the all-time high breakout level. Entry can be made on breakout or early in anticipation of the breakout.

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If you would like to learn more about how I trade, receive my nightly focus list with market analysis, setups and trade alerts, sign up for a 14 day free trial at