I am currently reading How to Trade Stocks by Jesse Livermore, one of the greatest traders the world has ever known. In the coming weeks I'll post some nuggets from the book. First off, here is a quote that many traders live by, but I tend to disagree with:
There are times when money can be made in stocks, but money cannot be
consistently made by trading every day or every week during the year. Only
the foolhardy will try it.
Basically, Livermore believed you should only trade individual stocks when the broader markets give signals and are trending (in either direction). The rest of the time you should be in cash. While I do agree that is the optimal time to trade, there are many ways to make money, and decent gains can be made in range bound markets. You just have to play the market differently. Livermore was a breakout trader, which works great for trending markets. Of course breakout trading isn't going to work as well in a market like we have right now, which is why you have to adjust your game plan accordingly. There is a lot of money to be made buying pullbacks of breakouts and playing support and resistance levels. Money that couldn't be made if you sat on your hands waiting for a trending market.
Mr. Livermore may call me foolhardy, but my portfolio hardy thinks I'm a fool :)