How do I start?

Discussion in 'Trading' started by birchy, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. birchy


    I am about to start trading and need some pointers to fast-track me.

    I have about $4-5k to play with, but not a lot of hrs/day. My intent is to try to catch four or five 20 to 30 cents gains (based on a $20 stock) per week. I'm not doing margins or options. I intend to focus on a few stocks, primarily one in the industry in which I work (semiconductor mfg) and the others in groups that have a chance of being upwardly active when my primary is down. I can be fairly disciplined about sticking to my rules, but those rules will develop as I gain experience. I intend to be fairly conservative and favor a channeling approach. That is, buying below the moving average, selling when I've made a little profit. I intend to try to grow the balance to at least $10k before I consider taking any profit.

    I haven't had time to really educate myself, but intend to browse these forums as much as I can. My experience consists of playing with my wife's retirement account. It allows me to move funds once a day price based on the day's closing. I've been moving the funds back and forth between the bond fund and the employer's stock (TXN - Texas Instruments). This stock follows the Dow most of the time, with a fairly pronounced 3 day up / 3 day down cycle, so I've been pretty successful at increasing the return, making it well worth the time it sucks from my day. I've had my share of "learning experiences", of course. I've been using Yahoo's free services and just discovered ScotTraders free live quotes.

    I am looking for pointers for:
    which online broker? I've been looking at Daytek and ScotTrader, but in just the few postings I've seen, it appears that IB (don't even know what that stands for) has some backers and that the others don't. Which ones should I consider?

    Where can I find a good comprehensive collection of real-world tips for my basic investing plans?

    What software (besides that offered by the broker) should I look at? I don't think I'll be looking for stock picking, but I could use a powerful, versatile alerting system (e-mail and cell phone msg, maybe mobile networked PDA) to help me do some trading without being glued to the screen. (Wishful thinking?)

    Anything else that I don't even know enough to ask about, that I obviously need, based on background/goals?


  2. birchy

    You sound a lot like myself about a year ago. If you are like myself, you will soon be trading options and/or shorting (which requires a margin account). But right now, that would indeed be a little premature. I am going to give you the 2 pieces of advice that I think will benefit you the most at yout current stage:

    1. IB stands for

    If you trade 100 shares with them, it will cost you $1 in commissions. That includes everything. For someone with a trading account in the 4 digit range, I don't see how any other broker could compete.

    2. Try to avoid market orders. Just in case you don't know, if the current best offer is 21.10 and you send a limit buy at 21.50, you will still get filled at 21.10, just like with a market order.

    (By the way, scottrader is a great service for its price, but its quotes are sometimes delayed by a few seconds to a few minutes, but don't think that the really good data feeds that you pay big bucks for are lightning fast, because they aren't either.)
  3. you need as much 'screen time' as you can get.. since you want to focus on TXN, watch it trade as much as you can. watch the price fluctuations and how it reacts to news, how it follows the broader market, how it reacts at different times of the day, around earnings, options expiration, end of month/quarter, etc. get to know it like your best lover. depend on it like your lifeblood. before you trade with real money, write down trades on paper and see how they turn out. once you have enough confidence to not question yourself after a few bad trades, start trading with real money.
  4. uhhhhhhh i would say...just be prepared for what i'm about to say to be true.....

    you're standing at the bottom of a mountain wishing you were at the top.....and it's a very big mountain......NOT TRYING TO BE NEGATIVE, BUT JUST BE PREPARED......BIG TIME.
  5. William


    What GG said... you get the idea anyway. First thing is to understand what you're getting into. Honestly, do you?
  6. although i still think what i said is true, i may have been a bit too harsh (i've had a few beers)....i say this because anything worth doing probably isn't too easy. in other words, if this is what you want to do, do it...just don't expect a walk in the park.
  7. expect to lose it.

    lol...i'm the guy you won't like right now, but eventually, you'll be like.......hey, he was right.

    i'm 24 and i've been trading for 3+ years day in and day out. i've lost multiples of 10k and i didn't think i would. it's not pretty, but i'm honest when i say you have to suck really bad at this before you're a real trader....and most people will quit before that happens.........but that is also the key...don't quit. keep losing til you learn.
  8. William


    Understand everything GG said, it's all true.
  9. Banjo

    File this away and refer to it often. GG and the others have it right. It takes time to peel away the layers of the onion one at a time. You have to understand layer #26 before you can go on to layer#27, etc.
    Unless you're planing on living 200 years get into technical analysis. Fundamentals can take a long time to come around, everything becomes commoditised given enough time. Look into a charting program called TC2000 by Worden brothers. It is the fastest end of day program with enough tools to get you into understanding scans and formulas. It is a great "filing cabinet" in that you can easily scan hundreds of charts and sectors and place them into as list as you desire. I only do futures now and don't use it but many with sophisticated programs still use this for end of day quick scans., This is a good learning site, also some nice built in scans,you can learn a lot here.
  10. nitro


    I smell a kill...Ugh, but here come the bigger predators...Hyenas... Vultures circling overhead....I see Lions coming - I am out of here.

    #10     Aug 17, 2002