Alright, first post here so go easy on me. Maybe a little bit of my experience so far can help you guys better understand where I'm at and warn of any problems I might have in the near future. Who knows I could be doing something everyone knows to be too risky or idiotic and you could save me the trouble. I've embedded some of my newbie questions starting at the 4th paragraph, feel free to skim, the first couple paragraphs is background info that you can skip if you want. I've been interested in trading since high school. Read a book about it, not an entertaining "trading for dummies" book, but a hardcore technical analysis book. I was a bit pumped up and then I lost $500 in a joint ameritrade account with a friend by investing in Calpine Corp (CPN). Yes, an energy company, right before Enron and 9/11 wiped out everything thereafter, and getting fee-ed to death by ameritrade brought the account to negative. (they let us go with $0 though). Yeah, $500 is a pretty substantial amount of money when you are flipping burgers. So now in the middle of college I get challenged by a friend at MIT to a virtual stock competition with him and his MIT stock buddies. I treat it as a game, and without knowing it stumble upon a "pattern" of selling short on short term nasdaq stocks that seems to work, and I win (never holding anything overnight). So I decide maybe I could try this with real money. So after 6 months of research (is this enough?) and hundreds of charts printed out from a very specific group of stocks, I fine-tune my short selling, test it by paper-trading for a month (is this long enough?) and open up an ameritrade account (probably a bad choice for broker??). My short selling strategy seems to go through about 30 mutations before reaching a competent form usable with real money and real-time trading. Only prob is I don't have a job or the ability to trade short, so I try "reversing" my short selling method (I have stacks of charts where the short-sell failed which I use to form the basis of a long strategy.) Made about $300 in a couple of weeks with $3000 starting up. Stupidly held something overnight but luckily it went up and made me a profit. But I hate going long, I'm a pessimist. So anyway, a relative opened up a short account on ameritrade and I started with $7,000 in there (100% of my cash), shorted for 3 weeks and make a 23.8% gain, nearly orgasming after an 8% gain in one day. As it works, I lost 3% immediately thereafter to balance out the significant gain, and had to stop trading due to school. So I'm about to graduate and have no clue what to do....is it possible to work a 9-5 job in the U.S. and trade? How do I trade the other markets if I want to trade overnight? Should I go balls out and see what happens with just trading a few months? What I've learned so far (what else should I learn? any tips?): 1) Be a robot, picking the right stock to short is a lot easier than knowing when to cover. So always have a set point where you are going to buy to cover. One unforeseen problem I had was I focused SO MUCH on picking the right short stock that I completely ignored when to cover. 2) Never trade anything below $9-10, unless you are able to stomach the intraday swings. 3) Don't think about how much you could have made if you had bought to cover earlier or later, you'll rarely do it perfectly. 4) Don't be greedy, stick with a preset gameplan as human tendencies are the traders enemy. 5) Only risk how much you can lose, and never think about the money. If you trade because you care about the money it'll cloud your mind and you will do things you normally wouldn't (hold over night). 6) Waiting twice a week for that perfect situation to short is usually a lot better than trading many inferior stocks that don't fit a criteria perfectly just because you feel you "need to trade" 7) Have someone hold you accountable, a method you might be trying may only seem to work on paper because you WANT to believe it works. 8) Don't trade before 10:30 EST, it's too volatile and you'll never get your price. 9) If you can trade without staring at the chart all day, go ahead and let your stops take care of it, just make sure your position is closed at the end of the day. So now a few questions: They say beginners get creamed at the start, and lose a large amount of money....does my -$500 calpine experience count for that? Where can I find data with regards to stocks that are currently shortable? I hate trying to short a stock over $10 then finding it's not available to short. I sent ameritrade a query and they couldn't point me in the right direction. Google is my friend but he sometimes fails me. I've researched the types of stocks I short for about a year and a half now, and they haven't "disappeared" or changed in activity. I've also actively investigated other methods/patterns and one seems to work, I don't think subsisting on one method is smart. I do everything by hand and with a homemade "chart ruler" to write down data points of interest on hundreds of charts. I use bigcharts, is there a better site? Such as one that allows me to zoom in on past weeks with one day resolution. Um...I know this is like an essay, sorry. Oh yeah and I don't have enough $ for day-trading margin so I'm stuck with the 3 round trips in a rolling 5 day period. Also, I have concerns about how much money I could invest in a single stock.....I mean for a stock who by the minute volume is about 10,000 shares with spikes up to 100,000 early on, is it possible to invest $100,000 or $500,000 in one of these stocks without altering the price? (maybe spread out into many separate orders) Is there a formula to figure out the most $ you can invest in a stock given it's average volume per minute?