Be Patient With Winning Trades

by Olivier on November 30, 2010

Tonight’s topic is about how to handle winning trades vs. handling losing trades. Actually the way you’re dealing with this common trading issue will determine your fate as a trader. Depending on what you do with your winners and losers you will either end up being a profitable trader or a trader losing money. A typical character trait of amateur traders is the inordinate amount of time they spend thinking about their biggest winners. They constantly want to take profits because of their need to satisfy their ego and their inability to cope with greed. Their thinking goes like this: “I should take profits because the stock has gone up.”

Instead, they should do the exact opposite. They should cultivate an emotionally detached approach to trading, and most of their time should be spent monitoring and managing the losing positions in their portfolio. On the other hand a typical character trait of winning traders is the ability to cut losses. A few market adages that come to mind:

  • Winners take care of themselves
  • Patience is a virtue
  • Ride your winners
  • Stay calm and focused
  • Cut your losses
  • Always use stop losses
  • Do more of the things that work
  • Never add to a losing position

Trading rules that are related to managing winners and losers:

  • Rule 17: Be patient with winning trades; be enormously impatient with losing trades. Remember it is quite possible to make large sums trading/investing if we are “right” only 30% of the time, as long as our losses are small and our profits are large. Dennis Gartman Trading Rules

Conclusion: Think twice before you sell a big winner. Instead, ask yourself why that huge losing position is still part of your portfolio.

A great way to get started and gain more insight into those concepts would be to re-read my posts onWhat winning traders commit toand How greed affects traders.

The best traders have no ego. You have to swallow your pride and get out of the losses. – Tom Baldwin


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