At a recent trading convention two well known traders discuss the ins and outs of trade exits. Read on to find out how successful traders make their trade exit decisions…
Mark McRae is surprisingly forthcoming about his worst trade experience when asked.
On one occasion he explained, I was long on the euro, and I was long for quite a large amount – and I got a visitor come in from nowhere. So instead of closing the trade – (or I thought I closed the trade by going short)- I actually bought again. So after a few hours, my visitor had gone. I can’t remember the exact amount, but I was down $20,000 or $30,000 on this trade, and it was one of the worst trades, not because of the amount I lost, but because I couldn’t believe I was so silly about not checking it. With this particular trade, I left it, for about four hours and watched it, and eventually got out with a loss luckily!
On the other hand, one of his best trades wasn’t in the Forex market. It was in the indexes where America had a surprise rate increase. Mark just happened to be the right side of the market. “I couldn’t believe it. It took me about five minutes to figure out why I had almost tripled the amount I was trying to get that day, (which was very nice of course). I think that was one of my favorite trades. I was on the phone to the broker, and I was arguing with the broker about the price that he had given me. Actually it was the NASDAQ. And he said to me, they’ve just changed the interest rates. Do you want in or do you want out? He said you get ten seconds. I said, ‘I’ll stay in.’ And I didn’t really know it, but I was trying to figure out in my brain whether this was good or bad, but I said I will stay in, and then there was this huge leap, so that was definitely one of my nicest trades” Mark advises.
So How Does Mark Decide When To Make A Trade Exit?
When something unexpected like the NASDAQ experience occurs, it’s almost like a windfall. He then went on to explain that he got out about five minutes after seeing the peak. It wasn’t technical at all, he just thought whoopee, this is good, and closed the trade.
But that’s not how he trades now. Mark has refined his level of patience now. “You know, the big fluctuations don’t frighten me anymore. And also, I don’t know if you find this, but I’m very often on the wrong side of the market when I go in. In other words, I don’t go into the market, and then immediately I am successful, or the trade goes in the right direction.
Very often, the market will move against me for a bit, so I’ve got to be comfortable with the market moving against me. It doesn’t scare me anymore. Although this does take discipline to stay in long enough and not panic and pull out. Obviously, it takes a lot to frighten Mark out of a position. He now makes up his own mind when to make a trade exit based on his target established.
Mark advised us that for a long time, he used to trade indices. The reason is because this is a much faster moving investment. Previously, Mark believed Forex was fast until he started trading the SMP.
Mark explained that exiting trades requires a plan and established targets so he knows what to head for. Generally speaking, due to Marks experience he tends to use the stop losses as the orders to get in and out of a market as a safety valve.