Profitable ETF Trading Strategies: How science can improve your trading
Trading by its very nature is filled with uncertainty. Any human endeavor that has such a strong psychological component must be uncertain, until such time as human nature itself undergoes a fundamental change.
It is uncertainty which helps make a market for assets. It’s what helps drive the discovery process to uncover the relative value different parties place on an asset. It encourages risk-taking behavior in real time to anticipate the short term future direction of prices.
Uncertainty and psychology don’t necessarily make it easy on the trader to act with confidence and commitment. On the contrary it provides opportunities for self-doubt indecision, and will often keep you on the sidelines when your rational mind and trading system may signal you to act.
Traders that set aside the uncertainty of the moment and act with conviction based on sound trading principles and thoroughly vetted trading strategies have a definite edge over those who are coming from a weak place.
One of the mental disciplines that I have found to be very helpful has been to adopt a trading approach that relies on a scientific metaphor to focus my mind and free me to act in a sound manner. Here is the technique’s basic approach.
Once yo have a reason to believe in the soundness of a basic strategy, define the boundaries of the idea and circumstances in which you have an edge.
It may be in a price level, in a chart pattern, in a combination of indicators that have yielded statistically sound returns in certain market conditions that are now in play.
Find the specific price levels that give you clear evidence that:
1. the idea is beginning to work
2. the idea is failing
3. the idea has fully manifested itself and the profit target is realized
These specific price levels allow you to define your initial risk, set the triggers for entry, initial capital preservation stop, and profit target to harvest your reward for action.
By clearly defining the terms of your trading idea you have established a hypothesis that can be tested based on the pure evidence of price and eliminate some of the counterproductive self talk that leads to inaction. It allows you to let the trade decide its own results, and gives you a case study that can add to your knowledge of the system’s performance.
By trading it at a risk level that allows you to dispassionately separate yourself from the results you allow the trading idea to stand on its own merits and remove the variable of your own discretion from the mix.
This approach is not a natural way to think about the market, but it can do wonders for your discipline and your bottom line if you have reasonably robust trading strategies.