Sunday, August 01, 2021

Playing The Right Game

A number of traders that contact me are working very hard at improving the "setups" that they trade each day.  Often, they're doing a good job of improving their game, but are they necessarily playing the right game?

Let's take a look at relevant statistics with the SPY ETF as a market proxy.  What we want to see is how much of the movement in the index occurs during NYSE trading hours and how much occurs when the NYSE is closed.  

Going back to the start of 2019, we have gained about 188 points in SPY.  Of those, nearly 109 occurred in overnight action, when the NYSE was closed.  During 2021 thus far, the number of points gained overnight was very similar to the number gained during the day sessions.  Bottom line, much of the directional opportunity in the market has been unavailable to daytraders.

This is an important reason why a number of the traders I work with at SMB have begun researching multi-day edges in the market.  They've opened longer-term accounts, and they've been learning options strategies that provide them with superior risk/reward in holding positions overnight.  By changing the game they're playing, they've expanded their opportunity set--and that is paying off.  

I'm finding the same thing in my own trading.  I have three separate accounts.  Two hold positions over longer horizons (days to weeks) and one trades mostly intraday.  When I backtest a pattern in the market that shows a historical edge over a one-week+ horizon (such as when occurred when the sharp drop on June 19th was followed by a sharp rise), I enter and hold positions in the two accounts and then trade intraday pullbacks in the short-term account.  The net result is that I can pursue opportunity even when the market moves against me short-term.  This creates a win-win mindset.

Similarly, among the SMB traders, I find a more positive mindset because they can participate in far more opportunity and not face the frustration of having their ideas play out in time zones when they're not active.

It's a great example of how improving your trading can improve your mindset and trading psychology.  If you're frustrated that you're not taking advantage of the opportunity that is present, perhaps it's not simply that you're playing the game poorly.  Perhaps you need to reassess the game you're playing.

Further Resources:

How Spiritual Growth Can Further Our Psychological Growth

Three Minute Trading Coach:  Building Our Emotional Awareness

Building Our Capacity for Reaching Our Goals