Ten Top Tips To Trade Stock Options Successfully - #6

By: Roger Cox

Welcome again to the 10 keys of how to trade stock options successfully. Previously we have discussed the technicalities of options trading. This week I will start looking at the more esoteric aspects of trading beginning with how to formulate a trading plan.

It is imperative you trade with a plan. No trader has ever successfully prospered without a trading plan or with a plan that they didnt stick to. The main aspects of a good trading plan include, but are not limited to:

1. Money management rules, i.e. acceptable profits and losses per trade, how much capital you will commit to any one trade and to the market at any one time.

It is important you identify what your stop loss margin is (as discussed last week) and even more important you stick to it. Writing this sort of information into your trading plan will help cement it in your mind. We will discuss more on money management in week eight.

2. Stock and option identification rules, i.e. how you will decide which stocks to trade options on and which options you will trade.

Decide if you prefer technical or fundamental analysis or a mixture of both. How big will your watch list be? What price range of stocks will you trade? Do you like trading in the money or out of the money options? What Greeks will you consider?

3.

Entry and exit rules, i.e. What will make you enter and exit a trade, what length of time will you stay in the trade and how often will you trade.

Entry and exit rules will depend largely on technical analysis, write down the patterns and indicators you will look for. Deciding how often to trade will be a big factor in your success. Most people over trade, if you have a fixed profit target then once you have met it you should stop trading. Going for an extra profit over and above what you planned for can possibly lead to a loss, which is very difficult to handle if were showing a profit originally!

4. Your own strategy rules, i.e. which trading strategies you will use primarily and which strategies suit your risk profile.

Know thyself as the ancient Greek saying goes is critical when formulating a stock options trading plan. You will tend to trade options and you do anything else in life, for example, if you are cautious by nature you will trade cautiously, if you are impatient in everyday life you will trade impatiently. Therefore consider your unique traits and formulate your plan around them.

Once you have practiced trading options you will discover your own style of trading, and from that you will develop a plan that suits you. Once you have your plan, and you know it works, stick to it through thick and thin. That doesnt mean that a plan cant be changed but you must ensure that you give your plan a chance to work and that you dont change it the first time you take a loss.

Once you formulate and implement a good trading plan you will be well on your to trading stock options successfully. Next week we will discuss trading with the overall market and index options.

US Government required disclaimer: Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Copies of this document may be obtained from your broker, from any exchange on which options are traded or by contacting The Options Clearing Corporation, One North Wacker Dr., Suite 500 ChicagoComputer Technology Articles, IL 60606 (1-800-678-4667).

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