My daily trading preparation and tools used

by Alan McG 8. March 2012 08:06

A Hipchat member today asked about daily preparation, so I dug up an old blog post . So here's a run down on my tools of trade and a little insight to how I prepare for a trading day:

Every morning the first thing I do (second after coffee!) is check the overnight market action. I check U.S and European market movements, metals prices and general market news.

My favourite web sites for this are:

www.marketwatch.com
www.kitcometals.com
www.bloomberg.com/news

I'll then open my charting program (FCharts Pro) and run a few scans, with a bias towards overnight action. For example if U.S markets were looking toppy, I might focus more on looking for shorting opportunities. Or if gold was very strong, I'll make sure to pay particular attention to goldies. I will particularly look for stocks in hot sectors that haven't ran hard yet.

The 2 primary scans I use are a simple Price and Volume increase scan, and one looking for potential swings in trending stocks. I also look at every individual chart in the ASX300 if I have time.

From these scans I will start setting up watch lists, and set alerts at prices of interest...primarily support and resistance figures. I will often set well in advance of 50 alerts each morning.

I then have 3 trading platforms that I rely on during market hours:

1/
Spark
Spark is an excellent piece of platform software. A couple of features that stand it out from the crowd are a unique graphical presentation of market depth, and a very very handy feature called "Smart lists". Smart lists allow me to scan and sort the market in real time for market movers over specific time periods, search for stocks with unusually high volume, and much more. Many of my intraday day trading opportunities are sourced from Spark. I run Spark across 2 monitors.

2/ ETrade Pro
Although I rarely trade through ETrade, I have used this platform since the old TD Waterhouse days. I know it intimately, I like the charts, and the watchlists have a very useful feature where the user can set how long price change highlights take to fade from screen. What this basically means for me is that I can still pick up price movements across my 6 monitor ETrade set up, over a minute or two after the actual price action. This is a very handy feature if you are watching large amounts of stock at once as I do.

3/ WebIress
WebIress is the platform where I actually place my trades through my CFD provider -
FP Markets. The software is nothing special, but it is pretty stable, which is extremely important, and it does have a few cool features.

Throughout the day I'll also keep an eye on
U.S Futures and also Asian Markets, particularly when they re open in the afternoon.

As alerts trigger throughout the day, or stocks on watch hit potential entry levels, I will move them to my "close watch" lists, and take positions from there. When I can I will
Twitter or Hipchat stocks that have sparked my interest, some of these I'll take positions in, but not all, as many of the set ups don't kick on as I'd like.

Add to this; Email, Excel, the odd forum, Skype and Messenger and you might get an idea of how hard my PC works during the day!

Here's a old pic of my trading desk...it's usually tidier than that though....really! :)!



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