Day traders who are new to trading stocks often find that watching a number of different symbols at the same time can take some getting used to. This is especially true for those who may already have experience of the futures market where it is not uncommon to spend the entire session watching only one or two charts. Keeping an eye on multiple charts is not impossible though, it just takes practise and a structured method.
What do I mean by a structured method? I mean that it is important to have a defined approach to scanning your stock list for the day. Switching frenziedly between charts in a desperate attempt to catch every possible trade will only result in confusion, and ultimately in missing the very trades one is trying to catch. That in turn can easily lead to revenge trading, whereby the trader attempts to jump belatedly into a move because they don’t want to miss the boat (also known in non-trading circles as FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out). All in all, it’s a recipe for disaster.
What the stock trader must accept early on in their career is that it is simply not possible to catch every single trade. Some will be missed; it’s a fact of trading life. Instead of trying to be in all places at once, a clearly defined system for cycling through charts will lead to a clearer mind and better trading decisions.
If, for example, a trader uses a five minute chart for determining possible entries, then it’s entirely possible to scan through each stock chart on the day’s target list only once every five minutes. Any stock that shows good potential can be referred back to more frequently. When a trade setup looks imminent, the trader can concentrate their full attention on that one chart until the trade is either entered, or the setup fails.
It’s Like Driving
Repetition and practice is key to successfully monitoring and managing multiple stock symbols and trades. When first faced with the task of checking charts, recognising patterns, entering trades, managing them, exiting and so forth, the process can seem daunting. But as with learning anything new, the more practice and repetition of the task is undertaken, the easier it will become.
Anyone who drives a car will know exactly what I mean. If you can remember back to your early driving lessons (particularly if you learnt in a car with manual transmission), you will probably recall how there seemed to be so many things to do at once: clutch, gears, throttle, and steering, watch the speed, indicate, where are the other vehicles around you going, what’s the idiot in front doing, where am I even going? Yet today you get into a car and drive without thinking about what you’re doing. You can probably hold a conversation, listen to some music, and admire the scenery all while hurtling along. In other words driving has become second nature, an automatic response.
The Target Is Boring
Exactly the same thing applies to trading. With sufficient practice and repetition, doing the right thing eventually becomes automatic. Far from feeling under pressure to be across the whole watchlist of stocks, you find yourself twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next candle to print so that you can flip through the day’s charts again. The whole process become, well, boring. And when a trader reaches that stage, success is close.