How to Take Emotion Out of Trading

GoPro ($GPRO) is a stock I had been watching for a while.

Since the week of its IPO on June 26, 2014, the stock showed tremendous potential for a high volatility new issue. It opened with an IPO price of 28.65 a share and just 3 days later the stock hit an intraday high of 49.90.

That’s a 74% jump in 72 hours. From that point forward it was on my radar.

It took a few weeks of being patient, but finally, around the third week of July, GPRO had consolidated sideways enough for me to get involved.

44.30 would be the trigger price.

Image 1 GPRO How To Take Emotion Out Of Trading

On July 30th, 2014 price broke though my buy level but I didn’t take the trade.

Why not?

The very next day GoPro would be reporting its first quarterly earnings report and it’s a rule of mine to not carry new positions through earnings.

It was a good decision because GPRO fell around 17% after reporting earnings.

But a 17% sell off only seemed to attract more buyers because it wasn’t long until it started rising again.

On August 26th I once again got my signal to buy but I didn’t take the trade.

Why not?

It had already extended too far from its recent base. It had covered too much ground in short order and I wanted to see more consolidation around this level before getting involved.

On 8/28 it exploded higher ripping from 44 to just shy of 50 in just one session. The following day GPRO jumped another 6% to $51.80, the chase was on, and I was left without a position in the stock.

Here is a chart from September 10th, just 11 days after passing on my second buy signal in GPRO.

Image 2 GPRO How To Take Emotion Out Of Trading

That’s a close at 68.47 almost 25 points higher than my buy point or a 56% increase in 11 days.

So every day for 11 days I get to witness this rocket ship climb higher relentlessly as if its only mission is to taunt me. Throw in your average days worth of social media, and it seems like everyone is cashing in on the idea but me.

If you’re new to trading then get ready, because this is the tug of war the markets are going to play on your psyche day in and day out.

If you are someone who likes to dwell on the past then you are going to have a tough time adjusting for situations like this.

When I first started trading, something like this would trigger me to do something reckless like jump into a revenge trade, or cause me to chase a stock when I shouldn’t.

It took a while before I developed a strong enough internal resistance to suppress that degenerate behavior.

How to take emotion out of trading

I made a decision on 8/26 not to take this trade. My reasons were to error on the side of caution and not take, at the time, an aggressive setup.

Once that decision was made, nothing else mattered, it was out of my hands. To steal a line from Mr. Wonderful of Shark Tank, “GPRO was dead to me”.

I don’t care what happens to it, or where it goes, there’s no changing the decision I made. The only concern of mine is finding the next setup ready to rip.

I learned years ago, the hard way, that getting attached to an idea, or a position I am in, is a sure way to lose lots of money.

The more you can detach yourself from the daily noise and drama of the markets the better off you will be.

Most of how I detach myself to trades is by never having an opinion on what a stock should or should not do.

By relying only on the market to dictate my buy and sell decisions, I effectively transfer my need to be right, to something out of my control, the market.

Truly embracing that line of thinking, will go a long way in setting your ego free.

Markets are always going to test you in ways just like this. Trades you didn’t take will rip higher without you, and the ones you do take will quickly stop you out.

There’s always going to be another trade waiting for you around the corner.

It’s your job to make sure you’re clear minded and ready to act when it arrives.

Good luck out there.

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Evan Medeiros

Evan is the founder of the Trade Risk. With 25 years of coding experience and a B.S. in computer science, Evan brings a systematic discipline to investing in the stock market.

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