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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Market Recap
Looking at the major indexes today, you would think that the market had a bad day. Maybe so, but a glance at the Russell small cap index reveals a positive day. The Russel Index was up and this is why our TWPD portfolio did so well. Our Bulletin stocks are comprised of many small cap stocks, and they thrived again in a down market. 

Several stocks from the Bulletin made very good advances, including AIRN, VWPT, VISG, NVTL, and TINY. The homeland security stocks were on the move and that is another sector (like the nanotech stocks) that we need to look at for the longer term.  These stocks broke out today like the nanotech stocks did last week. Like the nanotech stocks, the homeland security stocks had broken charts until today. Also like the nanotech stocks, they will pull back, and we will buy on the pullback instead of chasing. Keep this sector on your watch list and buy these stocks as they pull back to supports areas.   

Effective Stop Losses
I often see posts on the message board asking about stop loss orders. I thought I would cover this topic tonight. First of all, “what is a stop loss?” A stop loss order is executed only when the stock drops to a certain point and triggers your stop loss order.

Market Orders and Limit Orders
There are two kinds of stop loss orders, a market order and a limit order (stop loss & stop limit), and there are times when it is best to use one over the other. 

A stop limit order - becomes a sell limit if your price condition is met. Your shares will only be sold at your limit price.

A stop loss order - becomes a market sell if your price condition is met. Your shares will be sold at whatever prices are available at that time. If you set a basic stop loss and a stock gaps down, you will exit your position with a market sell at the gap down price. 

When is it best to set a stop order? This really depends on your ability to watch your stocks. If you are an active trader, you may never choose to use a stop order. If you can watch all of your stocks throughout the day, then you can make decisions based on market activity at the time and there is no need for stop loss orders to be placed. 

If you have less time to watch the markets, then it is much more important to make use of stop orders. You can always enter a stop loss order immediately after you have bought a stock. This automatically takes the emotion out of the trade, and allows you to focus on other things.

Set Your Stop Loss
There are many ways to determine where to set an appropriate stop loss. You may choose to automatically set a stop at a certain percentage loss. This is based on their level of risk tolerance. Those with greater tolerance will set a wider range. You can also use levels of support to set your stop loss. You will often hear me talking about buying stocks on a bounce. Stocks typically bounce off areas of concentrated support and resistance. When you buy a stock near its support level, the most appropriate stop would be placed below the level of support. By doing this, your stop loss only will sell the stock if it breaks down through that level of support.

Loss in Profits with Stop Losses
You will often hear either me or one of the moderators tell a member to use a stop loss to lock in a profit while continuing to hold a stock for further potential gains. This is how you let your winners run without risking the loss of a nice gain. Set your stop loss at intervals as the stock moves up. Once it has cleared a certain levels of resistance, those levels will become levels of support. You can use these levels to help position your stop loss.

Re-tracements and Stop Losses
A stock will often retrace after a major run up, and this is when a lot of people get shaken out before the next big gain. They are not using stop losses correctly, or they are not using them at all. They let their emotions dictate when to sell. You need to pay attention to where the stock started, and how far it has moved. Once the re-tracement is over and the stock begins to move up again, you would move up your stop loss to just below the level of re-tracement. This allows the stock to retrace slightly. Then move your stop loss up from there. 

A Last Word on Stop Losses
Too tight of a stop loss order, and you will get taken out early. Too loose of stop loss order, and you risk your profits. Stop losses are very tricky and very hard to use but they can save you from losing a lot of money, they can also prevent you from making money if you are too strict with them. 

Announcement: For new members, please make read the link “How to use Bulletin” at the bottom of the Bulletin page on the website. It is critical you know how to use this trading tool before trying to trade the stocks mentioned. The effectiveness of your trades will diminish if you are not using the Bulletin the way it was meant to be used. 

Some others for your watch list include FRCP, ASPC, FATS, KTHK, WTEQ, and MSSI

As always, thank-you for your support past, present and future! Have a great night everyone; we will see you all Sunday evening.







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