Mike’s note: Welcome to a brand-new Market Minute: Evening Edition with master hedge fund trader Larry Benedict.
In tonight’s issue, Larry will take you through the biggest obstacle he came up against early in his trading career. You see, the stock market is full of opportunities each and every day. But with so much opportunity, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice – and worse, to become obsessed with mastering everything there is to know.
Larry says there’s one specific technique that helped him fight this urge. It’s what brought him massive success in his hedge fund career. And he still uses it to this day, even going so far as to trade just one ticker during a specific, highly volatile period that comes around each quarter – the 7-Day Blitz.
Read on to learn how you can home in your focus. And if you haven’t already, sign up for Larry’s special event next Wednesday to learn what ticker he’ll be trading during the next 7-Day Blitz…
By Larry Benedict, editor, The Opportunistic Trader
When I started out trading, I wanted to be a master of the universe…
I wanted to trade, and beat, every single market sector. Everything from the major indexes, to bonds, to currencies, even soybeans… You name it. I just wanted to outperform everything and everyone.
I bet you can imagine how that turned out. Reality came crashing down… and I learned that it’s just not possible.
I took on far too many positions, with no plan for how to manage them all. I knew very little about the things I was trading. And when they started to lose, I’d hold on – stubborn in my thinking that if I sold for a loss, I’d admit defeat on my goal.
The main thing I realized was you run into a lot of problems when you have too many positions.
It’s common thinking that you should invest a small amount of money into a wide array of assets. But, I realized I’m not a buy-and-hold kind of person. I just don’t have that kind of patience.
While it would be great to see a 100% return on an investment in 50 years on, let’s say, one out of 40 stocks in your portfolio… I want to see that same overall return, over and over again, in the course of a week.
You see, I prefer to see small gains on a frequent basis, rather than big gains I have to wait decades for. This way, I can steadily grow my cash pile and have some of that money to trade now, rather than later. As I like to say: The bigger your account, the larger your growth opportunity. Using this strategy, your profits – and profit potential – grow exponentially.
While I’m usually not putting as much money towards each trade as someone else might put towards one long-term investment, my mentality has always been about grinding out a large number of smaller profits.
It started out slow for me. In my first year, I was trading to earn maybe $100 per position… If I was lucky. But nowadays I’m trading much bigger lots, and making $1 million here, $4 million there, and another $5 million there…
And here’s the thing… Those returns are still “small” on a percentage basis. It’s just that my capital pile is much bigger now… And so are my position sizes.
When long-term investors say they have a portfolio of 40-odd stocks, that looks dangerous to me. What do you do the day all 40 are down? Which one are you going to look at salvaging first? How could someone look at 40 stocks every day or week and have a broad range of exceptional knowledge of each and every one?
The answer is they don’t. It’s impossible.
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For starters, there’s a difference between how many stocks you should become an expert on and how many positions you should put on.
It’s wise to become an expert on just a handful of stocks… Around 5-10. And when you’re just starting out, you should have no more than two to five trades going at any given time… Five being your absolute maximum.
A trader should know everything about the stock they’re trading. What it means when the stock is weak and the market is strong, or vice versa. When its earnings calls are, how it reacts to certain news stories, the risk profile – meaning, if your stock is performing better than the market, you likely want to be long that stock. If your stock is performing worse than the market, you probably want to be short that stock.
After initially getting overwhelmed for choice in my early trading days, I learned to rein it in, and I soon implemented this thinking across my entire career.
Back in the day, when I was working at different firms, each trader always had one sector. There was an oil trader, a tech trader, a healthcare trader… Everyone was an expert on their respective sector. Even in the trading pits – no one traded more than one stock. You would stand in the pit of just one stock and trade it all day.
So, I wasn’t trading tech just because “Steve” was trading tech and it seemed like a winner. I stuck to what I knew. And, at the time, that was the top 20-50 blue-chip stocks. I watched them every single day.
So, if I were trading Apple, I’d know every move Apple has made. I wouldn’t need a chart to tell me where it’s headed. I would know everything, top to bottom, about Apple.
Now, knowing those 20-50 stocks like the back of my hand took some time. Even learning everything about Apple took time.
So, when you’re starting out, pick just one stock of one company, one ticker, and learn everything you can about it. Get to the point where you can anticipate its next move… Where it becomes part of your intuition.
Then, do it again… And again… Until you have a solid repertoire of stocks that you know better than anyone. And once you do, you’ll be leagues ahead of most other traders out there.
Editor, The Opportunistic Trader
P.S. Over the course of my career as a hedge fund manager, I’ve traded one ticker more than the rest. And for good reason – it’s one of the easiest ways to make money over and over again in the markets. In fact, trading this ticker has been a strong part of why I was able to enjoy a 20-year win streak for my clients.
The secret lies in a rare event I call “the 7-Day Blitz,” that happens just four times a year. This event causes volatility in the markets to explode, potentially creating huge profits… If you know where to find them.
Next Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, I’m putting on a special presentation to show you exactly where to look. I’ll even reveal the ticker I’ve been using for over three decades to secure massive profits – regardless of whether the market moves up or down. I hope to see you there…