4 Things You Could Do When There are No Trades?

Trading the Market is like waiting for a bus. Sometimes, it only takes 2 minutes before the bus arrives. On other occasions, you wait for an hour and you are still seated at the same spot. And on an extreme occasion, when the buses come, they come in a flock of 5  – all heading in the same destination.

I am sure many of you can relate trading to that. However, the key differentiator between a Professional Trader and an Amateur, is what they do (or not do) when there is no trading setups.

Today, I will be sharing some of my views on what you should avoid and what you can do when you do not have a trade set up.

1. Revisit Your Rules

The first thing you need to do is to revisit your rules. Since, as a normal human, you can potentially forget certain information or may have overlooked specific detail of your trading rules. Often, all you really need is a quick recap of your rules and be clear that you are trading as mechanical as possible.

Occasionally, traders may go through the Recency Bias syndrome where they are very emotionally attached and having strong bias not to trade because their last trade was a loser. Hence, revisiting your rules will definitely help eliminate these problems.

2. Avoid Looking for New Information

Many amateur traders tend to fall into this trap. They often cannot find the trade setups that they need in the market, they get frustrated (see article) and they start looking for something new – either a new system or a new indicator – which often leads to confusion.

Some times, all it takes a just a simple comment from a fellow trader and that gets the ball rolling. For example, if you are a Trend trader and the market is ranging, you will likely not have a setup. Unfortunately, you might meet with a Range Bound trader and he just made a few hundred bucks in the range market. That comment may easily trigger your curiosity to trade a ranging market even though that is not in your trading rules. The chances are you might get slap by the market as that is what often happens to traders who like to “try things out”.

In short, do learn to be an independent trader. Avoid looking for new information or even paying the slightest attention to fellow traders, news articles or trade reviews.

3. Improve Your Trading Edge

continuous_improvementIf you are not trading and have spare time, it is worth spending time reviewing your trade journals. A part from finding improvements on your system, you should also consider finding a match between your system and your beliefs.

As mentioned above, if you are a Trend Trader, you will likely be a sitting aside when the market is ranging. However, have you ever ask yourself – Do you think you are better at spotting Trends or are you better at spotting Ranges? Belief it or not, you can find all these information from your trade journal. As mentioned in my previous article (see article), your trading journal is a clear record of your trading. Also, it can be even more powerful if you start journalling your emotions as well.

Base on all these information, you can find ways to improve your Trading Edge.

4. Start a Hobby or Pastime

The opportunities to build wealth are abundance in the financial market. For many, the objective of trading is for financial returns. More specifically, they want the financial freedom to work less and to spend more time on what they enjoy – a hobby.

If you are one of them, why not start spending time investing in a hobby now. Many traders think that they can only start once they have the financial wealth. Unfortunately, I disagree with that. Instead, investing in a hobby may work in your favour as it can become your source of motivation and drive to be better in trading.

Of course, I am not asking you to start splashing your money on expensive hobbies. On the other hand, I truly belief that there are some hobbies can be inexpensive but equally beneficial to your trading career. You will, however, have to make an effort to find them and why not do it when the market is not in your favour.


In short, learn to be an opportunistic trader. By that, I mean to constantly find ways to develop yourself as a trader. This is especially useful when you cannot find opportunities in the market. Avoid giving back your profits to the market and, more importantly, you should constantly be finding ways to be a better trader.

Thank you for reading and happy trading!!



  • JM

    Reply Reply April 5, 2013

    ANother great article… And adquate – after 2 full months of watching the sideways moves… Keep it going! 😉

  • Alwin Ng

    Alwin Ng

    Reply Reply April 6, 2013

    Thank you JM for your feedback. As the say, the calm comes before the storm.

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