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MICRO-TREND TRADING FOR DAILY INCOME
Using Intraday Trading Tactics to Harness the Power of Today's Volatile Markets
By Thomas K. Carr
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2011Thomas K. Carr
All rights reserved.
Excerpt<h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>Your Micro-Trend Trading Workstation</b></p> <br> <p>Those of you who have read my <i>Trend Trading for a Living</i> can easily skip this section without missing much. This chapter largely mirrors what was said in <b>Chapter 1</b> of <i>Trend Trading for a Living</i>. However, there are several important updates here to accommodate the added computer power needed to micro-trend trade well. In addition, since my last writing, several new and extremely cost-effective services have been launched that will greatly reduce your overhead costs for scanning and charting your watch lists. These new services are listed in this chapter.</p> <br> <p><b>HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS</b></p> <p>For all trading purposes, I recommend using a recent-model desktop PC or Macintosh computer. Any computer older than two years is likely due for an upgrade. Between the two primary formats, the Windows-based option is the better choice for micro-trend traders because most of the higher-end software that is useful for short-term trading is available only in that format. Yes, Apple fans will argue that with PC emulators and various kinds of integration applications you can run Windows-formatted programs on a Mac. If they are honest, though, they also will tell you that these emulators are "buggy" and slow. And when it comes to trading micro-trends, faster is better!</p> <p>In general, when considering a new PC, the faster the processor speed, the better. As a general rule, a minimum of 2 GHz is suggested. As of this writing, the AMD Athlon X2 250 is the fastest midrange CPU available, whereas Intel's Xeon X5680 is the fastest high-end CPU. RAM should not be skimped on either. In fact, RAM is more important than CPU speed. With a large amount of access memory, you will be able to run concurrently the several high-demand software programs necessary to trade properly without running the risk of "freezing" your machine owing to overload. With competitive pricing dominating the market at present, there is no reason why you should be trading with anything less than 4 GB of RAM on your machine. This is sufficient to run most trading platforms simultaneously, but most premium PCs sold today come with 8 GB, which would nearly guarantee a flawless trading experience. Undoubtedly these numbers will rise as time goes on, but then so will the demand made on RAM by increasingly sophisticated software.</p> <p>A quick word on hard drives: Most computers on the market today, and even those sold over the past few years, have plenty of storage space for your trading needs. Today's hard drives are now measured in terabytes, the equivalent of 1,000 GB. A 1-TB hard drive offers more than enough clearance for all your trading needs. For comparison's sake, the total space needed for all my trading software, charting package, and broker platform comes to only about 3 GB, whereas the hard drive on my PC has over 400 GB of space. It is recommended, however, that you not use your trading PC to store pictures, videos, and music because these can cause most PCs to run slower. You also will want to install reliable spy ware-blocking software and run the scans each week.</p> <p>The monitor is the next most important piece of hardware in your trading arsenal. Here, size does matter. As a rule, the larger the monitor, the better. For this reason, laptops are not the best choice for micro-trend trading. They are fine for traveling purposes, and since I travel a lot, I trade on my 17-inch HP laptop frequently. But try opening your trading account stations, your real-time charts, a quote streamer, your watch lists, and a couple of Web browsers all at once, and you will soon realize how helpful it is to have as much desktop space as possible. I personally trade on a single 27-inch monitor, and it suits me well. Trading on your iPhone? Forget it!</p> <p>Many professional traders use more than one monitor from which to trade, but multiple monitors are not needed with the systems I teach in this book. Keep in mind that if you go with a multiscreen monitor, you will need to install a video card capable of handling more than one monitor. There are multiscreen monitors on the market that are designed especially for traders. These give you up to 80 diagonal inches of desktop space—a genuine luxury! They are expensive, however, running over $5,000 for the better models, not including the upgrade needed to your video card. For the kind of trading outlined in this book, a multiscreen monitor is not needed, provided that your viewing space is 20 inches or larger. Desktop resolution should be set at the highest level. For a reference, I have my monitor set at 1,920 × 1,200 pixels with 32-bit color.</p> <br> <p><b>CHARTING PACKAGES</b></p> <p&>To trade micro-trends profitably, you will need a high-end, premium charting package. Normally, the chartting package service provider will require you to download software or install from a CD directly to your commmmputer's hard drive. You then will need to download or install this software on all your trading computers and laptops. There are, however, a few services now that offer top-end charting directly from Web-based browsers. There are also brokers, such as E*Trade and Ameritrade, that offer free real-time charting packages to their active traders.</p> <p>The package you select should at least have the following items:</p> <p>• All standard technical indicators that can be displayed simultaneously (some lower-end packages restrict you to viewing only one indicator at a time)</p> <p>• Brightly colored, easy-to-read charts with user-friendly design controls</p> <p>• Real-time price and indicator updates</p> <p>• Real-time time and sales data</p> <p>• Large watch-list capacity and "hot list" features</p> <br> <p>There are charting packages that offer real-time data but which require you to refresh the screen for updates manually. You do not want that. There are other packages that allow for automatic updates but only every few seconds or so. You do not want that either. What you want is seamless tick-by-tick updating.</p> <p>Your charting package also will need to have the ability to save watch lists of at least 100 stocks each. If you value integration and efficiency of use, the package should have an interface linkage to your online broker. With an interface in place, you simply double click on the chart you are watching to place a trade. All trade management also can be updated directly from the chart. And one last thing: You do not want to spend a fortune each month for these services.</p> <p>Fortunately, traders today have a variety of packages that meet all these requirements and more. At the higher end of the cost range, one can find services such as eSignal and RealTick, both of which I have used and can recommend. They do require one to pass through a fairly steep learning curve if you haven't used anything similar before. But online tutorials and on-site meetings for the product are available for all levels of experience. A full package of the sort you will need to micro-trend trade will run around $200 per month, but fo
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