Wow what a loaded question. I don't think I can give you a straight answer as i have read hundreds of books all with things that can be taken away. As I am mostly an algorithmic trader and even for my discretionary trading use a lot of quantitative and repeatable research. My book list is going to be skewed in that direction. (I am doing these titles from memory, I hope they are correct). the first one is good to know, the other 2 i constantly refer back to.
1) Evidence based technical analysis - Aronson
2) Market Micro structure for practitioners- Larry Harris
3) Trading Systems and Methods - Perry Kaufman
I'm a newer trader and just trade plain ol' equities. I've been using the RobinHood app to trade lately (I was using ThinkorSwim last year) because it has no fees and no commissions, so the trades are free. I've only traded on the Forex and equities and I think equities are so much more straight forward to start with.
I had a mentor that suggested (for day trading), individual stocks were the easiest, followed by FX, then the YM (dow futures). Crude and Gold were progressively harder. And the ES (S&P) was the hardest because of the amount of other hedging uses and other noise that you have to deal with on ES, plus all the other best pros are also swimming in those waters.
Day trading stocks can be expensive for beginners. You need a minimum of $25K in an account, and commissions tend to be higher than other asset classes.
IMHO, E-mini futures are better to start with. You only need $1K in an account to trade a single contract on the TF (Russell 2000), NQ (NASDAQ), etc. (That includes $500 for one contract with futures brokers such as AMP, Global, and NinjaTrader Brokerage, plus $500 for margin -- give or take.)
For oil (CL) and gold (GC), you'd need a minimum of $2K ($1K per contract plus $1K margin). They can be a little trickier, but they have good movements throughout the day.
The downside is that volume is MUCH lower with the E-minis, and during slow times of the day, instruments like the TF can practically grind to a halt at times during the day because nobody is trading them (like mid-morning). But for price action, you can still get good volatility on the TF, CL, and GC, among others, especially around market open/close and news events.
Commissions are generally under $5 per contract round-trip (meaning both buy and sell), which is not a lot on a $500 contract if you don't overtrade.
The ES moves slower than the TF, CL, and many others, but it has a LOT more volume, which means if you have a good system, you can trade 100 contracts and still not move the market. (Can't do that with the TF.)
The best advice is to just do it. Pick a strategy (forex, E-minis, stocks), find some quality free training (plenty on YouTube and other sites), trade in sim for a few weeks, and see if it's a good fit for your personality. If not, try something else. The quicker you get started, the quicker you'll see what works for you and what doesn't, and the quicker you'll reach your goals.
Don't waste time stuck in analysis paralysis. As long as you can trade in simulation, you've got nothing to lose. Pick something and start your journey.
The following user says Thank You to PinballWizard for this post:
Opening a futures account anywhere with $1k or similar should be illegal. Trading anything remotely close to that leverage as a beginner is beyond stupid.
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The following 3 users say Thank You to Big Mike for this post:
It's crazy for a beginner to trade futures because it's too much money per tick. You will just lose all your money at a fast rate before you get any experience. You can trade stocks at 100 shares which is $1 a tick (or cent). Or you could even go down to 50 shares if you need a wide stop for a trade. The ETFs SPY, IWM, QQQ and XLE give good moves.
Last edited by jodistrict; February 19th, 2015 at 12:35 PM.