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Profit and Loss daily limit


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Profit and Loss daily limit

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  #1 (permalink)
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Are profit and loss daily limits good or bad?

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  #3 (permalink)
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I've wondered the same thing for a while. I definitely think a daily loss limit is necessary for success. I often times Implement a timeout when I get a negative trade and have a three trades worth loss as a timeout for the day. These rules help me become consistent.

Sometimes I'll strike out and continue to trade hitting profit over and over. I use discretion for when to pull myself away from my screen when it comes to daily profit limits. Sometimes when I'm on a roll I'll just keep trading till I get two losses in a row. I have a rough estimate of what I'm looking for the day and after that It's really what I'm in the mood for. I'll often find myself distracted after a few positive trades and I'll meander off and do other things like socialize or check up on other interests. But I am curious if perhaps its best to just go with the going if the going is good and I'm in the zone. It's hard to really draw the line if greed is good in this respect.

I've seen how other traders make use of weekly profit limits like explained in this video


Maybe someone could add their thoughts to profit limits or lack there of?

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  #4 (permalink)
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Regarding profit limit, none. Solely a question of whether my head is in the game, which for us short attention span types can depend on whether price is moving.

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  #5 (permalink)
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bnichols View Post
Regarding profit limit, none. Solely a question of whether my head is in the game, which for us short attention span types can depend on whether price is moving.

I think the emotional benefits of a daily/weekly/monthly loss limit may outweigh the possible long term lower profit. This would apply primarily to discretionary trading, but possibly also automated/mechanical trading.

I don't think limiting the profit in the same way is helpful, or wise.

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  #6 (permalink)
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This is an old thread but I have to ask why you think a daily loss limit is useful.

Is trading not about following the rules? Would you stop your automated strategy because after three losers it might be "having a bad day"?

Trading around profit and loss is the wrong metric. The right metric is whether or not we've enter the trade according to our tested rules. This really doesn't matter whether or not the trade is discretionary or not. It doesn't matter whether the trade is a winner or loser. Did we follow the rules?

Obviously if I haven't followed my rules after one trade, maybe even two, then I might need to sit on the sidelines and figure out why I have a discipline issue. But outside of that I need to trade the setups as I see them.

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  #7 (permalink)
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empty View Post
This is an old thread but I have to ask why you think a daily loss limit is useful.

Is trading not about following the rules? Would you stop your automated strategy because after three losers it might be "having a bad day"?

Trading around profit and loss is the wrong metric. The right metric is whether or not we've enter the trade according to our tested rules. This really doesn't matter whether or not the trade is discretionary or not. It doesn't matter whether the trade is a winner or loser. Did we follow the rules?

Obviously if I haven't followed my rules after one trade, maybe even two, then I might need to sit on the sidelines and figure out why I have a discipline issue. But outside of that I need to trade the setups as I see them.

you'd be right if humans could act with the consistency that machines act but many times human's can't. Often times even mechanical systems will work off of some degree of discretion that gives the user the power to take multiple trades on a varying degree of signals that will most likely work if the market is lets say trending. Sometimes, I don't care what the system, the market will buck around like a disobedient bronco stopping out the trend trading system or the range trading system or any other system that follows rules. Regardless if the trader was acting outside of their rules or they were just identifying that the market simply as being chaotic or volatile there needs to be some solid stopping point. This stopping point does two things 1. it lets the market work out of whatever bizarre state it's in which could last the rest of the day and 2. lets your mind work out whatever state it's in. And believe me often times it's hard to decipher which of the two you're up against.

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  #8 (permalink)
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Itchymoku View Post
[...] And believe me often times it's hard to decipher which of the two you're up against.

.. Usually begins with market and ends with mind

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Scalpingtrader View Post
.. Usually begins with market and ends with mind

yes lol

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  #10 (permalink)
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I've always found my losses to be in clusters and my wins to be in clusters. Nipping a bad day in the bud can help a bad day from turning into a catastrophic day.

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Itchymoku View Post
you'd be right if humans could act with the consistency that machines act but many times human's can't. Often times even mechanical systems will work off of some degree of discretion that gives the user the power to take multiple trades on a varying degree of signals that will most likely work if the market is lets say trending. Sometimes, I don't care what the system, the market will buck around like a disobedient bronco stopping out the trend trading system or the range trading system or any other system that follows rules. Regardless if the trader was acting outside of their rules or they were just identifying that the market simply as being chaotic or volatile there needs to be some solid stopping point. This stopping point does two things 1. it lets the market work out of whatever bizarre state it's in which could last the rest of the day and 2. lets your mind work out whatever state it's in. And believe me often times it's hard to decipher which of the two you're up against.

Nice response. I do have daily loss limits in my own plan and for the reasons you state above, but was having trouble putting together the actual reasoning behind it. For me it's always been about being able to trade another day.

I appreciate the thoughtful response.

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  #12 (permalink)
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empty View Post
This is an old thread but I have to ask why you think a daily loss limit is useful.

Is trading not about following the rules? Would you stop your automated strategy because after three losers it might be "having a bad day"?

Trading around profit and loss is the wrong metric. The right metric is whether or not we've enter the trade according to our tested rules. This really doesn't matter whether or not the trade is discretionary or not. It doesn't matter whether the trade is a winner or loser. Did we follow the rules?

Obviously if I haven't followed my rules after one trade, maybe even two, then I might need to sit on the sidelines and figure out why I have a discipline issue. But outside of that I need to trade the setups as I see them.

In general I would not stop trading at a daily loss limit because "cherry picking" trades tends to have poor results. If you have something that works and several trades in a row have not worked out then the subsequent trades likely will balance out earlier results. This assumes of course you have a proven reliable approach to trading. That said, there occasionally are days when the market does not behave as rationally as normal (the market's version of rational, not mine). This occurs maybe a dozen times in a year (by my reckoning, many may see it differently) and those days I lower the size I trade or decide to walk away for the day and try again tomorrow. I agree that trading around P&L is a poor means for considering the next trade - I want to consistently follow proven trade rules.

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  #13 (permalink)
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Obviously this is a topic for those who Daytrade ... it does not have much application to a longer term investor as his/her vision for the trade has a longer time frame and daily fluctuations are basically meaningless.

But I will comment on limits of losses and winnings.

When I was younger and occasionally went to a casino for entertainment (BlackJack was my game) my father gave me some good advice.

He said take out the money that you are prepared to lose and place it on the table (in chips of course). Then every time you make money over that self-assigned table limit, slip the extra into your pocket.

The moment that you have exhausted your "table money" then you get up and cash out the chips in your pocket. You might have only enough to buy a hamburger or you might have had a great streak of luck and had a pocket full of chips.

By using such a strategy you give yourself a chance to leave the table a winner while limiting your losses if you are not lucky.

this works well....there is such a thing as riding a streak of luck and if you limit your profits you will never find the extent of that lucky streak

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The purpose of establishing daily loss limits are 2 fold:

1. It ensures the conditions for the strategy are valid and adhered too. E.g, assuming one is trading an intraday breakout method for a trend day and and the initial trade fails and stop outs. The trader decides that it might be a retracement and re-enter should price reach the same level again. Price hits the same level again and fails. By now it should be quite clear that the trend day is no longer valid and perhaps setting up for a ranging day. But if there are no established rules on the number of trades, there is no way to test the validity that the breakout day has not materialized and the trader continues to trade in a random fashion getting whipsawed.

2. It ensures losses are kept low. If the trend day does not materialize, it may occur perhaps the day tomorrow, or the week after. However, the whipsawed trader from the earlier example has loss too much with no control of his number of trades or position sizing. What could have been a loss of 5% would require a 5.26% trend day return. However if the loss was 50% it would require a 100% trend day return to recoup the losses. This is the asymmetry of returns.

Even for longer term trading, the losses are worked out first on the onset to limit the total portfolio exposure at any point and ensure sufficient margin to equity ratios. Otherwise, similar to the daytrader but on a larger time frame, a bad month would take much longer to crawl out from drawdowns.

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  #15 (permalink)
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Hi

In response to the original question.

I would agree that both are good. In my experience I've seen winners turn into losers and losers turn into even bigger losers. so a stop on either side is helpful.

Thanks,

Sands.

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  #16 (permalink)
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Obviously this is a topic for those who Daytrade ... it does not have much application to a longer term investor as his/her vision for the trade has a longer time frame and daily fluctuations are basically meaningless.

I don't agree with this.

I have never seen anyone say that you should only have daily loss limits while day trading but that you shouldn't have one for longer term traders or investors.

I do like the blackjack story though. I do something similar when I play in Vegas.

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there is such a thing as riding a streak of luck and if you limit your profits you will never find the extent of that lucky streak

However if you don't limit your losses you may well end up out of the game. Those streaks of luck run both for the player and the dealer.

Big losses are a result of not taking small losses.

"The days when I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days" RW Hubbard
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  #18 (permalink)
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deaddog View Post
However if you don't limit your losses you may well end up out of the game. Those streaks of luck run both for the player and the dealer.

You could if you had a prolonged string of losses on anything and be out of the game....however, as a long term trader myself, if I have chosen the stock properly, I would not have chosen a risky stock that is going to wallpaper in a hurry so losing up to 10 % on a given stock, while cause for concern, it is not necessary to bail out completely... After all it goes against the reason you bought the stock in the first place.

Such small losses though for a day trader are critical as they don't generally give a lot of thought to the long term viability of a stock...they are more interested in a 2-10% flip in a day...that can happen to any stock on any given day.


deaddog View Post
Big losses are a result of not taking small losses.

{Shrug} you have lost nothing in a paper loss until it is sold...then it becomes a real loss.

A series of losses to a long term trader may or may not be of a concern. There can be many reasons for these loses and may in fact be a reason to buy on the dip. One does not ignore such paper losses and would cause the long term investor to judge if there was a fundamental reason for the continued losses but in many cases the loss of 5% could be simply profit taking or an uncertainty in the general market or sector. This IMHO would be a mistake to sell on the first couple of days of losses...I cannot count the number of times I have in the past panicked and sold a stock only to see it rise a day or so later.

Every investor has their own tolerance for risk....If you look at my fantasy portfolio in my journal here, you will see severe losses in 2 of the 8 or so stocks...am I in the red since starting in Feb??....no...in fact I am still up over 2% from what I started with....yes I could have been up more if I had sold those stocks when they first started to fall...but I am not that psychic to catch stock then...PLUS...the fact that from my analysis I still like these stocks long term. Unless I find a lot better place for the money and right now I don't see one...I will continue to hold these stocks and when they turn around as I fully expect them to do they will be contributors to my bottom line in the portfolio.

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JTurner77 View Post
I don't agree with this.

I have never seen anyone say that you should only have daily loss limits while day trading but that you shouldn't have one for longer term traders or investors.

I do like the blackjack story though. I do something similar when I play in Vegas.

Let me ask you this then....in your trading experience...what is the maximum time that you have EVER held one stock??

Me? In real life I have a few stocks that I have held 1-3 years... and made money on most of them. My average hold on a stock is 3-4 months....You only have to look at the journal I keep here to see that I walk that talk.

there is a different mindset between a long term trader versus a short term trader.

BTW...yeah it is a nice story and a good practice if you like to gamble.

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  #20 (permalink)
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this works well....there is such a thing as riding a streak of luck and if you limit your profits you will never find the extent of that lucky streak

What most attribute to as a "lucky steak" or "Bad luck" is nothing but a sequence of statistical outcome when it comes to a game that is purely numbers. There is no luck, and when you apply a statistically large sample (in your case blackjack) like 100K hands, you would see that "luck" and "bad luck" tend to disappear.

Its the same thing in trading, you can trade a bad strategy, yet have winning outcomes.
This will not hold in the long run because you are increasing your sample size (number of trades you are doing).
The opposite could exist as well, you have an excellent strategy, yet have loses upon losses.
This is when most stop, go back to rewriting things and potentially "kill" something that was good.
Matt

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  #21 (permalink)
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I do not like daily profit targets because they limit your upside, if you have a 1k target and you reach it in say the first hour of trading because its very volatile, then you think, ok I reached my target and you dont focus as much. Id rather trade when there is opportunity and stop when there isnt. I would also advise stopping if you go on tilt, because you are protecting capital that way.

I like daily loss limits because they force you to reduce your size as you lose more, again it protects your account and you cant do stupid things like doubling down because taking that 1 big loss means you are not able to trade future good setups for the day.

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