Here’s a classic example of why it’s advisable to keep your stops just below obvious levels – and out of the market, too.
Our rice trade thus far has not panned out as hoped (we bought the two-year breakout in rice prices on February 1st – here’s why).
After an initial continued run higher, rice broke down in a big way. Though I had mentioned moving my stops up to higher support levels, the market dropped faster than I acted – and I kept 13.50 in mind as a level of strong support (and a logical place for a stop).
Experienced traders say you should never enter your stop in the market – but instead keep it in your head, or on a spreadsheet, or in a software program not connected to your brokerage account. Well, here’s a great example of why they say that:
Source: Barchart.com (Click to enlarge)
How many weak hands were driven out of this trade when the powers that be sent rice “limit down” 3 days in a row – just below 13.50, where most longs surely had their stops placed?
I don’t know how this trade will pan out from here – perhaps it will remain a loser – but I found this to be a classic case study on why: 1) you don’t put your stops in the market, and 2) why you need to set your stops below the obvious levels that everyone else is using.
Now perhaps I should consider taking the Jim Rogers approach to buy on the dips rather than the breakouts – especially at or near key support levels. We’ll keep an eye on this entry strategy, especially with respect to the grains and softs.
Though “back in the day” (cerca 2005-08), buying the breakouts was a profitable entry strategy for me in these markets.