Commodity Futures Trading – What Is Your Trading Edge?

Finding your very own unique commodity trading edge is a worthwhile goal. Without one you are lost in the masses, struggling to push your head above the sea of expenses. Trading edges do exist, though for short periods of time. Psychological edges are more permanent. You need many. Read on to find how to go about finding yours.

When talking about trading, I cringe when I hear the word, "system." It reeks of computer optimization - optimized mush, no flexibility. A better term is trading "method." A commodity trading method is something that is less rigid and has general rules that can be bent. We need to know when to bend the rules. This brings a method out of the mediocre class into one that has an edge - a human edge.

The best commodity futures and option traders in the world are usually discretionary types verses strict rule based optimization systems people. There are exceptions. To be a 100% intuitive, method trader is a tough row to hoe, agreed, but allows dynamic change to market conditions in a heartbeat.

So, where do we find our trading edge? Is it in the latest software, book, mentor, webinar, or maybe right here? It can be found everywhere, pieces here, pieces there, but mostly, the edge is within you. Sounds mystical, but it?s the truth. You have to spend the time to develop your OWN unique edge that the majority do not have. And yours will change over time.

For example, at one point back in the late 60?s and early 70?s, few commodity futures traders had use of computers. It was found that even a simple exponential moving average worked well for the smooth trending markets of the era. Moving average commodity traders did well since the markets were trending nicely. As more traders caught on, the successful trending systems began to get diced. You will notice that many of the new and emerging foreign markets start out with smooth trends until they mature and then start the chop cycle as change moves in. It?s all part of the never-ending evolutionary commodity trading game and marketplace.

There are some effective, but simple, long-term trending methods out there. Almost any method will work at one time or another. The broadest, loosest trading methods will last the longest, while the most optimized last the shortest time. The famous ?Turtles? used a break-out of the 40-day moving average for many years.

They added a filter called ?n.? Two losers in a row = -2n. Two winners = +2n.? A winner and loser = 0n. The more losing trades in a row, the more frustrated the masses and the more likely the next trade will be a winner. That is, if the break-out came three times in a row with a resulting false move and a stop out, (-3n) then the fourth signal will be more probable for success. Sometimes.

The commodity futures markets follow this general rule: They will bless some methods for a while, then turn in a heartbeat and take it all away. A good trader is always watching several methods at one time and will switch to the one currently a heartbeat!

Part Three of Three Parts - Next!

There is substantial risk of loss trading futures and options and may not be suitable for all types of investors. Only risk capital should be used.

The 10 Worst Networking and Electronics Stocks of 2010

It's been a pretty kind year to stock investors, with the S&P showing a 12.8% gain in 2010. Of course, kindness might still feel relative after a lost decade of negative returns that included the nauseating depths and panic of the financial crisis. Still, not every stock sees gains when a rising tide lifts all boats. Here's a list of this year's 10 worst performers in the networking and electronics industries, ignoring companies that have gone bankrupt or sunk below $200 million in market capitalization. When I compiled a list of the 10 best performing stocks from these two industries in 2010, smaller networking companies dominated. That came largely at the expense of industry kingpin Cisco, which has struggled to compete in several key niches of networking technology. Cisco itself not only was unable to expand in several of these growth markets, but also saw its share price lag the market by 28%. Given Cisco's inability to perform better in key markets and competitors pushing into networking that could use toeholds in key technologies, I proposed that 2011 could see a buyout swell in the industry. One company whose name is constantly swirling in buyout talks, but has yet to be scooped up, is Brocade Communications. The company has large product portfolios not only in switches, but also in storage area network products. However, despite shopping itself, the company has been unable to find a buyer. During the year, it also experienced numerous setbacks, including weak guidance last quarter, which led to a 31% falloff in its share price during 2010. The electronics side saw a veritable grab bag of companies underperforming. The biggest loser in the industry, China Security and Surveillance, suffered along with fellow Chinesesmall-cap peers. Itron posted record profits in 2010, but like EnerNOC and other companies making smart electricity products, it saw investors lose faith in the industry. Finally, SMART Modular Technologies recently collapsed after reporting poor guidance of its own last quarter. So what's in store for networking next year? I suspect we'll see a string of buyouts. While companies like F5 Networks and Riverbed might be a little too richly priced to attract a bidding war, there's plenty of other small fish in the sea to be stalked by networking aspirant HP, as well as Cisco and Juniper. If you're looking for some other ideas for strong outperformers in the year ahead, The Motley Fool has created a brand new free report called "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2011." In it, we reveal the little company set to profit from the broadband Internet expansion. Get instant access by clicking here it's free.