Adam & Eve Tops
Anticipating  A Selloff
Andrews Pitch Fork
Bilateral Trade Setups
Bollinger Bands
Breakout Trading
Comp. Relative Strength
Cup With Handle
Cutting Loses
Daily Range
Exit Strategies
Exploring Market Physics
Dow and Elliot Waves
False Breakouts and Whipsaws
Flags and Pennants
5 Fibonacci Tricks
Finding Stocks
Fun With Fibonacci
Greed and Fear
Low Down On Bottoms
Market Timing
Head and Shoulders
Hell's Triangle
Momentum Cycles
Momentum Trading
Morning Gap Strategies
Moving Average Crossovers
Pattern Failure
Pitfalls Of Selling Short
Playing Failed Patterns
Point and Figure
Pull Back Day Trading
Selling Declines
Scanning Tips
Stage Analysis
Surviving Bear Markets
The Big W
Tale Of The Tape
Tape Reading
Time Trading
The Gap Primer
Trailing Stops
Trading Execution Zone
Triangle Trading
Trend Waves
Trend Direction and Timing
The Profitable Trader
Uncharted Territory
Williams %R
Wedges and Volume
20 Golden Rules
20 Rules For Trade Execution
20 Rules To Stop Losing Money
5 Wave Decline
3-D Trade Execution
Voodoo Trading




Effective Market Timing


Many folks believe good chart-reading automatically leads to profitable trading. Unfortunately, this isn't true. While technical analysis and trading are interrelated skills, chart-reading requires no capital or emotional commitment. In contrast, real-life trading places both of these elements at risk in an unforgiving environment.
I publish hundreds of trade setups each month. But none of these ideas will put money in your pocket without good timing. It's a critical error to enter a trade just because it has a pretty chart. The opportunity comes only when you can discover and capitalize on the setup's timing signals.
Careful entry bridges the gap between the setup and the trade. This is the door through which you take on monetary and emotional risk. There are many ways to time the market, but three strategies work for most swing trades. First, enter a breakout or breakdown after it's under way. Second, wait for a pullback and enter near support/resistance. Third, buy or sell within a narrow range before the move begins.

Which is the best entry strategy for your next trade? Unfortunately, the right answer is never the same twice. Don't try to render entry rules into simple repetitive tasks. In truth, you need to plan each trade within the context of the current market environment, reward-to-risk ratio and chosen holding period. This extra effort is a necessity, not a luxury.

Let's examine these three entry strategies. Over time you'll learn how to pick the best one for the trade you're ready to make. Keep in mind that several different strategies might work with the same setup. The right choice could have more to do with intestinal fortitude than market timing.


Buying a breakout or selling a breakdown is the only timing method employed by most traders. Unfortunately, it's also the best way to wash out of the markets. This entry technique is simple. Your setup breaks through support or resistance, so you rush in to place a position. And then you pray.

This is a very risky way to enter the market. The trade looks great when it moves in your direction, but what do you do if it reverses and takes off the other way? Amazingly, most folks don't have a good answer to this important question. So they freeze like a deer in the headlights when faced with the reality.

Chasing momentum can work if traders choose their plays wisely and pay close attention to two important rules. First, always establish your risk before making the trade. Choose a flat stop-loss percentage, or use a pattern in a lower time frame to signal when the trade goes against you. Second, make sure the broader market offers adequate support for your strategy. Momentum stocks benefit from momentum markets.


What's your rush? Many traders believe they're too late when they stumble across a breakout in progress. In fact, they're often too early. Many times you're better off standing aside and waiting for the market to reverse, rather than jumping in with the crowd. Pullback entry is a very powerful method because it uses the eager capital of those who missed the first move. But the trick is to get into the trade before they do, and let their enthusiasm carry you into a profit.

Pullback entry is very price-sensitive. If possible, place a limit order where you expect the pullback to shift toward the breakout direction. This is actually easier than it sounds. New trends frequently return to prior support/resistance before momentum finally kicks in. So look at the chart and find where the initial breakout took place. Pullbacks often move to these important levels like magnets.


Narrow range entry confuses many traders, but the theory is simple. Common sense dictates the best time to enter a new position is just before a breakout or breakdown. Narrow range uses characteristics of low volatility to identify when conditions are ripe for a big move. The trader enters at a tight price level and waits for a move to begin. The advantage is that the position can be exited for a small loss if the market breaks the other way.

Congestion patterns, such as triangles, often look like coiled springs. Paradoxically, this wound-up appearance predicts the return of rapid price movement. Traders can use classic indicators, such as historical volatility, to identify trigger points for this movement. But a better way is to locate narrow range bars and declining volume right at key support/resistance levels. Enter the trade here while everyone else gets ready to chase the breakout or breakdown.