Don’t Play Chase: Market Alerts Can Make Trades Come To You

Here’s how trading preparation and the strategic use of market alerts raises the odds of sticking to a trading plan, freeing up your time for fresh research.'t chase trades--alert them
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Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” As active traders, that’s how it can feel when the opening bell rings and a rush of information hits us all at once—our trading plans often go out the window.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of preparation and the strategic use of market alerts, you have a better chance of sticking to your plan and lowering your trading stress.

It all begins the night before, when the market is closed and you can calmly put together your stock watchlist of potential trade candidates for the following day.

Prep Time

Go through your list and determine the price point at which a particular stock will grab your interest. It doesn’t have to be the actual price at which you would trade that stock—though it could be—but more likely a price close to where a technical signal would be generated, for instance, breaking out of a range, or coming into a support level.

On the thinkorswim® platform, right-click on each stock in your stock watchlist, or on its chart, and select “Create Alert” from the pop-up menu. Here you can select the price at which you want the alert to activate, how you want to be notified (by e-mail or an alarm on your platform), and what, if any, action you want to take place automatically. You can even create a note to remind you of the specifics and why you created the alert in the first place.

Only as Complex as You Want It to Be

Your alert system can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The thinkorswim platform allows you to create alerts based on price, volume, technical indicators, index activity, and a host of other factors. You can even create alerts for options and option combinations.

Now here’s the best part. When the opening bell rings the next morning, you don't have to sift through your watchlist repeatedly (hey, unless you still want to), checking each stock to see if it's ready to trade. Instead, when your alerts are triggered, they will bring the trade setups right to you.

In turn, you’ll free up the day to monitor news or research new potential trade candidates not currently on your stock watchlist.

This alert system also frees you from your desk, as any alerts you create on the desktop platform are immediately available to view and manage on the TD Ameritrade trader mobile app. And that can help you stick to your daily trading plan with ease.

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Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.


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