Trading Thanksgiving

2016-11-22 | Henry Gambell

While most normal humans use this week to begin embracing the holiday season and all the wonderful social detail it brings, myself and others like me continue to have a captivating relationship with the markets.

On one hand, we allocate a fair bit of our existence to research, trading, and updating charts. Giving the mind a rest from that can be extremely helpful. On the other hand, markets are still open, and as long as we’re still breathing there is still something to be learned. This can leave traders stuck in the middle asking themselves “should I be trading this week or should I be allocating mental capital into other areas of my life?”

I wish I could give that a binary reply, but I find that question is a lot like asking “how long is your rope”? I don’t know, it kinda depends on the rope! It depends on the situation, it depends on what your purpose for the rope is going to be – the same can be said about any given trading situation. I say all of this to say that there is no blanket answer to the question of what you should be doing with your trading during a holiday week, and to also share where I’ve found a happy medium for myself inside this dilemma.

My take on any shortened week is to use it something like a binary event. Use it to help nail down your understanding of spreads and to also flex your discipline. I’m going to enter a spread on Monday, modify on Wednesday if needed, then flatten out Friday morning. You know exactly what you have at risk, you know exactly what you stand to make, and if you can sell down to the sleeping point on Wednesday you can enjoy the holiday and sit on a few theta positive spreads into Friday.

Take this a step further and spend time “fishing” for fills. If you see a $3.00 wide bull put spread that you’d like to sell trading for $0.85, place an order to sell it for $1.35. You may not get filled, but if you do you’ll have a much better edge on your entry and find yourself in a better spot to work the same idea when taking profits. Having your orders working not only makes it easier to manage more positions at once, but you can also take advantage of any volatile swings the underlying may have and of any price discrepancies that may present themselves.