Better Stop Prices

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs6 Comments

During a group meeting a New Trader shares,”I set my stop at 75c.”

I say, “Set it at 74c.”

Later a New Trader discussing another stock shares, “I set my stop at 35.04.”

I reply, “Set your stop at 6c.”

Yesterday in The SMB Blog we asked one of our readers to consider a better stop for a trading play.   There is no exact manual where to set you stops for every trade.  Choosing your stops is a skill that you will develop with practice, experience and study.  But there are some prices that generally are better stops than others.

What do we mean by better stops?  Prices that are significantly less probable to get hit, stop you out of a good position and mathematically so worth an extra few potential pennies of loss.

Better Stops for Longs

99c is better than the whole  /  89c is better than 90c  /  74c is better than 75c  /  49c is better than 50  /  44c is a better than 45c

Better Stops for Shorts

1c is better than the whole  /  16c is better than 15c  /  6c is better than 5c  /  26c is a better than 25c  /  51c is a better than 50c

A caveat for all the above is if there significant volume at the tape at say 4c, a seller not lifting, then the better stop is 5c and not 6c.

There can be a very fine line between being an under-performing trader (UPT) and a consistently profitable trader (CPT).  One reason may be your stops.  Perhaps the above can help you find better stops for your trading.

Mike Bellafiore

Author, One Good Trade

6 Comments on “Better Stop Prices”

  1. I have always done this in every area of my life; stock trading, lotto numbers, jelly bean counts, pumpkin weights… I thought it was just because I was strange, good to know it’s making me a better trader.

    Mike, you talk about subtracting a penny instead of adding one for long stops. My stops tend to be pretty tight. Daily Low, Gap Support, EMA lines, etc. If I see it break, I’m out. Do you prefer to add 4 cents to these levels or still subtract one (90c gap support stop becomes 94c instead of 89c)? A lot of times these numbers are very respected by traders, personally I’d rather add the 4 cents instead of get stopped out and have the real support line hold. What about you?

  2. I just reread the post and you actually do address my question. If there is a very defined level, go ahead and use nice numbers. Gotcha.

    “A caveat for all the above is if there significant volume at the tape at say 4c, a seller not lifting, then the better stop is 5c and not 6c.”

  3. So far this is the only place on the Internet where I find real inside tips from professionals, thanks for those tips that sometimes a beginner needs as a confirmation to their own trading strategies.

  4. Great insight.
    If the .00 acts as S I tend to place my sl at .96 and .97. I get stopped out many times with a tight stop, just 1c below/above a technical s/r. Of course, when you see strength on the tape, such as .04 holding the bid and a lot of shares are changing hands there I take the trade and exit .03. But in general I tend to put 2-3c below the obvious technical s/r level.
    From what I saw .99 doesn’t act very good as a support, as let’s say .49 or .74

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