Trading Is All Psychology

The following news was released after the market closed.

16:31:20 FDA Panel Votes 20-2 In Favor of Approval For Vivus’ QnexaVivus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) received excellent news on Wednesday as an FDA advisory panel has voted 20-2 in favor of approving the company’s weight-loss drug Qnexa. The panel’s decision is non-binding, but it is highly likely that the FDA will follow the panel’s positive recommendation.

I just received the following text from one of the traders on our desk

“im such a ass tho..i saw VVUS holding 20 bid for size and i had 1000 lined up at 20.05”

The trader did not take the trade. He had identified an excellent risk/reward setup well within his risk parameters. He failed to pull the trigger because he had a tough regular trading session and although he had just made some money trading HPQ in the after hours it had been very stressful as his initial entry on a short was ill timed. He didn’t want to feel any more stress today.

Here is the after hours chart for VVUS. It traded up more than one point after he identified the long setup. Once you have trading skills, have a good understanding of price action and have developed a series of well defined trading plays what remains is execution. Execution ends up largely becoming a function of your energy, focus and emotions. Today our trader was focused but he was tired and he was feeling timid due to some recent trading stress. So he was unable to execute.


Steven Spencer is the co-founder of SMB Capital and SMB Training and has traded professionally for over 15 years. His email is [email protected]

No relevant positions

*live trades discussed in this post took place in T3 Trading Group, LLC a CBSX broker dealer

5 Comments on “Trading Is All Psychology”

  1. Yeah there was also that same type of support at 18.90 after it pulled back under 19 off the unhalt. ARCA was showing 100 and eating a boat load of size. Should be in play tomorrow, nice post.

  2. everyone knows when you arent trading well you stop trading end of story you should be commending the broker

  3.  I disagree. you can be trading well, but still be negative on the day. And there will be many days when you are down a lot, but end up clawing back part way or even ending the day positive.  I think it is only necessary to stop trading when you aren’t thinking rationally and are not making positive expected value trades.  In this situation, the trader rationally identified a fantastic setup, yet fear and hesitation prevented him from executing on a trade that would have been a monster chop.  The trader made the mistake of letting his P+L influence his trading decision.

  4. Great example of what M. Martin discusses (80/20 in favor of psychology to system). Thanks for sharing!

  5. There is lot of articles on the web about this. But I like
    yours more, although i found one that’s more descriptive.

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