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Before you buy, have a plan...then stick to it!

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QUESTION:

I work an eight to four job and I've noticed that around lunchtime is the best time to check my stocks. Unfortunately, I'm unable to get on a computer during that time frame. Should I set my stocks with a Limit order for one day of trading at a time? That way if the price reaches my Limit order, the trade will be executed even if I'm not at home...automatically. What concerns me is that if the price were to surpass my Limit order, I'll not be able to reap the additional profit, as if I were at the computer.

ANSWER:

Terrific question! I'm not much for the one day only sell or buy setting. Usually I set for Good Until Cancelled (GTC,) that way I don't have to worry about it or chance overlooking resetting the sell or buy each morning or evening. As far as the dilemma of what price to sell at, we have to go back to one of our rules of thumb. That being; decide what your in and out (buy and sell) prices are…before you buy the stock. Now of course there are exceptions, as with everything…there always is.

Right now I own some GGNC and on Thursday, 18 MAR it hit a bid price of $5.18. That morning I changed my bid price from 5.16 to 5.75. My reasoning was that since the stock had been screwing around in the 2. and 3. dollar range for literally months, I thought that the price may hit as high as 6., due to the incredible increase in its amount of volume (over a million shares traded in about the first 30 minutes or so of the market day.) My plan was to allow the price to surge up into the 5.40 range and then insert a Stop Order to sell. Then all I would have to do is patiently wait and hope that the stock would continue to climb, while at the same time I'd keep sliding my Stop Order up. That way if the price peaked out and started to decline while I was at work, I'd still be ahead of the game, in comparison to having sold at my original 5.16.

Well that didn't happen, like I said it peaked at 5.18. Had I stuck to my original plan I probably would have sold the stock that day. Of course you have to be realistic here, it's likely that the price will pop up again and that I'll still get my price. However I did sway from the plan and could now be putting that same money into a roller that may turn a profit for me in the next day or two, instead of waiting for what seems like forever for GGNC to shoot up again.

Moral of this story: make a plan and stick to it!

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