Some of us hate the weekends. I know that sounds crazy to most nine to fivers. But for traders the weekend means time away from the market—a period where they feel alive the most.
The close to the trading week can be bitter sweet. However, it can be long and dreadful if you catch yourself making a bonehead mistake on the last day of the week.
As someone who struggled at trading for eight years, I have my fair share of stories of trading blunders I’ve made.
But the last thing I want is for you to experience that pain.
That’s why I’ve laid out some guidelines on how to handle trading Fridays. They include some of the most common mistakes that traders make and how to eliminate them.
Most of us can’t wait for the weekend. Wall Street isn’t much different…or that’s what they want you to think.
You would expect traders to cut out early… not a lot of volume. Except that’s not how it works out.
Below is a table for the SPY average % change (absolute) and average volume by day of the week.
It’s true, quite often you’ll see light volume on Friday’s for most of the day. However, from time to time, you get extremely outsized moves both in volume and price change.
This doesn’t happen often. However, it’s exactly why I try to play light on Friday.
That said… if you manage your risk, there can be great day trading opportunities.
It’s common in volatile markets to get a midday reversal from a selloff. You can use reversal candles to take long trades in market ETFs and stocks.
I saw a perfect example of this last Friday. The 5-minute chart made a reversal candle during lunch at a key level. The SPY traded higher from there through the end of the day.
SPY 5-minute chart
But, notice the last 5-minutes of the day. Volume jumped aggressively, snapping the uptrend and pushing the market lower.
Conserve new long option trades
Traders buy options to leverage their money. As soon as you enter this trade, time is working against you.
So why would you enter a trade where you immediately lose two days of price action?
I want the markets to be open and active for my long trades. This creates more opportunities for your option to money.
On the flip side, selling options on Friday isn’t too bad (especially before long holiday weekends). You get free days of no trading, which works in your favor.
Close expiring options
I can’t tell you how many times I made this mistake. You get so giddy about a long option that’s so far in the money you forget to close it.
Next thing you know…your broker charges you an exercise fee.
I know it sounds silly, but double-check your expiring trades. Here’s some easy tips:
Long trades – Close any long put or call trades before the close. The spreads tend to widen right near the bell. Get out 5-10 minutes before close, and you’ll be golden.
Also, look at closing long options at the open. While the market tries to discover price, you can sometimes slip in a sweet option order that fills at great price. Then, enjoy the rest of your day.
Short trades – Let any of your winners clearly in-the-money expire worthless. However, some brokers will let you close trades for free if the option is less than $0.05. If you get this choice, take it. Take it from me… it hurts so much to have a trade at 90% profit become a loser.
I look to the charts for spreads near breakeven or just profitable. Treat them like you would a short-term day trade. Look at what the charts say, and make your decision accordingly.
Try to close spreads nearing max loss as early as possible. Your goal is to save any dollar you can.
Walk the walk
I’m not one of those guys who gives you advice without backing it up.
Last Friday, I played followed this exact plan. I sent the following email to members of Weekly Money Multiplier.
I told members:
- Don’t trade same-day options
- Take profits for the week and go home happy
- Come into Friday light (for me this was 85% cash)
- Keep an eye for a day trade, but don’t actively seek them
The market’s volatility created great trades throughout the week. I’d done remarkably well. There was no reason not to walk away when I was so far ahead.
A great example of a Friday close was DOCU. I’d already captured a ridiculous move on the stock. When you’re up over 100%, why push the envelope?
In fact, I intentionally spent little time in front of the screens on Friday. I didn’t want myself or Weekly Money Multiplier members to wreck a good week.
The best part was members who analyzed the trades on their own and stuck to the same plan.
Don’t get carried away
I practice what I preach. Last week was an amazing week for me. I hit near half a dozen 100% winners by Friday.
There was zero… I mean zero reasons not to take the money and run.
I’ll tell you what I told members. The thought of same-day options is enticing. Don’t fall for the siren’s song. Enjoy your profits and your weekend.
You’re always welcome to join me during the week for plenty of trading at Weekly Money Multiplier.