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I've just passed a week of 'fake' holidays (with the family in North France not exactly paradise...;) but at least I've seen my granddad, who is getting really old and as such, the grandparents were happy so I feel appeased...).

Back home. I have been interested in spread betting for some time but due to personal circumstances always been too busy to do anything about it. A few months ago that changed and I found myself without anything to do so I decided to start. I'm slightly down on my new spread betting account due to me not being able to keep trades open until such time I had originally planned to leave them running! If I had stuck to the plans, I would be way up now over; in fact over 55-60% up but due to one typo and several trades closed too early, I am down. Didn't I say some time ago that I should stick to the plans? Yes! Have it done it, today? No! So why do I do ok in traditional share dealing but not in my spread betting makings? Not sure...

I did think a lot about it this afternoon and I think that it is due to the rate at which I can see my money go up or down. For me, seeing GBP 100 - GBP200 up or down; sometimes in a matter of seconds/minutes, is a lot as my spread betting account is small. I am able to remain confident about the same shares in my shares dealing account but I'm just too scared that they would keep moving down further in my spread betting account as the paper loss is much bigger and should they drop way further I would be liable...

I struggle to paper trade as no money is involved, I just can't focus long enough...and trading within a 2% risk limit, when the account is small, does not work for me either. The time needed to find a trade, decide the entry and the exit, etc. is too much work for a way too small reward... Call me "Scrooge Mc Duck" or "Picsou" in French ;)

Anyway, I have been scared to open a spread betting account before due to the leverage and massive loss that one can experience but now I am not scared anymore. I really enjoyed this steep learning curve from +xx% to minus X% but it did teach me a good lesson and if I am not too dumb, I will learn from it as "Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum"...

I've been reading a bit around trading recently, mostly Reminiscences of a Stock Operator and Market Wizards. There's a few others on my shelf still to get thru but I think I'm starting to get a sense of why some are successful, and some are not....

The overriding impression I got from all the interviews in Market Wizards is;

1) Cut losers short and let winners run
2) Risk no more than a 5% loss on a single trade
3) Trade with the trend. If there's a break, follow it.


So what next? Simple. I have decided that for the next few months I will use spread betting only/solely/purely/exclusively [I can't find more synonyms :)] as I would deal with classical shares (i.e.: medium/long term) following the same rules, etc... Only when I will have a much larger pot and I will have learned the ropes, I will allow myself to try shorter timeframes too!

Second decision is to stay away from the indices (except for shorting purposes if the market crashes again!) and to stick to shares! So to sum up, I have to think carefully about my spread betting positions as I *try to do* with classical shares, and then buy the same amount of shares following the same rules, etc.... When you think about it, spread betting is nothing more than a non-ISA account that is protected (under the current tax laws) from our friend the tax man ;)


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