This Beats a Stock Tip Hands-Down…

A bit of knowledge can change everything…

And it often doesn’t take much. Just a thread of information can transform your thinking.

You probably know the old saying about giving a man a fish…he’ll eat for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, he’ll feed himself for a lifetime.

Quant Trader operates on this same principle. The service isn’t just about stock tips — although that’s naturally a big part of it. There’s a lot more going on…

My aim is twofold:

  1. Identify profitable trades for you, and
  2. Develop your trading skills.

People naturally think about the first goal. But the second is just as important.

You see, knowledge underpins success. I want you to be able to replicate Quant Trader’s strategies on your own. And the best way I can do this is to help you upscale your skills.

Last week’s update was about trade sizing (click here if you missed it). You heard the first of two strategies for deciding ‘how much’ to buy. I rate this as the most important decision a trader can make.

I’ll explain the second strategy in a moment. You’ll see how many professionals determine their trade size. This will give you a big advantage over most retail traders.

But first, here’s a short recap of last week…


One size fits all

Strategy 1 was the fixed trade size approach.

The beauty of this method is its simplicity. There are no complex calculations. All you need to do is decide on a set amount for every trade. Your account size will be a key input.

An advantage of fixing your trade size is an even spread of risk. This ensures you don’t have too little capital in your best trades, or too much in your worst.

Here’s the chart you saw last week…

Click to enlarge

This is how the fixed method performs over a 24-year period.

The back-test turns a hypothetical $100,000 into over $469,000. And it does this by placing an even amount on each trade — in this case, $1,000. There’s no allowance for costs or dividends.

The system uses the same entry and exit rules as Quant Trader. The only difference is that it only trades signal 1s. The portfolio also has a cap of 100 stocks.

You’ll notice the account rises in a broad upward trend. There are many pullbacks along the way. But these are mostly due to market corrections — not a calamity in a single large holding.

The 370% gain also outpaces the All Ordinaries.

And remember, this is all from using a consistent trade size.

This leads to a key question: As your profits grow, how and when can you increase trade size?

Let’s talk about that now…

A scalable strategy

OK, let me show you another way to set your position size. This is how many of the pros trade. It’s also the strategy I use myself.

The previous approach uses a fixed dollar amount. This next method has one important difference…it uses a fixed percentage of capital.

Let me explain the difference…

Suppose you have $100,000. Under the fixed dollar method, you might use $1,000 per trade. This figure remains constant into the future. There’s no mechanism to increase the value.

Now, say you use 1% of your capital instead. Your initial trade size would still be $1,000.

But here’s the key point: As your capital changes, so too does the trade size — it dynamically adjusts.

Here’s an example…

Imagine your portfolio’s value increases by 10% to $110,000. Your trade size automatically rises to $1,100 — that’s 1% of $110,000. The opposite happens if your capital shrinks.

This process continues indefinitely. It ensures your capital and trade size are always in proportion.

Have a look at this chart…

Click to enlarge

This is the hypothetical result of using the percentage method. It covers the same 24-year period as the previous test. As before, there’s no allowance for cost or dividends.

The charts for the two approaches look similar at first glance. And so they should — the entry and exit strategies are identical. The only difference is the position sizing algorithm.

But have a close look at the slope of the two curves. You’ll notice the percentage of capital strategy rises at a steeper angle. This has a dramatic impact on profitability.

Let me show you what I mean…

Click to enlarge

How about that for a difference?

One strategy (the blue line) adapts to changes in capital…the other is static.

You’ll see the divergence doesn’t happen immediately. It takes about six years for it to become noticeable. This is because the initial increase in trade size is only small.

But look at what happens over time.

This is the magic of compounding — your profits go on to generate more profits. You don’t get this powerful tailwind with a static trade size.

Of course, you need to be aware that the dollar value of your losses also increases. But they remain in proportion to your capital. That’s the benefit of dealing in percentages.

Now, don’t worry if you’re not ready to use the percentage method. There’s nothing wrong with fixing your trade size. This is simply something for you to consider.

Also note that the back-testing starts with 1% of $100,000, or $1,000. This won’t work if your capital base is $20,000. Your trade size would be an unworkable $200.

If you do have a smaller account (for example $20,000), you could use 5% of capital per trade — this would initially give you 20 trades of $1,000. You can always make adjustments over time.

Position sizing is more science than art. It took me years of trial and error to figure this out. You now have the formula. I hope this helps you transform your trading.

Until next week,

Jason McIntosh,
Editor, Quant Trader

Editor’s note: Don’t let the recent volatility spook you. Jason believes stocks will shift dramatically higher during the second half of the year. He bases this on three little-known indicators. You now have a rare window to step inside…and set in place a series of trades to ‘front-run’ a potentially monumental surge in ASX stocks. I’m talking about the kind of surge that — if you have the right trades in place — could turn a $12.5k starting account into over $250,000… Click here to read about this unusual opportunity.

All charts are sourced by Quant Trader unless otherwise stated.

Money Morning is Australia’s most outspoken financial news service. Your Money Morning editorial team are not afraid to tell it like it is. From calling out politicians to taking on the housing industry, our aim is to cut through the hype and BS to help you make sense of the stories that make a difference to your wealth. Whether you agree with us or not, you’ll find our common-sense, thought provoking arguments well worth a read.

Money Morning Australia is published by Port Phillip Publishing, an independent financial publisher based in Melbourne, Australia. As an Australian financial services license holder we are subject to the regulations and laws of Corporations Act and Financial Services Act.

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