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The Ground Rules

Welcome aboard! I’m “Cape Cod” Doug Beaton and this is yet another stock trading blog. Why would the world need another one? Well, it probably doesn’t, although I hope to give you enough good ideas to make it worth your while, and we should have some fun to boot!

Hopefully, this will not be an exercise in random gambling, so to thwart that impulse, I am going to start off with some lofty goals. The main one is to place $10,000 in a TD Ameritrade account and to try to double it in one year. If that proves possible, I will try to bump it up enough to have the down payment on a modest Cape Cod beach shack, hence the blog name.

For reasons I will get into in a few days, the start date for this venture will be March 19, 2010. I didn’t really plan on starting on the March triple witching day, it just turns out that way. Might make things even more interesting!

I will be trading in stocks and ETFs, no options or futures. Obviously, to try and hit my goal I am going to have to be aggressive — overly aggressive, in fact — so risk management will be a common topic around here.  I welcome you to follow along, but please realize that some of the trades will be pure speculation, and the small size of the account does not lend itself to complicated position sizing strategies. In other words, what I do might not be right for anyone else, and you have been warned. Heck, it might not even be right for me!

I may be trading double-long or double-short ETFs. To avoid using margin and the costs and restrictions associated with it, I have parked another $10,000 in the account strictly as savings. As of this writing, TD Ameritrade is still charging a $9.99 commission per equity trade. I have chosen the account just for this feature, which will make it easy for everyone to calculate results both before and after commissions. I will post a continuous real-time trading log, and a full accounting will be made at year-end and again on March 19th next year.

As for tools, I believe in simplicity itself. I am not wedded to Ameritrade by any means, just chose to voluntarily pay a higher commission to make the calculations easier. Charts from Stockcharts.com and FinViz.com are my favorite; as you know they have both a free and subscription service. They are quite serviceable for profitable swing trading. I still use a wooden ruler from my second grade class to work on paper charts! The message is that it is not necessary to spend much on fancy software to be profitable in the markets!

To make things even more interesting, I will be posting all positions as I enter and exit them, and plan on setting up a Twitter feed eventually, so there will be instant disclosure. Trade with me or against me, or just watch, its all fine with me. And there will be NO ADS on this site, it is intended as a learning vehicle, not a marketplace for get rich quick schemes!

And what exactly do I consider a swing trade, you might ask? Last year my profitable swing trades had a mean hold time of about 4-5 days, so that is what we should expect going forward.

With all that in mind, I hope you will wish me well in this venture, just as I hope that blessings find your own goals, financial and otherwise.

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