|Downbeat internet traders learn the secret of swing|
By Lesia Rudakewych
Published: February 21 2001 23:12GMT | Last Updated: February 21 2001 23:46GMT
If this week's International Online Trading Expo in New York City is any guide, "day trading" is out and "swing trading" is in.
In these times of market uncertainty, the reasoning goes, it makes sense to swing trade - hold positions in stocks beyond the day's market close - because it could take more than a few minutes or hours to be certain of a stock or market trend.
Though held at the glitzy Marriott Marquis, on Times Square, the expo was anything but glamorous. With the 50 per cent downturn in the Nasdaq Composite since last March having wiped out many of the tech stock "easy wins" of 1999-2000, traders and exhibitors alike were focusing on how to win in an increasingly competitive environment.
The few who made an attempt at lightheartedness looked out of place. The fatigue-wearing representatives of ReconTrader.com rarely ventured out of their army tent, set up in a crowded space near the elevator bank. The twenty-somethings in thick-rimmed spectacles from myTrack.com, clones of a character in a company advertisement, gesticulated wildly - to no avail.
Such attempts at attention-grabbing might have worked last year, at the height of stock market euphoria. But most exhibitors offered a more sober message of training, risk management, short-selling and loss-limiting techniques.
On two floors crammed with stalls, small audiences of mostly middle-aged men listened to sales staff with headset-microphones making subdued pitches.
"We got focused on the wrong things - the money. You need to focus on the risk," Chris Wilson of ProTrader.com told a group seated at his stall.
At the crowded booth of the Online Trading Academy, where Equity Trading Online LLC promoted its training courses, Ed Bassett exhorted his audience to be circumspect: "We're pretty pompous to think this market is always going up. You need discipline as a trader."
Among the participants, who each paid a $50 entrance fee for such trading insights, many agreed that training was a pre-requisite.
Gary Cirillo, a semi-retired art dealer contemplating trading as a part-time career, said: "I know a handful who've made money, out of many more who've lost money. You have to be dedicated to do this well. There's nothing casual about it."
But if the industry seemed to be succeeding in inculcating the need for education, matters appeared more muddled on the technology front.
Myriad trading dotcoms competed to show off their trading platforms, each trying to sell a higher execution speed and more complex trading platform than the next.
With once stellar names such as Charles Schwab and E*Trade seeing growth in accounts and trading volumes dwindle, there was a sense of heightened competition among brokers, research services and trading software providers.
Broker dealers and proprietary trading firms, which hope to benefit from any consolidation among online brokers, argued that a professional in-house trading environment offered the best success ratio for traders, as well as access to capital.
Nowhere was the growing gap between the experienced trader and the novice - the twin targets for the online exhibitors - more evident than near the booth of Broadway Trading LLC.
There Michael Sedek, a 24-year-old veteran trader and registered principal at Broadway Trading, talked of his training techniques for clients who pay $75,000 to open an account and trade full-time. Somewhat discouraged by the age of the crowd, he said he hoped to attract young people without the worries of a mortgage.
Brad Giaquinto, 26, of Long Island, said he felt confused by the online brokers. "Most of them seem the same and the $50 expo fee is way too steep."