Many successful traders or investors in history have done this. Many traders still continue to sit tight and make big money from their bets. Sitting tight is the single most important thing that can make or break a stock trader’s portfolio in the long run. But it is more dependent on the type of strategies a trader uses than on any trader in general.
What Does Sitting Tight Mean?
Sitting tight is a term most popularly used in stock trading by successful traders. Because you can be certain to become successful if you employ sitting tight principle in your own trading! It refers to holding the stock patiently no matter how violent the stock may be moving till it makes the anticipated move in the desired direction.
It is much like its literal meaning. Let us say you are sitting in a vehicle and the vehicle is moving on a rough terrain. Then whether you sit tight or not determines how your experience of the journey will be. Those who sit tight will stay there till they reach their destination without leaving the vehicle or getting hurt. Same is true in stock trading. Just sit tight when your stocks are making you feel uncomfortable.
Any Trader can Sit Tight
Sitting tight can be applied for any time frame. It applies to short term traders, intra day traders and long term traders as well. It does not matter what amount of time you should sit tight, there is always a situation when the stock behaves unexpectedly but you are expected to sit tight.
Importance of Sitting Tight on Your Trades
Sitting tight can make a big difference on the long run. This is because often the biggest gains in stocks can be made by sitting tight on your bets. Immediately after you buy a stock it may either, just fall below your buy price prompting you to sell with stop loss or sell because it is just waiting above the stop loss and wasting time, or it might have moved up sharply and down violently though it shows good profit from buy price. In all these situations, there is an opportunity in sitting tight.
It may not necessarily be true all of the time. But often the stocks tend to move in trends, that is, they continue with the same trend and repeat the moves that they did earlier. For this reason sitting tight makes the big difference between a successful trader and a trader who just makes it above the break-even barrier.
Sometimes institutional investors or some smart high networth investors try to play games with the retail investors. It is easy to for them to play for a while because they have huge money to play with. They can risk a little for game play while testing your trading attitude. Recently Sebi announced plans to allow Indian Brokerage firms to use their software based trading. This was despised by these institutional investors as they can't know now whether it is a retail trader or a software that they are competing with on the other side.
Successful stock traders like Jesse Livermore have explained the importance of sitting tight in trading stocks. Even after knowing its importance we tend to forget it or violate it for some reason. But focusing on its long term importance one can make a habit of sitting tight on the right bets and make the best out of a trade.
Don’t Be Mislead into Holding Stock as Sitting Tight!
There is a difference between sitting tight and holding the stock. Sitting tight does not just refer to the act of holding a stock without selling it. Sitting applies to only situations where you should hold your breath and do not sell immediately till the stock makes anticipated move. So there is a plan in your trade and an expected result when sitting tight. You will hold the stock till it does what you expect it to do.
In holding a stock there may not be a plan. You may be just holding it for no reason other than hope. Most of the times the average stock trader decides to hold a stock only when it falls below their buy price. He/she does not get the courage to book the loss, when it is small, and expects it to turn around and close it without loss. It may or may not happen. Most of the times the stocks move in the same trend. Hence as the stock falls further and further, these traders hold it for eternity making the loss bigger and bigger!
But sitting tight in no way comes close to this act of drowning in a falling stock. In fact holding the stock in a falling market is opposite of sitting tight. Relatively we can view it like this: not waiting till the stock makes its bottom is sitting tight on you cash in a bear market trend. We should clearly distinguish before trading stocks as well as even while trading stocks. Most importantly you should be able to clearly assess the type of situation you are in and if you are already in loss cut short with stop loss, close the trade, or plan for second stop loss there is still an opportunity for the stock to make a move. Never take a third chance.
As the stocks continue in a trend, you will also need to sit tight for long term trading beyond one cycle. Long term stocks move ahead in jumps. It gives a big return if more than one jump is captured in a single trade. This is where you need to sit tight. It enables you to get an extra margin over trading expenses and also increases the profitability per trade. This ensures long term success of stock trader as only few such trades are needed which compound that return into massive gains over a period of time.
Depends on Your Trading Strategy
Sitting tight is not just for any stock trader. It has to be applied to certain types of strategies. Knowing them well makes a big difference too. For certain types of strategies there may not be a need to sit tight.
Some traders’ strategy is to trade that part of the stocks’ movement that is certain when applied a particular rule of entry or exit. This can be for short selling or buying stocks. They exit quickly after the stock makes that certain move upon entering. In fact here if you keep watching the stock, the stock will hit the high and wipe out the gains quickly. There the stock will sit tight before making another move up or down. As the margins of profit per trade are low for these traders, they do not waste time sitting tight.
Hence the profit potential per trade must be considered strictly when deciding to sit tight on a bet. The trade should generally be of a long swing type be it short term or long term. The expected price range potential should be very high. Even in day trading, stocks can make moves successively again and again on certain days. These days are not very rare for particular stocks. But on average they are rare. Hence a stock, that makes such moves on some day, may make only part of such move on normal days. Here it becomes difficult to separate it. So you will have to check the pattern, assess it and decide to sit tight within the day or over a few days.
Generally Good on Long Term Trades
Sometimes in day trading, immediately after you make an entry the stock might just become range bound into a tiny range. The volume may dry down. But you should weigh the trade-off between the value of your trading time and the odds of the stock moving right. Then only sitting tight here can make a difference. Of course profit potential over expenses must make it worth sitting tight. Unless otherwise you should restrict this habit to the long term trading only.
Sitting Tight can Change Your Portfolio Forever
Note the strategy you are trading with, the situation at hand when you are in a stock, and decide whether it is right to sit tight. When done properly sitting tight can grab all the opportunity that you have ever wanted to capture in a stock. It results in a long lasting satisfaction and experiences to share as you sat tight when the stock moved violently!