Learn When the Pros Trade (It's Not When You Think)

My longtime friend Brad Martin was a floor trader in the futures pits of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for over a decade and a half.

He was a savvy guy, and he was of that rare breed that could sense changes coming. He moved off the floor and started his own day trading room in the late 1990s, just ahead of the day trading boom.

He then added real estate development to his repertoire a few years later and rode several projects (that he managed himself) all the way up to the top of the real estate bubble. Most notably, he sold a fully permitted residential development to a big housing construction conglomerate in 2007 - not a bad exit for that "trade"...

Brad's many years on the floor trading futures gave him tons of great stories - and more old "trader sayings" than you could shake a stick at.

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Brad explained that opens are when "retail" traders (non-professionals) want to get in or out of trades. This usually makes trading action quite chaotic with price bouncing all over the place.

On the other hand, it's pros who are in control of the time leading up to close as they position themselves for the end of the day, deciding whether they want to carry positions overnight or not.

And it's this same concept that gives us key insight into how the markets have "behaved" during the post-Christmas rally. Here's what I mean...

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Since Christmas, the Bulls Have Ruled the Close

As we analyze the strength of a rally (or the weakness of a market drop), one of the characteristics we look at is momentum - where the "price push" is leading. And a clear sign of bullish momentum can be seen in this recent rally:

Lots of Companies Have Participated in the Rally

Another sign of the health of the rally was the broad participation that we saw. While we got the expected fall-off in breadth indicators during the market drubbing, the post-Christmas rally has shown breadth recover even faster than stock prices:
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And now the market has managed to stay completely above the key 2,600 level for five trading days. The duration and depth of the current pullback will be very telling for how far and fast the next up leg can move: This breather from the furious rally was expected - absent negative outside news flow, the probabilities favor a resumption to the upside sooner rather than later.

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About the Author

D.R. Barton, Jr., Technical Trading Specialist for Money Map Press, is a world-renowned authority on technical trading with 25 years of experience. He spent the first part of his career as a chemical engineer with DuPont. During this time, he researched and developed the trading secrets that led to his first successful research service. Thanks to the wealth he was able to create for himself and his followers, D.R. retired early to pursue his passion for investing and showing fellow investors how to build toward financial freedom.

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