Trading the E-mini and other markets during the holidays can be tricky. Markets range can easily range from too little to too much volatility, among other things. To keep you on track this year, here are our top tips for your favorite future, commodity, or currency.
1. Big market movers are often on vacation. The remaining traders can force the market to move erratically. Annual press releases, quarterly reports, earning expectations, and end-of-year summaries can further drive these random fluctuations.
2. During the holiday season, count on half-days and holidays. On half-days, the markets tend to move slower and may catch you off-guard with an unexpected closure. Be aware of these dates:
Thursday, November 26, 2015: Markets close early at 1:00 p.m. EST and reopen at 5:00 p.m. EST
Thursday, November 27, 2015: Markets close early at 1:15 p.m. EST
Thursday, December 24, 2015: Markets close early at 1:15 p.m. EST
Friday, December 25, 2015: Markets closed
Thursday, December 31, 2015: Normal trading day
Friday, January 1, 2016: Markets closed
…As usual, the markets are closed on Saturday. Markets reopen on Sundays at the usual time.
3. Be aware of FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) dates, as volume thins and price moves in small channels. These dates are December 15 and December 16.
4. Remember the ATR (Average True Range) can be used to gauge volatility as well as determine profit targets and stops. Use a period value of 4 to get a good, real-time understanding of expectations. Stay away when the ATR is below 1 point and above 5 points.
5. With holiday spending at its peak and traders eyeing taxes, many traders will enter and exit large positions. This activity can create unexpected movement in the markets.
6. Markets often rise durign this time of year. Remember this especially with long-term positions. We have talked about the Super Year and expect this to be the case. Your intraday trading, however, may be a bit slower than normal, so prepare for this to reflect in your monthly reports.
7. The holidays are best spent with your family. If your trading is troubling, take a break and spend time with those you love.