The most frequently asked (and easily answered) questions are below. See also my Q&A Index for my video Q&A and try searching my blog using the search box in the upper-right corner.

Q: Your blog is awesome! Do you have anything to sell?
A: I do not offer any pay services. I will occasionally use Twitter (I am @GoodeTrades on Twitter) to alert my trades in real time. If you wish to support this site, I suggest using my affiliate link to buy Tim Grittani’s Trading Tickers DVD.

Q: What brokers do you use?
A: My main broker is Interactive Brokers (often shortened to IB or its ticker IBKR). The software I use at IB (what you see on all my trade recaps) is Traders Workstation or TWS. 70% of my trades are with Interactive Brokers. Their platform is great, their commissions are cheap, and fills on trades are fast. Furthermore, IB allows me to short more stocks that I want to short than any other broker, including penny stocks and OTC BB and Pink Sheet stocks. My only complaint is that Interactive Brokers has horrid customer service. My second broker is Centerpoint Securities and they are by far the best broker for shorting stocks although they have high fees. I have a small account at Etrade that I have not yet used.

Q: How much does Interactive Brokers cost?
A: Commissions are $0.005  per share. Data fees are separate. If you pay over $30 per month in commissions the fees for level 1 data feeds are waved. Otherwise that is $10 a month. I pay $2.50 per month for Pink Sheets level 1. I recommend paying $15 per month for Nasdaq Totalview, but I have Level2 through other brokers so I do not subscribe to that.

Q: But isn’t that costly to pay per share commissions? Why not use a broker that allows per-trade commissions?
A: While I pay much more in commissions on large orders than those with per-trade commission structures (such as $10 per trade at Thinkorswim), it is still cheaper for me to use a per-share commission structure, because along with that I get direct market access. Almost all brokers that have a flat-fee commission do not grant the trader direct market access. So that trade for 10,000 shares will first be matched with other orders at the broker and then be sent to the market. This means that execution will be slower. For a fast-moving stock, a delay of even a second or two can result in the stock moving a few cents. So that cheap commission may cost you a lot more than you think. Furthermore, Interactive brokers has all sorts of complex order types that other brokers do not, such as iceberg orders (the ability to hide the size of a trade), discretionary orders, and IB has a great record of getting very good, quick fills. Simply put, I would be a much worse trader with any broker other than IB.

Q: How do you scan for pre-market gainers (stocks up in pre-market trading) at Interactive Brokers?
A: See my video post on that.

Q: What is your trading setup like?
A: You can see pictures and a description of my trading computer on this post. I have IB’s TWS and booktrader up on my middle-right monitor (with Sterling Trader minimized); the Scottrade Market Movers (hod list), quote box, linked chart (1-minute or 5-minute candlesticks); two browser windows and my third brokerage’s program on my middle-left monitor; and a browser window with my email open, the TimAlerts chat, Tweetdeck, and time and sales for Interactive Brokers on my left-most monitor. Due to the high resolution of my main monitors I use Malgun Gothic 18 point font for IB TWS.

Q: Where do you scan for stocks?
A: I use Stockfetcher.com. It is only $25 per quarter and is invaluable because it is so easy to customize scans for whatever you might be searching. I wrote a post on my favorite StockFetcher scan, Scanning for Supernovae.

Q: How do we know that you aren’t making up your trades?
A: Almost all my trades are verified on Profit.ly; I post all my trades there (although at any one time I may not be up to date in my posted trades).

Q: For what stocks or volume level do you use market orders, and when do you use limit orders?
A: 95% of the time I use limit orders. If I really want a fill I will set my limit such that even if the stock moves away from me I will get filled. For example, if I want to short XXXX when it breaks $4 and it is up from $1 in two days, I will likely put my limit at $3.93 and wait until XXXX breaks below $4 and right when it does that I will send my order. That ensures that 95% of the time I will get filled; if it drops too rapidly I won’t get filled but I wouldn’t want such a bad execution anyway. On fast-moving liquid stocks where my order is not even enough to exhaust the NBBO I might use a market order. For example, I almost always use market orders when trading my “pre-leader longs” strategy.

Q: What do you mean by an illiquid stock versus a liquid stock?
A: Two factors matter for liquidity: the spread between bid and ask and the volume. A stock such as GE will have a tiny spread: as I write this it is 14.23 x 14.24.  A good example of a fairly illiquid stock is OHB, which now has a spread of 4.95 x 5.15. The spread is a cost you pay: if you want to buy immediately you have to buy at the ask and if you then go and sell at the offer you have already lost 3.9% of your investment without the stock moving! Generally if the bid/ask spread is more than 1% or 2% of the price I consider a stock illiquid. As to volume, stocks with under 200,000 shares per day I would consider illiquid, with over 1 million shares per day tending to make for liquid stocks. Going back to our example stocks, GE is trading over a billion shares a day recently. OHB will trade about 400,000 shares. This brings me to a last point: the spread on a stock will be smaller and it be more liquid if it is not moving. A stock that has moved a lot quickly will have a wider spread and it will be harder to trade it. A general rule of thumb for trades of a few hours to a couple days is to make sure your position is less than 1% of a stock’s daily volume.

Q: You sometimes talk about a stock breaking out on high volume or falling on fading volume. What do you mean by that?
What matters in these cases (momentum stocks) is not the actual volume but the volume relative to the stock’s average volume. If a stock breaks out to new highs on volume that is over twice its normal volume that is usually indicative that the stock will go higher (see this chart of GGC for example). Conversely, if a stock is up big and its daily volume starts fading it may fall as all the momentum buyers will sell the stock.

Q: What software do you use to do your screencasts?
A: I used to use Jing Pro. It costs $15 per year and limits videos to 5 minutes in length, but it makes screencasting and uploading to Youtube easy. Jing Pro no longer exists and I use SnagIt.

Q: What software do you use to track your trades?
A: I track every single trade in an Excel workbook. For tax purposes I use Tradelog MTM.

Q: What is this duck that you and your blog readers sometimes refer to?
A: It is a metaphorical gift to anyone who shows insight and makes a great comment or great trade. The duck does not actually exist. Anyone who earns five ducks within a week can exercise their duck option and I will send them a rubber duck as a trophy. Reaper and the blog regulars all have the ability to confer ducks onto blog commentators. To receive the duck is a great honor.

Q: Why won’t you friend me on Facebook?
A: Nothing personal. I do not friend people unless I have met them personally and talked with them for some time. One never knows what kind of crazy people may find me online. I am still eager to chat and welcome comments on this blog and emails (as long as those do not request personalized stock advice).


ALFSS – Aliens land far from school. Hmm, or maybe Always Look For Shares to Short. I stole this from Tim Sykes. I’ll say this on stocks with big run charts. ALFSS does not mean short with wild abandon. It means prepare to short, get your hands on shares to short, but wait until there is perfect price action before shorting.

ADR – This is the average daily range (usually over the last 10 or 30 trading days). The daily range is the high minus the low of a stock, and the ADR just takes a multi-day average. Stocks with high ADRs tend to move a lot.

Green/red (or going red on the day, going green, red/green) — This indicates that a stock is going above or below its prior day’s close. So if a stock goes green today it has just gone above yesterday’s close. If it has just gone red it has gone below yesterday’s close. Whether a stock is up or down for the day has a significant psychological influence and it can inspire fear or greed. This is most true with penny stocks which are usually traded by unsophisticated individual investors.

Penny stocks — Small-capitalization stocks trading for under $10 per share, usually under $5, that are highly speculative. Most of the penny stocks I trade are listed on the Nasdaq, although some distressed companies listed on the NYSE can trade like penny stocks.

Supernova — A penny stock that has increased by over 100% in a couple days. See my post on on how to scan for Supernovae using Stockfetcher.com. Tim Sykes originated the term supernova.

Stock Promoter (also Stock Pumper) — These people are scum. They are paid by a small company (invariably listed on the Pink Sheets or OTC BB) or its shareholders to get people to buy the stock to push it up. If you buy when they say to buy you will lose money. Sometimes the stocks they pump can be great shorts (see my article on my ALAN trade for an example). There are many stock promoters. The most famous are Beacon Equity (which also owns StockPreacher) and Jonathan Lebed.

180 thoughts on “FAQ”

  1. Hi Michael,

    I have a couple of questions regarding borrowing fees. I observed that they are volatile and large for many stocks of interest. Does the fee change once you in the trade or is it locked in? What happens if the stock is halted?

    1. At least at IB the borrow rate can change daily — you need to keep checking it to make sure it doesn’t spike once you are in a position. If you are just holding for a couple days at most then the fees are not a big deal. If the stock gets halted then you are fucked and keep paying the borrow fee potentially indefinitely. For example, I am still short 67.hk (China Lumena New Materials, traded in Hong Kong). It has been halted now for 2 years and 10 months. Up until last September I was paying daily borrow fees — I have no clue why they stopped and I won’t ask and risk them coming back.

  2. do you use the fixed fees at IB or the tiered structure? If tiered, what market makers do you prefer for execution on NASDAQ’s given that there are different fees/rebates for taking or providing liquidity? I’m opening an IB account, I generally trade small $2500-$5000 positions and it seems like you would prefer to route to certain MM’s if you’re providing liquidity, and others if you remove it. So I’m curious as to your theory/practice behind IB’s fee structure.
    Thanks for all your content

    1. By definition anyone who trades through an entity is a professional and should pay professional level data fees. This is the main reason I didn’t have any interest in trading in an entity.

      1. That’s what I thought. The only reason I would do it is to pay into social security (you need to have x quarters of contributions out of the last 10 years when you retire to get any of it), and possibly to get group health insurance — though that requires a bit of finesse.

  3. Hi Michael, I’ve been reading through some your past blog posts and FAQs on your website. I was curious if you could provide me with your personal opinion/insight on a couple questions I have about IB’s TWS platform. First, from reading your FAQ section I noticed that you stated you use IB’s time and sales window (I’m assuming you still do now as that is probably an old post) my question is what is you personal opinion on using it? More specifically, do you feel the data displayed is easy to read and for the most part accurate or at least accurate enough to use as trade-able information? Personally I find it annoying that the size column seems to report a grouping of orders a lot of the time with a “+” symbol and not the size of each individual order (maybe it’s just a setting I need to change but I have not found it yet). Also for example, using a platform like DAS Trader has the T & S info print in red or green if the order is hit on the bid or the ask respectively which is valuable information to see. I was also getting annoyed from the majority of prints showing up as “Odd Lot” so I changed the settings to only display block orders and I set the block order size to “100” so odd lots don’t show up (If there is a better way to adjust these settings please let me know). Also please correct me if I wrong about any of this information. My final question is what are your personal thoughts and opinions regarding IB’s level 2 data compared to say DAS Trader again? I am aware you get your level 2 data elsewhere than IB but I’m assuming you’ve tried IB’s level 2 at some point? The reason I use Das Trader as an example is because of the option to trade IB accounts through DAS Trader Pro with a subscription. Lastly I want to thank you for the valuable information you provide on your website and the time you dedicate to helping others and answering questions. Please get back to me at you earliest convenience and again thank you for your time.

  4. I really need to update this FAQ and lots of other parts of this blog. IB’s Time and Sales isn’t a true time and sales — it displays the last price at certain time intervals (so for super-fast moving stocks it will not show some trades). Also, it color-codes trades by whether they are an uptick or downtick (not whether they are on bid or offer). I no longer use IB TWS time and sales or level 2 — I use those on DAS Trader Pro at Centerpoint Securities (my other main broker).

  5. Hi Michael,
    Love this site… so thanks for the great info.
    I’ve been out of the markets for years and my trading style back then was a position trader holding most trades anywhere from 2 – 12 weeks.

    I want to get back into trading and I’m interested in getting closer to the markets such as day trading or shorter trading anyway.

    As I have never been a day trader can I ask your suggestions as to what advice you would give someone looking at doing the above?

    Such as:

    My account size will be 20K-30K, what broker would you suggest and what commission structure would you suggest?

    Are there any courses, dvd’s or info products you’d suggest for me to bring myself up to speed more quickly?

    Would you suggest I trade OTC’s or listed stocks?

    What trading platform would you suggest I use?

    I hope this is not to many questions… If there is any other advice you could share (I’m sure it will help others as well) I’d be grateful.

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Adam,

      I recommend Interactive Brokers — they have low fees and good tools. I recommend their tiered pricing. https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=commission&p=stocks2

      It doesn’t matter what stocks you choose to trade but I would definitely suggest sticking to learning one or two types of trades (short overextended pumps, buy OTC breakouts) at a time and only work on learning new trades after you become consistently profitable with those 1 or two trade types.

      I would recommend Tim Sykes’ How To Make Millions (HTMM) DVD — it is reasonably priced and has a lot of good content (and all Tim’s profits from it go to his charity).

      1. Hi Michael,
        Thanks a bunch for your reply and advice.

        Can I trade OTC’s with interactive brokers?
        Do you use Level 2 on IB’s platform?

        I noticed that you’ve posted you use Counterpoint Securities as well. Should I also use second broker?

        Can I ask why you don’t use StocksToTrade?

        Also I’ll be running everything off a single macbook pro, do you think that will be ok? Or do I need 2 laptops?

        Thanks again for all your help.

        Best regards,


  6. You can trade OTC stocks at IB. I don’t use IB’s level 2 because I get it with Centerpoint Securities DAS Trader Pro but it works fine.

    I don’t use STT because I don’t trade based off real-time intraday scans. I’ll trade off news which I get from Acquire Media NewsEdge v8.

    One Macbook Pro would be fine although if you want an account at Centerpoint none of their trading platforms work on Macs.

    1. Thanks Michael !

      I’ve usually traded through a company to reduce tax but I’m wondering with IB which option I would go with?

      Any ideas?

      Thanks again!

      1. I am curious how you reduce taxes by trading through a business entity — I don’t see how that would do it. Anyway, it is easy to open an account at IB for any kind of entity.

      2. Hi Michael,
        I don’t know what the rules are in America but in Australia generally if your trading as an individual your taxed at a higher rate.

        Company tax rates are lower.

        Cheers 🙂

      3. Hi Michael,
        I don’t know what the rules are in America but in Australia trading through a company is better for tax purposes.

        Thanks again for the help.

        Cheers 🙂

      4. Fair enough — tax rules vary dramatically by country. I don’t know what kinds of companies and how their tax treatment is in Australia so talk to someone there.

  7. How do you set up VWAP indicator on TWS? Originally I have settings:
    Standard Deviation Period 9 and Standard Deviations 1.0

      1. I respect your work Mr. Goode, so this comment surprises me. Penny stocks may be different maybe. VWAP is extremely important. It is the price all funds will use as an entry point. Most traders use VWAP as the mean also. Mean reversion is the most important pattern to look for while trading.

      2. Actually the very newest versions of TWS will allow you to have VWAP on the chart (the real vwap). You need to go to “Chart parameters” > “studies” and select “intraday volume weighted average price” and enter “0” for the Standard Deviations and “1” for the vwap period

  8. Hi Michael,
    I took your advice and signed up to Interactive Brokers. Looks like one hell of a platform.

    However I am finding it a bit confusing. I am wanting to trade the following markets:

    NASDAQ Smallcap
    OTC BB

    However I am confused as to how to go about this. I’ve signed up to IB, funded the account and I know that if I want live data I have to sign up for it but it seems like I presently have no data, not even delayed.

    I’ve viewed their market data fees page but it’s so confusing as there is so many to choose from and I have no idea which one’s would be the best to choose.

    Are you able to point me in the right direction by any chance?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,


  9. Adam: For IB’s data I recommend (all are listed under North America) for level 1: OTC Markets ($3/month), Nasdaq (Network C) $1.50/month, NYSE (Network A) $1.50/month, Amex (Network B) $1.50/month, OPRA (if you want to trade options) (fee waived if you do over $20/month in commissions). If you also want level 2 I recommend Nasdaq Totalview-Openview ($15/month) and OTC level 2 ($15/month)

    1. Hi Michael,

      Are the following level 1 fees still waived if you pay over $30 per month in commissions? I did not see any waiver information under Non-Professional Market Data Subscriptions at IB’s website

      Nasdaq (Network C) $1.50/month
      NYSE (Network A) $1.50/month
      Amex (Network B) $1.50/month
      OTC Markets ($3/month)

      1. Those are not waived. Unfortunately IB’s data fees keep getting more complicated although at least they aren’t getting a lot more expensive. Still under $30 per month for all level 1 and then Nasdaq Totalview level 2 and OTC level 2.

    2. Hi Michael,
      Thanks a bunch for this information. A HUGE help!!

      I really appreciate the help you give.

      Best regards,


  10. Hi Michael,
    I’m getting there with IB’s TWS Mosaic. It’s gonna take some time to get use to but it seems like a pretty awesome platform.

    Having said that, IB’s educational area on how to use TWS leaves a lot to be desired. I placed a trade the other day. The stock I was looking at was approaching a breakout level so I wanted to set a buy order above the breakout level in advance so it would be ready to be triggered should the stock punch through that level/price.

    I set a limit order for the specific price but as soon as I hit submit the order was filled at like 15 cents below the price/level I put on the limit order.

    In the end I luckily got out with a small profit but I wouldn’t have traded that stock below that level.

    I have watched IB’s order videos and tried to find somethings in their educational stuff on orders and how to set a specific price order so that I’m bought in only when that price target is hit but to no avail.

    Do you know if this is possible to do?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,


    1. What you need is a Stop buy order. A standard limit order will buy at any price up to the limit price. I suggest reviewing IB’s documentation on order types: https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=4985
      Stop limit orders: https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=608

      You would set your stop price on the buy order for the trigger price and the limit just above that. I really don’t recommend doing that though because you wouldn’t want to make that trade if the stock were spiking a bunch by the time it hit your buy price — instead you would then want to wait for the next dip. So rather, set an alert for when the stock is near the buy level and then look at the chart and put in a normal limit order if you are ready to buy.

      1. Thanks for the links. Also thanks for the advice as I didn’t think of that.

        Much appreciated.

        Best regards.

  11. Hi Michael,
    I’ve heard Tim Sykes say to only trade with your cash not margin accounts but how do you short stocks like that with Interactive Brokers as they don’t allow shorting from cash accounts?

    Look forward to your reply.

    Best regards.

    1. From what I’ve heard Tim talked about leverage that brokers constantly offer, 3bit 1, 4 to 1, 5 to 1, ……. and so on. He said to stay away from those, but margin account, as far as I know , is a necessity in order to short stock, and some brokers very on how much money they want you to keep in the margin acxxiubt in order to short, 50% or more or less depends on the broker, since the margin call, if stock goes sour to add more maoney to margin account , or broker will execute sale without your approval to cover losses))))

      1. Yeah Tim says (and I agree) that you shouldn’t trade with borrowed money. But you do need a margin account to short. Also, you shouldn’t ever go all in. So just make sure your total positions are never more than your account value (or even very close).

  12. Hi Michael ,
    Thank you very much for all the provided answers, as I’ve gotten many of my questions already answered, however one remains))))
    Would it be right to say, that when stock price jumps or spikes dramatically high (50%-150%), and upon checking with our brokers we find at that time that there are no shares to be shorted ( available), that this stock will continue to rise to possible 300- 1000%? Especially regarding penny stocks trading from 0.50 to 1.50 $ range, low float…
    Thank you for your answer.

    Andre Sado

  13. What is the ARCA book? Das Trader Pro, Elite packages includes access to ARCA book. Do I need this to Short Sale? Is the Deluxe package enough for me?

    1. Arca book gives you full view of every order on Arca — I don’t think it is necessary and not very helpful (particularly because I don’t value level 2 for nasdaq stocks much)

  14. Hi Michael, I have a question which may seem odd, but if I do not understand something I try to ask people for knowledge or guidance, rather than learning a hard way. Fees, fees and fees again. I do not understand. Brokers have fixed fees and also per share fees, and fees seemed to be quite low 4.95 per trade, 9.95 per trade, 0.005 cents per share, and yet every time I watch Tim Sykes’s or Tim Grittani’s videos, they repeat…. profit after commissions, profit after commissions. My question is why mentioning commissions if they are so small, or is there bigger commissions which I do not know about? I am a begginer in trading and only planning to open an account this month. Thank you for your answer Michael.

    1. Commissions matter, particularly when trading large size with per-share commissions and with low-priced stocks. If I buy and sell a $100,000 position in a $1 stock paying $0.005 per share each way, then I will have paid $1,000 in commissions.

      1. Thank you Michael, but that is my point exactly, what is the logic behind trading large number of shares for small priced stock on a price per share basis, when brokers offer you an option to choose, which way you would like to be charged. Shouldn’t it be more logical to have one broker set per share price commission on trading normal Nasadaq or NYSE stocks and another broker with set per trade commission on penny stocks and OTC , savings are obvious!!??? Why pay 1000s of$ when it can all cost 9,95$ or 4,95$ per trade on low priced stocks where average volume you trade is between 100,000- 1mil.???

      2. The answer is fills and for short-biased traders, shares to short. Etrade can offer low per-trade commissions because they don’t give you the best fills. And particularly with people who love to short (like Tim G and me), the only best broker by far is CenterpointSecurities.com so we have to pay their commissions if we want to short if no other broker will let us short.

  15. Hi Michael,
    I’m with IB and using TWS. TWS is an awesome system and one that I want to stick with. When I signed up with IB I was told that I’d be able to trade both long and short. However, when trying to trade short the system cancelled. So after a lot of back and forth with IB’s useless customer service, I was told that I can’t trade short from my account. Their reason is that they don’t allow Australian clients to have a margin account. Would have been nice to know that before hand when they said it would be no problem.
    So I’ve found out that my account is classed as a cash account. I have been having trouble with orders being filled in total over the last week so again with a lot of back and forth with IB customer service they said that cash accounts are not good for day trading.
    I was advised when enquiring about an account with IB that day trading would be no problem but I’d have to consider the day trading rule or have 25K plus in the account etc.

    My question is: Is it possible to use another broker through the TWS system? Or do you have other thoughts as to how I can get around this margin account problem as being able to trade short is a must for me.

    I’ve just found out that IB LLC is transferring all Australian citizen accounts held with IB LLC over to
    IB Australia but after asking the customer service people about access to margin accounts once the accounts are transferred over but they said they have no information on that and that all they can say is that they are working on it. To me that means don’t count on it!

    Looking forward to any advice/ideas you may have as to my problem.

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Adam,

      There is no easy solution. Because I had heard of other Australians using IB I thought they had changed this policy but I guess I was wrong. I think it is good for you that Australians are moved to IB Australia and would hope that would change things for the better. You cannot use IB’s platform with another broker and I am not aware of another decent broker for Australians.

      1. Hi Michael… DAMN !!
        I’ve now found out that Australians using Interactive Brokers also can’t trade CFD’s, FX and a host of other things/limitations. Not that those things worry me but margin account was what I needed.

        Apparently it’s been like this for years and from my research it doesn’t look like it’s going to change for some time. Looks like people were being told things should change in around 3-4 months for the last 4 years so doesn’t look like things will change any time soon.

        Looks like setting up off shore is the only way to go. as being restricted like this is impossible for a trader.

        I don’t understand why Interactive Brokers are even bothering to set up in Australia with such restrictions… Its like trying to day trade on a world class trading platform but you have to call them up to put your orders through… suicide for any trading account.

        Thanks again for your help.



    2. Hi Adam.
      I live in Perth, Western Australia and have had a Reg T Margin account with IB for several years. Just need to do it through a company. You will need the 25k minimum (USD). I mainly short large caps and have never had a problem with IB.

  16. My CPA seems to think an S corp makes sense based on the new tax laws. Do you know if you can still title your brokerage accounts in your name and then get the tax treatment through the S corp. The main question I have is there anyway to avoid having to be a professional subscriber and trade through an a S corp?

    1. My accounting firm (Green Trader Tax) has been recommending the same sort of thing. I’m not doing it for this year. I will consider changing before 2019. The one reason I haven’t changed is because that would make me a professional trader for data subscription purposes.

      1. Right. That was exactly my question. I am trying to figure out if there is a way to avoid having to pay significantly more for data. I am guessing there isn’t but I figured if anyone would have a better way it might be you.

  17. Love your blog Michael! It seems like TWS level 2 is not as accurate and user friendly as das trader. In your opinion, does it affect one’s trading ability?

    1. Make sure you are subscribing to all necessary data feeds — if you are it should work just as well as DAS feed. If you also want level 2 I recommend Nasdaq Totalview-Openview ($15/month) and OTC level 2 ($15/month). If you want it to be complete (and I don’t think this is necessary), you would also add BATS and ARCA books.

      1. Thank you! For new traders with limited time to trade, what 2 or 3 patterns do you recommend to focus on for the first 2 hours of the market?

      2. Nic — For those with limited time to trade (keep in mind you would still need a good amount of time to learn and prepare) it would be best to focus on late afternoon patterns (2:30pm to 4pm) or morning patterns (9:30am to 10:30am). For morning patterns, I of course like shorting supernovae on g/r or into a double top or lower highs on successive morning spikes. Also, you could look for a stock that has had at least one big up day and buy if it gaps down and then goes r/g — those tend to spike nicely. For the afternoon there are either stocks that start to perk up after hours of consolidation or particularly for supernovae stocks that break down after consolidation

  18. Hi Michael,
    I’ve been using IB’s TWS for about a year now. Last year no problems but this year nothing but problems, from hotkeys deciding not to work, charts not loading data, what seems to be very slow buy or sell executions, also the level 2 seems to not work like other level 2 I’ve seen. Seems to be very slow like there is not much trading going on but the stocks going through the roof.

    Basically it’s just about impossible to trade and their chat “customer service” is completely useless. They pretty much always say that how the system is and we cannot change it.

    Do you have any advice regarding how to fix these issues or I guess another broker with a trading platform that runs on a mac?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Best regards,


    1. Adam — My bet is that it is a Java issue that came about because of some Java update because TWS runs on Java. Try uninstalling and reinstalling Java. Other than that, I don’t have any good suggestions. Good luck.

  19. Hi Michael, love the information you provide on this site! What broker would be recommended for a beginner trading from Europe with a small account of 3000 USD ?

      1. Thank you. I only have have 1 000 USD of savings for a deposit. To open an account, Interactive Brokers seem to have a minimum deposit of 10 000 USD. Are there other brokers that you would recommend is my case that requires a smaller deposit ?

  20. Hi Mike, I came across an article by JB Marwood, which featured your strategy on scanning for Supernovae (great strategy btw). Out of curiosity I started to implement it (with minor tweaks to the parameters) in my own paper trading thesis on Short Selling – I’m currently sitting on a winning percentage of 66.70% out of 115 trades.

    Question for you – I’ve seen your impressive winning percentage on Profit.ly; are you more Short Bias or Long?

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