might be scary or glorious,
but technology seems to
have no limits. It won’t be
long before your voice-acti-
vated personal assistants become part of the
family. Some morning you may hear a cheery
voice awaken you with: “Good morning! Your
entry parameters have been met. Would you
like to place a butterfly on the /ES?”
But for now, the only voice in the room is
yours. And as a self-directed trader, trading
days can feel a tad lonely and long. Fortu-
nately, technology also brings lots of choices
if you’re on the hunt for fresh ideas and
like-minded traders. For example, the chat
rooms on your thinkorswim® platform from
TD Ameritrade offer Swim Lessons, Trader
Lounge, and thinkScript Lounge. They’re
all great places to hang out and brainstorm
on platform tools. And have you seen the
Trader TV gadget? Besides an array of
CNBC channels (CNBC U. S., CNBC Europe,
CNBC Asia, Futures Now), Trader TV lets
you access TD Ameritrade Network—a
streaming video content platform with a
little something for everyone, plus a partic-
ular focus on options.
You encounter vast amounts of data every
trading day. So what lives and what dies?
What’s useful and what’s noise? Traders
often plan the coming week on Sunday night,
and you can, too, making technology a friend.
Check out the calendar in the Market Watch
tab on your thinkorswim platform to scan for
important upcoming events. Maybe it’s the
middle of earnings season, four of the biggest
market movers are releasing numbers, the
Fed is about to release jobs numbers, and
you’re concerned the U.S. dollar will continue
to slide. Can this chaos be structured? Sure.
First, consider the total weekly picture. Then
focus on each trading day. Let’s do it together.
MAKE A PLAN
The night before the markets
open, fire up your thinkorswim
platform. Tune in to the Asian and European
CNBC news channels for a glimpse of over-
seas market action before the U.S. markets
open. Usually this’ll be a continued narra-
tive from U.S. markets the previous trading
day, but there may have been a major news
event after the close. Expect to get first clues
from the futures market, which starts the
night before and grows more active about an
hour before the U.S. market opens.
To get a sense of the futures market,
on your live trading account, add the
Trader TV gadget on the left sidebar, then
select TD Ameritrade Network (Figure 1).
(Hint: You can also access the show from
find a morning Futures show in which
Chicago-based expert Ben Lichtenstein
covers premarket news and commentary.
It’s a show “for traders by traders,” and you’ll
find a mix of live interviews, industry professionals, and a snapshot of the overall market
pulse. Hear something you like? Jot it down.
Let’s say GVRC, a big market mover, is
announcing earnings after the close. Although the street expects positive numbers,
the Futures show suggests a more bearish
market sentiment. Typically, a stock’s implied volatility (IV) may rise due to uncertainty before earnings are released.
In this case, what trading strategies could
you apply to GVRC ahead of earnings? You’ll
likely hear about GVRC in the Futures show,
and in the show that follows, Morning Trade
Live. Maybe you’ll pick up a strategy you
could apply to GVRC, like butterfly spreads.
Just remember the shows do not provide
individualized trading advice, so you’ll want
FIGURE 1: Streaming content. From the Trader TV gadget on your thinkorswim platform, select your
network. Source: thinkorswim® from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.
CNBC streaming content
Choose from CNBC U. S., CNBC
Europe, CNBC Asia, or Futures
Now. Covers international business
news and updates from the global
TD Ameritrade Network
Streaming video platform with
trading-oriented content aired
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.
A one-stop course for news,
education, and commentary.
FIGURE 2: Analyze your trades. From the Analyze tab on your thinkorswim platform, select the strikes,
then select the type of trade you’d like to analyze. Source: thinkorswim® from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only.
What do you get?