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Penny Stock Basics

The Warning Sign Traders Never See Coming 

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/31/2023 9 min read

A lot of people want to become better traders. A lot of those people love to ask me questions like, “Tim, what should I focus on?”

… but few actually listen to what I have to say. Today I’ll discuss the warning sign traders never see coming.

Some of the biggest dangers in the market are actually pretty easy to see. So how is it that so many traders end up falling prey to them, deer-in-headlights style?

This is a lesson about what to focus on … and what to avoid. Are you ready to learn?

Stop Asking Me This Question!

I wish I made money every time someone asked me, “How do you find the best stocks?”

If I did, I wouldn’t even have to trade to be a millionaire.

My answer is always the same: Look for big percent gainers.

The same people ask: “Big percent gainers over what time period?” 

Any period!

One day, three days, five days, seven days, 30 days … scan for different time frames. Don’t be lazy. It’s super easy to scan for percent gainers with the built-in scanner on StocksToTrade!

Look for Patterns

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Here’s a good example of a recent play: DCGD. I’ve traded this ticker over a dozen times, and so have many of my students.

When I posted about a recent profit trading this penny stock, Profit.ly user rickyc9 was in tune:

“Did same trade, very nice!”

So was Profit.ly member Gld2mine

“Thanks Tim Bought DCGD at 1.15 and sold at 1.30 10% profit. Saw resistance at 1.31 so took meat of trade.”

AND Profit.ly user mcrae1

“Made a decent profit on this stock today too bought in at 1.15 sold at 1.36.”

Profit.ly user therealmcdougal was on the same page, and learned from a newbie mistake:

“thanks Tim, nicely done. I’ve been watching DCGD today as well while in the chat room waiting for the right time to paper-pounce… I got in at 0.91 but forgot that OTCs do not trade after hours, so unfortunately I’m stuck now! Good lesson for me to learn while paper trading, rather than w/ real money…”

When people want to know why I’ve traded this stock so many times, the answer is simple: it fits my pattern to a T.

I don’t have a ton of tolerance for people who feel the need to ask why I make trades, because if they’d really studied hard and watched my lessons and DVDs, it would be pretty easy to see this is a classic setup.

I’m always going to focus on stocks that fit my patterns!

… I don’t worry too much about selling too soon.

… I don’t care if I’m repeating the same trade over and over.

If it fits my pattern, I’m ready to trade. 

So what’s going on with DCGD? Well, it’s been up from a quarter of a penny to over $2 per share.

Why focus on a penny stock like this … and what is the thesis of my trade?

OK, so this stock is up thousands of percent even though volume is fading.

The company claims they have nothing to do with the inflated price. They say they know nothing about what’s going on with the promoters.

Does this mean they’re on the up and up? No. But I don’t care.

I’m not interested in the company, what they say, or what their press releases say. I’m interested in the pattern.

Read Between the Lines

People will say things like, “Isn’t that a bullish sign that it’s still holding up at thousands of percent?”

No. You’ve got a stock that’s up thousands of percent, but there’s no good reason why.

It’s on the back of promotion, and once that promotional effort ends, this stock is dead.

Promoters are idiots. You might be a newbie, but you don’t have to be an idiot.

Don’t get brainwashed on plays like this. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that this company is going to change the world.

I mean … sure, they could change the world.

But realistically, the odds of them failing are far higher, like 99.9 percent. They do have a chance … but I’m not trying to find the diamond in the rough.

The Problem With Penny Stocks

This is one of the biggest problems with penny stocks.

People start to do this:

… believe the hype…

… fall in love with the story…

start believing in the company.

They think that one day this stock will get ahead.

It’s the same thing over and over again.

But if you watch my DVDs and lessons, you’ll see that this in and of itself is a predictable pattern. Here’s what happens:

… the companies claim ignorance.

… they say the short sellers are to blame.

But this is suspect. Usually, there aren’t even that many shares to short.

This phenomenon is extremely common, and it represents all that’s good and bad about penny stocks. It’s possible to take advantage of this pattern.

Profit.ly user Kriminator knows the score:

“I’m starting to trust these sketchy plays, and I really appreciate how you explain your reasoning behind why it was in play. I’m noticing the same things your explaining, so, it solidifies my thinking process. Thanks Tim!”

Check out the Men’s Journal article where I talked about “buying high.” I didn’t know per se that the weed crash was coming, but it was following the same pump pattern!

It’s the patterns I look for. I’m not in it for the companies. Sorry.

I’m not interested in these stocks, but in the charts, and the patterns they create. 

Protect Yourself

I’m not heartless. I’m not saying I want the companies to fail when I short. I’ve never shorted DCGB. It looks like a scary stock to short.

… I’ve been buying first green days and dip buying morning panics.

… I don’t want to teach you to wait for stocks to go higher.

… I want to teach how this game goes and how the pattern works.

… I want you to make smart decisions and to cut losses quickly! 

The best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself. Learn how the market works, and observe predictable patterns.

This is one of the biggest things I emphasize in my Trading Challenge, and it’s one of the most important recurring themes in my videos, DVDs, and regular trading webinars.

The Challenge was designed so that you can approach the market, see conditions like this, and have enough knowledge that you can think for yourself. Are you a self-starter? Consider joining my Trading Challenge today.

It Happens All the Time

Low-priced stocks getting hyped up and inflated? It happens all the time.

Here’s how it goes: it gets halted, there are disappointments, people get bitter.

And yet, every time, it’s like a surprise to traders who haven’t learned their lesson.

They want to know: “How did you know, Tim?”

There’s a reason why I call myself a glorified history teacher. In the stock market, history repeats itself. Over and over.

Any company with promotion is probably going down in flames, because they’re more interested in getting the stock price up than actually investing in the company.

The overblown promotion in and of itself should tell you something about the promoter’s priority and act as a huge warning sign!

[Please note these results are not typical. These traders have exceptional knowledge and skills that they’ve developed with time and dedication. Most traders lose money. Trading is risky. Do your due diligence and never risk more than you can afford.]

What do you think of this warning? Leave a comment and let me know. I love hearing from my readers. 

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”