Fear, greed, excitement, overconfidence and nervousness are all typical emotions that traders experience at some point. Managing those feelings, the core trading psychology, can prove the difference between making money and going bankrupt. Thinking like a trader includes exploitation of emotions, quick reasoning and discipline.
DailyFX strategist Margaret Yang thinks like a trader. His days are moving from global media interviews gold price analysis to track recent IPOs, such as the Chinese travel company Didi, to raise their toddler.
A contracted financial analyst (CFA) based in Singapore never waited to go into financial trading. Yang studied chemical engineering at Nanyang University of Technology in Singapore and set up a career in oil operations until almost ten years ago as a stock dealer. Today, he is a strategist at DailyFX, with experience in a number of asset classes, including bonds, currencies, cryptocurrencies, commodities and treasuries, and trading psychology.
Yang specializes in swing tradingand uses a medium-term trading strategy that focuses on macroeconomics, but also on fundamental and technical analysis, using tools such as Fibonacci and Gartley patterns.
We talked to Yang about how he went about thinking about chemical techniques like a merchant.
Talk about your first years in trading.
I originally graduated from Nanyang University of Technology with a degree in chemical technology, but I started my career as a stock reseller in 2011 – almost ten years ago. For the first few years, I helped clients with transactions, corporate operations and account management. I learned their successes, mistakes, and after three years, I used all these experiences to formulate my trading strategy.
How did learning from mistakes shape your trading style?
I am a follower of trends – I identify uptrends and downtrends to follow. Then I use the indicators of trend reversal with the help of technical indicators. The main trading mistakes I have learned involve emotional trading – that is, chasing high or selling at the bottom in an overheated market when feelings of pessimism dominate.
What happened on your trading journey?
I went into institutional trading, focusing on options, commodities, bonds and treasuries. This helped me to significantly improve my trading skills. I worked on emerging and border markets. We had to be very sophisticated in how we positioned transactions without affecting market movements — we used volume-weighted average order tactics to break transactions.
I monitored the positions and placed daily trades for the fund manager to buy and sell shares. I remember investing millions of dollars in US futures overnight – I couldn’t sleep through the night. It was very exciting.
How did you get to the analysis after trading with millions?
I gave birth to a daughter and changed my role from trader to market analyst. I followed the market closely, wrote comments and shared my views with investors and the global media.
Has parenting changed your way of trading?
It didn’t change my analytical style, but I think being a mother has helped me manage my job better – raising a child has made me more resilient and patient. I used to be an impatient trader, everything had to be done quickly.
Do you think there are differences in trade between men and women?
There are fewer women traffickers, especially in institutional trade. I think the trade mentality of men and women can be different. I have seen that women traders are less impulsive and more conservative in their risk management.
What markets are you currently trading in and why?
To trade stocks, you need a good understanding of market sentiment and which central bank policies affect market liquidity. You need to consider geopolitical issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the US / China trade war.
What is your usual day as a trader?
I will start my day at 6 in the morning when I go to my office to browse the news and prepare for the upcoming trading day. Then I spend time with my daughter, prepare her for school and play with her.
After sending to school, I will finish the morning report for journalists and our clients. By then, I have a good understanding of the market movements that have taken place overnight and how the markets in Asia-Pacific can work in the coming days. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., I focus entirely on work, analyzing, trading, and participating in media interviews.
What tools do you use to trade?
I have to make informed decisions when trading, which means I need a lot of information before I start. I use DailyFX’s calendar and analysis, I also refer to the IG trading platform for quotes and charting tools, and I browse news programs like Bloomberg.
What is the structure of your home trade?
I think working from home is difficult, so I try to make my teaching as nice and clean as possible to limit distractions.
I have four screens at home because as a trader we need a lot of information. The two screens are for market updates and news, and the other two are for trading.
How to relax and restore balance?
It is important to control your emotions, as emotions can derail your trading strategy and lead to bad decisions. For me, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to separate working life from personal life.
After a long day, I usually practice or chat with friends to balance my emotions – I have a tea table on my desk and space to do yoga when I need to refresh myself.
What is your favorite thing to trade?
I think being a trader makes life more exciting because the market is very dynamic. You need to embrace new knowledge and understand how geopolitical tensions can affect trade relations and macroeconomic backgrounds.
Learn more Margaret Yang and his work at DailyFX.
(This interview has been modified and shortened.)