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Frequent stock trading mistakes and the emotions that accompany them


Nov 9, 2023
online trading

Stock trading can be an enriching activity if done correctly. It can provide individuals with a steady income stream, help them achieve financial independence, or even lead to early retirement. However, it is not without its risks – stock trading has been known to cause significant losses for many people.

One of the main reasons for these losses is that individuals often make mistakes when strong emotions accompany trading stocks. This article will discuss some of the common stock trading mistakes that traders make and the feelings associated with them. Through understanding these mistakes and their underlying emotions, aspiring traders can be better equipped to mitigate risks and improve their chances of success in the stock market.


Overtrading is a common mistake made by stock traders, especially those who are inexperienced or lack discipline. It refers to buying and selling stocks frequently without any clear strategy or rationale. Buying and selling to increase returns constantly is a good idea, but this can lead to significant losses.

One of the primary emotions associated with overtrading is greed. Many traders fall into the trap of constantly chasing returns and wanting to quickly make as much money as possible. It can lead to irrational decision-making, where traders may buy stocks at inflated prices or sell them too soon before reaching their potential profit.

Another emotion that often accompanies overtrading is fear. Traders who overtrade may constantly worry about missing opportunities or losing money, leading to impulsive buying and selling decisions. It can create a vicious cycle where traders attempt to compensate for losses by overtrading even more, resulting in further losses.

Traders need to have a clear trading plan and stick to it to avoid the mistake of overtrading. It involves setting distinct entry and exit points for trades and having a target profit and stop loss in mind. It is also essential to continuously monitor market conditions and not trade based on emotions or impulses. A broker at Saxo Bank can provide valuable guidance and support in developing a solid trading plan.

Holding onto losing stocks

Holding onto losing stocks is another common mistake made by stock traders. It refers to keeping stocks continuously declining in value, hoping they will eventually turn around and become lucrative. However, this strategy often leads to significant losses as the stocks may never recover.

The primary emotion associated with holding onto losing stocks is denial. Traders may refuse to accept that their chosen stock is not performing well and continue to hold onto it, hoping for a turnaround. It is often fueled by the fear of admitting a mistake or taking a loss.

Another emotion that may accompany this mistake is hope. Traders may keep holding onto losing stocks because they believe the stock will eventually turn around and make their returns. However, this type of hope is not based on rational analysis but on wishful thinking.

To avoid this mistake, traders should always have a plan in place for when to cut their losses. It involves setting a stop loss limit and following it strictly. It is also essential to continuously monitor the market and be willing to let go of underperforming stocks.

Focusing on short-term gains

Many stock traders make the mistake of focusing on short-term gains rather than the long-term performance of their investments. It involves constantly buying and selling stocks to make quick returns rather than holding onto them for potential long-term growth.

The emotions associated with this mistake are impatience and a desire for instant gratification. Traders may feel pressured to make quick returns to achieve their financial goals, leading to irrational decision-making and ignoring the long-term potential of their investments.

To avoid this mistake, traders should focus on developing and sticking to a long-term investment strategy. It involves conducting thorough research on potential stocks, understanding market trends and taking a more patient approach towards investing. Having realistic expectations and not expecting overnight success in the stock market is also essential.

Investing without a clear strategy

Another common mistake made by stock traders is investing without a clear strategy. It refers to buying stocks based on tips, rumours, or hearsay rather than conducting proper research and analysis. It can lead to significant losses as these investments are based on something other than sound reasoning.

The primary emotion associated with this mistake is fear of missing out (FOMO). Traders may feel pressured to invest in particular stocks for fear of missing out on potential returns without fully understanding them. It can result in impulsive and uninformed investment decisions.

To avoid this mistake, traders should conduct thorough research before investing in any stock. It involves analysing a company’s financials, market trends, and potential risks. It is also essential to have a clear stock trading and investment strategy and stick to it rather than succumbing to FOMO.

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