Trading routines revealed: nothing wrong with good habits

Trader Routines Revealed: Nothing Wrong With Good Habits

Like most people, traders are creatures of habit. Those lucky enough to be living with the market-obsessed might even argue that traders are a species entirely of their own. In all seriousness, premarket and postmarket routines can be what makes or breaks a trading approach.

Thankfully, some members of the TD Ameritrade trading team have been nice enough to detail the steps they run through as global markets give way to the U.S. opening bell and how they wrap up a trading day that we all know never really closes.

There may be “no crying in baseball,” but there is kissing in trading! There’s a message to be found in that revelation too. Trading routines and happy home life often overlap, and that’s all the more reason to make your regular market checks as simple and convenient as possible.

And now, in their own words, here are some of the crew’s trading routines:

JJ Kinahan, Chief Strategist at TD Ameritrade


  • Get up, check the SPUs (S&P 500 futures) and overnight markets.
  • Check my email and read the daily market summaries.
  • Kiss my wife goodbye and leave the house, listening to CNBC radio as I drive.
  • Quick check of the SPUs and then off to work out. I check CNBC and Bloomberg from the gym.
  • Back to the office and review my trading position.
  • Check markets and read posts from the many interesting folks I follow on Twitter.
  • Monitor any 8:30 a.m. ET economic releases.
  • Finalize my trading plan. Let the day begin!


  • Check order fills and overall trading position.
  • Enter any evening futures orders. I will check futures markets every 30 to 60 minutes all evening.
  • Kiss my wife goodnight. Check futures one more time.

Tom White, Director, TradeWise Advisors


  • I usually wake up about three to five times instinctively to check markets throughout the night. If I see any large swings, I check the news outlets.
  • I’ll read the news or watch CNBC in the gym before hitting my desk.
  • As the strategist for TradeWise Advisors, I write a Market Blog each day before the open. I draw from the S&P Capital IQ morning briefing, Bloomberg, CNBC, the FlyontheWall, MarketWatch, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, and Seeking Alpha, among other sources.
  • My job is to be market-obsessed. I watch CNBC on the trading platform from the time I get in until the market closes. And I scour my existing positions and look for new trades. I’m monitoring social media sites continually throughout the day for the latest news.


  • I usually follow earnings and economic data released after the close.

Scott Connor, Director, Trader Education


  • Watching Asia markets after dinner on CNBC and Bloomberg. Scan for issues that may carry over to U.S. opening and ultimately affect any executed trades I already have.
  • First thing in the morning spot check U.S. index futures, interest rates, U.S. dollar, and select commodities. I then flip on the TV and run it in the background as I get ready for work.
  • On the commuter train, I check everything again and scan news sites while compiling U.S. economic data releases.
  • Monitor existing trades with particular attention to any executed earnings strategies I might be looking to close or manage in the first hour of the market opening. Also check for any ex-dividend dates and potential assignment risk.
  • Continually monitor Twitter, existing trades, stocks in the news, unusual options activity, and corporate actions.


  • Watch aftermarket earnings releases and relevant market news.
  • Check out Greeks and P/L individually and Portfolio Beta Weighted for groups.
  • Check out CBOE TV, particularly Most Active Options and Volatility 411.

Kevin Hincks, Senior Specialist, Trader Education


  • Wake up at 4:45 a.m. to check futures and foreign markets for macroeconomic tone.
  • Check overnight grain markets for any fills from night session orders, as well as the CNBC app and all financial shows for news and event summaries while on the treadmill.   
  • Check individual names/sectors for microeconomic tone. Develop trading strategy for the day based on matching options/futures strategies to current IV trading environment.  
  • Check my daily assumptions and trade options while fundamentally blocking out noise/rumors.


  • Check two P&Ls every day: position P&L and day trading P&L. I combine the two to determine my total P&L. This habit gives me a clear view of which trades have worked and which have not.  
  • My daily news is market news since I see everything through the prism of trading.
  • My news services (CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg) all flash on my phone for instant updates. 
  • After dinner, futures and grain markets open, and I make sure orders are in for night trading.

Not quite ready for the elite level like a pro trading team? We understand. But traders of all experience levels could potentially benefit from having a structured routine.

Read the original article published on The Ticker Tape.

TradeWise Advisors, Inc. and TD Ameritrade, Inc. are separate but affiliated firms. Advisory services are provided exclusively by TradeWise Advisors, Inc. and brokerage services are provided exclusively by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. For more information about TradeWise, please see ADV 2 on  

The information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.