The stock market is always driven by news. A better-than-expected economic report sends the market higher. An earnings warning from a big blue-chip company sends the market lower.

The current market environment is exceptionally vulnerable to news. One day the market is up 300 points as the government bails out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the next day it is down 300 points because of some dire employment numbers.

If you are a long-term investor, my advice is to ignore most of the news unless it directly affects a stock in your portfolio. If you are a short-term trader, take profits quickly and cut losses just as quickly. Have your targets to take profits and stick with them – and have your stop-loss points and stick with them as well.

The market is not a place for emotion. Now, more than ever, knowing this is critical to your success as a trader.

Inspired by his high school economics teacher, Rick Pendergraft fell in love with the markets at an early age. He entered his first investing competition at 17, and opened his first brokerage account before he finished college. At the age of 23, on the third options trade he had ever placed, Rick turned $1,800 into $22,000 in less than a week, when the company he bought became the target of a takeover. He admits it was a stroke of luck, but it was a memorable education as to the leverage that options can provide. After a ten year career in banking, Rick decided to pursue trading full-time. To get his foot in the door, he started out in the sales department at Schaeffer's Investment Research. It was not long before his talent was recognized and he was invited to apprentice under Bernie Schaeffer, one of the top options traders in the world. Rick thrived in his new position and twice received the award for "Top Trader."Rick has developed a loyal following of readers who are grateful for his timely warnings and profitable advice. He is widely recognized as a market expert and has been frequently quoted by Reuters, BusinessWeek, Forbes, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Rick's primary focus is on identifying short and intermediate term rising and falling trends in the major market sectors. His analysis is based on technical factors along with indicators of market sentimentRick lives near Delray Beach, FL with his wife and three children.

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