Wednesday, July 21, 1999

Satisfy Your Dark Side

by by

No, I'm not talking about eating the whole pint of Chunky Monkey right out of the carton. The Dark Side I'm talking about is day trading.

Is everyone around you joining in this new adrenaline-junkie sport? Are you bored with the Foolish 4 system, since it only lets you trade once a year? Are you tired of being patient? Do you hunger for the wild ride of day trading, even as you know it will burn you?

Fear not -- there is hope! If you need an outlet for the part of you that wants to "play the market," then you can do so safely by joining a stock contest. There are many of them on the Web, all with different rules. Some are free, and some are not -- so read the rules before you sign up.

These contests let you trade play money to your heart's content. Coke's got a Tylenol-esque scare? Sell! Greenspan sneezed during an interview? Buy! Bill Gates bought a new suit? Time to short MSFT! You get the idea... it doesn't have to make sense. Even if work doesn't permit you to follow it during the day, you can still make daily trading decisions.

But I have two words of advice, fellows Fools:

1) Get all the day trading out of your system in the play-money portfolio.

2) Don't be taken in by the gains made by the top 10 traders -- this is play money, after all, so people can afford to take insane risks in hopes of making the top 10. In one monthly Yahoo! contest, the winner was up 780% for the month, but that was one guy out of 120,000 people. For those odds, you might as well buy a lottery ticket.

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