Many traders depend too much on charts and technical analysis. It is true in the short term technical analysis is the best tool a trader can use. It is purely based on price action. Now professional traders often anticipate the market fundamentals and factor these fundamentals even before they occur.
For example, heating oil demand tends to rise in the fall and winter. Now a novice trader will think that it is a good strategy to go long on heating oil futures December contract without thinking that professional traders are already aware of this seasonality in the heating oil futures and factored this fact into the December contract prices.
Another thing that you need to always keep in mind is the date and time of release of Economic Reports. You can't do anything about the breaking news. It is always a surprise. But as far as the Economic Reports are concerned, they have a fixed schedule. These reports are released at a fixed time and date of the week or the month. NFP is report is always released on Friday at 8:30 AM EST. So, if you are trading on Friday, you need tos top trading before 8:30 AM EST as the market usually gets too volatile around this time. There are traders who specialize in trading the NFP Report. But if you are not specifically trading NFP Report, you need to stay away from the market around this time.
As a trader, you need to keep yourself abreast of the developments in the world that are going to have an effect on the market that you trade. Read the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times or the Bloomberg regularly. This way, you know what fundamentals are driving the market that you trade. There are some markets like the agricultural commodities and others that might not get extensive coverage. In that case, you need to subscribe to a specific newsletter that you think is good and can keep you informed about what is happening in these markets.
Now, no market functions in isolation. All market in the present time have become highly interconnected and interlinked. You need to understand the interrelationship between the futures markets and the stock market. What are the double and triple witching dates and how they might affect your trading or for that matter your investments. What starts in one market may soon spread to the other markets. The stock market crash of 1987 had started in the futures market. Similarly the recent stock market crash has its origins in the subprime mortgage market.
Now markets like crude oil, gold and US Dollar can significantly impact other markets. So never limit you scope to one market only. Always use intermarket analysis to figure out what is happening to the other market and how it can spread to the market you trade.
As a trader, you need to develop the practice of keeping a trading journal and developing your own checklist. In this trading journal, you should enter each trade. Try to analyse the market before entering that trade. After closing the trade, there should be a post analysis. In your checklist, always use multiple timeframe analysis. A trend might appear different on different timeframes. So you should check that the trend on the daily chart is in conformity with the long term trend on the weekly as well as monthly charts.