An NYSE Scalper's Tale - A Trader's Diary

Monday, May 14, 2007

A "Temporary" Goodbye

Hey there folks.

I've decided to take a brief hiatus from blogging. Whether "brief" means a week or a year, only time will tell.

I've been blogging about my trading day every day for over a year now and it's almost as if no trading day would be complete without blogging about it.

But lately I feel as though I need to re-group. I guess you can call this hiatus an "experiment" - to see if I feel any different without having everyone out there reading about my day.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to try to help me in my trading. You can see from the numbers on the sidebar that since I've started blogging, I feel as though there hasn't really been any great improvement in my trading.

I have a feeling that I may have to change things up a bit so that I can get back on track.

I'm sure you folks have noticed that lately my heart really hasn't been into blogging. I haven't been responding to comments and my posts just feels like it lacks substance. I also feel that lately I've been wasting both the reader's time and my time by publishing these kinds of posts, so a step back from blogging may be in order.

Not only that, but the weather's getting warmer and I'd like to use that extra time to spend with my wife. This past year or so of blogging as really taken me away from her and I feel as though I owe it to her to spend more quality time with her during the weeknights.

So until I get my game back together, I'll bid you adieu and I'm hoping I'll be back sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I'd suggest you check out DinosaurTrader and his Virtual Office.....there you'll find a daily posting of several bloggers' P&L's. Check out the blogs of those who participate in the Virtual Office - you can learn a great deal from those traders and I highly recommend you check out the blogs of everyone who is involved.

I'd like to thank all the loyal readers and all of the supportive comments you have provided in the past (I guess the nasty ones just comes with the territory!)....without you folks, this blog wouldn't have gone on as long as it has.

Don't worry - I'll be back (this isn't one of those "Goodbye Forever" posts). Maybe next week or next month, but I'll keep you folks posted (unless, of course, I really do enjoy life without a blog! :) just kidding of course!)


Friday, May 11, 2007

Another Useless Day

Net: -$176.58
Trades: 67
Shares Traded: 40000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI): +$75.20
The Black & Decker Corporation (BDK): +$40.61
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (MER): +$30.70
Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC): +$22.68
Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (CP): +$21.24
Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (VAR): +$19.09
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT):+$5.83
Titanium Metals Corporation (TIE): -$11.21
Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): -$19.04
McDonald's Corporation (MCD): -$29.06
MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG): -$37.68
KB Home (KBH): -$45.51
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): -$112.59
Spectrum Brands, Inc. (SPC): -$136.92

Another useless day.

Not much else to say.

I tried to do something new today - but it didn't work out as planned.....there were several positions in which I added to once the trade was going for me.....but this turned out to be a bad idea as I eventually gave up most of my gains on the trade or I would end up with a loser on my hands.

This happened every time I tried to pyramid happened on MER, CP, MCD, VAR, and MTG. On all of these, the trade went for me and I added more to the position....but then it would move against me and I ended up giving up most of my gains on them, some of them resulting in a loser.

I'm not going to do that again for the next little while.

Also took two "spur of the moment" trades. These were downright stupid and again I don't know why I took them....these were on Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Spectrum Brands (SPC).

I didn't even really assess the trade - I just flipped to the charts, quickly got into a position on them and both just reversed once I got in. I literally didn't think about why I was getting in.

This weekend I'm going to review how I do things. Lately I feel as though I don't really know what I'm doing any more and I'm finding that I don't have valid reasons for getting into trades. I have to figure it out.

No good trades and no bad trades to review.

There will be no Weekend Reading this week....

Not sure if you folks have noticed, but I don't feel as motivated to blog as much these days. I haven't done my monthly reviews and my posts are getting shorter and shorter these days.....perhaps is it a sign of things to come?

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Thursday, May 10, 2007

There Was A Lot Of Money To Be Made Today...

Net: -$164.29
Trades: 61
Shares Traded: 34000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN): +$84.58
Federated Department Str. (FD): +$73.90
Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): +$67.81
Liz Claiborne, Inc. (LIZ): +$49.42
The Shaw Group Inc. (SGR): +$43.15
Diana Shipping Inc. (DSX): +$32.82
LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. (LFG): +$32.33
Barnes Group Inc. (B): +$15.47
Honeywell International Inc. (HON): +$14.88
The AES Corporation (AES): -$0.34
Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (RAH): -$16.49
KB Home (KBH): -$30.51
Continental Airlines, Inc. (CAL): -$31.86
MAXIMUS, Inc. (MMS): -$61.87
Kohl's Corporation (KSS): -$102.20
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$111.89
Aeropostale, Inc. (ARO): -$224.01

There was a lot of money to be made today....if you were able to catch a couple of good shorts. Unfortunately I would have none of it....


Well there were a couple of mistakes today.

I basically spent most of the day going long. I dunno why, but I did. I'd get into a position and then the Futures would tank hard and I'd get out for a loser and I'd do it all again on some different stock.

Maybe it's because we've had so many up days in a row and I just got in the habit of just going long. I dunno.

And so, mistake #1 - constantly going long in a down market.

For some reason, I kept trying to trade Aeropostale (ARO) today....and I was constantly losing on it. It didn't really have any real good moves during the day, but yet I continued to try to trade it. As a result, the losses on this particular stock added up quickly.

It was one of those "I don't really know why I did it" kinda things. It had lousy moves intraday and yet somehow I saw something that made me want to trade it.

That's mistake #2 - trading a stock with lousy moves for no particular reason.

It wasn't until about half-way through the afternoon that I admitted that I was a fool by trying to constantly go long in this kind of market.

So I went and looked for shorts.

And I got into a couple of good ones that quickly turned into a rather good winner. As soon as I was in these positions, they quickly moved down and I felt as though my day was going to turn around.

I placed orders to get out on many of these positions, but when I saw the velocity of the descent, I quickly cancelled my orders, opting to try to capture more profits.

Then I'd see these positions reverse on me and I was reluctant to take partial profits as the stocks moved back up for fear of missing out on another good run to the downside.

As a result, I ended up watching these winners turn into losers, some of them fairly hefty ones. This happened to me on RAH, CAL, COP, and KSS.

Mistake #3 - letting good winners turn into losers.

And since I saw many good winners eventually turn into losers, I had a fear that this would occur again on some of my other shorts and as a result, I'd quickly take profits.

Of course, the market gods know what you're trading and to make an example out of you, they always make the stock continue going to the down side once you are out of a position - and they'll turn a good position into a losing one if you decide to hang onto your position.

And so, mistake #4 - getting out too early (this kind of contradicts mistake #3, but if I simply followed what my charts were telling me, I wouldn't have mistake #3 and #4).

That was the story today....I made a few bills in the morning, lost a lot more bills during the middle of the day, and I just didn't have enough time to claw my way out of the hole.

No good trades and no bad ones.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be more aware...

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wicked Fed Chop

Net: +$686.61
Trades: 81
Shares Traded: 45000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
USEC Inc. (USU): +$465.42
Barnes Group Inc. (B): +$240.70
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN): +$138.78
Tiffany & Co. (TIF): +$133.91
Guess?, Inc. (GES): +$125.08
Deere & Company (DE): +$48.33
The Shaw Group Inc. (SGR): +$42.18
Manpower Inc. (MAN): +$14.72
KBR, Inc. (KBR): +$13.16
Automatic Data Processing (ADP): -$4.62
MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG): -$16.74
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (CBI): -$18.42
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC): -$20.52
Uniao de Bancos Brasileiros SA (UBB): -$24.49
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (SID): -$27.93
MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (WFR): -$49.05
RTI International Metals (RTI): -$58.29
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. (LLL): -$61.37
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (CTB): -$151.61
CVS/Caremark Corporation (CVS): -$172.60

What a vicious hack, slash, and chop there was after the Fed announcement today.

I'm just glad I didn't get caught in any position while that nasty down, up, down, then up move occurred.

I couldn't really get much done after the Fed announcement and I felt as though I waited for it for nothing (as most of my profits came before lunch).

Today I could have done a better job at trade selection as I traded way too many stocks with not-so-great setups.

But, I quickly got out of losing trades when things didn't pan out and I never hesitated to get out for a small loser.

Unfortunately I was fooled twice on Cooper Tire (CTB) and three times on Caremark (CVS) and I just couldn't read these two stocks properly.

So after lunch I started playing around (and traded stocks I shouldn't have) just until the Fed announcement. Again, I was anticipating a lot of opportunities and I was eyeing a few levels just before 2:15PM.

So when the Fed announcement came up, things dropped like a rock...."OK, wait for the first move before deciding on a direction to trade", I told myself.

Then the S&P Futures rips back up again back to the level it was at before the announcement..."Alright, let's see where it goes from here", I was thinking.

Then the Futures drop like a rock again..."Ok, is this going to be a short and will it keep going down? Perhaps I should get short here...."

Then the Futures rip all the way back up...I got in on some longs, but for whatever reason, they didn't want to move to the upside...I ended up getting them out for small winners.

Then the Futures continues to rip up and takes out the intraday highs. I got in on some longs yet again, but yet again, they didn't go anywhere.

So after all of that, I think all that moving around wasn't really worth waiting for (well, at least for me).

There were also a lot of trades taken today....mainly because I was trying to use larger share size and I was scaling out a lot more (I'd get in with 2000 or 3000 shares and I'd peel my positions off 500 shares at a time).

I know I have to do a better job at trade selection to try to cut down on all those unnecessary trades. I also should start really pushing myself in terms of share size if I really want to go somewhere (sheesh, how many times have you heard me say that?).

One good trade and no bad ones today.

I'll try and work on some of the things mentioned tomorrow....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • 9:51:46AM - USEC (USU) was strong since the open as it was making new all-time highs. It approached the $23.00 level and when it broke, I went long 2000 shares. I slowly peeled out of my position and yes I do know I got most of it out waaayyy too early but I saw things falling back back and it kind felt like it didn't want to go further to the upside (but boy was I wrong)....this is something I have to work on. I got out as follows: 10-cent winner (600 shares), 25-cent winner (900 shares), 26-cent winner (100 shares), 28-cent winner (400 shares) ($423 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $23.00 ; Out: Didn't record)

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just Waiting For Tomorrow....

Net: +$316.64
Trades: 50
Shares Traded: 31600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC): +$212.32
The St. Joe Company (JOE): +$99.29
GrafTech International Ltd. (GTI): +$97.91
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): +$78.52
Florida East Coast Industries Inc. (FLA): +$41.35
The Home Depot, Inc. (HD): +$23.30
Chemed Corporation (CHE): +$10.89
Alcoa Inc. (AA): -$6.44
CIGNA Corporation (CI): -$23.00
The Brink's Company (BCO): -$27.56
Ameren Corporation (AEE): -$37.00
Fluor Corporation (FLR): -$73.71
Precision Drilling Trust (PDS): -$79.24

Didn't really want to do too much today and I was basically just waiting for tomorrow.

You can see I traded a bit more shares, but it didn't really do me any good. Most of them were on 2000 shares positions, but the stocks I was in didn't really move very much and I only captured a few cents here and there.

The bulk of my profits today was a result of a short on Computer Sciences (CSC) and was probably the only half-decent trade I had on today.

I went short when the $55.00 level broke and held this for almost an hour.

There were a couple of other moves that were half decent, but unfortunately I let go of a bulk of my position before they made any significant moves.

There were a couple of stocks that I was hesitant to get into....and the biggest missed opportunity was on Countrywide Financial (CFC). I wanted to get into that stock a couple times this afternoon, but I was either too slow or my attention was momentarily off of it before it took off.

Also, both FLA and CHE made pretty big moves but I managed only to capture a small piece of those moves.

Aside from that, I didn't really do much of anything today.

No good trades and no bad ones.

Sorry for another very short post, but the weather out there is just too great to pass up an opportunity to enjoy it.

For now, I'm just waiting for the Fed announcement tomorrow....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Monday, May 07, 2007

Not Much Happening...

Net: +$138.67
Trades: 53
Shares Traded: 23400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
RadioShack Corporation (RSH): +$235.94
Wendy's International (WEN): +$210.51
USEC Inc. (USU): +$110.15
Abbott Laboratories (ABT): +$61.42
The Talbots, Inc. (TLB): +$9.63
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC): -$7.19
Brinker International, Inc. (EAT): -$14.66
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (CTB): -$30.71
General Dynamics Corporation (GD): -$51.08
Armor Holdings, Inc. (AH): -$56.75
AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS): -$60.32
Vimpel-Communications (VIP): -$75.73
Manor Care, Inc. (HCR): -$91.10
Rowan Companies, Inc. (RDC): -$101.42

Gonna keep this short as there isn't really much to say about today's trading and there's other stuff I need to attend to tonight.

I let a relatively good morning go to waste as I put on a few too many pointless trades and ended up losing quite a bit.

I guess I just couldn't sit still during the sideways markets that persisted the entire day.

Though there were some movers on the day (RSH and WEN in particular), I wasted most of my gains made in these stocks in poorly timed entries on other stocks and I probably gave those poorly timed positions a little too much room to roam before I cut my losses.

No good or bad trades.

Just waiting for tomorrow....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Weekend Reading For May 5 - 6, 2007

In "Weekend Reading" I'll collect what I thought were the best posts and articles for the week from various bloggers.

The reason I do this is because I find it difficult to integrate links to other great blogs in my posts, so this is a way for me to give back.

I only focus on posts and links that relate to trader improvement or trading in general.

This week I may have missed a few good posts here and there as I was rather busy during the week, but nonetheless, here's this week's edition:

Labels: ,

Friday, May 04, 2007

OK - Something's Not Quite Right Here....

Net: -$504.95
Trades: 40
Shares Traded: 15400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
RTI International Metals (RTI): +$21.15
UGI Corporation (UGI): -$15.51
Brush Engineered Material (BW): -$15.80
Schering-Plough Corporation (SGP): -$16.39
Transocean Inc. (RIG): -$29.55
Callaway Golf Company (ELY): -$30.31
Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR): -$30.77
Weyerhaeuser Company (WY): -$40.63
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc (HOT): -$77.16
Embarq Corporation (EQ): -$81.09
Arcelor Mittal (MT): -$188.89

Boy it's great to start the day off with 10 consecutive losers. 10!

Out of all the trades I took today, only one somehow was a winner...and that was only because it was starting to fall back down and luckily I got out when I did because it would have eventually become a loser too.

After that winning trade, I was going back to losers again and by 1PM I was just fed up with how unbelievably bad I was trading, so I quit for the day.

Ok - so what's going on?

Last week was fantastic - though I was very conservative I was quite surprised at the outcome.

This week has been absolutely lousy....

This is my second full week of using Trade-Ideas and while last week's results were nice and consistent, this week has been lousy at best.


I look at it this way.

Last week when I started using Trade-Ideas, I was somewhat skeptical as to what it could provide for me. As a result, I used very small share size and I was very picky about the trades I put on that I was alerted to.

I would only get into a trade if everything looked perfect and since I was somewhat skeptical, I kept my losers very small....if the trade didn't go my way right away, I was out. If the trade started running for me, then great - I'd take some off the table and see where the stock would take me.

That kind of thinking produced great results considering the number of trades I put on and the position sizes.

Well here we are this week and some not-so-great result.

I have a feeling it's because I'm starting to expect too much from my trades. Last week I saw how some of my trades really started to run in my favor as it would hop, skip, and jump 20, 30, and 50 cents at a time.

But this week I think I was expecting that to happen on every trade. This led me to hold onto losers a little longer than I normally would and I kept widening my stops, hoping the trade would eventually run in my favor.

And I kept trading as if the trades I put on would run and I wouldn't book profits because I wasn't satisfied with "only" a 10 or 15-cent profit. I'd eventually see these positions turn negative.

I also noticed that I was basically trying to trade every single alert that came through my scanner.....not a wise move and probably not the way the provider intended for it to be used.

Whatever it is, it's not working and I've really got to wake up and realize what I'm doing.

I've got to smarten up with my trading...

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Thursday, May 03, 2007

An Attitude Check

Net: +$512.27
Trades: 70
Shares Traded: 29800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Corn Products International, Inc. (CPO): +$258.95
Lyondell Chemical Company (LYO): +$218.16
Cemex S.A. B de C.V. (CX): +$89.58
Liz Claiborne, Inc. (LIZ): +$73.16
Eagle Materials, Inc. (EXP): +$52.89
Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): +$45.25
MasterCard Incorporated (MA): +$25.15
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): -$13.53, inc. (CRM): -$22.04
AAR Corp. (AIR): -$23.53
PetroChina Company Limited (PTR): -$24.78
Canadian Natural Resource Ltd (CNQ): -$30.72
The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL): -$45.71
Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU): -$62.79
Armor Holdings, Inc. (AH): -$74.21

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was trying to smoke the day....

I came in on those days with high expectations and I had full intentions of coming way with $1000's of dollars.

It was the beginning of the month and the previous week of trading showed promise and I thought to myself that if I came in with a killer attitude and try to smoke every position I put on, there would be no reason not to come away with mega profits on the day.

The only problem was that I was expecting every position I got in to be a big home-run and that I'd come away with 100's of dollars on the trade.

As a result, I hung around when the positions didn't go anywhere and I held onto losers longer than I usually hold them.

And going in with bigger positions only exacerbated the problem as this made the losers hurt even more.

Since I had high expectations for those two trading days, I came away really dejected at the end of the day....not only didn't I make the big $ as I was expecting, I couldn't even pull out some profits.

So today I came in with the thoughts of just trading.....I didn't have any expectations for the day and tried to keep a level head.

Every position I put on didn't have to be a home-run and if things started to look dicey, I just I kept my losers on a very short leash (unlike the previous two trading days).

But today I felt like I was the king of bad timing....

There were sooo many stocks that were moving in a nice, non-stop trend and I'd get in right at the top and once I was in, the stock decided to start to roll over and seemed like time and time again I'd get caught in that trap.

But the one trade that had me fuming a bit was on PetroChina (PTR). At around 1:30PM I went long as I saw this one making new intra-day highs and it's trend was a nice gradual one....

So I get long and wait and wait and it just didn't want to go further....then it looks like it was going to roll over on a 5-minute chart....there were other stocks that were beginning to move and I was thinking to myself "Not again! Another one where I got in at the top and now it's going to roll over and move down!".

So I punch out for a small loser but wouldn't you know soon as I got out, it just explodes to the upside! And the move was a powerful one as well! Level after level was taken out quickly and I tried to get long again at $117.00, $117.50, and at $118.00 but the bloody stock just blew past all the levels and I never could get long again.

PTR just continued to move up $3 or $4 from where I was originally long and I was a little upset as I just watched and saw how strong a move it was.....*sigh* all of these "bad timing" trades cost be quite a bit today - both in realized losses and lost opportunities......

One good trade and no bad ones today.

So tomorrow I'll just have the intentions of trading and I'll try not to have any expectations of the trading day (lest I not meet it and get all upset about nothing again).

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • 11:27:21AM - Corn Products Inc. (CPO) had been making a strong move up since about 10:45AM and when it came up to the $42 level I went long 700 shares when it broke. I held it for a while and got out as follows: 30-cent winner (300 shares), 40-cent winner (200 shares), 45-cent winner (200 shares) ($260 profit before fees ; Long 700 shares @ $42.00 ; Out: 12:04:34PM)

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Frustration Nation

Net: -$240.23
Trades: 86
Shares Traded: 45200

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX): +$123.21
WellPoint, Inc. (WLP): +$95.91
Eaton Corporation (ETN): +$68.75
Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (WYN): +$44.15
Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI): +$29.54
McDonald's Corporation (MCD): +$27.61
Owens-Illinois, Inc. (OI): +$20.67
McDermott International (MDR): +$18.32
Danaher Corporation (DHR): +$12.19
Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (WPI): -$18.32
Idearc Inc. (IAR): -$23.39
Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (VAR): -$26.91
FedEx Corporation (FDX): -$28.74
Whirlpool Corporation (WHR): -$41.02
R.H. Donnelley Corporation (RHD): -$47.07
Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (CEG): -$47.12
W-H Energy Services, Inc. (WHQ): -$61.02
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (DD): -$83.20
Hartford Financial Services (HIG): -$87.40
Oil States International, Inc. (OIS): -$104.95
Continental Airlines, Inc. (CAL): -$111.42

What the hell.

These last two trading days have really really sucked.

Today the markets moved, but the moves made by stocks just really really sucked. Unbelievable.

Literally every trade I got into didn't want to do anything. Even when the overall markets were ripping, the stocks I happened to be in didn't want to move.

I dunno - maybe it's been my attitude these past two days....I've been wanting to get May off to a roaring start and maybe I'm coming in too aggressive by taking trades that may not be all the best.

I've also been going in with larger positions but like yesterday this only amplified the losses I was taking.

For whatever reason, nothing wanted to move or run.

And my mistake was that when I did have a position that was profitable, I waited and wanted to book a big winner on it....but by waiting, I missed out on my opportunity to get out and as a result, there were many trades that were initially winners, but turned into losers.

And there were just soo many trades where I would get in and I'd sit there and wait and wait. I felt like I was just wasting my time by sitting there waiting for the stock to make it's move. When I could have been focusing on other potential positions, I'd wait and wait and in the end, I'd either book a loser and a very small winner that was hardly worth the time.

It's not that I lost a lot of money today, but for some reason I really felt ticked off today.

Usually when I get frustrated (or desperate), I end up taking a lot of trades and trading a lot of stocks.

All afternoon I kept going from one stock to another and I'd be thinking "Damn this stock, oh yea, well there's another stock over there that'll probably move!".

What I think I have to do is to go back to the way I was trading all last picking the opportunities and waiting for a good trade. Today I was trying to trade everything that came up as an alert (mainly because I was frustrated).

I had been up in the morning...then I proceeded to lose close to $600 during the course of the afternoon.

For the rest of this week I think I'm just gonna call it a day after lunch....I'm finding that the afternoons moves are not like the mornings and the same setups don't seem to work as well in the afternoons.

Ahhhh forget about it. I don't want to think any more about today.

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $250 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None