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

Monday, April 10, 2006

Another Good Start...And Another Lousy Finish

Gross: +$524.00
Net: +$439.25
Loss From Top: $21.70
Trades: 63
Shares Traded: 70600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$194.60
Citigroup (C): +$161.09
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): +$74.70
Walmart (WMT): +$58.90
Corning (GLW): +$16.53
Home Depot (HD): +$5.01
Advanced MicroDevices (AMD): -$71.60

It was another day with a very good start (was up over $400 within the first 30 minutes of the open), but as the day chugged along, I lost some, gained some back, and ended up not making a dime for the rest of the day.

I think I'm beginning to understand why there are some traders in our office that leave after the first 2 hours of trade. The last few trading days would have been better off for me if I had simply left after the first hour of trading...

Even though there appeared to be nice trends during the day (an uptrend from about open till noon; then a nice downtrend from noon till 2PM, the choppy from 2PM to close), I found that both up and down trends were fairly sloppy and I found it hard to find an entry position in the stocks I was watching. I just remember commenting on how ugly a lot of the stock charts looked for most of the day.

I've also noticed that I'm starting to reduce my share size when I'm trading. Most of my trades in the morning were for 3000 or 4000 shares...Hmmmmmm - don't know why that happened....I've got to step it up a bit if I want to get better, so tomorrow I'll try minimum of 4000, but will use 5000 shares as the norm.

Of course, I'll only use 5000/6000 shares for stocks like WMT, C, GE, HPQ, and any other stock that has decent size. I'll use 4000 for the thinner stocks like HD, GLW, AMD, and JNJ (though I might lose a lot with these stocks). I dunno - I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

For the rest of the week, I'm not going to post in the evening...I'm preparing for a little mini-vacation (leaving Thursday morning, returning Monday evening), so I got some packing, transportation arrangement, and documentation to gathering to do.

Hope you all understand...

Good Trades
9:53AM - Home Depot (HD) was downtrending when there was a size vs. size battle (when there's big size on the bid and big size on the ask - both had size over 100). The ask broke first, so I went long and got partially filled for 2800 shares at $41.91. I took my profit as follows: 3-cent winner (100 shares), 5-cent winner (1700 shares), 6-cent (1000 shares) ($148 profit before fees).

9:59AM - Hewlett Packard (HPQ) was uptrending as were the Futures. Another size vs. size battle occurred. The ask broke so I went long 3000 shares at $30.30. Got as out follows: 4-cent winner (1000 shares), 6-cent winner (1000 shares), 10-cent winner (1000 shares) ($200 profit before fees).

11:16AM - Citigroup (C) was uptrending and so were the Futures. Citigroup was pushing to new intraday highs and there was some big resistance at $48.08 (there was about 800+ size on the ask). Futures ripped and the level broke, so I went long 5000 shares at $48.08. Got out as follows: 2-cent winner (2000 shares), 3-cent winner (3000 shares) ($130 profit before fees).

Bad Trades
11:01AM - Home Depot (HD) was flat, but the Futures were uptrending. I had originally wanted to go short 1000 shares, but a keystroke error got me short 3000 shares. I was able to get some of it out for a profit, but then the Futures ripped and I had to get out for a loser. I got out as follows: 2-cent winner (600 shares), 1-cent winner (1400 shares), 3-cent loser (300 shares), 13-cent loser (700 shares) ($74 loser before fees).
  • I could blame the keystroke error for the loss - but then I won't learn anything! I would probably have to say that I should have gotten the entire position out for a small profit when I had the chance (and I did have a chance - there was ample opportunity for me to get out at a profit)
  • I cannot really blame getting into this position in the first place - I followed my rules in that if the trade does not follow all my rules, but looks like it may move, then I will use only 1000 shares - originally I put this trade on just to make 1 or 2 cents....unfortunately I got short 3000 shares instead of 1000 shares.
  • I could have gotten the last 700 shares out at a much better price. When one of the levels that was supporting my trade broke, I should have known then to get the last 700 shares out...I didn't and I "hoped" - as a result I took a bigger loss than it should have been
12:26PM - Advanced MicroDevices (AMD) was flat and the Futures were not going anywhere. I saw something on the Level 2 on AMD and decided to get short 1000 shares. Well it was a bad out the entire position for a 7-cent loser ($70 loss before fees)
  • Again - these "I'm bored" kind of trades are probably gonna kill me in the end. I've got to stay focused and stick to the plan; unlike the Home Depot trade above, there was nothing to suggest I should get short on AMD
  • At around this time, frustration started to set in because like the previous trading days, I was off to a quick start, but couldn't find opportunities to make money for the rest of the day and I was trying to make something happen


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