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

Friday, April 28, 2006

I Should Have Been Happy With $700

Gross: +$421.00
Net: +$286.52
Loss From Top: $409.58
Trades: 55
Shares Traded: 133400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Citigroup (C): +$475.84
Micron Tech (MU): +$184.90
Home Depot (HD): +$28.22
Walmart (WMT): -$54.21
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$58.89
Motorola (MOT): -$289.35

Ohhhh man, what a day...I was doing just fine going into the last hour of trade. I was up $700, but I lost $400 in the last hour due to some mental lapses and poor judgement on my part.

I couldn't believe how flat the market was today. After a nice run-up in the markets in the morning, absolutely nothing (and I mean NOTHING) happened the rest of the day.

I sat there and watched and watched for something to happen - but nothing. I played the game very carefully and was very mindful of when NOT to trade. But going into the last hour, I made a fatal mistake - I started thinking about the money.

What I mean is that I saw there was an hour left to trade and in the back of my mind, I really wanted to make $1000. This is very very bad...if you find yourself thinking the same way, STOP IT! Everytime I get into this kind of mindset, I always (ALWAYS) lose money.

This is one of those subtle rules that can have a profound effect on one's thinking. Instead of thinking about the money (i.e. I'm gonna try to make $500 on this trade, or I'm gonna try to make $1000 today), focus on making good trades instead! Money will follow if you simply focus more on making good trades!

Well, that mental lapse cost me big time! I'm not too happy about the outcome. All day I was careful in picking my trades and when 3PM rolled around, I had put on very few trades (though I was up $700). Then I started thinking about the money when I realized there was only an hour left to trade.

After the first bad trade at around 3:05PM, I became frustrated and tried to make the money back quickly. Another mistake - I ended up losing even more money. Before I knew it, I was revenge trading like there was no tomorrow! I tried to keep my losses to a minimum, but a string of bad trades in a row ended up costing me over $400.

It felt like I was a sinking ship and I was flailing about, trying to get back afloat, but all the struggling ended up sinking me further down.

Anyhow, I'll be posting my month end statistics a little later on this evening...stay tuned....

Good Trades
9:43AM - Citigroup (C) was up strongly and the Futures were also up. I got long 5000 shares at $48.90. Got out as follows: 4-cent winner (2000 shares), 5-cent winner (2000 shares), 15-cent winner (1000 shares) ($330 profit before fees)

10:03AM - Walmart (WMT) hit some support while the Futures were up. Got long 5000 shares and got out as follows: 3-cent winner (3000 shares), 4-cent winner (2000 shares) ($170 profit before fees)

Bad Trades
3:29PM - Motorola (MOT) was downtrending, but the Futures were flat. I got long 5000 shares and got out as follows: 1-cent loser (2400 shares), 4-cent loser (2600 shares) ($128 loser before fees)
  • This was one of a string of bad trades that were done in the last hour. This particular trade lost me the most.
  • At that particular time, I was trading on pure emotion and had no rhyme or reason for getting into this position
  • All in all, I should have been happy with the $700 I had at 3PM...


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