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

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Running Around Like A Chicken With It's Head Cut Off

Gross: +$347.08
Net: +$99.83
Loss From Top: $53.95
Trades: 96
Shares Traded: 243154

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$211.29
Walmart (WMT): +$104.58
Micron Tech (MU): +$59.49
Citigroup (C): +$40.23
Bank of America (BAC): +$36.83
Home Depot (HD): +$8.58
Corning (GLW): -$24.15
Pfizer (PFE): -$60.82
Disney (DIS): -$74.31
General Electric (GE): -$201.91

Wooooo weee! Would you look at the number of trades and the number of shares traded! All day today, I felt like I was churning and going nowhere fast. For most of the day I was in negative territory and it was only in the last 30 minutes of the trading day was I able pull myself into positive territory.

I think after my $1000 day on Friday, I might be trying a little too hard. Remember, trading involves balancing many aspects and if you focus too much on one of them, you will probably find yourself suffering.

I have a feeling that this is what has happened: after making $1000 last Friday, I was really trying hard to have a repeat performance. I got myself in large positions with the hopes of holding winners as long as I could. However I should have also kept a close eye on when NOT to trade.

I ended up getting into big positions when the overall markets were not moving. From my trading journal, I can see that today about 60% of my trades were losers. And I can tell you that more than half of the trades I put on today should not have happened at all (the overall markets were flat or the stock itself was not trending).

Again, this is all part of modifying my trading strategy to see if I can make $1000 consistently. However I must stop thinking about the money and start thinking about making good trades. Friday's success might have been bad in that I had little time to figure things out and may have led to some overconfidence on my part. As a result, the last two trading days have suffered.

I'll see if I can pull my act together tomorrow.

Good Trades
3:35PM - Hewlett Packard (HPQ) had just started uptrending and there was several levels of size on the bid. I got long 6000 shares when some resistance broke and got out as follows: 3-cent winner (500 shares), 4-cent winner (5500 shares) ($235 profit before fees)

Bad Trades
12:04PM - General Electric (GE) was flat as were the Futures. There was big size on both the bid and ask (both had about 700 size), and when I thought the ask was going to break, I got long 10,000 shares. Well GE didn't move at all and I held that position for a long time. Eventually, both the Futures and GE started to go down, so I got everything out for a 1-cent loser. ($100 loser before fees).
  • This was a futile attempt make $1000 on one trade.
  • Never ever get into a position on GE during lunch hour even if you think a level is going to break
  • Several reasons why this trade should not have been put on: it was lunch hour; GE was completely flat at the time; the Futures were flat; if I wanted to get into a position, it should have been with smaller size
12:26PM - Pfizer (PFE) was downtrending while the Futures weren't doing much of anything. I saw some size break on the bid so I got short 8000 shares. Like typical Pfizer, the Level 2 tricked me and I got out as follows: 1-cent winner (400 shares), 2-cent loser (5300 shares), 3-cent loser (2300 shares) ($179 loser before fees).
  • Ha! I keep getting tricked by my good friend Pfizer! The charts on PFE looked good at the time and when size broke, I really thought it was a good trade to get into
  • As it turned out, some big player kept pushing prices upwards and unfortunately I was in his/her way - I got pushed out of my position
  • This was another trade in which I was thinking about the money and not about the trade


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