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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trading Statistics For Month Of August

Total Gross for Month of August: +$9,218.82
Total Net for Month of August:
Total Fees (Gross - Net) for Month of August:
Total Trades for Month of August:
Total Shares Traded for Month of August:

Best Day for Month of August:
Wed Aug 16 (+$1,210.50 net)
Worst Day for Month of August:
Wed Aug 9 (-$420.20 net)

Number of Positive Net Days for Month of August:
Number of Negative Net Days for Month of August:
Number of Trading Days Missed for Month of August:
2 (one Canadian holiday, one just because...)
Number of Trading Days Lost Due To System Downtime:
0 (but really all the half days and mornings amounted to about 2 days worth of trading)

Compared to Previous Month:
-$1,620.61 (down 24.2% from previous month)
Compared to Same Month Last Year:
+$4,195.70 (up 471.7% from same month last year)

Net Profit Distribution (# days):
(Excellent) +$1000 OR MORE:
* (1)
(--Good--) +$500 TO +$1000:
*** (3)
(-Average-) +$200 TO +$500:
******** (8)
(--Poor---) -$200 TO +$200:
******* (7)
(---Bad---) -$200 TO -$500:
** (2)
(-Terrible-) -$500 OR LESS:

Top 3 Stocks For Month of August (Net Profit):
Motorola (MOT): +$2,428.94
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$1,639.68
Corning (GLW): +$923.10

Worst 3 Stocks for Month of August(Net Profit):
Time Warner (TWX): -$757.17
General Electric (GE): -$445.06
AT&T (T): -$360.87

Top 3 Most Traded Stocks for Month of August:
Motorola (MOT) - Traded on 21 out of 21 trading days
Walmart (WMT) - Traded on 21 out of 21 trading days
Hewlett Packard (HPQ) - Traded on 20 out of 21 trading days

Bottom 3 Most Traded Stocks for Month of August:
(13 stocks tied for last place - each traded on 1 out of 21 trading days)
Analog Devices (ADI)
American International Group (AIG)
CA Inc (CA)
Disney (DIS)
Eastman Kodak (EK)
General Motors (GM)
Gateway Inc (GTW)
JP Morgan (JPM)
Lowe's (LOW)
Qwest Communications (Q)
Sprint-Nextel (S)
Seagate Technologies (STX)
Texas Instruments (TXN)

Total Number of Different Stocks Traded for Month of August:

List of Stocks Traded During the Month of August (with net profit):
Analog Devices (ADI): -$1.37
American International Group (AIG): -$102.59
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$758.29
Bank of America (BAC): -$212.15
Citigroup (C): +$72.91
CA Inc (CA): -$79.48
Disney (DIS): -$279.19
Eastman Kodak (EK): -$1.69
EMC Corp (EMC): +$382.90
Ford (F): +$658.79
General Electric (GE): -$445.06
Corning (GLW): +$923.10
General Motors (GM): +$32.98
Gateway Inc (GTW): -$67.26
Home Depot (HD): +$387.48
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$1,639.68
JP Morgan (JPM): +$16.90
Lowe's (LOW): -$15.12
Motorola (MOT): +$2,428.94
Micron Tech (MU): +$216.84
Qwest Communications (Q): -$7.80
Sprint-Nextel (S): -$13.40
Seagate Technologies (STX): -$34.24
AT&T (T): -$360.87
Time Warner (TWX): -$757.17
Texas Instruments (TXN): +$15.24
Walmart (WMT): +$359.77
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$494.11

Monthly Recap

I've decided to add a new section to my monthly reviews called "Net Profit Distribution". Hopefully I can use this gauge to visually see if I'm improving month to month. That being said, there were just too many bad and poor trading days this month, and I am totally disappointed and my excitement level for this game is slowly coming down...

Three months ago I was on "Cloud 9" because I knew I had just barely missed my objective to making $10,000 net in one month and I knew I was soo close (I lost lots of money at the end of the month). It appeared imminent that all of my hard work (on the way I trade and on myself) would pay off and that $10,000 net was just around the corner. Fast forward to today and it appears I have taken two steps back (perhaps three or four steps?).

This month I got nowhere near my long-standing target of making $10,000 net in one month. Granted I did feel that this month was filled with things I did not expect.

At the beginning of the month of August, I started experimenting with new longer-term strategies and I think I may have dilly-dallied with this a little too long. I basically spent the first two weeks of August playing around and not really focussing. At the beginning of the month I do like playing around with new strategies (because I know I still have the rest of the month to recover), but I usually only set aside one week for this.

The third week of August I started to realize that August was winding down fast and I tried to get my game plan together. There were a few days I didn't feel 100% during that week, but I tried to make the best of it.

But then the fourth week came around and it felt like I hit a brick wall. I kept running into negative days and the frustration really started to mount. I couldn't get anything going and I just couldn't take it anymore, which was why I took that Friday 25th off.

During the last week of August it was another week where I just couldn't really get anything started. Knowing that the month was winding down, I had to resort to something I could count on....quick scalps. Managed to pull off 4 days of "Average" days, but still, these were only "Average".

And there were way too many negative net days...3 out of the 5 negative days were all on the same week (the 4th week of August). I can tell you, that weekend for me was depressing...

September will be my 11th month of doing this full time (it has almost been a year already!!!). I'm giving myself till the end of this year to see where I can take this, but if I do not see any improvements between now and December, I will, most regrettably, be forced to throw in the towel and admit that I am no match for Mr. Market.

I have sacrificed too much for too long and it MAY start looking like I might have hit a ceiling as to where I can go with this.

Anyways, enough reflections on what I've done and possibly where I'm going...

Let's go over what I though was good about this month's trading:
  • Position size is no longer an issue with me; it would appear now that I can easily get into a 10,000 share position as easily as getting into a 1000 shares position, given that the proper risk management is in place
  • I really tried hard to keep my emotions in check...this month was especially hard given the circumstances and the fact that halfway through the month, I already had an idea where this month was going (which was not very far)
  • I really tried hard to implement some longer-term strategies and throughout the month I tried to take advantage of things I saw on the charts and familiar patterns and held them for a larger-than-normal move (10 or more cents, though most of these were on smaller position size)
  • It was a month of remarkable self-discovery...having such a disappointing month, I was forced to look deeper into the issues I've been having and I started getting more involved with the trading community at large by doing my daily review of several trading blogs I have bookmarked...things that were said and done at these various places did wonders for me emotionally and psychologically
  • At the beginning of this month, my blog was sort of "discovered" (was first linked by none other than TraderMike) and the amount of attention really caught me off guard...but I think the attention I was getting was more of a motivator than anything really forced me to look for the real answers as to why I was struggling (instead of my lame excuses when only 4 or 5 people visited a day)
And now, what I found bad this month:
  • What else can I say? I am trying to learn and trying to get better, but the numbers the last two months have not reflected that
  • Just too many average, poor, and bad days this month
  • I should have realized what kind of trading environment we were heading for during the last two weeks of August and instead of trying to hit home runs, I should have just stuck to what was safe (in this case, quick scalping)
  • This month I moved over 4 million shares....big deal...if the profits don't follow, then it's hardly worth it and it's just more fees I've got to pay
  • Look at the number of trades this month...way too many. Since my net profit isn't anywhere near where it was in June, I'd say that this means I was making way too many worthless trades or trades that went nowhere OR I just took too many trades for very little profits...almost 45% of my profits went to fees
  • There were hardly any home-run type trades this month! I don't know what happened, but I have a feeling it had to do with confidence and I was not daring enough to take the risks when it mattered
Finally let's get to some of my goals for next month. Last month I didn't really give myself any kind of rules and I don't know if my results were because of this. I'll take it slow and I'll try to emulate the month I had in June by having the following goals:
  • Achieve 5 or more $1000+ net days in the month of September
  • Make at least $8,000 net in the month of September
  • Be more daring when it comes to trades that one got rich by playing it safe
  • Really be more aware when it comes to when to trade and when not to trade
  • During market lulls, go for quick scalps rather than looking for that home-run type trade (if you look for home-runs when the markets are flatlining, the probabilities are not in your favor!)
  • DO NOT trade solely based on what you see on the Level II...August seemed just absolutely terrible when it came to tricks...use the charts, use the Time and Sales and when in doubt, just punch out!

Three Times A Charm...Or Is It?

Gross: +$625.35
Net: +$387.56
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 156
Shares Traded: 213800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$144.96
Corning (GLW): +$143.77
Motorola (MOT): +$138.79
Walmart (WMT): +$115.56
Bank of America (BAC): +$6.76
AT&T (T): +$3.29
Home Depot (HD): -$8.33
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$11.55
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$36.82
Ford (F): -$108.88

It was another day (and third in a row) in which I broke my record for number of trades. Yesterday I mentioned that I usually trade a lot for "quick" scalps if I feel defensive.

Well this morning I came in determined to look for setups in which I could get into a big position and hold it for some big-time winners.

I tried doing that this morning...with limited luck. I put on a few big positions, most of which either went nowhere, or I had to get some out for partial gains and the rest out for a partial loss.

It was around mid-morning when I decided that I didn't really like the market action, and so, I went back to my good old defensive self again and just scalped my way through the day.

Is this a good thing? you can see from the results this week, the rewards are...well... just not very rewarding!

See, the problem with with my "quick" scalp trades is that I can do a few profitable trades in a row, but they will always be that one trade that goes against you, and since I will usually do my "quick" scalps on thinner stocks, I'll often have to punch out of these losers for a relatively big loss.

In other words, one loser will often times wipe out the gains of several winners. So again, is this a good thing? I certainly wouldn't want to do this day in and day out. In fact, this kind of trading is something I really would like to avoid. My ultimate plan is to start practicing patience by holding my winners longer and to actually trade...and when the markets aren't doing much of anything I can resort to quick scalps (but I don't want to do this all day long!).

Anyways, tomorrow I'll be leaving for a Labor Day weekend getaway, so I won't be in tomorrow. If I have time tonight, I'll post up my trading statistics for the month of August (beware! they might not be pretty!), otherwise I'll post my August stats when I get back from vacation.

Good Trades
9:52AM - Ford (F) had a nice uptrend while the Futuers were sideways. When Ford broke some resistance, I went long 10,000 shares and I got it out for a 2-cent winner ($200 profit before fees; In: 9:52:36AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $8.40 ; Out: 9:57:55AM)

Bad Trades
11:41AM - Ford (F) was moving up while the Futures were moving down. Ford was approaching it's intraday high at $8.46 and when I thought it would break, I went long 10,000 shares. I basically went long at the high of the day. I had to get out for a 2-cent loser ($200 loser before fees; In: 11:41:00AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $8.46 ; Out: 11:43:36AM)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stuck In Neutral

Gross: +$587.16
Net: +$360.44
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 153
Shares Traded: 212680

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$218.16
Walmart (WMT): +$168.99
Corning (GLW): +$105.36
Citigroup (C): +$34.29
Home Depot (HD): +$11.82
Motorola (MOT): +$11.20
Exxon Mobile (XOM): -$23.50
AT&T (T): -$33.09
Ford (F): -$59.83
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$73.41

Today was the second day in a row in which I broke my record for most trades. Yesterday I broke it with 141 trades and today I broke it again with 153. What does that mean?

Well it means that I'm doing a lot more "quick" scalps for a few pennies and not doing enough of the "home-run" type scalps (where I go in with a big position). Most of my "quick" scalps only involve 1000 or 2000 shares and I'm usually out within a few seconds.

I usually resort to this kind of trading if I'm feeling defensive or I'm not 100% confident in what I'm doing. So far this week, that's how I've been feeling, and as a result, I feel as though I'm stuck in neutral and I haven't been able to really get my trading into first gear.

Don't get me far this week I've seen plenty of good opportunities and the price action as been great on the stocks I trade, but I think my mind is still thinking about how the markets were last week and I've been trading with fear...fear that I would get chopped out of my positions. As a result, my fear has me looking less for that good trade with a good setup, and more on the "quick-and-give-me-a-few-bucks" type trades.

It is only now, as I review my day, that I am realizing this so let's see if tomorrow I can remedy this and try to finish August with a bang.

Another thing I've been noticing lately is that in the mornings I am usually fairly aggressive and I am usually willing to take big risks with big positions. But then when lunch rolls around, I become very cautious and scale back on position size. The problem is that when the afternoon trading picks up again, I think I'm still stuck with the "lunch-time" mentality.

In the afternoons I find myself reluctant to take the same risks as in the morning and I am finding I use smaller share sizes in the afternoon. It's as if the "lunch-time trade" plan has spilled over into my afternoon trading game plan.

Hrmmmm....this just came to me just now (thank goodness for this blog allowing me to discover this!).....let's see if I can remedy this also.

Two good trades versus one bad trade, all of them were on Motorola (MOT).

I'll be taking this Friday off as I'm going on a long weekend vacation, so tomorrow will be my last day of the week.

Good Trades
10:30AM - Motorola (MOT) had a nice uptrend and so did the Futures. When the Futures started ripping up, I went long 5000 shares. I got the entire position out for a 4-cent winner ($200 profit before fees; In: 10:30:47AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $23.85 ; Out: 10:32:09AM)

11:28AM - Motorola (MOT) was uptrending after it broke a significant resistance level ($24.00 level) while the Futures were rather flat. MOT reached another level with a reasonable amount of size on the offer (there was about 600 size on the offer). When it broke, I went long 5000 shares. As soon as that level broke, prices popped up and I got the entire position out for a 5-cent winner ($250 profit before fees; In: 11:28:19AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $24.10 ; Out: 11:30:37AM)

Bad Trades
10:22AM - Motorola (MOT) was uptrending and so were the Futures. There was a significant resistance level at $23.80 that had about 1800 size on the offer. The Futures suddenly started moving up and the level looked like it was going to break, so I went long 10,000 shares. The Futures continued ripping up and all the size was taken at the $23.80 level, BUT there was some reserve MidWest (an ECN) shares on the offer at the $23.80! It kept getting hit for what seemed like 10's of thousands of shares, but yet it kept refilling! The Futures had then started coming back down and I kind of panicked and dumped all my shares for a 3-cent loser ($300 loser before fees; In: 10:22:11AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $23.80 ; Out: 10:23:43)
  • Ugghhh....I hate reserve orders on the Level II....and I hate the MidWest ECN (partly because I can't hit the MidWest ECN, partly because I always see reserve orders on MidWest)...
  • The setup on this trade was great and I followed all my rules on this one...again this was one of those cases where not every trade will go your way
  • If I had enough patience, I could have waited it out (you can see on the intraday chart that MOT was able to go through the $23.80 level easy enough)...but I guess because I scare easily, I ended up punching out

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not Doing Your Homework Can Be Costly

Gross: +$465.34
Net: +$243.99
Loss From Top: $46.39
Trades: 141
Shares Traded: 231132

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$334.59
AT&T (T): +$131.27
Home Depot (HD): +$65.64
Walmart (WMT): +$26.33
Ford (F): +$12.74
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$2.55
Micron Tech (MU): -$11.08
Exxon Mobile (XOM): -$23.53
Citigroup (C): -$37.28
Motorola (MOT): -$38.79
Corning (GLW): -$231.36

Usually when I get home from work, I'll review my day by going through my trading journal. Then comes dinner, then maybe this blog or I'll go out for an after dinner walk with my wife.

After I finish working on this blog, that's when my homework starts. I'll review the charts and news for the core stocks I trade, making note of any support/resistance levels. I will also make note of any economic numbers that are on tap for the next day and finally I end my day by reading through a whole bunch of blogs, news on stocks, and stocks reporting earnings.

Well yesterday night I got kind of busy and I kind of rushed through my homework. Somehow I made a note that consumer confidence was to be released at 10AM, but I didn't make note that the FOMC minutes were also being released at 2PM.

When I trade, I like to be out of all positions when these kind of numbers or events occur and I will usually trade the reaction off of those numbers/events.

Well just before 2PM, I got into a big long position when suddenly the markets appeared to be tanking. At that moment, I was thinking "what the heck is happening? Is something going on?". I quickly got out of my position (with a small, but sizeable loss), and I started looking around, watching CNBC and the news to see what had just happened.

I quickly got a glance about the FOMC minutes being released and at that point I was thinking "Damn it! I'm missing the move!". Needless to say I was ill prepared for this event to occur and I found myself jumping into one trade after another without really assessing what was going on. In the back of my mind I kept thinking "Darn it! I'm gonna miss out on this great move!".

My heart was pounding and I was a little red-faced when I realized what was going on, so I felt I had to do something to take advantage of it by getting into something..anything!

My thinking wasn't very clear during that moment and somehow in a span of 15 minutes I lost $600! During that volatile period, I jumped into longs when they were supposed to be shorts and I jumped into shorts when they were supposed to be longs.

I remember I just sat there after that little flurry of losing trades, not believing what had just happened! I lost $600 in a blink of an eye!

So folks, here's a clear lesson on why you should do your homework. Since my dog ate my homework yesterday night, it cost me $600 today.

I re-collected myself and managed to make most of it back during the rest of the afternoon. All in all, another not-very-impressive day. I've learned my lesson and you can be sure I'll be doing my homework tonight...

Good Trades
11:27AM - Ford (F) was moving upwards while the Futures were ranging. Ford was approaching it's intraday high at $8.10 which had a bit of size on the offer (about 1500 size). When it was about to break, I went long 10,000 shares. I got out as follows: 2-cent winner (5000 shares), 3-cent winner (5000 shares) ($250 profit before fees; In: 11:27:04AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $8.10 ; Out: 11:30:03AM)

3:21PM - AT&T (T) has a strong uptrend going while the Futures were also uptrending. I went long 10,000 shares when there was an opportunity and got out as follows: 2-cent winner (5000 shares), 3-cent winner (5000 shares) ($250 profit before fees; 3:21:03PM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $31.20 ; Out: 3:23:27PM)

Bad Trades
11:35AM - Ford (F) was uptrending while the Futures were sideways. Coming off a good trade, I decided to go long 10,000 again on Ford. I suddenly saw big size on the offer while spooked me out of my position. I got out for a 2-cent loser ($200 loser before fees; In: 11:35:51AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $8.14 ; Out: 11:36:55AM)
  • I think I was too quick in getting into this one...I thought the offer was going to break again, but instead I was met with huge size on the offer
  • Knowing Ford, I could have been a little more patient with this one...whatever I see on the Level II doesn't mean a thing when it comes to thick stocks like Ford
2:01PM - Corning (GLW) started downtrending while the Futures were tanking. I went short 4000 shares on some crossed ARCA shares. Well, I pretty much went short at the low of the move. The Futures then started ripping and I got out as follows: 4-cent loser (2000 shares), 6-cent loser (2000 shares) ($200 loser before fees; In: 2:01:56PM ; Short 4000 shares @ $21.81 ; Out: 2:03:12PM)
  • This was the first trade I did when I realized that the overall markets were moving because of the FOMC minutes...I wasn't really prepared and a million things were going on in my head...all I saw was that things were going down, so I went for the first stock I saw and went short
  • If I were prepared for the FOMC minutes, I would usually wait for the first initial move made by the markets; I do this because the first initial move maybe a false one...but in this case I just felt I needed to do something because I was missing out
  • This would be the first of several losing trades in a row...for the next couple of trades I would get long at the wrong time and I'd get short at the wrong time...when it was all said and done, I had lost $600

Monday, August 28, 2006

I Hate Missing The Morning Action

Gross: +$413.58
Net: +$220.46
Loss From Top: $89.45
Trades: 131
Shares Traded: 169200

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$400.61
AT&T (T): +$40.87
Walmart (WMT): +$40.60
Citigroup (C): +$15.97
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$15.46
Exxon Mobile (XOM): -$22.23
Home Depot (HD): -$53.46
Ford (F): -$59.30
Motorola (MOT): -$128.12

This morning when all the traders came in the office, we were told the system was down. After a nice long weekend for me, I was itching to go at it and I had a somewhat sleepless night last night because I kept thinking about trading (don't know if that's a good thing). But when we were told not to trade because the system was down, it just burst my bubble.

So all morning us traders just hung around and exchanged war stories and the sense I got from the other traders was that it has been rough on everyone lately. I just feel somewhat relieved that a lot of other traders out there are also going through hard times and that the problems are not just isolated to me.

And from the stories told, I'm kind of glad I took Friday off. It seemed like quite a few people had a rough day.

So we waited and waited until just before lunch, they said they had all systems back up and running.

For the rest of the afternoon, I got a sense that the day's moves were probably over and that we'd just bounce around in a trading range for the rest of the afternoon. As a result, I just mainly took quick scalps here and there and I was in and out fast.

Since we only got to trade half a day, I was quite surprised with the number of trades I did today. About a third of my trades were on AMD. I had a fun time scalping this stock all day long.

Anyways, there isn't much else to tell you about today...until tomorrow then...

Good Trades
1:01PM - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was downtrending pretty hard while the Futures looked like they were curving downwards. AMD reached the $24.00 level that had some support on the bid (about 800 size on the bid). When it started breaking, I went short 4000 shares. I got out as follows: 4-cent winner (1000 shares), 6-cent winner (2000 shares), 7-cent winner (1000 shares) ($230 profit before fees; In: 1:01:38PM ; Short 4000 shares @ $24.00 ; Out: 1:03:13PM)

Bad Trades

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Can't Take It Anymore

Gross: -$20.23
Net: -$244.55
Loss From Top: $419.41
Trades: 129
Shares Traded: 194464

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Corning (GLW): +$266.96
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$19.57
Citigroup (C): +$14.71
Motorola (MOT): -$4.78
Exxon Mobile (XOM): -$10.88
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$36.86
Walmart (WMT): -$70.87
Bank of America (BAC): -$88.32
General Electric (GE): -$104.19
Ford (F): -$229.83

Okay...I've had 3 negative days out of 4 so far this week. I can't remember the last time I had 3 losing days during a single week (have I even had one?). Considering I usually average around 3 losing days for the entire month, this feels sooo bad.

Even on the day I was up (yesterday), I still felt very frustrated with the way things were going...and today that was all I felt the entire day...just frustrated.

It seems this whole week that stocks were just so resistant to move in any direction and when I'd get into a position, there weren't enough buyers or sellers to really move anything.

I think I might take Trader Mike's, Kirk from the Kirk Report, and Jeff from TradingVision's example and just call it a week and take tomorrow off. There's no sense in taking in another frustrating day and get all worked up for nothing.

When I kept hearing about the last two weeks of August being really slow and is usually the peak of the summer doldrums, I hadn't really a clue what they were talking about. Well, that has now changed and I can definitely feel the difference when a lot of the big boys are not around to trade.

In the morning, I was up, then down, then up again and I mainly hovered around break even. I tried to be very careful not to overtrade and I was making sure I wasn't overdoing it in terms of share size especially in this kind of trading environment. When lunch rolled around, I had hardly traded at all!

But then just after lunch, I goofed up, lost $200 on a trade and I couldn't dig myself out of that little hole. I then started throwing trades left, right, and center.

Every time it looked like I was going to get back into positive territory, a few losing trades would put me right back where I started. This went on several times in the afternoon until I just packed up and stormed off the trading floor early because, quite simply, I couldn't take it anymore.

I know some of you reading out there might think that I'm getting upset over nothing for losing such small amounts of money (some might even think the amounts I lost was chump change), but hey, that's just me. I expect much more out of myself and I'm just kind of upset with the way I handled it by getting a little too emotionally involved.

I'll probably just spend tomorrow reading all of those trading articles I have listed on my sidebar (again) just to give me a little boost and maybe add a few more additions to the blog.

Anyways, I really need to unwind especially with the way this week has turned out. Let's see if I can resist the temptation to go in to trade tomorrow...

Good Trades
None...things just didn't seem to move enough to make any good trades

Bad Trades
1:09PM - Ford (F) was downtrending while the Futures were jiggling around. I went long 10,000 shares to try to catch a bounce, but I saw all the support for my trade suddenly disappear and huge sizes started showing up on the offer. Spooked me out of the trade and got out for a 2-cent loser. Again, I trusted what I saw on the Level 2 and shortly afterwards, Ford went up ($200 loser before fees ; In: 1:09:31 ; Long 10,000 shares @ $7.82 ; Out: 1:09:47)
  • Well, this trade basically screwed up my day and I wasn't able to recover from this loss
  • I guess I shouldn't have gone long considering it was downtrending...might have been because I was bored I guess

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Scalping Ford Motors

Gross: +$591.05
Net: +$345.16
Loss From Top: $250.42
Trades: 76
Shares Traded: 275600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Ford (F): +$405.17
Motorola (MOT): +$171.75
Corning (GLW): +$88.11
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$38.77
Bank of America (BAC): +$5.20
Walmart (WMT): -$16.03
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$24.47
Gateway Inc (GTW): -$67.26
General Electric (GE): -$256.08

Finally we get some nice moving markets...if only I didn't lose most of my profits trying to trade during the lunch hour!

Today I really tried to focus more on scalping Ford (F) and I had some success. It also helped that it was up today since it is much easier to trade on the long side than short (this stock is not on the SHO list, and so adheres to the uptick rule for shorting).

At one point I was up almost $700 on Ford (F) alone, but I insisted on trying to trade during the lunch hour and ended up giving most of my profits from the morning back.

Within the first hour and a half I thought today would amount to a good day as I was up almost $600, but by the time the lunch hour finished, I had practically lost it all.

Serves me right! I usually would go out for a lunch time walk (just to kill some time and to get me off the trading floor), but this morning when I woke up, my allergies were at it's worst (damn you ragweed! damn you!) and my nose kept running, eyes kept watering, and I was sneezing non-stop. As a result, I decided against going out for my usual walk (for fear of making these symptoms worse)...well that was a $600 mistake!

Anyways, I think I'll continue with scalping Ford (F)'s very comfortable since every price level is so thick I can get in and out with big positions. I would really like to use 20,000 or more shares on this stock (which I may attempt tomorrow).

During the day, I got a chance to chit-chat with the former head trainer at where I work. He helped me open my eyes about a few things and we discussed a little about how the other traders at the office are doing...some really motivating stuff. If I want to pull off the numbers some of those guys are doing, I've really got to get out of my comfort zone and really start taking some serious risks. Rewards are given to those who take the risks right?

Two good trades and one bad trade today.

Today there was more patience practice and I'm now seeing that my hold times for my trades are getting a little longer. I was also more willing to hold a temporary loser to give it more time to work in my favor (normally I'd jump out quickly if it went against me). We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Good Trades
10:55AM - Ford (F) and the Futures were moving up. Ford was approaching it's intraday high and resistance level at $7.75. When it was about to break, I went long 10,000 shares. I got out as follows: 3-cent winner (5000 shares), 6-cent winner (5000 shares) ($450 profit before fees; In: 10:55:41AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $7.75 ; Out: 10:59:38AM)

11:37AM - Motorola (MOT) looked like it caught some support and was turning up and the Futures also looked like it caught support and was also curving up. Since this trade did not fit all my trading criteria, I only went in with half what I'd normally do...I went long 5000 shares. I got the entire position out for a 4-cent winner ($200 profit before fees; In: 11:37:09AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $22.70 ; Out: 11:42:33AM)

Bad Trades
11:51AM - Motorola (MOT) was up but flattening while the Futures were flat. I went long 5000 shares when I saw some big size appear on the bid. Ha! I believed size on the Level 2 during lunch! The size disappeared and prices fell back down. I got out as follows: 1-cent winner (100 shares), 3-cent loser (4000 shares), 4-cent loser (900 shares) ($155 loser before fees; In: 11:51:11AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $22.82 ; Out: 11:53:31AM)
  • Both MOT and the Futures were flattening...if I had wanted to go long, I should have waited for a good up move on the Futures or MOT
  • Lately I've been believing in size too much...I should instead focus on price action

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gettin' Jiggy With It...Again

Gross: +$246.00
Net: -$10.49
Loss From Top: $273.73
Trades: 83
Shares Traded: 269400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola (MOT): +$335.31
Ford (F): +$105.51
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$36.11
Citigroup (C): +$12.46
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$8.45
Bank of America (BAC): -$13.30
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$20.16
Time Warner (TWX): -$132.41
Walmart (WMT): -$154.22
AT&T (T): -$178.25

I'm beginning to sound like a broken was another day with lots of jiggling and bouncing around. Yes the markets did have some moves intraday, but if you take a closer look and come down to the minute charts (where I trade), you'll see we jiggled our way up in the morning, then jiggled our way back down in the afternoon.

Knowing how the markets have been lately, I tried to adjust my trading strategies today to try to be patient with my positions and I tried to wait out all of the jiggy and jaggy movements of the markets. Man was it hard! I had one position I held for about 12 minutes and other I held for 17 minutes! For me, it felt like an eternity!

On those two trades I came out on top, but because of the markets' behaviour, I got a lot less out of them than I had expected. I took $200 in profits on both trades (one using 5000 shares, the other using 10,000 shares), but I really was expecting a lot more considering the length of time I held them.

Was it worth it? Not sure yet...on one of the trades I had to look a $300 loser in the eyes before it turned around and on the other I had to stare at a $200 loser for at least 5 minutes (believe me, it's not fun)...looks like the risk/reward ratio is not very appealing.

Because I was practicing patience, I had to look at several bad losers in my blotter for a few minutes while I gave the position time to work itself out. One of the problems with trying to be patient like I was today is that if I have to take a loser, I'd really have to take a big hit.

And that was what happened on one trade on AT&T. I could of gotten out and lost little, but because I was waiting for the market jiggle to finish, I held on to it. Eventually the overall markets went against me and I had to dump AT&T for a big loser.

Right now, I would have to say that I'm comfortable putting on big positions and now I'll try to work on this patience thing. Today was a real good test of that...yes it was very agonizing for me to hold on to a position (regardless of it being a winner or loser), but after the first few "patience" trades, it got easier each time.

Now if I can put big position size and patience together, then I think I'll be going somewhere.

Three good trades versus one bad trade. Yes there are more good trades than bad, but with the way the markets moved today, I had to take several $100 losers and as a result, I was down $10 today.

The last couple of trading days has been a real yawn-fest...though I have to admit that today provided more opportunities. There are some economic numbers tomorrow and Thursday so hopefully it'll make for a better trading environment for me.

For now, I'm just sitting here waiting for tomorrow...

Good Trades
11:20AM - Motorola (MOT) looked like it was at a support level while the Futures started turning upwards. I decided to get long 5000 shares since MOT didn't seem to want to go down any further. I held this sucker for an extremely long time and soooo many times I was going to punch out for a loser. I'm glad I didn't...I got out the entire position for a 4-cent winner ($200 profit before fees; In: 11:20:23AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $23.50 ; Out: 11:32:13AM)

2:25PM - Ford (F) was moving up and so were the Futures. I went long 10,000 shares when I could and got the entire position when there was a bit of resistance to the upside in the form of size on the offer...I got out for a 2-cent winner ($200 profit before fees ; In: 2:25:52PM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $7.41 ; Out: 2:27:29PM)

2:40PM - Motorola (MOT) was on the move upwards and so were the Futures. There was a bit of resistance at the $23.30 level and when I thought it would break, I went long 10,000 shares. I waited and waited and waited. Eventually I got out as follows: 1-cent winner (5000 shares), 3-cent winner (5000 shares) ($200 profit before fees ; In: 2:40:28PM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $23.30 ; Out: 2:57:10PM)

Bad Trades
11:09AM - AT&T (T) was uptrending while the Futures were rather flat. AT&T was making intraday highs and when the Futures popped up, I went long 5000 shares. I waited and held on to this position while I gave the position time and the Futures time to finish jiggling. Well, it never happened, the Futures started falling down and so did AT&T. Dang...long at almost the high of the day. I got out as follows: 3-cent loser (3200 shares), 5-cent loser (1800 shares) ($186 loser before fees ; In: 11:09:31AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $30.81 ; Out: 11:12:42)
  • Yes, I could have gotten this position out for a 1-cent loser (for a $50 loss), but I was trying something...needless to say it didn't work out

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Gross: +$82.50
Net: -$114.15
Loss From Top: $336.43
Trades: 78
Shares Traded: 224700

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola (MOT): +$249.20
Micron Tech (MU): +$173.15
Ford (F): +$48.10
Walmart (WMT): +$37.15
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$1.71
Bank of America (BAC): -$13.01
Lowe's (LOW): -$15.12
Home Depot (HD): -$46.13
Corning (GLW): -$46.71
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$72.74
EMC Corp (EMC): -$119.93
Time Warner (TWX): -$309.82

Dang! All day long I was shaken (out of my positions), I was rattled (my confidence was), and I was rolled (for my profits I had accumulated over the course of the day).

Not very happy about my results today. There were numerous times that I shouldn't have traded (no trend). My net P/L was bouncing around just as much as the market was today. I would be positive, then negative, back to positive, then back to negative again.

I lost $300 on the last trade of the day, which pushed me into negative territory where I ended the day. The bad thing about it was that I shouldn't have lost $300 on that trade - it was a winning trade, but I got greedy, cancelled my order to get out of my position in the hopes of making more, but ended up taking a bad loss.

So what were the things I did wrong today? Well I reviewed the day and here's what I came up with:
  • I tried trading stocks when they were completely flat and that were not going anywhere (in particular, I kept trying to trade Ford (F) when there was no clear trend on it)
  • I have got to learn to keep my hand away from the keyboard when the overall markets are not going anywhere in particular - today I kept trying to trade when I shouldn't have
  • I got greedy near the end of the day on Time Warner (TWX)...I had a clear exit point on a good trade, but got greedy and cancelled my order (when it was fairly clear that TWX wasn't going to go any higher)...part of the reason was that I started seeing $$$ in my eyes and for some reason I thought I'd make 100's of dollars more on this trade (when it was evidently clear it wasn't going to)
One thing that was good about today was that I was trading big sizes for most of the day. I have recently come to realize that one of my main fears is losing money. I would use smaller share size because in the back of my mind I would be thinking "If I used 10,000 shares and if this position went against me by 5-cents, I'd lose $500!".

Well I cannot recall how many times I missed out on great trades because I used only 3000 shares instead of 10,000.

Today I didn't think about the loss that could possibly happen and I found I was much more comfortable and more quick to react. There were a few times today I even tried to go long 20,000 shares (but never got filled).

All day the overall markets traded in a very tight range (which is not very good for my style of trading) and there was a lot of chop in both directions (also not good for me). I realized this and I really tried to trade less....but boredom got the best of me and I still tried to trade during the afternoon chop.

But in all honesty, I should really develop some kind of strategy to trade these kind of markets. A good and consistent trader should be able to make money in up, down, and sideways markets. I'll have to work on something to fix this...

One good trade versus one bad trade today.

Tomorrow is another day and I hope August goes away soon....

Good Trades
3:29PM - Ford (F) and the Futures were moving up. There was a fairly large level on the offer at $7.55 (there was about 2000 size on the ask). When it broke, I went long 10,000 shares. The level didn't break initially, and when it finally looked like it was going to break, I tried to get long another 10,000 shares, but I didn't get filled. I got my position out for a 2-cent winner ($200 profit before fees; In: 3:29:42 ; Long 10,000 shares @ $7.55 ; Out : 3:31:09)

Bad Trades
3:52PM - Time Warner (TWX) was uptrending while the Futures were moving up slightly. TWX seemed to be going up quite strongly in the last 30 minutes of the day, so when there was an opportunity, I went long 10,000 shares at $16.55. I had placed an order to get everything out for a 2-cent winner because there was a significant level $16.58 (about 1500 size on the offer). Once I was long, it was great! Big buy orders came and flooded the Level 2, but it was around this time I saw $$ in my eyes and I decided to cancel my order. Well prices went up to $16.58, but then came back down. I tried exiting, but kept chasing prices down. I ended up getting everything out for a 3-cent loser ($300 loser before fees; In: 3:52:17 ; Long 10,000 shares @ $16.55 ; Out : 3:54:27)
  • I think I used the excuse of "Let's try practicing patience" to cancel my order, when in reality I was just greedy
  • Entry was OK, it's just my exit that was bad...and I should really know better - thick stocks like TWX will only move a few cents and not 20-cents (when I was cancelling my order to capture more profits, I remember thinking "It'd be great if I take a 10-cent winner on this!")

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not-So-Fun Times At Jiggle-Fest

Gross: +$381.39
Net: +$156.78
Loss From Top: $90.91
Trades: 83
Shares Traded: 246800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola (MOT): +$385.60
Ford (F): +$94.78
Home Depot (HD): +$35.59
Citigroup (C): +$32.76
EMC Corp (EMC): +$26.67
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$6.62
General Electric (GE): -$63.53
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$138.44
Walmart (WMT): -$210.04

In previous posts, I have expressed my distaste for options expiration Fridays and my distaste for choppy markets.

Well today we had both! Believe me, I didn't have any fun trading today. I kept getting jiggled out of my positions because of the market chop.

Early in the morning I was able to take a few good profitable trades, but as the day wore on, I slowly lost it all and more and by lunch, I was in the red by about $300. The Futures kept popping up, then quickly coming back down or it would drop down quickly, then quickly pop back up. As a result, I would take a position when I thought the Futures were on the move, only to have my position whipsaw against me, leaving me to punch out for a loss.

Today I also continued to try my hand at scalping Ford (F). I think I have to get used to it's slow moving prices and I definitely have to work on my patience when trading this thick stock. There were several times I got out of my position for even because it was taking an extremely long time to move and/or I'd see something on the Level 2 that shook me out.

And I couldn't get a handle on how Walmart (WMT) moved today. Everything that I thought it would do, it didn't, and instead it did the exact opposite. I found this to be true of many of the other stocks I traded today as well.

Because of the wiggle and jiggle fest that was the markets, I took an extra long lunch-time walk. It helped kill some time, but it was a real snoozer for the rest of the afternoon. Yes, there was a little bit of an up-move late in the afternoon, but I found that most of the stocks I was watching didn't really follow suit.

Overall, a frustrating and not-so-fun day.

One good trade versus one bad trade today.

Hope you all have a good weekend and I hope you all get well-rested so that we can all tackle the markets again on Monday!

Good Trades
1:40PM - Motorola (MOT) and the Futures were uptrending. MOT reached $23.85 where there was big size on the ask (about 1000+ size on the offer). The Futures ripped up and the level looked like it was going to break, so I went long 10,000 shares. I got the entire position out for a 2-cent winner ($200 profit before fees ; In: 1:40:14PM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $23,85 ; Out: 1:43:35PM)

Bad Trades
11:01AM - EMC Corp (EMC) was uptrending as were the Futures. EMC reached $11.00 and when it broke, I went long 5000 shares. Once the level broke, there appeared to be buying interest (size was starting to show up on the bid), so I went long another 5000 shares at $11.01. At that point, prices started falling back down again and I got out as follows: 1-cent loser (5000 shares), 3-cent loser (5000 shares) ($200 loser before fees ; In: 11:01:34AM ; Long 5000 shares @ $11.00, Long 5000 shares @ $11.01 ; Out: 11:03:26AM)
  • Not much can be said about this trade...just that EMC seemed to move very sluggishly for most of the morning and didn't appear to really move in tandem with the Futures...I probably should have stayed away from this one
  • It seems like it's happening again...the intraday range on this stock is shrinking again...perhaps it's time I should start avoiding this stock again...for most of the day today, this stock just flatlined...not very good for trading

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trading Halted...System Problems...Yet Again

Gross: +$706.66
Net: +$542.43
Loss From Top: $15.52
Trades: 83
Shares Traded: 165668

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Corning (GLW): +$194.48
Walmart (WMT): +$121.77
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$81.49
Motorola (MOT): +$76.21
Micron Tech (MU): +$54.70
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$37.07
Texas Instruments (TXN): +$15.77
Home Depot (HD): +$13.93
Ford (F): -$52.48

At about 3PM today, all traders were told to get flat and to stop trading because of system problems similar to earlier this week was about to happen again.

Oh well, what's new? I guess we'll just have to expect for this to happen time and time again.

I tried scalping Ford (F) today. I had some limited success, but because it moved soooo slowly, I got spooked and got out several times for even (though eventually the position would have gone my way). I would like to continue trading Ford (F) more often because it's very thick, which allows me to easily go in with 10,000 shares and I can comfortably take on a 50,000 share position (if I chose to do that!).

If I've got the courage to, I'd like to scalp it with maybe 30,000 or more shares. If I just take 1-cent winners here and there, I would just have to do it a few times and I'd have a $1000+ day (of course, it's always much easier said than done!).

There were several stocks that I watched that had strong moves today. Among them were AMD and GLW (in the morning)...just wished I could take more profits off of them.

No real major winners today, but I'm just glad I didn't take any major losers as well. Too bad we didn't get to trade the last hour (though from the charts, it looked like the overall markets just jiggled it's way to the close, which is not good for my style of trading).

Only one good trade today versus no bad trades.

Tomorrow is options expiration Friday so we'll see how I fare (I usually don't do too well on options expiration days). We'll see.

Good Trades
10:29AM - Corning (GLW) was uptrending while the Futures were turning down. GLW was so strong in the morning, I disregarded the Futures' direction and went long. I initially got long 1000 shares, but then I saw some buying interest show up (big buy orders), so I went long another 1000 shares (I was long 2000 shares in total). Got out as follows: 10-cent winner (1000 shares), 11-cent winner (1000 shares) ($210 profit before fees ; In: 10:29:24 ; Long 1000 shares @ $21.20, Long 1000 shares @ $21.21 ; Out: 10:32:05)

Bad Trades

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Motorola's Birthday Present

Gross: +$1,337.37
Net: +$1,210.50
Loss From Top: $16.17
Trades: 81
Shares Traded: 117806

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola (MOT): +$608.63
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$227.05
Walmart (WMT): +$150.71
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$93.54
Home Depot (HD): +$76.33
Ford (F): +$43.15
Bank of America (BAC): +$11.65
Corning (GLW): -$0.58

Sorry for the late posting, but today after work we went out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate my birthday today.

Ok. I'm now 28. I'm starting to feel a little old (and a bit closer to 30). Am I where I want to be? Not quite. But I am really trying. Maybe I should ask myself that next year when I'm 29. If I'm not where I SHOULD be, then maybe it might be time for a change. But I feel that a little progress is better than no progress and I will continue to put in 110% into this.

While updating this blog over the weekend, it occurred to me that I've been at this for about a year and a half and I've been full-time for 9 months. I had really expected to be much further along than I currently am, but I think I just need to push myself a little harder. Trading is obviously much harder than I had first anticipated.

I'll try. I'll really try hard and we'll see where we end up by the end of this year.

Anyways, enough of my ramblings...

Yesterday I said I was going to turn it up a notch, and today I did just that. I put on big positions at the right times and I really avoided overtrading. All this time, I think I was just afraid of losing money and reluctant to take some risk. Well, today I just figured I cannot go anywhere without taking any risks at all.

You can see by the number of trades I did today that I chose my trades wisely today which probably kept me out of trouble.

I caught a great trade on Motorola (MOT) late in the morning and I never looked back. Thanks for the birthday gift MOT. I felt so good about today and everything seemed to be going my way that I felt compelled to buy some lottery tickets today. We'll see if I win anything (though even if I win, I think I'd still come in to trade!).

One good trade versus no bad trades today.

Hrmmmm.....maybe I might still be able to salvage this month afterall. Let's see if I can do this again tomorrow shall we?

Good Trades
11:07AM - Motorola (MOT) and the Futures were moving up. There was some relatively big size on the ask (about 800) at $23.60 and when the Futures popped up and the level looked like it was going to break, I went long 10,000 shares. I rode it up and got out as follows: 3-cent winner (2000 shares), 5-cent winner (2000 shares), 6-cent winner (2000 shares), 7-cent winner (2000 shares), 9-cent winner (2000 shares) ($600 profit before fees ; In: 11:07:18AM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $23.60 ; Out: 11:09:31AM)

Bad Trades

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Somebody Should Be Fired....

Gross: +$136.16
Net: +$21.08
Loss From Top: $344.81
Trades: 60
Shares Traded: 108800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
EMC Corp (EMC): +$220.92
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$54.64
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$14.79
Home Depot (HD): +$8.74
Corning (GLW): -$27.89
Bank of America (BAC): -$29.98
Walmart (WMT): -$53.15
CA Inc (CA): -$79.48
Motorola (MOT): -$87.49

This morning we were told that the system had connection problems to the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) and so we would not have Futures quotes or charts for the Futures. Then, at around 2PM, all traders were told to flatten their positions because the system was in "imminent" danger of crashing.

I waited until 3PM, then figured if they can't fix the problem by 3PM, they'll never get it fixed by market close, so I left for the day.

I cannot understand how a company with over 1600 full-time traders worldwide can stand having so many system problems during the month. If it's not the quote server going down, then it's the execution server, if not that, then the charts would go all screwy.

Anytime the system goes down, it goes down worldwide, which must cost the company millions a year (believe me, there are traders in our company that usually put on very hefty positions, and if the system goes down and the position is going severely against them, there isn't a thing they can do about it).

I really do hope the guys in the back office know what kind of serious impact they have on the company. If not, I'd say the company should start swinging the axe.

In my monthly summaries you'll notice I have a stat called "Days Lost Due To System Downtime". If I have to put a stat like that in my summaries, then you know our system is not up to snuff.


The reason for my dismal performance today is not a result of the system issues (it would be too easy for me to blame the system, and if I did then I wouldn't learn anything!). The reason for the not-so-good day was because I insisted on trading during the lunch hour when everything was absolutely flat.

Why did I trade during the stagnant lunch hour? Maybe because I was bored...maybe because I'm dumb. But I put on one bad trade after another and by the time lunch was over, I had lost close to $400.

I was not too happy about today and I was not too happy that the system went down at 2PM, but what can I do about it?

One good trade versus no bad trades.

August is slowly wasting away and I have a feeling it isn't going to amount to much. Tomorrow I'm going to turn it up a notch and try to take bigger risks. If August is going to be lost, then I'm going to go down with it (I'm not sure if this is a good idea to have this kind of mentality...but right now I'm just extremely frustrated with the way this month is going that I just need to start something to give me a jump start).

Good Trades
9:52AM - EMC Corp (EMC) started turning downwards while the Futures were also turning down. There was some fairly big size on the bid (about 500 size on the bid) and when the Futures started tanking, I tried to get short 10,000 shares, but I only got 5000 shares. EMC kept going down and I followed it down. I got the entire position out for a 6-cent winner ($300 profit before fees ; In: 9:52:57AM ; Short 5000 shares @ $10.83 ; Out: 9:54:16)

Bad Trades
None...just lots of small losers during the lunch hour that slowly chipped away at my profits.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Feel Like Crap, Trade Like Crap

Gross: +$402.94
Net: +$201.98
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 101
Shares Traded: 214000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola (MOT): +$315.86
EMC Corp (EMC): +$255.24
Walmart (WMT): +$80.74
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$10.71
Corning (GLW): -$17.51
Home Depot (HD): -$19.51
Bank of America (BAC): -$40.89
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$52.60
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$330.05

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being bad, 10 being good), today I felt like 2.


Last night our stupid carbon monoxide detector started beeping (indicating that the backup battery is dead) and continued to beep every 5 seconds. I searched all over the place for an extra battery, but no luck. I tried shutting the breaker off so that it would no longer beep, but that just made it a constant beep.

I got NO sleep at all last night. And I had to wake up early to get my passport renewed (again). This morning that bloody annoying carbon monoxide detector pissed me off, so I tried to get at it's battery and I cut my hand while doing it. I ended up punching the stupid device, splitting open the outer case.

And for some reason the bloody house was too hot and I was sweating like a pig.

When I left the house to get my passport renewed, I was in a foul mood. By the time I got into the office, I really didn't feel like being there (I just kept wanting to come home and to use a hammer to smash the carbon monoxide detector into a million pieces).

While trading today, I found that I was too slow in reacting or I would get myself in a position without really analyzing it. We had some nice moves in the overall markets, but I had trouble concentrating today and I was fighting fatigue all day.

In the end, I traded like the way I crap.

BUT, all worries can now be put aside...passport problems resolved and stupid carbon monoxide device fixed. Just really really need some good sleep now. My brain is complete mush at the moment...

In the past, I used to trade a lot of EMC Corp (EMC), but I stopped trading it when it's intraday range got smaller and smaller. Late in the day I noticed that EMC had moved quite a bit today on some good volume and so I put on a few good trades on it.

Two good trades versus one bad one.

In case you haven't seen, I've added some trading articles on the weekend on the sidebar so have a look.

I desperately need some sleep...

Good Trades
11:04AM - Motorola (MOT) had a nice strong uptrend going while the Futures were moving up slightly. I tried to go long 10,000 shares when I saw some big size on the offer break, but I only got partially filled for 7400 shares. This was another trade in which I really tried to practice patience. I got out as follows: 3-cent winner (2900 shares), 4-cent winner (1400 shares), 6-cent winner (3100 shares) ($329 profit before fees; In: 11:04:14AM ; Long 7400 shares @ $23.10 ; Out: 11:09:44AM)

3:42PM - EMC Corp (EMC) was starting to move up while the Futures were bouncing off intraday lows. Huge size showed up on the bid and huge size on the offer was breaking so I went long 10,000 shares. I quickly got out the entire position for a 2-cent winner when EMC could not move up further ($200 profit before fees; In: 3:42:13PM ; Long 10,000 shares @ $10.71 ; Out: 3:43:06PM)

Bad Trades
10:59AM - Hewlett Packard (HPQ) was uptrending while the Futures were ranging. There was about 400 size on the offer at $33.75 and when the Futures looked like it was going to break out of the range, I went long 6000 shares. The Futures came back down, as did HPQ, but I still felt the Futures were going to go back up. When the Futures starting popping back up again, I went long another 1000 shares. But the level at $33.75 didn't break, so I got out as follows: 4-cent loser (2800 shares), 5-cent loser (4200 shares) ($322 loser before fees ; In: 10:59:14AM ; Long 7000 shares @ $33.75 ; Out: 11:01:21AM)
  • When I initially went long 6000 shares, I knew I went in too early...the Futures didn't make a convincing move to the upside
  • When the Futures popped up again, I went long another 1000 shares, but I got frustrated when the level didn't break
  • I think I had panicked a little when I saw that the level didn't break and I think I was the one that pushed prices down by 5 cents (take a look at an intraday chart of HPQ and you'll see that around 11AM there was a quick dip, but then it ripped up)...I was half asleep and half awake and I don't think I was too sure what I was doing...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Can This Market Please Move Somewhere!?!?!?

Gross: +$488.40
Net: +$347.84
Loss From Top: $117.43
Trades: 109
Shares Traded: 122800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Walmart (WMT): +$264.00
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$154.32
Home Depot (HD): +$144.46
Bank of America (BAC): +$19.56
AT&T (T): +$17.88
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$17.68
Analog Devices (ADI): -$1.37
Motorola (MOT): -$23.25
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$70.40
Corning (GLW): -$175.04

It was another tough trading day for me again today. I managed to catch a great move on Walmart (WMT) early in the morning, but for the rest of the day, the markets just jiggled and wiggled itself to nowhere.

All day I had a sense that today wasn't going to amount to much, so I took care in using smaller share sizes to scalp here and there. After the trade on Walmart, I gained some, lost some, but basically held my ground.

Today Corning (GLW) really put up a fight with me today. Every single trade I put on it resulted in a loser. I'm just glad that our execution server went down at 3:30PM today, because I felt that a big bad revenge trade was starting to brew (I was this close to smacking GLW with a 10,000 share order). All day there was lots of refilling size, reserve orders and unbreakable levels on this stupid stock. I guess the losses on this stock were entirely my fault. I can understand falling for these tricks maybe once or twice, but falling for it repeatedly over and over again is just pure stupidity.

Once this market decides to move somewhere, I'll start using bigger share sizes again...but until then, I've got to be very cautious because there were lots of choppy moves on most of the stocks I watch.

From this point on whenever I review my trades, I'll also include some extra details about the trade that I thought some readers out there might be interested in and hopefully give the readers more of a sense of how I trade. My trade reviews will now include:
  • Time I got in the trade
  • Size of the trade and at what price
  • Time I got my entire position out (I usually scale out of my position, so this will be the time of when I got the last position out)
That being said, only one good trade to tell you about and no bad trades (just several small losers on GLW that all added up).

Good Trades
9:53AM - Walmart (WMT) and the Futures were downtrending. There was some size on the bid at $44.70 and when the Futures tanked, I went short 3000 shares. I was EXTREMELY patient with this trade and got out as follows: 3-cent winner (1000 shares), 15-cent winner (900 shares), 16-cent winner (100 shares), 17-cent winner (1000 shares) ($351 profit before fees; In: 9:53:06AM ; Short 3000 @ $44.70 ; Out: 9:59:12AM)

Bad Trades

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Return Of The Scalper

Gross: +$671.07
Net: +$509.45
Loss From Top: $45.04
Trades: 123
Shares Traded: 132602

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$368.37
Home Depot (HD): +$93.04
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$92.50
Bank of America (BAC): +$86.81
Walmart (WMT): +$40.89
Motorola (MOT): +$36.50
Corning (GLW): +$12.67
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$3.97
AIG Inc (AIG): -$102.59
AT&T (T): -$122.75

Not exactly the best day, but at least today reassured me that I'm not a complete clutz.

I'll keep this post short and sweet.

Today I found it rather difficult to trade...lots of choppy movements and I didn't feel as though the markets really wanted to go anywhere. I ended up taking small profits all day and I was in and out really fast.

I was also more cautious that usual today...I reduced my share size when I was trading (because I felt that I might have forgotten how to scalp). Most of the time I was just using 1000 or 2000 shares (aside from my usual 4000 or 6000 shares) and just took a few cents here and there.

I'm still not particularly pleased with what I've done so far in August...I think I spent way too much time playing around and not enough time focusing on making money. I think I'll start playing around again once I've been able to consistently make $500 - $1000 daily. From there, we'll see where I go.

No big winners today (markets never really trended nicely) and I was careful not to get myself into any bad trades.

Good Trades

Bad Trades

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Trying To Go From Scalper To Trader Overnight

Gross: -$232.60
Net: -$420.20
Loss From Top: $420.20
Trades: 109
Shares Traded: 153730

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Exxon Mobile (XOM): +$141.08
Corning (GLW): +$102.74

Home Depot (HD): +$48.66
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$24.14
Bank of America (BAC): +$1.97
AT&T (T): -$87.99
Walmart (WMT): -$117.03
Motorola (MOT): -$254.58
Disney (DIS): -$279.19

It's time for me to throw everything out the window and start fresh and to trade like I did before. The past few days, it's been a combination of information overload, too much coffee, lack of sleep, feeling mentally and physically drained, and having no sense of direction that has gotten me in this little trading funk.

I'm going to go back to trading the way I used to and I'm not going to play around with new strategies until next month. I've been spending countless hours observing what other great traders have been doing and for the last few trading days, I've been trying hard to convert myself from a scalper to trader overnight...obviously it's going to take me a little longer for me to accomplish this.

It's my weaknesses as a trader that has prevented me from being successful in implementing these new strategies. I give kudos to the other trading bloggers out there who are able to follow their strategies and to be successful at guys have something that I'm missing...

I left early today (at around 2:30PM) to renew my passport. But as usual, I always happen to miss the greatest part of the trading day (nice downward movement in the overall markets from 2:45PM onwards); hope some of you out there were able to profit from it (because I know I didn't).

All day today I was trying to adopt some longer term strategies, but I kept getting chopped out. Many of those trades in which I was chopped out on eventually went in the direction I originally wanted. What was happening all day was that once I was in a position, it would move against me for a few cents. I used the charts and I had a stop loss in mind, but for the life of me, I cannot stand looking at a loser in my blotter and then I'd see something on the Level 2 that would spook me and I'd exit my position before my stop loss was hit. I'd lose $80 here, $50 there, which all added up.

As the day wore on, it just got worse and worse. I tried changing things up, trying different charts, time frames, indicators. At one point, I didn't have a clue as to what the hell I was doing (the only thing I knew I was doing was losing money). I didn't even see myself get green at all today.

I was steaming mad when I left the office to get my passport renewed (believe me, it takes a lot to get me mad). I got even more upset when the receptionist at the passport office told me I filled out the wrong application form (which took me a month and a half to complete to gather all the necessary reference info and to have the necessary guarantors sign it). The worst part about this is that I'm scheduled to go on vacation at the beginning of September. I now have to run around and get the guarantor to sign everything again.

And that was the crap icing on the crap cake today. The perfect end to a perfect day. I just need some good rest tonight to sort all this crap out.

Good Trades

Bad Trades
9:41AM - Disney (DIS) was moving up while the Futures were moving down. DIS reached the $30.00 level which had quite a bit of resistance. It looked like it was going to break so I went long 3000 shares. DIS went up maybe 1 or 2 cents, but then a huge sell order at the $30 level showed up when the Futures began tanking and drove prices back down. I got the entire position out for an 8-cent loser ($240 loser before fees)
  • Not a very good trade at all...the Futures were not moving in the same direction
  • If I had followed my original trading rules, I would not have put this trade on...but I used the excuse of "trying new strategies" to get into this one

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blew A Tire On The Final Lap

Gross: +213.98
Net: +$86.71
Loss From Top: $331.86
Trades: 79
Shares Traded: 120402

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Corning (GLW): +$419.24
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$335.98
AT&T (T): +$120.81
Bank of America (BAC): +$41.24
Motorola (MOT): +$17.89
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): -$4.99
Seagate Technologies (STX): -$34.24
Home Depot (HD): -$37.68
Exxon Mobile (XOM): -$40.07
Time Warner (TWX): -$118.03
Walmart (WMT): -$613.24

Whoa! Did anybody get whiplash from that wicked move after the Fed announcement? I'm just glad I didn't get tricked into getting long during the initial move up. Amazing! We had a 4 handle rip up, immediately followed by a 13 handle tank down on the Futures (e-mini S&P500).

I hate it when you have a day when everything is going alright and you are following your trading rules (and you've avoided trading when you shouldn't be trading) and then near the end of the day, you goof up, put on a bad trade, and lose everything you made on the day.

That's what happened to me today. I thought I was well disciplined all day long and I was felt I was fairly successful in holding my winners longer than usual. I didn't put on many trades in the morning because the Futures were rather flat and most of the stocks I was watching were not moving either. I traded only when my trading criteria were met and I was extremely patient in waiting out the market lull.

I was also very cautious when the Fed announced a rate pause and managed to put on a few small winning trades.

But then, at around 3:20PM, I had a mental lapse, put on a trade that I shouldn't have, and ended up losing $550 (before fees) on it.

Needless to say, I blew a tire on the final lap of a race in which I was leading.

It feels as though today was a complete waste. The worst part about this is that I was supposed to leave early today at 3PM to go get my passport renewed. But I decided to stay and try to trade the volatile markets after the Fed announcement.

Oh well, I guess it's the perfect punishment for my incompetence.

Now that the Fed has made it's announcement, lets see if the market actually goes somewhere from here...

Good Trades
3:31PM - Corning (GLW) was downtrending as were the Futures. GLW reached the $18.00 level which had about 700 size on the bid. The Futures began tanking some more and the level at $18.00 was about to break so I went short 3000 shares. Held this position until it looked like it was going to reverse. I got out as follows: 11-cent winner (2000 shares), 12-cent winner (1000 shares) ($340 profit before fees)

Bad Trades
3:22PM - Walmart (WMT) was going bananas while the Futures were making new intraday lows. There was support at the $44.40 level (had about 900 size on the bid) and when the Futures popped down, I went short 6000 shares. The level at $44.40 did break and the position went in my favor by about 2 cents, but suddenly, a huge buy order appeared on the level two and pushed prices up by 10 cents! I got out what I could and ended up taking a severe loser as follows: 3-cent loser (1000 shares), 4-cent loser (1000 shares), 12-cent loser (4000 shares) ($550 loser before fees)
  • What the hell!?!? It seemed like a good short at the time, but I remember looking at a chart of Walmart and having second thoughts about it (it didn't really follow the Futures very closely for most of the day)
  • 6000 shares is way too much especially since I knew Walmart didn't have good price action all day
  • I was also acutely aware that everytime the Futures tanked, some big buyer was buying WMT up anytime WMT fell...why didn't I consider this at the time of the trade? I think it was because I felt I missed out on so many great moves after the Fed announcement that I was determined not to miss another...some good that thought did...

Monday, August 07, 2006

No Trade Today - Canadian Holiday

I decided to skip today's trading day. It's the Canadian Civic holiday and so I decided to spend some time with my wife (though I swear I'm married to the computer because I spend more time with it than I do with her).

If you haven't noticed, I've made some additions to the blog. I've listed some trading stats in the sidebar and I've also listed links to my monthly stats.

You'll notice I don't have a link for the May's monthly stats because I spent about an hour typing up that particular post and when I went to publish it, either there was something wrong with blogger or my browser crashed and I somehow lost the post and I never bothered to re-type it.

Of course there is also no stats for anything before February (this blog wasn't born yet!).