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:
+$5,085.23
Total Fees (Gross - Net) for Month of August:
$4,133.59
Total Trades for Month of August:
2,241
Total Shares Traded for Month of August:
4,029,244

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:
16
Number of Negative Net Days for Month of August:
5
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:
(0)

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:
28

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 else...it 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 count...no 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!

14 Comments:

  • Hi JC,

    I have just discovered your blog...
    and I like it a lot!

    Did you ever make any posts regarding your money management rules?

    Also, I would like to talk to you regarding your prop trading experience and about living in Canada, so I would appreciate if you could contact me:
    gangstacap@yahoo.com

    Thank you in advance.
    gangsTA
    http://gangstascapital.blogspot.com/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 01, 2006 4:36 AM  

  • Hi there nysetrader,

    just found your blog via TraderMike, and wanted to say that after 11 months !!! of trading you can really be very proud of what you've achieved so far, which definitely puts you ahead of most others who aren't even net profitable.

    Just keep it up, and you'll definitely achive what you want.

    All the best !

    By Blogger DemocraticTrader, at September 01, 2006 6:24 AM  

  • August was a dreadful month for traders...do you review the PnL thread on EliteTraders...more experienced people are moaning this month. Almost all trading blogs suffered in many ways this month. Livermore said that there is a time to go long, a time to go short, and a time to go fishing...

    I would suggest that you NOT draw a conclusion too soon...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 01, 2006 10:19 AM  

  • I agree with the last comment. In August maybe it was the market and not you...do not be discouraged as it seems like you did well in a poor trading environment. The problem is the toll it took psychologically. Will you be ready for September or do you feel to whupped?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 01, 2006 11:02 AM  

  • Hi JC,

    Congrats on your success so far. I'm learning the ropes to be a full time trader myself and it's refreshing to know that others have made it so far. quick question as to what you are using to track all these statistics? do you have it freely available to download? thanks.

    -Andrew

    By Anonymous Andrew, at September 01, 2006 3:38 PM  

  • I think you are doing quite well, I just wonder why your fees are so high? What broker do you use? At $.005/share you should be very profitable, no?

    Also I'd like to know more about where and how you apprenticed to learn this.

    Thanks,
    ML
    l12021l@gmail.com

    By Anonymous M L, at September 01, 2006 4:32 PM  

  • I just found you blog, excellent work. I am a longer term trader looking to move to shorter terms so I enjoyed your latest post very much! Keep it up!

    By Blogger Chris Perruna, at September 02, 2006 10:54 AM  

  • Thanks - very refreshing to hear someone who is going thru what I am going thru.

    On my worst day of August - I pushed my chair back - settled my hand and head
    took my bike out for a ride and passed a parked car with a sticker on the window:

    FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

    I am considered a bright person who can grasp difficult concepts and change into a performer - I'm just going to fine tune - stick to the rules (STICK TO THE RULES)

    This is what I'm going to do - for work (and it's hard long work) and I'm going to win. I love it and once in my life I want to do what I love.

    There is a fine line between an addiction to gambling - and the excitement - and controlled risk which should provide the same excitement with out a sick feeling.

    paul

    By Anonymous paul, at September 04, 2006 8:55 PM  

  • To all,

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments.

    Sorry for getting back to you all so late, but I just came back from a little road trip late last night. I promise that tonight I will respond to each of you individually and to all those who had questions/requests.

    Regards,
    JC

    By Blogger J.C., at September 05, 2006 8:02 AM  

  • JC,
    I think you did fine for August. August sucked. Why would you give it up? Do you not enjoy trading? Are you not meeting your living expenses?
    If you love it, I think it would be unwise to give up. Even if you aren't making as much as you'd like right now, with a profitable track record you will move on to much better things in the near future.
    Good luck.

    By Anonymous Ugly, at September 05, 2006 6:48 PM  

  • All right, here we go...

    GangsTA:
    I don't have any post about my money management rules or my strategies. I was planning on spending one weekend to get one up, so maybe one day soon...I'll also send you an email a little later tonight...

    DemocraticTrader:
    Thanks for your comments...I think that at times I may be a little too hard on myself...I should do like you said - just keep my head up high and I'll achieve what I'm looking for

    Anon@10:19AM:
    After coming back from vacation and reading other bloggers August reviews, it would also seem hard on them as well so you're probably right. I do check the PnL thread at EliteTrader daily (it's one of those things that keeps me going when I feel down). I had also considered taking more time off in August, but decided to trade instead...Maybe next year I'll take a couple weeks off - just remind me to do so!:)

    Anon@11:02AM:
    You're right about the psychological toll. For about two months I've been constantly looking at my situation from a positive aspect, but I guess I'm kind of getting mentally tired, especially when I don't see results. I'll try harder to stay focused and positive. Right now, I'm actually really looking forward to trading September...hopefully things can get back to normal!

    Andrew:
    All the stats were done and taken the good old fashion way (writing them down during the day and at the end of the day). I input all my numbers into a spreadsheet and I update this daily. At the end of the month, I just have to do some number crunching to come up with all the stats.

    ML:
    My fees were so high because of the number of trades I did and the number of shares I traded during the month (2241 trades, 4029244 shares). Take into consideration some losing trades and a lot of trades that were break even, then you'll get the numbers I got. Since about 45% went to fees it means a couple of things: (1) I did too many trades that were for a loss or for break even (2) there were not many really good trades made during the month.

    I do not use a broker (I work at a prop firm), and yes, you are correct...even with fees that are 0.005 cents/share (probably would be less than that), I should be profitable, but as a scalper, my timeframes are much smaller...I only hold positions for a few seconds or minutes. I'll send you an email a little later to answer any other questions you may have.

    Chris:
    Thanks for the compliments. You cannot imagine how many times I was going to shut this blog down because hardly anyone was visiting (before August, maybe 1 or 2 people visited...the most was maybe 5 visits). In my mind I was starting to think this blog was a waste of time. But I'm glad more people are visiting, which encourages me to continue and I think that without this blog, I wouldn't have learned the things I've learned.

    Paul:
    Great advice. Like you said, months like August are really part of the job and fine tuning when required is part of improving. And believe me, there is nothing else in the world I'd rather do for a living, but the tough choices will come when the income from doing what you love is not enough for living (which is why I'm only giving this until the end of the year...)

    Ugly:
    Thanks for the advice. You hit it right on - the only reason I'd give this up is because I'm not meeting my living expenses. Even at that, I think I would find some kind of shift work in addition to trading before I give up altogether, but sometimes the financial strain can go on too long for comfort. For now, my wife helps keep expenses at bay, but I don't know how much longer she can manage (even though she is tells me everything is ok). I guess I'm just feeling really guilty for not helping her out more and for not being able to do some of the things she enjoys most (travelling). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love trading and I cannot even think of a better job, but if I am forced into a corner, I might have to let it go. We'll see where we go from here.

    Happy trading all!
    JC

    By Blogger J.C., at September 05, 2006 7:26 PM  

  • Just found your site this week and am glad I did. I started trading full time August of 2005. Have had limited success primarily b/c I've constantly changed my trading style (should I play gaps, momentum plays, etc.) I've also tried to follow too many stocks at the same time. Finally(!) I have settled on a porfolio of 24 stocks from six sectors. I have six stocks up at any one time, one from each sector. Each stock has a daily trading range > $1.00 and trades in excess of 2 mil. shares/day and each basically follows it respective sector like a glove, which gives me some sense of comfort. I too prefer to scalp these stocks (b/c I'm impatient); but, will hold for .10's and .20's and more since I'm only trading 500 shares at time. Likewise, I tend to get out quickly if the stock doesn't go my way immediately. From reading this it seems like I should be having more success. And while my charts, at the end of the day, show me that I could have made some real good money, I didn't. Part of the reason has been the fact that there are no other traders around here and I've had no input as to whether my "system" is a valid "system". After reading your blog, however, it seems my method is similar to yours, and, if so, that gives me a great sense of comfort! Thank you so much for sharing your trading experiences with fellow traders. You don't know how much it helps.

    A couple of questions:
    1. Do you or have you used a real time scanner? I have Trade-Ideas and have tried to use it for momentum plays; but, don't necessarily like having stocks I don't know thrown at me. Any thoughts?
    2. How many stocks do you watch at any one time?
    3. Have you declared "marked to market" accounting for tax purposes to get around the wash sale rule?

    Keep up the good work and thanks again.

    By Anonymous Rudedog, at October 12, 2006 4:18 PM  

  • RudeDog,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I very happy that others out there can appreciate the time and effort I put into this site. I'm sincerely glad you are able to come away and learn something from this blog.

    From your description, it does indeed sound like our systems are very similar. One thing that I base most of my trades on are the eMini S&P Futures. Many stocks will tend to move when the Futures move and so a lot of the times I wait for a strong move made by the Futures before getting into a position.

    And to your questions:

    1) I don't use a real-time scanner while trading. What I usually do (and it sounds like you do the same thing as well) is I tend to focus on a core list of stocks and put their charts up. Whenever I see any one of those stocks starting to trend, I sit and wait for a good opportunity to make some profits off of it. If there is a stock that is not moving very well with the Futures, I will switch it off with another stock. All in all, I have maybe about 20 stocks that I may switch it out for (sounds very similar to what you do)

    2) I only have enough room to display 5 stock charts at any one time (I also have 2 Futures charts as well). I also have enough space to display 5 Level II windows, but I can flip each Level II window between two different stocks (so a total of about 10 stocks). I have a pool of about 20 stocks that I watch, but I mainly focus on 8 or 10. If one of the stocks start giving me trouble or is not moving well, I'll switch them off with another

    3) Since I work at a prop firm, they handle all of that for me (the only thing I declare is the income I make from trading at the prop firm). I simply make money off of the money I make for them.

    I hope I answered all of your questions thoroughly. If not, put up more questions again and I will answer them as soon as I can.

    With that, I wish you the best of luck in your trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at October 12, 2006 6:31 PM  

  • I have been trading stocks for years many wins but still ended up with many losing years. Take my advice keep your trading style simple concentrate on trends if the trend is rversing pull the hell out. I'll take time off from stocks sometimes swearing never to trade again but its in my blood.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 13, 2007 7:22 PM  

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