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

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


  • The last few days of your writings I could have wrote. I too have been reading too many other ways to trade and everyone is posting a great trade after another. The problem with that is no one is posting their losers. I was trying other ways to trade, I got confused on time frames, I lost lots of $$. I have to go back to what I know and what I like. So from now on the only time to try new trades or strategies are with very small shares size or when you are kicking major ass.

    PS. You are in Passport hell.

    PPS. what does loss from the top mean?

    By Blogger Glenn, at August 09, 2006 7:10 p.m.  

  • Hi Glenn,

    That's good advice. I should start trying new strategies only when I'm completely comfortable (and profitable) with my current strategies or if I need to expand my strategies to make more $$. And you are right too about share size...I should have used much smaller share size, especially when I'm trying new things out. I guess for the next little while, I'll just go back to what I'm used to.

    Loss from top is basically what I've lost from my peak net profit. Thus, if you were to add my loss from top to my net, that will be what my highest net profit was on the day. From today's numbers, you can see that the highest my net profit was on the day was $0 (loss from top + net profit = 420.20 + (-420.20) = 0).

    Another example: from yesterday's numbers, you can see that at some point during the day my peak net profit was $418.57 (loss from top + net profit = 331.86 + 86.71 = $418.57). This means that at one point my net profit was $418.57, but then I lost $331.86 during the course of the day and I ended at $86.71 net on the day.

    I hope I can turn things around soon...I've wasted too many days so far in August....


    By Blogger J.C., at August 09, 2006 9:37 p.m.  

  • I feel your pain... in May I tried a completely new strategy, and lost a relatively huge amount of money in a short time. Not good when your only income is from trading!

    An idea: You can try new strategies in your platform's demo mode for a while. Say, like 1 day a week on profitable weeks. Some strategies don't work well in small size (like, say, scalping for pennies!), so you might get discouraged for nothing that way. Also, if you are wanting to change strategies for a better reason than "just 'cuz", then maybe waiting is not the best idea. It depends on the situation, of course.

    No matter what, good luck, and I really enjoy your blog.

    By Anonymous Richard, at August 10, 2006 6:40 p.m.  

  • Richard,

    Thanks for your comments (yet again!).

    Those are some great suggestions. I think if I plan on trying new strategies, I should just use 100 shares or so just for testing purposes. I also think I was trying to change my trading strategies because it seemed so easy to try to emulate what I've been seeing around in various blogs lately.

    I think my goal will be this: I'll continue doing what I'm currently doing until I find that I cannot squeeze any more money from the way I will be at that point where I'll have to decide what is the best way to get to more profits (I probably won't be considering that until I'm consistently making, let's say $1000 daily).

    Happy trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at August 10, 2006 8:46 p.m.  

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