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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Trading Statistics For Month Of September

Total Gross for Month of September: +$7,091.20
Total Net for Month of September: +$3,953.21
Total Fees (Gross - Net) for Month of September: $3,137.99
Total Trades for Month of September: 2363
Total Shares Traded for Month of September: 2,673,940

Best Day for Month of September: Fri Sept 15 (+$835.61 net)
Worst Day for Month of September: Wed Sept 6 (-$510.33 net)

Number of Positive Net Days for Month of September: 14
Number of Negative Net Days for Month of September: 5
Number of Trading Days Missed for Month of September: 1 (vacation - extra long weekend)
Number of Trading Days Lost Due To System Downtime: 0 (but throughout September the system was down as some point during the day everyday)

Compared to Previous Month: -$1,132.02 (down 22.3% from last month)
Compared to Same Month Last Year: +$1,953.21 (up 97.7% from same month last year)

Net Profit Distribution (# days):
(Excellent) +$1000 OR MORE: (0)
(**Good**) +$500 TO +$1000: ***** (5)
(*Average*) +$200 TO +$500: **** (4)
(***Poor***) -$200 TO +$200: ****** (6)
(****Bad****) -$200 TO -$500: *** (3)
(**Terrible**) -$500 OR LESS: * (1)

Top 3 Stocks For Month of September(Net Profit):
Home Depot (HD): +$1,982.28
Corning (GLW): +$1,038.65
Walmart (WMT): +$576.06

Worst 3 Stocks for Month of September(Net Profit):
Ford (F): -$529.32
Motorola (MOT): -$309.65
General Electric (GE): -$121.78

Top 3 Most Traded Stocks for Month of September:
(3 stocks tied for first place - each traded on 19 out of 19 trading days)
Home Depot (HD)
Walmart (WMT)
Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Bottom 3 Most Traded Stocks for Month of September:
(4 stocks tied for last place - each traded on 1 out of 19 trading days)
Bell South (BLS)
General Electric (GE)
Sprint-Nextel (S)
Texas Instruments (TXN)

Total Number of Different Stocks Traded for Month of September: 18

List of Stocks Traded During the Month of September (with net profit):
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): +$220.04
Bell South (BLS): -$8.39
Boston Scientific (BSX): +$20.59
Citigroup (C): +$272.51
EMC Corp (EMC): +$9.62
Ford (F): -$529.32
General Electric (GE): -$121.78
Corning (GLW): +$1,038.65
Home Depot (HD): +$1,982.28
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): +$247.85
Motorola (MOT): -$309.65
Micron Tech (MU): -$66.53
Pfizer (PFE): +$15.19
Sprint-Nextel (S): -$19.83
AT&T (T): +$364.84
Texas Instruments (TXN): +$3.94
Walmart (WMT): +$576.06
Exxon Mobil (XOM): +$546.29


Monthly Recap

What a totally demoralizing month. It looks like another step backwards as far as my trading goes. This was supposed to be a defining month for me as I thought that the so-called summer doldrums would be over and it would be back to business as usual.

But this was hardly expected as I found that this month was one of the more difficult months to trade - one in which my patience was tested and one in which my emotions ran away with me.

You can see from my profit distribution that I had too many "stars" on the lower half of the chart and I wasn't able to pull off any "Excellent" days at all.

At the beginning of the month I had a slow start, but for two weeks I almost felt as though consistency was slowly starting to come back. But the last two weeks of September just turned out to be horrific in nature as I wasn't able to get any traction in terms of profits. Everyday I would come in not knowing whether I'd be able to come away with profits or not and my confidence level sunk to new lows.

This whole month has been a real roller-coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. There were times I woke up full of confidence, ready to conquer the world, but the markets ended up like yesterday - flat, choppy and directionless and I was unable to prove to myself I could do this.

Then there were other days when I woke up just feeling so demoralized and not 100% there, but then the markets would provide opportunity after opportunity, but I'd miss out because I was not 100% focused, which sunk me even lower.

I didn't really want to mention it too much in my blog, but we had a problem-ridden month as far as system downtime was concerned. Sometimes the Level II would be screwed up, sometimes the charts would screw up, sometimes we couldn't use certain ECNs, quotes would freeze, stickies would appear daily, execution would go down, sometimes everything went down at the same time - all of this was happening on a daily basis.

Did this have an impact on my trading? I don't really want to say so. Yea sure I missed out on some moves, or I'd realize my charts were not moving or I'd try to enter or exit a trade and try to hit size that wasn't really there, but all in all it was just bad trading decisions that ultimately led to a dismal month.

Many times I lacked focus and patience - especially when the markets were not providing opporunities. I will admit, in the mornings I somehow manage to do a great job in terms of waiting for the setups - but then my patience would wear thin and I'd start trading. For that point on, it would be all downhill - I started getting angry, reversing position after position. If only I had kept a level head and remained conservative, this month at least would have been respectable.

I just can't wait for October to start. I will be missing about a week in October for vacation so I won't be expecting too much from it - all I want to see is more trend and less chop. If the chopping continues, I'll really have to work on my patience and be able to sit still until a good setup shows itself.

What did I find good in my trading this month?
  • I realized I was having problems trading this month and made a decision to trade with smaller share size and hopefully ride out these choppy markets
  • Patience was a little better in terms of not trading - realizing what kind of markets we had, I made a real conscious effort to trade less
  • Patience was a little better in terms of holding on to winners. I'm starting to see winners in the 10 and 20-cent range and some of the hold times on trades went up as high as 10 minutes (for me that's really long!)
  • Sadly, that's about it - not much else was going for me this month
And what was not so good this month?
  • Emotions, emotions, emotions! At one point, this blog could have been named "The Angry Scalper's Tale"; I just blew up several times and it cost me big money. I've just got to relax a bit more
  • Pressure, pressure, pressure! Too many monetary targets, too many overall targets! I started forcing myself to trade and when time started running out, I felt as though I had to do something. This ultimately led to my blowups.
  • Patience, patience, patience! Though patience in waiting for good trades was a little better this month, there could have been a lot more - I kept trading when I knew I shouldn't. I'll continue to work on this
  • Focus, focus, focus! Too much junk going on in my head ("where is my trading going?", "other traders are doing well, why not me?") and not enough focusing on the task at hand. Many times I felt my mind start wandering and when I'd snap out of it, I'd see something and quickly go in without analyzing it.
  • Rest, rest, rest! There were quite a few sleepless nights in September (late nights trying to figure my trading out, too much thinking and not enough sleeping). Many times I came in dead tired and really too groggy to make trading decisions
  • Way too much "Level II" trading going on (trading based on what I see on the Level II) - I think it's because the charts don't show any setups, but the Level II sometimes just looks so tempting and makes it look so easy to make some money that way - yes, it's easy alright...easy to lose money!
  • Too much comparing myself to the other trader in the office - if I'm negative and I see the guy beside me and in front of me positive, I felt like "Dang it! They are positive and I'm not! I suck!", which led to me forcing trades to make some money
  • I found myself caring less and less about my positions - I cannot believe I actually started to let my losers run! The whole foundation for my trading is based on cutting losers short and here I was breaking that rule! Not good!
Finally, some goals for October:
  • Let's just try to get some consistency back in your trading...this will mean really working on all the things that went bad this month
  • No monetary targets! You want pressure? Try making $5000 on the last trading day on October or try making $1000 when you are only up $200 with 30 minutes to go! Good luck! I won't be surprised if I lose money on that day!
  • Chill man! No need to angry or upset at the markets! Let's try to let go of all worries and troubles at the door and focus on trading this month
  • Take better care of yourself - get more rest, eat healthy and let's exercise more often (September I didn't exercise at all and I felt physically drained all month) - too much pizza, too much chips and pop - this isn't good for me and I sure as hell didn't feel all that good either!
  • No more Level II trading! I don't know how much money it cost you in September but I say for sure that it's a lot!
  • I've got to keep my spirits up! The moment I start thinking of failure is the moment everything associated with the anti-trader will appear
This is my lifelong dream and I sure as hell won't give up without a fierce fight! You want to take me down Mr. Market? Go ahead and try.

18 Comments:

  • If it is okay with you - what is the amount of equity you have here ? Your longevity will depend on you remaining solvent as you go through the learning/adapting process.

    That said - you are doing very well for someone who started trading recently.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 30, 2006 11:26 a.m.  

  • This is a good monthly review. And you have listed out some excellent goals that traders like me wanna achieve.

    Here is a link for you. Trading rules listed by Linda Bradford
    http://www.tradergav.com/2006/09/30/linda-bradford-time-tested-trading-rules/

    Let's work hard again in October.

    By Anonymous Gav, at September 30, 2006 11:30 a.m.  

  • Thanks for your comments.

    Anon@11:26AM,
    Since I work with a prop firm, the capital is supplied by them. They have given me $900,000 in buying power and remains at $900,000 regardless of how much I make/lose. For example, let's say one day I lose $500,000, the next day my buying power will be the same (if they haven't fired me!). Likewise, if I made $500,000 one day, the next day I will still have $900,000 to work with.

    I just wish I were doing much better. When I first started this, I had really thought I'd be much further along than where I am now. Oh well - just gotta keep my spirits up!

    Gav,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for the great link! I'm going to print it out and maybe bring it to the office!

    That being said, let's all make some money in October!

    By Blogger J.C., at September 30, 2006 6:28 p.m.  

  • You are far and ahead of many traders that try to cut their teeth and make trading a long term career. You know your faults and strengths and have a plan of action to overcome the issues at hand that hamper your progress. The positive is that you are making money during this difficult time. I have learned over the years that if you can make money in difficult times you can make money any time.

    Trading for a living is in many ways like practicing law or medicine, we are always learning and improving to become a true professional of our chosen craft. The cost of tuition will always be there but goes down with time.

    Continue working on your weak points and build on your strengths and you'll be able to write your own ticket........... for life!!

    By Anonymous StockRoach, at September 30, 2006 7:15 p.m.  

  • Stockroach,

    Thanks for your very encouraging words. Sometimes I just have to look at the positives of my trading to get me back on track. I really like your comparison with practicing law or medicine.

    Best of luck to you and your trading!
    JC

    By Blogger J.C., at October 01, 2006 9:29 a.m.  

  • I am not a scalper, but I like your blog and posts. Very comprehensive. Good job, and good luck in Oct!

    By Blogger Trader-X, at October 01, 2006 5:22 p.m.  

  • I really enjoyed your detail analysis of your daily and monthly trading activities and learned a lot from it. Keep up your good blog and good trading.

    By Anonymous ZBS, at October 01, 2006 7:33 p.m.  

  • hey jc, chill man. did you realize that you're viewing mr market as an enemy? take it easy and view every trade as what they really are - a trade.

    By Blogger ryuu, at October 01, 2006 7:52 p.m.  

  • Trader-X, ZBS, and Ryuu:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Trader-X,
    Thanks for the support - I just hope everyone out there learns as much as I learn through this blog. Keep up the good work on your blog as well - I'm a daily visitor of your blog (as many people are!). Best of luck to you in October!

    ZBS,
    Thanks for your support. Hey - I just checked out your blog - you seem to be doing quite well and September seemed to go quite well for you! I shall follow your progress from here on in! Good luck in October!

    Ryuu,
    Hrmmm...you're absolutely right! I didn't even realize I was doing this! Thanks for pointing this out...I think it's just some of my frustrations coming out. I've really got to chill and not be so uptight...if I can relax than I would be able to focus on trading. Thanks for point that out!

    In the meantime, let's get October started! I can't wait for tomorrow!

    By Blogger J.C., at October 01, 2006 8:28 p.m.  

  • You are an honest man!! I felt exactly the same this month, and I have been trading for 3 years! Check out some of my trading affirmations at http://www3.telus.net/public/fors23/index-3.html
    They will help you see things differently and best of all they are free!
    I do a trading inventory of my defects and assets every day and it has helped
    me become a better trader and person.
    Know thyself!

    By Blogger Zentrader, at October 01, 2006 9:26 p.m.  

  • yeah.. just reminding, in case you step into that dangerous realm of getting into revenge mode and trying to outplay mr market.

    and we all know what that leads to..

    all the best in october! :)

    By Blogger ryuu, at October 01, 2006 10:14 p.m.  

  • ZenTrader and Ryuu,

    Thanks for the comments.

    ZenTrader,
    Thanks - I'll check ou tthat link after the markets close tonight - I definitely need something that can help me relax and become more focused at what I do

    Ryuu,
    Thanks - this is what this blog is all about: identifying things that I might have otherwise not noticed. Again thanks for pointing that out to me.

    Happy trading in October all!
    JC

    By Blogger J.C., at October 02, 2006 7:43 a.m.  

  • Following up on what Ryuu said, you might enjoy this - http://www.tradermike.net/2005/05/metaphors_for_trading/

    By Blogger Michael, at October 02, 2006 9:23 a.m.  

  • Hey, thanks for the honest commentary. I had a tough month too. If I'd only put my portfolio into some vanguard fund! Hope the rest of the fall goes better,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 02, 2006 4:50 p.m.  

  • Your honesty is appreciated and will likely save your 'back-parts' - also I think you should not despair, but rather be glad you are learning these lessons at this small price - what if you got up to trading ten times as much and your corrections were likewise magnified. Now that would be a problem.

    For myself, trading forces me to 'balance my life' i.e. do something totally different (writing is my out) when I am done trading...else my other half is not too happy by my 'obsessiion.'

    Have a good October!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 02, 2006 6:43 p.m.  

  • Michael, Anon@4:50PM, Anon@6:43PM,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Michael,
    Thanks for the great link - it really helped put things into perspective! I think that's a good mentality to have - it's less about fighting the markets and more about riding with the markets. Oh and by the way, great interview you had over at StockTickr (and thanks for the mention :-)!

    Anon@4:50PM,
    Thanks for your comments! That's what I had really intended this blog to do - to physically write out my thoughts and problems so that it is more concrete in my mind and if my musings on trading help others, I'll be very happy! Good luck to you in October!

    Anon@6:43PM,
    I think that's very true about balancing your life. I find that if I don't have any other things to do, I'll just sit and stew over all my disappointments. It's always good to do some other activity that gets your mind off things (whether it be exercise, meditating, reading, etc) and that way, your problems don't eat at you from the inside. Have a great October and happy trading!

    JC

    By Blogger J.C., at October 02, 2006 7:00 p.m.  

  • just found your blog, good job.
    Is your scalping strategy listed anywhere?
    Tim

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 07, 2006 9:09 p.m.  

  • Anon@9:09PM,

    Thanks for your comments. I've been wanting to post up my rules and strategies for a while and I plan on doing so one weekend (if I have the time). You can read my interview at StockTickr to get more info about how I trade, which will give you some insights into what my bread and butter trades consist of (link to the interview is at the sidebar under the "About" section).

    I currently have a 5-page document that outlines all my rules and strategies and it has gone through several revisions. I'm constantly reviewing, updating, adding and removing from this document.

    In the meantime, come back soon and perhaps one day I'll post up everything.

    By Blogger J.C., at October 08, 2006 12:34 a.m.  

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