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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On Tap For Fri Dec 29, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Yet another skimpy list:

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Nothing Much Going On

Gross: +$288.35
Net: +$114.45
Loss From Top: $60.35
Trades: 60
Shares Traded: 165320

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): +$131.90
Hewlett Packard Co. (HPQ): +$117.92
Citigroup Inc. (C): +$20.95
BellSouth Corp. (BLS): +$16.42
International Business Machines (IBM): -$6.63
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): -$21.42
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): -$144.51

This is gonna be another short post...

Not much was happening today...I couldn't really find any real good trades out there, so I spent most of my time trading TWX and PFE. Probably about 75% of my trades were on these two stocks alone.

I put on another fat-fingered mistake on WMT (hence the loss on it today). I almost got short 10,000 shares on WMT, but got partially filled for 6300 shares (I had originally only wanted to short 2000 shares).

How'd this happen?

We have hot-keys that allow us to change our position size...however it requires that the NumLock on the keypad is ON in order for it to work.

Well, I had just finished trading PFE when I switched to WMT and I hit the hot-key to change to 2000 shares....but the NumLock was off, so I ended up with a 10,000 share order (which I was using for the previous PFE trade).

I saw my mistake and cancelled the balance of the order.

Once I was in that position, I held it for a bit, but then is started moving up. I got the bulk of my position out for a loss, but held the remaining portion for a decent gain...as a result, the loss from that trade was (barely) under $100, so I was glad it didn't blow me out of the water.

I traded until a little after lunch and by 1PM I was on my way home...there was a little too much jiggle action for my tastes today....

Last trading day of the year is tomorrow! I'll probably do the same thing I've been doing the last few trading days and just trade until lunch tomorrow.

Good Trades
None.

Bad Trades
None.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On Tap For Thu Dec 28, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Talk about a skimpy list...there are not a lot of NYSE stocks in the news so most of these stocks have either an interesting chart or is approaching a significant level:
I'll probably only trade till lunch again tomorrow, but we'll see if anything interesting happens tomorrow. To those trading tomorrow, good luck!

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Still In A Holiday Mood

Gross: +$369.77
Net: +$321.19
Loss From Top: $6.30
Trades: 57
Shares Traded: 62000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): +$131.86
AK Steel Holdings Corp (AKS): +$97.55
Citigroup Inc. (C): +$91.03
Hewlett Packard Company (HPQ): +$31.61
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): +$30.37
Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK): -$61.64

Sorry for another late post...

I'll keep this short - just traded half the day today...market still seemed strong, but today I just played conservatively.

All morning I took profits when they showed themselves and I quickly got out of trades that went against me...

I felt like any position I got into didn't really want to run...it was kind of stop-and-go so I didn't really wait around too long for my winners to continue running.

I don't know why, but today I wasn't really into it...I guess I'm still in a holiday kinda mood. I traded until lunch and by 12:30PM I was out of the office.

No good trades nor any bad ones.

Oh well, tomorrow we'll do it all again

Good Trades
None.

Bad Trades
None.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On Tap For Wed Dec 27, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

I didn't trade today (Tuesday), but tomorrow I'll get back into the full swing of things.

With that, here are some of the stocks I'm watching tomorrow:

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

(Holiday) Weekend Reading For Dec 23rd - 25th, 2006

In "Weekend Reading" I'll collect what I thought were the best posts and articles for the week from various bloggers.

I only focus on posts and links that relate to trader improvement or trading in general.

I must admit that this week I've been very busy and I must apologize for overlooking any great trading articles I might have missed this week.

Nevertheless, this "holiday" edition has some great reads, so go ahead, grab a cup of hot chocolate, find a comfy spot near the fireplace and enjoy!



  • OneBadTrade mulls upon his trading and tries to look for answers in Reflections





  • Tyro lists some great resources on trading the eMini Futures (for those who follow trading blogs, you know there is controversy brewing with regards to this topic!) in eMini Research










  • Chris at Daily Trade Activity outlines what he looks for when he trades gapping stocks in Equal Moves

  • Finally, we may have lost a trading blogger who may be throwing in the towel when it comes to trading. When he first came up on my radar, I'd always look to him as a source of inspiration and I was greatly impressed with his consistency. Everyday I'd visit his site and with the numbers he posted, he always reminded me that this was possible. However, he took a pretty big hit recently and in this post, he says his Goodbye. Whatever you decide to do ZBS Trader, I want to wish you the best of luck, but most importantly, thank you for everything you've done - you are my inspiration!

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Friday, December 22, 2006

In & Out

Gross: +$483.60
Net: +$436.97
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 33
Shares Traded: 88800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Red Hat Inc. (RHT): +$160.63
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD): +$129.06
Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC): +$104.07
EMC Corp (EMC): +$40.11
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): +$30.76
Ford Motor Company (F): +$8.72
Micron Technology Inc. (MU): -$36.40

Hey folks - sorry for another late post....just busy busy busy!

Anyways, today my trades were like the day itself - I was in and out pretty fast and I only stayed to trade the morning.

Today I was careful not to do anything foolish and I was patient to try to take only those trades that looked good.

I made some profits on MU early in the morning...but then when it tried to test the $14.20 level a few times today and I went long twice (on two seperate occasions) when I thought it would break, but then a heavy seller would knock MU back down again everytime MU got up to that level and I lost all my profits on MU.

I also traded Red Hat (RHT) this morning...it was really choppy and I found myself having to get in and out fast. It looks like the bulk of RHT's move occured in the afternoon so I'm lucky I came away with some profits on it this morning.

I also traded Ford (F) today. I punched in long 10,000 shares and when the level I punched didn't break, I got out using Arca and even though I entered and exited the trade at the same price, I got some credits by getting out on Arca (you can see I made about 8 bucks)....so for those that don't know about trading for credits, this is just one small example (though you'd make a whole dump-truck load more doing this on Nasdaq stocks).

I didn't really hang on to any of my trades for any real length of time - everything was just in and out fast.

Before I knew it, the morning was over and I had a lunch date with my wife, so I was out of the office by noon.

No good trades and no bad trades today.

Anyways, I'm pretty beat right now and fairly tired....

I'll be posting my weekend reading tomorrow and stocks to watch on Monday (which will give me an idea of whether I should come in to trade on Tuesday). I do intend on trading on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week.

Happy holidays everyone! Time to release some of that trading stress and please folks, make time for your family and loved ones - trading can be very self-absorbing and we can sometimes forget about the ones we care about! Now is a good time as any to show them you care!

Good Trades
None.

Bad Trades
None.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

On Tap For Fri Dec 22, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

The list for tomorrow is rather short and I'll probably only trade the morning. Here it is:
Again, good luck to all those trading tomorrow, otherwise happy holidays!

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A 98 Minute Trade

Gross: +$707.00
Net: +$584.07
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 54
Shares Traded: 202000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD): +$701.00
EMC Corp (EMC): +$239.44
Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL): +$110.26
Worthington Industries Inc. (WOR): -$45.94
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): -$166.18
General Electric Company (GE): -$254.57

Sorry for the late post folks....it's that busy time of the year so my posts may start coming a little sporadically...I'll try my best to get them out in a timely manner.

Anyways, as you can see, I mostly stuck to some fat scalping today.

Rite Aid (RAD) reported this morning and I intently watched this stock. But after some morning moves, this stock just became flat out boring.

But then later it seemed that RAD didn't want to go down further and it looked like it caught some support.

That's when I decided to go in long with 10,000 shares and I just sat there and waited....and waited....and waited....

I got into the trade at 2:18PM and I held this sucker for 98 minutes! I finally punched out at 3:56PM mainly because I just wanted to punch out before the close (us traders get penalized by the prop firm if we still have a position when the markets close....don't ask me what the penalty is, 'cause I don't know).

But all that waiting for that one trade only managed to get me $250.

Oh well, I guess it kept me out of trouble for the rest of the afternoon.

For the first 30 minutes, I was on the edge of my seat, ready to punch out for a 1-cent loser if the size behind my trade was going to break, but once it moved up one cent, I relaxed a bit - the support for my trade was pretty strong and there was no way that RAD would suddenly go severely against me (it was one of those really really slow stocks).

But after the first 30 minutes into the trade, I started looking around for other trades, but in the end, I didn't trade anything else.

It might have been a good thing too...there really wasn't much going on after that mid-lunch tank of the overall markets.

And wouldn't you know it, I was planning to leave early today at around 2:30PM so that I could get some things done, but this trade kept me in the office until the close.

Anyways, yesterday I told you how I hate fat scalping and this morning reminded me why.

I was up $500 fairly quickly, but then I lost it all after some bad fat scalps.

I got myself back together again and managed to make it back...

Today I mainly stuck to trading the thick stocks (RAD, EMC, PFE, GE) and mainly used 10,000 share positions. However that one RAD trade took up most of the afternoon, hence the low number of trades.

Two good trades and no bad trades (just a couple of 1-cent losers on 5000 and 10,000 share positions).

Tomorrow I'm probably just going to trade the morning....the afternoons lately have been extremely unbearable for me...

Good luck to those who trade tomorrow....if not, happy holidays!

Good Trades
9:40:24AM - Rite Aide (RAD) had opened and started moving up whlie the Futures were flat. When RAD broke it's intraday high at $5.55, I went long 10,000 shares. When it broke, it fairly quickly moved up and when it looked tired, I took half my position out and when it felt like it could go up any further, I took the other half out. In all, the whole position was taken for a 4-cent winner ($400 profit before fees ; Long 10,000 shares @ $5.55 ; Out: 9:42:07AM)

2:18:18PM - Rite Aid (RAD) was flat while the Futures were also flat. I was watching some big size on the offer push RAD down throughout the entire morning, but it looked like RAD didn't want to go down any further and so I waited until it looked like the big size on the offer was going to break...that's when I went long 10,000 shares. Held this till near the close and mainly exited because I ran out of time. I got out as follows: 2-cent winner (5000 shares), 3-cent winner (5000 shares) ($250 profit before fees ; Long 10,000 shares @ $5.46 ; Out: 3:56:32PM)

Bad Trades
None.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On Tap For Thu Dec 21, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Here we go:

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Fat Head, Fat Fingers, Fat Scalping

Gross: +$109.05
Net: -$92.47
Loss From Top: $325.31
Trades: 87
Shares Traded: 211160

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
General Electric Company (GE): +$318.89
Pfizer Inc (PFE): +$187.83
EMC Corp (EMC): +$69.02
Nortel Networks Corp (NT): +$16.55
Micron Tech Inc. (MU): +$15.67
Citigroup Inc. (C): -$17.27
Christopher & Bank Corp (CBK): -$25.26
Circuit City Stores Inc (CC): -$40.51
Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO): -$77.82
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH): -$124.05
CarMax Inc. (KMX): -$124.43
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$291.09

FAT HEAD
Today there were several trades on some of the thinner stocks that went well as soon as I put them on.

Once I was in the position, the stock would go my way....then my old scalper-self would start screaming for me to get out and take the profits while they were there....but then my new patient-trader-self started telling me to give the position more time and let my winners run!

I gave the benefit of the doubt to my new patient-trader-self and held onto these positions.

Well wouldn't you know it...had I listened to my old scalper-self, I would have been able to lock in a lot more profit.

Instead, I watched several of my trades go from a good winner into a loser. Three trades in particular (though there were other, smaller trades in which this happened):
  • A trade on UNH - went long 1000 shares and quickly the position was a $300 winner...my old scalper-self was screaming for me to get out and that I could always get back in, but I decided to listen to my new patient-trader-self....I watched this go from a $300 winner to a $40 loser (I tried desperately to get out when I saw it falling...but it was too thin and it collapsed fairly quickly)....cost to me: $340
  • Another trade on FDO - went long 1000 shares and it went up until I was looking at a $60 winner....my hands were ready to punch out after being screamed at by my old scalper-self, but decided to hold on at the behest of my new patient-trader-self....watched this become a $70 loser....cost to me: $130
  • Another 1000 share position on COP - it moved up and I was sitting on a $120 profit...I wanted to get out (scalper-self), but decided to hold (patient-trader-self), it went up a little further (I could have had a $160 winner), but ended up chasing my position out for an $80 loser....cost to me: $200
I was pretty upset with myself today for being such a fat head. I had all the setups and calls correct, but I didn't have a clear exit strategy because of my fat headedness. I'll have to work out some exit strategies.

FAT FINGERS
I had just finished a trade and I started watching COP. It started moving up and when it cleared some resistance, I decided to go long.

I placed the order to punch in to what I thought was 1000 shares....I remember watching the Level II and seeing rather big buy orders coming through and I thought to myself "Wow - people really want to buy this up! Maybe I should get another 1000 shares!".

But I look down and see that I'm long 3800 shares! What the.....?!?!!!??!?!!

I then realized I still had my default share size set to 5000 shares (from my previous trade) and that I had tried to punch in for all 5000 shares! I was partially filled for 3800 shares so I quickly cancelled the balance of the order.

I then patiently tried to wait and see if COP would continue going up. It moved up maybe 1-cent, but then it started falling fast!

Crap....I got out what I could and ended up losing close to $400 on that one.

I was surprised I wasn't too upset after my fat-fingered mistake. I guess my reasoning was that it could have happened to anyone.

I just cannot imagine what would have happened if I decided to get another 1000 shares and placed another order (which would mean I'd get long another 5000 shares for 10,000 shares total!).

I hate fat-fingered trades...

FAT SCALPING
At one point during the afternoon, I was in the hole by over $500 and I was quite upset that it was a near-repeat performance of yesterday.

I then decided to resort to fat scalping....

What is fat scalping?

It's when you trade a fat stock (a stock that has big size on the bid and ask...in other words, a thick stock) and you put on a fat position (a fairly large-sized position - 10,000 shares) and you try to scalp for 1, 2 or 3 cents ($100, $200, or $300).

Fairly quickly I was able to make close to $400 fat-scalping GE and another $550 fat-scalping PFE. I saw myself get into the green by a few hundred dollars! On those trades, I had carefully timed them and waited for the right opportunities.

BUT....I hate fat-scalping.....

Just as easily as I had made that money, I just as easily lost that money...after several other fat-scalps, I was in the hole again.

Fat-scalping can easily get emotional and can also lead to revenge trading and overtrading. And sometimes when a trade looks like a sure thing, someone comes it and slaps it with big orders and the stock reverses course.

That was what happened to me after making a couple of good trades on GE and PFE....I started overtrading and the emotion-filled fat-scalps were coming in a flurry....I would end up losing $400 on PFE and another $200 on GE on purely emotional fat-scalps ($600 altogether).

Anyways, I've got to run again and I don't have time to post up the good trades and bad ones (there were 4 good ones and 4 bad ones...mostly from fat-scalping).

So, that basically sums up my trading day: fat head, fat fingers, fat scalping.

So let's review:
Fat headedness cost me about $670
Fat fingers cost me about $380
Overemotional fat-scalping cost me about $600

In short, all the "fatness" of the day cost me an arm and a leg today. So far this week I haven't been able to get myself in gear...let's hope for some better trading tomorrow.

Good Trades
There were 4 of them - two on GE and two on PFE

Bad Trades
There were 4 of them - one on KMX, one on COP (fat-fingered trade), and two on PFE

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On Tap For Wed Dec 20, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Here's my hit list:

Okay folks - I gotta trade smart and trade focused tomorrow. Hope you all do well!

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It's Too Jiggly

Gross: -$193.87
Net: -$277.59
Loss From Top: $277.59
Trades: 99
Shares Traded: 69600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Circuit City Stores Inc. (CC): +$119.84
Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX): +$50.74
Cemex (CX): +$41.47
AT&T Inc. (T): +$24.38
Citigroup Inc. (C): +$9.95
Realogy Corp (H): -$3.99
Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY): -$13.36
Valero Group Holdings (VEH): -$17.38
L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL): -$48.68
Morgan Stanley (MS): -$117.11
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$162.51
Terex Corp. (TEX): -$200.80

Gotta make this short as I have things to attend to tonight.

This morning I got new charts!

BUT...this didn't prevent me from putting on stupid trades.

I missed most of the morning moves as I was tinkering around and setting up the new eSignal account.

Once that was done, I "attempted" to trade some of the stocks in the news...which was not a good idea considering everything was sideways for the majority of the day.

I put on one losing trade after another...one thing I know for sure is that thinner stocks jiggle just as much as the thicker stocks...in fact, they probably jiggle way more and I was constantly having to punch out for losers.

As a result, I kept getting hit for $40, $60, and $80 losers on 500 shares on these thinner stocks...these stocks jiggled...only they jiggled 10, 15 or 20 cents against you.

So, I've learned my lesson today....thinner stocks will jiggle just the same as other stocks, if not worse....in essence, they were too jiggly for me today.

It's a good thing I managed to keep all of my losing trades to under $100, but there were just too many of them to recover from.

After seeing myself quickly in the hole by over $500, I had to force myself to stop and take a break and to try to get my concentration level back up.

I think after getting new charts, my mind and focus was all over the place...I started thinking about the different scripts I could run, the different scanners I could program and also all the market stats I could put up (TICK, TRIN, etc).

In short, my mind and focus wasn't completely on trading and my mind was going in 100 different directions.

Throughout the course of the afternoon, I managed to cut my losses by half.

No good trades and no bad trades (kept all my losers under $100).

Tomorrow I've got to come back more focused and I've got to trade smarter. Today I was probably more excited about getting new charts than I was about trading, so I wasn't 100% there today.

Ok - gotta run...I'll still post up my stocks to watch for tomorrow a little later tonight.

Good Trades
None.

Bad Trades
None.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

On Tap For Tue Dec 19, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Here's my list:

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A Futile Attempt At Chartless Trading

Gross: +$152.93
Net: +$61.03
Loss From Top: $195.97
Trades: 89
Shares Traded: 64676

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
News Corporation (NWS): +$206.63
Caremark Rx, Inc. (CMX): +$90.94
Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY): +$74.53
Harrah's Entertainment Inc. (HET): +$16.27
Honeywell International Inc. (HON): +$9.08
Weyerhaeuser Company (WY): -$8.46
Terex Corporation (TEX): -$36.55
Citigroup Inc. (C): -$82.12
NYSE Group Inc. (NYX): -$84.13
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$125.11

This morning I got in and we were told that they upgraded the current charting software to a new version!

Great! I was hoping that all the bugs and problems I've been having would be resolved with this new version!

I even got a quick overview of some of the new features of this "new" charting software, and it was fantastic! Some really handy shortcuts, more flexibility and a lot of the cosmetic stuff was fixed!

After the quick overview I was thinking "Well! If this version solves all my problems AND it delivers some of these new features, maybe I won't be needing new charting after all! Excellent!"

Or so I thought...

I would have constant charting problems throughout the entire day, which made for some bad trading and a not-so-fun day...

The main charting problem was that the charts wouldn't update. All of the charts I had (even the Futures charts) remained static.

What I had to constantly do was to set each of the chart's date and range in order to update the chart. However this "manual" updating of the charts was annoying at best (as it required several mouse-clicks).

And even after this "manual" update, the chart would still not move, which meant that every few minutes I had to "manually" update them again.

What was worse was that sometimes after I "manually" updated the charts, they were nowhere near current - there were several times I "manually" updated the charts, but the charts and the Level II were completely off....I'd guess-timate that the charts were sometimes 10 or 15 minutes delayed.

In short - I simply didn't trust what the charts were showing me.

As a result, I tried trading chartless....and it was not fun....

At one point, I had no clue as to what the hell I was doing or basing my trade on. I was basically making up my trading rules as I went along as I had no faith in my charts.

There was another point during the day where I tried loading up the old version of the charting software (yes! I was that desperate!) - unfortunately it didn't work.

Finally at around 1:45PM, the "new" charting software crapped out completely - I couldn't bring up a chart of any kind and all I had were blank charts. I tried re-starting it several times, but to no avail.

At 2PM, I had enough - I decided to pack up and go home.

On my way out, I asked the branch manager if he could "expedite" the arrival of some new charting software for me and that I didn't want to wait until next month. He said he'd get it started.

So I don't know if tomorrow I'll get eSignal or maybe later this week...we'll see.

Anyways, today there were a few stocks moving, but without charts, I never felt very comfortable with any of my positions today.

I know I missed quite a few good moves out there early in the morning because for the first two hours I was trying to fiddle around with charts to get something meaningful from them.

One good trade versus no bad trades.

Today I tried trading NYSE Group (NYX) and I regretted I didn't hold onto my position. I caught wind of NYX moving (via Briefing.com), but I didn't have a chart for it, so I had to rely on what the Level II was saying.

Well NYX got up to the $102.00 level and I went long 500 shares. NYX fell back a little and it tried to break $102.00 a few times and that's when I started wishing I had charts for the stock...I didn't have any idea how strong an up move NYX was having.

So I bailed out of it and wouldn't you know it...it rams right through the $1o2 level and very quickly it was at the $103 level and beyond. Perhaps if I had a chart of NYX things may have been different...I don't know.

I guess if it's not one thing, it's another...let see which one of those things it will be tomorrow....

Good Trades
9:45:38AM - News Corp (NWS) was moving up and I think the Futures were sideways. I saw a level break on NWS and so I went long 2000 shares. It popped up after that level break and I got out when it appeared to be stalling (all while I was trying to get a proper chart of NWS on my charting software). I got out as follows: 10-cent winner (1000 shares), 11-cent winner (1000 shares) ($210 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $22.38 ; Out: did not record...I guess I was still fiddling with the charts and I forgot to record).


Bad Trades
None.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

On Tap For Mon Dec 18, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

Here are a few stocks I'm watching tomorrow:

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Weekend Reading For Dec 16th - 17th, 2006

In "Weekend Reading" I'll collect what I thought were the best posts and articles for the week from various bloggers.

Wow! With my subscriptions to more and more market blogs, I'm finding more and more great insightful posts and bloggers and this week there were plenty of articles for me to chew on!

  • Flatwallet over at the Miseducated Day Trader reviews his trading strategy and tells us what's good and what needs to be fixed in Beyond The Setup
  • Tyro at Tyro Trader asks a couple of hard questions in Goals
  • An excellent review by Gav of candle stick patterns in Candysticks
  • Here's an insightful post by Chris at Daily Trade Activity in which he review what he does to regain some objectivity in what he's doing in Last Fed Day For Me
  • As someone who traded options a lot in the past, I've always been fascinated by the bountiful strategies one could play - here's a review done by Jody Osborne for Optionetics.com: Comparing Calendars And Butterflies

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Friday, December 15, 2006

My Love/Hate Relationship With GE

Gross: +$148.30
Net: -$108.43
Loss From Top: $582.71
Trades: 121
Shares Traded: 218066

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Weyerhaeuser Company (WY): +$296.33
Quiksilver Inc. (ZQK): +$106.23
Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI): +$86.17
Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW): -$11.39
Citigroup Inc. (C): -$11.71
United Technologies Corporation (UTX): -$16.95
J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP): -$26.87
American Express Company (AXP): -$33.24
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$38.88
Worthington Industries Inc. (WOR): -$59.38
Home Depot Inc (HD): -$63.49
US Bancorp (USB): -$105.35
General Electric Company (GE): -$229.87

Sheesh!

I know today was a quad witching day, but this day could have, and should have been much better than it was.

Early into the trading day I put on some pretty good trades and I was quickly up a bundle within a half an hour of the trading day.

But then I started trading General Electric (GE).

I've always had a love/hate relationship with this stock. On some days I am able to make some good money trading this stock - and on other days I will lose a bundle.

Several months ago I told myself I wouldn't trade this stock again....but lately it's been quite active and I couldn't resist.

But trading GE today was such an emotional roller coaster ride...

And since my position size on GE today was quite large (5000 or 10,000 shares), the profits and losses were also large.

There was literally 1000's of dollars that could have been made on my part. I went long several times using 10,000 and 5000 shares and as you can see, GE had a huge run up.

The problem was that GE was moving much like AMD yesterday: 2-cents up, 1-cent down, 3-cents up, 2-cents down.

As a result, I had several rather large winners and several large losers.

For a good hour I traded this stock...I'd make $400, then lose $200, then lose another $200, then make $250, then make $200, then lose $200, then lose another $250....

Even though GE moved in a nice trend in the morning, I couldn't weather the storm and every time a position went against me for a few cents, I ended up jumping ship.

And I knew that GE was trending up and I knew I just kept getting chopped up and wouldn't you know it - the ONE time I decided to hold a temporary loser, GE decides to go severely against me...an 8 cent loser on 5000 shares ($400 loss).

At that point I decided I had enough of trying to trade GE....I felt as though I would probably blow myself out of the water and my frustration with the stock would just continue to mount...so I decided not to trade it any more for the rest of the day.

However, after I decided to stop trading GE, I was looking at a $600 loss from top (the amount I had lost from my peak profit on the day).

And unfortunately the markets wouldn't offer any real good opportunities for the rest of the day (just chopped everywhere).

It's too bad too - I had some success trading some of the thinner stocks today and had I ignored GE today, I would have probably ended up positive today.

It seems like lately I've been bitching about the thicker, more actively traded stocks - yesterday I bitched about AMD and today I'm bitching about GE. Maybe I should not trade these stocks altogether.

I would rather trade a few times on thinner stocks and take bigger profits than to trade stupid stocks like GE and MOT....there are just too many players playing around on those stocks and I seem to be the fool that keeps getting fooled.

Perhaps if I do intend on trading stocks like GE and MOT, it should be on smaller share size. Because they jiggle around too much, I can't handle looking at a few cent losers on 10,000 shares on these kinds of stocks (I'd panic and jump ship).

Maybe had I just traded 2000 shares at a time on GE, things would have been different...at least I would have been more willing to hold onto temporary losers.

Another thing I should note is that GE is now Hybrid and so maybe I should just get used to stocks moving like that.

In short, I should have just watched the charts, but something inside me just screams for me to get out of a position if I see a $200 or more loser on my hands (which GE did many times to me).

I'll work on that.

As the day came to a close, I found myself pissed at the markets for not giving me any real good opportunities to get myself out of a jam and I was just completely frustrated with the market action.

Oh well - things could have been much worse had I continued to trade GE (I happen to stop trading it when it stopped trending).

I'm not going to bother listing out my good trades and bad trades made on GE (there were three good trades and four bad trades on GE today...all simply because I was using bigger share size).

Not including the GE trades I had one good trade and one bad trade. The bulk of my losses today were all because of GE (I managed to lose close to $600 on it before I stopped trading it).

I would trade many times during the course of the afternoon, but I ended up "stuck" where I left off after I stopped trading GE.

Anyways, this post seems a little sloppy (at least typing it up seemed kind of sloppy)....my mind isn't really too focused into writing this up right now....I just want next week to start so I can get back to trading.

I'm still quite happy with the thinner stocks I've been trading lately...next week I'll step it up and go in with 1000 and 2000 share positions. This may mean that I might lose a lot more, but the rewards will also be greater.

I'm not going to bother posting up charts...I'm completely exhausted after today's emotional roller-coaster ride.

Have a good weekend folks....stay safe and take care.

Good Trades
9:44:58AM - Weyerhaueser (WY) was moving up while the Futures were moving sideways. WY came up to some size on the offer and when it broke I went long 1000 shares. I originally meant to go long only 500 shares and when I realized I was long 1000 shares, I quickly dumped half my position (probably not a good move). Anyways WY kept going up and when it looked tired I exited the balance of my position. I got out as follows: 15-cent winner (300 shares), 16-cent winner (200 shares), 40-cent winner (200 shares), 50-cent winner (300 shares) ($307 profit before fees ; Long 1000 shares @ $73.50 ; Out: 9:47:14AM)

Bad Trades
10:49:58AM - Citigroup (C) was moving up but flattening while the Futures were moving up. I went long 2000 shares (not too sure what the reason was) and just got chopped up. This trade was shortly after my emotional affair with GE and I was not really in a good state of mind and this trade should not have been put on. I got out for a 6-cent loser ($120 loser before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $53.79 ; Out: 10:50:13AM)

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

On Tap For Fri Dec 15, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

I'm watching these stocks:


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Thin Is In

Gross: +$904.00
Net: +$742.33
Loss From Top: $87.69
Trades: 129
Shares Traded: 138000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
US Bancorp (USB): +$267.65
Celanese Corporation (CE): +$239.35
Citigroup Inc. (C): +$156.05
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$127.64
Worthington Industries Inc. (WOR): +$7.71
The Gap Inc. (GPS): +$7.24
Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD): -$14.99
CSX Corporation (CSX): -$22.36
Safeway Inc. (SWY) -$25.98

Wow....what an interesting day! The markets bore us to death yesterday and today they wake us up with all this activity!

Today could have been a lot better (well then again, everyday could have been much better!). I left quite a bit of money on the table and I lost quite a bit of money trying to trade the choppiness when nothing was going on.

I don't know about you, but today it felt like the markets and all stocks were stuck in fast-forward all day. Everything seemed to move very fast and it was because of this quickness, I felt I needed to be quick to exit my positions.

Another market rant: I hate Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)!

It had a huge run up and if one ever wanted to know how a Hybrid stock moves, then one should have traded AMD today.

Even though it had clear trends all day today, it did a lot of 2-cents up, 1-cent down, 2-cents up, 1-cent down. Every now and then it would run up several cents, then come back down again and there were soo many prints going off, I felt I had to get in and out fast.

Thus, during the big run AMD had today, I kept going in, then getting out for 1 or 2 cent winners and I felt as though I couldn't hold onto any positions for too long on this stock. This was because I know AMD and this is a stock that can turn on a dime.

Anyways. I had made close to $300 on AMD alone (just took a lot of 2-cent winners on 2000 shares), but then when it started moving sideways (starting around 3PM and lasting about 10 minutes), I kept trying to trade it....and I kept getting chopped out!

Within 10 minutes I had lost more than $300 on AMD on several trades! Grrrr....AMD is great to trade when it's really moving, but please folks, avoid it like the plague when it's chopping sideways.

Anyways, I managed to re-coup some of the losses on AMD, but I just didn't have enough time to erase that "Loss From Top".

Despite my disappointment at trading the choppiness and for not really letting my winners run, I was quite pleased with the progress I'm making in trading the thin stocks (thin meaning the bid and ask sizes are small).

I'm still testing things out hence the small share size (500 shares) and I caught a great move on Celanese (CE) (see good trades below).

Once I get more comfortable with looking at and trading these thin stocks, I'll start upping my share size on them.

The thing I like about these thin stocks is that you know pretty quickly whether the trade is going your way or not.

As most of you know, I used to trade a lot of General Electric (GE) and Motorola (MOT) (really thick stocks - stocks with big sizes on the bid and ask) and I'd get in with 5000 to 10000 shares at a time. The problem with these stocks is that sometimes they go nowhere fast.

And most of you know I don't have the patience to wait it out and as a result, I often have to take a 1-cent loser or break-even on those thick stocks because I just couldn't wait for it to make a move.

But with thin stocks, once I'm in, I'll usually know by the next print if it's going my way or not. Once these thin stock move, all I got to do is ride along and just get some orders prepared to exit if I feel the move is over.

Another thing is that since I'm using small share size, I don't mind if it temporarily goes against me. If I've got 500 shares and it goes against me 10 cents....then big deal! It's only $50! (of course, most of you know that I don't like losers and I usually cannot tolerate losing soo many cents on a trade...I'd usually be out if it goes 5 or more cents against me).

I'm really beginning to like trading these thin stocks. It seems so much more relaxing than most other trades.

Why is it more relaxing?

With other trades, I get jittery once I'm in a position and it moves only 1 or 2 cents. Also with the thicker stocks, there is a lot of pushing and shoving and because I don't have the patience to wait out the pushing and shoving, I'm usually bailing out at the slightest hint of resistance.

With these thinner stocks, once they move, they really move and once my position is comfortably in-the-money, I feel much more relaxed and all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Anyways, incorporating these thinner stocks to my trading is a definite benefit and I shall be looking to increase my share size on these kinds of trades soon.

Two good trades versus no bad trades.

Hopefully you folks were able to catch some good moves out there...

Good Trades
9:49:24AM - US Bancorp (USB) was trying to push higher on the open while the Futures were moving up. Just then, the Futures ripped up and USB was going to break it's intraday high, so I went long 2000 shares at $35.58. The Futures ripped up hard and I took out half my position when USB seemed to stall. I then started feeling uncomfortable with the position and for a while USB didn't seem to want to go up further. So I punch out the rest of my position when the Futures continued it's monster rip (I would eventually get back into a position on USB again). I got out as follows: 11-cent winner (1000 shares), 12-cent winner (1000 shares) ($230 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $35.58 ; Out: 9:52:42AM)

11:13:24AM - Celanese Corp (CE) was moving up while the Futures were sideways. CE had come up to the $25.00 level where there was some resistance. When the level broke, I went long 500 shares. As soon as it broke, CE just flew. I don't know why, but I exited 200 shares a little too early. I held onto the rest of the position until CE started falling again. I got out as follows: 26-cent winner (200 shares), 41-cent winner (300 shares) ($175 profit before fees ; Long 500 shares @ $25.00 ; Out: 11:20:46AM)

Bad Trades
None.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Tap For Thu Dec 14, 2006

The following are some of the NYSE stocks that I will be keeping an eye on and possibly trading tomorrow. Obviously there may be news on other stocks that come out overnight or in the morning, so I may be trading those stocks as well.

I'm watching these stocks tomorrow:

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be more focused. I want to wish all of you good luck and good trading tomorrow!

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