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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Letting A Good Trade Go To Waste

Gross: +$318.00
Net: +$198.65
Loss From Top: 197.79
Trades: 79
Shares Traded: 130600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
General Motors (GM): +$396.44
Rite Aid (RAD): +$202.78
Home Depot (HD): +$49.12
Merck (MRK): +$7.68
Bank of New York (BK): +$5.88
EMC Corp (EMC): -$28.70
The Kroger Co. (KR): -$44.60
Hewlett Packard (HPQ): -$92.34
Corning (GLW): -$127.92
AT&T (T): -$169.70

Hmmmm....where do I begin......

First of all, when we got into the office, we had trouble with the in-house developed charts. We would eventually have problems with the charts for the entire day.

The very first trade of the day was a good one and netted me close to $400.

In fact, that very first trade was actually put on by accident. You see, I was actually watching Hewlett Packard (HPQ) on the open because I was going to wait for the $40.00 level break on it.

But somehow I forgot to change the Level II window to HPQ and I was instead watching General Motors (GM), which also opened near a round level (it opened near $30.00).

And so, when GM broke the $30.00 level, I went long 3000 shares, thinking it was HPQ. I just remember being in that position and thinking how unusually fast HPQ appeared to be moving.

It was only after I got out of that position and started writing down the trade information from my trade log that I realized I had actually traded GM instead!


Oh well - at least it made me money.

However, I let that good trade go to waste.

For the rest of the day I would have problems with the charts (blank charts,
charts not updating, having to restart the charting software) and I ended up losing everything I had made on that GM trade fairly quickly.

Many positions I put on without the charts....the only thing I was using were the Futures charts and the Level II and prints going off on the stock....not a good scenario.

I had no idea where the stock was going (whether it was trending, choppy, etc) and yet I kept trying to trade.

By lunch time, I was down in the hole by a little less than $100.

I was frustrated that I let a good trade go to waste by losing it all. I finally decided that enough was enough. I went and asked the branch manager that I wanted to use eSignal for charting starting next month.

I've been putting up with crappy charting for too long now and originally I thought I would be frugal by using the free charting software offered by my prop firm.

But I feel that if I continue to lose money because of malfunctioning charts, I'd probably be better off paying for good quality charting software than to use the free one.

So, I'll have to put up with bad charting for the rest of the month, but I'll start the new year with new charts.

Anyways, I tried not to let the fact that I lost close to $500 soo quickly in the morning get to me and I tried really hard just to clear my head and focus on making good trades.

Well, the markets didn't really give me many opportunities, so I ended up waiting for a while before anything happened.

I was lucky that I caught a nice move on Rite Aid (RAD) late in the day (see good trades below), which basically was all the profits I would walk away with today.

I traded Rite Aid (RAD) a couple of times earlier in the day, mostly for scratches and then late in the day, I saw big huge size appear on the Level II (about 6000+ size showed up on the bid) at $5.09.

I didn't trust it at first, but then it moved up a penny, cleared out the $5.10 level and became the new bid. I quickly went long 5000 shares when I saw that the size was real and just held it.

It took a long while, but the size kept moving up, clearing out the next level and became the new bid. Each time the big size moved up a penny, the size got smaller until finally the big size got to the $5.15 level, at which point, the size had been reduced to 1500+ on the bid.

At the first sign of sellers, I quickly got out when I saw that the big size on the bid was quickly being hit and got out a 4-cent winner (see good trades below).

Two good trades and no bad trades today.

I found it difficult to really find good trades and I found it difficult to keep from trading. There weren't many stocks in the news that looked interesting and because I didn't have charts for most of the day, I didn't get a chance to really trade any gapping stocks today.

We were also stuck in a fairly tight trading range all day and it felt like most stocks weren't doing too much in particular.

All in all, just a tough day to trade...

Good Trades
9:34:20AM - General Motors (GM) had opened and started moving up while the Futures were sideways. I thought I was watching HPQ, so when GM broke the $30.00 level, I went long 3000 shares. As soon as that level broke, prices exploded upwards, but then the move got a little tired around the $30.15 area, so I got out as follows: 10-cent winner (1000 shares), 15-cent winner (2000 shares) ($400 profit before fees ; Long 3000 shares @ $30.00 ; Out: 9:36:23AM)
3:41:20PM - Rite Aid (RAD) was moving sideways and so were the Futures. Huge size appeared on the bid (6000+ size), but I didn't trust it at first. When it moved up a penny and cleared out the next level, I decided the size was for real and so I went long 5000 shares @ $5.11. The big size would continue moving up, wiping out levels as it went long until the big size was exhausted and I got my position out for a 4-cent winner ($200 profit before fees ; Long 5000 shares @ $5.11 ; Out: 3:51:45PM)

Bad Trades



  • Good idea to make the move to the more reliable trading platform.

    There is nothing worse than not having the confidence in your trading platform. It will cost you in time, money etc.

    You will more than make up the cost of the platform and then some.

    Good choice.

    By Anonymous StockRoach, at December 06, 2006 7:17 p.m.  

  • Stockroach,
    Thanks for your comments. Yea - even when I went up to the branch manager to ask for eSignal he said he didn't blame me...he said that if it were him, he wouldn't even consider using the free charting we were provided. I think in January they are planning to charge for that crappy charting software! Well, I'm glad I'm gonna start using least with it I can have more access to market internals like the Tick, trin, etc.

    Good luck to you and your trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at December 06, 2006 8:10 p.m.  

  • Hi JC,

    Trading the chart is so many universes apart from trading the ticker. Speaking from recent experience, it will be worth it to get reliable charting software even if you have to pay for the service.

    By Blogger Phileo, at December 06, 2006 8:26 p.m.  

  • This is meant to be in good humor, but can you really call the gm/hpq trade a "good one" when you didn't even know which stock you were in! Anyways, best wishes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 06, 2006 8:37 p.m.  

  • Phileo,
    Thanks for your comments. It's very true...I feel completely lost when I don't have charts up or I have no idea where it's been. I also can't wait to see all the different things I will be able to do with eSignal (program some scanners, etc).

    Thanks for your comments. Very true! :) I'm just glad I didn't lose money on that one (otherwise I'd be calling it a bad trade!)

    Anyways, I want to wish all of you good luck tomorrow and happy trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at December 06, 2006 8:53 p.m.  

  • I use my account /w Amibroker as the charting platform. It's only 10$/month for the data, free if you have 30$ in commissions in a month. Check it out it's way cheaper than ESignal.

    I think QuoteTracker is a free front end that also works well with the Interactive Broker platform.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 06, 2006 9:15 p.m.  

  • Anon@9:15PM,
    Thanks for your comments and thanks for your recommendations. I'll ask the branch manager and see if that is a possibility. I know one other trader that uses charts supplied by and they are also cheaper than eSignal. I'll have to review these different providers and see which one looks the best.

    Good luck to you, happy trading and thanks!

    By Blogger J.C., at December 06, 2006 10:02 p.m.  

  • Hi JV,

    How much do you have to pay for the esignal?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 07, 2006 8:14 a.m.  

  • J.C.

    I am not very good with computers, may be this is a stupid question.

    You mentioned that you read about 80 stock blogs, what program do you use to keep track of so many blogs.

    Thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at December 07, 2006 8:48 a.m.  

  • Anon@8:14AM,
    Thanks for your comments. Traders will have to pay about $100 a month, while the back office will pay for the balance of the cost. Since we are deemed as "professional", we have to pay "professional" prices (even though my trading is far from professional!).

    I currently use Bloglines to keep track of all my blogs. You could also use Google Reader. For a sample of how Bloglines work, you can go to Trader Mike's site ( and along the top, click on "Blogs I Read". Mike makes his bloglines available for public viewing and as you can see, he tracks waaaaay more blogs than me.

    Happy trading all!

    By Blogger J.C., at December 07, 2006 4:34 p.m.  

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