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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Tap For Feb 1, 2007

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.

Let's see if we can all get February off to a good start! Here's the list:
  • The homebuilder Pulte Homes Inc. (PHM) reported after the close today...it swung to a Q4 loss and missed earnings by 2-cents; it was trading lower in after-hours; PHM closed at $34.34
  • The Western Union Co. (WU) also reported after the close...it beat estimates by 2-cents while revenues were in-line with expectations; WU closed at $22.34
  • The following are some of the stocks that are reporting tomorrow before the open (please note that these are not all the stocks that are reporting tomorrow - just the ones I'm watching):

  • The Allstate Corporation (ALL)* fell heavily today on big volume...tomorrow I'll watch to see if the big boys have finished selling this stock or not; ALL closed at $60.16
  • United States Steel Corporation (X) had yet another strong day on some strong volume and convincingly made new 52-week highs...I'm watching to see if it can continue; X closed at $83.49
  • The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL)* was up almost 15% today after it reported earnings...it finished the day rather strong on big volume so I'm watching to see where it goes tomorrow; EL closed at $47.50
  • I don't know how I missed it, but Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)* reported today and finished the day higher...I'm watching to see if it can move through this congestion area; LLY closed at $54.12

Please note that those stocks denoted with a * and highlighted green indicate that they are on the SHO Pilot List which means you can short them on a downtick.

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Rare Afternoon Gains

Gross: +$655.50
Net: +$458.57
Loss From Top: $4.41
Trades: 78
Shares Traded: 182000

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola Inc. (MOT): +$319.01
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): +$307.95
Eastman Kodak Company (EK): +$130.62
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT): +$74.35
The Allstate Corporation (ALL): +$14.74
Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO): -$11.71
Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX): -$67.58
WCI Communities Inc. (WCI): -$79.96
The Boeing Company (BA): -$99.71
Altria Group Inc. (MO): -$129.13

This morning I came into the office ready to end January with a bang so that hopefully it could carry forward into February.

I think it was this mentality coupled with a dull, sideways market that I ended up losing money in the morning. There weren't any really good looking setups, but because I was aggressive, I know I put on some positions that had only mediocre setups and I was not patient enough to wait for the good opportunities.

By lunch, I was down over $300 and I was upset over the fact that I took soo many lousy trades in the morning. Even those stocks that were gapping up or down didn't really have nice moves in the morning and I should have anticipated this kind of market just before the Fed announcement.

For those that follow this blog closely know how much I complain about afternoon trading...about how I either don't make much money or I lose money during the afternoon and if I had a choice, I wouldn't trade them. And that the mornings is usually where most of my profits come from...

But today everything seemed to be the opposite. I ended up losing money in the morning and in the afternoon I managed to take some rare gains. I have the market's reaction to the Fed announcement for that.

But even when the overall markets rallied in the afternoon, I found that most of the stocks I was watching were reluctant to follow (another reason I don't seem to really like afternoon trading). Had that afternoon move occurred in the morning, I'm sure you'd see a lot more good moves made on stocks, but this afternoon I kept having to second-guess myself before putting on any positions because the stocks I was watching just didn't want to budge.

All afternoon I had to claw my way out of negative territory and the stocks I traded just didn't want to run. As a result, I wasn't really able to capture any real good gains on the day (just lots of $80 here, $100 there, $40 here).

This was not how I really wanted to end January, but a gain is a gain and considering I was prepared to go home with a $300+ loss, I'll take it.

So, that wraps up January...I'll post up my monthly review on the weekend (maybe on Friday).

However, one thing I've noticed in the past is this: whenever I have a good day to start the week, I slowly find my profits shrink as the week goes on...then late in the week, I struggle to make profits (maybe just barely break even), and then on Friday is when I usually lose a lot of money...

We'll see if this holds true for this week...if so, I expect that I hardly make anything tomorrow and I'll lose a lot of money on Friday (let's hope not). Again, this is just from my own personal observation.

Perhaps my focus and concentration declines as the week goes on, or maybe it's because I find myself mentally drained as the week goes on (I sure felt it today...I felt kind of sluggish in the afternoon today).

Oh well, better get to doing my research, then posting for my "On Tap" and then I'll see if I can get to bed early today....tomorrow is the start of a brand new month!

Good Trades
None

Bad Trades
None

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

On Tap For Wed Jan 31, 2007

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 some of the stocks I'm watching for tomorrow. Keep in mind that there is an FOMC announcement at 2:15PM tomorrow, so trade with care.
  • The Allstate Corporation (ALL)* reported after the close today and was trading down by 2.39% in after-hours trade
  • The following are some of the stocks that are reporting tomorrow before the open (please note that these are not all the stocks that are reporting tomorrow - just the ones I'm watching); I'm watching for any surprises:
  • Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX)* pushed past some resistance and ended the day strong today; I'll watch to see where it goes from here; BSX closed at $18.59
  • Pilgrim's Pride Corp. (PPC)* also managed to push through some resistance, making new 52-week highs and ended the day strong; I'm also watching this one to see where it goes; PPC closed at $31.70
  • United States Steel Corporation (X) also ended the day strong as it pushed through it's 52-week high; X closed at $80.27
  • Tesoro Corporation (TSO) looked strong again today and notched another 52-week high; though I didn't get a chance to trade it today, tomorrow I'll watch with more interest as the oil report will be released tomorrow morning; TSO closed at $81.73
Please note that those stocks denoted with a * and highlighted green indicate that they are on the SHO Pilot List which means you can short them on a downtick.

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Too Many Trades, Too Many Stocks

Gross: +$1,006.00
Net: +$894.69
Loss From Top: $41.60
Trades: 77
Shares Traded: 120600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Motorola Inc. (MOT): +$884.81
United States Steel Corporation (X): +$239.38
Alcoa Inc. (AA): +$87.28
United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS): +$58.59
Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC): +$32.98
RadioShack Corporation (RSH): +$31.92
The Proctor & Gamble Company (PG): -$1.06
Unum Provident Corporation (UNM): -$22.40
Weatherford International Ltd. (WFT): -$36.23
Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL): -$46.81
Wyeth (WYE): -$50.97
Getty Images Inc. (GYI): -$76.73
Zimmer Holdings Inc. (ZMH): -$102.56
USG Corporation (USG): -$103.47

Whoa there...look at the number of stocks I traded today....

Maybe it was because there were lots of stocks that reported earnings, or maybe it was because many of the stocks I was keeping an eye on didn't really have good looking charts, but I think I just traded too many times today and I traded too many stocks.

In fact, coming up to lunch, I only recorded 30 or so trades and the bulk of my profits were made in the first hour...

But then came the afternoon and all I did was just churn and churn and I ended up going nowhere fast. As a result, the number of trades tallied up, and the number of stocks traded piled up as well.

I could have left at 10:45AM with a little over $900 net, but I decided I'd stick around for most of the day today...but it looks like it was just a waste of my time.

I found myself constantly changing stocks and flipping the charts to other stocks to see if anything was moving all afternoon. There were a few stocks here and there, but it seemed like I was really desperate to find something to trade or to look for something that was trending.

I also really stretched my definition of a good setup and traded some positions that only looked partially good.

As a result, I took a couple of unnecessary losers and I had to make back some of what I lost. But all in all, I just hovered around the $800 and $900 mark all afternoon.

I'm starting to get used to some of those thinner stocks, but today they really gave me trouble. US Steel (X) was good, but I only managed to capture a small part of that massive move it made at around 2PM...again, I have to work on this a little more. I got spooked out of my position because when this stock started moving, the spread became huge and had me jumping out of my position...I'll work on just relying on the charts....

Took some good moves on Motorola (MOT) in the morning...in fact, I probably just needed to trade MOT today because the gains and losses on the other stocks I traded just seemed to cancel each other out.

Overall, I guess I'm glad I was able to control my losses and I didn't let any of those losers run away from me (some of my losers could have severely gone against me, but I got out before it got to that point). I was also fairly patient in allowing some of my trades to start working....but most of the time, it just resulted in a loser.

Today I also seemed to miss many good breaks on some of the stocks I was watching....some of those stocks simply exploded after breaking through a level that I tried to get in on (I'm talking about 40 and 50-cent pops immediately after breaking through).

Sheeesh! This Hybrid market sure is fast! Sometimes I'm watching for a level to break, the next thing I know, it breaks and prices are starting to run before I even have time to react! I guess I'll just have to do more anticipating in the future...

The 5-minute charts continue to keep me out of trouble...as I mentioned earlier in this post, I didn't trade as much in the morning because the charts weren't showing me anything good. This will hopefully have me trading better, higher quality setups.

Two good trades and no bad trades today.

Tomorrow's the last day of January...let's see if we can all finish it off strong!

Good Trades
10:08:28AM - Motorola (MOT) was moving up and was going to test it's intraday high at $19.50. There was big size on the offer at $19.50 and when it broke, I went long 10,000 shares. MOT popped up and stalled a few cents up, which spooked me into letting go of half my position. MOT would then continue up and I guess I was lucky that I got filled at the top of the move up. I got out as follows: 3-cent winner (5000 shares), 10-cent winner (5000 shares) ($650 profit before fees ; Long 10,000 @ $19.50 ; Out: 10:10:34AM)

10:18:29AM - US Steel (X) was moving up and was testing it's intraday high at $79.50 and when it broke, I went long 1000 shares. The move upwards was a real see-saw battle, but I managed to get out as follows: 15-cent winner (500 shares), 20-cent winner (300 shares), 25-cent winner (200 shares) ($185 profit before fees ; Long 1000 shares @ $79.50 ; Out: 10:20:18AM)

Bad Trades
None.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

On Tap For Tue Jan 30, 2007

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.

Lots and lots of earnings...I'm watching these stocks to see how they react tomorrow:
  • There are three companies that reported after the close that I'll watch tomorrow (note that these are not all the stocks that reported after the close - just the ones I'm keeping an eye on); all three were trading higher during after-hours after they reported:
  • The following stocks report before the open and will be the ones I'll watch for any surprises (note that these are not all the stocks that are reporting tomorrow morning - just the ones I'm keeping an eye on):
  • I'll keep an eye on USG Corporation (USG)* after it traded down today after a disappointing earnings report...I'm going to watch to see if there is further weakness; USG closed at $52.60
  • I'm also going to watch Tesoro Corporation (TSO) after it popped up after a good earnings report today; to burst through resistance and broke through it's 52-week high convincingly today; TSO closed at $78.55

Please note that those stocks denoted with a * and highlighted green indicate that they are on the SHO Pilot List which means you can short them on a downtick.

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From 3 To 5

Gross: +$1,165.00
Net: +$1,132.10
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 55
Shares Traded: 38200

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
USG Corporation (USG): +$381.11
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (BMY): +$228.63
Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN): +$190.60
Mattell Inc. (MAT): +$155.02
NBTY Inc. (NTY): +$64.54
Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC): +$46.15
Chemtura Corporation (CEM): +$44.55
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): +$22.45
The Stanley Works (SWK): -$0.97

For the last month or so I've been using 3-minute charts to trade (originally, I only used 1-minute charts).

Well today I changed all my 3-minute charts to 5-minute charts. And I thought the 3-minute charts did a great job of clearing out the "noise"...the 5-minute charts did an even better job!

The trends and movements of the stocks I was watching were more easily identified, which helped me in determining which stocks I should trade.

With this transition to longer time-frame charts, I'm finding that my hold times for my positions are slowly increasing as well. In the past, I used to hold positions for a maybe 30 seconds or for a minute or two.

But now I'm finding that I'm starting to hold my positions for 4 or 5 minutes now.

Now, what I really need to work on is a good exit strategy. I'm still finding myself jumping out of positions too early and I'm not giving them enough time to run. Even though I scale out of all my positions, I find myself being scared out of that last scaled position.

One reason for this might be because I'm starting to trade thinner, faster moving stocks and it kind of hurts to see a 40-cent winner retrace to become only a 20-cent winner and I feel the need to book that last chunk of profits before it becomes a loser.

And even if the charts still looks great and everything says to continue holding, I still get scared out of that last portion of my position. I'll work on this - my main problem is probably that my mental trailing stop loss is a little too close and it gets hit rather quickly.

Today I also came out a little more aggressively and I am starting to risk more. When I would normally use 500 shares, I found myself using 2000 shares today.

There were several stocks with good moves out there today...I'm glad I was not hesitant in pulling the trigger...now what I've got to work on is capturing more of those moves by holding onto them longer.

One step at a time....one step at a time.....

Three good trades versus no bad ones. I think I'll only post up charts on the really good trades and on the really bad trades, so today there's no charts.

After lunch I left the office...I had some errands I had to run. But it looks like I missed a nice little tank at around 2PM...Oh well...tomorrow is another day.

Good Trades
9:50:03AM - Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) opened up strong and I went long 2000 shares at $17.60. Prices continued moving upwards but then there was some wicked chopping moves that spooked me out of my last scaled position. I scaled out of my position as follows: 5-cent winner (500 shares), 7-cent winner (500 shares), 11-cent winner (500 shares), 15-cent winner (500 shares) ($190 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $17.60 ; Out: 9:53:25AM)

9:56:58AM - Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) started taking off and when it broke through the $28.00 level, I went long 2000 shares. BMY went up a little further, but then exhausted itself and so I scaled out as follows: 1-cent winner (500 shares), 10-cent winner (500 shares), 17-cent winner (500 shares), 18-cent winner (500 shares) ($230 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $28.00 ; Out: 10:00:01AM)

10:19:44AM - USG Corp (USG) just started falling apart and was tanking hard. I noticed USG only after it had already made a significant move downwards so I was conservative and went short 1000 shares at $53.39. USG just kept tanking and when it approached the $53.00 level, I started getting antsy because it felt as though it were levelling off. I don't know why, but I just felt uncomfortable and jumped out of the position....as you can see I could have had another 50-cents. I got out as follows: 10-cent winner (100 shares), 26-cent winner (500 shares), 32-cent winner (400 shares) ($268 profit before fees ; Short 1000 shares @ $53.39 ; Out: 10:23:08AM)

Bad Trades
None.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

On Tap For Mon Jan 29, 2007

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.

Before I get started, there are a couple of things I want to mention:

  1. I finally got around to updating the site and I've added several other blogs to the "Links To Other Blogs" section. I've been meaning to update it for a long time now, so I'm glad I finally did it (and it took me longer than I expected).
  2. For those of you who are unaware, the NYSE completed it's Phase III rollout last week Wednesday (Jan 24). This means that all stocks on the NYSE should now operate more electronically and fills should be much quicker on all stocks .
  3. Phase IV of the Hybrid market began last week Thursday (Jan 25). The main thing us traders need to be concerned with is the introduction of two new order types (the other changes are mainly for floor brokers and for the specialist). For more info, please check out the Hybrid market blog at Hybrid Talk.
  4. In my "On Tap" posts, I will start identifying stocks that are part of the SHO Pilot program with a "*" beside them and by highlighting them in green. This will mean that the stocks marked with a "*" (and highlighted green) can be shorted on a downtick as they are part of the SHO Pilot program run by the NYSE. For more info on the SHO Pilot program, check out the NYSE website and their Regulation SHO Pilot Lists.

OK - let's get down to business! I'm ready to tackle a full week of trading, so let's get things on the right foot tomorrow!

Please note that those stocks denoted with a * and highlighted green indicate that they are on the SHO Pilot List which means you can short them on a downtick.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Back To The Cold, Frozen North

Gross: +$470.00
Net: +$343.87
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 70
Shares Traded: 126800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
NBTY Inc. (NTY): +$305.27
LSI Logic Corp. (LSI): +$195.71
EMC Corp. (EMC): +$168.04
Halliburton Company (HAL): +$46.18
Chemtura Corporation (CEM): +$39.85
Honeywell International Inc. (HON): +$33.06
General Motors Corporation (GM): +$5.00
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$52.44
Novelis Inc. (NVL): -$110.29
MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR): -$286.54

Well well well...I got back yesterday afternoon, but I just had too much catching up to do that I didn't have time to post yesterday.

We had a great time...we went down there for a wedding for some friends of ours and we were surprised at the turnout (close to 60 people made it down there for the ceremony). The place we stayed at was all inclusive including alcoholic drinks so you know what kind of time we had down there. Beaches were beautiful and and weather was really nice (no rain!) and it averaged around 27 degrees Celsius (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

When we got back to Toronto, we were greeted with a bitterly cold day with the wind it felt like -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit)....almost a 50-Celsius difference (or almost a 90 degree Fahrenheit difference!).

But today was not exactly what I really wanted to come back to, but it felt good to be back on the trading floor again.

I must say that the morning was not how I wanted this trading day to begin. I had many stocks on my radar early in the morning....but I started off on the wrong foot and the first trade of the day was a $235 loser (see bad trades).

It was followed by a couple of losing trades and very quickly I found myself down by over $400.

I managed to claw my way back, but it was not an easy task. As you can see, I traded a lot of stocks that were gapping up and/or up on heavy volume.

Anyways, I still have some catching up to do so I'll keep this short and this weekend is going to be busy for me. Since I was away for most of this week, I won't be posting up a Weekend Reading, so that's all for me until Sunday night (for my On Tap post).

Have a good weekend folks!

Good Trades
12:57:35PM - NBTY Inc. (NTY) was moving up and I went long 500 shares at $51.35. I had to wait a while before this one started moving and I managed to get out as follows: 50-cent winner (100 shares), 51-cent winner (400 shares) ($254 profit before fees ; Long 500 shares @ $51.35 ; Out: 1:12:16PM)

Bad Trades
9:38:14AM - MEMC Electronic Material Inc. (WFR) opened up strong and when it broke the $51.00 level, I went long 500 shares. WFR hung around for a bit, but then just tanked good and hard. I got everything out for a 47-cent loser ($235 loser before fees ; Long 500 shares @ $51.00 ; Out: 9:40:39AM)

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

I've Been Tagged! Here Are 5 Things You May Not Know About Me

Recently, Jan over at StockMarketBlog.com tagged me, which means I must share with my readers 5 things they may not know about me.

And so, before I head off for the Bahamas, I thought I'd leave you with these 5 things you may not know about me:

  • My name is Jeff. I'm 28 and married for a little over a year. I'm 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 185 pounds and I'm what you consider a CBC (Canadian Born Chinese). My parents are originally from Malaysia and English was my first language. I can speak a little Cantonese, a little Hakka (a Chinese dialect), and I'm currently trying to learn Mandarin.


  • I used to do a lot of acting and modelling when I was in grade school and in high school. I've been in several TV ads including for Ivory Dishwashing Detergent and for TVOntario. I've also appeared in some classic Canadian TV including appearances in "Kids In The Hall" and I had a principal role in an autobiographical piece. I got to practice lines with Jeremy Irons, who was in Toronto several years ago to film M. Butterfly. I quit the business to focus on school (even though the money was damn good!).

  • I studied and practiced karate and got up to the level of Shodan-ho (the level before black belt). I also studied and practiced kung-fu for several years and learned to use the broadsword and the staff. The kung-fu school was also a lion-dance school so we put on many lion-dance performances throughout the years and we usually performed them on poles (similar to the pic on the left...sheesh..I had the courage to jump from pole to pole as in the pic, but when it comes to holding onto winners...). We also got to perform with the Shaolin monks from China whenever they came to Toronto to put on a show. I would eventually quit both to focus on school.

  • While at school, I was good at track-and-field and I went to regional and provincial finals many times. My specialties were running long jump, standing long jump, 100-meter and 200-meter races. Unfortunately I was never able to bring home any medals once I got up to the provincial finals (the highest I would get was 4th place). As I got older, I found myself unable to compete at the same level as others around me and so I never pursued track-and-field beyond high school.

  • I have an Honors degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. In fact, I didn't get a chance to finish my degree before the Toronto Transit Commission (T.T.C.) hired me as a programmer analyst. I would eventually work during the day at the T.T.C. and complete my degree in the evenings (believe me, there were many, many long nights!).
Well, that was a lot I've shared with you...maybe it was too much! Oh well, I guess it's only fair that you, the readers, know a bit more about me since you've all been so loyal.

Now according to the rules, I can now tag 5 bloggers and they have to do the same thing (tell us 5 things we may not know about you and tag 5 others). Let's see...many have already been tagged and I don't know if these guys have been tagged yet...I'm tagging the following (of course, you guys can play along only if you want to...):

Richard at Move The Markets (I think you may have already been tagged...)
Trader Mike (has no one tagged you yet?!!)
Trader Gav
Ugly (or The Chartist Formerly Known As Ugly)
Boogster

I'll be coming back on Thursday so maybe on Friday I'll trade! I want to wish all of you a great week of trading next week! Alright - I'm off to...




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Friday, January 19, 2007

Vacation Reading For Jan 20 - 21, 2007

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.

As I prepare for my trip, I hope this post can hold you over until my return. With that, here's some reading you can do while I'm on vacation!









  • Speaking of Dr. Steenbarger, Flatwallet over at The Miseducated Daytrader got a lot out of Dr. Steenbarger's new book and here he outlines what he thought of the book in Enhancing Trader Performance


  • Having a clear exit strategy is definitely something I have to work on and Downtowntrader had this great post entitled Profit Taking Strategies




  • CalTrader has been up to some interesting things lately. Here he gives us an example of a straddle trade using options in Straddle Up!


  • Scott Kramer at Optionetics.com shows us the basics of a trade from beginning to end in Steps To A Trade

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Tough Day, Lousy Week

Gross: +$391.00
Net: +$164.51
Loss From Top: $28.10
Trades: 97
Shares Traded: 173400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Abbott Laboratories (ABT): +$226.67
Citigroup Inc. (C): +$223.03
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$92.67
The Dow Chemical Company (DOW): +$55.90
Capital One Financial Corp (COF): +$14.49
Bank of New York Company Inc. (BK): +$3.01
Motorola Inc. (MOT): -$4.41
Alcoa Inc. (AA): -$62.77
Bank of America Corporation (BAC): -$94.86
General Electric Company (GE): -$121.16
Schlumberger Limited (SLB): -$168.02

Was it just me or was it tough to grind out some profits this week? Dang...I felt as though I was pushed and pulled every which way and the result was a week that has left me exhausted and tired.

It's a good thing I'm taking off to the Bahamas for most of next week...I could use some R&R after the rough and tumble week I've had.

This morning I was excited to get the trading day started because several big names came out with earnings and I was expecting a lot of movement.

I focused most of my attention on GE and MOT for the first hour of trade....unfortunately both of these stocks just chopped around for the first hour....and I got chopped around along with them.

I took big swings here and there and I lost some, I gained some and my P&L was bouncing around just as much as MOT and GE were this morning.

However I think I spent too much time trying to trade the choppiness on MOT and GE this morning when I could have spent it trading something with better moves.

All day I would just struggle and I'd find myself negative one moment, then positive the next and I never really seemed to get things going.

And that pretty much sums up how this week went as well. Kinda frustrated and I can feel it wearing me down. I was hoping for so much more in January, but so far, it looks like the same old same old.

I'll go away on vacation and hopefully it will help me put things into perspective and hopefully it'll help me get back on track. I can't keep things going the way they are...it's been like this for far too long now.

I'm not going to bother with the good trades and the bad ones....there were too many $200, $250, and $300 losers and winners this morning on GE and MOT.

Ok - that's it for now...I've got a couple of things I want to post before I head off to the Bahamas, so I better start crackin'.

Good Trades
Some

Bad Trades
Some

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Tap For Fri Jan 19, 2007

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.

Some big companies with earnings are in tonight's list...here's what I'm watching tomorrow:

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Prepping For Vacation

Gross: +$331.00
Net: +$294.60
Loss From Top: $89.09
Trades: 34
Shares Traded: 23800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Bank of New York Company (BK): +$378.81
BB&T Corporation (BBT): +$61.79
Abbott Laboratories (ABT): +$33.40
Sovereign Bancorp Inc. (SOV): +$32.23
Washington Mutual Inc. (WM): -$42.46
Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG): -$169.19

Ok folks - I gotta make this short as I still have a few things I need to do before heading out to the Bahamas next week for a friend's wedding. I'll be leaving this Sunday and coming back on Thursday, but I feel as though I'm in a rush to get things done before leaving.

Anyways, the first trade of the day was on Harley-Davidson (HOG) and it turned out to be a big loser...I traded it way too early (it had just opened for trading for the day). I went long 1000 shares when I thought the $71.50 level broke...it went up a few cents, but quickly came back down...at one point my blotter was showing me a $350 loser, but HOG just bounced around everywhere and I managed to get out for a $160 loser (see bad trades).

I felt as though I needed to be aggressive today...obviously it wasn't aggressive enough. I took a few good trades on Bank of New York (BK), but I also focused on waiting for the right opportunity.

And I couldn't believe the number of level breaks I missed today. I'd either get a partial fill or I'd miss out on everything. It seemed like every time I wanted to get in on a level break, there was a split second hesitation....not quite sure what was holding me back.

By the time I knew it, it was lunch. But then I took a few small trades here and there during the lunch hour and I found that it was starting to happen again.....the same sequence of events were starting to unfold today and during the lunch hour I quickly lost over $100.

Anyways, I took off after 1PM because I really needed to get some things done (which I put off for two trading days in a row).

Two good trades and one bad one...not gonna post up charts today.

Ok - gotta run...I'll post up my "On Tap" post later tonight.

Good Trades
9:35:53AM - I went long Bank of New York (BK) when it broke the $40.60 level. I tried to get long 2000 shares, but only got 900 shares. I got out as follows: 20-cent winner (100 shares), 21-cent winner (300 shares), 24-cent winner (500 shares) ($203 profit before fees ; Long 900 shares @ $40.60 ; Out: 9:38:26AM)

10:22:06AM - Bank of New York (BK) came up to the $41 level and when it broke, I went long 2000 shares. Got out as follows: 4-cent winner (100 shares), 8-cent winner (400 shares), 9-cent winner (500 shares), 10-cent winner (400 shares), 11-cent winner (500 shares) ($176 profit before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $41.00 ; Out: 10:23:15AM)

Bad Trades
9:31:49AM - Harley-Davidson (HOG) opened and started moving up. When it came up to the $71.50 level, I went long 1000 shares. HOG moved up, then dropped like a rock. It moved down over 30-cents and my blotter briefly showed a $350 loser, but HOG just bounced right back and I managed to get out as follows: 8-cent loser (100 shares), 9-cent loser (500 shares), 27-cent loser (200 shares), 28-cent loser (100 shares), 30-cent loser (100 shares) ($165 loser before fees ; Long 1000 shares @ $71.50 ; Out: 9:32:12AM)

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On Tap For Thu Jan 18, 2007

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.

Earnings, earnings, and bidding wars?!? Here's the list:

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4 Mistakes

Gross: -$432.00
Net: -$582.82
Loss From Top: $1,048.05
Trades: 74
Shares Traded: 122800

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Health Management Associates Inc. (HMA): +$242.43
AMR Corporation (AMR): +$121.88
JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM): +$83.18
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV): +$9.87
Lear Corporation (LEA): -$47.68
Mellon Financial Corporation (MEL): -$63.06
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD): -$65.57
Equity Office Properties Trust (EOP): -$84.24
Corning Incorporated (GLW): -$96.93
Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX): -$105.86
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$200.68
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): -$376.65

My goodness gracious! Absolutely terrible!

Today was definitely not my day...perhaps almost getting hit by a car twice while coming into the office should have clued me in on what kind of day I was up against.

In all honesty the losses today were just a lack of focus and poor decision making.

In fact, the morning went as per usual...I was up close to $500 heading into lunch.

I wanted to take the afternoon off because I wanted to get some errands done (which I missed doing yesterday)...

BUT, in a near repeat performance from yesterday, I would lose it all...only this time I wasn't able to pull myself out of the hole I dug. I would end up staying for most of the trading day.

Over the course of the afternoon, I lost over $1000 (see my loss from top). I just couldn't believe how almost every trade I put on went against me. All afternoon I'd either get out of a trade too early (the position would have gone my way) or I'd give the position too much time, hoping it would eventually go my way (which they didn't and I'd end up having to eat a big loss).

I think I've really got to re-consider trading in the afternoons. For the rest of this week I will refrain from trading during lunch and once lunch is over, I'm going to force myself out of there (whether I'm up or not). Yesterday I lost almost $500 in the afternoon (though I made some back) and today I lost over $1000 in the afternoon.

I was really pissed off when I left the office, but after coming home and calming down a bit, I really thought long and hard about how this could have happened.

Let's see....what did I do wrong....well, there were a couple of mistakes...

Mistake #1 - I traded aggressively during lunch
I don't know why, but for the second straight trading day in a row I tried to trade aggressively during lunch. It was perhaps my push to make more money or perhaps it was one of those "one last trade before I leave" kind of deals. Well that trade during the lunch hour turned out to be a bad one (again it was on ConocoPhillips (COP)), which would lead to mistake #2...

Mistake #2 - I tried going for some fast money to recover what I had lost
Even after I identified this as a problem in yesterday's post, I tried going for a cheapie trade again (I'm really starting to hate Mr. Cheapie). It was almost like an automatic reaction and even though I knew I shouldn't do it, I did it anyways (talk about lack of self control). Maybe I was upset that the previous trade put my afternoon off in jeopardy or maybe I was just flat out upset. Anyways, I quickly found myself in a Time Warner (TWX) trade on 10,000 shares. While in the TWX position, I was thinking to myself "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING!!!". Well I'd end up losing $350 on the TWX trade

Mistake #3 - My emotions took over my trading
Shortly after that TWX trade, my emotions took full control and I found that I was not able to fully assess my trades nor did I seem to have the power to control what I did. I just kept swinging from one losing trade to another. I also kept flipping stocks (as you can see by the number of stocks I traded today) and even if the trade didn't have a good setup, I found myself taking the position anyways.

Mistake #4 - I relied on "hope"
As my afternoon went from bad to worse, I was finding myself in bad losing positions and "hoping" that prices would come back to at least break even. I held onto some bad losers that I would have normally exited for a small loser...but I just couldn't believe how everything wasn't working and I started "hoping" the position would turn around. Obviously it didn't help one bit. Not believing the kind of luck I was having, I found that I was saying to myself "I cannot believe that this is the 10th trade in a row for a loss....come on, just come back so that I can break even...I simply refuse to believe that this day is going to be this bad...".

So there you have it. It was almost the same sequence of events as yesterday...only yesterday when it came to Mistake #3 I caught myself and I managed to turn it around before Mistake #4 took over.

I'm usually fairly good at controlling things like Mistake #3 and Mistake #4, but I think having two frustrating trading days in a row just aggravated everything and it all came out today....as a result, I just blew myself up.

Overall the day was a roller coaster ride for me and as a result, I didn't clearly write out my good and bad trades (some info missing from here and there).

I know there was one good trade, but there may have been 3 or more bad ones. Unfortunately most of the details were sketchy and some of them I didn't record the times or the prices or the share size. Thus, I'm not going to review the good trades and bad trades tonight.

To tell you the truth, I was really upset about today's trading and I really didn't want to review it....but after writing this post out, I'm feeling much more comfortable about what went wrong and what I need to be more aware of to avoid this kind of day.

So I hope all you readers take away some lessons from today's post....I lost $1000 today and I hope the lessons I learned today can help you in your trading.

Good Trades
There was one on HMA this morning

Bad Trades
There were a couple...unfortunately I didn't really write out the details clearly.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

On Tap For Wed Jan 17, 2007

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.

Lots of earnings before the bell tomorrow. Here's what I'm watching:
  • Some airline stocks are reporting earnings tomorrow morning including AMR Corporation (AMR) and Southwest Airlines Company (LUV)...both were up big today so I'll see how they react once their earnings are out; AMR closed at $40.23 and LUV closed at $16.17
  • Some financial stocks are also reporting tomorrow morning including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Mellon Financial Corporation (MEL); JPM closed at $48.39 and MEL closed at $43.42
  • Two other stocks that are reporting tomorrow morning include the insurance company The Progressive Corporation (PGR) and home builder Lennar Corporation (LEN); PGR closed at $23.38 and LEN closed at $49.72
  • The bidding war continues for Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX)...after the close, Express Scripts Inc. upped it's bid for CMX as it's bidding war with CVS Corp heats up...CVS Corp responded by adding a special $2 dividend as part of the offer; CMX was trading up over 2% in after-hours; CMX closed at $56.25
  • Lear Corporation (LEA) was up strongly today and is approaching resistance/52-week high; I'm watching the $34 level; LEA closed at $33.47
  • Finally, I'm going to continue to watch Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) as it may fall in sympathy with Intel after Intel reported earnings that were disappointing after the close; AMD closed at $18.13

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Mr. Cheapie

Gross: +$271.00
Net: +$143.30
Loss From Top: $276.01
Trades: 71
Shares Traded: 108600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD): +$171.89
Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC): +$166.60
US Bancorp (USB): +$155.34
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$91.98
Rite Aid Corporation (RAD): +$66.17
CSX Corporation (CSX): -$32.84
Wells Fargo & Company (WFC): -$63.74
EMC Corporation (EMC): -$169.43
AMR Corporation (AMR): -$242.67

What a tough day it was for me today. It was tough to trade and the errors in judgement were very costly.

Once the opening bell rang this morning, I had a difficult time finding good opportunities.

After the first hour of trade....I hadn't really traded at all! That first hour is usually the "money" hour for me, so it was definitely a disappointing start to the day.

Luckily I was able to make some profits here and there and by lunch I was up about $400.

But then it happened....

I put on a trade during lunch on ConcoPhillips (COP) that lost me a bundle and that basically tripped me up for the rest of the day (see bad trades below).

Well after I had lost that bundle, I felt I needed to make that money back because I wanted to leave early today.

It seems like every time I get myself in a jam or I feel pressured to make money, I turn into "Mr. Cheapie".

Mr. Cheapie is a guy who looks for those thick stocks, goes in with a big position and tries to make a few pennies (in other words, a cheapie trade). It's fine if the thick stock is moving or trending, but if it's moving sideways, Mr. Cheapie is just looking for trouble.

Well guess what happened after that COP trade...Mr. Cheapie paid me a visit and I quickly found myself in an EMC trade.....a trade in which I would lose more money (I'd lose almost $150 on that trade).

If I felt the need to make money after the COP trade, you can imagine how I felt after losing even more money on EMC.

Anyways, once those two trades happened, it just set me up for a rough afternoon....an afternoon in which I'd see myself lose everything I had made on the day....an afternoon in which I'd see myself get into negative territory...and an afternoon in which there were a few questionable trades.

I had to claw my way back into positive territory and by 3:15PM, I was feeling beat and I decided to call it a day.

Today there were several trades in which I thought I'd give a little more time to work themselves out...unfortunately I gave them a little too much time and I found myself having to eat big losers in the process.

There were also a couple of trades that started off as a great winner, but I'd later find myself chasing prices to get out of the position for a loss. One trade in particular was on AMR Corp (AMR).

When AMR broke the $39 level, I tried to get 2000 shares, but got partially filled for only 600. So I held this position and was quickly a 25-cent winner. I decided to hold for a little longer, but then prices just seemed to move fast and it resulted in a 10-cent loser.

I also had this happen to me on ConocoPhillips (COP) as well.

There were two bad trades and no good ones today. I'm not going to bother posting up the charts tonight...

Anyways, I'm still pretty beat and today's trading just seemed very exhausting...hopefully tomorrow I can get back in the groove...

Good Trades
None.

Bad Trades
12:18:18PM - ConocoPhillips (COP) was moving down while the Futures were flat. COP came down to the $63.00 level and when it broke, I went short 2000 shares. Well COP went in my favor briefly, but went back up. The 3-minute chart still looked promising, so I gave this position more time....perhaps I gave it too much time and I had to get out as follows: 9-cent loser (1500 shares), 10-cent loser (500 shares) ($185 loser before fees ; Short 2000 shares @ $63.00 ; Out: 12:21:44PM)

1:46:27PM - AMR Corp (AMR) was moving up while the Futures were flat. AMR came up to the $40.00 level and when it broke I went long 2000 shares. Initially it went in my favor, but I held too long until I couldn't take it any more and I bailed on this position. I got out as follows: 10-cent loser (1000 shares), 11-cent loser (1000 shares) ($210 loser before fees ; Long 2000 shares @ $40.00 ; Out: 1:49:50PM)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

On Tap For Tue Jan 16, 2007

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.

After a nice long weekend, I'm ready to get this week started! Here are some of the stocks I'm watching:

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Long Weekend Reading For Jan 13 - 15, 2007

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.

Here are lots of great reads for your long weekend. Enjoy and hopefully you'll learn something!


  • Kevin shares some interesting thoughts about The Holy Grail and some of the important aspects of trading in Some Thoughts About Trading

  • Jan at StockMarketBlog.com shares with us Some Of What I Do (but as mentioned in the post, you should find your own unique trading strategy that works for you!)



  • Here, Caravaggio at The 3500 gives us some great quotes that can be applied to trading from the book Risk & Chance



  • Tyro reviews with us some of the things he does to keep his mind in the game in Keeping Focused










  • Here again is Chris at Daily Trade Activity and does some great analysis in Larger Gains vs. Higher Accuracy (Chris loves posting up charts and there are lots here again!)




  • There are many traders that follow Kirk from the Kirk Report religiously and here he shares what he does in My Stock Screen Routine

  • Words of wisdom always seem to emanate from Richard over at Move The Markets and here he shares some thoughts to chew on in Trade Your Way To Happiness

Have an excellent long weekend folks! I'll be back on Monday with my "On Tap" post.

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Almost Bored To Death....Almost....

Gross: +$488.44
Net: +$403.59
Loss From Top: $81.37
Trades: 54
Shares Traded: 58288

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD): +$526.81
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$72.23
United Technologies Corporation (UTX): +$61.38
Alcan Inc. (AL): -$2.56
SAP AG (SAP): -$6.85
Corning Incorporated (GLW): -$32.35
Genentech Inc. (DNA): -$100.56
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): -$114.49

Well what a day it was today.

I decided to stick around and try to trade the whole day since I went out for a long lunch and I was going to meet up with my wife today after work (if you consider trading as work).

In the morning I was anticipating the trading that was going to occur on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

The first trade of the day was on AMD and it was merely to test the waters...unfortunately I took it for a loss, but I kept my position relatively small and I got a feel for how AMD was going to move in the morning (an overall trend, but a lot of up and down motion to put up with).

I then caught a nice move to the downside on AMD (see good trades below)...I really tried to set aside my fear and when prices occasionally retraced, I had the courage to hold on. I could have used a little more patience on this trade, but there was a wicked chop up that scared the crap out of me and had me dump half my position.

But as it tried to make it's way down, I felt as though AMD were really fighting the move down and I got worried again, so I dumped the other half. Though I caught a good portion of the move down, I could have taken more.

I'll keep working on this, but my trade on AMD really had me fighting that feeling to get out (since prices were just sooo up and down....it would go down a few cents, bounce back up 5 cents, then continue back down, but then jump back up 5 cents again).

I shorted AMD again when it broke the $18.00 level, but I hardly held onto it long enough.

But once the big move down on AMD was over, there really wasn't any real good trading on any of the stocks I was watching (well, for me at least).

For the rest of the morning, about half my gains were erased as I had real difficulty finding good opportunities. At 11:30AM, I met up with my wife for lunch and didn't come back into the office until about 1:30PM.

But the rest of the afternoon was a complete snooze-fest. I ended up sitting and watching the markets for the majority of the afternoon and I was able to make a little bit of what I lost back, but I focused on not forcing anything.

The afternoon just felt like an eternity and seemed to drag it's feet ever so slowly...and I caught myself a couple of times wanting to trade just out of boredom. Shortly after 2PM, most of the traders at the office called it a day (I guess they were bored to death as well). I'm just glad I didn't do anything stupid late in the afternoon.

Anyways, a long weekend is upon us...I just wish I had another whole week to trade as I will be away on vacation from Jan 22 - Jan 26 (this time, we're heading to the Bahamas).

Have a great weekend folks...I'll post up my Weekend Reading either tonight or tomorrow morning.

Good Trades
9:45:57AM - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was downtrending while the Futures were moving up. I saw some size on the bid break at $18.30, so I went short 2000 shares. Rode it down (though I had several strong desires to get out several times) and when AMD encountered it's first major bounce, I got half out. AMD continued going down, but I felt as though it were struggling to go lower and got the other half out (but as you can see, my feelings were wrong). I got out as follows: 15-cent winner (1000 shares), 26-cent winner (1000 shares) ($410 profit before fees ; Short 2000 shares @ $18.30 ; Out: 9:55:37AM)


Bad Trades
None.

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