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

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Straying From The Game-Plan

Gross: -$112.00
Net: -$249.90
Loss From Top: $485.65
Trades: 62
Shares Traded: 147400

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
EMC Corporation (EMC): +$269.96
Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX): +$87.61
Alcoa Inc (AA): -$2.58
SUPERVALUE Inc. (SVU): -$12.02
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): -$38.62
Sprint Nextel Corporation (S): -$49.52
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT): -$74.98
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): -$76.98
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): -$351.86

Nothing was clicking for me today.

The last two trading days I've noticed that I'm starting to stray from my game-plan. Instead of focusing on the stocks-in-the-news, I'm starting to go back to my regular habits and regular stocks.

Today I came in without a real plan for the day. I knew Sprint Nextel (S) was bound to move, but I never really watched this stock closely.

What I ended up doing was trying to go for the "cheapie" plays by going in long or short 10,000 shares of a thick stock and trying to pick pennies.

It seems like I've been doing this for the last two trading days....yesterday I came away with profits, but only because EMC was in play. But on a day like today, trying to play like I did yesterday will probably lose you money.

I think what happened was that last week I came in aggressive and focused on sticking with my game plan.

But then I lost money on Friday and like a frightened turtle, I went back into my trading shell and started trading the way I did before...by playing it conservatively and trying to catch those "cheapie" moves.

I realize this now, but only after I lost money again today.

All morning I was soo focused on these thicker, slower moving stocks that I missed a lot of other moves elsewhere. Yea, sure, I traded a few of the other active stocks today, but I never really gave them the attention they deserved.

Pfizer (PFE) really beat me today...I kept letting myself fall for the tricks it plays and I ended up losing a lot of money on it today. Why did I even bother trying to trade this stock?

Part of the problem is that if I pull away with some profits on one day, I assume I can do it again the following day. But it doesn't work that way. PFE hardly moved at all, yet I traded PFE over and over again.

PFE is like a drug...I'd put on a trade on it, make money and assume I can make money on the next trade...but then I'd lose money on the next trade on it, which makes me want to trade it again to re-capture what I had lost....then you'd make money on the next trade, but then lose money on the next two trades on it....it's seemed very much like those suckers who play the slot machines...they reward you just enough to keep you hooked, but in the end, you just end up losing.

I've got to smarten up. I cannot let a down day get me to trade the way I was trading before. I've also really got to get out of my comfort zone. It seems to me that everytime I have a bad day, I pull myself back into the comfort zone. Then I blast myself for not taking more risks after a string of unimpressive results while in my comfort zone.

What I've got to do is accept the fact that negative days will be part of the game and accept that they will occur.

I've also gotten very sloppy the last few trading days.

You know you're getting sloppy when you're not writing stuff down in your trading journal. And the last few trading days I haven't been keeping a good record of my trades.

I know I had some bad trades today, but I didn't bother writing them out.

Anyways, at around noon we had problems with routing orders to the New York book and I took that as a sign to go home.

But believe me, I really wanted to stay to try to make some money back, but I figure that I didn't really come in today with a plan, nothing was really clicking in the morning, and I didn't want to end the day by saying "I should have left after lunch".

Tomorrow morning I'll try to get myself hyped up (like last week) and ready to go....WITH a game-plan.

Good Trades
There might have been one or two.

Bad Trades
There were at least two.

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2 Comments:

  • Sounds like you know the problem, and the solution. That puts you ahead of most people who had trading losses today!

    When you think about it, everything in life goes in cycles of strength and weakness. You can't expect to be hyped up and meticulous every day, any more than you can expect to win every day. You'll just be disappointed if you do. To me, the only thing anyone can do is recognize the off days in-progress, and take steps to avoid losing more money.

    By Anonymous Richard, at January 10, 2007 5:22 AM  

  • Hey Richard,
    Thanks for your comments. Some great words of wisdom - thanks! Yea, perhaps I'm pushing it too much sometimes...I guess it's because I see some people who seem soo consistent day in and day out and I feel as though I should be consistent as well. I'm just glad I can get it all out and assess the situation in my blog!

    Good luck and happy trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at January 10, 2007 5:39 PM  

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