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

Friday, January 05, 2007

Upsetting The Routine

Gross: -$380.00
Net: -$615.98
Loss From Top: $615.98
Trades: 84
Shares Traded: 212200

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): +$66.02
Motorola Inc (MOT): +$58.26
Limited Brands Inc. (LTD): +$24.81
The Gap Inc. (GPS): -$57.54
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): -$69.69
streetTRACKS Gold (GLD):-$78.92
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): -$81.72
Corning Incorporated (GLW): -$113.28
Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL): -$115.59
EMC Corporation (EMC): -$248.31

Ohh geeez....

Not the best way to finish the week and I'm not too happy about it.

This morning they upgraded the software we use (or at least did something to it) and resulted in most traders not being able to load their layout.

We all tried various things, but the new upgraded software just refused to load up our trading layout. And boy did this frustrate many of us.

When a few of us complained, the branch manager just told us to set everything up again and that re-doing our layouts should "not be a big deal". Well let me tell you it WAS a big deal.

We had to set-up our Level II windows, set-up the fonts, the colours, the column widths, the time and sales, the various options, what should be displayed on each of the Level IIs, how info should be displayed, set-up our keys, adjust default share size, etc.

When I get into the office, I expect that everything should work, which should give me plenty of time to get prepared for the day (which includes catching up on the morning news, seeing what's gapping, getting my morning coffee, etc).

By going through this morning routine everyday, I feel ready for the trading day and I feel my focus and concentration are at their peak.

But having to setup EVERYTHING again took me more than an hour to do, which upset my routine. Even by adjusting and fiddling around with it, I was still not able to get my layout to be exactly as it was before.

It was unfortunate too...I had my eye on Motorola this morning and while I was still tinkering with my layout, I tried to get long on it early in the morning.

So I tried to go long 5000 shares on MOT when I saw it moving upwards. I quickly tried to put in the order and it took me a couple of seconds to determine what exactly was being shown in my order log (since the default layout has a stupid way of displaying info to the user), and I found I was trying to short 500 shares.


I quickly cancelled and realized that I hadn't setup my keys.

By the time I had everything in place and my layout and options all setup, it was 10:30AM.

Once I had everything sort-of in place, I found that I now had no idea what was in the news, what was moving, and how the stocks I had on my watchlist were reacting.

Since my routine was upset, I found that for the rest of the day, I didn't really know what to trade nor did I feel I was in tune with the markets. I stumbled and fumbled my way through the rest of the day.

By lunch I was down $200. And since I was down, I figure I might as well stay for the afternoon to see if I could get myself out of it.

In the afternoon, I made desperate attempts to try to get into positive territory, which I know was a mistake. I ended up over-trading on a day that just chopped around.

As the day wore on, I felt as if I really had to do something because I had missed opportunities in the morning and the day was slowly wearing away and that if I didn't do anything now, time will expire and I'd end up negative.

Well, this thinking had me sinking into the red even further.

Whenever something like this happens, I always find myself losing focus and I also find myself ignoring some of my trading rules. A day like today meant that a lot of sitting and waiting should have been called for...but because I felt like I missed opportunities and because I kept trying to fiddle around with my layout, my concentration was constantly broken.

And the closer to the closing bell came, the more I felt I had to trade.

MAYBE if everything was working this morning, I could have concentrated more and perhaps even come away with some profits AND I might have even taken the afternoon off.

Oh well...I've got to learn to keep my concentration and focus on the task at hand no matter what may be occurring either to the environment or to the software we use.

Yea, there were probably some bad trades, but I was too frustrated at the goings on at the office and with what I missed that I didn't bother writing stuff out in my trading journal.

By missing my morning routine, I felt as though I was not prepared for the day. By missing the first hour of trade, I felt like I missed the day completely. By having to constantly adjust my layout throughout the day, I felt like my concentration and focus were lacking.

I might be heading out of town again this weekend, so I'll try to post some stuff tomorrow morning or maybe later this evening.

Good Trades
Probably weren't any.

Bad Trades
Too frustrated to write anything



  • Hey JC,

    Yeah I hear ya on the routine thing. If I wake up even 15 minutes later then usual, it feels like the whole morning I'm rushing to play catchup and it just throws me off and makes me lose my concentration.

    My day pretty much mirrored yours as far as being in the hole, overtrading trying to get back into green. I hate the fact that I sometimes have trouble controling that impulse.

    Anyways hope you have a good weekend :-)

    By Anonymous Jan, at January 05, 2007 10:57 p.m.  

  • Here's a tip I use, regarding upgrades. Make a copy of your Prospero directory (on your c:\) and name it something like Prospero.[YOURLOGIN].[version].[YYYYMMDD].

    Do this before each upgrade, that way, you will always have the old working version (with your own personnal settings) to work with in case the new one does not work out. This morning I just copied everything from my old backed up .22 version (including layouts & settings) and then copied the new program files from the network drive. It worked great because the 'upgrade' was actually a downgrade to a previous version.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 05, 2007 11:13 p.m.  

  • Jan,
    Thanks for your comments. Yea, I don't really like to be rushed into doing things and without doing my routine, I find myself lost. Like you said, we've just got to fight that impulse to trade, otherwise you'll end up losing even more money (like I did today).

    Thanks for your comments and thanks for the suggestions! Yea, it was kind of a mess this morning. I tried to copy my files from the Beta directory, but they didn't seem to work. I know there were some traders who were able to get it to work. Thanks for your help and I'll keep that in mind next time!

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    By Blogger J.C., at January 05, 2007 11:26 p.m.  

  • Hey JC, I knew it sucks, but it took me 10 mins to set up the layout. I have a quite simple layout. And my color is usually "ugly".

    By Blogger ADAM, at January 06, 2007 1:36 p.m.  

  • Adam,
    Thanks for your comments. Hehehe...yea, I haven't had to re-do my layout since...well, since I was a trainee!! It took me a while to figure out the certain flags to exclude in the time & sales and a while to figure out why my Futures time & sales were not working. I then had a fun time trying to adjust the activity, trade, and order logs to display what I'm used to seeing. Hopefully if it happens again, my mind is still "fresh" in how to set things up again. Good luck to you in 2007!

    By Blogger J.C., at January 07, 2007 6:22 p.m.  

  • great honesty in trading. You still providing, tips and updates somewhere else? seems like its been quiet. Let me know please.

    By Anonymous stock blog, at February 01, 2012 2:53 p.m.  

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