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

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Need To Make Money

Gross: +$791.00
Net: +$468.43
Loss From Top: 0
Trades: 76
Shares Traded: 307200

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
EMC Corporation (EMC): +$891.13
Pfizer Inc (PFE): +$140.97
Alcoa Inc. (AA): +$78.69
Ceridian Corporation (CEN): +$75.11
General Electric Company (GE): +$11.17
Caremark Rx Inc. (CMX): -$25.89
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): -$329.89
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU): -$372.85


What could have been a great day ended up being only a mediocre one because today was plagued by mistakes on my part.

For whatever reason, this morning I couldn't seem to catch a good swing in any of the stocks I was trading today. Oh sure, there were several stocks that were moving at the start of trading, but I would either only take a small profit on them or they'd end up being small losers....either that or I'd miss a level break or a move.

Before I knew it, an hour and a half had gone by and I hadn't been able to make much headway in terms of fact, I had lost about $300 coming up to 11AM.

It was at that point I felt a great need....

I felt a great need to make money.

Whenever I seem to get this need to make money, I always seem to be drawn to those thicker, fat stocks. Maybe it's because I feel it's easy to make a quick buck on them, or maybe it's because the profit potential can be huge on them...I don't know.

However, it was this kind of mentality that had me making mistakes all afternoon. Sure, I caught a few good trades on EMC today (see good trades below), but it was because of this need to make money that I continued to trade both Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Time Warner (TWX).

I felt like the quickest way to big bucks was to keep trading these stocks and because of the state of mind I was in, I kept taking lousy setups on these stocks.

As a result of my impatience, loss of focus and my need to make a quick buck, I collectively lost over $700 on these two stocks (on ALU and TWX).

Perhaps had I been in a clearer state of mind, I would have avoided putting on those trades and I would have probably traded a lot less than I did today.

I'm just thankful that EMC had some nice downtrending action today because this stock basically carried the day for me today.

But look at the fees I was paying today! This was mainly because I was trading with 10,000+ share orders and most of the time I ended up punching into a position and punching out of a position (I think that equates to about $30 round trip when using ISI). I really did try to get out of my positions on ARCA or Island today (for some credits), but things just kept moving back and forth I ended up having to punch out.

Anyways, two good trades and no bad ones (all my losses on TWX and ALU were $50, $100 or $150 losses).

All in all, today just felt like a frustrating trading day....

Good Trades
10:34:00AM - EMC Corp (EMC) was downtrending and so I went short 10,000 shares @ $14.57. EMC moved down slowly and I waited until it reached the $14.55 level and when it broke, I went short another 5000 shares (altogether I was short 15,000 shares). I took my profits as follows: 2-cent winner (5000 shares), 5-cent winner (9000 shares), 6-cent winner (1000 shares) ($610 profit before fees ; Short 10,000 shares @ $14.57, Short 5000 shares @ $14.55 ; Out: 10:57:17AM)

11:55:20AM - EMC Corp (EMC) continued it's downtrend and when the $14.50 level broke, I went short 10,000 shares. EMC fell fairly quickly after breaking the $14.50 level, so I took my profit as follows: 3-cent winner (4400 shares), 4-cent winner (1200 shares), 5-cent winner (4400 shares) ($400 profit before fees ; Short 10,000 shares @ $14.50 ; Out: 11:59:33AM)

Bad Trades
None...just a lot of $50, $100, and $150 losers on TWX and ALU



  • it seems you have fallen to the pattern that loosing in the morning while backing track in the afternoon...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 13, 2007 9:48 p.m.  

  • Anon@9:48PM,
    Thanks for your comments. Yea, for a few trading days I've seemed to have fallen into that trap (not making money in the morning and having to make some of it back in the afternoon). Hopefully it won't last's been a while since I've taken an afternoon off and I kind of miss it!

    Good luck and good trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at February 13, 2007 9:53 p.m.  

  • I feel the same thing to when I am flat or negative for the day. All the rules seem to fall off the table as I focus on making money and not on trading the right setups.

    It's good that you came back.

    By Blogger OBAT, at February 14, 2007 1:36 a.m.  

  • Yeah, the psychological need to make money can mess with your head and cloud your judgment in picking out or waiting for the good setups. I can relate, since it's happened (and is still happening) to me as well.

    By Blogger Phileo, at February 14, 2007 2:00 a.m.  

  • OneBadTrade & Phileo,
    Thanks to both of you for your comments. Often times if I don't have a good morning, I'll feel "rushed" to do something or I feel as though the afternoon will not yield as many opportunities for me to make some money. In the future, I hope to contain this feeling so that I can relieve the pressure to do something.

    Good luck and good trading to both of you!

    By Blogger J.C., at February 14, 2007 7:15 a.m.  

  • Well you aren't alone in the "need to make money". This week I've been prone to entering too early, exiting too early and being far too impatient with just about every setup.

    To help combat this, I've decided that if I fail to trade my setups (and I have them pretty well defined) my punishment is to go back to simulated trades the next day. This will force me to take the trades the way they should be taken instead of trying to get "greedy".

    Thinking about having to go back to simulator kept me from doing some stupid things today so I think this might be a good way to monitor oneself.

    Good luck.


    By Blogger Lord Tedders, at February 14, 2007 12:39 p.m.  

  • "I think that equates to about $30 round trip when using ISI"

    Can you plese tell me what is ISI?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2007 4:16 p.m.  

  • Tedders,
    Thanks for your comments. Yea, sometimes I just get too caught up in making every day a good day. Let us know if your "punishment" works or helps get you back on the right track!

    Thanks for your comments. We use ISI to send our orders directly to the NYSE (i.e. it doesn't go to any of the ECNs). Hope it helps!

    By Blogger J.C., at February 14, 2007 4:55 p.m.  

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