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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Weekend Reading For Mar 31 - Apr 1, 2007

In "Weekend Reading" I'll collect what I thought were the best posts and articles for the week from various bloggers.

The reason I do this is because I find it difficult to integrate links to other great blogs in my posts, so this is a way for me to give back.

I only focus on posts and links that relate to trader improvement or trading in general.

This week I found that there were lots of great articles out there! Keep it coming guys! You folks are doing a great job and providing a great services for all of us out there!

Here's this week's edition:

  • Here's a video by Richard at MoveTheMarkets that is similar to what I look for in a's called How I Stalk A Breakout

  • TraderGav had this great collection of charts in which he re-visited some of the good trades he's had in My Dummy Trade Fest I

  • Over at the Profiling Leadership blog they list several blogs that are worth reading in Blogs I Like (1st Edition) (thanks for the mention guys :))

Alright folks - that's it for me for now. Tomorrow I'll try to do some number crunching and punch out my review for March (it ain't gonna be pretty....) so in the meantime, rest up, relax, and prepare for April!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 30, 2007

A Tired Mind & Body

Hey there folks...

Sorry for the irregularity in my posts....

Last night after the trading day we went to a concert (yet again) and didn't get back until very late and today I did trade, but felt very tired the whole day.

Not that much happened the last two days...up $41 yesterday, down $190 today. These past two days could have probably been better spent with my mind off the markets.

I don't really feel much like getting into my trading day today as I feel extremely tired from an exhausting month. I also feel as though I'm not in a very good state of mind right now and thus probably won't have anything very intelligent to say.

I haven't tallied everything up yet, but I have a feeling I'm probably down on the month by a couple hundred bucks.

March has certainly taken a toll on me and I know that my attitude has been rotten for most of the month. I have a few things to post on the weekend, but I would rather spend it resting up and preparing for a brand new month ahead.

BUT, the coming of a new month usually means a coming of a new attitude, a new outlook, and a fresh new start. So with that, I bid March adieu and I very much welcome the coming of April.

I really hope you folks out there had a more successful March than I had and I want to wish all of you some great trading in April!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Gross: -$331.00
Net: -$351.98
Trades: 29

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Valero Energy Corp (VLO): +$23.86
Beazer Homes Inc. (BZH): -$26.84
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): -$47.81
Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL): -$77.91
Citigroup Inc. (C): -$96.36
Motorola Inc. (MOT): -$126.93

So? What else is new?

It seems like almost every day this month I start the day off with a string of losers.

So what else is new?

And every day seems like such a struggle...even just to come away with some profits for the day.

Today was just another one of those days where nothing seemed to work.

So what else is new?

Every post this month just seems like a broken record...I can't make money in the morning, I can't make money in the afternoon....

So what else is new?

And because I've been trading soo damned poorly lately, the maximum I'm allowed to lose on any given day is $350....once I lose $350, the system shuts me down.

How things have changed for the worse so quickly....

Every day I used to wake up and actually get excited about getting the day started and I often wished there were no weekends because I couldn't wait to get back on the trading floor. Not so any more...

There are some days that I come in and I'm not motivated to trade and and there are days that I just feel as though I don't want to trade at all.....that's how bad it's's almost become like a job now....but much worse because you aren't paid like a regular job.

March just threw me a curveball and I haven't been able to adjust accordingly. And it totally came out of left field as I would never have imagined having as horrid a month as I have had.

Well played Mr. Market....well played....I give win in March. Many others have adapted quickly and here I am stuck in a rut and unable to get myself out of it.

Obviously what I'm doing is not working any least not right now.

The sad thing about all this is that on all the losing days I've had this month (which has been quite a lot), I don't really think I've learned from them.

There seems to be too much "wishing" my trading would turn around and not enough "doing" something about it. Sure I've acknowledged that what I was doing was not working, but seriously? I don't think I did anything about it....oh sure, I tried to avoid certain riskier plays, I've taken days off, and I've tried to wrestle with my emotions, but in the end, it was probably the lack of action that has resulted in a dismal month.

I'm really going to pare down on the number of trades I fact, I'd be happy to do only one trade during the day as long as it ends with me in the green....that's really how desperate I am to make some profits.

I've got to step back yet again, cut back on my shares size again, re-think the way I'm doing things and really just try to be aware of the possible reasons why some of the things I'm used to doing is not working.

Last week I think I did a good job in keeping things taking profits when they presented themselves and not worrying too much about hitting homeruns. I think I've got to go back to doing that for the next little while until things settle down a bit...

Right now I'm guessing that I'm probably at break-even for the month...I've got to be careful the next two trading days or this month will go down as being the worst one I've had....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

That One Night

Gross: +$244.66
Net: +$156.80
Trades: 67

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
AT&T Inc. (T): +$270.47
Alcatel-Lucent (ALU): +$95.15
EMC Corp (EMC): +$75.91
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$45.99
Micron Technology Inc. (MU): -$9.20
Mylan Laboratories Inc. (MYL): -$20.85
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (GT): -$31.48
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): -$33.35
Boston Scientific Corp (BSX): -$48.77
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX): -$86.11
Lennar Corporation (LEN): -$100.95

This evening after the trading day I treated my wife to a night out with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (hence this late post).

Tonight the Orchestra performed scores from several Hollywood epics.

They performed scores from such classics as "Gone With The Wind", "Ben-Hur", and "2001: A Space Odyssey" among others.

They also performed scores from several more current films including "Titanic" and "Schindler's List".

And what better way to end the evening than with several scores from the "Star Wars" movies (both old and current) and from the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy.

It was a very enjoyable evening and I would highly recommend it.


After today's trading day, I was still quite frustrated with where everything was in particular was extremely frustrating as I just couldn't get any traction in terms of profits and nothing seemed to be going my way. Needless to say, I wasn't very pleased with today and with the month in general.

BUT, tonight was the first time in a very long time that all my worries, all my problems, and all my trading difficulties disappeared and for those two hours during the performance, I had never felt more at ease.

I was there, enjoying the music and living the moment. I was truly enjoying life and I was so relaxed that it seemed as though nothing else in this world mattered.

Folks, I'd like to tell you that that is one of the best feelings in the world.

And I haven't felt that way in a long time......and I really miss it.

In a way, those two hours were very Zen-like.

I will admit that over the weekend I was reading some books about Zen (just to discover ways to put my mind at ease and to discover ways to relieve some stress), and it may have helped me enjoy the evening a little bit more than usual.

You know, I'd really like to live my life like that. To be worry free. To live the moment. To enjoy life.

Obviously if I were pulling in mad money from the markets, I could probably achieve this a little easier (I wouldn't have to worry about paying bills and the mortgage).

But I think if I were to think and feel more like I did tonight more often, I think the quality of life will improve, so from here on in, I'll strive for a shift in my mindset and hopefully with this shift, there will be positives that result from it.

Anyways, like I said, today was just frustrating overall, but honestly after this evenings performance, it's all forgotten in the past and I didn't really remember what I was all frustrated about.

No good trades nor any bad trades.

I think we'll be attending more "Evening At The Pops" series put on by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra....if you're not into classic music (and we aren't), then attending a "Pops" performance is your best bet.

AND, if your living in the Toronto area and if you're under 29 years of age, you can attend these wonderful concerts for only $12 (checkout the TSOSoundCheck site for more details)....I think it's a great idea to get the younger folks to the concerts.

I was somewhat disappointed by the turnout at tonight's performance....there were still plenty of seats available and I would very much encourage folks to go out and support your local performing arts.

Anyways, I'm hoping that tonight will be remembered as that one night that changed my perspective and the way I look at that one night that opened my eyes to really see what I'm doing and how I'm doing it....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Monday, March 26, 2007

Bad Attitude

Gross: -$237.00
Net: -$324.10
Trades: 55

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Boston Scientific Corp (BSX): +$93.42
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX): +$65.77
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD): +$55.79
Schering-Plough Corporation (SGP): -$1.39
EMC Corp (EMC): -$17.01
Motorola Inc. (MOT): -$17.43
Abbott Laboratories (ABT): -$75.98
Walgreen Company (WAG): - $104.57
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$141.27
Time Warner Inc. (TWX): -$181.43

This morning my alarm went off, but I found myself falling back asleep a result, I woke up a little later than usual and a little grumpy.

I rushed through my morning routine and saw that outside was raining and I saw a couple of flashes of lightning.

As I made my way in to the office, the streetcar I was in stopped and didn't move....the streetcar in front of it had some kind of trouble and I just sat there in the streetcar for an awfully long time.

After about 15 minutes, I figured that I could probably get into the office faster if I the rain.

I don't know why, but that walk just felt extremely draining and I came into the office with a bad attitude and a little grumpy and very tired.

Once the trading day started, I quickly put on a losing trade on Walgreens (WAG) that was put on way too early (almost once it opened).

I was thinking "Ahhhh what the hell...what a bad start"

But then the next couple of trades were also for losers....nothing big, but it was enough for me to think "Ahh...the hell with this....this really sucks...".

After starting the day with a couple of losers, my attitude just seemed to get worse and at some point I was thinking "Geez...what the hell man! This really sucks....I just want to get out of here".

I stuck around and attempted to make some quick money by trading some more, but my lack of patience didn't help and at some point during the day I just gave up thinking "What a stupid day....I can't take any more of this retardedness....I'm getting outta here" and so I left - even without taking lunch.

I got home feeling exhausted so I lay down for a bit and I actually fell asleep.

I woke up much more refreshed and I really looked back and thought to myself that if there was only one thing that really sucked today, it was my attitude and if there was only one thing that was retarded, it was the way I approached today's trading.

So I came in today with a bad attitude, traded with a bad attitude, and walked away with a bad attitude....

Oh well, not going to shed any tears about today - some days you've got it, and others you don't....and today I just wasn't in it, my mind wasn't in it, and my attitude just wasn't in it...

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Weekend Reading For Mar 24 - 25, 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.

It's that time of the week is this weekend's edition:

  • If there were a trader I'd like to become more like, it would be PinoyTrader - here he shows us how he achieves his great consistency and how he's able to pull all that money out of the markets in How I Prepare For The Trading Day

  • Kirk at The Kirk Report outlines the four principles of luck and does a great job of explaining how we can use it in Getting Lucky In The Market

  • Prospectus, one of the great contributors over at Move The Markets, had this interesting article about stops, which led to an interesting discussion about it in What Is A Stop Loss For Anyways?

  • It seems like many traders these days are using Opening Range Breakouts in their trading and Brett Steenbarger gives you a few more pointers in doing this a little more successfully in Trading Opening Range Breakouts

  • TraderGav looked deeper into his trading to try to figure out what was causing his mediocre performance so far this month and I too have had the same problems with the things he discovered in his post entitled Stop! Wait, Wait...Somethin' Is Going Wrong Here

  • Corey had another great article about regret and how it may interfere with our ability to trade and lists some great resources at the end of the article in Regret Aversion

  • Richard Beddard at Interactive Investor Blog had this great compilation of market related blogs in Best Of The Blogs (thanks to all who submitted this blog to be included in the list!)

  • Finally, TraderGav had some more great quotes from the greats of trading and here he posted a Quote From Gil Blake

Labels: ,

Friday, March 23, 2007

Slowly Putting The Pieces Back Together

Gross: +$464.00
Net: +$418.48
Trades: 54

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD): +$235.91
DiamlerChrysler (DCX): +$215.82
Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS): +$157.02
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$111.76
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX): +$17.76
Motorola Inc. (MOT): -$42.29
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): -$50.94
Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT): -$72.86
Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL): -$153.69

Just trying to step it up a little bit more and trying to get back into the swing of things....

I didn't start the morning off on the right foot though....

For whatever reason, I just couldn't trade Jabil Circuit (JBL) for beans...I put on a string of losers on this particular stock until I just had enough of it and didn't look at it beyond the first hour of trade.

I'm still making some mental mistakes and the biggest one today was trying to trade Kraft (KFT). I don't know why, but I thought this one would move. This was probably because of the rough start to the day and again I found myself really straining for trade candidates and I ended up taking KFT...yup, another one of those "What were you thinking?!!?" trades.

I redeemed myself and just traded until after lunch and I finally have some trades I can share with you today.

Next week I'll probably go back to trading with full force. The last little while I've been trying to ease my way back into the game and now I'm starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I'm doing.

But seriously, the last few weeks felt like a train wreck. I hit a losing streak early in the month and when I tried to continue trading with full force, I was taking in hits with full force and nothing seemed to be working.

Maybe it was from all that pent-up frustration that was interfering with my decision making, maybe it was the spike in volatility, maybe it was a combination, but believe me, I've never felt lower in my trading career.

I had lost confidence in what I was doing and so after a brief break from trading, I've been doing things as cautiously as possible (whenever my emotions don't get in the way :))...perhaps I've been slow in getting back into the swing of things, but at least I sort of feel like things are getting better again.

And this trading funk probably couldn't have happened at a worse time.

For the first time in a very long time I thought things were slowly coming together - consistency was getting there, profits were getting there, and everything seemed to converging to where I wanted to be.

It felt like I was a sculptor and I had almost completed my masterpiece....but then something came along and smashed it to pieces and all that was left were the pieces of my sculpture.

At first, I looked around kind of confused amidst the shattered remains of my masterpiece and I felt like I just didn't know where to begin and I started jamming pieces together, hoping they'd fit and that the pieces would somehow re-assemble themselves.

But it took some time and now it feels as though I'm slowly putting the pieces back together again so that I can continue to work on my masterpiece and to finally finish what I had started.

Obviously this isn't the first time that my "sculpture" has been smashed to pieces.

In fact, it's been smashed many times during my trading career and when it happens, I often take it fairly hard. Whether it be a change in market conditions, or something mental, or maybe even a change in the way things work (i.e. Hybrid market), there have been numerous things that have smashed my "sculpture".

The first few times it happened, it took me a rather long time to try to put the pieces back together again and to continue working on completing my work.

What I can say is that every time my "sculpture" was smashed to pieces, putting it back together again seemed a little easier and a little more quicker to do each time that it happened.

I'm very sure that in the future, it will be smashed again, but I think that is what trading is all about...having the ability to adapt and to try to get your "sculpture" back to the way it was before it was smashed quickly so that you can continue working on it.

I have a feeling that I'm a little slower than most's just my nature, my characteristics as a person.

I'm hoping I can fix up my "sculpture" more quickly so that I can continue adding more features to it before it gets smashed again. And each time it gets smashed, I will work harder to get it back to the way it was before it was hit.

*Sigh* I guess this will come with time and experience...for some, it comes easier to them (perhaps because of the characteristics of that person), but for others like me, it takes a little longer, but I know I'll get there.....just need more time and experience.

Anyways, blah blah blah....too much rambling (sorry about that folks....once I start, I find that I keep going and going).

There were two good trades today...both taken near the lunch hour and no bad trades today.

Because of the choppiness of the markets, I was still content to just take profits rather quickly and didn't really hold onto my positions for any great length of time. Even though some of my trades could have been had for more, I'm still pleased with the result, considering the kind of market it was today. Next week I'll start working more on holding my positions.

I called it a day at around 1:30PM as I had missed lunch and I found I could no longer concentrate on the task at hand.

Have an excellent weekend folks and if the weather is good in your little corner of the world, go out and enjoy it because I know I will!

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • 11:36:12AM - DiamlerChrysler (DCX) was really moving up and I happened to flip by a chart of it and watched it for a few minutes. It came up to the $82.00 level and when I thought it broke, I tried to go long 500 shares, but got partially filled for 400 shares. At first, I thought it was a big mistake because it quickly went against me, but then it just exploded to the upside. I held onto it and dumped half my position at the first hint of weakness. DCX tried to push up further, but it looked extremely tired, so I got the rest of my position out. I got out as follows: 52-cent winner (100 shares), 53-cent winner (100 shares), 56-cent winner (200 shares) ($217 profit before fees ; Long 100 shares @ $81.99, Long 300 shares @ $82.00 ; Out: 11:40:04AM)

  • 11:49:36AM - Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) started moving up where it came up to some resistance at $13.50. When it broke, I went long 4000 shares and I got out when things seemed to stall (though it could have been held for a lot more). I got everything out for a 6-cent winner ($240 profit before fees ; Long 4000 shares @ $13.50 ; Out: 11:54:05AM)

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wiggly Jiggly

Gross: +$262.00
Net: +$204.59
Trades: 63

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
AT&T Inc. (T): +$142.28
Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): +$129.64
General Electric Company (GE): +$114.85
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): +$55.76
Corning Incorporated (GLW): +$37.55
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): +$21.45
Saks Incorporated (SKS): -$21.31
PepsiCo Inc. (PEP): -$21.98
The Home Depot Inc. (HD): -$21.92
Nokia Corporation (NOK): -$26.93
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$39.23
The Kroger Co (KR): -$80.42
Micron Technology Inc. (MU): -$84.14

Oh we were treated to a day full of wiggle...and full of jiggle!

Not a very fun day to try to trade as I found out after my first few trades of the day.

"Be brave and let's work on holding on to winners!" was the motto for today and this morning I came in determined to do just that.

On the first trade of the day I saw an opportunity and I went in....and the position went in the direction of the trade, so I was determined to hold onto this one a bit longer than usual. I was looking at a nice little profit on that trade and normally I would have booked some of it...or perhaps all of it....but I was determined to hold onto my winners and to let them run.

Well, with the Futures whip-sawing every which way, the stock followed and I eventually saw that position turn into a loser.

On the next several trades, the same thing happened....I got into a nice position, it showed a nice little profit and I was determined to let my winners ride, but would have to eventually punch out for a loser because the Futures just chopped everywhere and I found that the stocks I was in followed suit.

After the first few trades I was in the hole and I was frustrated.....

I had to step back and ask myself "Whoa there....what's going on? Why is this day turning out the way it is?".

Once I asked myself this question, the answer was pretty obvious....because it's choppy (well duh).

Maybe because I was too determined with what I wanted to do today that I didn't see it right away....maybe I was too focused on trying to hit a couple of home runs so that I had something to write home about (in this case, some "Good Trades" to write about)...whatever it was, it acted like blinders and I didn't see what kind of day we were experiencing before I had lost a couple bills.

So, I changed my game-plan to "get in and get out fast".

And it worked.

All day I just took a few cents here and a few cents there and I was just as content to do this the whole day, even if some of my winners could have been had for more.

I will admit that trading Kroger (KR) and Micron Tech (MU) were just flat out mistakes. I don't really know why I traded them, but I guess when the opportunities are scarce, one tends to "magically" see things that aren't really this case, I thought I saw opportunities in KR and MU, but upon reflection, I have only to ask myself "What was I thinking?".

Anyways, I've got to identify these kinds of days sooner and earlier in the day. I could have come away with a lot more profit today if I had booked the profits I saw on those first few trades (instead of holding onto them until they became losers).

Overall, the day was just really tough to find any kind of opportunities and I found myself really stretching what I thought would be a good setup and I also found myself looking at way too many stocks searching for opportunities.

Because I was in and out fast, it will be yet another day of no good trades nor any bad ones to report today.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll see some better action!

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Not Going To Second-Guess Myself

Gross: +$254.00
Net: +$222.04
Trades: 38

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
AT&T Inc. (T): +$205.82
Freemont General Corporation (FMT): +$101.74
The Kroger Co. (KR): +$44.93
SuperValue Inc. (SVU): +$6.08
Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): -$0.85
Fotress Investment Group (FIG): -$4.58
Federated Department Stores (FD): -$26.25
ConocoPhillips (COP): -$32.55
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX): -$72.50

Wow! What a fantastic move there was today after the FOMC announcement!

I really do hope all you folks out there were able to take advantage of the move and pocket some big $.

As for me, I called it a day after lunch at around 1PM. And I'm not upset about it. I stuck to what I wanted to do today and I'm glad I had the willpower to follow through on what I wanted to do.

I knew the the FOMC announcement would move the markets, but I had already told myself that today was going to be a half day....just until I can get things going again.

And I'm not going to mull over the fact that I missed a great move out there and I refuse to think about how much potential money I could have made had I stuck around.

If I were to constantly mull over missed moves or mull over how much potential profit I could have taken had I been there, I'd probably second-guess myself at every turn and on every decision I make and I'd probably find myself asking the following questions time and time again:

The markets are sideways, but if I don't trade, I'll miss out on profits won't I?

Should I stick around and trade even though I told myself I'd only trade the mornings?

What if I miss a move?

I can't concentrate anymore, but if I leave, will I miss something?

From yesterday's post, you already know my mind is polluted with thoughts like these and if I constantly mull over missed opportunities, it would serve to only pollute my mind even more.

I'll just accept the fact that it was a good move, accept the fact that I wasn't there to trade it, and move on.

Anyways, today was just another day I wanted to trade conservatively and I'm starting to feel more comfortable in my own shoes again, so tomorrow I'll step it up a notch.

While the last few trading days I've limited myself to trading only 1000 shares, tomorrow I'll up it to a maximum of 2000. Hopefully with this step up, I can finally get to listing out more good trades (but hopefully no bad ones).

As you can see, there weren't any good trades nor any bad ones.

For whatever reason, this morning I seemed to be slow to the punch and missed out on many level breaks because I was too slow and by the time my order was acknowledged, prices were already long gone.

Let's see if I can get back into a trading groove tomorrow shall we?

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Mind Filled With Crap

Gross: -$51.74
Net: -$134.12
Trades: 76

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
The Kroger Co. (KR): +$105.55
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$84.33
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): +$41.61
Wyeth (WYE): +$17.09
Citigroup Inc. (C): -$74.66
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (GT): -$95.64
The Home Depot Inc. (HD): -$212.39

This morning I came in with the same mentality I had trade with caution and to trade with smaller share size for one more day and to try to end another day on the positive side.

I was hoping that if I could successfully do that today, then tomorrow I'd step it up a little and I'd keep stepping it up until I could get back to the way things were before this trading funk started.

The morning was going as planned and I had booked a couple of bills before lunch.

But then the afternoon was just littered with one bad trade after another and I basically lost all of my morning gains and then some. Most of the trades occurred in the afternoon and I jumped from one losing position to another.

I found it strange that coming into the afternoon, I KNEW the afternoon would be rather dull ahead of the FOMC meeting tomorrow....I KNEW I would have to be careful to preserve my gains....and I KNEW that the markets were sideways and I KNEW the stocks I was watching were chopping around, yet I STILL went ahead and traded anyways.


I believe it's because of all the crap that's going on in my mind when the markets are sideways. All the crap thoughts, all the crap ideas, and all the crap questions that keep popping up.

Most mornings I don't have this problem mainly because I'm wide awake and alert and usually there's action in the morning so my focus is usually at it's peak.

But when things start moving sideways and I have to sit and wait for the opportunities, that's when my mind begins to wander.

If one were to record what was going on in my head during this afternoon's lull, it'd go something like this:

How great would it be if I were this or that trader making all that money....I really have to get my act together and try to string together a few good days....I've been at this a long time now and my struggles seem to continue....I wonder how so-and-so trader would handle my situation....I wonder how good it would be to be trading on my own....

The problem with my mind wandering around like that in the afternoon is that eventually something like the following goes on in my head:

There are only a few days left in March....wouldn't it be great if I could come away with $500 today?....should I increase my share size to make some quick money?.....I want to come away with a positive day today and I want to see how far into positive territory I can get today....hmmmmmm that stock is at it's upper end of it's trading range....I could make a quick profit if it were to break.....hrmmm....there are only two hours left in the trading day....

The longer these crap thoughts stew in my mind, the more likely a crap trade will result.

So then I took a quick hit via GT....darn it!

Time was running out so then I found myself forcing trades on HD and C, then I took another hit via KR. HD really did a number on me and even though the stock itself did literally nothing in the afternoon, I kept trading this lousy stock....and kept losing.

As the afternoon went along, it just seemed to get worse and worse. I completely lost what I was doing and what I was watching for in a trade and it felt more like aimless and random positions I was taking.

In the past, I've tried occupying my time with things like MP3 players, crosswords, etc...but I still find it hard to focus in the afternoons. Maybe it depends on my mood and maybe it depends how well I've been doing, but I do admit that this is a problem.

Warmer weather is around the corner so maybe afternoon walks can help clear my head.

In the meantime, I think I should call it a day after lunch (what is the 5th time I've tried to do this?) just for the next little while.

Also, ever since we changed the clocks forward for daylight savings, I been feeling extremely sluggish and I've been having difficulty getting myself out of bed even if I try to get to bed earlier...maybe this might have to do with my trading funk....I don't know....

Hopefully by taking the afternoons off to chill out, I can feel more well-rested....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Monday, March 19, 2007

Easing My Way Back In The Game

Gross: +$315.00
Net: +$284.04
Trades: 43

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$211.06
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX): +$97.78
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): +$17.28
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT): +$5.23
AT&T Inc. (T): -$13.07
The Home Depot Inc. (HD): -$34.24

Today I took it real easy and didn't try to force things.

I gave myself a limit of 1000 shares to trade at a time and I forced myself to just focus on a couple of stocks.

Lately I've noticed that I seem to be all over the place and I seem to be jumping from one stock to another and not really feeling what individual stocks were doing. Initially I only watched COP, FCX, HPQ, WMT, and HD...but I switched HPQ out for T as HPQ didn't seem to do much all day long.

Today was also I day that I focused on taking my profits as soon as prices start moving against a result, I didn't really hold any position for any length of time.

I also tried to utilize other charts to aid in my trading particular, I had up charts of light crude oil to help me in trading COP and I had the NYSE TICK chart up....I'll have to do a little more reading on how to use the TICK more effectively.

Anyways, I just want to string together a few positive days just to get the ball rolling a bit....

As you can see, I've adjusted the daily post yet again to a more simplified post. I was finding that I was spending wasted energy in reporting things that I probably don't make much use of, so I'll stick with this type of post for the next little while to see how it goes.

I've also been looking at different prop firms that are available to see what kind of other options are out there. Thanks to some folks that left comments over the weekend in helping find other firms that are out there.

In particular, Lifepost from the High Probability Trading blog posted up the following link that I find is a great resource - especially if you're interested in what's out there in terms of prop firms....the link is:

I have already started to explore other options right now, so I'll try to keep you folks updated as to what I plan on doing.

I have always said that once I get some form of consistency or once I get to a point where I'm making some good money that I'd switch to a different firm, but it's definitely taken me a lot longer to get to where I want to be.

I may even wish to explore the possibility of remote trading for a prop firm....again, I'll have to try to collect more info on the various alternatives there are out there. If you know of a good prop firm or links to other prop firm websites, please feel free to leave a comment and hopefully others will find it useful as well.

Anyways, gonna keep this one rather short as I have other things to attend to tonight....

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)
  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)
  • None


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend Reading For Mar 17 - 18, 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.

Don't worry folks - I'm still alive. I've just spent a couple of days away from the markets and trying to put myself at ease.

I've also been recieving a lot of emails asking about other prop trading firms, so I spent some time researching other prop firms that are out there and it got me interested in possibly looking for other alternatives for myself.

Anyways, here are this week's links:

  • Last weekend Bulltrapper over at TradeGuild posted up a collection of several great videos and covers some technicals and trading systems in Weekend Viewing...

  • If you haven't visited Afraid To Trade, then you should - there are lots of great posts appearing at the site including this one entitled Taking On More Risk For Reward

  • We've all done it once in a while and when it happens, it can sometimes lead to disastrous results....I'm talking about keytroke errors! Check out the top 10 keystroke errors in The Fat Finger Points To Trouble For Traders via Financial News Online

  • Trader-X also clears up some of the misconceptions about his trading style and is a must read if you follow his style - here is Anatomy Of A Trade

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Unbelievably Bad....

Gross: -$525.00
Net: -$542.46
Loss From Top: $542.46
Trades: 17
Shares Traded: 13600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
American Oriental Bioengineering Inc. (AOB): -$19.52
International Game Technology (IGT): -$26.50
Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (DKS): -$37.23
Countrywide Financial Corporation (CFC): -$73.73
The Kroger Co. (KR): -$385.48

My trading these few weeks have been unbelievably bad.

I can't seem to get the ball rolling and my results seem almost random at best.

So far in my short trading career, I have never encountered such a trading funk. Lately, it seems almost routine that I start the day off with a couple of losers and depending on how I handle it, I either make it worse or I'm barely able to climb out of a hole.

I must admit that all of this is a new (but rather unpleasant) experience to have to go through.

My trading woes seemed to have started on the day the Dow dropped 500 points briefly and ever since then, I haven't been able to get my act together.

I have a feeling that I might be changing one too many things all at once and as a result, I'm not sure what I may be doing right and what I may be doing wrong. I've been trying to change the stocks I trade, I've been messing around with new entries, and I've been messing around with the length of time I hold onto my trades.

By changing so many things at once, it makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what changes are causing the problem.

It reminds me very much about programming. When writing out code, you want to stage the changes so that if something doesn't work out, you know exactly what part of the program you have to fix.

But what I've done was write out the whole program first, only to find out that at the end it doesn't work.

Where do I begin? Where's the bug? Which part of the code is not working? Well I can tell you that finding that bug will take a lot longer to find than had I staged, tested, and implemented the changes to my trading.

Today was just another reminder that what I'm doing doesn't appear to be working (at least in this trading environment anyways).

Like many of the days I've had lately, I started the day with a couple of losers....nothing too big and my losses were manageable.

Those first few trades I found myself trying to anticipate a break either to the upside (break of an intra-day high) or downside (break of an intra-day low), but all I ended up doing was getting long at the upper end of a trading range or getting short at the lower end of a trading range.

I had been waiting for quite a while for Kroger (KR) to setup and when it finally did, I put on a position that I felt completely comfortable with. This time, I waited for it to completely break (i.e. make a clean break of a couple of cents and continued to look strong).

I went long 1000 shares at $26.50 and I really did feel comfortable leaving it to work itself out while I watched other stocks for opportunities.

What I didn't expect was a rather wicked chop at around 10:30AM after Kroger (KR) made some statements during it's conference call on it's earnings.

When I heard over the loudspeaker than KR was making some sort of announcement, I quickly flipped back to KR and saw that I was looking at a $200+ loser on my hands.

At first I felt panic and all I wanted to do was to exit my position as soon as possible as it blew past my stop-loss. But I decided to wait as I saw KR try to fight back. KR climbed all the way back to my break-even point, but the rapidly fell again, blowing past my stop-loss yet again. Then KR fought all the way back up to my break-even point yet again, but fell back down, blowing past my stop-loss
for the third time.

I really felt uncomfortable at that point and I decided to dump everything for a $193 loser (see bad trades below).

After a few minutes, I saw that KR had continued it upward move and I simply felt like I was a fool for getting out.

I kept watching KR (as this appeared to be the only stock that was moving at the time) and maybe some of my emotions from the previous losing trade on KR was still with me when I decided to get long again on KR....

Unfortunately I got long near the high of the day (I was somehow thinking that KR owed me money or something) and I would eventually have to take another bad loser on it (see bad trades below).

My day was done and by 11AM, I was out of the office.

From the looks of things, it looked like I missed some action in the afternoon, but with the way things have been going for me lately, I would probably have still lost money.

There were no missed trades (my day was too short to find any missed trades), no failed setups (the KR trades are filed under "Bad Trades"), no good trades and two bad trades.

Frankly, I'm too disgusted to post up charts on KR...I really felt that that first trade on KR was well executed and I was willing to be patient with that one...I guess the trading Gods had other plans for me....

I think I seriously need a break from trading and to get my mind off trading for a while.

Tomorrow I'll take the day off and I'll continue to take days off until I feel comfortable about stepping back on the trading floor. Whether I come back to trade on Thursday or next week, only time will tell...all I know is that I need to get as far away from trading for now....

Missed Trades
(trades that I was watching, but missed because either I was too slow and couldn't get shares or my attention was focused elsewhere)

  • None

Failed Setups
(trades I took that I thought had a good setup, but failed and either I got out at break-even or a loser)

  • None - both KR trades are under "Bad Trades"

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)

  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)

  • 10:20:41AM - Kroger (KR) had just broken it's intra-day high and I waited for a bit of a confirmation of the break before I went long 1000 shares (100 shares @ $26.49, 900 shares @ $26.50). For whatever reason, I felt completely comfortable with this position, but then a wicked chop took me out as follows: 10-cent loser (100 shares), 11-cent loser (100 shares), 12-cent loser (200 shares), 13-cent loser (600 shares) ($193 loser before fees ; Long 100 shares @ $26.49, Long 900 shares @ $26.50 ; Out: 10:29:04AM)

  • 10:47:48AM - Kroger (KR) continued it's way up and I was still somewhat steaming mad from getting out on it earlier so I tried going long at $26.85, but only got 100 shares and when it broke the $27.00 level, I went long another 900 shares....well the $27.00 level was practically the high of the day and I'd end up getting out as follows: 15-cent loser (400 shares), 18-cent loser (200 shares), 21-cent loser (100 shares), 22-cent loser (300 shares) ($183 loser before fees ; Long 100 shares @ $26.85, Long 900 shares @ $27.00 ; Out: Did not record)


Monday, March 12, 2007

Seeing Green & A Re-vamped Daily Post

Gross: +$322.00
Net: +$236.25
Loss From Top: $44.31
Trades: 55
Shares Traded: 110600

Stocks Traded Today (net profit/loss):
Dollar General Corp. (DG): +$135.74
Federated Department Stores (FD): +$102.22
Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): +$98.18
Micron Technology (MU): +$88.71
Pfizer Inc. (PFE): +$84.72
Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG): +$71.46
Sierra Health Services Inc. (SIE): +$24.38
ConocoPhillips (COP): +$23.95
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (CTB): -$1.57
Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY): -$12.61
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT): -$31.23
Nortel Networks Corporation (NT): -$59.20
AK Steel Holding Corporation (AKS): -$66.23
General Electric Company (GE): -$105.55
Titanium Metals Corporation (TIE): -$116.71


I miss seeing that color in my blotter. Though today was hardly impressive on my part, I'm just very glad (and somewhat relieved) that I ended the day in the green.

I really tried to take it easy today and I tried not to get myself all riled up.

This morning was the first morning in a while in which I didn't start the day off with consecutive losers. I really tried to sit and be patient for the trades to show themselves.

Over the weekend, I compiled a new list of stocks to focus my attention on. I was mainly looking for stocks that would move and had less volume than the typical stocks I was used to trading.

But today I didn't put on any positions with much conviction and I wasn't really able to take any good swings. There were two bone-head trades I put on that I shouldn't have.

The first one was on General Electric (GE)...I just go in at the wrong time after the Futures had ripped up. The second one was on Titanium Metals (TIE)...I don't know why I put that trade on as the chart all morning just looked ugly.

Starting today, I'm going to re-vamp my daily posts a little to include more charts and setups.

In addition to outlining my good and bad trades, I'll add two new categories called "Missed Trades" and "Failed Setups".

In the "Missed Trades" section, I'll outline a few trades that I was watching, but missed getting into. The reason I would miss getting into the trade is that either I was too slow and was unable to get shares at the desired price or my focus was elsewhere at the time.

Keep in mind that I'm the kind of trader that doesn't like chasing a stock. Usually if I've identified a level and I miss the break, I usually will not chase a stock to get into a position. I don't know's just the kind of trader I am.

In the "Failed Setups" section, I'll outline a few trades that I actually took because of a good setup, but ultimately failed and I either had to get out for break-even or a loss.

By adding these two new sections to the post, I hope to further force myself to analyze what I may be doing wrong and what I may be doing right with my trades based on what the charts show.

I'll try my best to remember to write down these kinds of trades in my trading journal so that I can post them up in the evenings.

Please note that the setups presented are not the only kinds of trades I take. Sometimes I just see an opportunity for a quick scalp and I'll take it. Instead, what will be presented are the setups to trades that I had intended to hold for longer period of time.

Also, from here on in, I'll post 5-minute charts instead of my usual 1-minute charts....they're just much cleaner to work with and label.

*Sigh* This is going to mean much more work on my part, but I hope my trading will benefit from this extra analysis and hopefully it also gives you folks more of an idea of what I look for in a trade.

With that, there were 4 missed trades (mainly because I was focusing my attention on a CEG trade) and I also placed that CEG trade in the "missed trade" section because I got out too early on a trade I was intending to hold till the end of the day.

There was one failed setup and no good trades nor any bad trades.

Let's see how long I can continue with these kinds of posts (in other words, let's see how long before I start getting lazy with these kinds of posts)...

Missed Trades
(trades that I was watching, but missed because either I was too slow and couldn't get shares or my attention was focused elsewhere)

  • Constellation Energy Group (CEG) - I went long on a break of it's intra-day high and only managed to get 300 intent with this trade was to hold onto it for the entire day or exit when I saw two red candles on a 5-minute chart. I held onto this position when I saw the first pair of red candles, but on the second set, I exited. I've got to work on my exit strategy for this kind of trade...since my attention was focused so much on this trade, I missed several other good breaks (see below)

  • Alcan Inc. (AL) - I was waiting for the $53.50 level to break (intra-day high), but I missed it as I was tending to the CEG trade

  • Federated Department Stores (FD) - missed break of long-time resistance at $45.00....tried to go long 4000 shares on break, but didn't get any shares...the break of this level was extremely quick

  • Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) - missed break of intra-day low...I tried to get short a few times, but I just couldn't get any shares

  • Trina Solar Limited (TSL) - I was kind of wary about trading this one since it was very thin and the spread was horrendous, but I was keeping an eye on the $44.25 level (intra-day high), but I missed it as I was tending to the CEG trade (was only going to trade 100 or 200 shares on this one)

Failed Setups
(trades I took that I thought had a good setup, but failed and either I got out at break-even or for a loser)

  • AK Steel (AKS) - broke intra-day high, but quickly out for a loss

Good Trades
(trades in which I make $200 or more)

  • None

Bad Trades
(trades in which I lose $150 or more)

  • None


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Weekend Reading For Mar 10 - 11, 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.

There's nothing like getting over a bad week than to read up on articles about trading. Not only does it lift your spirits, but you might even learn a thing or two!

Here's this weekend's edition:

  • Kevin at Kevin's Market Blog wrote up an excellent article about something I constantly have problems with - it's a Fear Of Missing Out

  • Here, Dogwood continues looking at the Improved R2 Strategy (see last week's links) and show you some stats by using other RSI values in Extreme RSI

  • Will at had this deep post about how the greatest teacher of all is the markets and he covers things like ego and discipline in the excellent article entitled Trading And The Personal Journey

  • Here are some excellent points by George Fontanills to consider that were posted over at the Kirk Report in A Winning Trader's Edge

  • Looking for a discount online broker? Steven over there at the Value Blog Review does a fantastic job of rounding up the various brokers, listing their pros and cons along with prices in Online Discount Stock Broker Review

  • Jeff White at the StockBandit keeps those free newsletters coming - this one is about Oversold Conditions

  • Fear, guilt, pride, overconfidence - all of these can affect your trading and Piranha does a great job of writing about it in A Study In Human Psychology

  • Emotions, lack of focus and trading don't go hand in hand and over at Profiling Leadership they explain that in Process Is The Key

  • TraderGav posted some great Quotes By Felix Dennis taken from the article "If You Want To Be Rich, Stop Being So Frightened" which really put a lot of things in perspective, especially for what I've been going through

  • Here are some great points to ponder done by Lifepost over there at High Probability Trading entitled Stop Loss, WHERE IS IT? that really helped me along with my trading struggles

  • A few bloggers were pointing out a new blog and I can see why....there are some great posts coming out from Corey at his AfraidToTrade blog - here he makes some excellent points in Quick Comment On Less Successful Traders

Ok folks - I need to recharge this weekend after these past two weeks of trading and hopefully I can do some meaningful "self-discovery" with what I'm doing.

Take care folks, enjoy your weekend, and good trading to all!

Labels: ,