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

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Curveball

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 become....it'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 up.....you 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 more....at 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 do...in 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 conservative....in 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

Labels:

8 Comments:

  • Did you take any days off this month? Or did you keep plugging? Take off the rest of March. Make it a long 4 day weekend. It won't hurt you!! Come back and don't look at the screens!!

    By Blogger MIsstrade, at March 28, 2007 8:25 PM  

  • Misstrade,
    Thanks for your comments. I took a few days off about two weeks ago and came back with great caution and it seemed to work a bit, but I came into this week with full force and as you can see, with not-so-great results. I did consider calling an end to March and taking the rest of the month off and I still may consider doing this....I think this will depend on how I feel tomorrow.

    I hope your March turned out better than mine! Good luck to you and your trading!

    By Blogger J.C., at March 28, 2007 8:58 PM  

  • JC I share your pains. I have had the exact same problems since the Dow crashed in late Feb. I have actually stopped trading for the rest of the month and will start again when I feel ready. I couldn't wait for the weekends to end in Feb and now I'm looking forward to them and not in a good way. Good luck to you.

    By Blogger Bubs, at March 29, 2007 12:48 AM  

  • "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."

    Looks like a real tough patch, JC. In the context of the bigger picture though, would a single -ive month amount to anything significant?

    My advice, which you must realise isn't worth much because I have spent half of my trading life in draw down, is to try not to be 'desperate' to make profit. Brett S recently talked about how 'needing' from the market can be destructive. As Misstrade says, a healthy break may be required. Even the so called Wizards stepped back when things aren't going right. Exercise, meditation, taking a walk etc...it can all help to regain perspective, remove the 'need', and return one's focus to the process. (Also, there is no downside in doing these actions.)

    Also, sometimes, in any given period you play to your best but sometimes you still finish down. To quote Roger Federer on losing: "A guy put me away when he had to. He played a perfect match in the end. He didn’t give me any more chances. He served well. He didn’t give me any unforced errors and I was just playing too poorly in the end to come back. So the right guy won today. That’s just a fact.”

    Win or lose come the end of the month, please don't force it and push too hard. I've been there, and I know the death spiral is close by...it's a real abyss down there.

    It's a bit paradoxical but in times like this you can learn a hell of a lot about yourself, and it could be your best trading month ever, not in terms of p+l of course, but with respect to learning about yourself.

    So, regardless of the direction of your p+l, here's to a solid approach, to strength of character, and to a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

    By Anonymous Caravaggio, at March 29, 2007 6:35 AM  

  • just buy those on your post, and hold them for 5 years. You will get on average more money than any other trading day in your life. You can even sleep better. Trust me.

    What you do is a loser's game. You will never get enough experience, even if you live 1000 years. It's like going to a casino regularly and expect you can do better just because you have more experience...

    One last tip: read Dreman.

    Good luck. A former trader (and a richer man).

    By Blogger F.J., at March 29, 2007 10:45 AM  

  • I'll have to respectfully disagree with f.j.

    I don't think the market is like a casino, but if you treat it as such, you will have the same results. You cannot "beat" a casino nor can you "beat" the market.

    Trading is not easy. However, you can be successful at it if you have the right attitude, personality, and if you're the type who can learn from mistakes and bounce back somewhat easily from adversity.

    There's going to be some bumps in the road. Trading has been my full-time occupation for 8 years and there have been times when I was tempted to quit. But you need to know *why* you are trading to get you through those tough times. I too have had a tough March... in fact, it's my worst month ever.

    Look around your office at the people who are making money right now and talk to them. That always helps. And don't beat yourself up too much. That never helps.

    By Blogger Dinosaur Trader, at March 29, 2007 3:33 PM  

  • Best wishes, J.C. I have also had a bad month, 2/3 my own fault and 1/3 the market character change.

    By Blogger Prospectus, at March 30, 2007 1:55 PM  

  • J.C.
    You're not the only one out there struggling; even the biggest guy on our desk (400k+/month)is making bad calls. FYI, I am going back to simulation for this week, or until we start trending, then I'll reduce my trade size.
    Thanks for you words,
    RedbridgeCapital

    By Blogger Kai, at April 01, 2007 4:55 PM  

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