I Have Been Trading Since Before The Internet-1990

Discussion in 'Trading' started by dsq, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. dsq


    I want to know if there any other guys here who were trading before the internet boom?
    I am pretty impressed by the sophistication of some of the traders here and the tools they employ.These tools were simply not available when i started out.I probably will never employ the same methods as support resistance seem to be tried and true for me.
    I position traded from 1990-2001.
    I made a lot of money and i gave most of it back.I was absent from markets from 2002 til january 2007.I started daytrading in march 2007.

    I will tell you before the internet and web trading came on strong around 1996 trading was different.
    First, commissions for me were 120$ for 1000 shares,180$ for 2000....You couldnt get real time quotes at home you could only download end of day quotes- and it cost you 1 cent per symbol,per day!!!!In 1994 i got a quote trek machine.It was a handheld device w/lcd screen that received real time quotes via fm radio signal!It cost about 135$ a month plus the device cost about 500$....

    Also i traded nasdaq and the bid ask spread was 50cents on stocks like lrcx klac psft...msft,orcl,csco were and a few rare others had 1/8 spreads evrybody else was 1/4-1/2!!!!
    Often i would buy 2000 LRCX and with a 50 cent spread i was down 1000$ right away (plus down 180 on the commission!)...so i would have to wait till the bid moved up 1.25 before i was breakeven!!However in those days stocks seemed to pullback,level off and take off much more smoothly than today.I would wait til i saw a little buying action and vol pick up then buy.Sometimes i would have to wait an hour or so sometimes a day but when the buyers came the stock wopuld start upticking in 50 cent increments and fast!!!It was easy money compared to today.Back then i would consider any trade that made me less than 3000$ as negligible.

    I dont know if i was lucky or if the market dynamics have changed as much as i think they have.
    DAytrading is not easy.You have to trade a lot and you definetely earn your pay.One thing i do like is i dont have to worry about as much is overnight disaster news on a stock....However,thats not as much an issue since i trade pretty much only dow 30 stocks.

    I would rather position trade as it is less chaos but today it seems after a stock has pulled back or rallied that the reverse pattern is much less direct.For example T pulled back from 42 to 36 last month.I bought at 37 then it went to 39-i got out around 38 75...the stock then just faded back down to 37.90...i was surprised it didnt make much of an upmove and then it started falling back...Alas this week it exploded up 4 dollars.But this erratic nature is very difficult to anticipate as i lliquidated as soon as i saw t start plateau-ing.

    What are your thoughts on position vs daytrading and were you around pre internet?Sorry for the long ramble.
  2. I was around preinternet and I traded treasury bonds and closed end funds and yes, I did make money. Lots of it relative to the amount that I started with, which was 60K. The first year, I made 28k trading treasury bonds and for about the next 5 years, I made 165k before I started using a computer.
  3. what did you trade back in the day... 1990...and how did you do it?

  4. FNN signal...using FM transmission...daytrading stocks... in high school..
  5. Oh see...I thought he meant professionally. Not home based retail.

  6. I started trading in 1981 while in college working on my BA in Economics and Accounting. I started with the first home IBM pc and began studying TA. My accounting education was helping me to learn Fundamental analysis and I began reading stuff like Benjamin Grahams Security Analysis and Intelligent Investor. I was also studying TA Edwards/Magee I bought my first TA Charting software. It was developed by Gregory Morris. I think there were like 2 or 3 other charting TA software available at that time. It cost $2000+ and had a few dozen TA indicators. Now you can get 10 times the charting ability anywhere for free at many websites. I had a 300 baud (Ever heard of that speed?) modem and at that time there was no internet. There was no AOL, Prodigy(Ever heard of it?) or Compuserve only DIAL DATA. I would start the download in the evening and by morning you would be able to download High Low Open Close on 2 dozen stocks and then feed it into my TA program. That's how long it took to just get that information. Oh yeah, it was through a service called DIAL DATA which all the brokerages used. I traded through Merrill Lynch (started with $200,000) as there were no discount brokerages or online brokerages. Charles Schwab became the first(discount) one I forgot which year that was. I did well paying for my undergrad and grad school. I traded my way through grad school and got a Master's in taxation paying for it with trading profits. Trading was paying for my education and I was planning on going to law school and becoming a Corporate/Tax Attorney(got accepted to Cal Berkeley and Stanford) but trading was too profitable to turn away from......so here I am still trading away. Trading is the only thing I have done to make $$$... aside from some business/corporate consulting from time to time, Primarily forensic audit investigations where there is possible fraud/embezzlement/what have you.

  7. hughb


    I was still phoning my broker as late as 1996 to place trades. I think my last phone order was in January 97.

    I opened up an account at Scottsdale Securities in May of 1996 and I still have the brochure to this day. It compares it's commissions to that of other brokers.

    For 100 shares of stock, regardless of price, the commission was $32. It compares to Schwab where it starts at 47 and works it's way up to 55 for higher priced stocks. Now, this was for the run of the mill safekeeping account. They also had what was called a supersaver account for people who traded more often and in bigger lots. In the supersaver account 1000 shares of a $10 stock was $50 commission, compared to the regular safefkeeping account which was $63. In the supersaver account you had to open with a $25K minumum and remain above $20K. And you also had to have funds in the account before placing an order. Now, that may not seem unusual to you younger guys because all internet accounts require that. But back then you could phone in an order and they would do the trade and you just mail in a check afterward. You had 3 days to get the check in, (it was 5 days even longer ago).

    In the options commissions for 5 contracts priced at 1, the commission was $36.

    At the bottom of the front page of this brochure it says in italics: "P.S. Coming soon, Touchtone and PC quote and trading!"
  8. I grew up with two phones at each ear and two slung over both shoulders ...trying to yell orders on all four at the same time. Two to the Merc and BOT.

    This was way before they split the S&P floor contract.
  9. I remember trading with my dad on our 10mhz PC clone back in '85 - and we were on the DTN which was off a satellite dish back then. End of day data, and forget about backtesting unless you wrote your own software. But it was nice having a direct line to Lehman.

    Things trended well back then. None of these fake out breakouts. T/A off of charts was actually useful. Need different skills now.
  10. First trade I made was in person. Dropped off a $500 check and put it all on a small staffing company that was local. The discount broker lady laughed at me after she looked at the chart with volume and all. Hell, I didn't even know there were charts like that available. Research was using Value Line down at the old library.

    Pure fundamentals and Lynch type investing/trading. Eventually turned that $500 into $1000 or so then opend up a Scottsdale Security account on this fancy Internet a year or so later. Remember hopping onto that dial-up to trade. Really would get exciting when you were in the middle of a trade and the connection went down. Had to decide whether to try to get it back or go ahead and call into the office (since using the phone and Internet simultaneously wasn't even an option).

    Paid for that computer ($1200, 365mhz Dell) in less than 3 months. Started trading with TA off Yahoo and Big Charts and haven't looked back since. Now have three monitors and three computers running daily. Who'd of thunk it?

    Ahhhh, the bad ole days.

    Good Luck!
    #10     Dec 14, 2007