June Trading Journals

Discussion in 'Trading' started by Hitman, Jun 12, 2001.

  1. Hitman


    Hi all:

    After reading this board for a while I really like the experience of members posting here so I am going to post my daily trading journals here and I welcome comments and suggestions. If you did any memorable trades today (good or bad), feel free to post it here along with an explaination of what you did and why :)

    For those of you who read my journals on another board, this one is without any personal stories, it is Hitman as a trader, nothing more.

    I am one week from a 8 months day trader. Turned positive early Feb, hit all time high (+45K) early April, lost 10K in two weeks and has been churning (flat) since. I used to trade 1000-1500 share positions but I have cut it down to 400-600 shares for the summer.

    YTD, +4K in Jan, +$13K in Feb, +$18K in Mar, +$3800 in April, -$600 in May, after today, -$400 in June.



    What a word to describe this game. From the opening bell to the finish, it was an ugly game, and it came on the best trading day of the month. A combination of bad luck trades and bad decisions led to frustration and eventually a fatal trade during the final hour. I just killed 7 day's worth of churning with that trade alone. The summer heat is brutal, but my trading is worse.

    -577 after commissions, -1007 after, ouch, 3 of 10 shooting on 19100 shares, this puts me at down $450 for the pay period and month, and what hurts even more is that today should have been a day I got a break out game on the other side of the equation. 84% of the traders at my firm finished in the black before commissions today.

    NOT ME.

    Somehow I managed to go scoreless during the entire afternoon rally and frustration maxed out and one bad trade in CRA hit me for as much money as I made last 7 days combined.

    Pre-Market: NOK news, gap down, I hate this type of days, very hard to jump in there and short something that's already down 1 point.

    9:30: The only SOX stock that did not gap down much was IRF, why didn't I short it? Everywhere I looked, serious gap down's. Looked like a broad market sell-off so I thought it was a fake gap up on OSX, shorted HP and got hit for 50 cents instantly, ouch. OSX hit a new high, I bought HP on a pullback, MUR, and NOI, OSX rallied 1.5 point (that's more than 1% on the index), none of my stocks went up (except NOI). I eventually stopped out of HP and MUR for small losses and NOI for a small profit (too early, but when two of your plays fail it is easy to find an excuse to sell the third). Every other OSX stock shot up at least 50 cents and somehow my stocks decided to stay flat.

    10:00: Long LXK on a high volume reversal, stopped out for flat. The futures was trending down hence the exit, but I should have paid very close attention because the stock had a huge buyer in it. When futures finally reversed that should have been my go to stock . . . Shorted AGN on DRG weakness at 85.65 for a 25 cents scalp, tough tough specialist, left 40 cents on the table . . .

    11:44: He is back, bought LXK at 56 and sold for a 30 cents scalp, should have bought again on the pullback . . . Very bad execution, real buying in him today.

    12:30: Normally I do not trade the dead zone, but XNG just tanked two points, shorted APA/EOG, nothing happened, WTF? None of the stocks in the index moved down, stopped out for small losses.

    1:26: BKX rally, took PVN, got out for flat on a shake out, missed a 60 cents move. Bought LM on XBD rally, lost 5 cents.

    2:06: Got SFA at 48.65, flawless double bottom and I got out for a 40 cents profit and left 1 point on the table. Nasdaq futures running, took LXK, somehow the damn stock decided to play games with me and I got churned by the damn thing for small losses, while most other technology stocks were going straight up! I lost 10 cents in it 3 times before I finally decided to buy the damn thing and put a hard stop in it, and finally the buyer showed up, bought 1/4 million shares twice and I made 60 cents in it, but those small losses churned this winner away, and most importantly, I could have been longing a lot of other stocks.

    3:24: Down $400 on the day, I knew it was a bad day, but I was getting embarrassed. I do not want to be down on a day like this, and that's when I am most vulnerable to rushed shots. Took VTS at 35.65 and HP at 37.85, there was like no BID supporting them but OSX index was going straight up, lost 10 cents in HP and 25 cents in VTS (very thin, very dangerous). NDX/BTK index going up, took CRA at 43.25, looking for a double bottom, as soon as a BID showed up I bought 500 more, it pulled back, all of a sudden a big seller showed up and it hit the figure in no time, normally, I get out as soon as I see that happens especially after I pyramided into a position, but I was so frustrated and I waited to see what happens, lost another 35 cents in the trade as the stock broke down tick by tick, lost $600 in that stock alone which is more than all of my churnings over the first 7 games in June combined.

    My worst performance in 6 weeks, tommorrow I must step up. I am ashamed of my performance and I need to play a much tighter game tommorrow . . .

  2. Hitman - great commentary, I would love to see more. Thanks.
  3. Sounds like you are all over the place.

    Is there a "Written" game plan here?

    What are your edges as a trader?

    If no game plan you need one.

  4. Babak


    I agree with Robert, however I must commend you on the courage it takes to put yourself on the board. A few things I noticed in your language: "I was getting embarassed...I did not want to be down on ....." I would recommend reading "Trading in the Zone" by Douglas (*not* Kiev's book with same title) Also rather than cut back your volume traded cut back your risk management. For example, I personally use 1/2% of capital risked on each trade/idea. Just as you and I'm sure many others, I have cut back this to only 1/4% risked per trade recently. This is a much better way or reining back risk than just cutting back volume because it treats each idea equally and doesn't punish high price trades (ie CIEN vs SCMR). Best wishes on your trading. Remember, discipline over conviction!
  5. Hitman ----- I appreciate your honesty, and enjoyed reading about your trading day. We've all been there. For what it might be worth, I do have 2 suggestions:

    1) revenge trading (trying to get back losses or make up for missed opportunities) against the market almost always loses. Psychologically, you're in a position where you're grasping at straws, and rationalizing trades you probably wouldn't even have considered if you had your wits about you. I've finally learned that when I'm not doing well and am angry at myself and/or the market, just stop and get out for the day, hit the beach, see a movie, refresh my spirit, anything but the market. Then the next day or so you begin to regain confidence and desire, and can get back in the trenches in a much better frame of mind.

    2) scattershot trading ----------- I counted at least 12 different stocks that you were trading. I'm sure that's small potatoes compared to some traders on this board, and what I'm about to say may not suit you, or anybody else, but I feel that I gain a tremendous advantage by just trading one single instrument every day ----- e-mini S&Ps. For the last year, I've done nothing but spend 7 hours a day watching (and eventually trading) the S&P. Doing that, you develop an extraordinary and intuitive feel for the nuances of that particular instrument ----- the particular ways it retraces, the ways and places it tends to reverse, how it breaks out of and then settles back into ranges, the idiosyncracies of fast and slow markets, etc. I know that people who trade stocks can have a difficult time finding the right ones ----- because at any given moment there are many hundreds of stocks that are moving much faster and farther than the ones you're involved with. (A great advantage of index futures and the QQQs ---- except for a couple of days a month (on average), there's more than enough volatility to satisfy the most demanding of appetites! And no doubt that's why NVDA has become so trendy!) Perhaps if instead of wildly careening across the spectrum you were to concentrate on say a basket of a dozen or so stocks ----- get to know them intimately ----- just how the specialist moves the price, just how that stock typically reacts under different market conditions, just how, where and when institutions like to enter and exit, just how that stock is currently doing relative to its sector and to the market as a whole, just how much insiders are currently buying/selling, just what kinds of gap action the stock is prone to show (and under what circumstances), just where its long-term support and resistance are and what its current Fibonacci retracement levels are --- then when a day like today presents itself, it seems to me you're far more likely to be able to capitalize on *your* stocks than if you desperately run around trying this one and then that one in hopes of catching a big move.

    I also agree with Tharp's post ----- whatever you're trading, you really have to have and maintain a consistent, disciplined, money-management savvy plan at all times, and then execute your trades to the best of your ability based on that plan. If you're not as successful as you want to be, then rethink your plan afterhours, but in the heat of battle without that anchor big losses are virtually inevitable over time.

    Once again, I really enjoyed your journal of your trading day, and hope you keep posting more of them. That does take guts, and good trading to you!

  6. Hitman


    I will describe briefly what I do so you guys can give me inputs. I follow about 130 stocks across 10 sectors, although in reality I really only trade about 60 of them.

    I use 5 minute charts with 10/20 EMA, I do not use the EMA's very frequently, just more or less a visual trend. I have two TOS windows, one 5 minute chart with volume bars, two 5 minute charts without volume bars, and 9 much smaller 5 minute charts for SP1U/ND1U and 7 of my most frequently traded sectors. The rest of my 3 monitors set-up is devoted to the order entry software and real time filters which scans for morning reversals.

    I do morning news research and daily charts for potential set-up's. 45 minutes is all I need. When the market opens, I watch the futures -> sectors -> stocks. It is a top -> down approach (chart first, tape second) and if I like a sector I would buy a small basket of stocks in it.

    Yes, I do trade a lot of stocks and sectors, which gives me more opportunities, but obviously, I do not know the specialists as well as I should. My go-to stocks are not as sharp as they should be. There are stocks I always look for in every sector move hence I do know their tape, but not as much as I should.

    Yes, revenge trading never works, and my second worst day ever (-$3100) was a day when I was up $1300 in the morning, needless to say when I went flat I was furious and started to trade recklessly, that day I averaged into losers and made many mistakes that I didn't make when I was a newbie. Unfortunately, yesterday was a mini-repeat, one very bad trade turned a small loss into a serious hit . . .
  7. Hitman


    Light day as I bounced back from yesterday's blown out. +$560 before commissions, +$458 after, just 4000 shares on 6 of 8 shooting. It is funny how today was a much tougher day than yesterday and I did so much better, composure is everything in trading and I absolutely must control the tempo of the game.

    Expected the morning rally but a little bit slow getting into positions, the afternoon was a nice sell-off but the volume felt really light and it really felt like a major squeeze could have hit at any given time. The market just drifted lower and I opted to wait for the final hour.

    Hopefully tommorrow I can play even better and recover those losses, down $500 for the week, flat for the month . . . Sure, I haven't had a check in nearly two months, but I can only pray that the end justifies the means . . .

    Pre-Market: SFA/STM downgrade, positive news on MO

    9:30: Watched MO opened flat and one hesisitation a 100000 BID showed up, could have made a very very easy 50 cents in that trade. Futures closing in, CEX going vertical, took PPG for a quick 60 cents move . . . XNG/OSX going vertical, took EPG and MUR for a 40 cents move. A very nice start as I took a quick $600 lead.

    9:48: Futures coming back up, I was watching AMD, very strong versus the index, now SOX coming back I should have took the trade immediately, one hesistation it went up 30 cents and I didn't want to chase it. Took UTX which held the CYC sell-off in the morning but somehow a large seller showed up and I lost 20 cents in the trade. DRG sell-off, I noticed FRX/AGN to be weaker than usual (didn't squeeze on futures rip), could have took the shorts but again, a little bit too conservative there.

    10:30: Went nearly half a hour without a trade, and watched a big UTY sell-off unattended, I rushed a shot. AGN was getting absolutely murdered and I saw some serious volume went off, I was a little bored, took a long position hoping to play the bounce, but as soon as Mrs. D. (Our AGN expert) said "when he does that he usually has more to go", I knew I was in trouble, and I got hit for a 25 cents loss. My chart system wasn't refreshing BKX and I missed a BKX rally (was watching PVN/COF but my index wasn't refreshing when it did I missed a huge move). Took COF late on a volume spike and only got a 10 cents profit out of it.

    11:35: AGN was printing some serious volume so took a small position at 83:75, DRG index recovering and when he printed .85 and BID stepped up I thought I had him in the bag. All of a sudden he pulled the BID and stopped me out at .50, that was the low of the move and he took it a point higher from there, very tough specialist!

    12:00: SOX/NDX hit a new high, took a 10 cents scalp out of ADI, no volume to support this rally.

    3:30: Sat through the entire afternoon sell-off and played a small short covering on TER, took a 40 cents scalp and it is time to call it a day.

    Princess (Good): Good exits, didn't left much money on the table with the shots I took.

    Prince (Bad): Too much hesitation, missed UTY sell-off, FRX/AGN short, and did not have a single SOX stock during the morning bounce even when I was watching it tick by tick, anticipating it . . . Watched a huge energy sell-off taken place and didn't do anything about it, but who would have thought a strong sector like that can hit that kind of reversal's?

    Frog (Ugly): Unneccessary dead zone churning in AGN (particularly the play the bounce type of trade).

    Strength and courage, next two games will round out the first pay period, with me and the market all tied up after 9 tough games, need to make a final push to snap my check-less streak . . .
  8. Hitman


    Missed lay-up hurts, this morning a broad market sell-off hit and I did not put up any bullets. Needless to say I could not get anything filled, had I been as aggressive as I was back in March, with 4-6 bullets I would have very easily made a couple of K today. Literally gave away a big trade in CRA and finished the day very uneventfully.

    +$300 before commissions, +$230 after, 2 of 6 shooting on 3000 shares.

    Pre-Market: Lots of downgrades, ouch

    9:30: Shorted APC into the squeeze, very very nice trade, got out near the bottom for a 70 cents profit. Unfortunately, that was the only short I got filled . . .

    10:00: DRG super rally, took FRX and LLY, got out LLY for flat, FRX for a 20 cents loss, that DRG rally was very stock dependent, a lot of the stocks in that sector doesn't move with the index well. Took SFA on a bounce for a 30 cents scalp. Shorted CRA into the squeeze/consolidation, BTK and futures hit a new low, the specialist traded a lot of shares near the figure, accumulating his shorts, when he finally showed the offer I was soooo happy . . . then I put in my stop but accidentally covered market, I bought right into the damn ASK, and had I had a bullet I would have sold it again, as it is I watched the stock tank 1.5 point.

    2:30: No revenge trading, cooled my head off for a few hours, took SFA short, I guess the specialist is finally done selling it, covered my short for flat, could have been a very good day, but no crying over spilled milk, tommorrow is the last game of the pay period, gotta step up, +$250 for the pay period, you could have done better flipping burgers at McDonald's . . .
  9. dozu888



    Nice writing, maybe you can compile this thing into a book and sell for a lot more money than $250, hehehehehe..

    Good luck.
  10. Hitman


    Lol, I have kept everything from the day of the interview to my first day to present :)

    The numbers are way down, not long ago $250 would be considered a very very very very disappointing day, and back to back down days were . . . unthinkable . . . how I miss those days.

    That said, have to play better under tougher circumstances, still, can't wait for September!
    #10     Jun 14, 2001