I traded my first stock about 5 months ago, then focused on swing trades and options. I learned a ton via the school of hard knocks and hours of self-education and chart study. I paper traded some day trading strategies for 3 weeks or so and last week decided to actively day trade. I've been keeping a trading journal since April and will share my daily adventures in the hopes it will help keep me from doing something really stupid. Comments from wise old traders are always welcome July 25, 2008: First trade of the day, nice retracement on SPWR (qty 1000) that rallied hugely for a $1230 gain in 15 minutes. A looser stop wouldâve allowed a good added bit of profit, but SPWR has tended to pull back more than I normally like before continuing. An entry later in the day that was signaled went past my target rather quickly, but turned out it would have returned another $1000. However, I am pleased that I stuck with my rule of not chasing, as thatâs been responsible for many losses in the past. I prefer the security of high probability and quick lock-in stop set at break even. Second trade was a JNPR short. They gapped up on record earnings and hit new highs all morning. Shorted 1000 shares at 26.22 and covered at 25.97 for a $250 gain in 15 minutes. Shorted JNPR again not long after the first one at 25.72 and it stalled for nearly half an hour, so I covered at 25.74 for a $20 loss. Next, I shorted BIDU after watching its chart carefully. A gradual downtrend with mini rallies set the stage and I shorted 200 shares as the next rally began to stall (figured out what âfading the moveâ means) at 333.20 and set a target profit via limit order to cover at 332.20. BIDU moves in frightening chunks and just when it looked it might turn against me and cause me to cover at a very small profit, it triggered my limit within seconds for the full $200 target profit in just 4 minutes! Shorted JNPR yet again at 26.17, and it stagnated for over half an hour. I set a stop at the dayâs high and grabbed a bite to eat. This time it rallied out of consolidation and the stop triggered for a loss of $200. LESSON: Donât trade a stock thatâs consolidating just because you THINK you know where it will go based on what it did a while ago. Wait for the actual break in one direction or the other. Rather than leave JNPR alone, I shorted once more at 26.44 when buying volume dwindled and selling pressure began. Couldâve scalped $50, but thought for sure it was pushing a bit lower, then with frightening speed a rally began, triggered by institutional purchases (10K and 20K lots appearing on the Level II). I shouldâve exited on the spot for a tiny loss, but decided to give it a bit of time. A secondary rally ensued and I quickly placed a stop at 26.84 that triggered a $400 loss. I was very pleased with my ability to cut the loss quickly without thinking, analyzing, or hoping. I had no regrets afterward. LESSON: Exit quickly large blocks start printing against your trade. (Turns out the JNPR short of the day occurred almost at market close when it topped 27.00 and failed to hold that new level. It pulled back to 26.57 in just minutes.) Good weekend to all!