I Survived

profile1The New York Stock Exchange opened up somewhat in a holding pattern this morning before it broke off to do whatever it wanted to do. By that time I was long gone feeling the familiar burden of messing up the cash open. Nothing is really happening on the geo-political front and as I’m trying to recall the front section of today’s Wall Street Journal, the only thing that really stuck out in my mind was that Samsung has surpassed Intel as the number one chipmaker by sales or something like that. That’s actually kinda cool. I’m still trying to fathom how they could have pulled off such a thing as I would imagine Intel chips are pretty ubiquitous…omnipotent even…in the grand stage of worldwide computing. I’m assuming that Samsung has a grip on the Asian market which is a pretty big opportunity. Personally, I hate the tech over there and I feel like everyone is resigned to being stuck with it and it’s not necessarily a buying choice.

I screwed up the cash open. Because it opened slower, I didn’t really get a feel for the order flow and instead of going in aggressively, I dialed back my risk after 2 or 3 failed scalp attempts. Successive trades just didn’t produce anything and I realized that I was becoming a burden on the PnL so I just decided to call it a day. Feeder Cattle, though, was the trade that rescued me. It wasn’t much but hooooeeey! if it helps my PnL, I don’t give a cow’s a$$ whether it moved 15 or 25 ticks. My trade rescued the PnL and I can breathe a sigh of relief. I’m very fortunate that I got the move that I needed to get trading cattle. I could not have done it without celestial intervention. I’m extremely grateful – and humbled…

I should make a tea brand and market it by that name to traders. Instead of Celestial Seasonings, it’ll be Celestial Interventions.

What flavor do I drink most often, you ask?

“Panic Infused Involuntary Bowel Movement” 

Nothing But Open Water, Baby

profilepic1The New York Stock Exchange surprisingly started off with a bit of a bang. I thought we were gonna head south after seeing Amazon’s 31 point implosion after hours but I guess the market just kind of shrugged it off. The moment the bell rang, I took a look at the flurry of activity and there is definitely buying going on. Now, I’m not saying that this is a BULL MARKET but this is definitely bullish behavior. Let me use this segue though to talk about something that worries me about the market – at least in the short term (and I’ll keep it brief):

There were two things that gave me a bit of a pause yesterday and made me reflect on what I label as the “hysteria phase of the market”:

a.) Amazon’s P/E is like 105 to 106. Now, I’m no fundamentalist guy – although I am a proponent of long term intrinsic value (cash flow discounting against the long bond ala Warren Buffett) – but that is like….absurdly high. I know Amazon is a great business. I am, after all, a power user but a P/E like that is a bit worrisome. Maybe this is why they’re going on the spending/acquisition spree that they’re going on – to bring things into balance maybe. I don’t know. Still, it’s a high number. And when I extrapolate it into the similar valuations of the broader market, it’s kind of disconcerting.

b.) Henry Blodget, yes, that Henry Blodget (spelling?) was interviewed on CNBC yesterday and he came out and said that Facebook might be relatively undervalued. Maybe I heard it wrong but holy sh*t, if he says that then he may very well have kicked off the next wave of mass market hysteria. I have no  idea how in f*ck’s sh*t Facebook commands the margins they do but to come out and say something along the lines of it being undervalued – especially from Henry Blodget of all people – it sends a chill down my spine because we all know what happened the last time he was making thinly veiled recommendations to buy stock.

Moving on, I survived this Friday and I came out in the green. I took a trade on Feeder Cattle and even though it didn’t move all that much from my open price, it moved enough to give me something and I’m thankful for that. The big winner for me though was in the cash open where I was able to make a decent amount of ticks going long and short. This is one of those days where I’m glad the market wasn’t in hyper-killer mode and it just eased into buyer and seller paradigms. It gave traders enough time to get their feet planted in the ground and accumulate their positions without them having to overconsider their risk profiles if the market was moving quicker. There are just times when things work out the way they are going to work out and all you’ve got to do is adapt to it. That’s not to say that I possess some type – or even some degree – of tangible brilliance to decipher the market. In fact, the opposite would be a more accurate depiction. The market can only go two ways and in respective amplification. There are literally a million ways to profit.

The bottom line is that I am fortunate and I am grateful to God that I am fortunate especially on a Friday. Now, I can go into the weekend relaxed and conscious that I have that much more to be thankful for.

I Am Not Happy Today

profilepic3The New York Stock Exchange opened up slowly but then popped to the upside. I don’t know what caused this but that wasn’t the issue today.

As I was getting set to trade, I got a phone call from a relative – who is close enough to know the nature of my work and for some reason, picked the hour of 9am, at 29 minutes & 59.76 seconds to dial my number for some obscure f*cking question. People know not to bother me when the market opens. Even my super older relatives – some suffering from outright dementia – or my youngest nieces & nephews know not to call me at market open. Yet this person, who has advanced degrees in subjects so irrelevant to daily life thinks it’s OK to call me at THE MOST IMPORTANT time of the work day.

Of course, some of this is my fault because as I’m zoned in, I hear the phone buzzing and for some stupid as hell reason, I took a scalp realized I was wrong, flipped and then completely lost my bearings in the tussle of the cash open as I attempted to trade more. In the end, I lost money. I took a trade on Orange Juice and Feeder Cattle but both didn’t bear enough fruit to offset my cash open disaster. The only ok thing that happened about this trading day is that I dialed down my risk because I thought today was going to be a bit of a slippery market – I didn’t know that the slippage would come from distractions.

I’m sincerely unhappy about this morning, not with the two other trades but with the cash open. There was a real opportunity cost that I missed with the YM & NQ and it makes me so mad that I could literally take a sledgehammer to my desk. I already hate the mental and emotional leadup going into the market open but to have to endure it from someone with whom I’ve had to have 2 prior discussions with about coming around from 9 to 10 in the morning is more than I am patient enough to deal with.

At the end of the day and in the grand scheme of things, this loss doesn’t impact me or the week I’ve had. It was relatively small. It just gets amplified because I hate losing money. The truth is, I could have made sure that I had my phone on silent. I should be thankful to God because now I know with certainty that I should talk with my relatives about this in a more proactive manner, maybe a group text/email or something like that. I should try to move on from the day and I will. Nothing will change; I go into every single morning prepared to make money and I’ll go into tomorrow expecting the same thing as well.


M8DBOID EC001The New York Stock Exchange traded up slightly from the open but most traders had already committed their capital from the night before so there was a.) not much of a move in terms of energy and b.) they’re probably selling some inventory in to bag in some profit before 2pm. Interesting thing I found: AM and PM stand for Ante – Meridiem and Post – Meridiem, respectively. The word “Meridiem” refers to lunch or the noon hour. Actually, I don’t know if it means lunch that may be my subconscious talking because as I’m typing this post I am getting hungry as f$*k and am ready to cook whatever is in the fridge at the moment. So yeah, now I go around texting people “Good Ante Meridiem” or “Have a Good Post Meridiem”. So far, only one person has asked me WTF I’m talking about. The rest either don’t respond or unfriend me on Facebook – just kidding, but they don’t respond so that automatically tells me that……..I should just keep doing it.

Also, speaking of lunch, I ordered a pasta serving measurement tool on Amazon. I was kind of annoyed at myself because the shipping cost more than the actual order itself. Now, before you destroy my kneecaps and rip my intestines out with “why didn’t you buy it at the store????” statements, let me tell you that I have been looking for weeks at Target, Wal-Mart & local retailers and I simply could not find a pasta measurement tool. I just couldn’t! It was pretty shocking. I was like “who do I have to sleep with just to find this instrument????”. I’m not gonna tell the fiancée because she may really question my intelligence on this.

In the very least, I should have ordered two. I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking.

ANYWAYYYYYYYYY….I searched far and wide through my asset list looking for something to trade, or rather looking for reasons to trade certain assets and the only thing that I got was to trade the cash open. I figure we weren’t going to get all that much movement as everybody’s warming up their keyboards and stretching out their mouse clicking fingers for the 14:05 announcement. The thing is, I’m gonna be long gone because as a rule, unless I’m feeling real fast and lucky, I’m not going to touch the Fed announcement. With a sufficient enough size, you can literally wipe out two to three weeks of work just on the initial fakeout ALONE. And if you’re double dead wrong on the ensuing wildebeest stampede, you might as well call yourself Mufasa, honey boo-boo cause u iZ gOn giT tRamPleD and your PnL is gonna light up in shades of red that you don’t wanna see. That being said, I just put out a limit order on my default size and left the desk with the intention of coming back at around 11:15 or so.

I always say that it’s better to be lucky than smart. I say it because, as appreciative as I am of whatever primordial intellect I possess, I know that things have to roll a certain way to make good money in the markets. I just know and humbly accept that there are things greater than what my intellectual capacity can envision. As much as it is tempting to think that life’s intricacies respond to our specific inputs, experience has taught me that this – in most instances – simply isn’t the case. In fact, I was really kind of bummed out this morning because I was expecting a loss. But I didn’t want it to color my day so I made sure that my risk parameters were in place and most importantly, that I treated this day (as I do everyday) as a genuine business with cogs and gears – to approach this dumb business in any other way is to play with fire. When I got back, I was stunned to find out that the market had decided to move upwards on positive results from Boeing and a continuation of the crude oil rally. Of course, this also meant that with my limit order being hit, I was a part of this last leg of today’s pre-FOMC announcement. I am so lucky. Really, I am. And I am so grateful.

Things could have ended much more differently this morning for me and I’m not going to pretend that I was smart enough to avoid that outcome. Fuck that. When I look at the sky this afternoon, I’m going to be really thankful to God that I did my job professionally and came back with positive results. Hopefully, the same will be the case for you other traders today.

Enjoy your Post Meridiem

Cash Open Blues

general-william-tecumseh-shermanThe New York Stock Exchange opened up with a bit of a pop this morning. I suppose it is a fitting end to a 125 point move overnight. I don’t know what sparked this. I read through the market news section of today’s Wall Street Journal and I couldn’t see anything that caught my eye that would be relevant to today’s move. However, I did catch something interesting: some trader bet against the historic volatility low of the VIX implying that he/she believes volatility can only rise from here on out. To many, it would sound like a maverick play but when you think about it, it’s actually a safe bet. We can’t expect volatility to lay sedentary in this strange juncture of political & economic malaise. Something has to give and if I had the money, I’d sure as hell take the same bet. It’s like if EVERYONE is betting on Floyd Mayweather to beat Connor MacGregor (spelling?) this August – if I were a betting man, why would I want to bet along side 98% of them? I’d want high rewards so I’d totally bet on Connor which, by the way, I have a feeling will surprise everyone. Just on a side note, I was still pissed off that the Soulja Boy vs. Chris Brown fight was called off; forget this fight with Floyd, THAT fight was what I wanted to see.

So, as you can surmise by the title, I have literally traded myself into the red again but it wasn’t a complete red. It was more like red post-commissions. I took a trade on Wheat this morning which gave me a respectable amount of ticks: not a lot but had I just stopped there, I would have made out with an OK day. Instead, I ended up negative because of the cash market. I fell victim to the very move that I wanted: sharp and energetic opens designed to disembowel slower traders. The problem was that I was wrong on all counts and the market was very very quick to punish me. Finally, because I worked with a little more size today, I pretty much erased the work I did with Wheat. So, as you can guess, I am not a happy little reptile.

I hate to lose money. I just hate to lose in general. Losing sucks camel ass and as a person that goes into heaving convulsions at the sight of stale potato chips, you know I would rather die than get anywhere near camel ass. I am trying to be a professional about this, as it is the only thing that I can do at this point, but there is also the side of me that is hotter than grandma’s oven when she bakes cookies but impulsively decides to visit her friends on the other side of town to play gin. I can’t articulate the rage but all I know is that it’s there and the only way to get rid of it is to prepare for the next day and try to be better while not letting the rage spill into other aspects of my life. I am thankful though that I didn’t go into revenge trading mode and that the man upstairs has given me enough restraint to put this stupid and retarded business into perspective.

It’s one day.

There were things done right. There were things done wrong.

I am only human. But I can choose to act like a decent human.

There will be tomorrow because I traded professionally.

All I have to do is be grateful for what I have and prepare to make money tomorrow.


An Exquisite Storm

77bdd6e367dfe91371285de6869c907bThe New York Stock Exchange started with a little bit of a pop on this rainy Monday morning. I don’t know if it’s a positive harbinger of the week to come but what matters isn’t really the direction of the market, rather how far and fast those kinds of moves come – as well as the frequency of them. I only see one big market event this week and that’s the FOMC announcement so we’ll probably have some slow trading in the meantime as traders are busy on the phone piecing clues together. Personally, I would just hold the rate cutting and I believe that has already been discounted into the market. I don’t expect anything shocking to come out of Wednesday’s announcement – but if it does: cool!

My day started extra early, around 2am. I scoured all my available asset classes on Sunday afternoon and decided that the British Pound and Wheat were going to be decent plays outside of the cash open. Wheat pretty much went nowhere for me in the morning, it was kind of annoying to give up the ticks but oh well. The winner for me was the British Pound as it kind of bled upward throughout the London session and I held it with some type of size from the get go. I thought I was going to end the day on a really positive note but then I traded the cash opening and even though we got a nice little pop, it wasn’t conducive to my scalping strategy as I chickened out of constant trading stare-downs. I don’t like to commit capital for too long in the open because that can lead to a wrecked PnL and an overall shitty morning. Even though I followed this rule, I still had a shitty go at trading the cash open. Fortunately, for me I didn’t play it with heavy size so I won on both magnitude and fortune.

There are many times (read: all the time) that I go into a trade nervous as hell because I know that there is a distinct possibility that I could come out with fewer teeth in my mouth. So when I see that my PnL has green numbers instead of red, I breathe a very very heavy sigh of relief. All the fist pumping and smiling comes hours later as I’ve shut down my trading computer for the day. But even that is short lived as I know that I will have to prepare myself mentally for the next market day and take time in the afternoon to both account for my buys/sells and scour the asset list for tradeables. Nevertheless, I am blessed that I ran into the bear’s cave today, gave it a good punch in the nose and left the cave with some coins before it could catch me. It is a very dangerous way to live which is why I am so grateful when I come out on top with something – even if it’s a break even trade. As I alluded to up top, we have storm clouds here in the east coast. It’s so beautiful to experience a continuous summer rain – especially under a canopy of trees. There is something rejuvenating about the experience and I’ve always made it a point to try and be in the moment when it happens. Today’s gains just made it all the more better. I am so grateful to have been at the right place at the right time.

Sky’s The Limit

RooftoRunThe New York Stock Exchange was quite a mover this morning. After a rash of buying on the September futures on all indices, I noticed that the sellers were starting to come out en mass. Didn’t matter anyway, I had already did what I wanted to do and was ready to call it a day. I know that I’ve previously made it a point that this blog isn’t going to participate in any capital markets punditry but I’ll make an exception here and there, as you may have already noticed. With the record highs we’ve been making, it’s easy to say that the market is climbing a wall of worry. After all, the VIX is down to historic levels and the idea of a quasi-stagnant upward trajectory triggers images of a helium balloon rising inside a tower whose walls are lined with needles. However, I’ve seen enough of these types of markets to wonder if this worry is unnecessary, at least for now. If I had the kind of war chest built for a protracted position, I’d probably see what shorting the market could get me. Instead, I believe – and I’ve seen evidence of this in both equity and futures TOS rolls – that there are some pretty big buyers out there and they are scooping up cars on a daily basis. The bottom line here is that I think this market isn’t in the last legs of a “bull run”, I think this is just the very beginning. Strange, right? Well, I personally don’t give a shit because I don’t play the very long game. I play the game that’s in front of my face every day. So let’s get on with it.

(disclaimer: this blog post and any blog post before and after this one, is not meant to be taken as a direct or indirect investment recommendation. do your homework and be responsible with your money before you plunk it down on any investment whether it’s stocks, futures, real-estate or tulips.)

Like I said, the indices opened up strongly and I was able to bag 2 scalps that pretty much went my way with size so that was that. It would have been nice to catch the move down but at the point where I wanted to commit more capital, I just felt like the market was moving too slow for comfort and being that this was a Friday, I just didn’t want to go in for shits & laughs. I took whatever I had in the PnL and left it at that. Additionally, I tried to trade a little Cocoa open and didn’t manage much out of that either. I’m just the type of person that is very sensitive to anything that might convey the message of a market going against me because I need to really protect my capital and I’m a fierce proponent of getting out quickly and less about the business of stop-losses. All I know is if the market ain’t moving, then it’s not a market worth trading. I’ve got better things to do. All in all, I came out with a few dollars after giving a plate of green PnL numbers to my broker.

Is it cool that I broke even? Yes and No. Is it cool that I didn’t lose money on a Friday? Definitely Yes. I don’t like to lose money at all and I’ve spoken about this ad nauseum but I REALLY don’t like losing money on a Friday. It has been a decent week for me as I have taken care of business both in my life outside of trading and for the business. I wouldn’t want that to be tainted by a bad Friday performance. We are in the midst of a heat wave right now in the East Coast and I suppose there isn’t a better way of celebrating a week where I survived than going out to the backyard, grilling up some fish and crackin’ open a cold one with the fellas – and when I mean fellas I’m talking about the two groundhogs that are digging the shit out of my backyard because apparently they want to create a tunnel wonderland bonanza.

As always, I am extremely grateful that I am alive for yet another day in this business.

The Name’s Bond, 30YR Bond

profilepic2(I have been waiting since the inception of this blog to be able to title a post this way so consider this an occasion to remember.)

The New York Stock Exchange started off with good energy today. It was a roller-coaster opening as both buyers and sellers got cut up if they were too slow. In the end, the market seemed to have come to a consensus about how to eviscerate everyone dumb enough to participate in today’s session. I don’t mind it though; at least the market picked a direction. If there’s one thing that annoys me to my subatomic components, it’s a chop session that doesn’t offer traders any real opportunity to sink their teeth into a direction.

I am pretty sure I ended up net negative on the cash open because I had a couple of trades that went for wins and a couple that made me want to commit seppuku on my dining room floor. In the end, although I am positive I’m net negative I at least minimized the PnL damage and protected capital. There were two other trades I made today. The first was Wheat which didn’t go anywhere because I placed an order that didn’t get hit for a while and then I felt uncomfortable committing capital at that price point. The second order was the 30YR which surprisingly went my way for a good fistful of ticks. But alas, with the bonds, you just never really know and given that the markets have been displaying a reversal mode of late, you can never really commit that much capital to “New York affairs” (US Indices, Bonds).

I say it over & over, again & again, but you know what? I’m never going to stop repeating it: making money in this jackass of a business is so hard. Everything, and I mean everything has to go your way. There can’t be any slack on any part of rope used and if there is, it’ll show up on the PnL, that’s just the way things work out. Even though I am a really sore albeit professional-mannered loser, I still am grateful that I have enough sense not to do damage to my account when it seems that all the market wants to do is gut me like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. The best way to return this gratefulness is to give thanks to God, focus on life in front of me at this moment and not give this dumb business another thought.

Calling It An Early Day

profile1The New York Stock Exchange opened up a little slow this morning but things got volatile pretty quick. The problem was that the volatility in the opening moments wasn’t enough for any meaningful moves. I had already traded prior to the cash open so I wasn’t about to go pushing the PnL unnecessarily.

I wanted to see if there was going to be some type of fallout from the ACA-repeal decision but I didn’t want to be in the YM. I figured that stuff would be better reflected in the Treasuries so I put out an order really early in the morning. I didn’t expect my order to get hit but it did and for all the expectations that I had, I didn’t really make all that much money on it considering the move I felt would happen. At the end of the day, I just decided to leave with whatever money I had (it wasn’t all that much) and move on to the cash open. Like I said before, the cash open wasn’t as volatile as I wanted but there were some windows of opportunity. All in all, I pretty much broke even there and didn’t really have much to show for it.

I’m actually typing this post out much earlier than I usually do but will post around the same time as I’ve got a couple of things to do during the day. I am grateful that I broke even today and that I didn’t lose money. Even though there are days when I figure that I can accept the sting off losing money, there’s never a time that it’s ok to feel like that. I know that there’s books that say a stop loss order is a win but to me it’s just not. I don’t know how to articulate it but it’s just not. I hate to lose money and if there’s just no way that I can win and that I have to accept losing money I only want to lose as little as I possibly can and not have the loss impact my capital reserves. It sounds pretty common sense, right? Well, I can’t say anything because it took me an uncomfortably long time to understand that as a beginning trader many moons ago.

Ok, I’m starting to babble now. I gotta haul ass and start living this day gratefully and conscientiously.

A Bucket Of Hagfish

general-william-tecumseh-shermanThe New York Stock Exchange opened up with a decent amount of energy. There was all the little fakeouts and the stuttersteps but in the end, for what I have come to expect out of the market, the NYSE did what it was going to do and it was a better job than what I had expected. I forgot to mention yesterday because I was on the verge of dying from lack of sleep that I saw an article in yesterday’s journal stating that Lean Hogs rose like 80% because of the American demand for bacon. My friends and I probably account for probably 100 basis points of that rise given how much we’ve been eating this summer. But I digress.

The reason I titled this post “a bucket of hagfish” is because that’s what the market has been feeling like to me. If you don’t watch those documentaries on Animal Planet, hagfish are these eel-like organisms that latch onto dead sea animals and pretty much suck the meat out of their carcasses. Even though that may be an apt representation of the markets – and for trading in general – I compare the market to hagfish because they are also slippery as f*ck. If you see the people trying to hold onto one of those things out of the bucket, the slime that they have on their body is so much that nobody can really get a firm grip on them. This is exactly what trading the cash open has been like for me. I was only lucky this morning because with all the stuttering the market did, it didn’t do it quickly, so I had time to think about the impending doom that was about to happen to my PnL if I didn’t act quickly enough. And act quickly, I did getting myself out for a whole bunch of break even trades. I only had one more trade in the morning which was Wheat and that didn’t do all that much. I think netted like 3 or 4 ticks out of it for my default size.

Even though today was another one of those slippery days, I always say that it’s better to be lucky than smart in this market as intelligence in this dumb business is dubiously subjective and there’s really no correlation between that and a green PnL. I’m really grateful to the man upstairs that I am enabled with the discipline to not go and overtrade and beat the crap out of the precious capital that I have in this account. That’s all I have, capital; either monetary or emotional and once I’m out of either one, trading becomes an impossible endeavor. I don’t want to go to bed depressed.

I want to go to bed happy and full of bacon – and vegetables.