Unpleasantries

3cc83349662986993de32476f7c2fe21The New York Stock Exchange was a monster today. All you literally had to do was just sit back and set some wide stops and you would have been rewarded. Even if you weren’t the type to do that there were plenty of trading ledges where you could have jumped or pushed off from depending on your market bias. Overall, it was a great day….if I had just stuck to the cash open.

While I would like to say that today was cool, it just wasn’t towards the end. I traded very very well in the cash open and I was able to do it with size. I considered just closing up shop for the day and enjoying life, however the other part of my trading business is to take on risk with other assets. It’s the only way that I can maintain a balance in the overall portfolio that I manage. In theory, it works great but as with all theories it is a double edged sword and what will work good for you one day can completely obliterate you the next. I traded Feeder Cattle and got completely rocked. I gave back about 70%-75% of my profits from the cash open and I wanted to jump off the top of the Burj Khalifa.

Am I really frustrated? Yes. Do I have my work cut out for me in terms of improvement? Yes. But am I going to take it out on the world just because I traded stupidly? No. And herein lies my test in this dumb and worthless business. It sucks because it is a huge and inherently unknowable endeavor and I’ve already been sick of it for years. The only reason I’m in this game is because the money comes in so fast…however, the money also leaves that way. I don’t want to take this loss into the rest of the day. I already felt crummy for the whole afternoon so I just want to prep for tomorrow. I’m thankful for all my blessings though, but trading can go eat sh*t.

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Migraine Trading

77bdd6e367dfe91371285de6869c907bThe New York Stock Exchange was trading very well this morning. It was making decent moves in either direction and that’s always a plus for traders who rely on the quick price action. As I was thinking yesterday and again today, the Senate Tax Bill is starting to make its presence felt – so much so that the media’s sensationalism tactics regarding a government shutdown doesn’t seem to slow market momentum in the very least.

The cash open was a decent opportunity for me to get in and make money simply because there were ticks to be had in all directions. As long as I was getting more than three ticks I was making money. Of course, I’m not in the business of getting 4-5 ticks but sometimes when the market is quick to reverse course, you’ve got to get yourself on that diet before catching anything worthwhile that will make your day. Overall, the cash open was very productive for me. I traded Feeder Cattle this morning – a departure from what I usually do –  because I felt like there was going to be a move once the market opened. However, I didn’t feel comfortable being out there as the market showed me things that ran contrary to what I wanted to do. I figured it was better to sit out than to have the distinct possibility of losing money.

There isn’t much to go on today. I wish I would have made more money but those are just the breaks of the business. Besides, it’s just as good if not better to NOT lose money. In the very least, you’ll be around for another day. I am just thankful to God that I didn’t screw myself over. It’s a hard business and discipline is really so key. But it’s not only the discipline to practice, the other is the discipline to prepare for the next day which is what I’ll do once I’ve finished lunch and napped because I’ve got a headache the size of Alaska.

Hmmm…That Wasn’t Good.

general-william-tecumseh-shermanThe New York Stock Exchange traded with a little bit of energy in the open. It was a change from yesterday as the strength to propel prices came in sooner than I thought it would. I don’t know if any geo or domestic politics will affect the market today but I can’t help but think the Senate Tax Bill is something that’s weighing on the market given its hidden and unquantifiable effect across tax brackets and tax codes. While I see the point of not allowing for the bill to pass, I personally think that many of the last administration’s policies – while good in theory – have only tied the economy up in inefficient regulations. I don’t see the bill as a radical change of anything. Rather, I see it as an attempt to clean the tax slate, so to speak, in order to better observe and react to modern fluidity in economics.

I traded the cash open well but because I felt like things weren’t going to move exceptionally hard, I traded with a reduction in risk. In retrospect, I wish I didn’t because it would have probably saved me from a negative day. I made good reads in the open and overall I came out very productive in the PnL. The other trades though, were a very different story. I had traded the British Pound very early in the morning and I really wish I didn’t do it because not only did I not have a good read on the market, I also got whipped around. In the end, whatever I had gained from trading the NYSE open was not enough to dig me out of the hole I had created for myself trading the British Pound.

So, this day was not particularly good by any stretch of the imagination – and I am not one for moral victories about “lessons learned”. I have been in this dumb business long enough that there should be no moral victories. I’m upset and very angry about today’s loss but I have to put it aside and prepare for tomorrow. I have a couple of errands to run through for today and I am thankful that I am at full human capacity to do that whilst enjoying another day in this life. Trading is too fickle to put to the forefront of any discussion of life’s meaning. It’s a dumb and shitty business. The only thing that we can do is to maintain our professionalism and decency as human beings while being grateful to God for the things we have.

I’m Back

profilepic1The New York Stock Exchange was a little anemic at the open but it had a really good move going upwards towards the midmorning. It looks like we’re continuing on from Friday’s move. Although I kind of wish I traded that day, it was really nice to just sit back and browse on my iPad while using the fireplace. Anyway…on to the action.

While the market had a good move going into the midmorning, I found myself in a hole because I got whipped around in the very early going. There were market stoppages here and there and before I knew it I was looking at a negative net number. At this point, I figured it was Monday and no one was really looking to participate so I stepped down on my risk size and as soon as I did it, the first (or second trade) was where the action started. In the end, it was a good move but I am disappointed that I didn’t make more. Wheat was a non-trade for me as I made three attempts trying to guage the direction of the market but on two of them I ended up negative while the third one brought me back to break even – nothing to write home about.

So although I did trade at a good pace, it wasn’t enough to make my day productive. In the end, business costs eroded what was just an overall mediocre to bad day. While I’m thankful I didn’t lose money, I am a little frustrated at what I felt was a lack of performance ethic. I am my own worst critic perhaps but in this stupid and worthless business, you’ve got to keep pushing your boundaries to grow – unlike college there are no safe spaces here. It’s whether you’ve got it in you or not and that is all up to God. Let me reiterate again how thankful I am that I didn’t lose any money.

The Harvest

RooftoRunThe New York Stock Exchange has been doing well lately in terms of trading energy and I’m liking it. It’s not moving as fast as I’d like it to but it certainly beats those sessions where I strongly considered holding onto contracts for a longer period than I would ideally like to. You would think that with an opening statement like this, I would have been able to make money in the market today. However, this was not the case.

As soon as the bell rang, I had a feeling that I just wasn’t getting the right amount of feedback from my brain and it manifested itself in me not being able to trade when I needed to and more importantly, cut losses when I needed to. It’s not like I got blown apart. On the contrary, I had a pretty good PnL number before I started falling back to earth. The problem was that I just kept trading and trading until I had allowed business costs to erode what would have been deemed a productive day. I wasn’t happy about this and immediately just closed up shop. As for other assets, there was nothing else going on in the markets that I was looking at and after looking at other markets to trade, I realized that I was already balancing a bad day on the books and there was no need to make it worse by trading a market that I don’t really know all too well.

I spoke yesterday about coming to a decision regarding trading for the rest of the week and I decided that the holiday will start now for me. The other assets I looked at didn’t look at all like they would move in either direction so I just decided that its better to have the rest of this week off.

This year had it’s ups and downs in trading but overall, I feel like I have had a very good harvest. It may not have been the harvest of years past but when I think about how much worse it could have been, I’m quite thankful that I even have money flowing into the bank account. There was a time when I first started out that I was so scared of money not coming in and even then, there was a stretch where I had to dig into my savings. Thinking back on those days, I couldn’t imagine sitting at my desk and opening up envelopes containing cheques from my broker. The feeling of depositing that money into your bank account is simply priceless. At the same time though, I do make it a point to tell myself that God determines this. Trading is a horrible and depraved business – but it does have a role in a modern mercantile society even though there’s no argument about the losses that most people incur. I suppose that this business, along with other businesses, carry the same amount of risk of ruin. This is why I don’t blame people looking for that one system or that one pattern. In a land of uncertainty, something that even looks like it could pass for certain is king – and the business needs people/books like that in order to attract as many market participants as possible. It doesn’t matter that some people get drained out of their life savings or that they jump off a roof in despair of monetary loss – the market needs capital to keep itself as the premiere avenue to riches. I don’t believe in hard work although I admit that it does have something to do with success. In this field I believe moreso in fortune and having the intelligence to synthesize that fortune into a workable strategy. Everything else, and I mean everything is just heresay and worthless pep-talk. When I say my Thanksgiving prayer on Thursday I will keep this fact in mind and I don’t mind reminding myself that through all of this, I along with the people that make money were given fortune through God’s word. None of this is possible without him.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peaceful Busy-Ness

general-william-tecumseh-shermanThe New York Stock Exchange started off a little slow this morning but went into a frenzy of selling that would have given most people the chance to make money. One second, the market was just ebbing up and down and then the next, some program must have hit bids or something because everybody sold off in a big way. The good thing about it was that it wasn’t a lightning fast move. It was one of those moves where you could plan your window of attack and be confident that you’ll get at least a pound of the market’s flesh. Kind of like when you played the old school Oregon Trail game and you needed to hunt and you needed to position your hunter’s gun while the rabbit or buffalo was running – yeah, trading is like that: except there are tigers in the field that can kill you…not just dysentery.

So, I was pleased with being able to position myself in the cash open. I only had a handful of trades for size and all of them were very productive. That’s the way I like things – simple and productive. I had traded Wheat early this morning and made a good amount of ticks off of a 10 minute move. Again, since I was on size, this helped out immensely. I am very glad that I had this kind of day to start off Thanksgiving week.

I do not know if I will trade going into tomorrow. It’s something that I have to really think about. I know that there’ll probably be action tomorrow but I have a feeling it will all taper down after the morning so I’m thinking the only thing I could possibly trade would be the 30YR and a currency or two but it’s all still early in the morning to think about it. I think though that I should have a firm decision by tonight. I am so thankful for this day and that God gave me a profitable PnL to take home. I can now go off and pay things forward with kindness to others as well as give myself a little R&R. I am finally starting to sleep a little bit more peacefully and I’m glad – it’s something I desperately need.

Going Quietly Into The Weekend…Maybe

profile 6The New York Stock Exchange traded with some energy this morning. I figured it would do as much given that there wasn’t all that much action in the London Session and the Asian session. I suppose everyone there is saving all their energy – and capital – for here. I didn’t take a look at the news today because I traded from the dining room table – a modern luxury that I do not take for granted. Now, looking at today’s market, I’d probably say things are set for a rock & roll week next week so I’d like to make sure that I’m prepared and the best way to do that is to not overtrade on a day like today and play the long game.

With the action that I anticipated going into the cash open, I felt like I could go in with max risk and that’s exactly what I did. There were good moves across the board especially one to the downside and I suspect that’s where everybody – including myself – made the lion’s share of their profits. It would be hard to justify trading after being able to exploit a move like that scalping back and forth. It was a great way to trade the liquidity. Additionally, I traded Cocoa in the early goings and like the cash open, I felt like I could do things with size. I was pleased with how the market moved and everything was just enough that my trades counted and were more productive than I thought they would be. Overall, I’ve earned the right to veg out in front of the couch this afternoon and play Halo: Reach firefight.

I’m not sure if I could do that given the fact that I can’t stay awake for more than 3 hours at a time these days but I sure will try. One though though to bring this crest of happiness back to a productive neutrality. I remember when I traded shitty this week and I was so furious that I wanted to log back in and hurl contracts back and forth to the market. I really was pissed off and all I could think of was getting the money back that I had lost. However, in the midst of logging in I realized that I keep my business costs in mind precisely for those days when I was feeling the way I was feeling. I employ capital-saving measures & cost cutting measures to make sure that I will be able to trade longer and with better emotional stability. Finally, I learned that if you allow money to make you its bitch – in this business – then you will only have short-lived, if any, success. In this dumb realm, I don’t want money to own me. I own money here. I expect to make money every single time I trade and on every single trading session. If I don’t make money or I lose money, I get pissed off to hell and wish that trading was a person so I could strangle them. The point here is that you’ve got to pick and choose your battles, when to trade and when not to trade, when to keep punching and when to go back to the corner and take a break.

I’m thankful to God that I have learned this lesson. Because of this, I can go into the weekend with a clear conscience.