It’s Been A Heck Of A Ride

profilepic1The New York Stock Exchange traded with some energy coming out of the gates. It was like pent up water spewing out of a dam – very impressive. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a sense of any real direction until later on in the open. I had already gotten out and called it a day. I don’t know what the next couple of trading sessions will hold for the US market. Barring some unforeseen event, I can only see upward trendlines and green chart candlesticks from here on out – unless you use wacky colors like me i.e. gray & purple, orange & yellow, etc. Anyhow, the market did what it did and that’s that.

I caught an early morning trade on the Euro and thought that I’d get a good number of ticks on it but it didn’t move all that much and in the end, being that it was a Friday, I was convinced it wasn’t going to move anymore so I closed out whatever I had, gain in hand. The cash open was enthusiastic, as I said above, but the lack of any real direction meant that trades had to be quick and getting out of them had to be even quicker. In the end, the PnL wasn’t impressive and not what I could call productive by any stretch of the imagination but I am closing the books on 2017 in a positive way.

As you have read, I will be shutting down all trading operations for the calendar year and resuming once I’ve had my fill of holiday college football games. I never thought that I could blog continuously every day like this when I first opened up this site. I know that my posts can be monotonous which is why I try and talk about stuff towards the end. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. There have certainly been ups and downs but when you’re up on average – that’s a good thing and when you’re down on average, it’s an experience you’ve got to learn from. In my experience in this dumb business, you never know when the dice is gonna roll in your favor so the best thing to do is always be prepared. Have some type of baseline image of what you want to project about yourself – whether it be a responsible human being, or a friendly/decent one. Trading is a job, and that’s just it. Like any other jobs, there is a spectrum of success in it where there is the lowest earning person to the highest. It’s not an end all be all and it certainly isn’t the only path to riches.  Had I known this as a younger man, I probably wouldn’t have touched Wall Street. But that’s all past now and I hope that if I didn’t at least force you to reconsider a career in trading, then you’d at least approach the idea with a healthy dose of common sense and skepticism – two things I didn’t have at 21 years old. But then again, that’s youth in a nutshell.

I don’t know if I’ll blog past this point. I’m thinking that I should, but I certainly won’t trade. I’ll probably talk about some mundane stuff – you know, to keep the writing energy going. For now, it’s time to enjoy this joyous holiday season & play holiday music loudly. I personally don’t like the Mariah Carey Christmas song as it’s too out there for me. I prefer Ashley Tisdale’s version of Last Christmas, and I blast the shit out of it while driving in my macho pickup truck. I don’t care yo, I’ll fight anyone who says that isn’t the bomb Christmas song LOL!

Oh, yeah – and a big fat F*CK YOU to trading.

 

 

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The Home Stretch

profile 6The New York Stock Exchange traded slow today. I think it’s a reflection on the coming Christmas holiday and today’s action tells me that I am doing the right thing by shutting down all operations for the calendar year tomorrow. I didn’t even see the news or anything this morning. I just woke up, went about my early business (toasting some eggos, checking ESPN, etc.) and set about to trade the day.

I was going to trade Orange Juice in the early going as I felt like there was an exploitable window of price action there from yesterday’s moves but while looking at it, I started to feel uncomfortable with prices and it really gnawed on my conscience to a point where even trading it at a fraction of my risk exposure couldn’t entice me to get into the market. Like I say all the time, capital is capital – you lose it, it’s gone forever. So, I didn’t trade it and left it as it was. The cash open though was a different story. For the first time in a few sessions, things went great for me and I had a great eye reading the market. I didn’t have to trade all that much relative to how I usually trade and I made out with a better PnL compared to my business costs. This is probably where younger me would take that as a sign to trade into Christmas Eve but older – and lazier – me understands that fortune is a fickle animal. I have the money I need now for the month and there’s no reason grounded in rationality that I should try and make a few more bucks.

Right now, I’m on my dining room table typing this as I have a late lunch that I made on hand. I’m looking out of my window and it’s just a great sight being in this warm house while the East Coast weather sinks into the more chillier normalcies of late December. I am really blessed by God. Note that I’m not saying I’m a genius in trading or anything fractionally similar. What I’m saying is that God’s word, and word alone, makes me lucky and I am thankful for that even though other people would want to have success at their own hands. I have no problem leaving my successes and most abject pile-of-dog-shit failures-but -earning-opportunities at the hands of The Lord.

Getting Things Done

profile5The New York Stock Exchange traded well albeit a little slowly compared to how its been trading lately. I had to go mobile today and trade at a Starbucks because there was just a whole lot of things to be done and I needed a head start on the day as soon as I dropped the wife off to work.

I did not have a productive day today. I sort of just broke even. My cash open performance was a mixed bag. I don’t know what it was but I just couldn’t get any consistency going with my trades and I ended up missing almost as much as I was hitting. The same held true on my other asset trades. While I started off with a good early morning trade on the Euro, I pretty much diluted the day with attempts to make some money in Feeder Cattle.

I certainly had higher expectations for today but in the end, I can’t be mad as the effects of portfolio rounding once again makes its presence felt. It’s just a part of the game, but not something I like. In a way, I’m glad that I’m rounding out the year by the end of the week. I’ll still be vigilant and trade the way I do, but maybe these last couple of sessions are a sign that I indeed should wrap things up for the calendar year.

Tuesday Ruminations

77bdd6e367dfe91371285de6869c907bThe New York Stock Exchange started off slowly, as I would have expected following the events of yesterday. I was wondering if that would actually put a damper on the Santa Claus rally and just move it towards the beginning of the year when the psychological effects of this would all blow over. But then again, if memory serves me correctly I think that we will have a rate decision today so maybe everyone slept in and won’t get into their desks until 13:55.

I was going to trade Feeder Cattle this morning but I just didn’t feel comfortable about the way the market moved so I figured I’ll just save my capital for a potential trade going into the end of the week. It’s only Tuesday, there’s still plenty of time for a last-ditch effort at some extra spending money. The cash open was not as productive as I would have liked it to be given the situation I described above but I felt ok with not losing money today. It was just one of those days where there were small, or no opportunities in the window that I trade. Additionally, I wasn’t comfortable trading in size so I dialed down my risk which is something I will probably do until I wrap up trading for the year. If we’re going to be like this in the market then there’s no reason for me to put out additional capital.

I have gotten most of my Christmas shopping done so I hope to God that I can just sit back and enjoy the holiday scenery. It’s really nice going to the mall before the crowds do and actually hearing the Christmas music while walking around. I saw the line for the Santa Claus picture with all the little kids and their parents. It made me start to wonder about me and the wife having kids. It’s something we have talked about seriously but given how expensive it is to raise one we want to make sure we know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. As it is, there are times we visit her parents and the 4 family dogs they have. They are a handful and I think to myself what kind of pace of life I’d have if I had 4, even 1, child running around wreaking playful havoc. Nevertheless it was a nice sight to see. I’m thankful for today and I’m glad I could go into the rest of the afternoon knowing that I protected my capital. Thank God.

Winding The Year Down

profile 6The New York Stock Exchange was probably all set to start with some energy until we got news of the pipe bomb that exploded in Port Authority. When the opening bell did go off, I felt like the market was trading gingerly and there was definitely a silent spread between prices. I don’t blame traders. I don’t know if I would have been in that state of mind to commit major capital in the face of that kind of news.

The cash open wasn’t all that productive for me. The only win was that I didn’t lose money, which would sound good except I didn’t really make money. The same was the case for all assets I traded – which were Cocoa and Feeder Cattle. Both offset each other so I basically have nothing to show for today. It would have been a forgivable offense had it not been for the bad week that I had last week. Now, even on days I don’t make money or break even is like a waste. But I just keep myself calm by remembering it is the last few weeks of the trading year and that I should concentrate on the things that really matter.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for this holiday season and I want to make sure that God sees how thankful I am by how I treat each day and the gifts that I shop for for the people I love. Sure, trading is a bitch but I kind of knew what I was signing up for when I got into this shitty business. My responsibility is to compartmentalize the effects of each work day and make sure it doesn’t spill into my personal life – especially when I do crappy. Well, it’s off to Christmas shopping for me.

Bitcoin, Tulips & How I Ate Myself Into Food Coma

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The New York Stock Exchange traded well for a Friday. I don’t know if it’s the Santa Claus rally or what but it looks like we are in for a strong week ahead. There are too many indications otherwise. However, with that much anticipation we could all also get a big nothingburger. I will keep this post short and sweet since – as you’ve noticed – I haven’t been getting all that much time to post in the time slot that I want to.

The cash open was ok for me (wow!). I actually got off some good trades and made the necessary reads on the market that I needed to make. It looked, for a minute, that we were going to get dragged down by gravity but a couple of minutes into the open, the buyers firmly seized control of anyone even joking about shorting. There were opportunities to be made short and I got one of them but overall, you needed to get long and stay long. I only traded one other asset today and that was the British Pound. I didn’t get as much as I wanted to from the trades but they were enough. It was a semi-productive day for me only because I didn’t make what I thought I could make.

I am now fielding calls from relatives and friends about cryptocurrencies. You’ll recall that I highlighted how important it was in one of my previous posts how the CME was planning to list bitcoin futures. Even if all this hype doesn’t pan out, bitcoin will be one of the most hotly anticipated trading listings of all time. It is what forex was 12 years ago, and it will be complete with the hucksters and shills. Personally, I can’t wait for the commercials but that’s not why I’m typing this. I’m typing this to remind, not only myself, but others who may read this that this is what tulip-mania was like in the Netherlands. Of course, tulips aren’t an economic barometer and frankly, I’m not here to split nose hairs between that and, let’s say, the tech boom of the late 1990’s. What I am here to say is that there is a commonality between the two and that is: speculation. The nature of speculation will never change. Look into the endings of both tulip mania and the 1990’s tech boom. In fact, look at the endings of the U.S. baseball card industry and to a lesser extent, the housing craze of the mid 2000’s. They all bear the same signs: people going crazy to get into the action, creative commercials and weird advisory businesses popping up as a result, and a seemingly endless optimism about prices.

I’m not going to go into specifics but if experience has taught me anything, it’s that:

a.) this will all stop, and when it does many people are going to get hurt. I’m just going to create an informal distribution bell here and tell you that for each 10 people you know that will get into the bitcoin market, only 1 will actually make money and when I say make money, they will make anything from a dollar to anything beyond that AFTER commissions. 2 people will NOT lose money, meaning that AFTER commissions they will still have their pants on. the other 7 will have losses ranging from the “well, at least I tried” variety to the “if my wife finds out what I did with this years vacation money, i’m dead!” type.

and

b.) this craze will get us all attacking our rational selves as the price of bitcoin goes up and more and more people talk about it. I know that I will probably have more people talking/debating me about the merits of getting in but I have to stand my ground. You see how I regard trading in general and if you haven’t, then you should know that I find it to be one of the shittiest businesses out there – if you can call it that.

I am thankful today that the PnL was positive going into the weekend. I don’t know what I would have done if I suffered a loss. I got so happy that I basically ordered a celebratory Chinese food meal from the local delivery place. I actually could have banged out this post sooner but after a chicken with broccoli combination and egg roll, I needed to just sleep it all off. So here I am, the food is all digested and I’m kind of semi-awake. Again, it feels good that I’m going into the weekend on a positive note and I can only credit God for that. Now, it’s time to look ahead for my last trading week of the year.

 

Shaping Up To Be A Bad Month

profile7The New York Stock Exchange traded really well this morning – there were a lot of moves and things were really rocking and rolling. The problem was that I was making all types of crap decisions.

I traded the British Pound early this morning with the expectation that I would probably be in a hole by the time the cash open came around but lo and behold, I was surprised with a nice healthy profit – on size. So that got me in a pretty decent mood. Looking back, I should have just gone back to bed after the wife left for work instead of waiting around for the cash open. When New York started, I just could not tell my face from my ass and made 3 critically bad trades which set the tone for the rest of the cash open. All in all, I destroyed more than half of my earnings for today because the cherry on top was that I tried to trade Orange Juice and that went against me.

I’m starting to think I should not trade beyond this Friday. But that’s a little too extreme. I need to make money in order for my expenses to be sorted out for the month. The good thing is that I’m not getting crushed but that just means I’m not really being efficient with the PnL. But as they say, you’ve got to be patient and ride out the bad times. I wish I won the lottery. I would just use my trading workstation to play video games and look at internet memes all day.

As always, I have to remind myself that I am an extremely fortunate person – an outlier in the business. I have no skill – as evidenced by this post – but I just happen to be at the right place at the right time. I thank God for that.