Thursday, May 7, 2009

The RO Report, "Last One" Edition

I've written this blog for over 2 years amidst the worst period in my 10-year trading career. It has been a difficult time for me personally but writing has in many ways made it easier.

Dinosaur Trader began as a method for me to connect with other traders as the hybrid market wrecked havoc on my trading style. It ends with me having loads of connections but still struggling with my trading. During these two years I've had some good days and some bad days but throughout I have lacked in confidence and my trading has wanted focus and consistency.

Ultimately trading pays my bills and I need to get that working again at a time when my energy for trading and curiosity regarding the market is on the wane. I'm in the unenviable position of not being in the right frame of mind to trade yet having to trade as I lack alternative avenues of income/skills. This is difficult.

My ideas are often good but my execution is poor, perhaps because I am distracted. Whether or not the blog lends to that distraction I don't know. I haven't put much energy into it since February so I doubt it, but I think some time off will clarify that...

Let's just say that this job is wonderful when things are going well but hellish when they are not... if things are going well for you, be thankful for that, stay humble and always maintain your perspective.

With that, reluctantly, I am putting the blog on the ice for now... if I am going to resuscitate it I will do so in September at the earliest. I have been lucky to have solid readership from the beginning and despite my lack of ambition here for the past few months it seems most of you have hung around.

I appreciate that.

I also appreciate the many bloggers who have linked here and helped my blog grow. When I make my triumphant return in September, I'll need you to get the word out, so keep writing!

Anyway, it was an excellent day in the RO today. Out of 32 traders, 26 were gross positive or 81%. 17 traders made over $1,000 gross and 1 trader lost over $1,000 gross. I was #31 of 32.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader B, $49.446 on 624k shares traded.

2. Trader A, $41,017 on 231k shares traded.
3. Trader D, $33,519 on 600k shares traded.
4. Trader H*, $9,164 on 47,400 shares traded.
5. Trader 10*, $7,932 on 12,703 shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader R, -$1,953 on 33,800 shares traded.

2. Trader S, -$502 on 19,000 shares traded.
3. Trader 3, -$95 on 6,200 shares traded.
4. Trader &, -$91 on 97,400 shares traded.
5. Trader 1, -$41 on 2,600 shares traded.

BLOG NOTE: Sometime in the next few days I will turn off the comment section. I don't want to have to babysit the blog weeding out the inevitable onslaught of spam. I will still be available via email (check my profile) and don't forget, the RO is always hiring.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Trader A Guest Post

 So here goes…

I couldn’t think of any particular topic to write about, so I figured I would just dictate this post as a written recording of my stream of consciousness.  Initially, I planned to write a view paragraphs based on how I trade, but then I realized that there is nothing I could tell you that you haven’t heard before.  During my time talking with, and observing, other discretionary intraday traders, I’ve found that there are only two main strategies… you’re either a trend-follower or mean-reversion trader (I don’t know anyone who has figured out how to make pair-trading work intraday).  For you to make money as a day trader, the price of the market has to change, there is no other way around that… we’re not making markets here… Now that isn’t to say that every once in a while a trader that specializing in mean-reversion won’t buy into a strong market, or a momentum trader won’t sell a blade-up, but in general, every trader makes the bulk of his money in the strategy that he/she specializes in.  As I think back, Trader D and Trader B both had all their best days ever on days where the market had a large reversal.  My best days (as a trend-follower) all occurred when the market opened weak and finished weaker, or opened strong, and finished stronger.  I am a momentum junkie, and there is nothing I love more than buying something going straight up, or selling something going straight down.  It is what comes naturally to me.

              Of more interest, may be how I came to this point.  Just as many behavioral tendencies and subconscious habits can be traced to childhood experiences/influences, I believe my market directional trading bias has its links to the beginning of my trading career.

            To briefly summarize my beginnings, I got my Series 7 in winter 2006, and promptly proceeded to lose money from the last couple weeks in December, through March of 2007.  I smoked myself for the entire 3k deposit amount and then some. At the end of March, I wired in the last bit of money I had to bring my negative account into the green, but by then I had already pretty much figured I was done.  Then April 2007 came.  This marked the first earnings season that I was aware of.  I managed to make a good amount of money buying earnings stocks making highs, pyramiding into more as they ripped.  April 2007 was my first positive month.  I made around 4k (which was huge to me), about enough to cover my losses up until that point.  Buying into momentum was my first very positive reinforcement by the market, and I think that was so ingrained into me that I start to feel very uncomfortable whenever I’m fading or in a retracement trade. 

Over time, I’ve made adjustments to execution details such as entry/exit timing, trading vehicles, profit targets, etc, but at its core, I am nothing more than a trend follower.  I know my strengths and weaknesses.  All the traders I know, that make a killing, are the best at what they do.  I can’t make more money than Trader Z trading his style.  If I’m doing my job right, no one will make more money than me, trading my style.  And that’s what it comes down to, acknowledging and accentuating your strengths, and minimizing your weaknesses.  If there is one point I would stress in this rambling post, it is the value of become more self-aware professionally, understand your tendencies and proficiencies, then to develop a strategy to maximize on that.  One of my favorite quotes comes from market wizard Mark Minervini,

"Concentrate on mastering one style that suits your personality, which is a lifetime process.  Most people just cannot weather the learning curve.  As soon as it gets difficult, and their approach isn't working up to their expectations, they begin to look for something else.  As a result, they become slightly efficient in many areas without ever becoming very good in any single methodology.  The reality is that it takes a very long time to develop a superior approach, and along the way, you are going to go through periods when you do poorly.  Ironically, those are the periods that give you the most valuable information."

So there you have it… stick to what you’re good at, and most passionate about, because that is what you’ll be best at.  Don’t let the money drive you crazy because this shit will mean nothing in 100 years.  Maintain perspective, love your family, live fearless

The RO Report, "Penultimate" Edition

Look it up... it doesn't mean like, "super ultimate" or anything you idiot.

Only the numbers tonight. I will let Trader A do all the talking.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader B, $40,860 on 854k shares traded.

2. Trader N, $21,830 on 206k shares traded.
3. Trader A, $20,329 on 277k shares traded.
4. Trader D, $19,157 on 606k shares traded.
5. Trader H*, $11,163 on 25,100 shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader L, -$2,909 on 81,200 shares traded.

2. Trader E, -$1,342 on 223k shares traded.
3. Trader S, -$1,286 on 87,000 shares traded.
4. Trader 9*, -$1,225 on 7,300 shares traded.
5. Trader P, -$1,098 on 192k shares traded.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Philip Glass, "In The Upper Room"

Judy, who is a dancer, showed me this the other night. Unbelievable, really.

The RO Report, "Weeded" Edition

Some time ago I had a summer job as a waiter. Everyone on the waitstaff was always high. This guy Gary was the main supplier as well as the head waiter. Whenever people were super busy they said they were "weeded" or "in the weeds" and I always thought it had to do with their smoking habits. However, I was wrong.

As it turned out, to be "in the weeds" or "weeded" meant that you were so far afield that the weeds had crept above your head. You were lost out there in the field, in the weeds, and you couldn't see your way out.

Anyway, let's get to the numbers. The RO had a nice day. Out of 31 traders today, 23 were gross positive or 74%. 9 traders made over $1,000 gross and 2 traders lost over $1,000 gross. I was #29 of 32, a Manservant.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader D, $12,938 on 173k shares traded.

2. Trader B, $9,241 on 301k shares traded.
3. Trader Z, $3,455 on 31,200 shares traded.
4. Trader C, $2,695 on 56,414 shares traded.
5. Trader F, $2,363 on 31,800 shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader N, -$3,894 on 103k shares traded.

2. Trader L, -$1,448 on 18,000 shares traded.
3. Trader S, -$650 on 10,600 shares traded.
4. Trader 6*, -$217 on 2,400 shares traded.
5. Trader H*, -$216 on 49,800 shares traded.

"Bag It" Documentary

Long time readers know I hate plastic even more than I hate CNBC. Check this great documentary about plastic shopping bags. Now if only they'd ban styrofoam...

BAG IT from christine giordano on Vimeo.

(h/t WSF)

Monday, May 4, 2009

FFTL, "Failure By Designer Jeans"

Trader A spray choice.

The RO Report, "Day 1" Edition

At about 3:30 I was out weeding my lawn of, well, grass and I thought to myself, "Am I going crazy?" I was out there in the rain with 3 buckets: one for grass, one for grubs, and one for "weeds" that I am going to replant once I rip up the grass. The neighbors would drive by, I'd wave, smile, think, "I don't look crazy, anyway" and get back to weeding.

Meanwhile, the RO was making size.

It's cool. While I was out there I had the REM song "Can't Get There From Here" running through my head and I think that tells the story. You too can make riches in the stock market, but it's not all about numbers... it's mostly about frame of mind. I'm simply working back to that frame of mind. I'm starting from scratch and new traders don't make $30k a day.

Anyway, it was an excellent day for the RO. Out of 32 traders today, 25 were gross positive or 78%. 9 traders made over $1,000 gross and 4 traders lost over $1,000 gross. I was #16 of 32.

About that $30k... guess who? Trader A. Please check Wednesday afternoon for his guest post.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader A, $31,824 on 301k shares traded.

2. Trader F, $14,478 on 524k shares traded.
3. Trader D, $12,286 on 553k shares traded.
4. Trader B, $8,850 on 470k shares traded.
5. Trader V, $7,589 on 108k shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader H*, -$7,212 on 35,200 shares traded.

2. Trader 9*, -$7,063 on 9,100 shares traded.
3. Trader 10*, -$4,247 on 13,800 shares traded.
4. Trader M*, -$3,110 on 0 shares traded.
5. Trader 6*, -$910 on 500 shares traded.

Trader A Guest Post Drops Wednesday Evening

Beginner's Mind

I'm back in the saddle. After a two day trading break and a weekend of strong surf I feel much better.

This job is like no other in that there is no linear progress. If you were a player 5 years ago, or "ghetto fabulous" even, that doesn't guarantee that you'll be worth shit today. Past success means nothing and future success is no guarantee. The best you can do is work hard, keep yourself healthy, and focus on the market that is in front of you.

So that said, I'm starting today with the mindset of a new trader. I have withdrawn any extra funds in my trading account and will start to slowly build it back up through disciplined trading. It means nothing that I've been successful for 10 years, the market isn't going to give me a dime because of that.

In a happy coincidence, the HCPG collective have started to update their blog again. This is good because they take a very clear-eyed and unbiased look at the market each day. Very helpful if you're looking for some sort of anchor.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Trader A Guest Post

Will be published after the RO report this Wednesday. Set your clocks.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beat Happening, "Hot Chocolate Boy"

The RO Report, "Moss" Edition

While you were fucking around in the stock market, I was playing "fairy" with my daughter as I cleaned out a moss bed on the side of the house. I don't get you, with your house and your big lawn. It makes no sense. Get some moss. You don't have to mow it, it's green all year, and it's beautiful. Better for the environment and better for you. Plus, fairies thrive in moss, everyone knows that. Go ahead, make the layup joke you idiot. You think you're funny? No...

Anyway, I'm taking tomorrow off also. Then, come Monday I'll be doing things differently. I have a plan, don't you worry. I drew out all of the "slush" funds from my trading account and will basically be starting over. This will naturally make me focus more on risk. If there is one thing I know about myself it's that I am at my best when my back is against a wall.

It was a good day for the RO. An interesting day actually, as Trader B and his swing account snagged the #1 and #2 positions, while Trader Z and his swing account snagged the bottom two positions. Technically, this is a "George Michael" and a "Double Dong" in the same day which is pretty amazing. A "George Michael Double Dong" if you will.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader H*, $10,851 on 37,500 shares traded.

2. Trader B, $10,513 on 515k shares traded.
3. Trader D, $9,331 on 386k shares traded.
4. Trader F, $4,022 on 103k shares traded.
5. Trader E, $1,822 on 178k shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader Z, -$6,336 on 226k shares traded.

2. Trader M*, -$771 on 0 shares traded.
3. Trader 8, -$223 on 6,200 shares traded.
4. Trader 1***, -$162 on 5,200 shares traded.
5. Trader 6*, -$86 on 1,500 shares traded.

***The old Trader 1 left the company. Trader 1 is a new trader. Update all your excel sheets.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The RO Report, "Time Off" Edition

I took another hit today and will be taking time off until I get my head back into the game. It was a bit of an overall smokefest in the RO.

"Chambermaid" - Trader A, -$18,675 on 270k shares traded.

2. Trader D, -$8,673 on 327k shares traded.
3. Trader N, -$7,710 on 158k shares traded.
4. Trader Z, -$2,655 on 449k shares traded.
5. Trader S, -$2,615 on 125k shares traded.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader H, $13,001 on 44k shares traded.

2. Trader B, $10,927 on 664k shares traded.
3. Trader F, $7,783 on 375k shares traded.
4. Trader C, $5,363 on 220k shares traded.
5. Trader 9*, $2,589 on 4,700 shares traded.

Trader A...

Fox Catches Mouse Two Feet Under Snow - Watch more Funny Videos

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The RO Report, "Zzzzzzz" Edition

I guess, given the news environment we seem to be in that sometimes no news is good news. The market simply went to sleep today, which I guess is a good thing. We just seem to be catching our breath a bit, which is healthy.

It was a pretty awful day to trade. That said, you see "Trader A" made a princely sum once again. I'll give you one clue, he was pretty much done trading by noon.

The rest of the RO grinded it out though, and ended with a small win after a mostly ho-hum sort of day.

Out of 31 traders today, 18 were gross positive or 58%. 7 traders made over $1,000 gross and 3 lost over $1,000 gross. I was #14 of 31 or basically flat.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader A, $9,290 on 46k shares traded.

2. Trader Z, $1,967 on 79,436 shares traded.
3. Trader B, $1,899 on 358k shares traded.
4. Trader D, $1,503 on 121k shares traded.
5. Trader E, $1,501 on 101k shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader H*, -$4,405 on 4,100 shares traded.

2. Trader V, -$3,452 on 64,600 shares traded.
3. Trader F, -$2,657 on 70,800 shares traded.
4. Trader M*, -$966 on 0 shares traded.
5. Trader 9*, -$790 on 1,200 shares traded.

Swine Flu Gets The Daily Show Treatment

You know you've made it big when you're on The Daily Show. Congratulations to Swine Flu!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Last 100 Days
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Monday, April 27, 2009

Beach Boys, "In My Room" (live)

Classic Swine Flu track...

The RO Report, "Swine Flu" Edition

Man, wouldn't it be an awful week just to come down with the normal flu?

Anyway, I'm shot in many ways. Here's the numbers.

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader A, $9,042 on 100k shares traded.

2. Trader D, $6,229 on 365k shares traded.
3. Trader M*, $1,666 on 0 shares traded.
4. Trader 10*, $1,628 on 2,300 shares traded.
5. Trader N, $1,313 on 65,000 shares traded.

"Chambermaid" - Trader B, -$2,306 on 461k shares traded.

2. Trader 9*, -$1,061 on 0 shares traded.
3. Trader $, -$838 on 22,800 shares traded.
4. Trader C, -$710 on 0 shares traded.
5. Trader F, -$529 on 94,400 shares traded.

The World Is Coming To An End, Part 4,325,349

Looks like the dark horse candidate to end the world, swine flu, is going to do it. For all of you who voted for swine flu in my "How Is The World Going To End?" poll from a few months ago, congratulations, I guess.

All I know is that I was at the Mets game yesterday and couldn't even enjoy myself because I heard every single cough and sneeze in the place. Looking around, there were many people who had the glossed-over look that idiots often enjoy, that blasted look of ignorance. But they were happy and drunk and I thought, for a brief second that perhaps, they win afterall.

Anyway, the fear box will be all over this one for the next few weeks at least. This global financial meltdown/revolution is getting a bit played out.

UPDATE: Oh, and that plane escorted by a military jet over the Hudson? That was just a pre-planned flight... It tanked the futures though... that was Part 4,325,350.