Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Notes - Benched 'til Tuesday

11:50am (Note the early timestamp as I benched myself at 11:48am.) OK, for the first time since I began blogging almost a year ago, I'm going to use the dreaded "S" word which I typically avoid like non-trading analysts. I'm in a slump. I'm fouling off more pitches and am leaving more runners on base than Big Papi.

I'm reading the market exceptionally, yet my executions and trade management are off and I'm clearly pressing as indicated by finding myself entering wholesale sequences far too early, and thus ending up on the retail (losing) side of the trade far too often. Note the two consecutive red scores for patience ... it's extremely rare to see even one. And lack of patience was also highly evident in my poker game last night!

I won't even address today, except to say that despite a strong read, I had an atrocious trade management transition from the Europe session to the U.S. session -- which has been a strength as of late -- and will simply let the scorecard speak for itself. It should be dark green. It wasn't. Although my aggression was there again -- a clear positive despite the score -- and I did cut the score from red, to orange, and finally to yellow.

btw, for newer onlookers, it's not about the daily score ... it never is. It's about the single 2009 trade which ends on December 31. Period. And yes, my goals are admittedly high.

The week ended positive at +$17K thanks to Tuesday, but off equity highs. The month remains positive, yet clearly sub-optimized. I remain on the $1 Million annual target pace, but without much room for error on this 5th of 12 laps. I still haven't had three consecutive losses in 15+ months, but there's been far too much slop and scrambling lately. When I win, I'm winning uglier than the Celtics in their first round against the Bulls. My executions are about as weak as the current feel in my right hand. And so on and so on. And forget the positive talk psycho-babble crap ... it is what it is and I'm not going to sugarcoat it.

Yea, the unresolved health issue and interruptions are there and at times affecting focus and continuity of market monitoring, but big whoop. We all have our pains to deal with ... it's called life!

btw, to those who don't like blog "whining", tough teabags as this remains my diary and mechanism for venting. (Of course I suppose you've never been in a rut.) Remember despite the growing popularity of this site, I'm not seeking increased traffic ... I'm simply a trader working toward a single goal and this site is my daily travel log! As always, if you don't like what you read, please change the channel.

The only good news is I'm angry at my trading. I'm talking throw-the-laptop-through-the-window angry. And as most know, that's usually the trigger to spark a pick-up in focus and often precedes the next extended hard run.

After 150 at bats, Big Papi finally hit one out the other night, after being benched last weekend.

I'm using this afternoon and long weekend to regroup & reevaluate, and view next week as a huge pivot point in this trader's 2009 journey. Frankly, as long as I have feeling in my right hand, I'm planning on coming out swinging on Tuesday.

I will come out of this and step up the pace.

Have an outstanding and safe Memorial Day weekend.

11 comments:

Trader Kevin said...

"Note the two consecutive red scores for patience...it's extremely rare to see even one. And lack of patience was also highly evident in my poker game last night!"

I'm better than most of the poker players I play against. (I'm not bragging, it's just that the quality of play in low-limit online poker is blissfully horrible.)

I don't let bad beats bother me--that's poker--but there is something that upsets me. That's when I shoot myself in the foot through impatience. There's nothing worse at the table than donking off all your chips on a bluff.

Interesting that you've seen the same lack of patience in both venues. Do you attribute it to anything? The fact that you recognize it will go a long way towards curing it.

Have you considered cutting back on the liquidity providing and focusing on your best speculative entries or does the process of liquidity providing give you the feel for market pace that is critical to your success?

Don, have a fabulous weekend and get 'em on Tuesday! Go Blackhawks!

Hay Farmer said...

Yea, I was just there last month! My lap top didn't make it out the window but I did have to buy a new mouse. Looking foreward to Tuesday also! Have a great Weekend.

GODSPEED-

Jt said...

Hello, I was hoping you could give me your thoughts on averaging down or averaging up or both..

I always hear about train wrecks in regards to averaging DOWN but don't hear to many stories about getting killed averaging UP. Meaning, if I get into a trade and it goes my way, I add to the position because the market is telling me I'm on the right side.

What say you?
Thanks

E said...

I am certainly not qualified to give you or anyone else advice, but my 2 cents.

The devil is in the details. Yes, the aggregate at the end of the year is all important, but we cannot ignore the importance of each step.

One swing at a time, one at bat at a time, one game at a time, one season at a time.

One trade at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.

We all experience slumps, and have our own way of expressing our frustration. Losing gracefuly doesn't come naturally to many of us, me included.

Keep up the good fight, and whine all you want today.

Then put it out of your mind and enjoy the weekend with family.

You are the most authentic, honest, and obviously talented trader that most of us know, and that's why we love and respect you.

JE said...

Hi, Don,

I appreciated this line:

"And forget the positive talk psycho-babble crap ... it is what it is and I'm not going to sugarcoat it."

As someone who tends to be VERY hard on himself, I've learned a lot from you about striking the right balance between giving yourself a pass (when you're making good decisions but they just aren't working as well as normal) and when to get p*ssed about your performance (when you're making fundamental errors, like lacking patience).

Your blog has really helped me in that regard (and in so many others).

Enjoy the long weekend.

Best,
JE

TheRumpledOne said...

"I'm talking throw-the-laptop-through-the-window angry"

I know that feeling!!

Sam said...

So this is the ugly side of trading that you keep talking about! You are your toughest critic, so I don't think any words of encouragement/solace from my side would have any effect, so I'm refrain from doing so. But I will say that you picked the perfect time to call it a day and except the dump at the end of the day, it was just chop all around.

My question of the day: When you are trading, what do you during the "boring" times when nothing seems to happen? You don't seem like the person who visits Yahoo/Google boards or chatrooms, how what do you do to overcome these periods and still keep focus when the action starts?

Don Miller said...

Good posts all.

Kevin - I definitely believe there's a strong link between the impatience in my poker game and trading. I was out of the Thursday PM game in less than an hour after playing marginal hands. (Of course, the league is full of donkeys who you can't bluff, and so waiting for premium hands is paramount and I sometimes forget to change gears accordingly.)

JT - "It depends". (I know, lame answer.)

I think we have to be careful when we talk about averaging. For example, I never begin a sequence with a full position, almost always "scaling in" which may include prices both above and below my initial entry.

It also depends on the type of trade sequence. i.e. if I'm trading against the immediate trend which is clearly on fumes or is running into a longer-term trend support, I have no problem getting better prices as it continues to thrust so long as I don't have my full position on.

And in that case, adding once it moves in expected direction would be stupid as my intent is to exit into the move.

On the other hand, if it's clearly a breakout trade OR a trade with longer term potential, adding may work fine.

One thing is certain ... if one begins to "fade" an immediate move either FAR too soon with a partial position or put the entire lot on as the market shoots hard the wrong way, adding to a loser can be devastating.

Sam -

I focus on my non-market obligations and pay some bills.

Trader Kevin said...

"I think we have to be careful when we talk about averaging. For example, I never begin a sequence with a full position, almost always "scaling in" which may include prices both above and below my initial entry.

"It also depends on the type of trade sequence. i.e. if I'm trading against the immediate trend which is clearly on fumes or is running into a longer-term trend support, I have no problem getting better prices as it continues to thrust so long as I don't have my full position on.

"And in that case, adding once it moves in expected direction would be stupid as my intent is to exit into the move."

Don, we both fade emotional extremes, though on different time frames (0-5 days for me, 0-5 minutes for you).

I take the same approach to "averaging." I put my trades on in four parts. If I get to my max position the first one or two are probably pretty far underwater.

The difference between what I/we do and reckless cannon-balling is that we know our max size and don't violate it. (Don't know about you, but I can state it as "don't ever violate it.")

And ditto for looking at an exit when it starts to go my way, not put on additional units. It's not everyone's game, but it works for me. (And you, from the looks of things!)

Speculator Ed said...

Hello Don,

Sorry to hear about your health, but there are couple actions you can do for investing in your health which includes natural nutritional boosts, and exercising to have better blood and energy flow:

1. Real martial arts tai chi can provide radiant health, recommend reading "The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan" by Wong Kiew Kit. Then finding a reputable instructor.

2. Drinking wheatgrass juice that does not have molds (outdoor grown), http://www.evergreenjuices.com/

3. Buying a juicer for apple + carrot, or other vegetable juice. I use a Green Star Twin Gear Juicer. Make sure to start buying organic food that does not have pesticides, preservatives, GMO, etc.

4. Eat a high percentage raw food diet (mainly vegetables and fruits). Raw food provides living energy, where as cooking kills a lot of the enzymes.

You are what you eat, and your exercise will bring more of what you eat to each cell of your body.

I recommend further research on any of those topics, but I feel they make sense and do boost health, energy, and well-being of the mind, thus providing better peace and focus. I myself have benefited from that list.

Trader Kevin said...

Is Big Papi suddenly finished?