Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Notes - A Market Blessing

4:00pm I'll be frank up front ... this is going to be my toughest post ever. I'm not even sure where to start, but I'll try.

Normally, specific days don't phase me. I've said for years that each day is fairly insignificant over the course of a year or career except in aggregation with all the others. Once the trade or day is done, it has to be forgotten as tomorrow is indeed the only day that matters. And yes, that silly counter to the left is the only earnings timeframe that means anything to me.

Yet today I find myself deeply moved as I've been blessed with a career trading day. Yes, a career day that was pretty much over by noon. And since I've been candid writing about my losses and bonehead moves, I suppose I should be candid on the upside as well.

It started out innocently -- and actually on the frustrated side -- as I was thinking about going long last night after the market closed on the panic, and also planned on getting up with the Eurex open at 3am. Well, I remained flat overnight (that's me ... I simply can't sleep with a position on) and didn't wake up until around 5am where I saw I'd missed a couple of prime opportunities. I wasn't too pleased. Yet something told me to just sit tight and the opportunity would be there.

Perhaps it was the frustration of missing out early that sharpened the focus, but from that point on everything fell into place. And I mean everything. Once ES starting pulling in around 9:45am, and with my eye on the TICK expecting a much higher initial low than yesterday (remember those comments and the TICK chart re: yesterday's extremes), I started buying and buying heavy. From then, the next few hours were frankly an unconscious dance with the market. Size, entries and exits seemed within ticks of perfection and there was no hesitation. None. It was like that scene near the end of Trading Places where Louis and Billy Ray were taking down the Dukes. Perfect afternoon earnings protection (minimal trading) while adding a small icing. It was like all of the experience of the last decade flooded into the moment. And I mean flooded. I just can't describe how I felt much more than that.

When all was said and done, $70K+ net (after transaction costs as always and including a teeny DAX loss) was in the bank on an absurd $77K ES gross. 7% of my annual earnings target in one day. I still can't believe it and have captured the gross figures from TT so I know it's real.

Oh sure, I didn't do some things well including passing on the afternoon long (got some nice short extension clips though) and losing on the DAX in the morning (I know, I know). And that will give me motivation for tomorrow. But that would be like saying you didn't like Manny's hair when the Sox finally won it in 2004.

Those that have worked with me over the years know I have a deep faith. I don't talk about it purposely as I try to live by example (often not doing a good job of it) rather than rant, but it's there. Today was a blessing which is frankly hard for me to comprehend right now. Other than that, I'm at a loss for words until this sinks in.

In the meantime, I know I have to forget about it and move on. Time has shown I can come back from draws ... Tuesday and Wednesday are recent cases in point ... and believing I'm always coming back from the abyss has become my cornerstone. Now I need to find out if I can keep that same even keel and believe the day of all days was really the draw of all draws.

There's another day left in the week, and 104 days left until this means anything.

The journey must continue.


cal_trader said...

Once in a decade kind of day. Sign of a pro to be able to take advantage of it!

Steve0617 said...

WOW! Congratulations. Now take a day off and spend it with the family. Or at least the missus. Supposed to be a beautiful day tomorrow in the NE.

Or at least sleep in!

MK said...

Congratulations on your career day. Drinks are on you tonight ;-D

All my best,

Anonymous said...

Wow absolutely awesome performance Don! I'm surprised you called it quits by noon instead of shooting for a 6-figure day :)

Don Miller said...

Thanks guys.

With respect to the afternoon session, I actually didn't quit and traded, adding to the morning gains.

For once, I decided to look back at the afternoon charts, as well as my executions, in great detail tonight wondering if I needlessly held back though. (I'm still going through the exercise.) And after thinking I'd have some regret about trading the PM session lightly, I actually have zilch.

For my game and strength is largely taking advantage of (fading) unsustainable intraday overreactions. ES climbed 82 points INTRADAY from low to high --- and over 100 points if you include tonight's session -- which just "doesn't happen" 99.999% of the time. Except, this PM it did and likely wiped out many undisciplined short traders' careers who weren't watching the multi-year high in the VIX and/or weren't aware of the triple witching and bailout news that was breaking minute by minute.

Normally, I'd be looking to short the PM climb like heck ... and I did lightly on the panic thrusts. But I know holding back in the PM was absolutely the proper thing to do, and won't lose any sleep at all over not maximizing a 0.001% probability scenario.

I know the last posted comment was in jest :-) ... but I was seriously wondering the same thing.

My only regret is not having sized a bit larger buying the 1:00pm barf of all barfs (I caught some at 1137.75 ... just not "enough" or buying some longer-term stuff at the 1:00pm barf. But long-term just isn't my game, and most long-term players who did well today are still down big on the year.



Anonymous said...

Don, the previous comment was in good spirit..I would love to see you post a 6-figure day. It shows the rest of us what's possible in this business! Keep it up!

Samuelssons Rapport said...

Congratulations from Sweden! You rock! ;)


Anonymous said...

Hi Don,
Read your blog frequently but this first comment. Congratulations on this tremendous occasion!

I haven't read all your posts but as I understand it, you don't sleep much and get up real early to trade Europe's open. Do you think that your sleeping in and being well rested might account for your superior performance? Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Awesome Don!
Thanks for the great sharing of your daily encounters! Kees our spirits alive and you are a living proof of a professional trader that makes a living out of trading!
Truly inspiring!!!

I'll quit my job and fly there just to sit beside you for the next 100 days if i could!!!

Cheers from Malaysia!
Zhi Feng

Johnson's Trading Blog said...

Don- I realize this comment is coming over 1 year after the initial post but I just wanted to thank you for this website. I've read through nearly the entire site in the last few hours and it has provided me with much inspiration for what will be a great end to 2009.

Best of luck in resuming your full time trading and in qualifying for the Foxwoods tournament.

-Brian Johnson