Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Notes - Mouthwash Day

4:oopm I'll be frank as always ... I had one goal today after yesterday afternoon's P&L detour: To quickly rinse the bad taste out of my mouth by trading lightly to keep my head in the game, while ending the day green by at least $1.oo (that's one dollar) by not doing anything that might risk the dreaded "s" word -- rhymes with "plump" -- from sneaking into my vocabulary.

And considering the lack of preferred setups for this trader today, along with an absolutely horrendous pace (it seemed as if many traded today like deer in the headlights after yesterday's late day moonshot), I'm more than content with today's modest +$3K chip gain on very light personal volume, which was largely the result of providing liquidity for a few ticks on a handful of sequences as I had zero interest in intraday speculative trades until the conditions improved. Note to newer onlookers: I explain the difference in the "Providing Liquidity vs. Speculating" key post link in the lower left hand margin.

And so with a mere three strokes remaining before the first key turn of this year's race when Q1 ends on Tuesday, my current plan is to simply keep swimming stroke by stroke and not be bothered or distracted by any water that may get splashed in my face as happened late yesterday.

I suppose that's why swimmers wear goggles and race horses wear blinders.

The fresh breath feels good too.


rashid said...

Mr. Miller,

Someone at ET posted your blog on my journal there.. don't know if that may be you or not. Nice performance on your trading.. My question.. how many points do you average daily on ES? Or rather, considering current volatility, how many points can a decent trader extract daily on average? Thank You..

Lord Tedders said...


Great to see your thoughts regarding the trading day. I really appreciate that you account for your mental state, as well as what the market is doing (or not).


Don Miller said...

Hi Rashid -

I don't post anywhere else ... I have my hands full trading and documenting the journey after hours in this diary.

Re: points, as I've said many times, I don't track them or any other intraday statistic as they're 100% irrelvant to me. I only care about bottom line.

And since there are many ways to trade profitably and everyone trades differently (see "The Jazz Trader" post in the key post link menu in the lower left), trying to gauge an "average" point figure would be a pretty futile exercise.


rashid said...


Thanks for the reply. I was actually getting at what percent monthly return a good trader can reasonably expect. This is useful in terms of knowing how much capital one should start with... say I need to net 5k a month, what's the minimum below which you would consider me a dreamer?

Thanks again for your time...

Don Miller said...

Rashid -

Return is an awfully subjective concept, and my strong views on the topic are noted in the post entitled "My Views on ROR" in the lower left margin.

Per Futures Magazine, the top CTA managing funds under $10 Million in 2008 earned 171%. There are of course higher returns earned at times by traders, while the vast majority earn far less or lose money, and there are simply too many variables in trying to come with with an "achievable" % or reverse engineer to come up with a required starting capital base.

Perhaps a better question is "how long would it take and how much learning capital would be required for someone to acquire the necessary skill and experience to become a consistently profitable trader?" ... before even beginning to think about a consistent income or return figure.

And that answer is usually "a long time and a lot of expendable capital".


rashid said...


I suppose regardless of any stats out there it boils down to the individuals ability to stay at the top of his game which is what you seem to expend so much effort working on... Therefore anything is possible... but for how long?

Thanks and best wishes in your trading..

steve said...

My wife used to say the hardest part in open water triathlons was getting kicked in the face during the swim. It's not something you can train for, and all the solo running, biking, and swimming miles doesn't prepare you for it. But being able to expect it (possibly) and recover from it means you might finish the race.

Swing Trader said...

Hi Don,

Just want to drop you a short note to say this is a GREAT Journal and a GREAT blog, and your Journal is without a doubt, an excellent DAILY inspiration to many traders here including myself. Having followed your blog for nearly a week now, I wish I had discovered this earlier, and I find myself looking forward to reading your journal every day.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Don Miller said...

Thanks Swing Trader -

Amazing how truth can indeed often be stranger than fiction.