Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Notes - Why We Floss

4:00pm OK, I know I've stretched the limit on crazy trading analogies since this trek began last year, yet be forewarned that this may be the most extreme.

OK, here's the setup: A classic oscillation morning expected given two down days in a bull market, right? You know the drill, fade TICK extremes expecting oscillations, cover, repeat, etc. etc., right? It's my favorite setup (like a comfortable slipper) which often accounts for more than half my monthly profits, right?

Only one problem today ... I'm terrible about flossing and thus paid dearly today as I spent the early morning in the dentist's chair which ruined any chance I had to dance cheek-to-cheek (pun intended) with the market's expected morning gyrations.

And so the too-often 2009 personal theme continues, which at this rate I'm about to title "life interruptus" given this year's many personal nuiscences.

As many know, last year I postponed about every personal obligation for 365 days to see what the result would be. And we learned the answer in the form of a record bounty. This year, I've decided to live a more "normal" life, which time has been telling us can be very costly from a trading perspective when the market dictates the opportunity ... not your schedule.

And so for the first time since I can remember, I had a surprising draw on my favorite kind of day which experience has shown would normally been a very-high probability 5 figure gain. Oh, I thought about canceling at the last moment and rescheduling last night when it became clear this morning would be the high percentage play. Yet I didn't, out of respect for my dentist friend who also needs to make a living. Plus it's tough as hell to schedule dentist appointments.

And while not canceling was the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, it was admittedly a very costly appointment in terms of modest draw and -- more importantly -- opportunity cost as I provided liquidity for much of the rest of the day with my B-minus game on.

Yet as letting it get to me won't do any good, the only way to forget it is to stay focused on the road ahead, and one date and result only ... December 31. That's why traders must have a non-existent short-term memory, and why I probably won't even respond to comments on the topic since it's already in the past. My wife continues to say a poor short-term memory is one of my strengths.

Nevertheless, if today doesn't teach our kids (and me!) to floss, nothing will.

Just another day of thousands in the career.

Let's move on.


steve said...

This is one of the few times I'm not envious of your day! For what it's worth, the dentist I go to only has late afternoon, evening, and Saturday appointments so he can ski and golf during the day. It's strange though getting worked on at 9pm.

Charles said...

Well Don maybe I can inject a little good-natured humor in here. And you know I love ya man, but if you google the word "nuiscences" (which is in your 4th paragraph), today's post comes up number FOUR on the list.

Way to go man! ;-)


I also had had some distractions going on today and ended up basically just making lunch money. I can say though that I was at least able to admit to myself that I was not as focused as usual and stay out of trouble until, like you, I can move on to the next day and the next opportunity.

re: trading analogies...I very much am impressed with and appreciate your ability to continually stretch your analogical capacity.

Admittedly, lately I have been slacking on the teeth flossing. Your post today is gonna spur me to fix that.
From now on, I shall floss more often!


1_Year_ES_Trader said...

Hi Don, I was hoping you could comment on the following:

How do you handle being correct in identifying where the market is heading over the short term (next 10 minutes for example) but not knowing how much room to give the trade to breathe?

In other words, what is your method that tells you were wrong in your analysis? How do you get past all the noise in the market and let your trade work out?

For example, today around 15:20 I short @ 910.00 expecting a drop to 907.50. I get spooked when the trade goes a point against me at 15:22 and end up scratching on the trade.

A couple bars later, the trade does in fact hit my target.

How would you have handled the situation?


E said...

Glad to see you didn't bring the Vaio and hit a few buttons when an alert went off.

I also hope you didn't have any options left in play;

You really would have sat in the dentist chair and been worried about decay...

Don Miller said...

1 Year -

It depends. If I'm on my game, I've either only committed a partial position on the initial entry, in which case I'm managing risk via size (vs. stop) or if I'm near fully positioned, I'll scratch the trade for insurance and reenter after quick evaluation.

On a morning after trend day, my early leash is also longer as I'm expecting oscillating action.

I thought today's rhythm was tricky at times in terms of lots of fake-outs & shake-outs (still relatively low market volume), so I had a lot of scratches later in the day which weren't quite offset by the wins.


procol said...

Yeah, flossing rocks. Easy, fast, free and smart. It's one of the great mysteries of life why EVERYONE doesn't do it. Not cool? Who knows?

As for 1_Year_ES_Trader and the shakeout.

This is why trading is hard. The 'market' does this dance on purpose, every day, and if not every tick, somewhere in your trade, especially if you're a scalper.

Some of it is noise, some is deliberate head faking. If you could reliably figure it out, you'd own the world in short order.

I don't believe there is a way to 'tell', only risk management. How much are you willing to pay to see if you're right. 1 point, 2 points, there has to be a stop loss so you are sure to be shaken out of good trades a percent of the time. And you will exit bad trades with only small damage some other percent. You only know it was a shake after the fact.

That's why ENTRIES, as practiced here are so important. A good entry is better than half the battle.

Trader Kevin said...

Don, consider dental tape instead of floss. I find it to be significantly easier on my gums. I use Crest Glide Tape faithfully and my dentist raves about my teeth.