Frustrated After One of My Best Days of the Year

This was the day of the sympathy plays for me as I caught some nice moves in GameStop Corp. (GME) and Infosys Technologies (INFY). Each of those stocks was up in sympathy with another stock that reported good earnings today / last night, Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS) and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (CTSH), respectively. That’s a switch for me because I usually try to focus on the actual stocks that had the news. I’ll have to change my typical modus operandi and track the sympathy plays. I finished the day with just over 6R (4%) of gains and those two accounted for 7.15R.

Despite the good day I’m frustrated because I should have made about double what I actually made. The first problem was that I missed an entry in Alcan (AL) right at 10:30 because my motherf$#%^&@!!! cable modem disconnected right at 10:29. (Thanks Comcast! Interesting that Kirk, in Minnesota and Ugly in Philly have the same complaints about Comcast. In fairness, they’ve gotten a lot better here since my whining from years ago.)

AL was on the list of gappers this morning. I simply waited for it to print a narrow canlde which I could get long above. It completed a 30 min. candle that was only 27 cents tall at 10:30. It traded above that candle while my internet conenction was down and by the time I got reconnected, only about 3 minutes, it was off to the races without me. That could have been a 6R trade if I held to the close and didn’t take any partial profits. More likely I would have gotten about 4R including a partial profit on the way up. Here’s the chart:

So that was the one that got away. Luckily I got my modem reconnected just in time to catch GME as it triggered. I first noticed GME on my gappers scan in CyberTrader. I knew ERTS was “in play” because of their earnings so I made sure to keep an eye on GME as a sympathy play. Classic dummy play here, long above the narrow 10:00 inside bar with a stop below for 21 cents of risk given my entry at 41.66. I took some partial profits on the way up and ended up making 4.35R on GME.

Next up was VPHM which turned out to be a dud with only a 0.47R gain. Again, I got long above the 10:00 candle (that little red inverted hammer). I took a partial at 9.20 when I saw a bearish note on Briefing.com and moved my stop to breakeven on the remaining shares just over breakeven.

INFY triggered next. Once again I got long above the 10:00 candle and took partial profits on the way up. This one ended up giving me 2.8R.

Here’s where the fun began. I jumped in ALVR as it raced above the 10:30 and 11:00 candles. I mistakenly bought twice the number of shares that I should have and by the time I noticed the stock was down a few cents from my entry price. I had to bite the bullet and dump those extra shares. After I did that I (foolishly) decided to move my stop up 1 cent from where it was, at 6.35, the low of both the 11:00 and 11:30 bars. I did that b/c there were a lot of buy orders at 6.35 and I just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t get hit with a lot of slippage since I already took a hit on those extra shares. Of course the stock traded right to 6.36, took me out and reversed on a dime. There was potential for another 2 to 3R or so. Combine that with the 1.4R loss I took on it and there’s another missed 3 to 4 R on the day. :-(

Lesson learned, I’ve got to be more careful with my lot sizes. I seem to do this once a month in one form or another. (What’s that Ugly writes every day about having it within me to damage my account?)

My final trade was STJ, which resulted in a 0.05R loss. STJ was another gapper, which was up on some Medicare and Medicaid news or some such (whatever!)… I got long above that 11:30 hammer & moved my stop to break-even once it reversed under 39.

So there you have it. A good day but it could have easily been much better.

Comments

  1. Posted by Trader-X on August 2, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    It happens to all of us. Still, congratulations on a great day.

  2. Posted by Michael on August 2, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    thanks X

  3. Posted by Ugly on August 2, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    congrats on the awesome day – and thanks for GME!

  4. Posted by Ken on August 2, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Last night Cramer was hawking Comcast so I sent this message he’ll never read: “What makes you think there is an endless supply of suckers for CMCSA’s “triple play”? I am a long time customer and I haven’t seen them offer a VOIP plan that wasn’t a ripoff; at least substantially cheaper than I’m getting from T on a reliable line. On July 28 the equity market was zooming while my CMCSA Internet was down from 12:34 until 15:44 EDT. I have multiple bills full of credits showing that they can’t keep me dependably connected. I wouldn’t let them run my land line if it were free.” Mike, with your overhead I’d at least have a DSL backup.

  5. Posted by James on August 2, 2006 at 11:44 pm

    Hey this might be a stupid question but you kept mentioning entering your trades at the 10:00 or 10:30 candles etc. That sounds good and all but how are we supposed to know which candle is the 10:00 or 10:30 candle… I don’t see any time reference on the x axis. Thanks, Mike
    P.S. love the site

  6. Posted by unreasonable on August 2, 2006 at 11:52 pm

    I have experienced the Comcast and Charter outages with bad timing, but I recently got a Cingular Aircard for my laptop. That is a wonderful thing. :d

  7. Posted by Michael on August 2, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks Ugly,

    Ken, I can’t get DSL at my house.

    James, I added arrows to the candles that I executed against — the ones I bought above and put my stops beneath.

  8. Posted by Glenn on August 3, 2006 at 1:40 am

    How come you only post your trades once in a while? Anyway, it is really nice to read about them, keep the great work.

  9. Posted by John on August 3, 2006 at 5:41 am

    Sounded like some of my days. I “clevered” my way out of a monster last week – reset a stop that I knew in my brain that I should have left alone but just couldn’t. Cut my profit to a quarter.

    Sorry you can’t get DSL – get a slow dial-up modem backup such as JUNO (or whatever they call themselves these days). About 9.95 a month and it is worth the extra just to have it.

  10. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 6:27 am

    Glenn,

    1. Because it takes time. I spend way too much time as it is posting to the site. Maybe if I was on somebody’s payroll as a writer…

    2. I don’t think it’s very interesting. I’ve already detailed how I find my trades and my entry and exit criteria. There are already examples in the archives. I don’t think there’s much to be gained by me constantly posting the same thing over & over. Am I wrong in this respect?

    3. I know that most of my readers are not day traders and seeing these day trades is of little interest to them.

    4. I often don’t feel like posting them, especially after losing days. I’d hate to only post the winning trades and make it seem like all my trades were winners when we know that’s not the case. Unfortunately, the majority of days & trades are just boring… small winners & small losers. After sitting here all day, then updating my journal, then doing my nightly recap the last thing I want to do is post even more charts.

    5. It was never my intention with this blog to document my trades. But I know there’s a group of people who like to see my actual trades. So I’m going to try to post some when there’s an interesting day, or something I need to pound into my own head.

  11. Posted by Vince on August 3, 2006 at 6:36 am

    Michael:
    I am new to your site – I reviewed your trading process which you wrote months ago and you mentioned back then that you use 15 minute charts for trading – in the most recent examples it looks like you are now using 30 minute charts.
    Have you switched your time frames? If so, for what reason?
    Thanks
    Vince

  12. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 7:01 am

    Vince,

    Nice catch, I was wondering when somebody would notice that. Gold star for you! (*)

    I’d been getting chopped up this summer so I thought I’d try using 30 minute charts to slow things down a bit. I just made the switch last week and so far so good. The success that Ugly has had was part of my inspiration as well as the fact that the Godfather, Chairman MaoXian uses 30-minute candles.

  13. Posted by Michelle on August 3, 2006 at 7:18 am

    Mike,

    Your decision to post your trades when you want makes sense to me. Your entries are archived so they are accessible as references. Serious traders will take the time out to research your documented approach without your posting trades every day to spell out your approach.

    You need to get a backup net connection.

    Kudos for your site, it fills a need in the trading community.

    Regards,

    Michelle

  14. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 7:22 am

    Thanks Michelle

  15. Posted by Vince on August 3, 2006 at 8:30 am

    Michael:
    Thx for the info about the 30 min charts.
    I trade futures – stock index, bonds, forex, gold, oil etc – is there anyone you know of that trades futures with the same set ups as you, ugly and the chairman with or without a blog. I guess I can summarize your style as bull( or bear) flag trading.
    Thx
    Vince

  16. Posted by Duru on August 3, 2006 at 8:30 am

    I was going to ask the same thing about the 30-min candles! So, I assume this also means the minimum time to make a day-trade moves from 10:15 to 10:30am?

  17. Posted by Shawn on August 3, 2006 at 8:34 am

    Mike, I’m browse your site once or twice a day. I subscribe to the RSS and Google’s homepage keeps me up to date.

    I just want to thank you for the information you provide. I don’t even have a market acct and I enjoy keeping track of what’s going on. I’m sort of teaching myself the market. With a lot of help from your archives and your blog posts. It helps. Still very comlicated without a “mentor” but hey we all start somewhere.

    Again, thanks.
    Shawn

  18. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 9:02 am

    @ Vince — Trader Gav trades futures using the dummy techniques.

    @ Duru — Yes, I wait until 10:30 now. Most of my trades took place after 10:30 even with the 15 minute charts & my 10:15 start time. This is nice b/c I can let the entire first hour range get set before making any moves.

    @ Shawn — you’re welcome & good luck to you.

  19. Posted by Stockman222 on August 3, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your trades and other avenues of trading. Your AVLN trade was interesting as I fall into the same trap myself, I let my previous losses influence my stops, when in fact my losses has nothing to do with my present trade. Good trading means we stick to our plan, focus on the trade and not the money.

  20. Posted by K on August 3, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Mike, I’ve learned the basic skills but it often took me too much time doing real-time analysis of your gap lists due to lack of experience and market knowledge. Too often by the time I noticed a stock moving in the desired direction it’s too late (or so I thought, because some kept moving on), and I frequently spent too much time looking at the wrong stocks in the gap lists.

    I believe with your skills and experience you can quickly filtering out the candidates with the best potential, so it’d greatly help if you could just post a few of the most promising setups during the day as you see them, something short and simple (no charts) like: “potential setups as of 10:00 am today are: x y z”. Maybe this can even be automated.

    I understand you’re very busy during the day, and no charts nor entry/exit points, nor how to trade those stocks are requested here, just a quick post of a few promising stocks for the day so I could narrow my watch list. Of course I also understand such posts are not meant to be advices to trade those stocks; they’re only your observations of a few potential movers for a particular day, and it’s my sole responsibility to decide if I want to do anything with them.

    If this is too much too ask, please ignore this request. Your generous sharing of ideas, techniques and experience has been, and will always be much appreciated.

  21. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    K,

    I really need to focus during the day, especially in the mornings when I’m stalking all the setups. Trying to post to the site would be a huge distraction. Sorry.

  22. Posted by Vince on August 3, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Michael:
    I understand that this would not be a recommendation and I know you like hammers best – but in your opinion do you think it is best to stay away from engulfing patterns as reversal signals – I got caught short using a bear engulfing pattern today on the S&P futures which was formed on the 11:30 bar – or should I just chalk it up to one of those things that happen on a whipsaw day.
    Thx
    Vince

  23. Posted by Michael on August 3, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    Vince,

    No, I wouldn’t say that at all. Remember, there are no 100% signals. This was just a day when the bulls were determined to push the market higher for whatever reason. I almost shorted some things at the same time you shorted the S&P but something told me to just stand aside. I was expecting the market to just flat line for the rest of the day ahead of the jobs report. So I figured I’d just walk away and see what happened after lunch. If it wasn’t for that I would have been short too. $TICK was flying for most of the morning too, which was another warning sign for me not to short.

  24. Posted by john on August 4, 2006 at 12:20 am

    Tradermike–

    I always enjoying seeing actual trades, but understand it is a certain amount of work to post them all. As a struggling trader, I appreciate your site very much (your analysis, the links, everything). Keep up the good work.

    –John

  25. Posted by Scott on August 4, 2006 at 6:01 am

    Hmmm, sounds like there might be a niche opportunity in coffee shops catering to day traders.

  26. Posted by Michael on August 4, 2006 at 7:00 am

    Scott,

    The REAL opportunity is in providing reliable broadband service.

  27. Posted by John on August 4, 2006 at 9:49 am

    The Chairman is the Godfather, and Ugly is now a Made Man.