Thursday, March 22, 2007

A slow day of consolidation

Money made: $134
Trades made: 60

Best stock: IPS $188
Worst stock: MTW -$78

I traded very lightly today. That MTW was a bit of a heartbreaker because I got stopped out of my short near the high of the day, just before it plunged 70 cents.

The IPS was also a short trade. Even though it was a winner, I screwed up my exits. I was short 600 shares up near the top and was scared out of most of my shares. I was scared out because I still can't figure out the mechanics of this market.

I am strongly considering opening up a second account in which I'll focus on longer-term trades. I don't think daytrading is dead, I just can't figure out how to manage the risk anymore. If you never know when a stock is going to spike 60 cents in one direction or the other it's hard to have to confidence to size up to make good money.

I figure if I take a slightly longer-term look I'll expand my loss (and gain) thresholds and those little intraday spikes shouldn't matter so much. We'll see.

How do you control risk in the hybrid market?

I'm a dinosaur. I've been doing this job for too long in exactly the same way.

I've always been a "buy at market, sell at market" type of guy. I never messed around much with limit orders. However, I see that the hybrid market has radically changed the way stocks trade. I need to learn to trade in a new way or I will soon be extinct. Why? Because I'm having a very difficult time controlling my losses in this new market using market orders.

Here's an example. I buy LVS at the open and I'm filled at 93. Fair enough. The problem I have from a trading perspective is that in the past, I was able to put a sell stop order in at 92.80 or so and be reasonably sure than in a worst case scenario if my stop was hit I'd be filled above 92.70 thus limiting my loss on the trade to 30 cents.

But today, here's what happens. I buy at 93 and the very next trade is at 92.50. I've lost a half point in 11 seconds! 4 seconds (and 10 trades later...) it trades 92.40. What do I do here as a short-term trader? There are no longer any bids or offers to help me figure out what direction the stock may head next.

I feel like I've been successful for so long as a daytrader because I was always very successful at limiting my losses. I no longer have that confidence.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to control losses in the Hybrid Market?

I'm all dinosaur ears.