Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Naughty By Nature, "O.P.P."

One of the worst ever.

The RO Report, "Plan C" Edition

Plan A is, you hit support and bounce hard. You clean up on longs.

Plan B is, you hit support, base and tank. You clean up on shorts.

Plan C is, you hit support and go sideways, giving false breakouts in both directions. You chop yourself to pieces.

For me, it was a Plan C day. For the rest of the RO, not so much.

You know those lab experiments they do with mice? To test their intelligence? They see how long it takes them to discover that food is hidden and stuff? Well I'm the stupid fucking mouse. I starve and my stiff body is lifted out of the maze. Other mice have nibbled on my feet...Enough said.

Out of 28 traders today, 19 were gross positive or 68%. Not great. What's nice however is that 9 traders made over $1,000 gross and a good number just missed that mark. I was #26 of 28... bloodied and chambermaided. As punishment, I will post bad music tonight.

Oh, and B pulled off a rare George Michael...

"Lucky Pierre" - Trader D, $6,015 on 292k shares traded.

2. Trader C, $5,360 on 139k shares traded.
3. Trader A, $5,130 on 145k shares traded.
4. Trader Z, $3,976 on 111k shares traded.
5. Trader N, $3,609 on 103k shares traded.

"George Michael" - Trader B, -$10,381 on 773k shares traded.
2. Trader H*, -$4,195 on 8,400 shares traded.

3. Trader S, -$1,966 on 47,200 shares traded.
4. Trader 6*, -$1,003 on 0 shares traded.
5. Trader O, -$257 on 25,400 shares traded.

The Great Cough

I stepped into the ruckus and heard the great cough.

Let me explain… Surrounding the brightly lit trading floor that I had just entered, were many smaller offices where some of the "back office" people worked. I don't actually know what these people did, but they were an odd presence. They’d shuffle by, ignoring the 23 year old dude shouting obscenities at his monitors while simultaneously trading and watching porn, and go about their business. They were mostly older and respectable looking and it was hard to understand how we could both be employed by the same company.

Had you spent some time watching their movements, you’d notice a pattern. They’d all routinely make visits to the corner office. There was never a light on in there and the door was never fully opened. Gray curtains were drawn over its large glass walls. Perhaps they were all part of a strange cult and worshiped there, or maybe, and this is more probable, the boss worked there. One thing was obvious, the man inside the corner office was very unhealthy.

He coughed all day long like a sick barking dog. A great wet cough that signaled impending death. The cough sounded like a mix between an oil burner starting and the sound mashed potatoes might make were you to hurl them against a wall. It was, in a word, disgusting, and it was the first thing that “greeted” me as I walked onto the trading floor.


In my two years at Anvil I only once caught a glimpse of the man responsible for "the great cough." And I only got close enough because I lost a bet. I peered through the crack in his office door and saw him bent over at the waist, wearing a black shirt, face red, eyes wide, coughing his brains out. Hacking.

But that cough was a presence on the trading floor as large as any trader. The man was always at work before anyone got there and no one ever saw him leave at night. Certainly he’d die in that office. One day he’d be coughing in there and something inside would give out and he’d bounce off the edge of his desk and land with a thud on the floor. They’d find his wet black lung lying next to his still body.

No one would attempt to revive him.

This dark office on the bright floor, this constant reminder of death was fitting. Death and trading made a good mix. I constantly think about death now. “Is trading aging me?” I wonder… “Is the stress killing me?”

Or just listen to the words and phrases you hear from other traders. “This SPY is killing me!” or “Whatever happened to that dude who blew up?” Even if you're doing well, you're "killing it!" Meanwhile, ask a trader who is getting smoked how he's doing and you might receive a simple one word answer as a reply, "Death."

If it’s good, it’s death. If it’s bad, even more death.

Stocks crash and they die. In an odd twist, traders are constantly seeking out the life blood of the market while risking death. We spend our time searching for a stock that has some life, hoping it doesn't kill you before you kill it…

It's a precarious position.

Anyway, while it was initially off-putting, I eventually used the cough for "perspective" reasons. Whenever I heard it, I thought of death. When I thought of death, I thought of the phrase, "this too, will pass." Bad trades die... good trades die... they all pass. Better not get attached to any trades. Indeed, as a daytrader, attachment to anything in the market is almost always a bad thing.

So looking back, "the great cough" taught me my first trading lesson.

I learned my second minutes later as I settled into my seat. Equality doesn’t exist on the trading floor.