Friday, November 30, 2007

Practicing Patience

A member in the trading room today asked for a recipe for patience (tic I know). I've been thinking of making it a topic one day and this day is as good as any. No set formula have I found to work I must say and I am increasingly confident that patience is relative. We have sayings on the subject that patience if practiced will be rewarded, yet patience can be over used to the point of ruin, as well.

We all practice patience everyday. The dictionary uses several deifinitions that speak somewhat of suffering; for me however this works best: 3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.

Every time we set a goal, we practice patience until we reach it; it's a required element; yet we seldom notice it until a decision needs to be made about the progress. So the longer the set goal, the less likely that we would focus on our required patience for it. Of course the shorter the goal's time frame, the more attention we are required to pay to it's progress, therefore, we notice the level of our patience more intensely. When we compact the time frame from years into minutes, the required focus itself tests our patience.

Take the oft asked question: Where do you want to be in 5 years? (sends shivers through my spine for reasons political) And let's take an obvious answer for this goal setting question: I want to be alive. You may laugh but I believe that is a goal we all share . OK so, do you patiently wait for that goal to be reached? Yes, and you also check in with your well being from time to time to make sure you reach that goal, and barring any unexpected circumstances the odds are in your favor. So what did you do to reach that goal in the last year. I bet you didn't fret over it daily or you'd be labeled a neurotic. I'd say the same should be practiced for shorter term goals after all you want to be alive next year, next month, next day and next hour and the next minute. Do you fret over it second by second? I think the answer is no, because it's a reasonable expectation.

Now look at it for trading. First of all, you should not enter a trade without a goal. Wait and see attitude does not serve for long in any circumstance. Second are you setting reasonable expectations? We can say "yes" if the stock you select has a track record for what you want. (For example, it's a reasonable expectation that GOOG will move 1+ points on a trade because that's how the stock moves historically.) Once the signal is given and you enter the trade, keep your goal in mind and check in to see if that stock is moving toward your goal. You have your stops set in case it is not, and the rest is up to circumstances beyond your control except for your patience.. yes the same one you use for long term outlook. Every moment you analyze, you make a decision and it tests your patience. Perhaps it also tests your confidence in yourself, but no more so then when you test your patience on your long term goal. It's the conception that is different because, anything reduced to a smaller area is under more pressure; that's just physics.

Therefore the question becomes not whether we are patient enough, nor is the answer that we need more of it, but whether we have a reasonable expectations in the goals we have set. If we do our homework before setting any goal, we should be able to rest easy enough short or long term and it's our view that needs to be adjusted, remembering that patience is tied to emotion more than to logic.

So how or where do we draw the line and how do we know when we have used enough patience? Perhaps a topic for another day and maybe less to do with reasonable expectations and more to do with recognizing reality.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Moving with the Rhythm

I just finished a Lynch Bages vertical wine tasting dinner with long time friends. We opened '82, '85, '86, '88, '89 vintages; not one to be said a bad one all from our respective cellars. Not one palate in total agreement and not one palate off. Interesting that this was the least consensus we've had in number of years. I'm glad I am not a big collector of these wines, but I also know from experience that they were great at one time. As I oft said, everything moves in rhythm and none of these wines were in rhythm. Not one of us said, we wish we had more of this or that vintage yet not one of these vintages were bad and not one stood out as memorable. Keep in mind that these wines have been hot on the auction block of late.

I've noticed the same about some stocks of late. RIMM, GOOG, BIDU the darlings of the past yet not one in perfect symmetry or rhythm. At one time you could pick GOOG and know that BIDU would follow, respectively you could pick RIMM and count on 2-5 points easy. Yet lately, GOOG has been an sleeper, RIMM has traded sideways most often than not, and we are left with BIDU and the China bubble burst; or so it seems. So what to make of it? Not one thing in common yet so much is. Everything has it's up time and everything has it's downtime. The stemmy, almost vegetal, hard quality of most of the wines tonight reminds us not of great luscious fruit of the past we so associated with Lynch Bages. Will they come around in the next decade? Doubt it, they've had their time and yet we shall see in 5 years, after all this is Pauillac and not a bad bottle in the 5 vintages; but as many said around the table sell sell sell, while others disappointed said drink them up, not one said buy. A lot of stocks on a downturn have the same nay and glee sayers.. nay=don't buy; glee=glad I don't own it.. but who's to say what will be in 5 years. Often I've seen wines turn and evolve, like stocks when most don't buy is the signal to buy; and in 5 years one might say: "wish I had more of that vintage".

As to the wine of the evening, my vote goes to the Paul Bara 1998 vintage Brut Champagne, beautiful mousse, green apples galore, full mouth fill and still lingers in memory which makes it a sure bet for me.

Happy Trading Everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Great Day

It was a great day. 22 point call GOOG long, later 11 point call GOOG short could do a lot worse and yet there was more. Dow went up then down, gloom and doomers were talking much today... recession coming.. we're already there.. watch out it's worse than you think. I am amazed at how much they continue to point to how bad it is and wonder if they really live that way. I can't. I'd be depressed and my calls would reflect it as would my results.

You see, I don't see how success can be born out of negative thinking. Negative thinking by it's nature demands failure. Therefore I don't think that the negative talkers you hear in the media are truly negative thinkers. They must think positively about themselves, the effect they produce and the positive ratings they'll receive from the listening public; as well as the money they produce for themselves and their company. Negativity sells. We all buy into that one time or another and some buy into it all the time. Those who do, are the true negative thinkers and in fact, I am sure that those that truly think so negatively are feeling depressed because they live in constant fear.

You hear the voices all the time, whether within or without: "I always buy high, sell low" ; "those poor suckers that bought high"; "housing market bubble will burst"; "worse recession ever"; "worst deficit spending in history" etc. etc. etc. What I find interesting mostly is that seldom do the people making such statements actually state any facts to support their statements. They usually talk in the immediate sense of time, not taking history into account; and it wouldn't bother me so much accept for the fact that they do effect others. No thought is without energy. No thought is without agreement from one place or another and the more agreement to the thought the more likely that it will become prophecy. As I said in the room today: You beat a horse long enough it'll die.

Unfortunately, during the best economic conditions that we've had historically (look it up .. long term please) we are hearing the most nay sayers. The reasons are many and philosophically I will dwell into it as we progress on this site. For today however, consider that the lines of communication is also many; our ability to be heard and to spread the word is far more profound than ever before and all chatter influences the ethos.

So then you wonder, why did you title this article today "A Great Day"? Well, look at my first paragraph, for one. But truly, this great day was really brought on by the news that my son got hired today by Image Movers Digital,Inc., just 2 months after receiving his degree in a highly competitive field of digital arts.

Of course,I am proud of him as his Mom but I am especially proud of him because he overcame a horrific experience that could have turned him into a very negative person about life and society. Eighteen months ago, as he was leaving work late that night, he was attacked by 3 thugs, his skull bashed in and was left to die. Angels aligned by us that night to have everything go right and for the next 4 days of surgery and post surgery we were surrounded in love. He survived, thank God!

Over the next few months, my son took on the challenge of recovery without complaint and as soon as he could he re-enterd his classes at EXpressions College continuing his education in digital arts. Since that experience, he has shown no bitterness and has continued to live positively and rather than dwell on the negative possibilities, he looked forward to what he wanted to do. He could have sunken into fear, of which I'm sure he still has some to overcome, but as you see he did not because success does not get born out of fear. He is living proof of that. Congratulations, my son, well done!

ImageMovers Digital :

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre Holiday Markets

Generally the markets before a holiday tend to be slow. Most traders take care not to commit due to low volume and therefore less liquidity in the markets, many of them leave early for the holiday. So should we start the week without optimism and create what we presuppose or shall we start with acceptance and be open to a moment of opportunity.

I tend to come to each day with anticipation for good. My disappointments don't come from when I am open for good rather they come when I have presupposed what the day will be like. I was reminded of that just yesterday, when at our church holiday bazaar the attendance was far fewer than last year and our sales not so good yet at the end of the day I was not disappointed. Instead I felt content and not to mention very full because the day brought an offering of delicious Hungarian food and pastries along with wonderful company and I could certainly enjoy those and feel equally satisfied.

Let's be open to what today be like and what today brings. Sorry I can't offer you pastries .. I ate them all and yes, I went dancing last evening to work it off.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Drivers and Riders

Have you noticed that when you drive, you remember the way better
then when you are a passenger? When driving, we get a better feel for
the road, when we are passengers we tend to see the scenery of the
drivers choosing but cannot necessarily retrace the route we were on.
What we remember depends on how we approach the route; one as
driver the other as rider. ( no backseat talk here)

Every time we hit our desk for a trading day with the attitude that
we are just one person and we have no say or influence over what goes
on in the world, we basically take on the role of a rider. Therefore the
trade we choose to enter is under someone else's control, and we may
not know the destination. We view the scenery, worry about the speed
try to give directions and hope to get to our reward. Hmm not very
confident is it? It's like you have the gas pedal and someone else you
don't know has the wheel. No wonder there are crashes. The reward is
that we get to blame the driver for the negative outcome.

On the other hand if we hit our desk with an attitude that we are
responsible for ourselves and what we do makes a difference in the
world and in our lives, we become drivers. Therefore when we choose
to enter at trade we know we are in control of the direction, timing,
entry, and exit. When we are drivers we have total control of the pedals
and wheel and tend to steer ourselves toward a destination. We stop
and go and make corrections as we need to and know that our
choices make a difference. The reward is that we can take credit for
the positive outcome.

Every time we play the rider we allow someone else the steer our way;
When we play the driver we make the choices of our way. Both can be
scary and both can be rewarding and yes you make the decision as to
which you wish to be at any given moment of our lives.

After a trading day, look yourself in the mirror and see which one you
chose for that day and analyze your trades accordingly. You may be
surprised at what you discover about your style and next time you sit
ready for a trading day, decide which you wish to be.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Setting Challenging Goals

The most difficult training I ever went through was also one of the most rewarding. Like most things in life, it was by choice and I could quit any time, but sticking with it was more challenging and more fun as a result.

It was training for ski patrol which required skiing with an experienced patroller who wasn't going to stop for the trainee's benefit which meant I had to keep up or else. Now I don't know if you ski, so let me explain. Ski patrollers like to ski. They also like to ski non-stop from top of the run to the bottom, and since they are needed to patrol the hill at all times, they don't have to stand in line to get on the chair. Add to that the fact that they start before the first customer goes up the hill and they end the day following down the last customer off the hill.. called the sweep; so roughly from about 8am -5pm. So suffice to say a lot of runs and fast skiing in a day.

Now in order to become a trainee, one has to pass ski test showing ability to ski all terrains in all conditions, so to be accepted as a trainee means you can ski very well. So as a trainee I was no slouch but the senior patrollers were better just from sheer experience and keeping up with them was no easy task in the beginning of the training season. From those days I learned something important about being challenged with a task, a goal is easier achieved when striving to attain something reachable but not too close within range. I liked the challenge of keeping up and getting better with each day and I loved it when I reached the point that I was not huffing at the bottom of the run; turning to sheer joy when I could follow a patroller mimicking each turn just behind, knowing by then that my skiing was equal and appreciating the leadership that allowed me to keep on pushing myself to get better.

I recollect those days when I come to questioning how to challenge myself or others because the way of that challenge was to be just a little better than the person being trained.

As a stock trading moderator, I feel the same as that experienced patroller and I strive to keep just a little ahead of other expert traders to pull them to higher achievement. Most of them are experienced traders, a lot of them are highly experienced and goals need to reflect it. The trading room moderator you choose to follow should give you just enough challenge to keep you moving fast throughout the trading day leading you into the next turn, eventually leading you where you can meet each call and mimic it without huffing and puffing or missing a beat.

You set your goals close enough to achieve, you get the satisfaction of attaining them and then you can raise them higher. Set them too close and you get lulled into false confidence. Set them too high, you'll get frustrated for not getting anywhere and maybe get stuck in non-action.

Always remember that the choice is yours to quit or stay the course and reap the reward. The reward! Ah yes, the exhilaration of that last run of the day, the sweep, popping over the crest on the face of Heavenly Valley, looking almost straight down at the beauty and expanse of Lake Tahoe and then carving each turn down the face until the bottom.... non-stop.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I love to dance, always have, yet not always have I gone forth and included myself on the dance floor. I was reminded the other night while noticing some of my friends and many strangers tapping their toes, moving bodies with not much restraint, on the side, not asking anyone to dance, but wishing to be asked. And I'm sure there are reasons numerous, why they wait. I'm not that shy, I will ask if I see someone move well enough to my liking. I don't notice age, size or handsomeness, I go by gut feel. Most accept some turn me down, again reasons. If I were to dwell on it, my confidence may suffer, but I want to dance, so I don't stop. The truth is everyone can dance, if they'd like to; everyone can ask for a partner and engage in the rhythm of the music. Everyone can take lessons, practice and become good, if they want to.

Question is will it give you confidence to take yourself out on the dance floor and display what you can do. And the answer is, not until you actually do it, because confidence comes from the action of doing not the watching.

Confidence is the result of experience, it comes with practice it comes with gut and courage. You have to take the chance in order to gain it. You can't sit on the sidelines and wait for it to happen to you. We encourage paper-trading for that reason. Practice paper money and you gain confidence yet it's not the same as when you put out real money to test it. The gut churns with each tick on the charts and because you watch it so avidly, each tick takes it's toll on your Psyche, each tick makes you question if you made the call correctly, each tick is either a negative or positive. Your stops are your stop-gap on a trade turning against you, and at
some point you have to let go and trust. Trust that your education, practice and abilities have gotten you this far and can carry you forward to a successful performance ending in a gain for you. No one can teach it, no one can give it, no one can make you do it but without taking that leap into the void, you'll never know.

When the dance/trade is finished, and you are feeling good, receiving compliments from peers, the: "wtg", "good call", "wish I could dance like you", "I really enjoy watching you dance" all acknowledge, verify and bolster the confidence earned. Nothing feels as good as knowing you are good at something and now you got it: Confidence! So, go forth and do it again!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Different Feel

Sitting at my favorite restaurant bar, great cocktail in hand, waiting for my friend to finish so we could enjoy a drink together and catch up on each others lives. We haven't been able to sit down and talk for months and this time finally it looked like we would.

I said it looked like; all elements were "go": the bar was relatively empty as was the restaurant. The owner, my friend, just had to finish meeting with the chef and finalize the evening, and she'd join me, she said. Then, it started to get busy as more people arrived, bar became crowded, noise level raised. Watching the bartenders, it became evident that this was not a normal Thursday eve. I ordered dinner, glass of wine, still waiting. Noticing that conversations increased and people surrounded me on left and right.

My friend arrived. She shook her head and commented, this is really busy, didn't expect it, started talking but then she got called away. Someone needed wine advice, service, questions from staff .. normal events for a busy restaurant. Yet the energy was not

the norm; not the usual I have come to expect. My clue: I didn't feel as the same as I normally do when there. First I questioned if it was me, was I there with a different energy? Was it my anticipation for what will be coming and then consequent dissapointment that it could not happen? Maybe some, but in total it did not connect. Then, as I looked around me, realization hit home! I was surrounded by not the "usual" crowd which consist of mostly couples, singles, some working colleagues usually of equal male/female mix. This evening however there were mostly women around. A couple of women groups in fact were in the immediate bar area next to me.

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad or negetive to relate here. It's just interesting how subtle differences change the feel, change the room, change the energy and it is so much so as well in the markets. The feel was different today, the rythm not the same, and looking around there was a difference in the behaviour of traders. Mostly we felt out of sorts, yet could not put a reason to it. So some felt frustration, anger, kept trying to find the key to the change, some of us stopped trading and sat on the sidelines watching perhaps like me in dismay by the reaction of the majority.

Subtle changes, when there is no immediate explanation, can create panic. Many seem to look for explanations from others, rather than look around and see how they feel about the changes around themselves or within. Accepting those changes creates calm. We all have to adopt our trading strategies to our own feel. When that feel is not right, it's best to just watch and wait until the feel is back in our rythm. No need to panic, no need to blame or look for major catastrophies, look rather at the subtleties that create a different energy and then, if you can adapt, play but if you cannot adapt just let it play out. The more you can tune into subtleties the easier it becomes to recognize the energy and flow into the rythm of the change. Then, like me at the bar, you can include yourself with what is, rather than disconnect from the flow. Both are acceptable as long as you know you are doing it by choice.

Expecting Greatness

When I first started my journey at being a Stock Trading Advisor, every day I'd get up expecting greatness out of myself, from myself to show others: Yes, I can do this! Truly, I used to be petrified, well not quite because then I couldn't have moved, but close enough where I could not act or do anything and watched trades go by. That being followed by self deprecation for being so inept.

The truth about expectations is that it petrifies you, keeps you stuck and blind to opportunities. Expectations presume a satisfaction if certain criteria are met and therefore you are unable to see or watch for anything else. It is what keeps you in a trade too long, unable to take profits; or it is what keeps you from acting on a trade missing perhaps the run of the day.

Think on that as you are sitting impatiently during the down times, the lull times, those slow times; as you are wondering where that next trade will come from: is it your expectations that keep you from seeing it?

The minute you let go of expectations is when you notice the smorgasbord of opportunities for that next trade, that you thought did not exist; it's there, as you pick and choose from all the delectable treats, that you realize that you don't have enough time to act on it all. It's usually then that I call for Sam's help....HELP.. because I have more trading calls to make and not enough boxes, fingers and eyes to enter them fast enough.

In the process somehow you lose the worry about being great and delight in the here and now of each moment which in turn brings on an overwhelming feeling of greatfullness. (no, I misspelled it on purpose). Feeling great and satisfied, full = greatfull. I now get up greatfull and grateful every day.

Happy Trading
Stock Day Trading Advisor

(Originally posted by me on Yahoo 360 October 25, 2007)


Testing my Skills

A friend recently told me that I was a good writer. It came as a surprise as he was not reading anything particular that I wrote, but rather just my conversations in the trading room I belong to. I have always wished to write about ..... well something... wrote a children's story many years ago, but did nothing with it, took a screenwriters course but life events prevented my finishing it and there you have it. I remembered that screenwriting instructor (successful in his field) telling me I had talent. I let it go... and yes that was years ago. Many years ago.

This time it stuck in my head and won't let go and if I were to be a hypocrite I'd brush it in some back corner of my brain; but because I am a believer that "things happen for a reason", I have to act this time. In other words I have learned that you cannot lose what is right for you, in your life, to make you complete, therefore this seed was again germinated revealing an opportunity for growth.

So we come to the reason and the purpose of this blog. The reason is simple: I want to write and test my writing skills. The purpose is to share what it is like to be a stock day trader and the everyday ups/downs of life as one choosing such a life. I say equities because that is what I do, but the philosophy would apply to any trader in general be it in equities, futures, forex, doing swing or day trading and also apply to just about anything else I do in my life. I do not wish to teach trading here or to discuss the day to day gyrations of the markets as we have the day-trading chat room for that. It is rather, to discuss what it is like to be a trader; The emotions, hardships, elation involving such a life; the premise being that to be a trader is not so much an occupation as a lifestyle.

If you were like me, you did not wake up one morning and decide.. I think I'm going to be a day-trader. It is not something that you as a child fantasized about or even knew about as an occupation. It is simply not discussed with most of the public. So if you were like me, for reasons of your own, you evolved into the lifestyle. And what a lifestyle it is. The emotional and financial roller coaster of life. I guess perhaps that means that we are of adventurous nature bordering on death wish.

Like most, I believe, I started as an investor... a studious investor, nothing reckless with money would I contemplate; but along the way one information led to another and temptation took hold. A song comes to mind if I were to remember that feeling, but this is beginning to have the look & feel of a biography and I'm not going there now. Enough will come through my thoughts in this blog to give you all a taste of my history, if you are so inclined to stay and read my musings yet to germinate and be written.

So, welcome to this new adventure of mine.


Stock Day Trading Advisor

(originally published October 25, 2007 on Yahoo 360)

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Welcome and thanks for signing up. Many of you are familiar with my stock picks which I've been posting on my blog for several years. If you are not, please get familiar with my GUIDELINES. Of course it never hurts to read it more than once.

I will be sending you 1 trade per week, prior to Monday market open. These private email postings will at times go into greater detail not shared with others. It is my hope that all will be profitable, but as you may know many things can affect the market and from moment to moment things can change. It is why I strongly advocate using stops on all trades.

You should receive your first e-mail Monday after your sign up. Please contact me if it does not arrive. Good luck in the markets and be sure to keep in touch!

Happy Trading, Living and Dancing