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Day Trading Stocks with Discretion
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Day Trading Stocks with Discretion

  #81 (permalink)
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Why the last two weeks have been tough

I suspect that one of the reasons the last few weeks have been tough is that VFC has not been trading inline with the S&P. One aspect of my trading that does not mirror my paper trading is that for my real time trades, I have access to the S&P prices/charts during the day.

So when the S&P is breaking out higher, I tend to look for similar movements in VFC. Whereas, in paper trading, I only focused on the stock at hand - no other inputs.

The last two weeks have seen some high volume days and heavy selling programs by institutions. Not until today, when I graphed VFC vs the S&P did I realize how prevalent that divergence has been for the last two weeks. The spread has essentially been around 0. Then around June 25, you can see the divergence begin and VFC sell off relative to the S&P.

It seems like in the past, I would get "caught" by the correlation with the S&P, where VFC would put in a lower high, but the S&P would be drifting higher, so I would short VFC, only to have the S&P breakout higher and drag VFC with it. Perhaps I should just focus on VCF and trade it on its own.

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  #82 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 5, 2012

3 winners. 1 Loser. $496 gain. Best day on record.

I thought about not trading today, figuring it would be low volatility, low volume. Glad I checked in. Again, VFC saw some large selling programs. Usually during the day, you are had pressed to find a volume bar bigger than 10,000. Today there were 21 such bars - even half a dozen greater than 40,000.

Trade 1 was a bit of a flyer. No real set up. I did notice price creeping higher and the lows not going lower. I thought about bailing at BE a couple times. But hung on for half an hour. Then 160,000 shares traded in 6 minutes in a very tight range. Bizarre to watch. Price started running up. In leaps and bounds. When I saw the volume, I kept a tight stop: at the bottom of each closed bar. Then at 8:18 I made a decision to jam my stop to lock in $1 of profit. I didn't want to watch $0.50-0.60 of profit melt away when I had 200 shares. This decision ended up costing me about $50 of PNL.

Trade 2 I waited for the breakout this time. Again I "panicked around the $1 mark. Cutting losses seams easy: price comes back to your stop, I have a little hesitation about whether to jump when the bid hits my stop or wait to see if an actual trade takes place at/below my stop. Either way, I know I am getting out. But with profits, I have a constant tug of war with my desire to give the trade room and to lock in the sure thing now. As I have seen in my paper trading and today "I can't afford to take the early profit." I have to let profits melt because they lead to the higher gains I need to offset my losing trades.

Trade 3 was a fear trade that I had gotten shaken out too soon of my Trade 2, which I had. I jammed my stop up to close out the position when price traded over $1 from the 21 EMA. That is where price stalled last time. I realize, I have no sense for how far price gets away from the 21EMA. I have looked once into the data, but gaps make it a non-straight-forward process for equities. I should get a better idea of this range. Turned out to be a good jumping point this time.

Trade 4 was looking for one more leg up. Never happened. Stopped out.

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  #83 (permalink)
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Watching VFC rea time, July 6, 2012


3 losers. Net -$40 loss.

Another day of staggered flatness and 1 quick ramp up.

Trade 1. Pretty hard edge at $134 that held fora while, not sure why I waited until $133.80 to get in, but got stopped out on a pop.

Trade 2. Previous bar would have been a better entry bar, but the BE result would have been the same.

Trade 3. Got shaken out by $0.04. There was pretty palpable support at 133.60. Could have taken some risk off the table. I am sure I will get out at BE many times and then have a trade run away. Need to get some statistics on that to see what I should do.

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  #84 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 9, 2012

1 winner, 2 losers, net $0.

Trade 1 was looking for a pullback after breaking through $134 resistance. Only lasted about 10min in the trade.

Trade 2. A somewhat impulsive trade, just minutes after being taken out of trade 1. Realized it was countertrend and kept a tight stop.

Trade 3. Got back in on that breakout through $134. Fairly patient entry and stops.

Box 4 was not a trade, just was thinking of going long, never did.

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Last edited by bijeremiad; July 11th, 2012 at 08:54 AM. Reason: fix date
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  #85 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 10, 2012

4 losers. -$80 net.

Trade 1 was unashamedly countertrend. Huge gap up, and I am looking for a short? Got out at BE.

Trade 2. Price was whipping around, thought didn't even think about looking for a spike and channel day. Was now looking "with trend" even though price had traded through two previous swing points.

Trade 3 was looking for continuation of the channel.

Trade 4 was looking for the pop that wasn't seen until 9:15. Too anxious too trade. Need to be patient for a set up like at 9:21 or 10:21.

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Last edited by bijeremiad; July 11th, 2012 at 10:42 PM. Reason: re-attaching attachment
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  #86 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 11, 2012

3 Winners, 2 losers, net $110.

Trade 1 was a little late. Got worried when price stalled. Would have been ok, if I left my original stop, but jammed my stop for a small profit.

Trade 2 was also late. Took a few bars before i thought that a continuation down was not going to happen. Also jammed my stop for a small profit as price approached $135.

Trade 3 was a test of support after price traded away from $135. Jumped out at BE after an hour of sitting the the trade. I had a downward bias, so i was waiting for a trap to grab a few longs before the market traded down.

Trade 4 was me getting short after the "trap". Got trapped myself.

Trade 5 was a failed break out. Got in after price grazed $135 and the FOMC minutes came out with negative news. Didn't see the reversal off $134 at 11:30. So small profit.

Completely missed the pullback at off the EMA at 12:30....

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  #87 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 12, 2012

Three losers, -$80 net.

Trade 1. Right idea, with trend, but a little early. Stopped out in 6 min.

Trade 2. Counter trend, was wondering if the gap down was going to carry through. Was defensive with stop, so break even.

Trade 3 I was too focused on the resistance at $135. I was trying to trade a test of tat level. Got plowed over as the gap filled.

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  #88 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 13, 2012

2 winners, 2 losers, net $60.

Trade 1. Spike and channel day. Traded with trend on the pullback to the 21 EMA. I was worried about a sell off after the strong rally, so I was defensive with the stop, moved it three times before I jammed it for a small profit.

Trade 2 I was very focused on the two lower highs that I thought were signaling a reversal. I was ignoring the higher low that was put in just 18 minutes earlier. The was more of a complex pullback, and was counter trend. The strength prior should have been given more weight.

Trade 3 Got turned around and saw the need to get long to trade with trend. Sat in this trade for 15 minutes and went nowhere but sideways, so I bailed at BE. Didn't want this to be my second loss to close out the day.

Trade 4 was late getting with the trend. Wasn't paying attention until about 11:15. The set up was a breakout pullback after price pierced the HOD and pulled back to the broken high for support. Even then was a little timid to go along. Afraid of such a strong run up, kept having short ideas show up everywhere.

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  #89 (permalink)
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Equity curve so far for VFC trades

Here are the daily PNLs of the last 35 trading days. Averaging about $45/day, but tend to have dry spells that last over a week. This week was barely positive: $10. I don't have the spreadsheet on hand, but I think it is about 58% positive days, 42% negative days. Average winning day about $130, average losing day about $75.

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  #90 (permalink)
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Watching VFC real time, July 16, 2012


5 winners. $353 net.

Trade 1 was a bit early, just 15 minutes into the trading session. Was tough to ascertain where things were headed, but I went with the longer trend visible over multiple days. After the third push up through $140.27, I tightened my stop. Might have been able to be a little more aggressive with the stop, but price had not broken the trend line yes, so I left it.

Trade 2 was looking for a complex correction. Again was a little lazy on the stop. I should have been more suspicious on the lower high just above $140.27 resistance. If I had, i might have been able to see the short for Trade 3 a little sooner.

Trade 3 was more of a break out trade, but it was after a failed breakout at the $140.27 resistance. Could have been more aggressive on the stop after bouncing off $139 support.

Trade 4 was a chase and a late breakout. Managed not to lose money. Again, I could have been tighter with the stop, which would have improved my entrance for Trade 5.

Trade 5 was on a breakout, but also after a failed test of yesterday's close at $139.90.

I noticed on each of these trades "I could have been more aggressive with my stops." Probably because it was a trading range day. If it had been a trend day, I would be saying "should have been more lax with my stops." Fine. But by trade 3, or 4, or certainly by 5, I should realize it is a trading range day and be more aggressive with the stops.

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