Monday, November 29, 2004

Monday, November 29th

Still on the road, trading now from the lobby of the Doubletree Guest Suites in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The wireless set-up here has been perfect and we haven't had to resort to the Sprint wireless card or dial-up at all. Best of all, with two hours of trading to go, the trip is more then paid for with today's handful of most excellent day-trades. I closed out a part of my ELAB position today, bought one week ago at $23.50, sold today at $26.00, for little over 10%, worth the risk of holding the trading position overnight. Will keep some as a longer term position as long as general market is holding up.

As for today's day-trades, I am currently flat, looking for one or more good trades before the close today. Tonight it's onto Orlando for a 24 hour lay-over with my trading partner Joe, then Tuesday after trading it's back to the Great Northwest for what passes as normalacy, until Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2004


This morning I'm coming to you from high atop the Delta Crown Room at the Orlando Airport. I am amazed that an airport as large and lucrative as this has NO HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTIONS! So I have one computer on the Sprint PCS wireless card and one on a dial-up line. The Crown Room is nice, worth the price of admission just to use the bathrooms. How can airports stay so filthy? Everywhere I look is a maintanence person pushing a cleaning cart, yet, these places remain disgusting. Maybe it's just a big ploy to get you to join these high flyer clubs, clean, comfortable, open bar. Works for me.

Oh, yes, the market. Only play today so far has been SIRI, bought the open, sitting on about a 3% gain, have 20 cent trailing stop in at just above b/e. When I finish this blog, I'll sample their Manhattens. Still 90 minutes until my flight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Several trades this morning and zero, nada, nothing going on this afternoon. So a good time to blog. My pick of the day is ELAB, bought on the Open today and I'm holding most of my position for a few days at least, maybe weeks. That leaves me holding, in addition to ELAB, LPSN, WSII and TINY as day-trades evolving into position trades. What's that all about? I don't know, but they're all going in the right direction.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Monday wrap-up

Chalk Monday up as another good day, with about a dozen new day-trades. Plus the position trade in TINY (Friday afternoon's blog) was up about 5% on the day. Still holding TINY, if for no other reason then it's a great name for a company.

If you, like me, are just a little tired of the bearish prose littering the Internet stock forums, may I suggest you pick up a copy of Harry S. Dent's, "The Next Great Bubble Boom." The author suggests that the stock mania of the 1990's was just a prelude to the real bubble, directly ahead of us and should last the rest of this decade. Right or wrong, it's a refreshing overview of what could go right in the next few years. Why not?

Monday AM

My two day-trades carried over the weekend (see Friday's blog), HYGS and PTSX are up nicely, 5% and 4% respectively and I've now put in trailing stops on both, hopefully locking in 3% gains no matter what. Had it not been late Friday afternoon Buy Signals for these two stocks, I would have bought a lot more of each, but I'm not complaining, it all adds up nicely in the end.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Tools of the Trade

My trading system depends on 1-5% pops in stocks over the course of a few minutes to a few hours. I average about 5 trades a day and usually achieve profitable results in at least four out of five trades. Key to my success, apart from the underlying methodology, are my tools of the trade that open the doors of speed and accuracy in the placement of my orders. Don't think of day-trading without the proper tools, as even with market orders, the speed of your entry falls directly to your bottom line and it does so time and time again.

My primary trading platform comes from my broker, Interactive Brokers. It is lightening quick and as accurate as I am in entering orders. In other words, the only mistakes are mine alone. My back-up is Schawb and their Street Smart Pro platform. Even with their newly discounted fees of $9.95 per side, Schwab is still about twice as expensive as IB. At 1200 trades a year, those commission dollars add up.

I use a cable broadband connection, backed up by a Sprint PCS PC card. As it should be, the back-up is rarely used and even when called in off the bench, it's only in for a play or two before the cable connection is back on. The Sprint card's speed is about half-way between dial-up and DSL. Good enough for a back-up.

Now the fun part: I trade off of two notebooks, an Apple 17 inch Powerbook which runs the IB platform on a UNIX base and a Sony Vaio running both IB's Windows platform and Schwab's Street Smart Pro. The Mac has a half of gig of RAM, the Sony one full gig. Both machines are about 18 months old, but still adequate, no, make that perfect, for my trading. They both run off of an Apple AirPort Express wireless network and all of the above packs up in about 15 minutes and converts effortlessly to two carry on briefcases for travel. The Sprint card allows me to connect the Sony to the Internet and thus, puts me in business anywhere and any time I am in range of a Sprint PCS tower. In other words, just about anywhere and any time.

My software is a mix of store-bought and proprietary technology that forms the soul of my trading system. 'Nuff said about that.

How much does all this cost? Or asked another way, with 4 out of 5 wins, making 1-5% on average per trade and making about 25 trades a week, who cares how much it all costs?

In summary, my trading system is built on and around top-of-the-line technology; speed, reliability and accuracy. There are days when I don't even know if the market is up or down, I'm just standing by, managing my trades, waiting for my triggers, looking around the net and trying to keep sharp. Ergo, this blog.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Friday's close

After an uneventful afternoon, a series of Buys triggered in the last thirty minutes today. I don't like holding overnight and certainly like less the thought of holding over week-ends. Nonetheless a system is a system and I didn't get here from there skipping trades. Although my system is truly a day-trade system, the trades do need some time to sprout, more time then Friday's close allowed. So I'm holding small positions over the weekend, HYGS, PTSX and TINY to name a few. TINY is actually a postion trade, will hold for days, if not weeks. Now, let the errands begin, first with a trip to Costo optical. A bright Eastern Washington sun belies 36 cold degrees. What was he thinking?

Frolicking in the mist

The market is still languishing, not moving any lower, nor showing signs of a turn-around and my day-trades have dried up. So we wait. I average about 30 trades a week, so a slow day every now and then is meaningless in the grander scheme of things. Still, I can't go off and frolic in the mist because the next grand slam home run trade can happen at any time. So we wait.

Friday CAB trade

CAB: Bought 21.65, sold 21.97. It's a living.

Friday morning

Markets are down and short-term trades have slowed to a crawl here, so I'm taking a break to warm up some quiche, brew a new pot of Starbucks and post this update. Spokane continues to be cold, bleak, damp, and grey. Been up 4 hours and still haven't put on my shoes, so what difference does the weather make? Just got an alert on CAB. Gotta go.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Thursday night, November 18, 2004

OK, this is how a day-trader prepares for the next day's trading, or at least how this day-trader prepares: We went out for Thai food. Ginger chicken and Thai fried rice. "Why no chart's," you ask? We don't need no stinkin' charts. For twenty years I slaved over charts, night after night, looking at everything from neural nets to oscillators to Elliott Waves and back again. It's like going to Hebrew school as a kid in Detroit. You did it because you were "Jewish." So if you fancy yourself a "Trader," you look at charts at night. If you go to a place like, you see hundreds of charts analyzed by well-meaning individuals who still believe that there is some predictive power in chart analysis. I did it dutifully for years and years until it occured to me in the depths of the 2000-2002 bear market that all I had been doing right was buying stocks in a bull market, the mother of all bull markets. A rising tide lifts all wannabe traders. It wasn't the charts at all.

So what works?

In eighteen months of real time real money trading, I have found that day-trading works, That prediciting the next 2% move in a stock in much easier then predicting the next six months of price movement. There are clear, objective triggers that move stocks a little bit over a very short period of time. Put them all together and you are making a half dozen trades a day, making 2-4% per trade and returning to 100% cash at night. Thus, a relaxing evening of fine dining replaces struggling over the great bull versus bear debates raging on Internet stock forums.

Tomorrow is Friday and there will be a half dozen or so great trading opportunities, little pops, clearly predictable and tradable. It is with that knowledge and comfort that I retire early this evening, to savor some of the finer pursuits, ripe, seductive, compelling and I am mush.

Thursday evening, November 18, 2004

It is 41 degrees in Spokane, grey, wet, dark and cold, mostly cold. But the bad news is, this is the warmest it will be here for the forseeable future. The good news is, I am day-trading for a living and boy am I ever day-trading. This Pacific Time Zone is incredible. You get the quotes three hours earlier then the traders on the East Coast. Talk about advantages, there outa to be a law. Yet Martha rots in jail. I went shopping a few weeks ago for sheets. Didn't even know they made cotton in Egypt. Everyone should shop for sheets just one time and not simply buy the cheapest-on-sale Costco K-mart blue light specials. Knowledge is an end, not a means. Ergo, Allan, all Allan, all of the time.

All Allan all the time

All Allan all the time. Welcome.