Closed Positions

I wanted to take some profits today on a couple stocks I would normally let ride. These were RIMM and AAPL. I have 2 trades for each going on these, so that's fine. My CMI contingency to the upside got triggered, as well as my LEH got its protective stop triggered.

Of the 4 positions:

Capital = $7818.60
Profit = $1777.80
ROI = 22.7%

The LEH was a break even trade. CMI, RIMM, and AAPL were both basically 1 day trades (profits taken in about a 24-hr time period) and I'm very happy with the returns. Of course, it did help with the market gapping up, as well as AAPL and RIMM gapping up. CMI did a great job just being very bullish today, minus at the end, so this may look like a nice bearish trade for Tues, though, I will rebracket and let the stock tell me.
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Qs


I used to trade the Qs and one can make decent enough money trading the Qs, but you would have to buy a lot of contracts and that cuts into my profits, that is one of the main reasons why I like to trade higher priced, faster moving stocks.
My point in this was look at how beautiful the pattern is. It's absolutely lovely. I would put more charts up, but I need to reboot soon. Too many applications opened at a time. Sigh.

BCSI

One of my friends has been working for Blue Coat and I've been loosely tracking this stock. It's on my B watch list. As I look at their option pricing for Sep/Oct for puts and calls, they seem fairly priced. It's not a heavily traded stock, but the Open Interest for what I would trade, in this case 1 strike ITM or ATM, in this case, Sep80C, would be reasonable. It has the most Open Interest.

The past 3 days has been pulling back from a nice run up from $60 to $87. That's almost a 50% increase at just the announcement of a 2:1 stock split to take place Sep 13th. The following week is expiration week. Right now, it looks to be trading into a descending wedge, so maybe a good bracket would be to look for a breakout either to the upside or downside and play that to the split possibly.

I'm not playing this tomorrow with a long weekend coming up. This will give the stock 2 more days to see if it really is trading into a descending wedge with falling volumes, creating pressure. If it does do this then my brackets will be as such on Monday:

- Upside @ 81.25 for Sep80C - 3, IYUIP, Targets @ 92.50, 102.70
- Downside @ 79.10 for Sep80P - 3, IYUUP, Targets @ 67.80, 61.70
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Non-Filled Positions

Still keeping my brackets for AAPL, CMI, CME, and BIDU. See 2 entries ago.

Brackets (Entries)

I do something called bracket trading which allows the stock to tell me which direction it wants to go. Following are orders that I'm placing today, 2 hrs before the close of market.

BIDU
- Wedge compression pattern from the past 3-6 days
- Upside @ 210, Sep210C - 1, BDUIB, Targets @ 219, 223.50
- Downside @ 198, Sep190P - 3, BDUUR, Targets @ 161-169
- One Stops Other

MA
- Downward trend. Possible support @ 131.25.
- Upside @ 133, Sep135C - 3, MALIG, Targets are 146, 153, 175
- Downside @ 129, Sep130P - 5, MALIF, Targets are 117.75-120 (to fill true gap), 112, 99

LEH
- Did a SWS from Tues.
- In Bearish @ 56.50 (8/28), Sep60P - 3, LESUL, $6.00 ($1812.95)
- Hard stop @ 57.00 (for 8/28)
- Hard stop @ $56.30 (for 8/29)

AAPL
- To fill gap at 118.50-119.60?
- Pivot @ $136.50, $2.50 stop, Sep135C - 5, APVIG, Target is 149
- Pivot @ 126, $2.75 stop, Sep125P - 5, APVUE, Target is 111

CMI
- Upside @ 112.75, Sep115C - 3, CDMIC, Targets are 117, 120, 126
- Downside @ 106.75, Sep105P - 3, CDMUA, Targets are 96, 90

RIMM
- Upside @ 81.50, $2 stop, Sep80C - 3, RFYIP, Target is 99
- Pivot @ 75.50, $2 stop, Sep80P - 3, RFYUP, Target is 61.50

CME
- Upside @ 562, Sep580C - 1, CNMIV, Target is 88.75, 98.25
- Downside @ 551, Sep540P - 1, CNMUH, Target is

Start Again

Since my last position was closed this morning and I did not get to do the work I intended to last night due to my son bringing down my whole internet system for several hrs (had to figure out what he did and correct it), I did not get to spend the time needed to prepare my trades and get setup for today.

Will put my brackets on shortly and see what happens.

Stats of Prior Positions

These are the positions from the prior set of stocks traded.

Profitable Trades (3-AAPL, MA, CMI)
Capital = $5948.85
Profits = $4116.15
ROI = 69%

Costing Trades (5-CME, RIMM, LEH, BIDU-2x)
Capital = $8204.75
Costs = $1794.75
ROI = 22%

NET Trades (8)
Capital = $14,153.60
Net Profit = $2,321.40
Net ROI = 16%
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Positions

Since my funded trading and practice trading is the same minus actual funds, I will begin putting my positions down. This would be my trading plan. If I'm sitting at the computer watching things, I may deviate slightly as I may manually adjust things depending on what the market does.

RIMM
-In Bullish @ 79.65 (8/24), Sep80C - 5, RFYIP, $4.10 ($2062.95)
- Hard stop @ 79.25 (for 8/24, 8/27)
- Hard stop @ 78.00 (for 8/28) - see a possible flag pattern, or a rising 3 method pattern
- Upside Targets are 89, 96.25, 100.25
- Out @ 78.00
- Cost = -$687.95 (33% cost) - before the market this morning, I changed my stop from 79.25 to 78. Had I gotten out @ 79.25, my costs would've been half of what they actually were. Another lesson learned. Do NOT lower your stops on BULL positions. Adjust UP if you're going to adjust. There was no way I was going to go lower than 78 for my stop and incur more costs. Perhaps I should've just taken the small profits I had yesterday?

CME
- In Bullish @ 538 (8/17), Sep560C - 1, CNMIZ, $19 ($1912.95)
- Hard stop @ 523 (for 8/20)
- Hard stop @ 531 (for 8/21)
- Hard stop @ 534 (for 8/22)
- Hard stop @ 544 (for 8/23, 8/24)
- Hard stop @ 551 (for 8/27)
- Hard stop @ 555 (for 8/28) - trading into an ascending wedge and if it breaks to the downside, I want out of this and set a bracket for 563 upside, 556 downside
- Upside Targets are 576, 590, 610
- Out @ 556.50 @ 16.75
- Cost = -$237.95 (12% cost) - pulled back some, got it; looked like it was headed down further


Notes: Due to volatility being so high when I got in, about $6 of the $19 was due to volatility. Though the stock has moved up $20 and my option has stayed about the same as the volatility has dropped. In fact, it's cost me some.

BIDU
- In Bearish @ 200.50 (8/24), Sep190P - 1, BDUUR, $6.90 ($702.95)
- Hard stop @ 206 (for 8/27)
- Out @ 206 (on 8/27) @ $5
- Cost = -$202.95 (29% cost)
- SWS to Bullish @ 206.50 (8/27), Sep210C - 1, BDUIB, $9.50 ($962.95)
- Hard stop @ 203 (for 8/28) - Upside Targets are $219, $231.90
- Out @ 203 at $8.10
- Cost = -$152.95 (16% cost) - with 2 costs, will now sit out on BIDU

CMI
- In Bullish @ 109 (8/21), Sep110C - 3, CDMIB, $5.60 ($1692.95)
- Hard stop @ 106 (for 8/22)
- Hard stop @ 112 (for 8/23, 8/24, 8/27)
- Hard stop @ 114 (for 8/28) - Upside Targets are $120.40, $126
- Out @ 114 at $9.00
- Profit = $1,007.05 (60% profit)

AAPL
- In Bullish @ 121 (8/17), Sep120C - 3, QAAID, $8.40 ($2532.95)
- Hard stop @ 119.50 (for 8/20, 8/21)
- Hard stop @ 123 (for 8/22)
- Hard stop @ 129 (for 8/23, 8/24)
- Hard stop @ 131; 0.75 Trailing Stop (on the stock) @ 136 (for 8/27, 8/28)
- Upside Targets are $137.25, $149.
- Out @ 131 at $13.15
- Profit = $1,412.05 (56% profit)

LEH
- In Bullish @ 56.50 (8/21), Sep55C - 5, LESIK, $5.10 ($2562.95)
- Hard stop @ 55 (for 8/22, 8/23)
- Hard stop @ 57 (for 8/24)
- Hard stop @ 57; 0.50 Trailing Stop (on the stock) @ 64 (for 8/27, 8/28)
- Upside Target 66.50. In a compression pattern (rectangle). If I get stopped out @ $57, I will have a bearish entry @ $56.50, doing a SWS (Switch Stop).
- Out @ 56.05 @ $4.10
- Cost = -$512.95 (20% cost)

MA
- In Bearish @ 140.75 (8/23), Sep140P - 3, MALUH, $5.70 ($1722.95)
- Hard stop @ 146.25 (for 8/24)
- Hard stop @ 142.75 (for 8/27)
- Hard stop @ 141.00 (for 8/28) - the last 6 trading days looks like an equilateral triangle. Moving my stop down some just in case it breaks to the upside.
- Downside Targets are 120-124.
- Hard stop @ 136.25; 0.40 trailing stop on the option @ 131 (for 8/29)
- Out @ 131.75 at $11.40
- Profit = 1697.05 (98.5% profit)

The V's - Volatility & Volumes

Starting the last half of last week and this week, volumes look low and that's understandable. Probably the major traders are taking their vacations before Fall starts. What I've seen is this can be great times to make some money, but it can also be a time to tread lightly and take on even small positions to better manage risk.

Volatility was starting to come down, but now it's starting to move back up.

Because of the lower volumes and before a longer weekend, sometimes the traders left can greatly move the markets more than when all the normals are trading. Something to keep in mind.

Mutual Funds

Today I was sharing with one of my friends who works at Intel where I used to work at a decade ago. Since then, I've learned a great deal about stocks and yet, there is still a great deal more to learn.

Now, I don't know a lot about mutual funds, but some of the things I do know are:

1. There is a load.
2. You can't trade these like stocks.
3. It's the closing price that counts. Doesn't matter what happens during the day.
4. Not easily liquid.

That's about the extent of what I know and some fancy sounding names like contrafund or growth company.

Being a chartist and not really understanding what these funds are comprised of, I just looked at charts.

There were 4 funds I looked at. I won't say which company as I don't really want to bash any one mutual fund company.

Two of the funds were trading in the $70-80 range and the other 2 were in the $18-22 range. I did a comparison of these 4 funds with the $SPX and they pretty much followed the $SPX.

Maybe someone can shed some light into this for me. I do realize mutual funds are comprised of a number of different stocks from different areas and many of these stocks can follow the $SPX, which is a broad reflection of the overall market and a pretty darned good one, might I add.

So, if these 4 funds follow the $SPX, I'm wondering what is the point of having the mutual funds? Are they (the fund managers) really doing all that much work? With the loads that are imposed, I'm thinking that though it follows the $SPX, the return on the mutual funds are actually LESS because of the fees to manage the funds. That seems like a rip to me. Okay, excuse my ignorance. Maybe I just don't really understand the point.

One of my best friends shared with me that his fund managers said he should be expecting around a 5% return on his $500K+ this year due to the things happening in the market. What do you think, Tim? Five fricken percent. Last week while I was at my bank, just for fun I asked what sort of return I could get if I parked $500K in CDs. The banker said 5%. Hmmmm...no load on a CD. Guaranteed 5% for the year with less risk. I don't think that requires a whole lot of work, don't you?

Man, I cannot believe what a rip my friend's fund managers are. As those bear traders know, when it goes DOWN, it goes down quicker/faster than going up. Gravity works for you rather than against you and often times, to go down, it's half the time as going up. What this equates to is faster money or more money in a shorter period of time. What a racket, eh?

Well, maybe there are some rules here that I really don't understand about managing mutual funds. There is soooo much I do not know, and even what I do know is rather simple. How I understand it, is that if they are invested in all these stocks, they buy insurance to protect against things going against them (puts), so anyway you look at it, they are not "losing". If the stocks go up, they make money. If it goes against them, they have puts that increase in value, and at the worst, offsets the stocks they may not be able to liquidate as easily.

Yes, I know if they have hundreds of millions of dollars in a stock, they can just dump them all at once, causing a big panic. That's what the "insurance" is for.

So, from where I see it, mutual funds really are a big rip.

As for my friend that I was looking at his funds and INTC stock, if INTC would allow 2 changes a month to his account, he could greatly increase his 401K account without ever adding more money to it. If INTC matches, he should put up to that percentage each pay period. It's free money.

I went back to the past 14 months for his INTC fund. He hasn't made much in the past year on his 401K. So, assuming he had about what he has now, if he just made 2 changes a month to his account just alternating between INTC fund and cash, he'd average from 0% to 14.7%, an average of +7.28% per month. His 401K would've been up 266% without adding another penny in the past 14 months.

If he made an average of 7.28% on his money each month, in less than 5 yrs, he'd have over $1M to his account, not adding another penny. You think your 401K managers want you to know that? I didn't know that until the last 6 months of working for my last company. I took advantage of it then, but it was a little too late.

I had far more invested than my friend in my 401K and worked there for 8.5 yrs. If I just did it the past 5 yrs of working there, that would've been over $3M rather than the amount I have. All I did was alternate between a cash fund and my employer's stock fund. I avoided using any mutual funds.

If my thinking is off in any of this, feel free to correct me anyone.

A Lot

There is so much information out there and with regards to stocks and options, I have barely scratched the surface. There is something much different now, though. Is it necessary to know all that I want to know, or, is what I do know good enough and continually learn, without going into some great frenzy?

As I look at my blog compared to some of the other trading blogs out there, it seems like I'm a very small fish in this vast ocean of knowledge and expertise. My goal is to share what I know about the market and how I use it to make money. As my tendency is to make things so complicated, it causes me to be petrified and unable to move. So, there must be this point that causes one to be able to take action.

What I've found that works for me is to really keep things simple. Do I read a ton of news? No. But, I do do some reading. Mainly I focus on charting. Though Tim Knight uses log scale, the arithmatic scale has worked amazingly well for me. I'm consistently making money and keeping my costs down, so I see now reason to fix something that isn't broken. Though I have read the majority of his latest book, it's shared with me how to better use the Prophet charts, which is not what I mainly use for my charting. My preferences are Extreme Charts by Genesis and eSignal. I do love the option charting features of the Prophets from Think or Swim or with BrokersXpress, but the charting maneuverability in Extreme Charts is far easier for how I like to chart.

Do what works for you and unless I find that what I'm doing isn't working, I'm just going to stick to it.

My life is very complicated right now and so as long as I continually learn and apply what I learn in a way that is sustainable for me and works, then I'll keep doing it. Honestly, I have no clue how Tim or other traders who have dozens of positions on at the same time, do it well. They are the gurus and I am not.

So, if you're looking for some complicated explanation about gamma, beta, delta, option pricing, economic reports, blah, blah, blah...that isn't going to be from me. There are plenty of those sites. What I will share are my trades, how I manage my risk, the discipline I need, and basically what I do to make money.

For now, I don't have the million dollar trading account, but I will eventually get there. So, one step at a time and let's see where this takes us.

Tax Work

I have most of the stuff to the accountant minus a few things which I will gather in the next few days and give all that stuff to him when I get the stuff. So, that is a huge relief and now I can better focus on trading.

As for today, Saturday, my son who will be turning 4 yrs old tomorrow, is going to another friend's swim party in an hr with his sister. Afterwards, we are going to a swim potluck going away party for 2 families. That will be a sad occasion, but celebrating with them their new moves out of state.

If I'm not too tired, I will be working on stock stuff, looking for more trades.

Tomorrow is church, Sean's 4th birthday. One of his aunts & uncles will be taking him and his sister out for his birthday at lunch and then he'll be home so we can go out to celebrate as a family late afternoon/early evening.

My trades should be ready by Monday morning. My stops are in place.

MA

MA Backtesting (from 11/28/06 to 8/24/07):
- 39 trades (19 bullish, 20 bearish)
- 23 Profits (59%)
- 15 Costs (41%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 12:1
- Longest Duration Trade = 14 Days
- Shortest Duration Trade = Less than 1 day

MA Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 7-10 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- For MA, I like to buy ATM, slightly ITM or OTM
- 3 contracts for MA

CME

CME Backtesting (from 5/21 to 8/22/07):
- 15 trades (8 bullish, 7 bearish)
- 8 Profits (57%)
- 6 Costs (43%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 10:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 8 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 2 days

CME Notes:
- Buy front monthunles it's 5 trading days before expiration, then next month out
- 2-3 strikes OTM
- 1 contract for CME

I love trading CME, but you sometimes have to have a strong stomach to take the big moves it has. Setting stops too close can cause you to be taken out too early if you are trading the trend. I like buying strikes 2-3 strikes OTM because of the cost of the options. I like to pay between $4-15 for a contract. Normally I won't want to pay more than $10-11, though. When I buy 2-3 srikes OTM, my target puts my OTM options ITM by the time the stock reaches the target.

You need to be able to read the chart properly. This is the stock is the stock I get the greatest ROI cosistently on, but it means to not sit and watch the stock all day long. However, in these highly volatile markets, some daytrading may be in order.
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Pause

This next week, I will need to be super productive. I haven't gotten as far as I wanted to with my tax stuff or my trading stuff. Instead, I have spent the time with my kids, friends, some fitness stuff, resting and with my family.

Tomorrow will be back to work and I expect to hit the ground more with my trading later this week and next week. I'm sorry if the past few days I've had nothing to write. One can only do so much and I have needed the refreshment for my own mental/emotional state so I can do well in my trading.

Please bear with me. If you subscribe to me, sorry. Check back later during the week or the last week of August. This surely has been some tumultuous August, eh?

$SPX


What are the pivots for the $SPX?


In keeping with the trend it began in Mar'03, 1364 would be a great place for the $SPX to drop to today. Going below that would mean maybe another leg below the current trend is beginning.


The thing of concern that throughout the pattern in the last 4.5 yrs, any downward trend has not fallen through this many tiers. Gravity is working here and to stop a fall that goes from the very high to touching the support, well, that can be a challenge. The descent has been much quicker, steeper, so the likelihood of going below this is greater, at least from what I observe of its pattern.


We'll see.


The next major pivot point if it drops through 1364 is 1216, probably with pullbacks in between unless there is a huge "fear factor" thing going on.


As I look back at the history of the $SPX 1329.50 is also a good point to drop to. What's interesting, which I have not really studied real hard, but in the 2000 - 2003 timeframe of a bearish market, the first drop was around 200 points, 2nd drop was around 300 points, then 370ish point, then 400 points. Then, the final 2 drops, which were more hesistation of the bottoming of the market was 200 points then 160 points.


Can you picture this? It gains momentum from 200-300 and though the drops are greater the 2 succeeding, the proportion of it begins to decrease, where the amplitude begins to diminish before the bull market began.


What if the $SPX takes on a similar approach to what it did in 2000? It reached its all time highs of 1557ish and dropped those 200 points and sort of stalled, attempting to eek its way back to the 1557ish a few times but ultimately lost the battle and began its descent over the next 2 yrs.


The timeframe for ascent to the highs was around 4-5 yrs prior to the "fall". We are right in the midst of the 4-5 yr period of this ascent.


The pattern of this is very interesting. The pattern to rise is about double the timeframe to fall. Another interesting point. Gravity (fear).

Managing Paperwork

Something that I've neglected a great deal is paperwork. Administration isn't a gifting or even something I remotely like and have allowed my husband to handle all this stuff over the past few years. Now as my marriage is on the rocks and I'm finding myself alone, I'm finding out he had even less of a gifting for administration than me, as I cannot find a rhyme or reason to how he did things.

Today I spent a good portion of the day pouring over my finances, closing down a number of brokerage accounts and working on consolidation of where my brokerage accounts are as well as the number of accounts. I also worked on my credit stuff, some I was aware of and others, the state of where things were was totally a shock and surprise.

Nevertheless, I'm learning "joint" is not a good thing and if the opportunity for me to marry again after this marriage is over, "joint" in terms of accounts will not be something I desire. And, I will keep things much simpler and hire a bookkeeper to manage these things. Never again will I just give someone full reign with little of my involvement.

It has come to bite me big time in the butt. This will all get straightened out - my taxes, my finances, everything. This is a very tough lesson to learn and has some big impacts, but what is done is done.

The good thing is with the 2 main accounts that I actively trade, I do keep good records and paperwork, so that is a plus. Now to backtrack the other accounts and figure out what was done in those will be much more "interesting".

Lack of organization in your finances can be a big impedence in your trading, as this has impacted my trading and time to devote to trading. If you're young, work to keep things simple and be organized. God cannot deliver to chaos because chaos means being a poor manager. How can God entrust to someone greater riches if they cannot manage the little they have?

So, though administration is not my gifting, it will become a strength of mine in the days, weeks, month to come. I am actively taking steps right now to overcome my fears by facing them and taking actions. I take responsibility for all financial debts and obligations occurred during my marriage whether I incurred them or not because it is the right thing to do - not the easy thing, but the right thing.

Eventually, however, when my trading can support me hiring a part-time bookkeeper (if needed), I will. This isn't something I enoy doing. However, as I simplify as much as possible, this may not be necessary. We'll see.

I've been doing well with balancing my checkbook and opening/addressing my mail. The little things do add up and when they do, it can be very overwhelming.

Probably a big impedence among many people who want to trade for a living is they are very unorganized in their finances or in parts of their lives that the need to bring order and structure to. So, rather than complain and blame, I take action. I am a victor, not a victim.

Bad things do happen to good people, however, I refuse to let these things keep me down. I'm getting up on the inside, so I can get up on the outside. God will enable and empower me each day and He's using these situations to make me a better overall trader in the end.

One of the things I'm learning is that as I organize various parts of my life, I find my trading gets better with each iteration. There must be something that chaos/mess take away from my trading, not allowing me to see as clearly or execute as well.

So, in a nutshell, "Organize For Success"!!!!

BIDU, AAPL, LEH, RIMM, CMI

BIDU Backtesting (from 5/21 to 8/14/07):
- 12 trades (7 bullish, 5 bearish)
- 8 Profits (73%)
- 3 Costs (27%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 15:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 8 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 2 days

BIDU Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 7 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- For BIDU, I buy 1 to 2 strikes OTM
- 1 contract for BIDU

AAPL Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 5 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- Buy ATM or 1 strike ITM
- 3-5 contracts for AAPL

LEH Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 7 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- Buy 1 strike ITM
- 3-5 contracts for LEH

RIMM Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 5 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- Buy ATM, 1 strike ITM, sometimes 1 strike OTM - depends on what is going on & timeframe to expiration
- 2-5 contracts for RIMM

CMI Notes:
- Buy front month unless it's about 7 trading days before expiration, then I go next month out.
- Buy ATM or 1 strike ITM
- 2-5 contracts for CMI
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CMI

CMI Backtesting (from 5/21 to 8/14/07):
- 13 trades (5 bullish, 8 bearish)
- 5 costs (42%)
- 7 profits (58%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 4:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 10 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 2 days

Notes: The last month of CMI was much more challenging to trade. Starting from 7/26, some of the daily candles had long wicks, which is not how CMI typically trades. Some of the gaps ate into my profits, making them costing trades, which would've otherwise been profitable trades. Though a 4:1 ratio is still very good, because of being whipsawed on my positions on several occasions, this probably would've been much better like closer to a 7:1 or 8:1 ratio. CMI was definitely easier to trade in the May-June timeframe.
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$SPX & $VIX


The purple candles represent the $SPX (S&P 500). It is curious to me that though today was basically a bearish day that the VIX really didn't change. So, if the market is tanking, the "fear" is not there. Just something that is interesting to note.


We've now hit the 1426 to 1433 range now 4 times. We know that's an important area. Will it turn bullish or will it go bearish? I don't know, but looking at the VIX as well as MACD/RSI, it looks like things are poised for a rally, possibly. Commitment of Traders (COT) are still bullish - long. So, if they thought things were really going bearish, they would be shorting, but they are not. Hmmmm...interesting. They could be wrong, which they have in the past with regards to last year when the began shorting and the markets continued to move up.



If we change the $SPX to a monthly timeframe, this gives a different picture than the daily charts. There aren't too many months that have more than 3 bearish candles in a row, especially over the past year plus. If a rally takes place, it would make sense.
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RIMM, AAPL, LEH

RIMM Backtesting (from 5/21 to 8/13/07):
- 11 trades (4 bullish, 8 bearish)
- 5 costs (45%)
- 6 profits (55%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 14:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 10 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 2 days

AAPL Backtesting (from 5/22 to 8/13/07):
- 9 trades (3 bullish, 6 bearish)
- 5 costs (56%)
- 4 profits (44%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 4:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 14 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 3 days

LEH Backtesting (from 5/22 to 8/13/07):
- 12 trades (6 bullish, 6 bearish)
- 5 costs (56%)
- 7 profits (44%)
- Ratio Profit:Cost = 9:1
- Longest Trade Duration = 13 days
- Shortest Trade Duration = 3 days
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This Is Easy

"Easy" is a matter of perception.

What I'm learning is that if I truly understand something, it really is quite easy. It's for lack of understanding that things are not "easy".

How does someone become a profitable, successful trader - make a living at this?

1. Let go of your ego.
2. Go with the flow.

That's really what it boils down to. If you can do those 2 things very successfully, you can make trading phenomenally profitable.

How are some ways people do NOT let go of their egos?

1. I just KNOW it's going to do this.
2. Hope
3. It'll come back. I know it will.

What does going with the flow mean? Well, if the stock is going up and you're trading directionally, you go with the stock. If it stops going up and going down, you get out of your up position and go down. You manage your risk.

No one KNOWS what's going to happen with a stock. I'm finding contingencies to be great, which allows the stock to tell you which direction it wants to take. Set stops based upon how that particular stock trades. Some may require tighter stops, others looser. This is all relative.

Sometimes stocks trade patterns, but what if it decides to do something different? Then you do what that different is.

There are things I must daily keep in mind with my own trades.

Trading

A part of my own trading is I had gone for about 3 weeks with no costing trading (I think) and then Friday I took 5 costs and 1 cost on Monday). I am going to take today (at least) to get resituated in my trading, as I also took some time off on the weekend to analyze my trades.

All businesses have costs, but you cannot continue in that realm and expect to be successful.

I continue to work to manage my finances, keeping those things in order which are already in order that way, and continue to work on my IRS paperwork. I have set a goal to have all my paperwork as well all the information the accountant and IRS needs (no, I'm not being audited) by next Tuesday (8/21).

Learning to adapt as a single parent with little to no help has been a huge adjustment with 2 young childen who demand a lot of attention. My children are a part of my joy and I gladly do these things for them, but often this leaves me with less time than I'd like for my trading, so I must learn to be more efficient when I do have the time to work on trading. Afterall, it IS a business.

Daily I do get up and do things as if I was going to a job outside my house. I am working on a mutual beneficial schedule where I get my kids to bed earlier so they get the sleep they need and I am able to work in peace & quiet. Periodically, I will have a motivational sermon going on. Lately I added Keith Moore to that. I also listen to Joel/Victoria O'Steen & Joyce Meyer. These are all Christian Bible-based teachers/preachers.

Plus, I also subscribe to a weekly audio thing that provides me with motivational/inspirational speakers like Zig Ziglar, Bob Proctor, John Maxwell, Loral Langemeier, Chris Widener, Dr. David Cook and a host of other speakers. I believe I have probably nearly 70 different audios, as I've subscribed to the for over a year.

Trading can sometimes be lonely, if you're a people person such as myself. You get a lot of time to yourself to be with your thoughts, and if things are or are not turning in your favor, you can find yourself in some dangerous mindsets. These people that come into my home via the internet are resources with which ground me, remind me who I am, and where I want to go.

All my mornings start off with a quiet time with the Lord. I spend time reading/studying the Bible, in prayer to God, and if I remember, time in worship with love songs to Jesus. I've been doing this since I was about 10 yrs old. This has become a ritual, but not so ritualistic that it's boring and mundane, rather it's that 1:1 time with God that is solely His time with me, our time to share. Though we can pray at any time, this time is devoted to God.

God is the source of my provision in everything, including the stock market. He allows me to see things perhaps others do not and make right choices in my trades. Sure, I do a lot of practicing and doing, which helps enable me, but it's really God who gives the increase. He helps me to learn from my profitable and costing trades. He certainly has humbled my own mindset regarding the stock market and it's come with quite a bit of pain. But, I'm learning.

Realistically, as I've looked at some of the other options or trading blogs, I have no idea how they manage to put such extensive information on a frequent basis, but I, for one, do not have the time to do all that. I'm sorry. I will share as much information as possible with you all, but I need to spend the time doing, being mommy to my children, and attend to the everyday affairs to ensure the success of my family. So, please bear with me.

Trading is a passion of mine and now my life. Maybe as I learn to be even more efficient with my life, I will be able to provide information in a more succinct manner to enable others. May God bless each of your days in such an abundant way as He is already doing with mine.

Analysis

I didn't get a chance with a really busy weekend to do all what I wanted to do with analysis of my costing trades. However, I did get to go back on LEH, AAPL and a part of RIMM. Have not gotten to BIDU or CMI yet. But, the common theme from LEH and AAPL backtesting was that my stops with funded trades were far too loose.

It was better to have tighter stops (and this is relative) and get stopped out, reverse my position, then it was to stay in a position and allow it to correct itself.

With AAPL, though my profitable and costing trades were 50/50, profitability was 5:1 over costing trades, which is really good, as my goal is 4:1.

With LEH, profitable trades were 64% over the 36% costing. Profitability was almost 9:1 over costing trades, which is excellent.

With most of the AAPL and LEH trades, when I got out of a bullish trade, I would immediately do a SWS (Switch Stop), meaning reverse positions. However, this would only be at pivotable points (meaning at resistance or support either trend or otherwise). A few times, I did get whipsawed.

My backtesting started back on 5/21/07, so a little over 2 months worth. That was just an arbitrary date.

My positions were small with 1-5 contract sizes at either slightly ITM, ATM or slightly OTM, depending on where the stock was.

Since I'm fairly wiped out from the weekend, I will be going to bed early and getting up early to continue with my stock work tomorrow morning.
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Analyzing

Over the weekend, I will be going over the trades I closed this week. Not sure if I will post all of them here, but the ones where I learned some significant things, I'll share. Mon-Thurs were profitable trades and Fri I took costs. I'll share things I did right and incorrectly of both profitable and costing trades. There can be a lot learned from each.

Costs

Today I took costs in a number of positions:

- AAPL Aug135C

- LEH Sep60C

- BIDU Aug230C (from my balloon strangle)

- RIMM Aug230C

- CMI Sep100P

This hurt today. For the week, however, I am still profitable. The CMI was accidental. I placed a continengent order that if it got above a certain price that I would be out of it. Typed in the wrong thing and hit send and my position got filled immediately below my contingent, about $2 away. Glad that happened as it's now $1 above it.

There are still 2 positions left over from my balloon strangles on AAPL and BIDU, but they are not worth closing as closing would cost me more than the positions are worth. If anything happens to them, great, otherwise, those are just 2 other costs that I already anticipated.

I do have one contingent order that has not been filled. That's RIMM below $205.10 to be in for Sep190P. Downside Target = $166 to fill the gap. RIMM usually fills most of its gaps. Indicators (MACD, RSI, Momentum, AMA, and below the 20 EMA) all show bearish.

That order is already in place and I have nothing else going on today. It's been one heck of a week and my trading is done for today at 8:30 am (market closes at 1 pm). I'm going to spend some time with my son, go to a yoga class, enjoy my children, and work on IRS paperwork for the remainder of the day.

This weekend I will get centered and be ready to trade again on Monday.
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MA


Here with MA it's in a downward trend where the upward trend it was in for quite some time was broken at earnings. The prior 3 days before yesterday looked like a pullback of near 50% and with yesterday's candle, that could be a continuation of the downward trend or with the inverted hammer, that has a 70% chance of reversal, which is quite high. However, that would be at support and if we look to the left, that was a support area before.

The blue bracket indicates I can have entries to either the upside or downside depending on what the stock does. It would really be nice to see a bearish play here with

Downside Target @ $118 to fill the gap. MA has not been real great at filling gaps, so this may be the start of them doing that. My indicators all show there is more room to move to the downside.

In reality, if I were playing this, and I may, I would probably only take a bearish position. For a bullish position, I would probably wait just a little longer for confirmation to the upside as I don't really want to get whipsawed.
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CMI & GOOG


Glad I decided to have a little patience with CMI. That retracement was just that intraday as it started to head back down. Sometimes it does pay to wait and other times it doesn't. How do you know when? My chart up to the time I updated the daily showed it was at the trend support. The day had not completed yet and it was on it's technically 6th rotation, so the likelihood of that trend ending was fairly high anytime soon.

The last couple hrs of the market showed the upward trend had indeed broken and CMI is on its way down. The horizontal support lines are major and minor supports. I won't know until it actually does what it does to know if any of them are supports or not, but I do not that if they should hesitate or reverse at any one of those lines, it would make sense to me.

All indicators show bearish. So, the only play right now I have going is for a bearish bracket, with an entry in the $106ish range. I will be Sep105P.


GOOG, this as an area to get whipsawed. In the compression pattern, there is a $20 range, which is quite big. One can play this, as you can make some decent money with a $20 move, which I may. How I would do it is if it bounces on the top part of the top bracket coming down, my entry would be the bottom of the top bracket and the inverse is true of the 2nd bracket.

Otherwise, my entries for the upside or downside are $524.50 and $497.50, respectively with a $5 hard stop.

Upside Target = $557ish (23 points)
Downside Target = $447 (50 points)

We'll see what happens today.

My son is home with me all day, so this might make trading interesting.

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AAPL, RIMM, LEH calls - We'll see here, but if either of these head much lower, I'm outta these trades and switching to puts.

BIDU strangle - just letting this ride out and see what happens.
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CME (Aug570C)



Here was the option pricing for the CME option I had, Aug570C. I didn't get in at the lowest point, nor did I get out at the highest price. I missed about $4 on the entry and about $10 on the exit, meaning I left $1400 on the table. That's another 118% that I left, but that's okay.

One of the things was this morning, I did sort of feel anxious. When you do, you need to just take your trade off the table. My target of 607ish and 611 were both correct. But, because it hesitated at 600, that made me quite nervous.

What I could've done was put a $0.50 trailing stop on the bid. That probably would've taken me out around 38-40. Oh well. Next time I will be calmer.

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Today the S&P is down and so are my positions minus CME. Everything looks like it's pausing, so I will be patient.
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CMI


About 10 min. before CMI bounced off its support, I considered getting in whichever direction it decided to go from the $110 range. I would've done Sep115C or Sep105P, 1 strike OTM.



CMI is a stock I've traded well in the past both funded and unfunded. However, I haven't traded it this year with funds and was considering it.

Well, we can see I waited just a little too long because it made a beautiful bounce on the 2nd chart, which is intraday. It's currently trading at $115ish. So, if I choose to get in, it will be on a pullback, or I may wait until tomorrow, as I do not want to daytrade this stock.

Here is where it takes some discipline to not chase a stock as you see it moving up so quickly, you want to jump on the band wagon. My personal thoughts now on getting in whether to get in on either the upside or downside of the stock is to really go with the trend mainly and to wait for pullbacks or consolidation/compression points to get in. If the pattern is a rectangle pattern and the range is wide enough, you can often play the rectangle, but you have to be quick to get in and out, and it does take some stomaching to do this, IMO.

With 2 more hrs, the daily candle for CMI today is a Hammer, which has a 45% chance of reversal. If we look at the first chart, this particular trend that began in Apr'07 has now had 5 rotations. Technically, it's 6 full rotations, but one of them hardly had any oomph and did not really have momentum to push it up much.

I believe with rotations, the typically is 3-5 rotations before a trend is broken. We're there, so I will give it another day to tell me whether it is going to the upside or not or going to break to the downside. Target to the upside is $129ish.

Downside Targets: $108, $98.50, $92.70

Let's see what the stock will do.. We are at a good time for a pivot and your guess is as good as mine. MACD shows sharp bearish divergence, RSI shows moves to the downside, AMA shows bearish, momentum is sort of flat, but it's tending towards bearish.

So, here is a perfect example of the price chart telling me this is a good point to bounce to the upside, but my indicators are saying the opposite. So, let's see what happens.

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I continue to organize my paperwork. Yesterday I got to so much done. Today not as much, as I've been at the computer more going through my charts.

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Is this format helping anyone? Is there a different format you'd like to see? I have not had time to do what I wanted in terms of seeing how far we could get to in a virtual account. So, right now I'm just sharing what I'm doing in my real accouts.
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GOOG

I'm waiting for an entry here. I had a line drawn at $527.35 and it's coming up to that and cannot seem to move past it. I do not want to be buying my Sep540C at $12+ or on the move up, rather on a pullback. What looks to be a good place for it to pullback to is the 20 EMA as well as around $521.25. At that, the option should be around $8.50-$10, which is more reasonable for me. I would only be getting in one contract.

It's now crossed below the 20 EMA and heading towards $521.25 at 2 hrs 40 min. in the market. We'll see. I'll be patient. It should settle around here and then I will put a contingent order to get in around $522 as it moves back on up.

However, it's nearly lunchtime on the east coast, in about 15 min., so we'll see how much action there is.
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CME, GOOG

Got out of CME this morning within the first 10 min. of the market. My targets were 600, 607.75 and 611.50. It was stalling @ 600 and this was the third time it was trying for it. Though it looked very bullish, my position was up A LOT and frankly, I felt nervous and took my position off the table. I had 1 contract. For GOOG and CME, I only buy 1-2 contracts, depending on the cost.

My position on CME was Aug570C @ 11.70. I got out at $31. That was 5 trading days and netted $1924 on that trade, which was a 164% profit. The high so far a little over an hr into the market is $608. So, my targets are not too far off. It's trading $35.60 x $38.50. The spread is bigger now than when I got out.

I really praise God and give Him the credit for CME because of the 5 positions, this was the position He impressed upon me to look at and focus on. It was really exciting to see that though the Futures were pretty down, CME opened up really well up.

CME more than half the time follows the market and I'm certainly glad it didn't today. This goes to show that that group of disciplined traders had their eyes set in the 600-611 range and are doing so well trading their pattern. God just has been so good to me giving me good insights and patience in my trades (not hope, though).

Thank you Jesus for those nice profits this morning. What an incredible answer to prayer that was. Just as a note of caution, I am not winging my trades. God has given me talents and abilities to use in my trading. I do combine intuitiveness with all the hard work that daily I put into my trading, learning, practicing, managing my risk. Since we never know what is going to happen in the market, I use risk management by size of positions as well as setting my stops, learning how to better chart, etc.

God provides the increase and is helping me to take profits or cut my costs quickly.

I will not be trading CME until it either begins its downward decent or breaks through $613 upward.

GOOG, I see a target of $554-558. I'm going to wait until it retraces back to around the 20 EMA on the 5 min. intraday charts. I'm looking to get into Sep540C around $9-10/contract. That would put me around $15 ITM and about $7 time value....putting the option around sell @ $22. With higher volatility if it does it quickly, that could be more. That would be a little over 100% profit and I would expect it to take about 5-10 trading days to do this.

We'll see. I need to take the kids to school and stop by the grocery store quickly, so hopefully later this morning I can get into GOOG, but that will be a manual entry.
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Stocks

If there is a certain stock anyone would like me to look at, feel free to make a comment and let me know. Or, if you're in a position and just wanted to know what I see, I'll give you my unbiased thoughts on what I'll see and provide charts.

Note, I use an arithmetic scale. Over the weekend, I looked at the stocks I trade in the log scale and it just didn't work real well with me.

Today I just received Tim's book and will look through it. It's 400+ pages and I'm notorious for not reading books totally, so I will skim and do selective reading and see how he charts on a log scale.

I'm nearly finished with the organization of my paperwork after 3 full days now. I have maybe a couple more hours to go. Then, I need to begin looking for the things the IRS and accountant want. Hopefully I can get this all done in the next 4-5 days. Let the accountant do his magic, so as long as I provide him with the correct and right information.

Well, time to put my kids to bed.

$SPX, CME, LEH, RIMM, AAPL, BIDU


I don't use Fibonacci's, but I remember reading something in Tim's blog saying it's 50%. From it's move down, it's actually crossed above the 50% range because that would've been at 1492.50. It's actually 50% of the move if it were to go all the way back up and follow the resistance trend line.

Could this possibly be a pivot point? Sure. However, today's candle (and I do not trade on candles) is not a hesitation candle, but a rather strong bullish candle. It ended the day really bullish, where buyers came back in after some pullback. Indicators such as RSI, MACD, Momentum show it's way oversold and heading to the upside. Cashflow is also increasing. It looks like there is room to move to the upside and it would be nice for it to see it hit the upper trend resistance line.



I'm in bullish for CME. Got in around 565 for Aug570C, slightly OTM. Lately I've been liking to get ATM or slightly ITM due to more cash in my pocket, though, a bigger outlay in capital and less of a ROI. That's okay with me. This chart is a little off in that it has some after hrs data on it and shouldn't. Hopefully Genesis will correct this tomorrow.

I would love to see this go up to hit the upper trend support at 610. That would put me $40 ITM, making probably my option worth $45-49 depending upon volatility and when I get out. Not bad for a few days trade. My option was $11.70. Got in a little earlier as it pulled back a little after I got in. A better price for that option would've been in the $8-9 range.

My original target was $600, which still puts me $30 ITM, making the option about $36-39 if it does this tomorrow. That would be a 200% return in 4 days. Nice.



I got in around the $134-135 range yesterday. One of the things was my AAPL chart had a lot of lines. When I erased all the lines and redrew, I saw a slightly different picture than what I saw when I got in. Going to give it some room to work, as it seems to be in a compression pattern with a couple days of long wicks. I'm keeping my stop below the pink support trend line. Since I'm watching this, I will stop myself out if it strongly moves through my stop.

I'm in for Aug135C.


Got out of my RIMM trade yesterday and today it gaps up. RIMM rarely likes to leave gaps and later in the day came to fill the gap up at the beginning of the day. Today it broke above the rectangular compression pattern, but in the end, it looks like a doji, which means indecision. It can't decide whether it wants to march forward or not. I will give it some room to work tomorrow, however, I'm not about to let it go too far and will be ready to switch to puts if it decides to go back down to the $213 range.

It makes no difference to me whether I'm a bull or a bear. My goal is to be profitable consistently, and I have no ego. If I'm wrong, get out and change directions. It's that simple.


LEH is my favorite of the investment stocks to trade. My trading coach likes GS. Other people like BSC or MER. LEH's options are often fairly priced and though the movements are similar in all the investment stocks, this has been the one stock that I've been able to consistently be profitable on, whereas, it's iffy with GS or BSC. MER I've never done any funded trades on this so I cannot speak.

For me, LEH and I have learned to dance fairly well, at least when it moves. Earlier this year, I was not trading LEH because somehow I lost sync with this, but when I saw it had taken such a tumble, I decided to visit LEH again.

My entry was set a little too close and I got taken in too early. As I saw 2 support trends nearby, I kept my stops fairly far away to give it room to work, in case I was wrong, but I figured at some point it would reach a bottom. The smarter thing to do was to have kept a tighter stop, get out with a slight cost and reverse directions for the 8 points it came down. That's a lotta points when the stock is not that much. My error. This trade is now well in the positive. Let this be a lesson learned.

This could've been a far more profitable play had I reversed positions twice, making double the money. Right now I'm giving it room to work.



This is the overall trend of BIDU. Notice the angle of attack for most of the stock as been at the same angle. Interesting, eh? Once again, my other chart just had too many lines that it was hard to see. Erased them all and redid the chart and voila.


As I switched to candlestick view, you can see I adjusted the lines a little bit and added an additional trend line to help me better see what is going on. My RSI/MACD indicators shows iffy to move upward as it does look oversold, but it could possibly continue bearish. HOWEVER, my other indicators (momentum, cashflow, Adaptive Moving Average) show bullish. Anyhow, my position here is a strangle from earnings. I'm still in the negative for the Aug230C, but it's becoming less negative. I only have 1 contract. So, we'll see.

The horizontal lines are some of the targets and my stop in on the chart. It has good volumes.
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$SPX, RIMM

$SPX: The targets for these would be the most latest failed rallies on the way down. These points are: 1525, 1545, 1556.

What will the market do? I have no clue. It's had 6 trading days in the 1488 to 1453 range, over a week. One day, 3 days ago as an exasperation attempt. Even were it dropped to was not a surprise, as it was a failed attempt on the way up to reverse direction at 1433. Two days ago when it was so bullish, it dipped lower to flush out any short sellers and began the bargain hunters buying spree.

Today, I've put a contingent order for RIMM for Aug230C if it exceeds $227.60. This takes out all the tops, but there are couple wicks that are a little above this. A better entry probably would've been at $224.85.
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Double Bottom, V Turn, Positions, Advancing/Declining

Double Bottom, V Turn

Okay, I was wrong about the Triple Bottom. It actually started out almost as a double bottom, but did not break through the mid-point going up, but turned back down.

http://www.1option.com/index.php/global/comments/option_trading_strategy_for_v_bottoms_leg_1/

I thought the articles here were good, and can explain much better than I can do.

To briefly summarize, though, basically the V turn was to push all the sellers out of the way. This is the short sellers covering. Similar for upside down V.

I apologize for giving wrong information earlier. There is still so much for me to learn.

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My Positions:

AAPL (135), LEH (60), CME (570) calls.

BIDU balloon strangle (230C/160P).

That's it. I do have stops placed for each.

AAPL at $131
LEH at $57.50
CME at $567, $1 trailing stop @ $581

BIDU, just letting this ride since I'm so far OTM.
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Advancing/Declining

This basically is used to see how the market (S&P) will open up. This does not mean that if it opens lower, that it can't go higher later. Today was a good example of that where it was 1:13 in favor of Declining, so highly negative. But, the market was bullish today.

Double & Triple Bottoms & Tops, RIMM



The FOMC today came out with their report that they weren't going to raise interest rates, amidst concerns of inflation. My chart is set for my time zone (Mountain - AZ), so the FOMC took place at 11:15 am. Shortly thereafter, you see like a sigh of relief as the market dropped a little. But, the market rose in anticipation of unchanging interest rates that have held on for now over a year (Jun'06).



After initial 15-20 min. of digesting the news, I believe just waiting for the wording to come out, stocks did drop, but after the release of the news, for the next hr it being good, stocks started to rise again. But, they settled into a comfortable zone.

Note today's high is coincidentally the support where it's come down 3 times before in the uptrend. Think that's coincidence? BTW, other than putting lines for the double-triple bottoms and annotating those, all the other lines on all the graphs in this entry were already drawn.

A part of good charting is knowing how to read the chart. It always amazes me when things come to sit on or bump up against the lines I draw. I really say that in all humility because it seems almost magical to me. Ryan has really taught me well and it never ceases to have me in awe as to how manipulated prices are.







On the line chart of the $SPX, we can see we have a triple bottom. Today's close is slightly above the mid-points of the last 2 "highs". This triple bottom is still good, but there are 2 other triple bottoms that are better than this one. The one that is the next good one has all its bottoms level. The best triple bottom is when the bottoms are sloped upward. In the case we have here, they are sloped downward.



Since the confirmation signal of a reversal comes after the mid-points are broken and we have that, this further says where we were was a good support. How much of a bullish play will this be? I have no clue. It could go up to the 1485 (not far), 1522, 1560. This is based off this line chart.



However, in the candlestick view, 1490 is a support in the upward trend which it had 3 rotations. For 1510 support, it had 2 rotations. So, these would seem like they would be likely areas for resistance. Time will tell if what I'm seeing is correct or not.





I apologize for the messiness of this last chart. This is the chart I mainly work off that I'm always marking up.

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Today I closed out on my bullish RIMM position for a small profit, as my trailing stop got triggered. I did not re-enter another position and will wait until it crosses over $226 strongly before entering another bullish entry. Sometimes RIMM gets into these compression patterns that last for 2-3 weeks and one can get whipsawed.

Though, I am thankful in the past 2-3 weeks I've been able to take profits from RIMM during this time. If it gets closer to the top of the rectangular pattern and begins to head down, I may take a position because $226 to $214 is still a $12 move in the stock, and getting an Aug230P would probably cost $8-9 at $225 and in 2 days to move down to $215 would make the option about $16, losing some time value. $7-8, however, is nothing to scoff at. I'll take it.

FOMC

This week the only economic report worth mentioning is the FOMC. The rest, as Ryan would deem, are C/D rated items. If I know Ryan well enough, he'd probably say that in a week where there is not a lot of news, we get raw sentiment of the traders, how they really feel about the market without anything significant driving the market.

The basic jist of the FOMC from what I can tell is that nothing much has changed, so the market breaths a sigh of relief. Good, we can get on with business.

How does the market feel? Bullish. Yes, not something Tim likes to hear.

The swings in the market are highly volatile and have been making big swings.

I haven't been taken out of my positions yet and ended up getting back into to AAPL when it bounced off intraday support of $133ish. Set a contigent entry for $135 for Aug135C - 2. Small position and I expect to be out sometime this week. Not paying a whole lot in time value for ATM.

The market is certainly interesting. Watched a little this morning, but had mommy duty to do and more organizing of things. One thing I am learning since I see a pattern here with myself is to keep things as simple as possible. No need to have lots and lots of accounts, unless you have someone managing them and an accountant to help you. As I'm looking at all the various accounts we have, it really is very incredible that we opened so many of them.

One of the things I'm learning is the words I use to myself are very powerful, so I will pay special attention to watch my language, as I do not want to be instilling or reinforcing negative mindsets in myself.
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Futures

This morning Futures are hugely down, 1:13 (Advanced:Declining). Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq all down. This is 40 min. before the market opens.

Yesterday, don't exactly remember, but it was about 6:8 or something like that with the Dow positive a little and S&P/Nasq slightly either positive or negative.

Yesterday was a huge day, and the bulls did take over, however, not without some fight from the bears.

It seems my computer needs to be reboot, so I'll do so before the market opens.

Stops

Stops are a part of managing risk, as well as the size of your trades. Just because you have a big trading account, that does not mean you're to take big positions. If you do not have the knowledge, skill, risk management, and discipline, it's best to NOT trade with any real funds until you get that.

With that said, I'm in bullish positions for the following, and my stops will be:

CME


- Looks like a triple bottom or a W off a trend support, bullish

- My target is 600

- Since mid-May, it's been in an upward trend, though, some fairly nice pullbacks

- Since CME and the market has been a little crazy, going to jam up my stop in case it decides to come back down and I have Aug options, so time value is diminishing

- Stop at $570 (this will give me a small profit)

- $1 Trailing Stop on the stock at $586, just in case it decides to try for $600. Yes, this is a bit far away from $600, but the market has had some big moves. The last time I set a trailing stop on a call position at $592 and it didn't go quite there to reach it, so, this is a just in case. This is $12 from where it closed today, so if in the morning it decides to just reach up in that area and pullback, I'll be out of the position.

RIMM

- It did break the downward trend it was in 3 days ago, however, the last 2 days have been overall bearish.

-The past 2 days have been sideways.

- RIMM often gets in these rectangular consolidation patterns, and sometimes they can last for 3 weeks.

- Just looking at only the price chart, it seems a stop in the $213-215 range would be good.

- If the stock closes below the 20 EMA, this would be reason enough to get out. This would be at a slight cost to me as I got in about $216. This confirms what I'm seeing on the price chart.

- MACD/RSI look to be turning from oversold to possibly finding a support here, but it hasn't quite made that turn yet.

- Momentum indicators show slowing down, and perhaps an indecision period. No point in getting stuck here and watching time value go against me.

- $0.75 Trailing Stop at $221.

LEH

- Here's a situation where I set a bracket and got triggered for the upside. Apparently when I got triggered, that was near the high and the stock came tumbling down not too long after that.

- Had an alert last Friday set for $56 to get stopped out and was doing okay with the position, though it was getting close, until the last 2 hrs of the market, where it dipped below. Waited patiently, without hoping.

- Today, I did not have an actual stop placed (breaking a rule of mine) and wanted to see how the market was going to respond. IF it was going to further tank, I was getting out. IF it decided to rebound, then I would keep my position.

- There were 2 trend supports and these were right near the area, so I wanted to give it room to work.

- My other technical indicators showed it was possibly reaching a oversold, but it hadn't quite yet made the turn.

- Today's candle is a hammer, which is about a 45% chance of reversal, not real great. An inverted hammer would have a 70% chance of reversal at support. So, we'll see if we are actually hitting a support or just pausing momentarily.

- LEH often trades with the market, but it started on it's bearish move a few weeks early and then the market decided to join in also.

- Stop @ $56.25, just below today's open.

I had done a balloon strangle on AAPL and BIDU with very small positions. I closed out on the AAPL puts with a profit, but I am negative on the AAPL calls right now (because it was so way OTM). All of these I calculated and knew if it did not move huge, these positions would not be profitable. It's the risk I took. Didn't spend a whole lot here, so I will wait until expiration (Aug) to see what it does or get out sooner if it's less negative or with slight profits.

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Adding Files To Blogger

Does someone know how to add Excel files to blogger to others may be able to access this? This would be far easier to let you see my Excel file than it is to type all that out and place here.

Wondering

In case you're wondering why I might be in a trading blog sharing with you about organizing, paperwork, my family, my marriage, etc. is not because I'm talkative or like to write, but all these aspects of my life DO impact my trading.

There are books, DVDs, courses, etc. up the gazoo on what how to gain knowledge, but I find fewer things helping you develop your skill, and even fewer to help you actually set yourself up for success in terms of what are the things that might impede your success.

Let's say you want to be a profitable trader, but you cannot balance your checkbook, do you think there might be a disconnect here? Or, you're a highly emotional person, and you just can't figure out how to trade unemotionally? Do you think that if you're going through turmoil in your life, you might have to take a different approach to trading?

What if you were so disorganized, you forgot you had positions on the table? Think that might be detrimental?

What if in your subconscious buried deep inside you you do not feel you deserve wealth or to be prosper? Do you think that no matter how skilled you are, how much knowledge you have, that that might impede your success?

None of these things are uncommon to me. As one who is a problem solver, I'm always looking for the root cause of problems. Often times what is obvious is not truly the answer. My life has come with a lot of baggage, but I've been able to get rid of a lot to get to where I am. Still, there is a long journey ahead and more things to deal with.

For me, this not a vent blog, rather sharing in my journey of how to be a good trader. I do make good trades and am a profitable trader, but that's not enough. I want to be a phenomenal trader who achieves her dreams, the vision for her life, empower my family & others. Can you taste that?

As a side note, my favorite game as a child was "Pit". Any of you heard of the card game? It really didn't dawn until me this year that I was born to trade. Maybe I'm not the superstar like some of the men I've read in Market Wizards, but in the world I live in, there are many I can impact.

Organizing & Management

What have I done today?

I did make money on AAPL and was going to take profits on CME and RIMM also today, but my criteria wasn't met, so I'm still in those positions. Am also in BIDU and LEH.

Don't have time to go into details there, but I spent most of the morning on the phone, getting necessary things straightened out (and there is a lot). If organizing is a trait of yours and you love to be this way, that's fantastic. As a person that loves to experiment, deal in theory and loves to look at the big picture, more creative (yes, a former engineer is creative), administration or micro-managing (as I so see it) is not my cup of tea.

However, oddly enough, I do love the details of actually trading, which deals in charts. Perhaps it's the visual thing of charting that I love so much. If it was just all numbers without patterns & pictures, I'm not sure if I would love trading. Early in life, I started playing the piano (at age 4) and music has always been a love of mind. In my head, I hear and see patterns of things. Music & trading are both very artistic.

Okay, back to reality. On the phone sorting through things was not fun, but much of this afternoon, when I wasn't doing mom duty, has been spent going through paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork. Would you like a picture? Probably not going to provide this, as I don't really feel like taking one, though, for the sake of progress, this might be a good idea.

The thing here is to get things down to specific accounts chronologically ordered so I can se where I am. My husband who has since moved out, has decided he has no responsibility in any of this, though it was his job through the past 4 yrs to maintain and organize our paperwork, as he worked from home.

Now having spent weeks and now there is this sense of urgency to do this, I have decided that this all needs to be done with our without his help financially, legally or otherwise. Yes, not a good situation to be in, but instead of having some pity party, gotta rise up and take the bull by the horns (or give a big bear hug). No puns intended. LOL.

Rather than procrastinate, this week I will get ALL my financial paperwork in order, get all my stuff to the accountant to help me, and setup a system that I can manage and live with that will ensure that I can be successful. I must assess where I am before I know where I can go.

God can't deliver to chaos.

One of the aspects of success, from what I can tell, is the areas I am successful in, I am highly organized in those areas.

Earlier this summer, I went through and decluttered, organized most of my home, going through each cabinet, closet, over things, under things, getting rid of things that no longer served a purpose, and really creating much more empty space in my home. Things are now visually organized and aesthetically pleasing. AND, daily I maintain this organization in my home with my kids, enlisting for their participation. This has drawn and given me much better relationship with them and more peace overall in our household (inspite of the turmoil in my marriage).

Earlier this year, I had greatly gone through a lot of paperwork and sent bags and bags to be shredded to the shredders. Though there is still a lot of paperwork that I'm working on now, it's a different aspect than what I was working on before.

What I noticed in each of those timeframes, my trading got better as I "organized" for success and decluttered, getting rid of things that are no longer necessary. Maybe psychologically there is a freeing up, such as the Law of Vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum. Which has allowed me so much more to receive from the market.

Taxes & Money Management

This isn't the most pleasant part of trading, but needs to be done.

Being that my husband managed a good portion of our finances and many accounts while I worked, as well as the paperwork, but was not organized or really managed it, I am now needing to get all this stuff organized and see what needs to be done. It's really not pleasant at all and every turn it doesn't look good.

However, I have been a part of this marriage and rather than shift the blame to him, I should've been more participative and interactive, even if I was working a lot. Administration has not been my gift, but whether it is or not, it needs to be done.

So, I'm needing to get my tax situation well under control, which it isn't, as well as many other things. Things do seem rather daunting, but I'm tackling each pile and working to manage my kids and household at the same time.

Let's just say this isn't the most ideal situation to be trading. IF I knew then what I know now, I'm not so sure. It is fairly stressful.

I did create an Excel spreadsheet of the bracket trades which I will append, if I can figure out how to do it. But, most of today will be working on taxes and money management, organizing for success!!!

Trades

I spent the past 2 hrs getting the brackets setup and typing them in and blogger is messing up what I'm doing, so I'm going to have to figure out a different way to provide the brackets. Maybe I'll do an Excel spreadsheet and attach it. Not sure how to do that.

Will have to figure that out. Excel would be far easier to do than typing it all out here.

Gotta go to bed. So tired. Night all.

Psychology

I'm by far not the psychological guru or can even say one bit that I truly know anything here, but I can share with you my experience. I'll leave that psycho therapy stuff to the Van Thorpes, Douglases, Elders, etc.

2007 as I looked at it from 2006, looked to be a great year of promise and hope for a new life not only for me, but for my husband and I, and our 2 children. I had worked really hard to build up my trading, get the education, do the practice, get the knowledge, discipline, consistency, develop good risk management, and the list goes on. Working full time at my mechanical engineering job, traveling for trading, doing all those practice and funded trading, building my accounts (again), managing my family & marriage, health, fitness and the volunteer work I did, was a huge undertaking.

Though I was not quite ready to give up my day job, as I got paid really well with great benefits, I felt God leading me to leave engineering. In all reality, this seemed pretty nuts. I wanted to build up my trading accounts to 9 digit figure before leaving and I was nowhere near that. But, God made it unequivocably clear that He wanted me to leave engineering. So, I gave 3 months notice and then I was out of there, starting 2007 as a full-time trader.

With my husband's blessing, though I felt a bit nervous, he said he was supportive of my decision to leave engineering. Little did I know he did not tell me the everything he needed to. But, it was God I was being obedient to. For those of you who do not believe in God or anything, this whole thing will sound wreckless and stupid. Okay, so be it.

Thought I would be able to hit the ground running after leaving my job, but there is a psychological aspect of totally switching careers that I was not equipped to handle immediately. Having had some costly lessons trading when super stressed out or physically ill, I decided to take a couple months off. During this time, I enjoyed my family, though, things seemed odd in my marriage. I worked to begin working on organizing some of the paperwork that my husband did not do over the past 4 yrs that he stayed at home. This took nearly a month to get about 2/3rds done.

Before I could continue on, things started to unravel in my marriage. This was about the time I started to get back into trading with small funded trades. Well, needless to say, which I will not spell out in this blog, what I thought about my marriage & husband, were totally incorrect. Someone forgot to clue me in on things. As a result, the next 4-5 months were sheer hell. The lives of my children and I have been turned upside down in a horrible way.

My heart had longed to be with my children since each were born, but because I was the major breadwinner and we lived on my income, that wasn't possible. Thus, that's why I worked so hard to make this trading thing work. To put in 100+ hrs a week at 2 full time jobs was not easy. I slept very little and was so disciplined. I have loved my husband and poured my heart into him, allowing him to spend the last 4 yrs building our video production business.

My disappointment and grief were great. I was devestated. My children have also been having a very emotional time with all this and it's a rollercoaster. I've not been used to having my children around so much, and now they are around all the time, demanding constant attention. Because of the instability of my marriage and our family, this has also placed extra demands on me.

Not only do I have to deal with my stuff, but also with my children's and the aftermath of the wake my husband leaves behind. He's left me with a financial mess, which I'm working to sort through. I've reorganized the house, getting rid of things that would clutter it up, not allowing me to have room and space to think.

Administrative work is not something that is a talent of mine, but I'm learning to do this. These are challenging times for me, the most I've ever had in my life. My children depend on me and I will not let them down. The hopes and dreams that they have, I will role-model for them what a strong, godly woman I am.

My trading accounts now are not big as they once were. It is imperative that I have great risk management discipline, but not be afraid to trade. There are many fears I've had to overcome over the years. I started addressing them in May'01 through to today. From Aug'05 to Mar'07, I used an energy psychologist on a weekly basis to help me get rid of psychological issues dealing with money, career, relationships, etc. Great progress was made.

Though things between my husband and I are not good, they are at least civil. The burden of our children, home, businesses, finances, taxes, everything rests on me. He is doing what he wants without much regard for our children or myself. I never dreamed I would be this burdened in my trading or be in a position such as the one I am in.

However, inspite of all this, I do have great discipline in my trading. If I am very emotional, I will not trade. I do so many practice trades, that most of the time, I cannot tell which trades are real or funded, until I check my accounts. At that point, I pull out my Bracket Trading sheets and look to see what decisions I made on them and enter my orders. All orders are contingent.

The best decisions I make in trading are as if no pressure exists. Though my life situation is very emotional, as far as trading is concerned, though I need to be making money, when I'm trading, I do not think about the money I need to be making, rather I focus on good trading. Good trading will lead to profitability. Focusing on the money will cause you to literally lose it. When I have a cost, I do not become emotional about it.

Well, I need to spend the next couple hrs doing some money management and spend time with my kids. Not sure if I will have trades ready yet for tomorrow in my blog. We'll see about my time.

Log Scale

This site (http://www.incrediblecharts.com/technical/trendlines.htm) sort of explains simply more about the use of log vs arithmetic scales. It makes sense.

At Tim's suggestion, I ordered his book and should get it by Wednesday. I love Amazon's 2-day shipping a lot. It was worth the $79 subscription fee/year. Wow, 410 pages? He basically swears by log scales, so let's see if this can improve my trading even more.

I use the Prophet Charts on Think or Swim (TOS), but it's not just anywhere as easy as Extreme Charts (EC). However, EC is not easy to draw trendlines in how I draw them on the arithmetic scale. Prophet allows me to do the parallel lines on a log scale, but maneuvering around is sort of a bear for me. Haven't tried on eSignal.

Since I so highly respect Ryan, I put in an email to him regarding this topic. Hopefully he'll respond within a week or so.

My trading IS working for me consistently for more than a year now. I'm almost under the premise of not fixing something that isn't broken. HOWEVER, I am open to suggestions. Changing from arithmetic to log is a huge foundational thing, though.

Bracket Trading

What is my style of trading termed? Neutral momentum options swing trend trader. I'll break it down, as that's a mouth-full.

Neutral - I use bracket trading to let the stock tell me which direction to take

Momentum - Directional that is in strong trends, and stocks that have good volume

Options - Only trade options of a stock or ETF

Swing - Positions are short-term lasting from less than an hr to a few weeks

Trend - Since I'm not a spreads, but short-term directional trader, I love stocks that trend

Trader - Not an investor, rather a person who trades options on a short-term basis

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What is bracket trading? Rather than go into details with this, I'll just redirect people to Ryan Litchfield, my trading coach whom I've learned my trading from: http://www.ryanlitchfield.com/RLC/classrooms/default.asp

I am not getting a commissions or anything to those of you who might think I am. He's just a really down-to-earth man who's greatly changed my trading, as well as my life. I am truly indebted to him. And, of all the Better Trades instructors, he does give you A LOT in his free classes. I've travelled all over the country to take his classes, have watched all his DVDs multiple times, paid for coaching from him for 6 quarters (well, actually 5, I got one quarter for free as a gift....shhhhh, don't tell anyone).

Right now, because of huge personal life crises, I'm taking at least a quarter or more of break to get my life together to effectively use the coaching. Ryan is a wealth of knowledge and he's truly helped me on the psychological part to better understand the market, be really patient and confident in my trading.

A part of developing confidence, not false confidence, is getting in there and swinging the bat. This does not mean you take big funded positions (though I've done that and paid dearly), but he has this route that you take to get to the position of properly funding your positions. I won't share all of Ryan's secrets, though, as I've paid tens of thousands of dollars for this info, and invested tons and tons of time.

But, I do have a love for teaching and sharing with others about trading, perhaps helping teach, motivate, and/or inspire them to live their dreams and a part of that may be making their money work hard for them. Have I arrived? No, but every day I'm getting there and I am a good trader. The things I'm reading about good traders, I already do those things. Yes, there is so much more to learn and I will continue to learn until I die.

Ryan has this 5-step process to trading.

1. Non-Documented Speed Drills (No Funding) - This is what others would deem backtesting. I will define what this means for me. I will go back on a stock for a period of time, let's say 15-18 months. On my Extreme Charts charting program, I can do an "Instant Replay" that will put me back to whatever date I want and start from there. eSignal does similarly, but I prefer Extreme Charts (EC). Will draw my trend lines as well as support/resistances (major and minor), as if I was trading. Will set my brackets (contingent entries).

Once I'm into a trade, I set my stops accordingly on a daily basis. I will make annotations on the chart, like entries & exits, stops. "Non-documented" for me means NOT on paper, but I'm still annotating the charts. If I need to use technical indicators (RSI, MACD, Stochs, Momentum, etc...), I will.

2. Fully Documented Speed Drills (No Funding) - This is the same as #1, but I will not go back as far, rather typically around 3 months. However, I'm ALWAYS looking at the big picture. Am I in a trend that's been lasting for years? Are there significant points (highs/lows) from the past? Is a new trend being formed? Is this a subtrend?

"Full documentation" means documenting on my Bracket Trading Sheets. It's basically a sheet where I put all my contingent entries (brackets), stops (hard and/or trailing), what option, stock price entries/exits, dates, profits, costs, bullish/bearish, targets, # contracts on one page. I typically get about 5 weeks worth of trading on 1 side of one sheet or 10 wks on a double-sided sheet. On each side, I put my net profit/cost. Plus, I use a highlighter to for profits/costs and bullish/bearish trades, so at a quick glance, on many pages, I can see visually whether I'm more profitable and costing.

Note: I do not have losses, typically in my trading. It's a business and a part of the cost of doing business are costs. I factor into my trades profits as well as the risk of my position going against me. No one likes "losing". However, people are more willing to accept "costs" rather than "losses". So, my choice to replace the word "loss" with "cost" is a psychological thing.

3. Real-Time Trading, Full Documentation (No Funding) - This is placing trades either just on paper real time. If you're using a DAILY timeframe, you only get ONE data point a day, and you work off that, setting your stops, your entries. You now no longer have the momentum of either #1 or #2. I like to use my Think or Swim (TOS) trading platform for this.

4. Real-Time Trading, Full Documentation, Small Funding - This is the same as #3, but your taking small funded positions.

5. Real-Time Trading, Full Documentation, Regular Funding - Same as #4, but your positions are now fully funded.

Five easy steps, right? Ideally, yes. But, people have this tendency to want things quickly. What if Step #1 took you to evaluate 100 stocks on a daily basis over the past 1-2 yrs and that took 6 months to do every single day for many hrs a day? Would you do it and not jump the gun and go to #5? I'm guessing the majority of people, especially new wannabe traders go straight to #5 FIRST.

Anyone who has been around for awhile trading knows that's disaster. Even if you have initial success, it's typically short-lived and the market will take back more than it gave you. It's like it lured you into it's sweet flavor to take your money. Sort of like a pool shark.

For me, I originally went straight to #5. Then, I did #4, then #5. Then, I realized, maybe I'd better listen to Ryan. Afterall, I was paying him thousands of dollars to give me coaching and I wasn't even following it. Then I did #1, then #5. After some intermittent but inconsistent success, I then I did it Ryan's way. Taking the shortcut routes cost me quite a bit of money, and let's just say, I wasn't rolling in the dough.

#1 - I went back about 12-15 months for about 15 stocks. Each month took probably a couple hrs to do. That took me about 2 months to do many hrs a day. I had a lot of chart annotations. (avg 5 hrs/day)

#2 - I went back about 3 months on about 30 stocks. This took about 6 weeks to do with devoting many hrs a day to doing this (avg 6 hrs/day)

#3 - I did this on about 30-50 stocks over the period of a 4 months, but this is a lot of stocks to maintain on a continual basis.

#4 - I've been doing this for the past 10-11 months and remain here. I've also been reducing the size of my trades, as I've been getting a better overall return, as my skills in trading have improved. I see no point in risking more capital than is needed.

#5 - Not here yet.

I am constantly doing steps #1 - #4.

Documentation is a HUGE part of good trading. If you do not do this, I highly suggest you do. You cannot learn unless you do. I learn from my profitable as well as costing trades. Some times were "luck" trades in that I made errors, but the market rewarded me. I recognized them and corrected the errors immediately, knowing the next time it can cost me big time.

As a side note, the kids and I didn't go to church today. My error. Couldn't fall asleep until 4 am and by the time I awoke, we were late. Will have to get the sermon online. Too bad, because I could've sure used the interaction with others.

For Love Of Trading

It's 2:30 am Sunday morning and I still haven't gone to sleep. I will be waking up the kids in 5 hrs so we can hit 1st service at church. Starting to get a little tired. What do I look like at 2:30 am? That's what I look like.





What I have found to help me in my trading was though my desk is not too far from my bedroom, that I actually do need to get up, take a shower, get dressed as if I was going to a place of business outside of my home to work. This puts me a far sharper frame of mind.

As my kids will both be in school starting Monday, it will give me better time to focus and think clearly without the interruptions, which I am so looking forward to. Don't get me wrong, I do love my kids immensely, but sometimes in the middle of a trade being executed, distractions can be costly and have been.

I do very little intraday trading unless I'm doing a news or earnings play. Most of my positions last 2 days to 3 weeks.

For me, I've learned that I do not need to take big positions to make decent money in the market. Since I play the options on stocks > $100 with stocks that move and good volumes, with 1-5 contracts, I can make some decent returns to support myself and my children. That keeps my commissions low as well as my capital risk low.

Can't remember who I was reading today, but he talked about being patient and setting up yourself for opportunities. Well, that's basically what I do. I love compression patterns of all types and setting myself up to wait for breakouts. I'll ride breakouts for as long as they run and get off when they stop. That's really my favorite way to make money because you get in when volatility is low and as it's breaking out, the volatility increases, which increases my option pricing. As long as I've charted things correctly, as it begins nearing where it can possibly reverse, I watch the option pricing to see if what I'm seeing is correct or not. If the option pricing isn't deflating, I'll keep my stops back and give it more room to run. If I begin to see the option pricing deflating, then the option makers are possibly anticipating a reversal and if signs on the chart also indicate that, then I take my profits and jump ship.

Sometime I'm wrong and have jumped out too early to find that much more profits could've been taken, however, cash in my account is cash in my account and I LOVE it!!! If the option pricing is way overpriced, I'll stay out or maybe jump back in for an even smaller position just to be in the game if the next target is far enough away. A good example of that recently is AAPL. In order to help me here, I will readjust which option I get in and will not get in for what I got in prior.

It's now nearly 3 am and my children are going to want a mommy that isn't all tired and sleepy for church. They deserve a mommy who is there for them.

Later this afternoon I hope to post charts of the 10 stocks I trade, maybe doing a log/arithmetic comparison and see how this goes for me. However, I have lots of errands I need to run, so we'll see.

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