Archive for October, 2013


Back to the Future – A Bite of the AAPL

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Most know of me as a futures trader, which is appropriate since the S&P E-Minis have reflected my bread and butter for most of the last decade.

Those who have traded alongside me also know I believe in trading – and teaching – “feel” as much as technical analysis.  Yet since the term “feel” seems to get such an inappropriately bad rap, I choose to instead refer to the “f” word this using a bit of an oxymoron which I call “acquired instinct”.

Example? Well, today, and for the first time in years, I chose to trade a stock based on its earnings release rhythm, specifically following AAPL as its earnings were about to be released.  I didn’t actually plan to necessarily trade it, yet as I was dusting off some old Level 2 bifocals, I noticed what was about a $1 spread (approx. $530 x $531) was slowly but steadily narrowing, but doing so entirely by an increasing bid.

So as the spread narrowed to less than a dime, I hit the ask at $531 expecting a volcano-type eruption should that ask disappear.

As expected, the asks both disappeared and soared, and 69 seconds later – as noted on the screen shot below and order print – I was able to pocket a $9.10 profit on the air pocket move up by selling the top at $540.10 via my old friend, the ARCA ECN.

And while I haven’t traded stocks in years, it felt like riding a bike as the “corner of the eye” peripheral vision seemed to be fully intact as was the case in the late 1990s when I traded stocks exclusively, often making a market on wide-spread net stocks.

You see it really doesn’t matter if it’s futures, stocks, or tiddly winks.  It’s all about anticipation or, in hockey terms, anticipating where the puck is GOING vs. where it is.

Call it taking a bite out of the old AAPL.

P.S. And thanks to Patrick Kelly at Futures Magazine for his review of “Chronicles …”

Categories : Strategy
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The Weekend Trader – No Magic Pill

Posted by: Don Miller | Comments Comments Off

Yes, it’s been a while since I last posted as 2013 continues to provide as interesting a chapter as I’ve had in my 52 years.

From finally agreeing to write a book, to managing my family through the passing of my dad, to dealing with a painful neck injury where four cervical discs were literally leaning on my spinal cord this summer, to recently dealing with a lightning strike which literally torched almost every piece of electronics in my home, my journey of life continues its never-ending (and certainly never dull!) twists and turns.

I’ve said before that one of the gifts that five decades of life provides is that of perspective, one that only time and experience can provide. It’s also reminded me – as did my physical therapist who helped me stabilize my neck condition that there are no magic pills to life and that time has to, well, “do it’s thing”.

Which brings me to some of the feedback to the book as it enters its fourth month and second printing, which continues to be highly positive with most Amazon readers giving it 5 stars, yet which more importantly clearly represents the typical mix of those who pursue this wonderful business of trading.

As a brief but funny aside, one Amazon reader indicated he didn’t like it because there was little on technical analysis, who must have skipped over the early section that stated that the book was a diary and intentionally not a book of technical analysis of which you can find hundreds. Sort of like going to a pizza joint and looking for seafood, and subsequently being shocked and disappointed when there’s no lobster on the menu.  Contrast that view with one reader who wrote, “Give a trading strategy to ten people and you will get ten different results; the difference is in how the mind processes information and how it reacts.”  That guy gets it. But I digress.

I say this because it’s clear that some traders are still looking for that magic pill … a pill that will catapult them to success and bypass the true prerequisites of time and energy. One reader was clearly looking for the trading equivalent of a cure for cancer for under $30. So at the risk of insulting the intelligence of the vast many who read this journal, and despite the blatantly obvious references in the book to lack of some sort of “holy grail”, I feel I need to be a bit more obvious by saying to some that THERE ARE NO MAGIC PILLS!

Now I certainly understand the impatient and short-sighted nature of most people, as I only need to look in my own mirror.  In fact, my physical therapist must have given me the “lack of pill” speech at least two dozen times over the last few months as I was rehabilitating and strengthening my neck.

Yes, the book, this blog, and any of the educational tools provided are intended to leave a trail of navigating bread crumbs such that readers hopefully won’t step in the same crevices I did so they can maximize their potential and reach their final destination with as little damage inflicted as possible. For such is the clear responsibility of those of us who have been fortunate to have achieved a certain degree of success in the midst of a world that will always require that we accept and navigate around our own personal landmines and shortcomings.

But there’s no magic pill to avoid the sometimes painful journey, nor is there any Star Trek type transporter to avoid it completely.

Just like there’s no lobster on the pizza menu.

I’ll close with one reader’s view who stated “It is relatively easy to write a book full of hand-picked historical charts showing how easy is to apply specific methods and indicators, leading you to believe that achieving peak performance in the market is an easy task. But as you might know by now, trading is not just about your charts and indicators. It is a daunting mental challenge, every single day. And this book describes the nature of this challenge at its core.”

I’ll take extra pepperoni with that.

Enjoy the weekend and have a great trading week.

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