Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Either a Short or a Long

It is extremely difficult to trade both sides of a market.  You either have those who are good traders on the long side or those who are good traders on the short side.  It is tempting to try to make money on both longs and shorts of a market, but it can make trading heaven when you are making good reads or it can make it hell, when making bad reads.

Trying to trade both sides leads to overtrading, and while it can be great if you are in the zone and predicting tops and bottoms accurately, but if you are a bit off, it can turn into a nightmare.  A couple of weeks ago, I was trading ZN bond futures and I correctly predicted a rally by going long from 124 29/32 to 125 8/32.  And then I decided to short it at 125 9/32 because it looked overextended.  The market ended up going higher and higher and I got stopped out at 125 14/32.  At this point, I was a bit on tilt, lamenting the fact that I sold too early and on top of that, shorted the market right into the teeth of a parabolic rise.  The market reversed lower and I got long at 125 11/32, trying to make some of my gains back, thinking we would continue higher on the day.  But the market continued to go lower into the close, where I panicked out at 125 4/32.  What should have been a nice gain on the day turned into a loss all because I was trying to catch every little move on the day, and because I was playing both long and short back and forth.  

In general, everyone has to have a bias for a market.  For me, I am biased on the long side in bonds, and biased on the short side in stocks.  So when we have a super bullish S&P, I've learned to stay away most of the time.  Because I know I am not as good of a trader on the long side of the ES as I am on the short side.   

Market continues its chop, not going to play until I get stronger signals for shorts.  I do not want to play long except big dips.

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