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Finance Blog: Is There Any Science in Financial Trading?
Financial spread betting has potential for high gains, but why are people generally so unsuccessful at it?

Trading Diary December 2015

16/12/15:I correctly predicted that the FTSE was going to rise this morning and accordingly I went long on three occasions. However, my nerves got to me in the end: the early morning volatility persuaded me to close each of my positions at a loss. So, after just three trades I was over £50 down. I had to walk away in the end as the situation was affecting me too much. It meant that my account had dropped below the starting value as long ago as March this year.

After due reflection, I returned at about 9.45 am to find that the FTSE was indeed going up and that any one of my positions opened earlier would have made money if I had been calmer about the whole thing. There seemed to be more money available, so I had another go, going long at 6052. This time, I decided not to look! After a while I was clearly in profit, but I left the position to run a while longer. The maximum profit exceeded £40 at one point but I left the position running. Eventually, by about 11.40 am it became apparent that there was some resistance at about 6070, and I closed at 6068 for a nice profit of £32, but a loss of £22 on the morning.

During the afternoon the FTSE continued upwards and I went long at 6075 closing for a £18 profit. I tried again a little later but by mid-afternoon the FTSE was on the way down and I ended up clsing for a £22 loss. At about 3.30 pm, the FTSE then started dropping significantly so I went short at 6071. The position quickly went significantly into profit so I thought that I should hold on. Unfortunately, the market unexpectedly turned and I ended up with just £4 for my pains despite over £25 paper profit at one point. I was somewhat annoyed with myself and ended up going short again, but by then high volatility had set in and I closed for a loss. So, during the afternoon I ended up losing another £16. with better decision making I could have done much better.....

17/12/15:Yesterday evening, the FED introduce an increase in US interest rates for the first time in about 10 years. Normally an inerest rate increase would be bas news for business, but this increases suggests that the FED was confident of future market conditions. The markets were entirely warned of the rate increase and there should have been no surprises, but there was a market surge anyway. It happened while I was having dinner and just at 7 pm (UK time) the FTSE started to rise. I took my chances and in a few trades spread over the next hour or so managed to pick up £49.

The rise continued until about 8 am when the main market opened but I didn't take advantage. I made a few trades in the morning but didn't time things very well and ended up about £10 down.

In the afternoon I was travelling and when I did look at the market, it looked to be heading down, so I opened a short at 6110. Movements were slow and so I decided to close at 6005. Unfortunately, I lost internet signal on the train and by the time the signal was back the FTSE had gone back up again. I closed anyway with a loss of £13. It seems that trading on the train is all very well, but it increases the risk of internet loss, even with a Vodafone dongle, so this has to be taken into account in the future. I gave up for the day after this and ended up £25 up after yesterday evening's gains.

18/12/15:There was more pain today, to the tune of £47 in total, and rather than document my every trade it seems better to record the fact that I seem to be continually repeating standard mistakes. While some of my trades were reasonably well thought out, too many of the trades were reflex actions, rather than properly considered on the basis of the technical analysis (TA). My account is now showing a slight loss after 9 months, which can be entirely attributed to my not following TA rules. Rather than waiting for sells or buys to be indicated, today I had a tendency towards too much guesswork and then when my guess turned out to be wrong, I closed early instead of simply going with the flow. It does look as if I would do a lot better by deciding on a trade and committing to it instead of keeping a small stop loss of 10 points. I need to spend the weekend ignoring the markets and returning in a better state of mind on Monday.

21/12/15:Soon after the market opened, the FTSE looked to be heading up, so I went long at 6045. I rode the wave up as long as I dared and was rewarded with a profit of £43.60. As it was, the market continued upwards, but I participated no longer in the morning's activities. Otherwise, I might have doubled my profits if I had held on to my position. By mid afternoon, the FTSE appeared to have peaked, and I went short at 6092. Unfortunately, I enetered too early, and after a few points drop, the market reversed. At one point, my position was almost £40 underwater, but remembering my recent mistakes, I held out. The market indeed reversed and I was happy to get out with a small loss of £3. Closing the position was rather silly, as the FTSE then proceeded to crash below 6030. After the main market closed, it looked to be heading up again, so I went long at 6030. Profit was slow in coming, so I closed once I had a reasonable gain. Net profit for the day was about £50. Every day should be like this!

22/12/15:I made several trades soon after the market opened, but it eventually became apparent that the market didn't have a clear direction. Unfortunately, my three trades cost me £37. Eventually, a downward movement of the FTSE occurred and I went short at 6056 at about 9.25 am. That turned out to be good timing, because after about 10 minutes, the market dropped substantially. Thinking that the drop may have been a spike, I closed for a profit of £27, although another £20 was available if I had been more patient. After that, the FTSE went back up again, but it was only when the price was approaching the upper Bollinger band, by about 11.15 am that I started to be convinced of the sincerity of the market! I therefore went long at 6080. The position went slightly into profit, but then the FTSE started to go down again. I was perhaps unrealistically expecting a turn around at any minute, but it took a long time in coming. My position was almost £50 down at one time, but I kept the faith. Eventually, the FTSE did indeed recover, and my position went slightly into profit. I was looking for at least a £10 profit but it never came as 6080 provided a resistance level as it happens. Rather than see the position potentially deteriorate further, I closed at a slight loss of £3.60 for a net loss of £13.60 for the day so far.

I made several more trades in the afternoon, picking up small amounts but then giving it away again. The trading lacked commitment and my loss for the day increased slightly.

23/12/15:Again my trading lacked commitment. I closed my winning positions far too early and at the slight indication of a retreat in the market, I closed at a loss, only to find the market go back up again. Today should have been very easy really: I should have just gone long and walked away. The morning loss was about £9 and I went off during the afternooon, returning to the markets in the evening. As the US market was still open, I made a trade on the Standard and Poor 500, using the same TA methods. This time I was a lot more relaxed. I went long at 2059 at £10 per point (the IG minimum) and watched my profit gradually increase on and off over a period of half an hour. This time I was a lot more committed and closed for a profit of £31. The market did actually go up another 3 points which would have doubled my profit, but it then retreated, so I was happy enough. Profit for the day was about £22.

24/12/15:This morning I felt more relaxed and I think the results were better for it. That's not to say that I made any money, but at least I didn't lose any. I think it helped that my first two trades made about £8 each, going long. Neither trade was particularly optimal, but after my third trade, which lost £12 it became clear that I was trading the noise, so I think that may well be it for the day. I have not traded on Christmas Eve before, so I thought it was worth giving it a go. You don't know whether traders are going to take it easy for the day or try to make some money. Usually people like money so much that I was expecting it to be a fairly busy morning. Perhaps yesterday's surge put an end to today's trading prospects.

The market closed at 12.30 pm, but just before then I went short thinking that a drop was underway. This proved to be a complete disaster as the market surged over 20 points just before the close. I didn't expect this at all and somewhat shell-shocked I closed my short for a loss of £45 and a net £42 loss on the day. I should have just let it run, as the FTSE gradually drifted back down during the off-market, and I could have escaped for a slight gain.

29/12/15:The last two days have been a bit of a topsy-turvy ride for my trading account, but at least overall I haven't lost any money. Rather than document my trades in detail, I give the daily win/loss record above.

31/12/15:The same thing happened today as happened on Christmas Eve: the market dropped just after 12 pm, so I went short but closed with a small profit, reducing the losses for the day. Soon after there was a surge, and in the off-market the reduction resumed. I wonder if I'll remember this for next time!

Previous Months' Accounts

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