Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back to the Grind!

GT, as my trading pal Black ( calls me, has a black coffee in hand and hands on the keyboard.  Have not posted for a while, but that does not mean I have not been carving through the FX markets.  It’s been a wild ride since my last post just after Lefty’s big win at the Masters. 

It’s certainly true that my goal is to build consistent profits over time, however my results the past few months have been more like a skater style we used to call OC.  Now OC nominally stands for out of control, which I have not been, but it really refers to riding on the edge or all over the place if you will.  How else could you describe a period of trading where you have a gross gain of Pips in a month and still lose money?  Of course, this period was preceded by a month in which I had a total loss of Pips and made money!

It seems to me that the volatility in my account echoes that of the market in general.  Yesterday’s Non-farm Payroll (NFP) was a big disappointment and the EUR/USD and EUR/GBP pairs that I follow most tanked.  Having learned my lesson from trying to trade the NFP in the past I was flat as an earlier trade in the EUR/GBP hit my tight trailed spot early Friday making for a nicely profitable start to the month of June – 352 Pips were ripped.  The adjustments to my trading style from the start of the year continue to work out.  I am trading with much wider mental stops and profit targets, building my positions over time and following longer time frames.  No scalps for me.

Radical dude.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lefty Wins!

The Grinder Trader was up late last night watching the Masters.  Great final round play by almost everyone.  Watching the play of Lefty Phil Mickelsen had me thinking about visions Arnold Palmer.  When Phil hit the shot from the trees over a creek it was the 2010 version of hitching up the trousers and going for the bold play.  I hit my own aggressive shot by going long EUR/USD for a quick 20 Pips just after the market opened up on Greek bailout news over the weekend.

I'm still undecided about where we go from here.  Check out the piece in Slope of Hope by the folks at Retracement Levels.  Portugal or Spain, take your pick they say...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Viva la Manga!

I’m back from a much-needed break in Spain on the Costa Calida.  After some golf, tennis, tapas and Rioja I am ready to ease back into the FX markets.  A better NFP report came out while I was away and the Greek contagion seems to have caused a bit of tug of war in the EURUSD world.  I took a few shorts in the pair during the past week based on seeming overbought conditions for a few PIPS.  I’ve read in a few blogs that some people are asking whether the downward trend in the pair begun in November 2009 is nearing an end.  Time will tell.

My visit to Spain gave me a chance to feel the pulse, for a week anyhow, of how the “crisis” is playing out there.  Anecdotal evidence (golfer gossip) abounded of golf resort and real estate developments heading to receivership or foreclosure.  La Manga Golf Resort, where I stayed, was busy but not swamped despite the Spring Break holiday for Europeans over Passover/Easter.   Tee times were available, reservations for dinner weren’t too challenging and we found great rates for the apartment/flight.

My fundamental/technical analysis based on this is… I’m not ready to call an end to the downward trend just yet.  Best to be wary in the coming week.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I’m closing out the month of March here at Grinder Trader.  Like I said in January I’ve set a modest goal of 200 pips per month, hoping to extend it where I can.  January was good, February was the lost month and I end March on the up swing.  I was really looking to just recover a bit from February.  Sort of make a dent in the loss to prove that I can trade and come back from a slam.  Practice can make perfect, or at least right the ship.  March was one of my best trading months thus far in my three-year odyssey as I stretched the goal out to 588 pips.  That beats the February bite of (245) pips.

I’ve joined one of the first Forex social networking sites – Currensee.  You should take a look at for more info.  I am quite impressed by the fact that they ask that you put your trades out there (real money only) for all to see.  You can hide but then what is the point.  It’s a virtual accountability method that is sure to help any trader.  I’m looking to put together my own team of traders who are looking to grind out the profits.  Join us.

For now check out the monthly sweep.   With the non-Farm Payroll (NFP) coming up, I’m off to Spain for the Easter Break.

phill dlh sweeper

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wired, Angry... What?

Check out this interesting piece in today’s New York Times.  Day traders are alive and well apparently.  I’m not real interested in the angry part.  The beauty of being an independent trader is that we are the only ones in charge.  If I choose to make the trade it’s all my decision.  Taking my profits too soon (ok enough) or letting my losses run (it’s going to turn around) is all about me.  It’s the freedom that the Grinder Trader loves – it’s like a cruise down the beach on a long board.

I was most struck by the profiled traders thoughts on algorithm trading and how they often gripe about being hit by the “algorithm boogie.”  I am in a dance all right, but I’m the only partner.  It’s not the program, my broker or even other traders.  I guess this is why I identify so much with Mark Douglas’ Trading in the ZoneThis is a must read for any “day” trader who is looking to grind this into a money making venture.  The challenge is great; those who stick with it will be rewarded.  I don’t subscribe to the conventional wisdom that trading on your own is giving your money away.  I can and we will make Forex and Options trading a big success.

It was great fun trading the EURUSD last week until the EU meeting in Brussels.  Initial reaction was a rebound at the end of the week when the current idea du jour to bail out Greece was announced.  What about Portugal and Spain?  It will be another interesting week.

I’m hopping on that long board.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lost (last) Month...

 In skateboarding as in trading, it would seem that taking a slam every now and again is inevitable.  So it was with last month – my lost month.  I returned from my trip to Washington with all the trading confidence in the world.  A week of unnecessary meetings was troubling and the sudden loss of a valued colleague led to my biggest slam of the year.  But really it was all about me.  Skaters fear locking up on the coping of a ramp or pool more than any fall.  A big backside air with a lock-up leads to the full body slam. 

Going big in trading leads to similar slams.  Overtrading, failure to follow trading plans, or trading too many lots in the Forex world is the quickest way to suffer a fall.  February was a month punctuated by a handful of these trades.  Most of us who follow the EURUSD know that the year has seen a bit of a downtrend, a few up moves along the way, but mostly a grind down.  My mistake was to not follow my typical trading rule – never trade against the trend.  I did and I slammed!

But the Grinder Trader does not give up.  A simple refocus on my trading rules, a decrease in lot sizes and improving trade selection has helped me recover a large portion of the losses.  I know that I will get to the big airs – I just have to grind it out.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Love the Sound of Coping…

Skateboarders love the feel and sound of a grind on cement coping.  A focused grind is loud and proud, slightly on the edge and always controlled.  The trading world is not much different; one must be focused, confident and willing to take risks.  Success in both endeavors requires the credo of never give up.  A common mistake that we often make is to bail early on a trade or give up on our method.  Usually, stepping away to regroup before trying again solves a losing streak or a bailed trick.  It would seem that the technique is as mechanical as it is mental.  I’ve had the experience that having the mental edge breeds sustained success.

January has been a good month here at Grinder Trader.  I think it has been in large part due to success early in the month that bred focus and confidence.  My modest monthly goal of 200 pips for the month was both challenging and reachable.  Once I reached the goal, I placed a stop on the amount but continued trading.  At month end I doubled the goal ending the month + 405 pips.  Here the lesson was to go with the flow while the momentum continued.  It certainly helped that I was riding what seems like a change in direction for the EURUSD pair from a year ago.  The 200-day SMA was a magnet; we shall see how the level reacts overhead.

So ends the first month of then year.   The trick now is how I transfer to February with confidence in place, but with a clean slate for the month ahead.  Past results are no guarantee of future success they always say, yet success must breed sustained achievement.  The skater in me certainly knows the path to the next successful trick is paved by the success of earlier work. 

Lance Mountain knows how to make the transfer, check it out…