Stopped out of every new trade yesterday. Long sugar and short AUD/NZD supported performance, but that could change quickly if they turn around.

Long copper: Bought a breakout and a fundamental story — ongoing recovery promoting stockpiling and financial buying. These factors have so far overcome rising inventories and I expected them to do so again. Copper was up strongly yesterday following the breakout. So what did I do wrong? I was too greedy. The stop was much too close because I placed it using the intraday chart — which is something I had decided not to do. A short spike down through the stop level, and I was out. Stops should be placed using the daily chart, at a level where the market would clearly be telling you that you are wrong. I also jumped in too quickly, because I was worried about missing the trade. I could have got a much better entry level by waiting — and therefore been happy with a wider stop. As I haven’t had a good entry level on SPX, I now have no exposure to the recovery/liquidity breakout that I had been expecting. This is not too worrying, because the use of stop losses is the one part of this venture that is totally new to me; I am bound to make plenty of mistakes before I get it right. From now on I should have wider stops and not be greedy — the key objectives for the first few months are to practise trading and to stay in the game.

Long short Sterling: Bought at a limp support level. Fundamental view is that rates will stay low for far longer than the market expects. Should have waited for a stronger support level. Also neglected the face that eurodollar and euribor were heading downwards — I should have heeded the correlation here. This is the danger of having a fundamental view: get too excited about it and it will overwhelm the technical analysis. There was not a clear technical buying opportunity and I should have stood aside.

Short USD/JPY: A trade born out of boredom. Purely technical, and with low risk, but with hindsight this was a gamble and a stupid one.

Long GBP/NOK: Attempting to trade the range. I have been standing aside from trading narrow ranges so this was an experiment — not one to be repeated I think.

Overall, I think I have got overexcited about my good entry on sugar. I bought after the breakout and while the market was running up, and this allowed me to have quite a tight stop. I think there was an element of luck here, however. It has led to overconfidence in the placing of tight stops.

Another factor is that my nose is playing up (the lining gets sore and inflamed from time to time — it is very distracting and prevents me from thinking clearly). I have tried to work through it because I am worried about missing a trade. This is a mistake: if you are feeling unwell or life is disrupted, don’t trade. I am not going to enter any new positions for the next couple of days, with the exception of SPX where I have a well-established view and am watching for an entry level.

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