Learning to Day Trade - Part 4

Trading Journal

When I first started trading I did not log my trades in great detail. I did decide to log them luckily but I just wrote down the entry/exits and the dates. Nothing about why I was getting in or the strategy being used. This is something everyone should be doing. Logging your results based on the strategy. It’s really simple to do and takes no time at all. If you’re lazy about it you can just log it to profit.ly, but I prefer to do both so I can give detailed explanations in my spreadsheet.

Here are my colums and I’ll go over each one:

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Entry Date Exit Date Time Frame Type Strategy Symbol Shares In Out Broker Fee Gross Net % Entry Notes Exit Notes Lesson Notes
  • Entry Date
    • Simple to understand. The date I got in.
  • Exit Date
    • Also very simple. The date I exited.
  • Time Frame
    • When did I enter the trade. Morning, midday, afternoon.
  • Type
    • Long or Short.
  • Strategy
    • Morning spike, overnight, morning panic, dip buy, swing trade, etc.
  • Symbol
    • Ticker symbol (e.g. $AMD).
  • Shares
    • Number of shares I bought or shorted.
  • In
    • Entry price.
  • Out
    • Exit price.
  • Broker
    • The broker I used to place the trade.
  • Fee
    • Broker fees (for entry + exit). I like to keep track of this so I can see what my total fees are.
  • Gross
    • Gross gain/loss before fees.
  • Net
    • Net gain/loss after fees.
  • %
    • Percentage gain/loss.
  • Entry Notes
    • My plan for why I entered.
  • Exit Notes
    • Why I exited the trade.
  • Lesson
    • What I learned from the trade. (be more patient, wait for the trade to come to you instead of jumping in, etc.)
  • Notes
    • Anything else not related to entry/exit/lesson. I tend to put things like “The $SPY kept selling off so my dip buy was not as good on $AMD, but I was right on the entry”.
    • I also tend to comment after the trade and add things about what the stock did after I bought or sold as you can see from my example below.

Feel free to customize this as much as you want. It can only benefit you.

Example copied straight from my spreadsheet:

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08/15/17
09/01/17
Swing / 2 weeks
Long
Swing trade (drop after earnings)
$AMD
150
$13.00
$13.22
OptionsHouse
-$9.90
$33.63
$23.73
1.72%
After many weeks of red I decided to reload the AMD bags on E-Trade.
Entry was pretty bad since it followed the $SPY down to 12.75 and tested red/green.
Missed my GTC sell at 13.49 by one penny (high 13.48). Exit was OK anyway because it was in a downtrend.
Got a little nervous when it started testing 13.20 so I decided to just get out instead of waiting for a bounce to sell in to.
Wait for the trade to come to you. Buying randomly just to get in is not a good idea.
After learning how to draw price lines in ToS, I realized there are a few support entries that would have been good. $11.85 and possibly $12.25.
After it bounced off $11.85 it went up to $12.70 (eventually 13.48). That was the type of move I was looking for.
I may try this type of entry in IB since it’s getting close again.
Bad entry. $SPY tanked so should have waited until $AMD tested the previous close. It held and was a decent entry (12.75).
Two weeks later I'm finally break even. Awaiting a morning spike to sell into 13.49 if possible.

I then have some basic totals at the bottom of my spreadsheet that calculate the gross/net profit/loss along with total fees. Simple. Over time you’ll be able to see which strategies are working best for you and you can then focus on just those.

As I make these posts I feel that it is helping because I’m able to put all my thoughts down in writing.


Part 5 - Risk/Reward



Disclaimer

I am not a registered financial adviser/broker/anything. Use this information for entertainment/informational purposes only. Any tickers mentioned are not recommendations to buy/sell/or sell short. They are used as examples only.