Monday, February 23, 2009

23/02: A return to trading

After a brief hiatus, I have today unwound my first equity trade, a short position in Apple (AAPL) that I held since late last week. Happily, it was a profitable bet, always a great way to kick-off a new trading sojourn.

I hope to offer my view of market conditions, itself molded by personal trading experience and morning digestion of the day's Financial Times, in subsequent posts on this blog. Tonight, however, a brief synopsis of my past experiences with trading:

I became aware of the markets in late middle school, when my dad would beam about the stratospheric (and doomed) ascent of Lucent Technologies (ALU), whose shares he held in a 401k account. I began soon afterwards to call the shots on an account that held my own (meager) savings. I vividly recall one of my earliest trades: a long position in Extreme Networks (EXTR) that I took on the Friday before the tragic September 11th attacks. Perhaps spurred by commentators' calls to "patriotically" hold onto long equity positions, I stubbornly did not sell until the stock rebounded to my original purchase price some three months later.

Despite visions of prodigal skill, I managed to only lose money in my initial years, and there were lengthy stretches in which I gave up my financial alchemy attempts, considering them foolhardy.

A golden age of my toying around with investing would come during my junior year abroad at the London School of Economics (LSE). My account was upgraded to options trading, I was breezing through my LSE Finance course, and I enjoyed many marathon late-evening sessions at the LSE library, real-time streaming quotes from New York blazing across my computer screen, rolling the dice on risky equity options. These weeks and months were a golden age for the experience and confidence I gained, yet sustained financial gain was as stubbornly elusive as ever.

And now -- to cut to the chase -- I'm ready to give the endeavor yet another go. More disciplined and patient, I'm focused on succeeding in areas where I earlier stumbled. I hope that my forthcoming experiences on the wild, chaotic markets can complement my thoughts on airlines and experiences with travel -- forming what might be, in the end, an altogether satisfying and readable account.

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