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Back in September, for journalistic purposes, I purchased an 8-hour introductory course to day trading equities on LivingSocial for $99. The offer was described as an 8-hour introductory course with a pro, alongside 1-month free access to a trader chat.
I finally tried it out last week at Equity Trading Capital’s day trading school located on Wall Street.
I went into the course with this idea that I somehow might kill it as a day trader and discover that I had an unknown talent, and possible future career.
At least based on my one-day performance… not so much.
The good news is that one of the things that Equity Trading Capital emphasises in the course is that 90% of day traders fail. So they’re realistic.
While I learned plenty of new things during the course, let’s just say I’ll be sticking to my day job for now.
Equity Trading Capital (Educate. Trade. Conquer) is located on at 40 Wall Street on the 5th floor.
That's the instructor there talking to his fellow traders he mentors before the market open last Monday.
David Green, who was rocking a pair of bit loafers and a slick back hairstyle, was extremely animated and passionate about day trading. So for eight hours, he was definitely able to keep our attention.
Green told us that he did not go to college. In fact, he began his career at the New York Stock Exchange in 1985 as a runner and worked his way up to a specialist/broker. In 1999, he retired from the Big Board after his firm was bought by Goldman Sachs.
I did a little digging and found this great AP photo of Green (pictured left in the grey suit) from June 1999 when he was a specialist with Speer, Leeds & Kellogg on the floor of the NYSE.
We spent most of our time in a classroom. The students came from a bunch of different professional backgrounds.
My 10 classmates came from a variety of different backgrounds including, a physics PhD, a college professor, a healthcare consultant and a college student.
Some people said they were there to learn how to make some extra income and another was looking to transition into day trading while in retirement.
One student said he bought apple at $525 and watched his stock rise to $700 and then spectacularly fall back to the $525 range again.
We learned that day traders buy and sell stocks during the day.
'Our time frame is that day only. At the end of the day when we leave, we have no risk. None. We go home, we put our heads on our pillow at night and go to sleep. Don't care if the market opens down 200 points or up 200 points the next day. Actually, we do care because that will be our opportunity,' Green told us.
Well, that's simple enough.
We learned things like limit order and market order and the difference between long and short positions. We also talked about spreads, liquidity, volatility and volume, just to name a few terms.
Our instructor explained that technical analysis is the study of graphs and charts.
'We do not make a trading decision until our charts tell us to make a trading decision. That's it,' Green told the class, emphasising, 'We don't push a button until our charts tell us to push a button.'
We went over how to find support and resistance using moving averages.
Green explained that moving averages show us where we might want to buy and sell a stock.
Here I am putting in a practice trade on Tyson Foods (TSN).
Here we are on the trading floor to practice what we learned in the classroom.
I noticed they were no Bloomberg Terminals on the trading floor.
Also, every single TV had CNBC playing on it, no Bloomberg TV or Fox Business.
We used a demo system to place trades, which allowed us to only place a few trades at a time.
Green came over and helped me put in some orders on Caterpillar and Netflix.
I was up for a while, but I got bored with those positions and starting clicking on different ticker symbols such as JCP and MNST, etc...
A loss of $244. (At least it's fake money!)
That being said, there's a possibility to make money. One guy in our class made about $4,000 using the demo system.
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