Diary of a DIY Investor 2017

I started the diary of a DIY Investor for the magazine in May 2014, using £50k of my own money  reporting each time I made a move.

I invested and traded the AIM and Small Cap end of the market using fundamental analysis, the intention being to make a total return of 20% a year including dividends. I failed.

Thinking back, 2014 brings tears to my eyes, 2015 was good and the first part of 2016 was OK.........................................but then I hit a brick wall.

The wall was called Brexit, post the referendum I found it impossible to value the small companies I focused on as there are simply too many imponderables. Until we know exactly what trade deals we as a country can cut not just with the EU but also with the rest of the world, no company can give meaningful guidance to the markets.

My view was that if I can't value something I don't know what I should pay for it and if I don't know what to pay for something why should I buy it. So with something of a heavy heart I gave up.

However, one of the great things about the market is that there are many ways to play it. In September of 2016 I relaunched the portfolio, this time with £100K of my capital, Swing Trading mainly the Large Caps, but also the Indices and Commodities.

What I do is take large (relative to the capital in the portfolio) very short term positions, at a time when I judge there is unlikely to be any specific negative news flow, using charts to time my entry and exit points. The reasons for trading only the large liquid markets are cost and ease of access. I can buy or sell £20k in one of the FTSE 100 companies in a flash without affecting the price at all and with low cost. Trying to do the same thing with one of the tiddlers is dangerous, expensive and all but impossible.

Using level two price data and short term charts set to show both volume and the open, the high, the low and the close I watch for momentum building up in something and when I think I have, I buy looking to hitch a ride on it, selling out and jumping off when the upward move weakens. In other words trying to catch the swing.

It's a widely held belief that it’s impossible to time the markets, but as the legendary trader from a hundred years ago Jessie Livermore once said 'no man can beat the market, but he can beat an individual share' and this is exactly where I'm coming from. I do believe that if I exercise rigid discipline and only trade when conditions are in my favour I will beat individual shares more often than they beat me.

Swing trading as I practise it is a percentage play, no more, no less. I have to win slightly more trades than I lose and my winnings have to be greater than my losses and if I achieve that I make money.

So how has it gone since the end of September? The short answer is very well indeed, I've had eleven winning trades and seven losing ones; the profit minus the losses totals £3251.

My three best trades were Petrofac Ltd two trades total profit £1478, The AA Ltd + £886 and Scapa Group Plc + £925, my three worst ones were Highland Gold Mining Ltd a loss of £413, Dignity Plc - £361 and Auto Trader Group Plc - £377.

£3251 is not a life changing sum of money in itself, but generated by £100k of capital in three months it extrapolates to an annual capital gain of 13% which isn't bad. Currently I've no positions open and I'm in no great rush to do anything for the sake of it. Right now I'm watching and waiting for suitable opportunities to present themselves as I'm sure they will.

I'll report all I do in 2017 both here in the magazine and in almost real time on www.diyinvestor.net - wish me luch as I wich you luck in navigating your portfolio through choppy waters ahead.

'Some people are nobody's enemies but their own'

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist


Well my dears, here we are, I told you I didn't have any patience. 

My plan was to take off half my position at 250p in Legal and general Group (LGEN); I ended up taking off the whole position at 252.60p for another £660 profit before costs. 

I don't think the move is anywhere near finished in (LGEN) but I decided on this occasion in this market condition, not to be greedy and use my keyword 'enough!'

My best and most profitable trades have always been where I have managed to scale out two thirds or half a position at a time. 

One of my mentors (though he doesn't know it) trader David Paul, suggests that one should add to one's winners. I'm certainly not there yet. 

For me, sometimes you have to slip the fat man's Victorian gold watch from his pocket before he turns around! 

I've taken another position of 10,000 shares in Highland Gold Mining (HGM) at 175p, another of my mentors, Dr Alex Elder, told me about 'kangaroo tails' where the price spikes down and then returns to a level of support. I'm front-running a little bit but I believe this has happened in HGM today. The company released figures at the upper end of guidance and Gold itself was bouncing around $1287 when last I looked. I can see no real reason for the spike down outside of the failure to set a new high – the market looking for stops then? 

I have taken a small position in GVC Holdings (GVC) today too at 728p.

The only bee in my bonnet at the moment is my nursemaiding of Petrofac (PFC), I don't like the price action but it still just about holding the 8 EMA of the lows (an 8 period exponential moving average of price lows) that I  am using as my stop guide here. A close below this level around 885p is my hard stop (the point below I will exit without question).

As promised I will outline the strategy towards the end of the week as my children aka 'Fagin's Gang' are away in Bath. I am sure the 'artful dodger' and his two sisters will manage to put down their big bag of Humbug's complimentary 'sourest of sours' long enough to fleece their auntie Ange for all they can! 

I have been enjoying Humbug's posts in his new found role as 'hedge fund manager', what a great experiment to try - trader vs investor! I may need more caution, I remember the story of the tortoise and the hare! 




Humbug - + £51 - Slowly, slowly catchee monkey

I was going to say following on from my last posting that not only was Fagin's picture taken on a good day but I think it's been air brushed as well...............................................then I saw the bloody picture the editorial team have found for me. There are some drawbacks to being a tortoise I'm finding.

Moving along, I invested in the Sage Group (SGE) and Domino's Pizza (DOM) today, £2k into each. These are exactly the sort of investments that should enable me to hibernate while they go up in value. SGE is up 70% in three years whilst DOM is up 80%. They also both generate a good strong cash flow, some of which is paid out in half decent dividends that are well covered by those earnings.

Now this I think is interesting and clearly demonstrates the two different approaches Fagin and I are taking.

He is using the daily buying signals our system produces; I am using the weekly/monthly ones.

SGE produced a daily buying signal last Friday (7th April). Had Fagin taken it with a typical trade size of (say) £20k it would have produced a banked profit of £600 that closed out today.

I've bought in today using the weekly buying signal, now this bit is very 'if if if' but if the share performs over the next three years as it has over the last three, including dividends I stand to make some £1550 using £2k of capital.

So we really are the tortoise and the hare, he would have made £600 in a week with £20k on risk in the market, if SGE works out well for me I hope to make £1550 over three years with £2k on risk.

You pays your money and takes your choice, my potential profit is much larger and my risk is much smaller, but on the other hand it's there for much longer.


Humbug Starts Strongly - Running Total + £135


Wednesday 12th April. Running total +£135

I've read Fagin's posts with interest and could Itortoise just say that that picture of him was taken on a good day. On the subject of good day's I too don't want to get cocky but my portfolio is just beginning to come good. Fagin will be reporting profits and hopefully not too many losses as he actually banks them, because mine is currently a longer term portfolio I'll be reporting the running total which may or may not be banked.

As I posted the other day, the plan is not to worry about balancing the portfolio at this stage, it's all about fairly aggressively looking to buy into value as upward momentum is manifesting itself and then ride the wave.

Using the metrics I highlighted as the selection criteria and our weekly buying signals to pick my entry points  I've currently £2k invested in each of the following shares:

Renew Holdings  (RNWH) up 7.59% on the week
Shaftsbury (SHB) up 5.27%
Greencore (GNC) up 3.68%
Numis (NUM) up 3.13%
WPP Group (WPP) down 0.12%.

I'm happy with all of these and am looking to buy into Domino's Pizza (DOM) and Sage Group (SGE) maybe tomorrow.

To spread risk and allow me to invest in other asset class's around the world I've £1k invested in each of the following funds:

Legg Mason Royce US small caps up 2.19% on the week
Investec Global Energy up 1.55%
First State Asian Property up 0.86%
Templeton Global Total Return Bonds up 0.86%
Pictet Robotics up 0.17%
Axa Pan European High Yield Bonds up 0.14%
Henderson Emerging Market Opportunities flat
Old Mutual China Equity Fund down 0.99%.

£18k on risk in the markets, £82k in cash. 

‘Please Sir can I have some more?’......

OK - its April 11th and I  am off to a reasonable start.......FTJI took 10,000 shares of what Humbug calls 'the gift that keeps on giving' that is HGM on Monday and sold out today for £495.05 net of costs. 

I only wish I could do this every day! 

Now let's not get excited or cocky as it is very early doors and when I am excited or cocky that's when I can do the most damage to my account! 

Over the year Humbug is going to pay a lot less in costs than I as I expect to get wiggled out way more often so I am pleased to get some blue ink already. 

I also have 10000 shares in LGEN at 246p on Monday. It's been in a pullback and a volatility squeeze for about 10 days, undervalued by any reasonable metrics and I do hope this one is going to fly up the page! My initial targets are 250p and then 255p. My stop is at 243p.

I have one final position on in Humbug’s golden goose PFC, I took £253.75 in profits on half the position before it gapped down on me. I am nursing out an exit which I hope to now be breakeven or better overall.

While I like the UK market condition and its current divergence in the US, I am cautious for the next few weeks and I have a close eye on the market and my stops.

I am pretty sure Humbug feels the same.

Later this week I will put up some information about my research, my edge, risk management and entry and exit techniques but for the time being here is my daily 7 step trading routine. 


Fagin's Daily Routine: 


  1. Plan exits on existing positions
  2. Determine frame of mind and availability to trade
  3. Which direction is the primary trend
  4. Look at my personal basket of stocks
  5. Look at my strategy scans
  6. Work up my trade plans
  7. Set orders or alerts
  8. Double check for earnings, news influence et cetera


The other thing I do is keep a regular trade journal of entries/exits, shares bought and sold, strategy used, et cetera. 

Boring Disclaimer: Please remember I can share my trades with you and while they may be the right selections for me, they may not be right for you so please do your own research and always use immaculate risk management. I am not providing tips, only educational information and my experiences. 


That’s it for now my dears, more later this week.



“You got to pick a pocket or two……”

Dear All,

My trading partner Humbug calls me Fagin FTJbecause I like to pick the market's pocket…....

I have been told I am of an agitated nature, I love my profits my dears and I can't stay patient for very long.

Whilst I am not a day trader, I like to swing trade from a few days to a few weeks depending on the market condition. My aim is to build my stake incrementally with minimal drawdown!

I've been trading for about three years and over this last year, using a probability, system based, TA approach, from March to March, I have increased my pot by 30%.

So, Humbug and I are usually aligned when it comes to our trades; we use similar entry and exit triggers, similar tools and have a similar philosophy when it comes to the behaviour of UK stocks.

However we have recently had an amicable 'bullish divergence' of opinion and have decided to put our differing theories to the test.

Hence whilst I normally remain anonymous, we have agreed with Steve to both post our ideas and our results transparently on the DIY investor site for your horror, amusement and hopefully your profit!

We have agreed to each use a £100k real money trading stake and we will trade this over the next year. Let's see what performance we can achieve.

For myself I will be swing trading as above, whereas Humbug has decided that a longer term investment strategy may prove more lucrative.

As well as posting our results we have agreed to also share our philosophy, strategy and rules as it may be of interest to you and other traders especially if those experiencing head-scratching losses or lack of consistency; after all, we've all been there!

There will be stock selection criteria rules and these will follow along with our initial trades and healthy banter!

Trader or Investor?…..The market will decide!

‘If you do it well, a pound, my dear. One pound,’ said Fagin, wishing to interest him in the scent as much as possible. ‘And that’s what I never gave yet, for any job of work where there wasn’t valuable consideration to be gained.’

C Dickens - Oliver Twist

Humbug's off to a stinker as he looks to top Fagin

Saturday 8th April. I'd like to report that even after just three days I'm well in front of Fagin and the investment portfolio is hundreds of pounds up. Yeah I'd like to, but sadly I can't.  I hit the ground running and hit is the operative word as in splat face down as in £199.49 down in three days. So lets look at this logically and calmly, two hundred quid down in three days equates to an annual loss of just over twenty four thousand pounds and that's with only £17k invested so far, who's a clever boy then?

In fact a tiny loss in a few days is neither here nor there, the advantage of investing over trading is that you don't need to worry about a little bit of market vibration, also half the loss is costs (which obviously front load) so I'm not planning to cut my wrists just yet.

At this stage of the game I'm not looking to have a balanced portfolio of shares, what I did was put together a watch list of those with some simple but safe metrics. The criteria is that they pay a 2% (ish) dividend or better and more importantly that that payment is covered at least 1.5 times by earnings, that they have low debt also in relation to their earnings or better still net cash in the bank and finally that the price isn't stupidly volatile. For what its worth, of the many thousands of companies listed in London only 134 currently measure up to those not too extreme rules. The plan is to buy when they show upward momentum and hold for as long as that trend continues, banking the dividends along the way.
I'm also investing in funds to spread my risk in three ways, one to have a much wider base of securities, two to be able to access all world markets, three to be able to invest in different asset class's. Again in these early days I'm not looking to have a balanced portfolio, I'm simply looking for momentum. If it's hot to trot I want my money on it's back, simple as that.

I'll be deliberately holding cash as a way of managing risk, the balance will rise and fall depending how bullish or bearish I am. The long term aim is to build a 'proper grown up' investment fund.

Sounds simple doesn't it? Yeah right, in the real world it'll be anything but.

I'll update again in a few days and will list what I've bought so far and review how its all bedding down.

Friday 7th April

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Running total £3637

For the past couple of years I've had a trading partner Simon (aka Fagin), between us we evolved the trading system that I've been using to trade and report on here since last September. Whilst it's a semi automated system that looks for buying signals,  it does also requires a degree of discretion when evaluating which of those signals to actually take.

I'm not unhappy with the results I've achieved in the last six months or so, but Fagin who has simultaneously been trading his own account as well is clearly better at the discretionary element than I am, as his results have been much better.

This allied to the fact that I want to spend a lot less time this summer on my computer and much more time sailing my boat, means we're going to have a change round here at diyinvestor.net. Last Wednesday we met up with Steve our editor in one of London's finer hotels and decided to make some sweeping changes. Digressing for a moment, the reason for the fine hotel was that we fancied a cream tea while we had our meeting and trust me a full silver service cream tea is one of life's good experiences. Back to the plot, we're now going to run two private investor diaries, Fagin will write the short term trading diary, while I'll start a new longer term investment/trading one.

Both will report on real life portfolios, to tie in with the new financial year they'll start as of the 5th of April with £100k of our money in each one. But this is the interesting bit we think. We are both going to use different variants of our present system, him for short term trading, me for longer term investing. We believe our system is versatile enough to cope with both scenarios, but the only way to actually find out is to bet using our own money, so that's what we're going to do.

In the coming weeks in addition to posting our trades in as close to real time as is practical, we'll also both explain in some detail what we're doing and why. We both urge you not to copy the trades we take, but to view what we do as entertainment when it goes catastrophically wrong and education when it goes right.


Saturday 1st April

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Running total £3637

I realise that you might well think that my trading selections have the appearance of being put together by a monkey throwing a dart at a list of the FTSE 350 and if you do you'll be surprised  to learn that I actually spend hours and hours every day on my computer plotting and planning what to do. (as a side issue there's a school of thought in the industry that thinks I'd do much better if I did employ a monkey, but that's just not nice is it).

Moving on, I've not placed any trades since the beginning of March because I'm concerned about how top heavy the market looks, albeit that because it's just about gone sideways for a month the running trend has caught up with itself and as I write it looks a lot safer than it did a few weeks ago. Even so I'm not going to be able to trade for the next few weeks as I'm under doctors orders to give my eyes a break from staring at a bright screen for hours on end every day, which is a bit of a bummer to be honest.

But the market is now deep in my DNA and I need to keep involved, so I'm limiting myself to half an hour a day on the computer and using my phone for just calls.

Yeah revolutionary idea that, using a phone just to speak with, but believe it or not I now charge it twice a week rather than twice a day and I get loads more other stuff done as well, so this is not all bad.

What I'm going to do for the next few weeks is buy some shares for my long term account, I've decided to put my money into ones that are the gift that keeps on giving, a good example is the WPP Group PLC  (WPP) which I bought into at £17.43p late on Friday afternoon. When I say the gift that keeps on giving just get your head round these figures.

The company listed in January 1994 at £1 a share, in the intervening twenty three years there's been any number of stock market crashes, think Russian debt crisis, Dot Com crash, 9/11, the Banking Crisis of 2008, the flash crash of Brexit etc etc.

Added to these there have been God knows how many wars, some we've been involved in some we haven't, the never ending threat and actions of terrorists, the rise of Donald Trump which is part of what seems to be a sea change in politics right across the Western World and in spite of all of this not only has the share price risen seventeen fold but a strong stream of dividends has been paid year after year.

Had I had the wisdom to put two thousand pounds into the stock in 1994 and just leave it there, my stake would now be worth thirty five thousand pounds and this year alone I'd have banked £966 in dividends. If I had the time to work out what my stake would be had I reinvested all the dividends along the way, the figures would be even more impressive. My rough guess is that with dividends reinvested each year the stake would now be well over fifty thousand pounds. 

Turning two thousand pounds into fifty thousand pounds in twenty three years by doing nothing is almost alchemy, wish I'd done it.


Friday 24th March

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Running total £3637


For a trader like me there are three market positions. Depending on my view I'm either long, short or I stand aside in cash. To be honest  I'm not very good at going short so as a result virtually all my trading is to the long side when I think conditions are conducive and holding cash to protect the downside when I'm wary.

Right now I'm wary, very wary and have been in cash since March the 7th, however I'm beginning to wonder if I'll die of old age before the market correction I'm expecting actually happens.

Calling the top of the market is a mugs game and it may well go much higher than it is now, but I remain convinced that a correction is coming and the higher it goes the sharper that correction will be. 

Everytime it wobbles and I think this the start  the dip gets bought and up it goes again.

The terrorist atrocity of Wednesday coming after a down day on Tuesday seems to have been quickly shrugged off, I don't think an interest rate rise if/when it happens will make much difference, as we know article 50 is about to be triggered so surely that's all factored in?

In fact short of war breaking out one wonders what the catalyst will be.  

However I have to trade what I see, not what I think, so as always Fagin and I have looked closely at our watch list every day but in the last couple of weeks nothing has shone off the page  grabbing hold of me and making me want to put my money where my eyes are.

But sooner or later there'll be some really strong signals and I'll take them albeit only on a smash and grab basis, looking for a quick profit.

Tuesday 7th March

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Running total £3637

Mining shares are not easy to trade because there are so many variables that can effect the price each day.

These range from Chinese (or any other countries) growth figures, to the daily prices of the commodities they mine, to general market sentiment to company specific news, to f/x rates to anything you care to think about. Indeed the list is almost endless.

As is the nature of the beast, risk has rewards and when you get a mining stock right you can make monster money because they're so volatile.

Sadly I didn't time Anglo American PLC (AAL) anything like right yesterday. With hindsight I should have bailed out the moment it opened down, my limit to buy was at 1273p, it was filled at 1259p and that was my starter for ten with no conferring. I've bought expecting it to go up, its first move is decisively down, er duh.

I was going to hold till the close of business today, but after I'd watched the level 2 price screen for half an hour this morning and seen it looking weak with no strong buying coming in to support it I took my loss of £562.

Monday 6th March

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Running total £4199

I remain nervous about how 'toppy' the markets are, it all feels a bit 1999 to me. Fagin my trading partner and I are however continuing to trade as and when we see what we believe to be good opportunities, albeit we're looking to smash and grab to keep risk down as low as possible. 

Over the weekend I ran the 'slide rule' over the giant mining company Anglo American PLC (AAL), my take is that its pivoting round to go back up after a recent decline so I put a limit order in at 1273p for this morning.

My timing wasn't good, as the mining sector is having something of a crisis of confidence so far today, AAL opened well down and my order was executed at 1259p which takes some of the pain away.  Lets hope they man up in short order as I'd like to take £1500 out of them.

Wednesday 1st March

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Running total £4199

I'm nervous about the state of the markets. It's very toppy particularly in the US, it might not be a line ahead of the party, but it's certainly a bottle up.

Bearing all that in mind I decided overnight to close my last two positions out, go totally into cash and follow the lead of my trading partner Simon aka Fagin (why Fagin? easy, he likes to pick the markets pocket and he's good at it) and until things calm down a little, only take 'safe' short term trades with very realistic profit targets.

The two remaining trades were, easyJet PLC (EZJ), I'd taken £1130 out of them by way of a chunky dividend payment but gave back £289.92 in a loss on the shares, still a first class result.

The other was Vodafone Group PLC (VOD), the second half of the trade went for a profit of £379.91, you may remember a week ago I took £457 out of them when I began to scale out.

Listen, the markets may well keep going up in which case I've sold out too soon, but never forget 'the best way to make money is not to lose any', fighting, giving them a good slap then running away means you live to fight another day.

Monday 27th February

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Running total £4109

One of the rules I try to adhere to is 'never let a profit turn into a loss'. (although in the real world this is easier to say than do).

As a trade SAGA PLC (SAGA) was a total waste of my time and also tied up and put at risk £20k of my capital for three weeks.

As Simon my trading partner so rightly opined, 'SAGA turned into one'. The price had spend a couple of weeks going sideways then seemed to be gaining traction again but at the end of last week it lost momentum and began to look weak, so I decided to put both it and I out of our misery.

Had I been by the computer late on Friday I've have made £20, I wasn't and this morning when I closed out the trade cost me £107.

Friday 24th February

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Running total £4216

For a short time on Tuesday I was a little mini master of the universe as my smash and grab raid on Petra Diamonds Ltd (PDL) was up over £500 in a couple of hours. Let me tell you it went up like a rocket, the problem is it then came down with the stick.

After three down days on the trot, I lost my temper with it and decided that's it, enough's enough, there is no more and did the early morning walk of shame, crawling out with what little dignity I had left at about 8.30am getting 144.62p for a loss of £548.

Just as well I did as it finished tonight at 141.3p. However it's not all bad news round here, as on Wednesday I became eligible for the easyJet PLC (EZJ) dividend of 53.8p a share.

2100 shares makes for £1129.80, I've added this to the running total profit which now stands at £4216 since this Swing Trading Portfolio started in late September last year. 


Tuesday 21st February

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Running total £3634

One of the joys of placing automated buy and sell limits is that you don't have to sit hunched over a so called smart phone or a computer all day. Its a case of set and forget, go away and play. My trade from February 6th on Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) made its first target of 203.4p late this morning and the broker's computers did the business. £457 banked, bring the running total to £3634. Nice.

I decided yesterday that a smash and grab on some gem stones would be a good plan and would liven up a dull day. So last night I put in a limit order to buy 13350 shares in Petra Diamonds Ltd (PDL) which was filled at 148.5439p to be exact.

Usually I have two profit targets and scale out of my trades, with this one I've only set one at 157p and because of the risks with this sort of thing I hope to be a thousand pounds richer and running away with my swag in a week or so. Nice.

As a side issue, its well worth catching the @diyinvestornet tweets. There was one a week or two ago highlighting the chunky dividends due soon from easyJet and Shoe Zone.

I have a vested interest in one of these, easyJet PLC (EZJ) as I currently have 2100 shares, they go xd on Thursday at 53.8p a share putting me in line for a payout of £1130. Nice.

Friday 10th February

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Running total £3177


Thought I'd missed out on my ticket to ride with Easyjet PLC (EZJ).

My buying limit placed last night for this morning was 950.5p and in early trading the price climbed rapidly to 960p, but then it fell  back and my order was filled.

After the way Gold performed late yesterday and overnight I could do with this going steadily up without too much turbulence

Friday 10th February

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Running total £3177


I wasn't expecting yesterday's big sell off in Spot Gold, markets as we all know are driven by fear and greed and when everybody gets up to leave all at once the fear becomes self fulfilling. The price peaked yesterday afternoon for the second time at $1244 and then fell back sharply, doing so again overnight as the far eastern traders bailed out.

First thing this morning I didn't really have an option but to do the same, my current trading is looking for short term swings (mainly upward) and clearly Spot Gold had lost it's mojo with the immediate risk being to the downside. I've an open mind whether it'll bounce from where it now is in the low 1220's or keep falling but like so many others I had to protect my profit, so I sold at $1223.81 for a sterling profit after costs of £266.74.

A profits a profit and I've banked it, but yet again I was a tiny bit too greedy, I was looking for $1250, I should have set it slightly below where the other boys (and girls) were planning to get up and go, at say $1240.

The split second I close a trade whether I've won or lost it's gone and I move on. Vodafone (VOD) and SAGA (SAGA) are up up and running in the case of VOD and flapping around in the case of SAGA.

My next target is Easyjet (EZJ) with a buying limit in at 950.5p

Thursday 9th February

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Running total £2911 


Met up with Simon yesterday for our monthly trading pow wow. We looked at SAGA PLC (SAGA) not with a view to sending me on one of their cruises to see if I could pull a rich widow but to to see if we could nick some money off them.

We both decided there was money to be had picking their pocket. Overnight I put in a limit order at 185p which was filled as the market opened, if the trade swings upward as I think it will I should I'll make around a thousand pounds which would be nice.

Later tonight I'm going to do the due diligence on EasyJet PLC (EZJ) which had figures out today.


Monday 6th February

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Running total £2911 


So far I've caught the upward momentum in Spot Gold nicely, as I write the price is $1228 an ounce so my current trade is £320 up. Another 25 points up and I'll be looking to take my money off the table.

Mind you I never got the chance to put my money on the table with AstraZenica PLC (AZN), I'd been stalking them for a week waiting for last Thursday's figures to come out, I spotted momentum building up but it came in too quickly and the price gapped up and away from me.

I've got a cheeky limit order in again today in case the price has a wobble, but frankly I'm not holding my breath.

Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) also pivoted round last Thursday, I missed the fact that they too did so on figures, so last night I also put in another cheeky limit  at 193.2p (Thursday's closing price)  hoping to buy today if the price flapped around.

It did and so and my order was filled. My targets are 203.4p and 207.8p which if they get hit will make it a good evening’s work.

Tuesday 31st January


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Running total £2911 (+£2.49!)

Standard Life PLC (SL.) is history, well at least till the next time I think I detect upward momentum in its share price. I sold at 348.5458  for a profit of £2.49, not out of fear, not because I decided to second guess the market (and by extension the President of America) but simply to stop a profit becoming a loss.

On the subject of profit I woke in the middle of the night and quickly checked the Gold Price. The screen showed a price of 1404 which meant I'd made a profit of over £2000 since I'd gone to bed.  My first thought was thats brilliant sell, but then in a split second panic set in as I thought the price has gone berserk but the market isn't moving has there been a Nuclear War?

This demonstrates what a berk I can be, also how a panic attack can take hold in markets. No the price hadn't gone berserk, no I wasn't in the money and no there hadn't been a nuclear war. The broker's computer had gone wrong. Duh.

It took me a while to get back to sleep.


Monday 30th January


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Running total £2909.


Interesting couple of days don't you think? The combination of the leader of the free world and social media don't make short term trading of financial markets any easier.

My recent trade in Standard Life PLC (SL.) is now back just below break-even; unless it bounces strongly tomorrow morning it will be history. Moving along, my current thinking is stalk the UK market and wait for things to bottom out (as they always do) and then go back in and in the meantime to be in Gold. 

To that end I opened a £12k sized Spot Gold trade this evening on a CFD at 1196.41, there's no vast fortune to be earned on the likely short term  movement that my charts showing........................................but if I can take £500 out of it while I'm waiting for things elsewhere to calm down that will count as a result. 



Tuesday 24th January


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Running total £2909.



From the diary of a private investor January 12th., 'I don't think I've ever bought a share that went wrong as quickly for me as yesterday's purchase of Standard Life PLC (SL.)'

Will history repeat itself? I ask the question because yesterday evening I was looking at the watch list Simon and I use and once again saw what I believe is upward momentum building up in Standard Life PLC (SL.).

No point in looking at what you believe are opportunities and then doing nothing about them, so I put a limit order in that was filled in early trading this morning at 346.1p.

If I've called the swing right I'll make around £500, if I get it wrong again, the loss provided I manage the trade correctly should be less than £250.


Thursday 19th January

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Running total £2903 + £6 (!) = £2909.



I wrote on Monday about my respect for the banking industry. Note I don't call it a profession. Well I've got even less now, my plan was to ram raid The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) aiming to take £700/£800 off them if I was right and give up £350/£400 if I was wrong.

Four days later I honestly don't know if my basic call was right or wrong, but what I do know is that the price isn't performing as I thought it would in the very short term. I thought I'd spotted a pivot point and that the price would rise sharply ahead of next week's figures and then carry on rising. The first part of my theory hasn't happened as yet, so to use a phrase 'I'm out'.

After all the costs I made £6 profit, what a total waste of time. Mind you it could have been worse; I could have lost the £400.

Viewed like that I suppose it’s a brilliant result.

Monday 16th January        

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Running total £2903


As per my system I looked in some detail over the weekend at what Mr Market had been up to last Friday and decided I liked the look of The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS).

Well, that's not quite true, I've no time whatsoever for bankers (remember what rhymes with banker?) but whilst I don't like the underlying state of their business I do feel the share price is pivoting round after a recent fall and therefore worth a short term speculative investment.

The limit order at 221p was met just after the opening bell this morning, it’s now roughly a 50/50 call whether I lose £350/£400 or make £700/£800


Thursday 12th January: £ - 348!



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Running total £2903



I don't think I've ever bought a share that went wrong as quickly for me as yesterday's purchase of Standard Life Plc (SL.).

It rose very briefly after the opening bell, then reversed and fell steadily for the rest of the day throwing my money out of the window as it went. Taking losses quickly and without having to lie down in the dark crying into my hankie is very much part of the swing trading I now do.

This trade is good example of what happens when you get the timing wrong with the swings, the momentum I thought I'd seen building up on Tuesday clearly wasn't there on Wednesday and so earlier today I sold for a loss of £348. DUH.



Wednesday 11th January


Normally Simon my trading partner and I work through our charts independently each evening and then make contact via email and ping our thoughts back and forth. Its a great system, because we come at what we do from very slightly different angles and often one of us sees something the other missed.

Last night we decided to meet up and run through our watch list together while we had a bite to eat in a pub. Now trust me on this, if you meet in a pub to talk about putting quite chunky money into anything................................don't touch booze till you've done all the business. We didn't.

We sat in this fabulous,  rather posh old pub miles out in the country, with a couple of hundred bottles of wine on a rack a few yards from our table, drinking tea. The power of will power. (As a side issue, I'm not put on earth to promote other people's business's but The Woolpack Inn at Warehorne near Ashford in Kent is a truly great pub, if your down that way, its well worth a visit.  www.woolpackinnwarehorne.com)

Am I multitalented or what? I'll be writing a pub guide as well as a Private Investor Diary soon. Back to business, after a lot of discussion we decided to both buy Standard Life PLC (SL.).

I bought in the usual way by placing a limit order with the broker at 360.5p, I'll take half my profit at 372p the other half at 380p and will call time (did you get that) at 354p if it disobeys me and goes rogue.

D2 Interactive