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Was a trader for 20 years. I started my career in banking trading swaps and asset swaps, was an options market maker for several years. I ran different trading desks, the last one being a commodities derivatives desk...
Semi retired. I trade anything, from USD Libor to calendar spreads on WTI contracts and of course stocks. Havent been that successful so far. But live to fight another day.
I read somewhere (one of the exchanges in US) that almost 85% of online traders loose all their capital in the first year!! Scary!!
To me the trick is to survive and learn. With time we all get good at what we do.
I have learnt that online trading with your own capital is somewhat different to trading a banks capital in a large dealing room.
There are very few technical details ,from the very vanilla to the third generation derivatives products, that I either haven't traded or don't know inside out. I know that sounds arrogant, but it just is. Happy to share or help anyone along these lines, if I can.
BTW - I dont like going short stocks. Not religious, but I prefer not making money on other peoples failures, at least not directly..Not saying I never do, but generally avoid...