Insights from Visiting Trader Alex Temiz: Navigating Stock Sympathy Plays

BellaBella Daily Update

Alex Temiz, @AT09_Trader , visited SMB for an informal Q&A.

Joseph Gelb, interning with us from Princeton, produced these notes for the trading community of our desk’s discussion with Alex.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do now?

-Alex is 23 and has been trading for a little more than four and a half years.
-“The reason I got into trading is because my girlfriend dumped me and I wanted to get rich.”
-Started by following online Gurus, but found that he was buying tops and selling bottoms.
-Realized that he was going into trades without a plan.
-Discovered that shorting might be a better option, and on his first short trade he made 1000 dollars in just a few minutes.
-Went on to refine his strategy by carefully planning his entry and exit points based on support and resistance.
-Obsessively studied tape even in stocks he wasn’t trading to see if he could gain an edge.

It seems as if you often look at trading sympathy plays. Is this an accurate description?

-Alex realized that he often could not get the borrow on the main movers, but that the sympathy plays were cheaper and easier to borrow.
-Once the main mover cracks, he shorts the sympathy plays with huge size because there is no reason why they were up in the first place.

Was the fact that AXON was easy to borrow an indicator that it would go higher?

-Yes, but it’s also about knowing what the sentiment of the market is right now.  Lots of people are trying to short low floats, but they
often don’t have the borrow. When a stock is up 100% and people have the borrow, they all pile in short due to FOMO, and the stock squeezes.

Is there anything specific you are doing to get better going long?

-the only way to get good at something is to practice it.  It is not enough to read about it or study it.
-“I don’t see myself getting better at longs until I start testing them out and going in and doing it myself.”
-“I’m gonna lose money because I’m still trying to get better at it, but I’d rather be losing $500 a day or $1,000 a day for the opportunity to make $10,000 consistently after I refine my strategy.  It’s all about risk management.”
-If you’re not both a long biased and a short biased trader, you’re missing out on profits. “I want a piece of all of it.”

How important is it to you to be green every day?

-“It’s not about being green on the day. It’s about whether I followed my plan.”
-“If I’m following my plan and I lose that’s a winner to me because I know that in the long run, nine times out of ten, that play is going to pay me.”
-If you hesitate to take a trade, it means that you don’t trust your process.
-“Anyone can make money in the market, but it’s very hard to keep that money.”

Can you describe what you do on a normal day?

-Wakes up at 5am and checks the quotes to see what is gapping.
-Checks the news for any stocks which are gapping, and the float, and institutional ownership.
-Checks the charts for historical resistance and makes a plan.
-At the end of the day, takes a photo of his charts with entries and exits, prints them out, and reviews over the weekend.
-“If you’re not journaling your trades, if you’re not watching how your trades are going, if you’re not critiquing yourself, how would you ever expect to improve?”

How do you scale up your position size?

-“It’s all a matter of building confidence first.”
-once you have built a system which consistently works, then it is acceptable to scale up.
-“You have to earn the right to size up.”
-“Don’t use size until you are ready for it.”

How do you deal with a losing streak?

-“It’s okay to take a day or two away from the screens.”
-takes time off to rebalance his emotions. Hangs out with friends. Buys something fun.

What changed for you between losing money and finding success?

-Most important thing is having a plan rather than winging it.
-“If you’re not sitting there throughout pre-market and watching every single tick from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. trying to pick up the little nuances that most people are missing you’re at already a disadvantage.”
-“Once I see a sign that reconfirms my plan, I am going to take action.”

How are you going to trade AXON tomorrow?

-If it goes up to 5.50, I will enter 10,000 out of 50,000 shares. After that, it will either go to 5.75 where I will stop out, or it will drop to 5.25 and bounce to 5.40.
On the lower high, I’ll take another 10,000 shares. Once it cracks VWAP, I will add 30,000 shares with a stop at 5.50. I will take profits along the way and may decide to swing some  overnight.

How important do you feel collaboration with other traders is?

-“If someone that I’m trading with doesn’t agree with the play that I see, that means that I’m probably not gonna be right. But if he and I both agree, that’s the play that’s gonna work. If we both agree and our plans are the same, that’s usually the one that will be a home run.”
-“It’s really important to surround yourself with people that are trading the same way you are, or are trading the same things you are.”
-“The way that I learned how to trade is by surrounding myself with traders that were better than me, traders that were doing things a lot more fluidly than me and just watching them trade over and over again.”

Is there anything you suggest for new traders that might help them?

-Record your trades and watch the tape. Review your technical analysis, and learn to read filings.
-“Get more information than the guy you are trading against.”

Below is the full video of our trading discussion with Alex.

*no relevant positions