I’m only posting one trade from yesterady, but it’s a biggie. And it raises a question of the kind that often comes up on these kinds of trades
Boeing openend with a massive gap down. For anyone reading this blog in the future, that’s because on Sunday (the day before this trade was taken), a Boeing 737 Max aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed, killing all 157 people on board. It was the second aircraft of this type to crash in less than five months. Within 24 hours, several airlines had announced they were grounding their 737 Max fleet pending the crash investigation. By all measures, this was a major incident, so it was inevitable that when the markets openend on Monday morning, BA would open down. What we didn’t know was where it would go next.
As day traders, we don’t need to know whether the stock is likely to go up or down on the day, we just want to know that it’s going to move. Preferably with good volume. BA was an obvious candidate for any stock day trader’s watch list on Monday.
As a stock, it did not disappoint, making (relatively) huge gains, even though it still closed down on the day. As far as my own strategy goes, it gave a perfect set up and blasted through several potential exit points without taking a breath. When two targets coincided and when the momentum took a break, I was out.
BA is a much higher priced stock than I would normally trade, but as I have talked about before, dynamically sizing your position to take account of the high price is one of the advantages of trading stocks. I had cash tied up elsewhere, and I don’t know BA as a stock at all, so I went with a fairly conservative 300 shares. The half-hour trade netted a final profit of $3,444.
Here’s the inevitable question though: is it ethical to profit from a disaster? Is making more than $100 a minute profit from the fact people died something to be proud of? Or even just comfortable with?
Everyone has to make up their own mind, but here’s my take. The accident happened. It’s terrible, awful, and of course my thoughts are with the families of those who where killed. I hope beyond hope that the cause is found and that it helps engineers reduce the risk of such a crash ever happening again. But the fact remains the crash has happened. It’s in the past. We can’t change that. We cannot bring back the dead. Trading the resulting stock price movement is not going to alter what has already occured.
The wild swings in Boeing’s price were inevitable. They were going to happen whether or not people like me traded them. To shift a stock the size of BA the amount it moved requires institiutional amounts of money. It takes hedge funds and pension funds pulling out to cause such a drop. After that, algorithmic trading kicks in. It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. So we can either put our fingers in our ears, avert our gaze, and try to pretend it’s not happening, or we can accept the inevitable and get on with our job.
The job of trading almost always, if we think about it, involves acting on good and bad news. Stock prices move for a variety of reasons, but the big moves happen in response to news. Factory closing? The stock price will probably move. Do we stop to think about the people who will lose their jobs as a result of the closure though? Probably not. Just as we probaby don’t stop to celebrate the good news events that are disconnected from our own reality. We just watch the chart and trade the moves.
As horrific as a plane crash is, it is a news event and most of what happens subsequently is inevitable. So I see nothing wrong with continuning to do my job. There’s nothing to be gained from ignoring it.