I'm not good at short term trading, although I have done well when I do it. I realize that a bunch of it is luck, which is why I only do it when, and to the extent, that it can work a bit. That's why I don't make any big killings. But 1% here and there adds up over the year, or at least it has over the past 2 years when I have handily beat the market with this account. Before that, the account was in longer-term stuff, and I, like everyone else, enjoyed 30% annual returns, and it was all long-term cap gains.
For the past 2 years, this account has been 20 and 18% before tax, which has now been at a higher level. Even with the tax bite, I have done well, but have had to switch strategies not infrequently. It's a ratchet.
Witness the drops this morning. I sold almost first thing at 137.36, when it was already coming down. I missed the top, but sold higher than I bought it at 136.21. Paltry, yes, but better than nothing.
Overall, I agree that it is a loser's game, which is why I wrote that I will likely be abandoning this strategy soon. The only winners are those who collect the fees. I neither enjoy, nor excel at, doing this, but it has worked well, while I look at other longer-term, less intensive, opportunities. At the moment I am considering using this account for productive farmland and/or certain art acquisition, unless the US markets return to a level where a big buy-and-hold would make sense.
Neither the farmland nor the art is particularly liquid, so it's a difficult decision whether to move forward with that, or stick to what I've been doing.
Any bag I will be left holding will be a minority of my portfolio, so I'm not worried about it.