Extended hours

I looked in on pre-open trading action this morning, and what I saw was a real eye-opener.

I was concerned about two of my short positions, CALM and YBTVA. Beginning on Wednesday, prices had risen, and I was trying to decide if I should bail out. YBTVA had moved up above my short-sell price, meaning that if I were to cover it would mean a loss. CALM was still below my short-sell price, but threatening to rise more.

Well before the open, I launched my browser and pointed to my online broker's site. In addition to the usual windows, I also opened the Last Sale streamer for both these stocks. It shows each trade in as close to real-time as possible, both as a list and as a graph.

Hello! Although YBTVA had closed Thursday at $5.57, trades began to appear as low as $3.90 before the opening bell! (see left) And these were not small lots. Clearly somebody was bailing out, expecting YBTVA to go much lower.

Hey! Why am I not getting in on this action? Even at $4, that would have been a profit of $1 per share.

CALM last-sale log

CALM was also interesting. As soon as the market opened, two huge transactions were completed for 31,300 shares each and well-above the previous days close. Let's see: $5.92 x 31,300 shares is $185,296. Whoa! That's not chump change. Somebody really wants CALM and is pretty damned sure it's going up from $5.92.

Trader Paul cannot play in that league! Who holds 62,600 shares? And who buys 62,600 shares? But perhaps Trader Paul should pay attention.

I quickly replaced all my buy-to-cover orders with ones enabled for extended hours trading, and for much-lower limits, $1 below my selling price instead of 50¢.

The charts below show the trading for these two stocks for the past three days by 10-minute intervals.

YBTVA 3-day stock chart
YBTVA 3-day chart, 10-minute bars. The early transactions just before the market opened Friday morning set the tone for the day. YBTVA closed at $5.28, down 5% from the previous day. What I have to decide now is where I think YBTVA is going from here— up or down?

CALM 3-day stock chart
CALM 3-day chart, 10-minute bars. The two big transactions at the beginning of trading set the tone for the day. CALM closed at $6.31, up 8% over the previous day. I now have some serious thinking to do about CALM. It's still below the 50-day average, and this could be a re-run of the May 25-27 blip. On the other hand, CALM could have bottomed this week, and it's not going back.

Missing out

I've obviously been missing out on a valuable source of information by not being set up to watch the action taking place during extended hours!