This column was originally published on RealMoney
on Dec. 26 at 11:17 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney,
I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday. I spent most of Christmas Eve setting up a Nintendo Wii game to surprise my little niece and nephew. After I got the game set up, I decided to play it for a while -- just to catch any glitches and make sure that Santa didn't get a bad rap for delivering a bad game. Two hours later, I concluded that the game was operating properly and that it was OK for them to find the Wii console among all of Santa's toys.
Over the past couple of decades, I have lost touch with the video-game industry -- maybe I got too busy, or perhaps I just grew up. Ever since the days of Pong, Asteroids and Pac-Man, I have completely ignored the advances made in this industry. That is, until I started playing with Wii. Once you start playing, it's difficult to put it down. Frankly, it's addicting. How do you know whether you're addicted or not? The most common symptom is endless repetition of the phrase "OK, just one more time..."
If you are a video-game junkie, have you ever noticed the parallel between video games and trading? It's a skill game that appears deceptively easy when you see others do it but is actually quite difficult to get good at. As with video games, the active trader often catches himself following a trade with the same "Just one more time" phrase I spoke of above. All the charts, quote boxes and Level II screens can make the game seem entertaining. But the biggest difference between trading and gaming is simple -- after you've bought the game, you can play it as many times as you want, and it only costs you time out of your day. But if you are using trading as a form of entertainment, saying "OK, just one more time" costs you more than your time -- it costs you money.Don't allow trading to morph into some form of entertainment. Remember that it's a business with the sole objective of making money. Let's look at some reader requests.
NYSE Group (NYX) has doubled in price since the August low but has been pulling back for the past month. It's difficult to tell whether NYX is forming a top or simply consolidating. However, after the run it's had, I think you've got to err in favor of a top. The support line at $95 is pretty clear, and I'd certainly sell if that level fails to hold.