Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blah Day

This week isn't going to end with positive P/L. I'm willing to bet on that fact. But what i'm not going to do is start running around with my head cut off screaming "I need a new method". The method works... I just haven't had a lot of good signals. Methods have drawdown periods, and that's a fact of life. I think far too often traders (and especially myself) take periods of drawdowns in their equity curve as a signal to jump ship and look for a better mouse trap. Not me, not this time.

So anyway, onto the action of the day. Took a good slew of pars and then got short in both the ES and the NQ around 12:40. The NQ gave a "get to par signal" and I flattened the position for a small loss (-2 ticks) and then a couple minutes later the ES did the same by literally a hair forcing me to take a -2 tick loss in that market as well about two minutes before it caved to my target. But I traded it correctly and at the time things were feeling stagnant and uncooperative so i'm ok with the outcome. I flat out missed this nice trade in the NQ good for +3 while discussing the grocery list with the fam. Pee'ved me a bit because it was a great signal but the reality of trading is you can't and won't catch them all for whatever reason.

Anyway - again, not a day ripe with opportunity for my method but even in the doldrums I didn't get chomped to pieces. We'll see what tomorrow has in store for me.

Trade Results:

ES: -25.00
NQ: -10.00

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Craptastic Conditions

The day has been absolute shit. I mean... if you were ever wondering what chop was? Its was this morning. The market just slammed around from swing high or low to swing high or low and it would get going in a hurry show good momentum and then just stop on a dime and reverse. I don't mind if a market stops at a swing high or low, that happens... what bugged me about today was that it would stop and just reverse so quick and hard I had to take losses bigger than normal. Typically markets consolidate a bit at turning points and allow me to get out with small losses.... not today.

My method just doesn't work well on days like this where there isn't follow through. Look at the 5 minute chart if you need further proof. No direction. No structure even. I didn't get killed today, but I didn't make money either. I had strings of losses, pars, and only a few wins. From a management standpoint everything was good except for exiting a bit early one my one winner. My initial target was at +3, and I ended up bailing at +2.25 because I thought she would stop and reverse just like every move prior during the day and something was better than nothing at this point. So holding for targets is something I need to work on a bit more but other than that I did well managing trades.

Forgive the pictorial madness... but I just wanted to visual explain what I was dealing with all day... the sharp reversals, the constant double topping, the crap.

In many cases if the market does anything in favor, even if it can stab through the swing high or low I can deal with that and reduce risk if not outright get to par. But today it was just a lot of perfect double tops or bottoms with sharp failures that hurt me more than usual.

Is this the fantastic start to this method I was hoping for? Not really. But overall... I can't say i'm too disappointed considering the conditions this morning. I haven't seen price action like that bad in months. While I didn't do stellar, I didn't get nailed too hard. This afternoon I caught some good moves once the tapes livened up a bit. If anyone has any ideas on indicator confirmation to identify these periods of no interest vs. when there is good movement in the tape please let me know!

I am not upset with the final P/L considering a couple things... 1. How many losing trades I had. 2. How shitty it was. 3. How few winning trades I had. 4. The fact that at one point during the day I was sitting down -285.00. 5. I took an "Initial Risk" loss, or a loss at a stop that is put there for worst case scenario emergency purposes due to a nasty quick reversal. 6. I had twice the amount of losses than I did winners (6 Losses, 3 Wins, and 2 Pars.)

Trade Results:

ES: -12.50
NQ: -125.00

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tough First Day

Well the first day was a hard day. Straight trend directional days are hard to trade. They just grind higher but do so without any real momentum. All the time games are being played at the high of the day to fade it lower. I think all of us have experience with this. Every new pop higher is always fighting people fading the moves and the pressure of having to make new daily highs every swing. Because of that I only got a couple trades that got to their targets today. I kept buying this thing all the way up and was rewarded along the way with a barrage of pars and a couple losses in the ES.

The trades went like this in the ES: +2, -1.25, -1, +0, +.25, +0. The NQ went: +2, +0, +0. Overall there were 9 trades, 2 real losers, and 7 pars or winners (78% win rate). I like those odds. I also like that the winners were bigger than the losers and the losers on average were pretty tiny. I think this is all good stuff.

I had a rough pattern to trade today (professional gap fill and go grind) and more losses than profit trades and I still ended walking out with more than I walked in with. Not a massive start, but a solid one that I think proves the validity of the approach.

Here's a couple of the trades that went. You'll note that a lot of the par trades were working, they just weren't getting to profit, and some of the losses were low ticks out of positions that did work overall. Just par for the course. I'll be back tomorrow for more!

Trade Results:

ES: +0.00
NQ: +40.00

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Wait to Start?

I figured I know what I need to do to make money so why wait until Tuesday? I woke up with a plan to just give the first hour a shot live and see if I could get a trade to get my feet wet and take the "edge" off of going live with this. Wadaya know... 9:02 comes along and gives a nice little signal. I paid up 2 ticks for my exit (didn't need to in actuality but i'd rather get filled for 95% of my profit target rather than get par for holding for the extra 5%). Three minutes of work and a respectable profit in NQ standards. Easy peasy.

Like I said... I'm going to really enjoy the hell out of this weekend. I hope you all do as well! I really think big things are going to be coming soon and those goals are going to get knocked off after all.

Thank you everyone for your continued support!!! Awais, Michael, Stan, daytrader233, mtcx2009, Scalpwiz, Jason, and all the Anonymous viewers out there - I truly do read and use everyone's advice, ideas, and encouragement.

Trade Results:

ES: +0.00
NQ: +70.00

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I finally cracked the sombitch

Four Years. Yup, it took me four years.

Sorry for the lack of an update but I had a fairly interesting yesterday and had bigger things to do. As I previously had posted I was back to trading the setups I was in January and I had made small changes. My problems were (as always) my risk was fairly large and my reward was limited by the Keltner Channels as I was typically getting in above the midline. To top it all off I still could not quantify why some of my trades worked so well and others failed and stopped almost instantly.

Yesterday I cracked it. No really... I know I always say I have great ideas and its works and yada yada... I sound like a damn broken record half the time but I really did break the little bastard. The one setup i've been staring at and obsessing over for over four years now since my mentor first taught it to me. My mentor had always told me that our entries were best when momentum was with you. Until now I had tried everything to try and quantify when I had momentum with me and had failed. I was barking up the wrong tree to say the least. The answer is so much more simple and elegant.

I'm now getting in on entries where the markets are really moving in my favor and the profits are coming quickly. Most entries take little or no heat. My losses on average are under a point and are typically between 2-3 ticks. On occasion I will catch a loss for 1.25 or something but its never that big. And why is this? I'm getting in when there is extreme momentum in the market. Now this wouldn't mean much if I kept averaging my 3-4 tick "wins" and I would continue down the path to inevitable failure sooner than later. But my wins are 2-5 points on average.

Yesterday for example I netted 6 ES points on three trades, today i'm up +5.5 on two trades, and +4 in the NQ on one trade. There are only a couple a day (I like that) and they are SOLID more often than not. I can't tell you how relived I am and excited to know that I finally figured out the riddle.

I know I sound like bullshit. Hell I feel like its bullshit when I type this. But the truth of the matter is that I finally quantified the secret to making it work for me. Admittedly these gains have been on sim and I know that counts for shit but these entries were real. They were there, I took them, and I managed them perfectly. No interpretation. No Bullshit.

I can't believe how simple it is and how I could've been so blind. Honestly... Next week I will make more money than I ever had before on this blog. Period. No really, I will.

The entries from thus far today...

Enjoy the long weekend (I know its only Thursday). For the first time in years I think I really will. I just feel like a weight has been lifted, that all the hard work and obsessive hours have finally paid off. Is it too soon to celebrate? Probably. I haven't truly proved anything to anyone just yet and I realize that. But i'm going to starting Tuesday. So please check back to see if my claims are worth anything.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 1

Lots of blow away moves and entries that wouldn't fill (twice in the NQ) but overall I took what was offered and that's all I can do. I had a nice entry in the NQ and while I didn't get tons out of it, I took the correct exit and the fact that it launched to the moon without me is irrelevant. Who knew that was going to happen? Was it probable? Not really.

I got into one ES setup that failed later in the day and it cost me -1.5. Oh well. Shit happens. I have to call it a day an hour early today due to a dentist appointment.

Better luck tomorrow lets hope.

Trade Results:

ES: -75.00
NQ: +40.00

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Test Went Well

I made an extra effort to make sure I was getting real fills on all of my entries and exits today while in sim. The results from the day were not huge gains, but three trades, three winners and +120 bucks in profits. Like I said, not huge... but things were working how they should've been. This system is basically like what I was trading in January with similar price patterns and entries but use different management, stops, and exits. I think the end result is a much better overall method. It seems to be very consistent and I obviously have no trouble trading it (as I was already trading a derivative of it in January). So i'll be looking to go forward with it from here.

I can't discuss the actual trigger for the trades as it is a copyrighted entry method from my mentor Austin at Coiled Markets but i'm more than happy to discuss the management and exits. Nothing fancy here. I'm using a standard setting Keltner Channel to establish places to get to par (when price trades into the channel) and to exit (when price closes outside of it in succession). I recognize that this doesn't allow for massive winners, but it also reduces risk and gives me places to take profit. More than that, this management is much better in keeping me in the trades (rather than bailing before the move) than my management in January and getting out with profit more often than hoping for a rudimentary fib target to be hit (if you recall in January it rarely was).

Overall i'm pleased with this and I feel it represents my best chance at making this work. After all, lets not forget the ONE AND ONLY TIME I was making consistent money trading since the inception of this blog was in January when I was trading essentially the same thing with the fore mentioned difference in management or exits. I can't laugh at that or discount that fact so i've chosen to embrace it. My movement from that method was my undoing and my equity curve has taken a dump since then.

Time to get back to what works for ME.

Lets make some money this week!

Weekend Update

I just wanted to take a quick second to thank everyone for the kind words on this blog and through various emails, facebook messages, and forum PM's i've received from you all. It really helped get my mind right and push onward. I spent a lot of time looking and rethinking my setups and I came up with something that is really kind of an old kickback to what I was doing back in January. Or it least it plays off the same price pattern. I spent the entire weekend looking at ways to enter this pattern. I thought I really had a nice way yesterday afternon and then last night around 11PM I had an even bigger "aha" moment.

Its too soon to tell if its anything or if i'm nuts (probabilities of me finding something that really works are obviously abysmal considering my track record on this very blog) but I think it builds on my intial concept that was obviously working in January but enters the trades in a much more elegant, simple, and logical way allowing for less risk and more profit potential. It in most cases is lining up with the trendline entries I was taking anyway but in many instances is getting better fills. Anyway, i'm in sim mode for the day because i've got to give it a shot and see how it ends up.

So thank you guys for continually following the blog, the process, the trials and tribulations that is my career and kicking me in the butt to continue on. Cheers!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ok Day - Blah Week, Blah Year

Caught some of the up move this morning in the ES and NQ for a net total of +160.00. Too bad that only brought my weekly profitability up to +60 bucks net (and after commissions probably nothing). I just had to work out some of the issues earlier in the week but now I think i'm going to be doing just fine. Only a couple more weeks left in May and I need to be solid by the end of the month.

In other news - today is my Birthday which means one thing that's relative to this blog. By Age 23 failed. I'm 23 right now and I didn't accomplish a single one of my goals. I should be happy and joyous today for my birthday but i'm not. A year wasted? Maybe not. I've learned a lot but at some point i've actually got to start making money and being successful at this or I need to choose another profession. I have until June to be profitable enough to start paying myself a salary every two weeks. If I can't manage that i'm gonna have to throw in the towel for the time being. I think I can manage it but i'm going to have to step up my game in a serious way in the next couple of weeks. So hopefully we can just rename the blog By Age 24 in our minds and try again this year.

Weekly Net Profit: +60.00

Trade Results:

ES: +100.00
NQ: +60.00

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Force it

The trades just didn't stack up today. I was in three trades, two NQ shorts that went for par and one ES short that I took a -2 tick loss on by the book right before it rolled over to the target. It broke the lows then started to coil and lose momentum so I jumped out. Of course it rolled over minutes later but it was a textbook exit. Nothing else setup as markets trended higher into the afternoon and that's just how the deck was dealt today. Its important not to try and force trades and just wait for the opportunities to come. I still had three good setups today, just none that paid me. And a tiny loss won't kill me.

I made too many mistakes this week early on that have been hard to bounce back from. I'll probably end up net negative on the week simply due to how much I gave back realizing some futile mistakes on Monday and Tuesday. The flip side is I have plugged that leaking P&L hole and I feel i'm making good progress.

Trade Results:

ES: -25.00
NQ: +0.00

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Profitable day?

Well its taken me awhile to get everything sorted trading this week. I decided to completely get rid of taking "advancing" setups or setups that are making a H, HH and then break a trendline (opposite for shorts) because they just don't hit consistently. My best and most consistent setups have always been wedge patterns or patterns that go H, HH, LH, break of a trendline. Check out the setups from today to see what i'm talking about. My loss in the ES yesterday was one of the advancing setups if you want to see what those look like.

So i'm actually only trading one setup these days (hard to believe ain't it?) but I truly feel like its my best shot. In fact, this setup is almost like what I was originally trading back in January. Its a different trigger, management, and exits but the chart patterns are the same. I just wanted to take a minute and explain the pseudo genius behind these moves.

Take this trade I took a couple minutes ago in the ES. The market is making higher highs and higher lows? And what are all the traders doing? Buying it up and placing their stops outside of the higher lows. What happens when the trend halts and reverses? I'm there with a trendline watching the break. What is fundamentally happening is all the traders buying it long are getting their stops hit as the market starts to go against them. And obviously as we roll over through the lows of the swing where all their stops are sitting their orders get smacked and flood into the market feeding the move to the downside (and I get the profit from their failure!). Its simple, but elegant at the same time.

Trade Results:

ES: +87.50
NQ: +50.00

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Traded Perfectly, Not Profitably

Got fudge packed by the ES today and was high ticked out of a short move that would've worked. I was unable to make it back the rest of the day. Had a winner, a loser, and a par in the NQ but fairly straightforward trades. Regardless... I traded the method perfectly and that's all I can do. The thing I have come to understand is that trading perfectly does not equate to trading profitably from day to day. I did what I needed to do and these were the outcomes (albeit shitty ones).

Trade Results:

ES: -87.50
NQ: +25.00

Monday, May 11, 2009

Traded Correctly...

These were the results. Three trades, three losses.

Trade Results:

ES: -150.00
NQ: +0.00

Friday, May 8, 2009

The End to the First Week

Took one trade this morning and got a par on it. Solid entry though. I really feel like my consistency and my entries have been steadily improving. There weren't too many setups this morning due to the heavy trend off the opening bell so that limited my opportunities. Overall this week I give myself a solid C on performance. I made mistakes, rookie mistakes, that cost money but as far as my overall method is concerned, I think it performed extremely well.

I didn't take every setup that was available and still got caught doing some things incorrectly on various trades that cost me overall profitability. But I am making solid progress. I didn't knock it out of the ballpark this week with good profitability but I did manage to make a tiny profit. I guess that's a start. Considering the drawdown i've been in over the past couple of months losing money nearly every week I think its a good sign that I can trade like crap and still walk away with some money.

Next week I am focusing on executing the signals when and where they happen without flaw and sticking to my management rules to get pars and profit. My net profit this week is roughly 350.00 off of where it should be had I stuck to the rules and taken the appropriate setups. This isn't complicated but that doesn't mean its easy. All I know is I want that extra 350.00 and next week i'm gonna get it.

Weekly Net Profit: +185.00

Trade Results:

ES: +0.00
NQ: +0.00

Thursday, May 7, 2009

6 Minutes of work ends the day

I'm done for the day and its 9:07. A whole 6 minutes of work this morning. I just gank yanked 112.50 out of the ES and i'm calling it quits. The reasons for this are two fold... 1. I have a shit ton to get done today and I have a wedding rehearsal that I need to be at by 2 PM, which means my entire schedule just got shoved forward by about 4 hours today and I really have to get some things done to get there on time. 2. Knowing this, I just wanted to try and pop in this morning trade whatever developed and call it a day. But frankly, nailing such a nice entry (AND NOT BEING A LITTLE WHAT?) made me feel pretty darn good and i'm content with the gains so i'm throwing in the towel.

Perfect entry, management, and exit this morning. A far cry from my mistake yesterday. So i'm pleased and i'm off to live life, get stuff done, and take some time to enjoy life from a place other than behind the screens. Enjoy the rest of the day folks!

Trade Results:

ES: +112.50
NQ: +0.00

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

When being a little bitch bites you in the ass

Bad day? Yup. Profitable? Yup. WTF? Let me explain. Basically I had tons of opportunity today (or at least enough!) to make some decent coin. Did I? No. Why? I'm a little bitch making little bitchy mistakes, and trading like a scared little bitch. I apologize for my prolific use of the term bitch but i'm just pissed at myself.

Morning went fine. One par, one win. Nice trades, nice profits. Then the PM came and I got long in the ES at 8.25 with a target of 11 and a par movement at 10. Awais can verify this and what did I do? I bailed at par after some intrabar action I got scared of it engulfing on me. But did it? No. Did ANY of my rules say get out? No. What happened? Instant pop to my target. +2.5 missed in an instant. And all because I was a what?


So yea... its 1PM and i'm done for the day. I'm not in the right frame of mind to trade. I have got to get my act together if i'm going to turn things around by June (my profitability deadline). So i'm off to work out, regroup, and put this day behind me.

Trade Results:

ES: +87.50
NQ: +0.00

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tough Second Day

Didn't do anything wrong... just didn't make money. Got in on a move that was ever so slightly a trendline break (at least I thought it was at the time) but I had to zoom in massively and even then it was a coin flip. It obviously didn't work and resulted in a loss. But that's just some discretion. Could've easily gone the other way and worked and I would've missed it. Overall not too many trades today... most trades blew away or never really formed. Twice I was bidding for fills that never got hit. So I ended up the day with 1 loss and 1 par. Not horrid but not great.

Trade Results:

ES: +0.00
NQ: -45.00

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not a great first day...

But I made a tiny bit of moolah. Overall I hit the markets pretty well and I think took some good trades. Problem was that most of my wins were either in the NQ or the wins I did have in the ES were TINY compared with the loss I took in the ES. But overall, I played the positions as they were supposed to be, held for my targets, and even though I paid up a tick 3 times today to get an exit we got out with 90% of the move we had bargained for. As Awais would say - "Don't be a dick for a tick!".

Anyhow, here are some of the trades. The one loss i was p'eeved about in the ES was on a pattern that, yes, it was valid, but at the same time those bars that reverse hard like that from essentially the top of the swing are rarely good entries. I knew this... I didn't want to take the position... but this week is all about taking the trades and letting the outcome speak for itself.

Overall... 5 wins, 2 losses, and marginal profit - BUT I did turn a profit today and i'll take it.

Trade Results:

ES: -25.00
NQ: +55.00

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Solid End to a Solid Week

Well today was another great day full of great entries to take. Before I get to that I did want to discuss one tiny change I have made to the rule set. And that is that I will no longer be taking entries that occur beyond the current swing high or low. In backtesting i've seen a couple examples where I get into trades that signal after or as they have broken the previous swing high or low. The problem in my view is that this means a majority of the move is in all probability already played out and the likely hood for a retracement of that move is much more likely. That big -2.5 ES point loss I took earlier this week? It was a break of the swing low on entry that retraced hard.

There were two other trades today on the tick charts in both the NQ and ES that did the exact same thing. The trigger occurred with a break of the swing high and both stopped almost exactly there and went the other way. Of course this will keep me out of some trades that do go onto work and i'm sure over 100 trades it would even itself out but I much rather take fewer trades, and fewer losses, while ending up with trades that have a higher probability rather than throwing myself at every signal on the chart, especially the ones that have already made significant moves.

Onto the action. 3 Trades, 3 winners. That takes me up to a 4/4 profitability this week. I made money everyday. Net profit on the week was +627.50 (and that was with me taking some really shitty trades and still getting things worked out!) And i'm not going to call it a fluke either. I really think i'm onto something here that is simple and very manageable so i'm going to run with it. I'll be live again next week and ready to get back on track!

Trade Results:

ES: +125.00
NQ: +25.00