From my experience and observing the bonds for the past 3 months here is what I have come to understand.
The Open Outcry / Pit Session begins to trade at 7:20 AM CST. The problem with this is that at 7:30 AM CST on 3 out 5 days of the week or more there is economical news coming out. So if you trade at the opening of the session of the bonds you will be trading into the news. And if you are not prepared to trade the news then do not trade at that time.
I wanted to trade the open because I assumed that the swings of price would be there. When trading Index futures what you will find is that there is a nice swings in price at the 8:30 CST open. And I assumed that this would be the same with bonds and sadly enough that is not the case.
At this point I do not know what is the best time to trade bonds and it is something that I am trying to figure out myself.
Most of my losses usually take place during news events. So this whole time I have been trading the opening pit session of the bonds and trading right into news events. A lot of people say that fundamentals don't matter because the technical show what the fundamentals are doing. And while that may be true to a degree if you don't know how to trade in and around the news just stay out of it because you will do things that are not in line with your trading system or strategy.
Let us know if you come up with something.
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I would start at 7 am. From 7 am to the open (8:20) you can usually catch a nice move with moderate vol and good directional moves from pivot point to pivot point. (support / resistance)
At the open many days have information releases at 8:30 and that has a tendency to make the market really choppy. Ginsu knives will chop your account up. This lasts until the broader market opens at 9:30am.
Then keep your eyes open for the 10:00 move. This is the choice move until lunch time.
After that the market is slow unless news or an auction moves the price around.
Towards the end of the session 3:00 are a couple of moves but i am usually out after 11:00.
You should be able to get 10-30 ticks from 7:00 am to 11:00 any day of the week.
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I've been focusing strictly on the ZB for about 6 months now. I'm in the Mountain time zone and the 6:20 am local start time of the Chicago pit session works out very well for my schedule. I have my charts set up to show the pit session only but I look over the overnight session during my morning analysis.
The bonds have their own character and move very differently from the Eminis. They tend to bounce around key levels but when the bonds trend they can go like a freight train without ever looking back. On most days I've found the early morning activity provides a solid setup or two based on my strategy. Major news events can really send the bonds into a tizzy so I always avoid trading during those times.