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Lost & losing hope
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Lost & losing hope

  #21 (permalink)
Elite Member
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Your chart is way too big for trading a 1.5 point stop. Those bars are too long. You need a lot more detail to see what's happening at your level.

Why did you go away from 30 seconds? I would use a 30s chart for context and a smaller chart for the trigger.

Also, trade one contract. If you cant be profitable with one you won't be profitable with more. Scale up gradually as your account grows.

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  #22 (permalink)
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McLean, VA
 
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MiniP View Post
9-4 is an extremely long time to be able to keep your focus at 100% there should be more then a handful of opportunities in front of you from 930-12 my suggestion would be to shorten your day. A few hours at 100% is a lot better then a lot of hours at 50% . It will happen when it happens you are not in control the market is going to do what it wants the only thing you can do is ride on the coat tails when given the opportunity. That is extremely hard to deal with because with everything else in life if we put in 100% and tons of hours usually it works out. Trading is different no matter how many hours we put into and force it we can't make the market do what we want. We all suffer from this but it gets a lot better when you start to think of things differently. It sounds like you are trying really hard and maybe you are putting to much into this. Each day when you sit in front of the desk you need to be at 100% if you aren't focused then call it quits there will be more days,you won't be warren buffet over night.

-P

I typically start at 10 after identifying a trend and then call it quits around 2:30. I used to trade 9:30 to 11, but since increasing my chart from 30s to 7500 vol I've found myself having significantly less opportunities so I've been forcing myself to trade into the late afternoon. I have to work on my focus though because when I give 100% focus I tend to overtrade due to a combination of overanalysis / confirmation bias and sheer boredom. I appreciate the advice- I think I'll cut an hour or two off.

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  #23 (permalink)
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Tap In View Post
Your chart is way too big for trading a 1.5 point stop. Those bars are too long. You need a lot more detail to see what's happening at your level.

Why did you go away from 30 seconds? I would use a 30s chart for context and a smaller chart for the trigger.

Also, trade one contract. If you cant be profitable with one you won't be profitable with more. Scale up gradually as your account grows.

Yeah the bars today were insane with some 7500 vol bars over 5 points each. Today was a rough day to trade, super choppy. I made way too many mistakes in 30s, and the scale was too small for my targets; my stops were so tight today because I knew I was going to get margin called. I typically do only trade one contract, but got a little too bold. How do you determine entry with the 30s?

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  #24 (permalink)
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shodson View Post
My guess is that your biggest problem is that your trade size is too large, especially if you are getting margin calls. For each trade you take, how much (percentage) of your account are you risking on each trade? If you are struggling please don't risk more than 1% of your account on a single trade. I know that with futures that is difficult unless you have a large account and can use a reasonably large but logical stop that doesn't risk more than 1% of your account. Futures traders with small accounts, like a $5k account, use unreasonably small/tight stops to limit their risk to 1% ($50 = 1 /ES point!) but they can never get ahead with stops that tight. But reducing your risk will slow the bleeding and get the margin department off your back. Then, if you get more consistent, think of increasing it to 2+% of your account.

You probably don't want to heed this advice because you want to make a lot of money or have a consistent income like $500 or $1000 a day, like a job, but that's not how it works. I didn't want to hear things like that either before I lost several 10s of thousands of dollars in a handful of too-big-to-fail trades of my own. So please heed my advice, lower your expectations and focus on not losing money and increasing your skills at reading and navigating through markets.

If you can't reduce your risk to 1% or less on your futures trades then you need to trade something smaller, like mini contracts, or stocks, options, micro forex, etc. But until you get consistent you really shouldn't be risking more than 1% of your account on each trade.

If you insist on being a futures trader and are underfunded I would consider trading a combine, like TopStep, and learn with them risk free. Yes, it costs money, but it's cheaper than losing thousands of dollars in your trading account to mistakes that can be avoided. If you pass the combine steps, you can even get funded, trading their money, risking none of your own capital.

If you are just trading 1 market then you aren't really getting a lot of good tradable opportunities and the temptation to overtrade is too high. You should look at different markets and only trade the ones that are easiest to trade at the time. Very few consistently profitable day traders trade only one market, and if they do then they are very experienced and well-practiced trading that market but that takes years of practice.

Also, I would consider trading higher time frames. Nothing less than 15minutes. The costs of slippage and commission are hard to overcome so trading higher time frames, heaven-forbid, even swing trading, greatly reduce that obstacle by taking fewer trades over time and giving them more time to work themselves out.

You don't need better entries. One way I make money is with a simple strategy, almost as dumb as random entries. Here are the rules to this Holy Grail day trading system. Ready? You can send me a $10k check later...

 
Code
if price > theOpeningPrice
   buy();
else if price < theOpeningPrice
   sellShort()

if itIsTheEndOfTheDay
   closeAllPositions();
That's it, entries and exits. No stops.

Try it on different timeframes. Try using other key levels instead of the opening price (someone earlier mentioned highs/lows of yesterday, etc). Try defining ranges to go long above and short below, instead of a singular price level. The key is to get out and reverse quickly when you are wrong, and only trade the most volatile instruments. If the instrument doesn't make big moves then you will lose money. Beware of switching sides too frequently because it will cost you a lot of slippage and commission, but check your position frequently enough to get out when you are on the wrong side of the trade before it goes too far against you.

I have automated this, and others, so I can concentrate on other things throughout the day. I just have to crunch my numbers after the close and forecast which stocks and ETFs will be the most volatile ones to trade tomorrow. Here's a peek at which ones I will trade tomorrow. What I trade the day after tomorrow will be different. I just trade the markets that are moving now, not the ones that everybody else is (trying) to trade.

Stocks
  • MBOT
  • PCG
  • TLRY
  • LGND
  • CGC
  • NBEV
  • AMRN
  • ACB
  • GT
  • BBBY
  • MDB
  • ATHM

ETFs
  • UGAZ/DGAZ*
  • TVIX
  • LABD/LABU*
  • UWT/DWT*

* these ETF pairs trade only the ETF of the pair that is moving up, we avoid shorting either one due to the increased costs and risks of shorting stocks & ETFs.

These instruments have been exhibiting very volatile open-close moves over the last few days. For example, MBOT closed down 12.94% below its opening price today. PCG closed up 8.99% above its opening price today. These stocks are moving a lot intraday. They may not move like that tomorrow, but stocks like these often stay volatile for a while. I have lots of losers, but the big winners pay for the many losers. I do anywhere from 20-100 trades like these each day, depending on how trendy the market is that day. This works well on 15, 30 and even 60min bars, but not any smaller than 15mins.

But remember:
  • REDUCE YOUR POSITION SIZE
  • REDUCE YOUR RISK TO 1%
  • THE MARKET DOESN'T OWE YOU A DAILY WAGE
  • TRADE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

My max fixed percentage is 5%- I've increased it as I am in five digit losses and am running out of expendable speculation capital. This is not including a little put away for when I become profitable. 5% is for my larger stop losses; typically it will be lower than that, probably around half. I try to only trade one contract nowadays but can get overconfident. Last week I did so well I just had to add one. My expectations have been stomped on enough times to the point where money and trading have separated for me and I don't expect anything but results.

I'll check out the other markets; but will likely stick to futures for the foreseeable future. I've decided that I'm shooting for home runs and am willing to take losses and BEs on the way. I also made the transition to 7500 volume charts which I feel are lengthy enough. As for ranges and key levels, I use a composite volume profile and draw in my own lines when necessary.

I'll be sure to check out the code; can you elaborate on how it can be utilized? If it helps, I'd be more than happy to send you 10k.

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  #25 (permalink)
Market Wizard
North Carolina
 
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader, Tradestation
Favorite Futures: es
 
Posts: 620 since Nov 2011
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One year is not that long. Right, you need to understand the root cause of your losses in order to correctly address your problems. A few thoughts come to mind:

Regarding your risk level
While not advice, I would classify aggressive day trading as generally a max risk of 3% up to perhaps 5% of capital per day. Aggressive quantitative systems might be able to up to 8% per day but that is very high. With small accounts, it is obviously very difficult to stay within these parameters. Most methods will go through out and under performance periods.

Instrument selection
Why are you only trading ES? There has been good volatility recently. So, I think it is a good market to be trading. However, I think adding at least another market or two might help when conditions change.

Market cognition
One of my thesis is that most profits come from having higher levels of "market cognition". I think that working on that aspect may help you. Along these similar lines, you have described very mechanical trade entries which can be backtested. Generally as a discretionary trader, you should have a good feel for the market because that is where your edge is coming from. So, if you don't have a good feel for the market then that's a problem.

Quantitative and statistical tracking
I like that you are trading in sim. However, it sounds like you are not taking full advantage of that information because a lot of your questions can be answered by applying quantitative analysis to your sim results. This is an area where I may be able to offer more help in the future. But, Ninjatrader has a lot of stats that you can drill down into.

I sim trade until I am profitable for weeks, and then I switch and can't replicate the results.

Just an idea that might help is to sim trade on an "on going" basis instead of sim trading after until hitting a high water mark. So, for example, you might trade only the first 2-4 hours each day and then sim trade the previous 3 days until you pass a performance objective that you establish. You would do this process every single day: 4 hours live, sim trade previous 3 days until you hit your goals, 4 hours live, etc. But as part of this process, you journal your discoveries and try to refine them.


Last edited by tpredictor; January 17th, 2019 at 02:34 AM.
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  #26 (permalink)
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As I see it you have two choices. 1) use the bigger chart and increase your stop. 2) use the 6 tick stop and reduce your chart to something like 30s.


xevanchan View Post
... How do you determine entry with the 30s?

You do this through discipline. You already have the basic sense of what to do:

Thrust > pullback > continuation > enter

Now you need to wait for only the best of the best of the best. No longer do you take trades you "think" will work. Now you only take trades you "know" will work. No longer do you trade on days that are dull. You only trade on days that are alive and moving. This might mean going from four trades a day to four trades a month.

Over time you will recognize more good trades and your trade frequency will increase, but for now dial it back and slowly build both your account and your confidence.

Can you do this? Do you have the discipline to sit there day after day for hours at a time waiting for just the right moment?

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  #27 (permalink)
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McLean, VA
 
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Tap In View Post
As I see it you have two choices. 1) use the bigger chart and increase your stop. 2) use the 6 tick stop and reduce your chart to something like 30s.



You do this through discipline. You already have the basic sense of what to do:

Thrust > pullback > continuation > enter

Now you need to wait for only the best of the best of the best. No longer do you take trades you "think" will work. Now you only take trades you "know" will work. No longer do you trade on days that are dull. You only trade on days that are alive and moving. This might mean going from four trades a day to four trades a month.

Over time you will recognize more good trades and your trade frequency will increase, but for now dial it back and slowly build both your account and your confidence.

Can you do this? Do you have the discipline to sit there day after day for hours at a time waiting for just the right moment?

I hope so. I'm likely going to use a 2 point stop on most days but on days like yesterday I should have increased it with all the noise. I typically adjust my stops after entry, but i'll definitely add at least a few ticks to my base.

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  #28 (permalink)
Elite Member
McLean, VA
 
Trading Experience: Beginner
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Broker/Data: Dorman Trading
Favorite Futures: emini ES
 
Posts: 24 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 47 given, 46 received


tpredictor View Post
One year is not that long. Right, you need to understand the root cause of your losses in order to correctly address your problems. A few thoughts come to mind:

Regarding your risk level
While not advice, I would classify aggressive day trading as generally a max risk of 3% up to perhaps 5% of capital per day. Aggressive quantitative systems might be able to up to 8% per day but that is very high. With small accounts, it is obviously very difficult to stay within these parameters. Most methods will go through out and under performance periods.

Instrument selection
Why are you only trading ES? There has been good volatility recently. So, I think it is a good market to be trading. However, I think adding at least another market or two might help when conditions change.

Market cognition
One of my thesis is that most profits come from having higher levels of "market cognition". I think that working on that aspect may help you. Along these similar lines, you have described very mechanical trade entries which can be backtested. Generally as a discretionary trader, you should have a good feel for the market because that is where your edge is coming from. So, if you don't have a good feel for the market then that's a problem.

Quantitative and statistical tracking
I like that you are trading in sim. However, it sounds like you are not taking full advantage of that information because a lot of your questions can be answered by applying quantitative analysis to your sim results. This is an area where I may be able to offer more help in the future. But, Ninjatrader has a lot of stats that you can drill down into.

I sim trade until I am profitable for weeks, and then I switch and can't replicate the results.

Just an idea that might help is to sim trade on an "on going" basis instead of sim trading after until hitting a high water mark. So, for example, you might trade only the first 2-4 hours each day and then sim trade the previous 3 days until you pass a performance objective that you establish. You would do this process every single day: 4 hours live, sim trade previous 3 days until you hit your goals, 4 hours live, etc. But as part of this process, you journal your discoveries and try to refine them.

What other markets would you recommend? NQ? My market cognition needs work; its works well on "easy" days but some days are seemingly unpredictable to me. I will try out the sim trading strategy; I do often trade playback, especially days that I feel I could have done better. If you want to offer any help in the field of quant/stat tracking at any time, let me know, I always appreciate help.

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  #29 (permalink)
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Trading Experience: Advanced
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Just as a follow-up, I made $1,167.24 today on 35 trades. LABD and UGAZ didn't trade because their inverse ETFs (LABU and DGAZ, respectively) went long shortly after the open and stayed long all day. TVIX (-3.50%) and MBOT (-10.82%) didn't trade because it wanted to go short but couldn't get a borrow from my broker (IB) otherwise it would have made more. I need to trade puts when the stock is not shortable, but the software's not there yet. The big winner of the day was shorting Pacific Gas & Electric (-23.37%), which is entering bankruptcy protection due to the huge liabilities incurred by the wildfires in Northern California over the last two years.

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shodson View Post
Here's a peek at which ones I will trade tomorrow.

Stocks
  • MBOT
  • PCG
  • TLRY
  • LGND
  • CGC
  • NBEV
  • AMRN
  • ACB
  • GT
  • BBBY
  • MDB
  • ATHM

ETFs
  • UGAZ/DGAZ*
  • TVIX
  • LABD/LABU*
  • UWT/DWT*


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  #30 (permalink)
Market Wizard
North Carolina
 
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader, Tradestation
Favorite Futures: es
 
Posts: 620 since Nov 2011
Thanks: 269 given, 738 received


I am personally more of a single market trader. But, anything that moves good, where you can control your risk reasonably, and where you can get an edge. While it is not quite to the level of a prediction, I think the Nikkei 225 could be a big mover this year but I am not sure how it trades as a future.


xevanchan View Post
What other markets would you recommend? NQ? My market cognition needs work; its works well on "easy" days but some days are seemingly unpredictable to me. I will try out the sim trading strategy; I do often trade playback, especially days that I feel I could have done better. If you want to offer any help in the field of quant/stat tracking at any time, let me know, I always appreciate help.


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