I vary the number of ES contracts I trade based on the time of day - the first hour and a half is what I consider the sweet spot and risk the largest number of contracts per trade during this time. The last hour and a half (or so) I risk a smaller number of contracts per trade than I would during the sweet spot. In between those times I cut the number of lots traded either to zero or a very small amount. My reasoning for this is because of institutions like Goldman Sachs, etc. trading huge volume make their big moves at the open. At the end of normal market hours they may make adjustments to their holdings but likely those are in smaller amounts than their moves at the open. This is why I trade less lots at the end of normal market hours than at the open. The big institutions don't do so much in between those times so neither do I. I don't trade outside of those hours at all. That said, I will lower trade size regardless of time of day if the market is trading a significantly smaller range than normal or if the market is choppy. I also factor in risk / reward - if I were risking 6 ticks like you are (which seems reasonable to me if you are entering prudently) I like to have a target at a minimum of 2:1 risk / reward, though that is usually not a good enough ratio in my mind. So if going for lower risk / reward trade I would risk less contracts in that scenario as well. You are correct about 6 ticks as risking $75 per contract (assuming no slippage), and though it is a personal decision, you can do quite well with the size account you have in ES. You may want to start at a single contract until you are green every day for a couple of weeks and then slowly build up from there. Maybe 3 contracts green for a month before adding more size, etc. No rush since you can do quite well even at that level. I hope this helps!
I responded to your initial post before reading this part, so I apologize for not including this view of stops. While I consider 6 ticks an acceptable risk on a prudently entered trade, I tend to set my stops further out to protect against a catastrophic loss due to unexpected news / world events. I dislike tight stops because I want to control my exits. I personally never would consider trailing stops. My preference is for me to take me out of a trade that is not working - I don't want a stop to do that for me. Many, if not most traders likely have a different view. Of course this is predicated on knowing you have prudently entered a trade, but that is a different topic. I wish you the best!
I think the answer to the question won't help because you're asking the wrong question. Maybe you're a good trader or maybe you're just starting out....but if you're good...then you should know your avg drawdowns $ and psychologically and can test where you can go....
....if you're new, then assume you're prob gonna lose most of your 5k so it doesn't matter what you risk cause you'll break your rules, revenge trade or overleverage and overtrade anyway....most likely.....maybe you're quite smart and have great self control, but most likely you'll lose it.
There's way too many things that will deter you from correctly focusing on your skill and if you don't manage yourself you have no chance at managing your trades.
the question is....what is your avg draw down and how long does it usually last for with real money? if you don't have an answer to that then you're a skip and a hop ahead.
Guys, thanks for all of the good advice.
In summary I am under capitalised...
With my 6 tick stop loss method I think I am ok but with my other method which requires a larger stop loss my risk is too large.
But to be honest I am having other problems at the moment with the transition to live trading.
Also the market conditions seemed to have changed since my back testing.
I'll start a separate thread on these issues though.