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Daily Charts, Bar Patterns
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Daily Charts, Bar Patterns

  #21 (permalink)
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Dec 7. Early to bed, early to rise. Up at 4 am. No problem with Gold. Although thin, is still quite workable most of the time.

Got off to slow start with two Fib Band CT trades that didn't work. A Volume Pattern trade that could have made up losses and got DPT (Daily Profit Target) but I was going for more so another BEX; then an SR-P entry which I exited early in order to recover losses - although if had held another minute would have made DPT; then 30 minutes later, filled on order I had placed an hour earlier using SR-P + Market Profile TPO which made 10 ticks in about 10 secs so I exited with market order and was DONE. Love it when entries work out that way.

Rules: I am still in a bit of a muddle rules-wise. Why? Because the Daily Profit Target doesn't really fit into the rules. Why? Because the DPT is basically a minimum of 5 ticks and an ideal of 10 ticks, but 10 ticks is a pretty tight stop in this market with the sort of entries I use. Often I can have the stop be a little less, but rarely less than 6. So my usual stop is 10-12 even though I tend to write -12 in the SS for the RR ratio calculation and to allow for bad fills on exits. And since my DPT is only 5-10 ticks, the 25 tick PT is rarely operative UNLESS I am down and in recovery.

So I am always in two minds in the early going: on the one hand I don't want to take trades that don't have a decent RR ratio in that the 25 tick PT is reasonable based on market conditions; on the other hand, unless I am down considerably, I don't need 25 ticks.

That said, what is important is that one days that I am down a couple of trades (i.e. 10-20 ticks), that I do follow the exits esp. in terms of holding out for the PT's, albeit with reasonable trailing stops, not too tight but not too loose either. But when I am not down by very much, as was the case this morning, there is simply nothing wrong with walking away with 2% profit on the day even though the PT was far from being hit.

So the conflict isn't really all that bad, just means that the rules vary a little depending on the situation and this is not reflected in the spreadsheet record, the RR situation, the actual versus printed out PT's. I shall try to make a better effort to put in the actual stops and PT's in the SS, but must avoid filling it out when the trade is on because that way I often miss moving stops to BE, getting out on Volume congestion when DPT is made etc. which happened several times last week.

Administrative issues, mainly, versus confusion about rules.

Notes on the trades in the chart are in the SS.

Rules: Basically, I did well. Kept losses small, was defensive after small profits to avoid turning them into losses, recovered on one trade that could have made the DPT so that was not so ideal but again reasonable in terms of reducing drawdown, then got a quick winner and was done.

75% (because of early exit that could have made DPT).

Writing out this journal in public is helping me see that I have too much flexibility in terms of 'rules' to the point that they are not so much rules as guidelines. Pirates of the Carribean approach. Have to consider this to determine if this is alright, i.e. it's my way, or something I need to tighten up.

#1 BEX- -$4.40
#2 Loser - $38.80
#3 BEX- -$4.40 Net - -$43.2 = -.9%
#4 Win - $55.60 Net $12.4
#5 Win - $105.60 Net $118.00 = 2.4%.

Net P/L since journal commencement 20/11/2009: $986 = 19.72%.

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  #22 (permalink)
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This is perhaps a questionable post, but I thought for once I could attach a daily summary report including more than just the initial 'official' trades entered in the journal, i.e. until I reach the DPT or give up for the day. This morning, whilst dealing with a major domestic plumbing crisis which involves digging through snow from a recent blizzard, yanking mysterious tubes out of freezing cold well, rigging bizarre contraptions involving new pump to find out which pipes are blocked or not etc. etc. etc., at same time meanwhile maintained fairly steady entries and exits.

66% profitable. Not bad. If only I could do this well every day when trading live versus in SIM! In theory I get highspeed in the next couple of days but I'm not holding my breath...


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Last edited by cclsys; December 7th, 2009 at 02:09 PM.
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  #23 (permalink)
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Dec 8: slightly late start; waited for a setup; strange price action during first trade but it made DPT. Done.

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There must have been a report. Confess I haven't been following reports lately as I usually do. At entry bar (900 am) volume suddenly got thin and fast. Went through Stop Limit entry without a fill and was about to pull it when mkt came back up and was in. Then light fast action continued so moved PT to DPT and exited. If held for more, made a nice move down within next 2-3 mins as originally expected. But nothing wrong with taking the minimum DPT and moving on. The problem with this is that it becomes far less advisable to take a second trade. If first trade is a $150.00 winner, can go in on a second trade with 10 tick loss and even if stop is hit, am still at or close to DPT. But when exit at +$50, then a second trade risks going underwater for the day. Was spooked by the strange market action and glad that DPT realised.

This was a double SRP trade, double in the sense that market retraced to previous SRP/SR at 1148.90 - 1149.50. Since they were so close to each other (6 ticks) I did not take aggressive early entry at the SRP but waited for pattern confirmation before selling and sold at 1148.40 with initial stop above RH at 1149.60 = 12 ticks. Was prepared to move stop 1 tick higher. After inside bar (white) formed after entry, stop moved to above high of IB at 1149 = 6 ticks + .5 comm which I prefer to get to on first trade to reduce initial draw down if any. But then, after touching PT several times and bouncing above entryprice several times in fast, light action, DPT was filled.

Chart note: I have the Dvalue up but the problem is when reviewing trades that took place earlier is that the values shown are different from the ones that were there at the time when the price action was at far right of chart. (after writing this noticed that in attached picture there are hardly any Dvalue lines because I cropped it, so this is an unnecessary comment.) Along with BetterVolume and my FibBands, I find this one of my basic 'always-welcome' indicators. I wouldn't mind having a cyclic indicator but I find the SineWaves too hard to read in that their up-down indication is sometimes counter-intuitive (down cycles sometimes begin with a cross from the oversold area), and other oscillators require using different period settings etc. which I don't like because I am always tempted to blame the settings when they get it wrong. So basically just have price and volume and that's it. And it's fine. You get a feel for a market when you follow one regularly and my equivalent of cycles is trying to identify when a market is just chopping around hunting different clusters of weak-player stops, and when it is making nice little swings in the chart's timeframe at which point it usually takes a few bars for a change in direction, in which case the Brooks H1-H2/ L1-L2 type approach is often helpful even though my tendency is to pre-identify turning points using SR and placing orders in ahead of time. I have learned from experience, though, that although one can often be 'bang on' with this approach, one often is not and it's better to wait for a pattern at which point there is a known stop level even if this means entering many ticks away from the ideal SR-based entry which happened several bars ago; waiting also makes it more likely that if one is 'right' that the trade might hit its initial target quite quickly which is less stressful psychologically as well.

I also have Cory's VolStopIV up, though I modified it to display only on the chart, not the volume histogram since I prefer BV2 (with RPM speed backcolors) in that panel. I very much like Cory's VolStops because they seem to find volume-based patterns that take some time to unfold and thus are often different from BV2. That said, like any indicator, they often get it wrong and I am not sure I want to keep having the SR line dots printed versus the initial diamond/triangles on the trigger bars, but have them up for now to see if I find them helpful or not.

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  #24 (permalink)
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First, some Gold notes: listening to Bob Chapman from International Forecaster last night on internet radio and he mentioned two things:

Well, first several weeks ago he said that Gold was now the 'lead market'. It was Crude a few years back, often is either the SP or Bonds, but for decades now never Gold. I think he is right. It's the most important market in terms of where the big issues are being decided - or at least displayed. OK, his two points:

1. Last time the USG stepped in big on Gold was when it surged to $1000. They put on about 200,000 short contracts (via Morgan) to push it back down. Now recently it surged again to about 1228 I think. Then the USG stepped in again but this time it has taken over 300,000 shorts to push it down and thus far it has only corrected about 10% or less (whereas before they got it back down to $720 in the Cash, i.e. about 30%). So what this is saying to him is that the underlying market is VERY strong given that the USG put in 50% more shorts but thus far to relatively little effect.
2. The USG issued some new gold coins this past week which were sold out within 24 hours or something. And the coin/metal dealer on the show with him says he can't get gold and silver easily any more, and in fact although he recommended a relatively poor caller who wanted to know where to put $3,000 she had saved to get 'junk silver' bags, he also had to admit that he couldn't sell it to her because supply has been so thin for some time. In other words, at the same time that new issue of precious metals from the mints are selling out instantly and there is a severe shortage of supply along with increased demand, the USG is suppressing the Gold price big-time in the futures market.

Another factoid: there is a worldwide shortage of bullion. China has been waiting for some time to get delivery of a large amount of bullion from the IMF. Then they found out about the USG's laundering of tungsten bullion bars - perhaps the biggest international fraud of the century. So the Gold market is now becoming perhaps the most important market in the world right now, but more importantly for US futures traders, because of this shortage of bullion and almost total devaluation of trust in USG and major firms (like Morgan) ability to deliver actual bullion, action is moving into the futures markets, in other words the USG is playing more with paper than actual gold.

I started following gold mainly because I found it worked well with my challenged data feed (rural dialup with worsening connection); but I am now finding it an increasingly interesting instrument and intend to stick with it once highspeed comes in. If nothing else, it is worth keeping track of even if you are trading crude or the indexes because I think Bob is right: it is now the 'lead market', i.e. the one that is dragging all the others around. Gold doesn't go up because the US dollar goes down, or Crude goes down, or Bonds sell off etc. The others are more dependent upon what Gold is doing.

One-month Tbill auction rate this week: 0%. It is probably only a matter of time, perhaps as little as one year, before the US has to officially devalue its currency, probably to around 50% of current value. Things have gone beyond unworkable to being systemically dysfunctional. Hard times coming in the developed West.

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  #25 (permalink)
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Dec 9th:

Waited for a setup. Tested a clear SR from earlier in the premarket where there was speed and volume. Then waited some more for pattern confirmation: First a bounce forming an SRP which I marked as a ray on the attached chart. Then that SRP tested and held, without a test of the recent RL (Run Low as I call them). Then a little bounce from the SRP. So I put in limit order, got filled, virtually no heat, and off she went. Reduced PT from +25 to +23 when it hesitated at +24 and very thin volume underneath and also at previous SR/SRP level, but by time adjusted order was processed, mkt had moved up again so exited at +24.

If I want to trade more today in this model account I can without risking DPT. Probably won't. 4.7% is good enough for me!

This trade is a good example, I think, of trading price action using no indicators, really, except volume to confirm SR levels.

Now I know BM likes 5 min. So I attach the 5 min. The SR level is clear (although my snip cuts out the action that formed it from earlier) but the bar patterns have less granularity so the bottoming action is not as clear since my 150 ticks are about 2-3 mins per bar. That said, buying the magenta churn HH would have worked well, just from a higher price. Since this entry would also have involved a convincing breakup through a clear SR line drawn from earlier (narrow green Ray which should have been changed to thicker plot after being hit several times) this would actually have been a more advisable entry. So perhaps Mike is 'right' after all! My problem with that as an entry would have been the much larger initial stop I would have preferred to have, meaning a larger PT (which you cannot see on attached chart would have been hit after a pullback following my exit which retraced to within 2 ticks of the 5 min entry (my 'SRP' level) just as it was 'expected' to do).

Personally, I do prefer tick charts to time charts. I think Mike is right that drilling down into shorter and shorter timeframes/ticks to reduce risk is of questionable value at some point. No matter how you chart it, the market is the same and makes the same moves at the same prices. That said, if you have identified SR well, then you can use shorter timeframe/smaller tick bars to zoom in on the action into a zone that you think is important. This is different from treating all timeframes as equally fractal, in other words all patterns as the same. That, I think, doesn't work as a general rule. But if you have correctly identified an SR level from which a tradeable move should emerge, drilling down into smaller bars can help fine-tune entry and stop levels to better manage risk.

Rules: followed entry rules with added precision/intelligence entering at level where 12 tick stop was beneath RL versus above; did not adjust stop to BE prematurely even though tempted after DPT reached, because knew (as is nearly always the case) that barring some sudden development even if it did come back down to beneath entry price I would probably be able to exit at BE+ by lowering the target if I felt it was time to bail out; adjustment of exit by -2 ticks unnecessary as it turned out but valid decision. Meanwhile had volume trail locking in over 2% profits. Well managed on all counts. Grade: 100%.

Note on 5 min chart: the 34 period Fib-Ratio Kama Bands were working very nicely today. I don't really pay attention to them when they are up, they sort of provide background context that is processed subconsciously. But sort of followed Upper Band 1, slipped down to SR near the Middle Line MA, then bounced right back up again, just like it's 'supposed' to do. Sweet. I think this also validates BM's theory/contention that it's a timeframe followed by more pros so MA's like 21,34 etc. tend to be more watched and also fall into areas that are more significant. Since I was using a KAMA - my favorite MA - I don't know how true this is, but it certainly looks good on this chart example which may just be a random coincidence of course.

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Last edited by cclsys; December 9th, 2009 at 10:02 AM.
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  #26 (permalink)
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Well, this was too good an opportunity. When I returned to chart after entering journal above, mkt had sold back down to where I had entered. Then it broke through on downside. So mainly for learning purposes I put on some SR-R trades, which are SR-Retracements. After an important SR level has been broken, the market will often pullback to within a few ticks of that level before heading on lower. In this case the SR level was not necessarily all that important but since the selloff was pretty rapid and steep, I put in several orders, the first two at the first obvious SR retracement levels, the third - 2 contracts - much higher. If the third was entered, the trade would not be working well and the intention would be to exit at or near BE+, a high probability scenario. As it happened, #2 was filled near the RH, then mkt came back down and the double play netted $235.00 with more possible if had let second one run on breakdown of recent low (which happened). 3 mins. Another 4%. But this combination had combined heat of -22 and netted only +24, so not a good R-R ratio on exit, and a very poor one on entry. Will update SS later but that will definitely be it for 'official' trades today.

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Note: this is of questionable legality, so to speak, because was risking more than this account should - although it can afford to. But the setup was so good I couldn't resist and didn't have time to change SIM accounts. On reviewing the trades in the SS have decided that this is most certainly against the rules and that rules on these now are to wait for pattern confirmation with acceptable stop/risk OR to take with hard stop and no doubling up. End of story.

Rules Grade: 25%. Double Entry against the rules. Managed stops and exit well, albeit should have let second one run a little to see if the RL would be taken out for more profits whilst holding a BE stop making it a risk-free proposition.
Lesson: DON'T DO THESE ANY MORE even though you find them irresistible because they work 80% of the time. The 20% they don't work turn into killer losers. Not worth it. Irresponsible. Bad Boy! No excuse that it's 'only in SIM' because this way am training myself in incorrect trading behavior; this is even worse when it works out (which it usually does) because it reinforces impression that it's okay to risk the account this way. If #3 (2 contracts ) had been filled, combined risk would have been 86 ticks = $860 + com = $875 = 17.5% of the account which is ridiculous. As is a 25% grade for such an undertaking!

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Last edited by cclsys; December 9th, 2009 at 11:36 AM.
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  #27 (permalink)
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Yet another irresistible trade: classic SRP that is shown for illustration purposes (not put into official SS), but this one was legal, i.e. fully in accordance with rules.

Did not draw a Ray, but mkt retraced to SRP which I usually draw at 2 ticks above the breakout point where the HH is made. In this case, went down to the actual breakout price 2 ticks below my entry. Then took back off to the races hitting PT which I placed between next significant SRP and SR at +30 ticks = $295 net of com. = 5.9% of $5000 per unit account. Went much further and in fact after this pic snapped the higher Sell Limit was filled and made fast 8 ticks before being stopped out just above new RH for loss of 8 ticks.

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  #28 (permalink)
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Although I did put on some trades today I was not in the mood and after first recovery had already decided this was a 'day off'. Have had to wrestle with plumbing problems and blocked well in middle of first winter storm; it was all resolved yesterday and today I find myself, having cleaned up after four days without running water, exhausted. So although ended up 3.8%, I am not counting any of it in the journal/SS.

That said, a little setup happened this morning shortly before I was due to turn off the live feed that is something I have been thinking of sharing for a while. It's a small thing, namely a 'false HH' or 'false LL' in terms of bar patterns. In this case HH or LL means simply the breakout of previous bar, not a more complex swing formation.

Whether working with tick or time charts, and if you tend to use bar patterns a lot, this little tip might be of interest: if a bar closes at the high or low, and if your 'pattern' is waiting for a HH or LL, that bar is not it unless this level was already reached within the bar, then it backed away for some time before coming back up there (talking of HH situation). But to put it simply: if the high of the bar is reached just as it rolls over into a new bar (whether tick or time bars), that high is meaningless because it is being drawn purely because of the arbitrary time or tick delimitation you have chosen.

A chart example:
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In the example above I have placed a Buy Stop Limit order just above the high of the recent blue bar. My HH trigger could have been activated as soon as the green bar before the blue bar had formed and the blue bar took out the high of the green bar. I believe this would constitute a valid H2 in the Brooks methodology, but in any case, it's a second HH. However, because the close of the green bar is also the high, the subsequent breakout of its high is a 'false HH'. So the mkt went up another tick or so and then came back down. At that point, you have the high level (now the high of the blue bar) which is the H2 trigger. (1127.3 entry, MFE 1131.4 = 40 ticks / $400).

As it happened, entering on the blue bar at 1127.2 would have worked, but with 10 ticks initial heat. When it came back up and took out the blue bar high (which was the real high of the miniswing in the series), it kept going up to 1129 with barely a pause, which of course is always preferable, before working its way higher over the next 5 minutes.

So that's my little tip for the day for people who watch bar indicators (which is my main indicator as it happens): pay attention to those false highs and false lows.

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  #29 (permalink)
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Dec 11th.
Scrappy day. Started off playing around with Gom's impressive Volume Ladder. Since I don't have the slightest idea what Delta Volume is, frankly it is more confusing than helpful, but I have wanted to watch bar-by-bar Market Profile action for some time and am very happy Gomie (?) has offered this to us and intend to spend some time in the next few months studying up on Delta etc. and also watching this type of price-volume display. Right now, I find DValue more helpful intuitively but it is too much to have both on the same chart, and too confusing to flip between several charts although I might play with some workspaces that have all charts the same timeframe (5 mins say) but with different indicators. In any case, my initial attempts to use the Volume Ladder were extremely haphazard and only by being very aggressive at one point, trading up to 14 contracts, could I recover early losses. Just messing around whilst watching the indicator. Not a responsible use of SIM and something I am supposed to stop doing.

Then started 'actual' trading around 8.30 and the first trade made the DPT but I wasn't sharp enough to even notice it until after stopped out. In other words, was not focused after messing around earlier on. Did not properly prepare this morning. Also nursing a light flu after too many half-naked plunges into freezing well during snow blizzard earlier this week, so generally feeling a bit 'under the weather' physically.

There is a record of the many trades today in the attached SS. Nothing of much interest, really. I fought through to DPT at the end having come close several times, but if this was a day trading real money it would have been quite emotional and I doubt I would have come through as well. For me the key seems to be being properly prepared at the beginning which means taking my time to set up the workspace, monitor the market for at least 30 minutes before putting on first trade, and not messing around with experimental approaches beforehand. This morning should have just taken the DPT 30 seconds after initial entry and that would have been that. Instead, went through 15 trades to end up back at same level P/L-wise as that first trade would have netted.

How many times have I seen that happen in actual as well as SIM trading? Well, to be fair, most of the time in actual trading I do take the DPT. And the problem has been that when I get into a hole, at some point I give up in disgust and fear down quite a bit for the day and it takes too many days after that to come back, or what happened this summer is that I spent about a week coming back to about the same or slightly lower level taking small DPT's, and then once again had a large losing day. The last time this happened I kept going long past a 20% drawdown and then decided to regroup having nothing to show for 3 months trading. Pretty soon now will return to live trading having fine-tuned method to be based mainly on SR and volume patterns related to SR levels, and avoiding indicator-based approach (similar to Viper method I think) which I was using before. That method was good, but since I was unable to avoid pattern-entries all the time since that is how I view the market, and was using them in ways that fought the indicator-based trend-following method, I would get into steep drawdowns from alternating too quickly between trend and counter-trend, often losing in 20 minutes what had taken me a week to accrue. That is what has to stop in live training when I start again in a couple of weeks hopefully, or more likely after New Year it looks like.

Rules Grading: too many trades to evaluate. But I made the cardinal error of alternating between long and short too quickly based on my desire to 'make back the losses quickly'. Instead, I added to them. I think today I should just call it 0% even though I ended up in the black.

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Summary from 11/20:
P/L $1668 = 33.3% return. Pretty good. But SIM of course, which is most definitely NOT the real thing. Still, the principles being used do work and am glad to be away from smoothing or oscillator-type indicators and just focused on price action with assist from volume-based indicators. It is 85% bar action though, if not more, which is really how I prefer to trade so think I have developed method more in line with how I see things versus some magic formula that will somehow see things differently and pluck easy profits from the market every day.

Wish I had better win-loss MAE-MFE stats in SS. Perhaps can re-tool it over weekend.

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