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Trading spot fx euro using price action
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Trading spot fx euro using price action

  #761 (permalink)
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2013-06-14 Friday sim trading session


forexfactory.com
 
Code
10:00 	EUR 	Med	CPI y/y 
	EUR 	Med	Core CPI y/y
	EUR 	Low	Employment Change q/q 
	GBP 	Low	CB Leading Index m/m 
10:50 	GBP 	Med	MPC Member McCafferty Speaks 				
13:30 	USD 	High	PPI m/m 
	USD 	Med	Core PPI m/m 
	USD 	Med	Current Account
14:00 	USD 	Med	TIC Long-Term Purchases 
14:15 	USD 	Med	Capacity Utilization Rate
	USD 	Med	Industrial Production m/m
14:55 	USD 	High	Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment
	USD 	Low	Prelim UoM Inflation Expectations

Starting equity: GBP 94,255 (sim)
Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: OK
Mental: OK
Fatigue: Not showing yet but bad
Higher Time-frame: bullish after yesterday's low at the lower trend channel boundary, although it's quite a big lower tail it put in there, and it went a way under my trend line before coming back (and took out my position trade stop).
20 day volatility: 107 (10 year max 287)
20 hour volatility: 22.5 (10 year max 96)
Asian Session: Swinging slowly down, quite smooth, no chop. 31 point range, 3.5 point ATR
Pre-Session Summary: HTF up-trend, day's trend down so far, price interaction at S/R at '50 level obvious
Pre-Session Psych Issues: impatience vs. hesitation: hesitation winning
Session Review
Looking for traps is meant to be the main objective of my analysis but too often I get sidetracked by the never-ending combinations of trend-lines, S/R levels, HTF trends, triangles, channels, you-name-it. Today was a good example. I had all of:
1.3350 round number
Asian low
60-min 50SMA
HTF rally trend-line
and of course the 3-min 20EMA

Complicating the analysis, we had a smooth sell-off in progress against the HTF rally back-drop. I ended up not using the HTF trend-line since it is so subjective where exactly it should be. However somebody must have drawn the line at the same place as me since the market reacted at the line and got all choppy trying to break it - although you can also partly blame the 10:00 news for that.

Set-up 1 was too early for me, since I broke my rule to start on time or not trade at all. Or maybe I've forgotten but if I did watch the set-up, I would have been biased wrong anyway. Fatigue is taking its toll on my short term memory. It looks in hindsight like a tradeable break-out failure thro 1.3350, but the Asian low just underneath requires a close stop or early entry, preferably both - i.e. low probability so avoiding this one was not an issue.

Set-up 2 was low volatility and without signals or warnings unless you take the small lower tail of the bullish hammer 195. Also had the issue with the Asian low S/R in the way requiring early entry and tight stop -> low probability.

Set-up 3 I remember because I really tried to catch it, since I figured the rally would end here and I know that tests and failures at S/R can turn around quickly. Again it did so without signals or triggers (at least not with my favourite ones - spikes or springs or dojis).

The market turned up again on the HTF trend-line but I wasn't confident in it.

Set-up 4 came as the next mini-rally failed at the Asian low / 50SMA. I was more committed this time but expected it to move down faster than it did. Since I still considered this to be a counter-trend move because of the HTF rally, I should have given it more room for chop and noise, but instead I was more nervous and gave it less room, bailing out for the sake of 2 points and missing the move.

After the news I figured that big bear candle was good proof of bearish strength and got short, and this time the market let me get away with a tight stop and by following a sharp mini-trend-line, I bailed out as it was broken. I figured if there was any bearish strength from that big candle, it would translate into a smooth move down to 1.3300 from there.

Set-up 6 came after the market put in a higher swing low and I figured it was definitely time for the bulls to get stronger. Wrong again, and the upper tail on bar 262 was good enough reason to bail.

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Set-up 4: -1.5 & -1.5
Set-up 5: +1 & +1
Set-up 6: -0.5 & -0.5
Commissions: -7.5
Total: -9.5 points

Lessons Learnt

Successfully put some trades on without forcing myself to overcome hesitation or stop myself falling to impatience.

There didn't seem to be any triggers or signals today, nor yesterday. Whether this is just co-incidence, or if I'm not seeing them all, I'm not sure, but it could be due to the counter-trend day we're having compared to the HTF trend - however I thought the theory was that counter-trend moves tend to be choppier. Today is distinctly low volatility.

Set-up 1 demonstrated again that what looks like the first push out of a set-up can in fact then stall for a few minutes and allow an entry. It'd be enough to wait for a slow mini-retrace of two or three points and then enter on the next bar in the right direction. Needs looking into historically.

The best set-up today? Set-up 3 - the failure to break out above the Asian low again is the one to learn from today

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  #762 (permalink)
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2013-06-17 Monday sim trading session


forexfactory.com
 
Code
00:01 	GBP 	Low	Rightmove HPI m/m
09:00 	EUR 	Low	Italian Trade Balance
10:00 	EUR 	Low	Trade Balance
13:30 	USD 	Med	Empire State Manufacturing Index
15:00 	USD 	Low	NAHB Housing Market Index
Day 1 	ALL 	High	G8 Meetings 					
16:10 	EUR 	Low	German Buba President Weidmann Speaks

Starting equity: GBP 94,240 (sim)
Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: OK
Mental: good
Fatigue: poor
Higher Time-frame: rally has made higher lows but lower highs 2 days in a row after 3 days of higher highs. Bull strength weakening - could be pressure building in either direction
20 day volatility: 107 (10 year max 287)
20 hour volatility: 19 (10 year max 96) - both moderately lower
Asian Session: range 40, ATR 3, no weekend gap, slightly choppy but quiet for a Monday, no flowing, bearish.
London Session: Tried and failed to reverse the Asian range, very quiet, ranging since that small rally in a 15 point band at 1.3350
Pre-Session Summary: HTF rally still going but in consolidation, hardly any interaction to speak of, behaviour at 1.3350 is OK but using level as a ceiling. and the hourly 50SMA as a floor.
Pre-Session Psych Issues: unknown
Session Review

Set-up 1 was happening as I started - late again - another rule broken - can't even remember my justification.

Justification is the root of all evil.

I could have had a tight stop and a near-by target for set-up 1 but I wasn't fast enough to get in on the action. The break-out failure at the 4-hour range's floor gave two decent entry points on the 1-min canles, on bars 308 and 309 as small sell-offs were turned around by the bulls.

Set-up 2 would have been a credible short entry after the 3-min doji although there was no resultant sell-off.

Set-up 3 saw me get long but fail to bail as per plan since I mistakenly decided that all the previous hours of consolidation would absolutely warrant some kind of bullish fireworks. The fireworks didn't materialise and I made the mistake of giving the trade all the room I could reasonably justify giving it, actually moving the stop to beyond the 20EMA finally before realising my misbehaviour. Should have bailed after the 2nd 3-min candle 6mins later.

Even tried to pull in my targets to get out on a better price after the bad PA, but then changed that plan too - which would have got me out at -5 instead of -9 points.

The spike up at 337 should have got me into a reversal trade but I was out of the zone by that point.

Set-up 4 is not a set-up I should have been trading, it's an unresearched set-up on my list of things-to-do where the market bounced off the 50SMA on the 60-min chart around round numbers.

I even traded the failure of this one - same justification / error of judgement. In both situations I was sure there would be a big move. I figured it had sat on the 60-min MA for long enough to gather enough attention that there would be a stop run once it moved back up instead of breaking to lower prices. The 'failure' I went for was not quick enough for bar 345 to have been a trap - bars 346, 347 and 348 should have been one candle for it to warrant a failure reversal trade.

Set-up 5 was a legit set-up, a failure to break the 1.3350 round-number again. This is a legit set-up even during a range day, with the benefit of hindsight. The confusion become clear at this point - high probability set-ups vs low probability set-ups: what I am allowed, what I am avoiding - and high risk vs low risk.

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Set-up 3: -10 & -10
Set-up 4: -2 & -2.5
Set-up 4: -1 & -1

Lessons Learnt

Caught out again today. The big question: why?

Last week I was trading fine. Last week I would have stayed out of the market because my intention at this stage is to take only the best trades. "Only the best" by my definition here means to take high probability trades. Part of my confusion (even if it doesn't feel like confusion at decision-time) is that the original YTC PAT-based trading plan that I made contains plans for trading low probability set-ups, which are fine by YTC PAT standards if you can manufacture a low risk entry or if you are taking these set-ups all the time and have more experience of when to bail.

However I have distilled my trading plan down to high probability trades only, but I now realise I haven't actually written this in black and white in my plan. It's just a mental note-to-self at the moment, i.e. a loosely committed decision that I had no trouble breaking today.

Trading badly on the first trade seems to have a domino effect causing more poor trading.

Starting off badly by starting late / breaking the no-late-starts rule meant I was already on the course of ill discipline and I don't have anything in my visualizations or psych warning system to catch ill discipline, except the daily time-out at 20 points, which I hit on trade 1 and failed to take.

So taking a step back to try to see the woods and not just the trees, I had a choice to make when I started: break the no-late-starts rule and trade, or not. Instead of seeing it as a "rule", I considered the pros and cons of not trading. Trading is fun, and I wanted to, and instead of respecting my rule, I justified trading anyway and just made repeated bad decisions thro the session. I could record the justification and it would seem eminently reasonable but that's not the point. Even an absolute psychopath can justify his actions to himself.

I am tired to the point of exhaustion, and I have had no time to prepare properly, better said, to do my weekly reviews for the last 3 weeks. I also didn't do my schedule for the week which includes my trading schedule for the week. So I was unprepared too. I knew that, and knowing it has a knock-on effect as the conscious initlal lack of discipline fed through ass the starting point for today's poor performance.

The best set-up today? set-up 1

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  #763 (permalink)
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Jekyll and Hyde


It feels like it was someone else trading yesterday. It's pretty grim. I remember a misplaced feeling of confidence that I knew what I was doing and yet in hindsight it was clearly wrong, and I tore up the rule book getting to those trades. I guess it was only one trading session but it was something that I really should never ever do, but I did it. If I was trading live that would have been at least $250 lost. OK not so much if I'm only trading $5 per point but it annoys me like mad that it happened.

In thinking about it and mulling over possible solutions, I think I am trying to do trading sessions when I shouldn't because I feel a pressure to make trading into a job with regular sessions. Really I should trade when I'm ready, and hold off trading when I'm unprepared.

The other problem is that I keep a list-of-things-to-do and I am just keeping a list at the moment and never doing any of them. A lot of the things involve looking back across the historical charts to check out things I am seeing and their validity or not. Back in March I had written my S/R indicators which turned into a mammoth piece of code and was taking up too much time and stopping me from getting into trading. Since I stopped coding it, I have been able to take a step back and see where my coding and indicator design wasn't working, causing it to require way too much code for each extra bit of functionality I wanted.

I now have some new ideas about how to code it so I hope to finish it and then I can get into all of the back-log of historical charts and price action research.

So I'm going to put into my trading plan at some point that I am not a regular trader with some 9-to-5 schedule, rather I trade when I am prepared. I'm not going to trade if I have anything on my things-to-do list.

If I get something that I want to do, I schedule it, or I don't do it. I'm not going to trade with things on the list.

I'm going to clear my back-log of things-to-do now. This might take a while - it's a big list.

I think at this point on the learning curve, trading is always going to throw out tons of ideas and problems - checking stuff for validity, putting it in the trading plan if necessary, fixing indicators, reading trading books - anything. Hopefully as I plough through this and get higher up the learning curve, I'll get less things-to-do appearing out of my trading.

It's too complacent to think that I am good enough to sit down and trade without making losses. "Just doing it" sounds so good, but it's not. It masks any number of subconscious drivers that play havoc with my trading plan and decision-making.

I am also putting more sleep into my schedule.


Sir Isaac Newton, after losing a fortune in the South Sea bubble
I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.


You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
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  #764 (permalink)
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It's taken me more than a month to complete but I figured it had to be. My S/R indicator is now kills off invalidated S/R levels so it doesn't just carpet the chart after a few weeks.

I still have to finish it off and that's proving difficult. Each S/R level gets its own little button at its origin, so hovering over it pops up the tooltip with the S/Rlevel details in, and clicking on the button removes the S/R level.

The point of that is to allow an improbable S/R level to be removed. I haven't perfected it to the point where the indicator makes the same decisions as me. In fact I'd say it's only 80% there.

Anyway I need some Windows programming help to get the buttons to work properly and I'm not getting it from the usual non-NT7 C# geeks on the NT7 forum.

I've got this thread going on the indicator, hoipefully someone will have a clue.

The main thing is that it lets me jump back to any date and not have to worry about spending 10 to 15 mins drawing the S/R lines on the chart.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
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  #765 (permalink)
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2013-09-19 Thursday sim trading session


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Code
AllDay 	CNY 		Bank Holiday 					
09:30 	GBP 	H	Retail Sales m/m 	
11:00 	GBP 	M	CBI Industrial Order Expectations 
13:30 	USD 	H	Unemployment Claims 		
	USD 	M	Current Account 			
15:00 	USD 	H	Existing Home Sales 		
	USD 	H	Philly Fed Manufacturing Index 	
	USD 	L	CB Leading Index m/m 		
15:30 	USD 	L	Natural Gas Storage

Starting equity: GBP 94,183 (sim)
Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: OK but recovering from cold
Mental: Good
Fatigue: Probably 5 hours sleep debt
Higher Time-frame: bullish after breaking August high
20 day volatility: (10 year max 287) 86
20 hour volatility: (10 year max 96) 18 - recovered from earlier in week
Asian Session: 35 points range, 5.5 point ATR
- Retraced from yesterday's high down to congestion zone at 1.3500
- was bullish from then on, but stayed well below the high
- good price interaction at 1.3500, but found its own level @1.3535
Pre-Session Summary: Longer term bull trend
- day's trend so far just starting really if it is going to be bullish
- yesterday's high is obvious next level up then 1.3550
- then clear space up to 1.36

Pre-Session Psych Issues:
Got out of bed at 05:30 so it's obvious I'm serious, but it's added badly to my sleep debt since I didn't get to bed til late, putting the finishing touches on the indicators.

Not going to try any trades since I will have to jump back to the S/R indicator script if & when it needs tweaking.

Plus after not trading since taking what was meant to be a short break in June, everything is seriously rusty.

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Session Review

I'm going to go with just plain numbering to mark the setups from now on. All the other methods I've tried to mark up my charts for the record are just a waste of time in comparison. I can hardly read the text on the embedded screenshots as I had it before, so I figure - KISS

Lots of bouncing around before definitively breaking the Asian high.

Then more bouncing around after putting in a new high on seemingly strong buying.

But then it got to 11:00am and the doldrums, chop set in.

I've marked the potential setups in retrospect, but as I said I didnt try trading them. Here's some analysis to help get me back in the groove.

Setup 1 - this is not a current setup, I'm just prototyping it until I've got enough evidense on it. The Asian session is typically low volatility, around 3 to 5 points ATR on the 20-bar 3-min time-frame and when it gives way to the London session, the volatility just picks up from one bar to the next and this can be at any time from 06:00 to 07:15. Sometimes the move goes all the way to the Asian session high, or the low. This time it petered out after 10 points. I just have to go back over the charts and check this session change-over, see if this first move is tradeable, or just my imagination.

Setup 2 was eminently tradeable as price failed to break out at the Asian high and gave a good display on the 1min chart of uncomplicated bullish weakness - entry would have been right below the Asian high, initial stop held tight in the middle of the setup zone, and target 1 down at the previous swing low. The move was good for target 1. The only problem with the setup is that it's against the higher time-frame trend - but the theory says I should have both targets at T1 in that case, so it would have been even better.

With even more hindsight, if I was bullish in agreement with the higher time-frame trend, I would have looked for a long entry out of the exit of trade 2. I think I was tweaking my indicator at the time, so I can't say what I thought in real-time.

Setup 3 was similar to setup 2 - nice short setup in hindsight but I was looking for a long so if I'd spotted the PA, I would have gone short with both targets just above the previous low, and they wouldn't have been hit.

Setups 2 & 3 might seem like fantasy trading but it's a new session, there is no establish trend, and a strong bull trend yesterday could be followed by either more bullishness or just as likely, a retrace.

Setup 4 is at a point where there's now a bit of evidense for bullish activity. Higher highs and higher lows. I could easily have been trapped short first but my trading rules say I can reverse it after the bear bar is retraced, and I'd get long because that's now a failed short with a spring trigger. The decent move would have made up for the trapped short trade, with both target 1 and 2 getting hit.

Setup 5 is bad. By this point, I'm expecting it to swing back and forth so it should go down here but it doesn't, although it's worth noticing that the lightning move up to this level probably means it's best to throw out the swing count. On the 1-min it was clearer that the bulls were doing better but there were no triggers for the entry. Going long on a stop above or just entering long during the stall are not easy to justify.

The move up to make a new high leads straight into a pull-back all the way to the line, at setup 6, and that unfolded really quick so the only point that I saw to enter was exactly that. Again it petered out as the early setups did.

Then came setup 7 and that was too choppy in hindsight, although in real time I figured it was a kosher long, a test of 1.3550, or at least a failure to break down. It jumped back 7 or 8 ticks up on the stroke of the hour, so someone somewhere out there was doing something they shouldn't - or maybe it was IB's technology messing it up.

Lessons Learnt

A consolidation day after yesterday's move.

Got to watch those turning points. V-shaped turning points vs. U-shaped turns. OK, that's a lesson to look into. As is the Asian session hand-over.

The best set-up today?

Setup 2 or 3

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  #766 (permalink)
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2013-09-20 Friday sim trading session


forexfactory.com
 
Code
AllDay 	CNY 		Bank Holiday 					
09:30 	GBP 	M	Public Sector Net Borrowing 
12:30 	EUR 	M	German Buba President Weidmann Speaks 					
15:00 	EUR 	L	Consumer Confidence
17:30 	USD 	M	FOMC Member George Speaks 					
17:40 	USD 	L	FOMC Member Tarullo Speaks 					
17:55 	USD 	H	FOMC Member Bullard Speaks

Starting equity: GBP 94,137 (sim)
Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: OK
Mental: OK
Fatigue: Poor 6 hours sleep debt
Higher Time-frame: Up, at least after a bit of consolidation
20 day volatility: (10 year max 287) 21
20 hour volatility: (10 year max 96) 18
Asian Session: Almost flat-lining.
Pre-Session Summary: late to the market, trying to catch up on sleep. No intention to trade anyway.
Pre-Session Psych Issues: think there's a lot I need to remind myself of, before I can start learning more even.

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Session Review

When I started just before 07:00 and saw how flat the Asian session had been and how little volatility was coming into the market, I thought about canning the session and doing something else, but I need the screen time so I continued. I figured trading always comes up with something interesting. However I had no intention to trade since I'd just got up and not done any of the pre-session stuff, and was still watching my new NT set-up for faults.

Setup 1 was a low volatility situation and offered a little spring trigger in the wrong direction (on the 1-min chart).

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so if I'd wanted to enter here I would have been expecting to go long.

The volatility hardly increased and in fact started decreasing again around 08:00. I keep trying to find a use for the concept of range days and trend days but since it's always only ever really defined in hindsight, I think trying to base an action plan on whether it's a range day or a trend day just adds another element of uncertainty to the situation. So I thought, it's going to be a range day so I need to fade the market at the edges of the range and everything in-between is too random.

Maybe a lot of other traders were thinking like that too because then setup 2 appeared, which was on the stroke of 09:00 at which point an attempted rally died and the bears put in a sharp, strong move to make a new low and if I had been trading and hadn't been thinking "range day", I would have shorted it since I recognised the sort-of misshapen pull-back pattern and thought "mmm, bearish PA"

Setup 3 if I'd traded it would have seen me get short on a sort-of spike and then reverse it to go long, which then ran into the sand and couldn't get past the EMA20 line.

Because of the smaller retrace and the lower high, I abandoned the range day theory and decided it looked pretty likely to hit 1.3510 or 1.3500. The next push down - setup 4 - made a slightly lower low but put in some bullish tails at the low. Despite the failure to stay at the low, I figured it was still massively bearish and go short on the 1-min chart as the bars failed to make a higher high.

I should have done this on my NT sim account, which is for messing around, not on my IB sim account, which subsequently took a 6.5 point hit. I'm not even dressed yet - this isn't the level of professionalism I wanted to start off my new trading season with.

Anyway, I had the stop at the previous swing high 8 points away so there was even R:R (target 1 = 1.3510). I figured it might test the EMA20 line which it did, so I gave it leeway to do that, but then I saw the bad PA set in after it failed to sell off and should have bailed at the start of the big bull bar instead of letting it hit my stop, which I'd drawn in a little.

Bar 255 was an inside bar so it was a simple case of exiting as the market broke its top. On the 1-min chart it was more blatantly obvious.

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So -6.5 points instead of -2.5.

In retrospect, the market's failure to dive straight through the session low at the start of this setup was really a big bull flag. It was the third attempt. So really -6.5 points instead of +15

So 3 mistakes there. The last one mentioned was the biggie. At this point I'll just put it down to rustiness.



Lessons Learnt

Sitting at the screen watching the market generally has me in one of two states of mind. The first most frequent is one that I find counter-productive, where I keep talking through my bias, with e.g. "should I go long/short here" but the second infrequent state of mind is one I want to be in all the time where I don't have any thoughts at all, where I'm just sitting there waiting for a message from my subconscious about the quality and tendency of the PA.

Ideally I have no thoughts but that is next to impossible - most of the time I'm considering some idea or other, about trading alright but not simply "should I go long/short here".

Also an old lesson - I shouldn't have traded as was my intention, but I got wrapped up in it as will always happen without regularly going over the psych points on my trading cards (a set of A6 cards). So don't think it won't suck you in - it always will unless you have your defense shields raised - or you've got some other character type from me.

The best set-up today?

Setup 4 was the best setup, even though I tried going the wrong way. The failure to break out of the session on the third attempt was the flag, and the bad PA I saw was the bullish entry trigger.

P943 T362/670 V34K

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Last edited by Adamus; September 20th, 2013 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Just adding some blog stats
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Lance Beggs just posted some very timely advice on the range day / trend day subject on his newsletter: Narrow-Range-Sideways

He offers three warning signs that the market is going to range this session:
  • Price action is sluggish - I'll take that to mean low volatility
  • The market can break out of its opening range - not so easy for EUR/USD forex, but I'll take it to mean the Asian session range
  • The expectation is for more ranging if the market is stuck in consolidation and there's no expected events on the way to shake it up - I think the German elections are probably a factor here for the EUR/USD

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Last edited by Adamus; September 20th, 2013 at 10:45 AM.
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2013-06-23 Monday US AM session


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Code
02:45 	CNY 	H	HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI
08:00 	EUR 	H	French Flash Manufacturing PMI
	EUR 	M	French Flash Services PMI
08:30 	EUR 	H	German Flash Manufacturing PMI
	EUR 	M	German Flash Services PMI
09:00 	EUR 	M	Flash Manufacturing PMI
	EUR 	M	Flash Services PMI 
11:00 	EUR 	M	German Buba Monthly Report 					
14:00 	EUR 	H	ECB President Draghi Speaks 					
	USD 	M	Flash Manufacturing PMI 
14:30 	USD 	M	FOMC Member Dudley Speaks 					
19:00 	GBP 	M	MPC Member Broadbent Speaks

Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: Good
Mental: Not well-prepared so strictly no trading allowed today
Fatigue: Probably 4 hours sleep debt
Higher Time-frame: still consolidating after Wednesday's Fed easing policy inspired burst upwards. No visible effect from German conservative win.
20 day volatility: (10 year max 287) 83
20 hour volatility: (10 year max 96) 17
Asian Session: 23 point range, peak ATR 2.5
London Session: 44 point range, peak ATR 6, initial move up to Asian high failed after struggling for 1.5 hours until the PMI data came out, allowing reversal and move lower, but it appears it just shifted the 25 point range lower, losing half its volatility
Pre-Session Summary: probably a ranging session ahead. Attempts to break downwards not getting much traction. Upward movement which I expected due to German election results twice failed - at Sunday evening open, and at London open.
Pre-Session Psych Issues: Lack of preparation - still re-reading and modifying my trading plan and cheat cards - no trading allowed and I must stick to this, so I have plugged into my live account to raise the stakes if I start considering a trade. Cheap psych trick - hope it works.

Session Review

Managed to watch the market but spent most of the time debugging my S/R levels indicator.

Don't know whether I can classify today as a range day, it was more like a slight trend day.

Re-familiarised myself with the process or better said, lack of process of deciding whether to enter early or once the market has tipped its hand - as far as I can tell, this is the most subjective process I do. I don't have to do it, and maybe I shouldn't until I've proved I can.

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2013-06-24 Tuesday US AM session


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Code
09:00 	EUR 	H	German Ifo Business Climate 
09:30 	GBP 	M	BBA Mortgage Approvals 
11:30 	GBP 	M	MPC Member Miles Speaks 					
13:45 	GBP 	M	MPC Member Tucker Speaks 					
14:00 	EUR 	L	Belgium NBB Business Climate 
	USD 	M	S&P/CS Composite-20 HPI y/y 
	USD 	L	HPI m/m 
15:00 	USD 	H	CB Consumer Confidence 
	USD 	L	Richmond Manufacturing Index 
18:00 	GBP 	M	MPC Member Bean Speaks 					
	USD 	M	FOMC Member George Speaks

Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: Good
Mental: almost got everything under control, but there's still little bits of worm sticking out the lid of the can
Fatigue: yes, well this would be defined by (everything minus almost everything) in the above statement
Higher Time-frame: Grinding slowly down after Wednesday last week's 3x ATR day
20 day volatility: (10 year max 287) 82
20 hour volatility: (10 year max 96) 17 - basically flat since the begin of August
Asian Session: Going for a record flat Asian session with only 9.5 point range. Max ATR 2. Flat as a mill pond.
London Session: 45 point range, 4.5 point ATR, had a go at a bull trend but turned back at the 60min SMA50. Then sold off slowly, spiking downwards, smooth swing highs. testing yesterday's low. Yesterday's US session didn't stop at the support at 1.3500 so why should today's London session stop at yesterday's low? Only answer would be lower volatility.
Pre-Session Summary: grinding 50 to 60 point range expected although watch out for 15:00 consumer confidence number, currently making spikey tails as it grinds lower. Bottom of range could be 1.3560, or it could turn here and test resistance at 1.3545 - 1.3550 on positive US news.
Pre-Session Psych Issues: No particular issues, it's the whole thing. 3 months off since mid-June and I feel like I'm going into the ring without training for 3 months. Well, this is the training so let's do it.

Session Review

Actually I'm still fixing bugs in my indicators, so this return to action is definitely in the slow lane.

I sat with my mind in a fog watching the price action in the hour before the US opening. It doesn't actually help that I haven't finished re-reading my trading plan so I found myself wondering what exactly is my definition of a break-out pull-back and even if I knew that, how would I deal with the rising volatility mid-way through the setup as the US opens?

At that point I figured I'd better finish early and finish reading and absorbing my trading plan, as per my original schedule this week which went out the window as most of my pre-arranged schedules generally do. The problem with my schedules is (a) I tend to re-prioritise on the fly and (b) I always find new tasks coming out of the woodwork.

I can only hope the disorder eases up next week after a clear week of trying.

So pretty much with the same tepid volatility as yesterday and Friday, I watched cluelessly as the market ranged between 1.3480 and 1.3490 until 13:00 on the hour, with the approaching US opening, things picked up and price pushed down through to a new low. This was pretty much in accordance with what I figured might happen.

I hooked up to the sim account to allow me to put a trade on, not because of a burning conviction to go short but because I figure actually putting trades on focuses the concentration - although I'm not sure it leads to better analysis.

After pushing down with good volatility to a new low, I figured the wise guys would be buying the bottom of the range, pushing the market back up - but if they were wrong, after they make it pull-back, the market would break back into the sell-off and when they all bail out, that would make an easy ride down to 1.3450.

Didn't happen like that though. Nice theory, but also a complete mind-flip from my previous idea that we'd stay in a range and a push down to a new low wouldn't lead much further.

The reason was that I was banking on the consumer confidence news event to be the trigger for a bull run, and that was still 2 hours away - plenty of time to put in a move down to 1.3450? Not a good idea really, thinking more carefully about it - that would entail a significant increase in volatility beforehand, when actually the news event would be the volatility trigger. So, not exactly Mr Spock.

So, muddled thinking and rustiness - but waiting for the 15:00 news event to do anything wasn't a clear strategy anyway since I don't have any news-based setups. A good push back up came along starting at 14:00, offering 10 points from the S/R at 1.3480 to the next at 1.3490 but I'd stopped watching by then.

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2013-10-02 Wednesday US morning session



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Code
AllDay 	CNY 		Bank Holiday 					
08:00 	EUR 	H	Spanish Unemployment Change 	
09:30 	GBP 	H	Construction PMI 
	GBP 	L	Housing Equity Withdrawal q/q 
10:34 	EUR 	M	German 10-y Bond Auction 	
12:00 	GBP 	M	MPC Member Fisher Speaks 					
12:45 	EUR 	H	Minimum Bid Rate 	
13:15 	USD 	H	ADP Non-Farm Employment Change 
13:30 	EUR 	H	ECB Press Conference 					
15:30 	USD 	M	Crude Oil Inventories 	
17:00 	USD 	M	FOMC Member Rosengren Speaks 					
20:30 	USD 	H	Fed Chairman Bernanke Speaks

Position size: 2 x US$50K
Max risk per trade: 10 points (both parts) / 1% real money account size
Daily time-out: -20 points
Daily full stop: -40 points
Physical state: No ailments, no injuries. Good.
Mental: Time pressure. Must be acknowledged - I'm at the point where I'm starting to think about earning some money the normal way again. At the weekend I'm going to sit down and think through an exact definition of when and why that point is.
Fatigue: Had a 30min head-down already after my brain shut down trying to do some coding earlier. Should be good to go.
Higher Time-frame: The €/$ is sitting in a consolidation zone on the daily chart above the last 8 months. So we have a range 1.3463 to 1.3566 which was pierced by yesterday's daily bar doji. Could be trigger that it's going to drop, so that would make any break-out at the range floor interesting.
20 day volatility: (10 year max 287) 79
20 hour volatility: (10 year max 96) 18. Read somewhere that the volatility cycle is set to start climbing again. That would be good.
Asian Session: 20 point range, 2.5 point max ATR, made a nice floor, touching 1.3507'5 twice. Bit of action around 01:00 to 03:00 but otherwise, normal quiet dull.
London Session: Touched the Asian floor precisely and bounced well, but with ATR at 3.5 and 30 point range, it's quiet despite 3 'High Impact' news events.
Pre-Session Summary: Most likely a typical range day in the making although it should get volatile if it makes it anywhere near the range floor due to yesterday's break-out failure at the range ceiling.
Pre-Session Psych Issues: As said above, got to make good progress now that I'm back at trading. After spending way way too long on my indicators, I need 5 solid trading sessions a week for October and November which show that my trading is getting profitable, otherwise the automatic trip-switch will cut in and I'm going to have to find some paid work in January, probably for six months. That's the cold reality of it.

Any other psych issues? The main 'issue' or better said the main work-face in my trading that I'm attacking is the psychological / mental discipline. Getting my heat-of-the-moment behaviour in line with my with-hindsight should-have-dones. Decision-making, i.e. making decisions and making the right decisions.

Session Review

Can't say yet whether it's still a range day (albeit with a break-out failure) or a break-out.

I started watching at 12:45 exactly at the point when that US employment data was meant to come out, but I was pretty distracted from pure trading by all the re-familiarisation I have to do - not just with my trading rules, but also with NT7 and IB and all that technical stuff.

With that sort of hinderance, I figured I should only take entries on the absolute killer setups and with the market mid-range until the ECB press conference, there was therefore nothing doing.

I watched the market take out the high of the day, and then 1.3550, and couldn't work those levels as setups, but there was enough going on in my head to occupy my thoughts with the mental equivalent of square-bashing.

The setup at the previous range ceiling (previous to yesterday's failed break-out) was interesting, with a change in volatility coming out of it compared to going in. That threw me since I pulled my buy entry stop order when the candles weren't big enough on the 1min chart, trying to find an entry.

Then there was yesterday's high, which caused a pull-back where I wanted to get in but the risk-reward up to 1.3600 was no good considering where I wanted to put my stops.

And then came 1.3600 and I guess I did well not to get long just after what was the highest point of the setup. I guess the lower low just previous had put me off.

I did get long after the retrace down to yesterday's high, but the volatility disappeared and the move back up stalled and turned into grind.

Lessons Learnt

Take it easy when you're rusty.

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