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Sharp2be, eMini trading journal


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Sharp2be, eMini trading journal

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  #1 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Hi everyone, funded an IB account with $15,000 and here's my plan.

Background
Have been trading for over 2 years, mostly stocks. Traded futures for over 5 months but failed miserably. My failures are directly related to #1. too much risk, #2. impulse trading.
I have a full time job but have some time to trade in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.

Beliefs
- Every entry method is good, some are easier to follow
- Find one that fits your personality and your risk tolerance
- Poor risk management = failure, sooner or later
- Impulse trading = bigger failure, sooner or later
- You have to keep a ratio of 2:1 to succeed

Instruments and TimeFrames
- eMini ES, 5-minute or 4500ticks

Risk Management
- Account size: $15,000
- Max Risk per trade: 1% or $150.
- Max losses per day: 3.0% (or 3 losing trades)
- Max losses per week: 6.0% (or 2 losing days)
- Max losses per month: 12% (or 2 losing weeks)

Goals
- Improve my trading skills
- Improve my risk management discipline
- 4 es points per day
- 12 es points per week

Tools
- Charting: eSignal, Ninjatrader (own it)
- Order management: NT
- Journallng: this thread

Process, rules and others
How will I ensure I only risk my max amount per trade?
- Review account summary before the market open
- Setup automated order placement in Ninja
- Will not move my stop (EVER, EVER)

How will I ensure I stop trading for the day when I reach my max daily loss?
- Stop trading after 3 losses ! easy.

How will I ensure I stop trading for the week when I reach my max weekly loss?
- During my morning review of my account, if the number of available days to risk = 0 then no trades...

Will not enter new trades between 11:30am and 1:15pm because it's choppy.

How will I keep track of my progress?
At the end of every day I will post my account summary and trade results for the day. I will also (if time permits) write some observations on my learnings for the day.

Getting started

The reason I'm posting here is that I believe there are some extremely smart traders in this board and I'm hoping people will comment on my progress and most importantly on my mistakes, thoughts...

Here we go, my journed started yesterday at $15,000 dollars...

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  #2 (permalink)
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Bravo, good start. Now the hard part: do it, and when (not if) you fail to follow your plan, be honest and report back, only then can you learn and grow from it.

I also look forward to seeing your signals/triggers going forward.

Mike

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  #3 (permalink)
Canada
 
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My first two days.

Initial Balance, $15,000
16/Nov, +81.56
17/Nov, +156.20
Ending Blance, $15,238

Overall I thought today was quite choppy but it was a continuation of yesterday's strength.
Unfortunately don't have time to write anymore as I have to finish some documents for work.

Wish everyone good trading.

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  #4 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Big Mike View Post
Bravo, good start. Now the hard part: do it, and when (not if) you fail to follow your plan, be honest and report back, only then can you learn and grow from it.

I also look forward to seeing your signals/triggers going forward.

Mike

Thanks for the encouragement Mike, I will be sure to report back on my failures and derailments...

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  #5 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Initial Balance, $15,255
Gain/Loss Today, +$140.40 or 3.1 ES points
Ending Balance, $15,378

My observations (IMHO)
Overall a range day and continuation of yesterday's strength. I decided not to take any shorts.

My first step was to visualize the 15-mins chart (OHLC or Candles) is fine, everything bullish, no strong bear presence so the plan was to not short the market.



Good move between the open and 11:00am EST then choppy until 1:00pm (not unusual)... big players dropped the market to pick all stops (thankfully I wasn't there)... then I saw the bear trap at 13:45 (you can call it a Vic B2, uptrust, etc) with good volume... my first clue, I joined the longs... the failed flag and retest was a great buy, little volume on the consolidation and increased volume on the buying... another trap at 14:55, couldn't believe it... but again, my stop was far away.. decided to add a 2nd car on the 2nd failed trap...




What did I do well today?
- Read the market correctly

What could I do better?
- Was distracted with too much work
- Took profits too soon.. my stop was too far away

Overall a good day. Hope everyone had a good day too.


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  #6 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Initial Balance, $15,416
Gain/Loss Today, +$349
Ending Balance, $15,727




Another winning day, getting ready for the losing one and will have to be really strict on my money management. Upset because NinjaTrader stop working at some point and I lost my stats... ARGH...

How did I score today?
1. Money management (B), kept my stops, didn't move at all but was up $700 in the morning and couldn'd stop trading... gave back a lot on the chop.
2. Impulse trading (C), had some impulse trades.
3. Trade execution (C), took profits too soon sometimes.

Market review
The ES filled two gaps today, I took a short as soon as I soon it opening in the direction of the gap. We have another one way below, hopefully it will not be filled anytime soon.




Lastly, some of my humble PV observations today...


Overall a good day except for giving up a lot of my profits in the afternoon AND NinjaTrader stop working on me.

Hope everyone had a good day too.

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I have been asked by two members to share my balance and trade tracking spreadsheet... so here it is, very rough and could be buggy...

Attached Files
Register to download File Type: xls Sharp Trades Tracking.xls (20.5 KB, 66 views)
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  #8 (permalink)
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9:41am-Plan for the Day

Short at the opening target 1,074 (top of the gap). See below. So far my position is -2.25 pts in the red :-)



10am - Market closed gap and bounced to the downside... 5-mins below, not many sellers stepping in yet... worried about a close above the OR...


10:07--- on the other side of the coin I'm buying some RIMM shares here as it's fighting the market...


10:29am-my ES position break even so far but RIMM is really putting a show, nice !


1:10pm (EST) - Market not dropping - time stop hit, reversing.

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  #9 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Initial Balance $15,765
Ending Balance $14,915
Today -$812
Week -$85
Nov09 -$85
Total -$85


Well, I knew that day would come after 3 winning days and my confidence levels going up. Started the day with two winning trades, reached my daily loss limit by 11:00am, DIDN'T STOP TRADING and by 4:00pm gave up all my weekly gains. Not proud of myself and as a result on Monday I will only have 1 lot to trade and no more than 2 losses -- will I be able to stop ? Time will tell..

On the other hand, I had an amazing run on my stock trades, +$2,450 for the day which is great... was this the reason for my losses on the eMini? Maybe... trying to treat the 2 accounts separate.

How did I score today?
1. Money management (C), increased my size, didn't stop when I had to.
2. Impulse trading (B), traded well but had a bias on the market.
3. Trade execution (C), when my losses started to mount I took profits quickly.

Market review
The ES gapped down in the morning, failed to close the gap and traded mostly below and inside the opening range for the whole day. I wouldn't say it was particular difficult day to trade, I didn't do well because I had a bias in the morning, thinking it would drop and closed the previous gap but it didn't and I didn't listen to it... the market will never do what we want.


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  #10 (permalink)
Sydney, NS
 
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I find that 'having a bias' to be one of the hardest things to overcome. No matter how many times I tell myself not to have one, once it creeps in I often fail to notice it. When in 'the zone' this does not happen, so I have been working on ways to pay more attention to my own attitude throughout the trading sessions, most of which only last about an hour when things are working out.

Well done on the RIMM!

Now, you took a 5% loss on Friday. Is that part of the plan? It's steep, isn't it? It's days like that which were killing my results this year and because of which I am drilling down into money management versus entry methods.

I think you might want to add a column in there: for example you have Max Daily Loss at 236. Might be good to display what the actual loss was to visually show deviation from the plan. Also av trade loss. But that layout is really good and I will try to use something like it. Very helpful.

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  #11 (permalink)
Canada
 
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cclsys View Post
I find that 'having a bias' to be one of the hardest things to overcome. No matter how many times I tell myself not to have one, once it creeps in I often fail to notice it. When in 'the zone' this does not happen, so I have been working on ways to pay more attention to my own attitude throughout the trading sessions, most of which only last about an hour when things are working out.

Well done on the RIMM!

Now, you took a 5% loss on Friday. Is that part of the plan? It's steep, isn't it? It's days like that which were killing my results this year and because of which I am drilling down into money management versus entry methods.

I think you might want to add a column in there: for example you have Max Daily Loss at 236. Might be good to display what the actual loss was to visually show deviation from the plan. Also av trade loss. But that layout is really good and I will try to use something like it. Very helpful.

cclsys, absolutely, my loss was steep and have been beating myself over it all weekend. I was doing really well, 3 winning days in a row ! probably the cause of my big loss on Friday.

Yes, RIMM and my other stock trades saved my account big time but I don't want to use it as an excuse for my poor discipline.

I appreciate replies such as your as this was the main reason I started to write on this board, I cannot hide my mistakes and I've noticed that writing about my losing day was harder then the other days ( WHICH IS EXCELLENT ) !!

I like you suggestions to change my account balance summary and will make the changes... I'm using this new format because I see it more like a "guide" to me... I'm forced to check it every morning before the market opens...

I'm strongly considering not trading tomorrow because of my Friday's loss (sort of like a punishment) ... PLUS, my wife is having her first ultrasound which is great news !

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

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  #12 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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sharp2be View Post
my loss was steep and have been beating myself over it all weekend.

No reason to abuse yourself.
As a man thinks in his heart... so he is.


It's just money...

Many things are much more important.

Rejoice in the Thunderstorms of Life . . .
Knowing it's not about Clouds or Wind. . .
But Learning to Dance in the Rain ! ! !
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  #13 (permalink)
Sydney, NS
 
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sharp: I read someone somewhere who sounded very experienced that whenever he has three great days in a row, he takes a day off. And when he has three (or was it one?) lousy day like your Friday he also takes a day off. I think the point being that you have to keep emotions out of it.

I find that whenever I am taking a position personally, that is a very bad sign. Sometimes it's very straightforward, win or lose, and then sometimes it becomes a big deal - whether it's going in my favor or not. That is the emotional side of it that I am still working on, although right now since I had to stop for reasons beyond my control I am in pure analysis mode for at least one more month. Easy, but also doesn't have much to do with what really has to 'go down' in actual trading.

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  #14 (permalink)
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Hi Sharp2be

One thing you can do that will help you is set a profit target. And when you hit that shut down your charts, and go do something else.

If you sit and watch, you will end up over trading and give it back as you have already seen. I found watching and not trading the single hardest thing to do. Solution, is shut down.

Pete

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  #15 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Initial Balance $14,948
Ending Balance $15,807
Today +859
Week +859
Nov09
+807
Total
+807

Given my excessive loss on Friday my plan today was to trade 1 es and a maximum loss for the day of $250 (60% of my normal daily loss). It worked quite well and I was able to recover from my Friday's losses and put my account $800 (5.4%) above my initial balance. Now, back on trade but a lot more careful this time after last Friday's big loss.

How did I score today?
1. Money management (C), traded well, kept my trade and daily limits.
2. Impulse trading (B), had no bias and followed my signals.
3. Trade execution (B), had a great trade in the morning and held it until it fade it...

Market review
ES started going strong overnight and opened with a very big spike. It then faded from 10:10am until the close... given the big spike at the opening I decided not to short. I had one long breakout trade around 2:45pm but it failed and it was a signal that the market would not lift for the day.






Hope everyone had a good day.

Plan for tomorrow is to continue trading only 1 ES and going back to my maximum loss schedule.

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  #16 (permalink)
NY
 
Experience: Advanced
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I like that early long trade you got in on , I was sleeping lol . I got short near the major high / 930 - 1000 range around 1015 ish and managed to ride out most of it . I got long a little earlier than you in the PM and only got a little on one and BE on the other . Nice journal here , way to go getting back on the horse after getting slapped around the other day .

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  #17 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Eric j View Post
I like that early long trade you got in on , I was sleeping lol . I got short near the major high / 930 - 1000 range around 1015 ish and managed to ride out most of it . I got long a little earlier than you in the PM and only got a little on one and BE on the other . Nice journal here , way to go getting back on the horse after getting slapped around the other day .

Hey Eric, agree my first trade was a little early :-) ... couldn't really sleep but my trigger was the strong bounce from support. I closed it at 10:00am and entered on a wait-and-see mode but my system never triggered another long until late in the afternoon.

Cheers.

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  #18 (permalink)
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sharp2be View Post
Hey Eric, agree my first trade was a little early :-) ... couldn't really sleep but my trigger was the strong bounce from support. I closed it at 10:00am and entered on a wait-and-see mode but my system never triggered another long until late in the afternoon.

Cheers.

Thanks , I sometimes watch the european session on ES at 300 EST . The volume is tradeable and seems to me that its a good time for big guys to start moving things where they want them .

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  #19 (permalink)
Canada
 
Experience: Advanced
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Trading: ES
 
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Posts: 57 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 1 given, 69 received

Initial Balance $15,807
Today -$428 or -2.7%
Ending Balance $15,378

Week +$430
Nov09
+$378
Total
+$378




Today was quite difficult to trade for me, the market had some wild swings at the opening, bull gained control after 10am but we had very deep pullbacks during the day. At some point I was +3.5 pts and gave most of it back as I was hoping a continuation of the up move after 3:00pm... buying activity quickly fade on the first test of the last yesterday's high.

How did I score today?
1. Money management (B), mostly a losing day but didn't achieve my daily loss limit - cool
2. Impulse trading (B), today required some large stops but I managed to keep them in check.
3. Trade execution (C), was letting my profits run and paid the price for it... had +3.5 in 2 cars and gave back most of it, leaving only .5 on profit...

Hope everyone had a great day.

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  #20 (permalink)
Canada
 
Experience: Advanced
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Trading: ES
 
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Posts: 57 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 1 given, 69 received

Initial Balance $15,000
Ending Balance $15,603
Today +$225 or 1.5%
Tuesday -$428
Monday
+$859
Week +$655
Nov09
+$603
Since inception (Nov 17)
+$603 (4%)



Overall a slow day for, +$225 is not very much but I am happy because I have been having more positive days than negative while learning how to trade the eMini.

One of the things I've noticed is that the action between 6:30am and 8:30am is prevailing during the day. Over the last two days the market has been pushing to the upside early in the morning and closing almost at the high of the day.


How did I score today?
1. Money management (B), kept my limits, stops, didn't exceed my daily loss limit.
2. Impulse trading (B), was comfortable trading today.
3. Trade execution (B), let my winners run but they didn't run that much !

Again, overall I'm happy with my results so far. My stock trades results have been superb but I promised I wouldn't mix them here :-) as my goal is to make money on the emil (solo).

Hope you had a good day.

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  #21 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Today +$8.00

Few trades in the morning, market was closed in the afternoon. Pretty much break even.


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  #22 (permalink)
Canada
 
Experience: Advanced
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Thanks: 1 given, 69 received

Initial Balance $15,000
Ending Balance $16,176
Today +$740 (+4.7%)
Week
+$1,228
Nov09 +$1,403
Total +$1,351 (+9%)

Happy about my results today. I was down in the morning but quickly recognized the strength and kept going long at very tight stops, market would not pull back.

Good day overall but most importantly the first time my account is above $16k happy !

My stats are encouraging so far and will have to keep my emotional in check next week to finish my November well (NO EXCESSIVE RISKS)!... My Win % for the week is at 80%, daily ES avg points 2.3 and have not been exceeding my daily loss limit. Statistically speaking I could continue doing well if I don't mess up with my losses.




Thought I would share with the group here something I though it was important for every trader to read, it is an extract this document ( Business plan to open your own Forex Brokerage)...

Part I like the most is the one below



It's now 11:12am in Ontario and I'm done for the day... took my day off at work and will pretty much hang out with my wife and family.

Hope you guys had a fantastic and profitable day.




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  #23 (permalink)
Canada
 
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Today +$2,833 (17% or 56pts)
Week
+$1,702
Nov09 +$3,052 (20.3% or 61pts)
Total +$3,052 (20.3% or 61pts)

Wow !
Have to keep my emotions in check here or else could start over trading. It's now 1:21pm EST in Canada and I'm not trading anymore for the day... need to regroup, it's been a great week, big swing yesterday and big swing today. ES reaching a very difficult resistance point that could get very choppy and wipe out my account, I have seen it before. Reducing my risk to 1 contract starting tomorrow, that's IT !







Looking at the ES, it just popped but knowing myself I can't trade anymore, will just give it back in the afternoon.... have a nice entry on RIMM which is going well...
guess I will participate in the market that way for now



Hope everyone is having a good day !


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  #24 (permalink)
Canada
 
Experience: Advanced
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Coudn't be any happier about my RIMM... strong recent accumulation, big movement today and "my stop" in place...

What you see here is the 30mins of the TSX version of RIM... RIMM should be just the same.. note the strong accumulation and breakout of a downtrend flag...


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  #25 (permalink)
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what is that for a tool? a non windows application?



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what is that for a tool? a non windows application?



best regards

Right, it's not a windows application, it's in Java !!!
It's the trades summary, in IB TWS.

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Congrats on a great day. Really impressive.

My only question is you seem to have gotten away from your original goals (profit 4 ES points per day, no more than 3% loss per day, 1% per trade). Your daily deviations are a bit larger than that, but your bottom line is what counts and can't argue with your results.

Have thoroughly enjoyed following your posts.

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Congrats on a great day. Really impressive.

My only question is you seem to have gotten away from your original goals (profit 4 ES points per day, no more than 3% loss per day, 1% per trade). Your daily deviations are a bit larger than that, but your bottom line is what counts and can't argue with your results.

Have thoroughly enjoyed following your posts.

Papa, good observations. I had two days where my losses were much larger than my original max daily loss of 3%. The first time was a total lack of discipline and the 2nd incident was yesterday. Although not a strong enough reason, I had some order execution issues yesterday. One of my stop loss orders didn't trigger and it was too late when I closed it.

I have to continue working hard at simply stopping when my losses reach my daily max. I feel I've gotten much better lately but still have a lot of room for improvement. One of the things I did right today was simply stop trading when I did ... I saw the ES reaching the round number and thought it was going to start a range and sure thing it did... so, glad I stopped trading.

Tomorrow my plan is 1 contract per trade and only trade after 10am... busy day at work.


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papa14 View Post
Congrats on a great day. Really impressive.

My only question is you seem to have gotten away from your original goals (profit 4 ES points per day, no more than 3% loss per day, 1% per trade). Your daily deviations are a bit larger than that, but your bottom line is what counts and can't argue with your results.

Have thoroughly enjoyed following your posts.


sam028 View Post
Right, it's not a windows application, it's in Java !!!
It's the trades summary, in IB TWS.

Thanks Sam for the clarification... yes, that's a Java app showing my real life trades...

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V impressive sharp2be.
Seems to me preventing the losses getting out of control is the key.

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Mindset View Post
V impressive sharp2be.
Seems to me preventing the losses getting out of control is the key.

Mindset is right.
The P&L is very good, a really nice job, but this is not (sorry) the most important.
Discipline, following the trading plan and the rules, this is more important.

I'm maybe wrong, but it seems that you had more than 2 ES cars in the market, which is, with a 15K$ account and a $150 max risk per trade, too much, imho.
But you had maybe good reasons for this .

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Mindset is right.
The P&L is very good, a really nice job, but this is not (sorry) the most important.
Discipline, following the trading plan and the rules, this is more important.

I'm maybe wrong, but it seems that you had more than 2 ES cars in the market, which is, with a 15K$ account and a $150 max risk per trade, too much, imho.
But you had maybe good reasons for this .

Mindset and Sam, you are both right. My timing and analysis seem to be working ok but I won't say I have discipline and risk management under control. My goal is to always trade with 1 car but it doesn't seem be matching my trading style. I am mostly swing trading at this point. After reading a few papers on money management and scaling out I'm a not a big believer in taking small gains of the table... did that before and probably the reason my PL is up at this time is because I've been letting my winners run.

I've also noticed that my normal stop is now around 10 ticks which for 2 cars represents $250 already. I have to admit that I'm cutting myself some slack when comes to 1-2 cars, however my goal is NEVER to go above my daily losses limit and so far in November I failed twice. I truly believe this is the one missing component to make me a consistent trader.

I used to have problems in following my setups but that seems to be working quite well now.

That being said, here is the summary of my first month of trading (November 2009).

NOVEMBER 2009 RESULTS



Although I broke my rule twice of going over my daily limit I am proud of myself for following my setups, not overtrading and also refining my trading framework. My charts are pretty much naked at this point with the exception of a 20ema which to be honest I don't rely on very much on.

My goals for December 2009:

  • Not exceed my daily loss limit of $450 per day.
  • Not overtrade
  • Avoid trading when too busy at work. This is a big issue as lose the very important context that you acquire when constantly watching the charts...
Good luck everyone and my sincere thanks for you taking the time to comment on my journal and mistakes.

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Today -$256 (-1.4% or 5pts)
Week
+$2,577
Dec09 +$3,052 (20.3% or 61 pts)
Nov09 +$219 (+1.5% or 4 pts)
YTD +$3,271 (23.2%)




Today was a losing day but I followed my risk management rules, traded small and cut my losses short.

What could I do better today?
- Don't let my full time work distract me so much (kind of hard)

Today the ES tested the yesterday's high and bounced back. Two nice channel overshoot and reversal opportunities -- I was too busy at work, took only the wrong trades.



Daily view



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I think you are demonstrating remarkable control and to be so public deserves enormous plaudits

My main difficulty is letting profits run but as you say you seem to have cracked 90% of the egg that is trading.

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Friends, I was reviewing my results last night and although I'm happy with my profits so far this year I am not achieving my main objective which is strictly control my losses. I have gone above my established daily losses limit twice since I started.

As a results, I have decided to stop trading this account for one week, I will continue trading my stocks accounts which believe me or not I haven't exceeded my daily limit for over 3 months. It's something to do with how the eminis trade or even the platform control.

In any case, I will review my process and find ways to make it even harder for me to stop breaking my daily loss limit rules -- sounds stupid, really, but sometimes it's really hard to fight the urge to have your losses back... having a big day like I had recently does not help either because when you approaching your daily loss limit all you can think is to "get your losses back"... I'm sure you know this, called revenge trading.

Again, I'm happy with my profits so far but that's not enough... I will be back in another 5-7 days.

Wishing you fantastic and profitable days.

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Sharp2be
The only way I found to control my daily loss limit is to trade with a broker that closes me down when I exceed my daily loss limit (I use TransAct, but I know you can set this feature with Open E Cry also). I know I should have the discipline to stop on my own, but after several days of exceeding my limit, I decided I needed something more.

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Sharp2be
The only way I found to control my daily loss limit is to trade with a broker that closes me down when I exceed my daily loss limit (I use TransAct, but I know you can set this feature with Open E Cry also). I know I should have the discipline to stop on my own, but after several days of exceeding my limit, I decided I needed something more.

Interesting approach Papa -- I will check with IB to see if they allow me to do that, great suggestion. Thanks!

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sharp2be


Its the weekend so I can't check this out so I can't swear to it but I am positive that inside TWS there is a self limit you can set regarding daily losses in % or currency. A dialog box comes up I believe to prevent you trading - if that's good enough?
There is also a v good function to prevent fat finger trades - I demonstrated it to a friend when he lost 80k on a single trade through trading 115000 shares instead of 115 ( I kid you not).

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Mindset View Post
sharp2be


Its the weekend so I can't check this out so I can't swear to it but I am positive that inside TWS there is a self limit you can set regarding daily losses in % or currency. A dialog box comes up I believe to prevent you trading - if that's good enough?
There is also a v good function to prevent fat finger trades - I demonstrated it to a friend when he lost 80k on a single trade through trading 115000 shares instead of 115 ( I kid you not).

Since few months, you can log in IB TWS during week-ends.
It's possible to have a message when you exceed a certain amount in $ or in # of shares/contracts, but after a daily loss, hmm, I didn't know, and didn't already found it in TWS...

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I have a message on my login box saying not possible to log in all day saturday and before 12 on Sunday (UK times)

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Mindset View Post
I have a message on my login box saying not possible to log in all day saturday and before 12 on Sunday (UK times)

It's because you still have an old TWS release (which is not a bad idea ), and this message is hardcoded.
I have the message too, but I'm able to log in, try it next week-end .

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I had a problem with freezing with the new TWS so I had to backtrack a version. The problem was fixed for a while but returned on friday so I may as well upgrade and see if that solves anything.
Thanks for the headsup re logging in at weekends though.

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It's because you still have an old TWS release (which is not a bad idea ), and this message is hardcoded.
I have the message too, but I'm able to log in, try it next week-end .

You are absolutely right Sam028 - thanks for that!

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