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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets
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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets

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One of my personal demons is a constant debate about stop loss placement. I have opted for smaller is better, but most backtest results suggest otherwise, especially for higly volatile conditions. When I took a long today, my original stop loss was the ideal place, but I moved it into an area where it got hit. Overnight will tell what was the correct move.

 
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GaryD View Post
One of my personal demons is a constant debate about stop loss placement.

Ditto -- just took a long, was stopped out BE and now it's at least trying to push towards my target. Tough to win in a market (all of them pretty much) where those with the mass to move price will do so for no other reason than to shake out those with positions. My constant struggle is between timing and monetary risk. Ultimately, one can be right about the direction (not that long was the right direction here for ES), but he must be in the trade when all the others who are thinking that is the direction are in it.

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I like this. Looks real fine to me. of course, if it was me, I would have got my 17 ticks and been happy with it.

Oh, where were you when I was in that trade? lol! I did think about it, and I was tempted when is stalled around 20ish ticks. If someone would only tell me where it is going to turn every time...

Vince, there is a reason I don't get out. On a single contract trade, my target is closer to 50-60 ticks. If I took the 17-22 ticks the trade offered me today, for my style of trading, over time I would probably be losing money. If I was happy with 17 ticks, I'd be very unhappy with a 25 tick loss. But, all I need is one good trade and I'm back in the green again. It's actually more of a psychological conditioning that I have than anything. I can lose more often than I win and stay fairly even, and, I don't have to be a concerned about "noise".

If I am going to take a 15 tick +/- profit, I usually go in more than one contract and take one or more off to reduce my risk on the remaining contract. Had I done that today I would have netted better, but today was impulsing down and so one was enough (or too much). Some times they work, today it did not. I was actually surprised it di not at least break the prior high to complete the minor ABC. I was also very surprised the ES did not move up more.

I sat still most of the day as I am still really looking for a long trade. Crazy sometimes.

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If I stare at charts long enough I can change my mind quite often. On a daily chart I just caught that we finished the day with a bearish engulfing candle coming out of well-defined resistance. Not a good signal to go long for a sizeable move. Had the market been able to move back up before the day's close, that might have suggested a different outlook.

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The chart below is a 90 minute. There are two confluence areas below; 98.65-98-75, and further down 97.50-97.90 (that is an area of a LSP that I have been watching for a while now). There is also a major 38.2 retracement at 98.32. Possibly one of those will hold and create a great long opportunity.


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But given the daily outlook as of this evening, I am not as set on long as I was this morning. Those last two bars on the daily scream "reversal" in chart language.

 
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I'm not a fundamental guy, but I heard about this, and this might specifically affect crude, diverging it from following in tandem with other non-energy markets.

Iran unlikely to block oil shipments through Strait of Hormuz, analysts say - The Washington Post

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...but he must be in the trade when all the others who are thinking that is the direction are in it.

I get what you're saying, absolutely. I'm not sure I want everyone already in it though. I often try to catch the moment when volume is just starting to show belief in a direction. It's not the only way I'll enter, but that type of entry does two things for me. First, the more obvious maybe, is there is a lot of buying remaining to come. Second, possibly controversial, a long-time trader mentioned that "when all traders are on one side, that is when the market is primed to make a great reversal." His theory, and one that I also agree with, was that the biggest fuel that moves the markets, is stop losses.

My trade today in crude was targeting blowing the short stops above the prior high. I knew for sure shorts were in the market, because most of the long positions had been stopped out already. So what I was counting on was a combination of new positions that might come on board at possible exhaustion (high volume bars), plus shorts that might get nervous and want to protect their profits once it looked like it might hold.

I used to draw horizontal lines at every high pivot and every low pivot, on all types of charts. I started to notice that when the lines got within close proximity with each other, for example 3 or more green lines only 10-20 ticks apart, that if the market hit the first, it would often rocket through the rest until all the nearby green lines were crossed. And then, having no more "fuel", would then be free to go the other direction. That is the biggest reason why I don't like to trade channels. The best time to enter is very close to the stop losses, which are too fast for me to react to without getting my "emergency stop" hit.

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I get what you're saying, absolutely. I'm not sure I want everyone already in it though.

Poor choice of words on my part. What I meant was, I want to be in the trade only when others are ready to jump on board and take me along with it. In other words, after all the stop running has happened, when one side feels convinced enough that they actually have a shot and are willing to jump in.

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CL futures


pre market chart for 12-29-2011. Oil inventory at 10.30 am. Daily pivot range 100.41-99.86. 3 day rolling pivot range= 100.44-99.87

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