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Jameson's Trading Journal

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  #1 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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First trade today was a loss. Bought March s&p mini at 1295; bounced out at 1285. I always use 10 point stops on the mini. Ideally I would have bought at 1290 but it was already over that when I checked in at 6am. It ran up to 1297 so I took it at 1295. Seemed like a good trade, but then I watched the market plunge 15 points and my stop gets hit.

I then had a sell signal at 1280, set that up but if was never filled, thankfully. Had it been I would have placed a stop at 1290 and that would have gotten hit for another loss. Watched the market go back up, cancelled the sell order, then got a buy signal at 1290. That just got filled a few minutes ago so I'm long March mini s&p at 1290 with a stop working at 1280.

It's been a choppy day on the s&p.

I also trade the grains, but not today. No sir, not on one of the biggest market reports of the year. I'm going to watch the soybean and corn markets the next couple days and see how it trades this report. Soybeans have made a nice rally off the bottom but I'm wondering if that's just short covering.

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  #3 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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A little bit about my trading style. Not a day trader, which I think puts me in a distinct minority around here. Invariably many of my trades last only a day (see above) but I'll keep a good trade for as long as 3-4 days. All I trade is the mini s&p and the grains, either corn or soybeans. One day, after my account grows, I may expand.

I'm a trend follower who uses some ridiculously simply technical indicators for signals. That's it. Fundamentals? I don't really know what those are. I'm in the camp that feels that is reflected in the price, and I believe the big moves start when no one is looking.

I don't ever have profit targets. I just use trailing stops. I use 10-point stops on the mini s&p and 10-cent stops in the grains. For every 10 points or cents of profit I move the stop accordingly.

Discipline and patience are very important, and like all traders it's something I continue to work on. I feel I have reached maturity as a trader because I am now unfazed by wins and losses. Not totally, but for the most part. If I lose a trade, I just wait for the next signal. It took a while to get to this point.

To me, and I know I'm not the first to say this, trading is like playing poker or blackjack. You have to look for the hands where the odds are in your favor and be willing to go through a lot of crap in between. Just like a card player will go through lots of antes, folds and busts, a trader must go through lots of small losses to get the big fish.

Trading is not easy, but if you are disciplined and patient you can survive during the bad times, and if you do that you will be ready for the big moves where the money is made. To me, that's really it in a nutshell.

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  #4 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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The s&p is down this morning after being higher overnight. Still have my long position from 1290 with a stop at 1280. Currently the March is at 1285 and I have a sell signal set up and confirmed at 1280. So if my 1280 stop gets hit I'll immediately place a sell order at that price.

I said I was going to wait, but I went ahead and bought March corn last night at 610. I thought long and hard about this, because this trade goes against my system in every way. It's basically a gut feeling that corn is putting in a low after yesterday's bearish report. It's a low risk bet, and it won't really hurt if I lose. I'm wondering if corn is going to do what it did after the June 30 report last year, when it locked down the then 30 cent limit, then gapped another 30 cents lower that night. That was the low for corn last summer, and it then rallied a dollar over the next two weeks.

Current positions: long March s&p at 1290; long March corn at 610. Keep the faith.

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  #5 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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That didn't take long. My 1280 stop got hit for a loss, and with the sell signal set up and confirmed I took a short position at 1280 with a covering stop at 1290. The s&p is currently down 10 points.

One of the keys to this gig is you have to forget about the past and focus on right now.

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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Stop got hit on corn for a 10-cent loss. The grains were looking strong overnight but fell in the day session. Picking bottoms is not easy when you run a tight stop. Not sure if I'll try that again.

The s&p continues to hover around 1280. Overall it was a lousy week. I like going into a long weekend with some profit but that's not going to happen. Oh well the losses have been manageable and there's always next time.

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  #7 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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To recap, going into the weekend I was short March s&p from 1280 with a 1290 stop. The last hour or so of Friday's session saw the market run up strongly, and on Monday morning ( a holiday here in the US) my 1290 stop got hit for a 10-point loss.

The market had already set up a buy at 1290 so I took it, and it was filled shortly after the open Monday night. I then placed a sell stop at 1280. By the time I woke up this morning the market had hit and even gone a little above 1300, so I moved my sell stop to 1290. I'm now at break even, basically.

Last week was trying. I had three losses and a break even in the s&p. It would have been easy, after my loss yesterday when the market hit 1290, to just say screw it and sit out for a while. But I had the buy signal at 1290, I took it, and what do you know the market runs up another 12 points. Goes to show you, once again, that you have to stick with it. You have to keep trying. Sometimes the market will beat you down, but if you keep trying good things will happen.

It will be interesting to see what the market does at 1300.

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  #8 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Midday update: the March s&p continues to waffle in the mid 1290's. It's been in a solid uptrend since before Christmas, but for me at least there have been very few money making opportunities. I'm sure you could scalp for a few points here and there daytrading, but there just hasn't been a clear, established multi-day trend in my system. I use a 30 or 15 minute weighted moving average as part of my system, and the s&p just doesn't want to come off that line very far.

This happens. Sometimes one system is going nowhere while another is on fire. When I figure out how to do it I'll post some charts and explain my system some more.

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When I figure out how to do it I'll post some charts and explain my system some more.

Click on the word screenshot in my post.

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  #10 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Success! Thanks Mike, I used Jing.

Ok. The line in my chart is a 180 period weighted moving average, and the bar chart is a 30 minute chart. This is March mini s&p since last Friday. Basically I look for closes above and below the WMA for buy and sell signals. I then place an order at the next number ending in 0. So you can see yesterday, 1/16, the market began closing above the WMA. When it hit 1290 I bought and placed a sell stop 10 points back at 1280. When the market went to 1300 this morning I moved the stop from 1280 to 1290. Just a little while ago this afternoon the market fell back down to 1290 and my stop was hit for a break even.

The market has now closed below the WMA but I won't take a sell unless it goes to 1280. We'll see what happens tonight.

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  #11 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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I'm looking at a sell set up this morning on March soybeans. Notice on the chart that soybeans have been firmly below the 180 WMA even before the bearish crop report last Thursday. The market was sharply higher yesterday, then lower overnight. There seems to be resistance at 1180. Sticking to my rule of not entering the trade until the next number ending in 0, I have a sell order placed at 1270. That's the dotted blue line. Technicallly I guess I could have taken a short position at 1180 overnight, but I don't like entering positions during such low volume, plus I was asleep then anyway. If the market gets down to 1170 today, it will be down about 11 cents and that's as good a time as any to go short.


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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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The market has set up a sell signal for 1280. Overnight the s&p chopped around and at one point this morning I put on a buy order for 1300 but it never got up that high. With volume picking up, the market has closed below the 180 WMA and exceeded the low of that close at about 1288, so I place a sell at 1280 which is the next lowest number ending in 0.


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  #13 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Here we go. After continuing to chop around, the March s&p has now gone up and I've initiated a long position at 1300. In my previous post I had a sell order for 1280, but after the market closed above the WMA on the 30 minute chart I cancelled that order. I then got a buy signal and confirmation for 1300, I placed the order, and it was just filled. The next thing I did was place a sell stop, good til cancelled, at 1290. 10 points, or $500 of risk. If the market goes back down to 1290 I'm out with a small loss. If it goes up to 1310 I move my sell stop to 1300. Keep the faith.


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  #14 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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What do I mean about the next number ending in 0? Much of this system is built on the idea that, psychologically, numbers ending in 0 are important to people. In our non-trading lives, 10-year anniversaries and 40th birthdays are a big deal. Why shouldn't it be the same in the markets? If the market is heading in a certain direction and hits the next number ending in 0, I think there is a good chance it will keep going in that direction. People will see that the market has hit that 0 number and they'll want to get in on it. Interestingly, today we have a 00 number in the March mini S&P: 1300. How will the market react to this? We'll see.

The 0 number theory does not give you a huge advantage in the market. Such things don't exist. It gives you maybe a slight advantage that some days is totally meaningless. But like a veteran card counter at the blackjack table, we're looking for any slight advantage we can get that we can exploit over and over.

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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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The mini continues to move up. Following my rule of moving my stop for every 10 points of profit, when the market reached 1310 today I moved my stop to 1300. This is my basis, so the trade is essentially a break even at this point. If the market goes back down to 1300 I will be out with perhaps a minimal loss for slippage and fees, and if the market goes to 1320 I'll move my stop to 1310 and lock in 10 points of profit.

Real simple, folks. Nothing complicated here.


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  #16 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Yesterday I initiated a long position in the March soybeans. On a 30-minute barchart, the market closed above the 180 weighted moving average in the mid 1180s, setting up a buy at 1190. By the time I woke up Thursday morning and checked the market, it had already exceeded 1190, so for various reasons I decided to get in at 1195 and not wait to see if it went back down to 1190. It was the best decision I could make at the time. I had to assume the market was going higher. What if went up another 20 cents? It's happened before while I sat there waiting for it to come back down. Also, because of my schedule yesterday morning I wasn't going to be at my computer watching the trade. If I wanted in, it had to be before the overnight market closed at 7:15 am. I placed a sell stop at 1185, 10 points back.

The soybean market continued to go up yesterday and last night, then broke back down to 1190 this morning. The trend is still up. We'll see what happens today.


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 furytrader 
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In many books on foreign exchange trading, you'll see a lot of talk about the even-number trades (i.e., buying the Euro when it hits 1.290, for example. In trading the stock indexes (the Dow, for example), the "50" is quite important especially during times of high volatility. So, playing a bounce from a trade down to 12550 is a potential setup. I actually wrote a technical system that does this, and while it's performance recently has been middling, it printed a lot of money during the volatility spike in August.

Thanks for sharing these insights.

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  #18 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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I got stopped out on my soybean buy at 1195. That trade was just fraught with bad luck. However, after making lows this morning the soybean market is moving back up. I got a setup with a 30-minute close above the 180 WMA, confirmation when the market traded above that closing bar's high, and then I went long at 1190.


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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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Overnight the soybeans are up, and this has allowed me to move into an approximate break even on this trade. I always place my stop 10 points or cents from my entry, then for every 10 points or cents of profit I move the stop. So on Friday when I bought soybeans at 1190 I placed the stop at 1180. Last night the market hit 1200 soon after the open, so I moved the stop to my entry point of 1190.

Notice also on the chart below that you had only one chance to get in at 1190. That was in the final minutes of Friday's trading session, then the market gapped up last night and never came back down. This is a good example of why it's important to take the signal when it comes.


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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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Still in my long mini s&p position from 1300. This trade is going on its fifth day. The market has been caught in a narrow range, mostly between 1305 and 1310. Real tight. Technically I have a sell signal confirmed for 1300, and the market got close earlier this morning, but now it's back up over 1305. I placed a sell order for 1300 earlier but just now took it off. I'm going to have to watch this market close.

March mini s&p on a 30-minute chart since last Thursday:


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Jameson
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The soybean market is up strong again today. From my 1190 position I have now moved my stop three times. Currently it's at 1210. Large volume in all the agriculture markets today.


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  #22 (permalink)
Jameson
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Same story as yesterday on the mini so far. There is clear resistance at 1315, but it doesn't want to go much below 1305 either. My current position is long from 1300 with a stop working at 1300. I entered this trade one week ago on the 18th, and I moved the stop up to break even on the 19th. Since then, nuffin'. Zilch. I haven't had too many trades last this long, and I know I've never gone so long on a trade without moving my stop.

Goes to show you, anything can happen on any day in these markets. You just never know. For instance, my shortest trade ever lasted literally about 15 seconds. It was on the Swiss Franc last summer during the height of its volatility. I entered, and I 'm not kidding you I watched the market plunge down in seconds to hit my stop .004 away ($500). Damndest thing I ever saw.

So I'll continue to watch the mini. Something will happen sooner or later.


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Jameson
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My soybean stop just got hit so I'm out. This trade resulted in a 20-cent profit. Now I'll just watch the market for the next possible setup.



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Jameson
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The soybeans have rallied from its morning lows and I just initiated a buy at 1220 (I actually got filled at 1220.75...ugh!). After my previous trade was stopped out I waited for a close above the WMA, then for the price to go higher than that closing bar's high, then a buy-in at the next number ending in 0. Note on the chart how the market essentially bounced off the 180 WMA. I see this alot in a trending market. It's too bad my previous trade got stopped out only to have the price go back up, but that is a cost of doing business with the market.


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Jameson
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With yesterday's Fed announcement (I suppose that was the reason but I don't really pay attention to fundamentals or news) the s&p surged higher, enabling me to move my stop to 1310.


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  #26 (permalink)
Jameson
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Soybeans moved up to 1230 this morning, and so sticking with my plan I moved my stop from 1210 to 1220 for an approximate break even. I have a saying that goes: first break even, then profit. If I can get to break even then it's a good trade. The pressure is off, and at this point it's house money. All I can do is ride the trend as far as it'll go.


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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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My long, looong s&p trade finally ended yesterday when my stop was hit at 1310 for a 10-point profit. Simultaneously, I was given the green light to sell at 1310 with a protective stop placed at 1320. This was all at the end of yesterday's session. The market traded higher overnight, getting within a couple ticks of hitting my stop, and this morning I even placed a buy order at 1320 in anticipation of the market going higher. The market has dropped, however, so I am still short from 1310 with a stop working at 1320.



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Jameson
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Even though I made 10 points of profit on the s&p yesterday, I had some bad luck. Under my system I don't move my stop until the market hits the next highest/lowest number ending in 0. Yesterday the market got within 1 tick of hitting 1330, which would have enabled me to move my stop from 1310 to 1320 and lock in an additional 10 points of profit.





I saw the market hit 1329.75. Should I have moved my stop when it got so close? In hindsight, yeah, but we don't have that luxury when we trade. I watched the market go down and figured it would go back up. The trend was up. The chances of it going down 20 points, which it did, were pretty small I figured.

Sometimes in the past I have moved my stop prematurely, then the market runs down, hits my stop, then runs back up. This has taught me to just stick to my guns. That's what I did yesterday, playing the market like it would go higher. It's just bad luck. But over time the luck evens out. It's like in baseball. A bad hop on a ground ball, a close pitch that should have been a strike. It all evens out. You gotta just keep plugging away, keep showing up.

10 and 20 point moves are nice, and I'll take them when I can get them. But what I'm really looking for, and where my system really shines, are the big fish. The 40 and 50 point moves.

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Jameson
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With a close on the 30-minute chart below the 180 WMA, and a subsequent move below that close, the soybeans have set up for a sell at 1210. I have not gone short yet on soybeans. I have an open stop market order to sell at 1210. All I have to do is wait for the market to go down, or if it goes up I cancel the order.

There are three simple steps to my system: a setup, a confirmation, and a buy/sell. The rest is waiting and watching.



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Jameson
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The March s&p is lower overnight and this morning. I went short on Thursday at 1310, endured choppy action on the Friday overnight and day sessions, but the market has now turned lower and I have moved my stop from 1320 to 1310, ensuring an approximate break even on this trade.





Soybeans, meanwhile, gave me a sell signal last night:


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Jameson
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March soybeans are sharply lower in Chicago this morning. At the open the market went below 1200, allowing me to move my stop down to 1210. The beans are down 23 cents as I write this.


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Jameson
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Bearish day for soybeans. Of course if you're a trend follower looking to consistently exploit your edge, you don't care which way the market is going. Soybeans have now moved below 1190, so I move my stop 10 cents down from 1210 to 1200.



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Jameson
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Since I began this thread I have traded soybeans and the mini S&P exclusively. I used to trade a lot more, and for a while I was very profitable, but that led to overtrading which led to a gut wrenching drawdown. I realized for many reasons it's best to cut back. It makes trading much less stressful and takes the emotion out of it. Removal of emotion is key. My goal, like I say on the first page of this thread, is to be unfazed by both wins and losses.

So why soybeans and the S&P? They're both volatile markets with lots of participation. The overnight margins are pretty low. On average, in a month they'll move at least $5000 from top to bottom (or bottom to top), and that's plenty of price action to make money off of. Those are all the reasons I need.

As my account grows I may add a third market. Natural gas can be really good, and I like the major currencies but a lot of times they make their moves when I'm asleep. One day I would like to trade oil but I don't have enough money for it. Not the overnight margin, but the risk. Under my system I would risk $1000 per contract, or $1 in price. That's for full size, not mini. I could trade the mini oil but it's thin.

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Jameson
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The S&P rallied on me this afternoon, knocking me out for a break even at 1310. This is how it goes most of the time. Small wins, small losses, and break evens. I figure that's what you get 90% of the time, and the other 10% it's big fish.

Big fish = money trades. All you have to do is get through the pissy little boring trades, the minnows I like to call them, and be ready when the big fish swim by. That how you make the money. Big losses should not be part of your equation, unless you're a fool and don't use stops, or you like to hold positions in the grains on days when major crop reports come out.



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Jameson
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The market has set up a buy for 1320. We'll see what happens.



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Jameson
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The S&P failed to go higher and has in fact reversed, giving me a confirmation to sell at 1300. Days like today you have to have a short memory and no biases. You just gotta be able to go whichever way the market's going to go. Probably helps to ignore the news, too. I cancelled my buy order for 1320 and have a sell order working for 1300.



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Jameson
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The grains are wierd today. Corn is up, wheat is way up, and soybeans are up a little but still in a deep sell mode.

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Jameson
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Stop was hit on soybeans for a 10-cent profit. Entered at 1210 and stopped out at 1200. At this point I have no open positions, with a sell order for mini S&P at 1300.



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Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
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The mini S&P has rallied overnight, and this morning I initiated a long position at 1320 with a sell stop at 1310. Technically the chart gave a buy signal for 1310 in the wee hours of the night, and had I been awake I may have taken it, but that doesn't matter now. The trend is up.




Soybeans, meanwhile, have given a buy signal for 1210. I expect this to get hit at or right after the 9:30 opening.



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  #40 (permalink)
Jameson
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Long soybeans from 1215. I wish my 1210 buy order, which I had sitting all night, had gotten filled before the 7:15am close. When I saw that there was going to be a gap up at the 9:30 opening I took that order off, watched the market do its wild and crazy thing for the first minute, then jumped in at 1215. Best I could do at the time. The market has since gone lower, back down to 1210. Of course if I didn't get in at 1215 it would be north of 1220 by now, lol. Oh well. I've learned that if you have the choice between entering a trade a little higher or lower than you want, or waiting for a reversal, don't wait. Just take it. If it's a good trend it won't matter where you got in.


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Jameson
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If you've been following along in this thread you see that my system is not a day trading system. No indeed. If I tried something like this with day trading I'd get killed. What I use is a very simple price-driven method designed to catch multi-day trends. I like this setup because it's simple, it's really good at catching the big moves, and it allows me to not be glued to the screen all day. I have a regular job that often requires me to be away from the computer for hours at a time, so having a system that can accomodate that is important. I make probably an average of three trades per week, per market. Obviously the less trades the better, because that means instead of looking for entries I'm riding trends and making profit. This also cuts down on fees.

The system does not give me a huge advantage. I think the best system will give you maybe a slight advantage. Like any trading method, its power lies in the consistent, disciplined application of the method, and that is the user's responsibility.

My system certainly has its ugly periods, but when it works it really works. I've never tried to calculate the percentage of "winners" it gives me. That doesn't matter. What matters is how much you win. Or rather, how much your average win is over your average loss.

I have a couple of 90-10 rules in my trading. One, I figure about 90% of the time nothing is happening and you're not making any money. That's the life of a trader. Perhaps the number is smaller, but not much. The other 10% of the time is when the money's coming in. The other 90-10 rule, and it goes hand-in-hand with the first one, is that I figure 90% of my profits come from 10% of my trades.

When you think about it like that, you realize you've got to take every signal. You never know which one is going to be the big fish. It took me a lot of frustration and missed opportunities to realize this. On any given month, it could very well be just one trade that makes all the difference for that month.

One trade. That's it.

So, you've got to take them all. And this is why I trade only a couple markets. I have to watch them the way a hawk watches the ground he's flying over, looking for a mouse to catch. My trading education continues, and I wish everyone success and health in their trading and non-trading lives. Keep the faith.

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Jameson
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Soybeans are up sharply at the open this morning. You got to love the beans sometimes. They're so volatile, so unpredictable. Overnight it got within about a penny of hitting my stop, then at 9:30 they zoom up.



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Jameson
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Soybeans and mini S&P are up this morning, allowing me to move my stop on both to break even.

March soybeans. Again, for every 10 cents of profit I move my stop. With a 1215 entry my stop was originally 1205. When the market hit 1225 this morning, my stop goes to 1215.




Same thing on the S&P. 1320 entry with a 1310 stop, then when the market hit 1330 this morning the stop gets moved to 1320.



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Jameson
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What you see above requires patience. (Reminds me of the movie Heaven Help Us..."and this, Mr. Dunn, is Patience.") I had to wait two days to move my stop. I'll admit, with both trades I thought about just getting out because I felt like they were going nowhere. But I reminded myself that the trend was up and to just hang in there. Besides, the worst that could happen would be a 10-point loss.

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Jameson
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The markets continue to go up today. I've moved my stop again on both mini S&P and soybeans. Mini S&P stop working at 1330; soybeans working at 1225.








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  #46 (permalink)
Jameson
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This was a good week. Two profitable trades which I'm still in, and those two are the only two trades I made this week. To me the fewer trades made, the better.

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Jameson
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Slow day today. ES and soybeans still in there but not a lot going on. Soybeans broke above 1240 for a little bit but then retreated. Mini s&p has been hovering just below 1340 all day. Volume's under a million. Slow indeed. Super Bowl hangover?

Here's a trend following website that I read daily: www.myinvestorsplace.com. I've learned a lot about trading psychology from this guy.

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  #48 (permalink)
Jameson
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Stopped out on soybeans overnight for a 15-cent profit. Entered 1215, trailing stop hit 1230. Now I'm looking at buying at 1240 or selling at 1220, whichever one gets the signal. Still waiting to see if ES can clear 1340.

Beans:




ES:


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  #49 (permalink)
Jameson
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The soybeans rallied overnight and I moved into a long position at 1240 with a protective stop at 1230. There's a crop report coming out tomorrow. It's not a major one so the chance of the market gapping down 40 cents or something crazy is not that great, so I may keep this position open going into the report provided I don't get stopped out first.



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Jameson
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Stopped out in soybeans for a 10-cent loss. Choppy day in the grains. Will probably lay low until after the report tomorrow.




March ES still hanging in there. Notice over the last week how the market has basically bounced off the weighted moving average.



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Jameson
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Took probably an ill-advised trade in the soybeans this morning and now I'm paying for it. I was not at my computer when the market opened at 9:30 this morning but was checking quotes on my phone. I thought I had a clear set up to buy at 1240 with a 30-minute close above the WMA and a subsequent move above the high of that closing bar, but I was mistaken. Not having a chart to look at, I watched the prices going up on my phone so I called in the order to buy at 1240. By the time I got to my computer the order was filled and for a while it looked like a good move. I placed the usual 10-cent stop back at 1230, then the market turned lower.

I'm not beating myself up too bad over it. I genuinely thought I had a confirmed set up to buy, and beans were up 9 cents at the time. But if I'd been able to see the chart, I think I would have waited.





On the bright side, I've been able to move my stop up another 10 points on ES. I'm on day seven of this trade.



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  #52 (permalink)
Jameson
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Shaking off that loss in soybeans, I've initiated a short position at 1230, covering stop at 1240:


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  #53 (permalink)
Jameson
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Overnight the soybeans and the mini s&p have moved lower. In soybeans I've now moved my stop to my entry point of 1230 for at least a break even. This is a good example of discipline and always, no matter what, taking the signal. I lost the two previous bean trades before this, and when I got the signal for a short at 1230 it would have been easy to sit out over frustration or fear. It's hard, after you lose two trades in a row from the long side, to immediately turn around and go short. But I said I'm not going to let those two losses faze me, they mean nothing, and if the market's going down it's telling me something. Lo and behold, I'm now sitting at break even on this trade.




Meanwhile, my ES trade from the long side got stopped out for a 20-point profit. Bought at 1320 and sold at 1340. Simultaneous to my stop hitting out at 1340, I sold at 1340 and placed a covering stop at 1350. I've got a signal that the trend is now down:



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  #54 (permalink)
Jameson
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At the close my stop gets hit in beans. I'd like to know what caused the market to go up about 13 cents in the last few minutes. I mean just out of nowhere, boom! Up like a homesick angel. Even stranger, corn and wheat finished lower. Very volatile and choppy week in the beans. Oh well try again next week.



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Jameson
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With the Greek news over the weekend the markets opened up higher last night, putting me into buy positions in both the S&P and soybeans. Notice on the charts how similar the two markets look. Everything seems to be moving in tandem opposite the dollar.

Over the last week the beans hit a lot of resistance at 1240. Let's see what it does this week:





ES 30 minute chart:



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  #56 (permalink)
Jameson
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I hate it when the market is like this. At the open this morning soybeans ran up and got within one tick of me being able to move my stop to break even, then promptly crashed. My rule is that when the market gets to the next highest number ending in 0 I move my stop. So I enter at 1240 with a stop at 1230, and when the market gets to 1250 I move the stop to 1240.

This morning it got as high as 1249.75. What to do? Do I move my stop and risk getting knocked out, only to have to start all over again if the market goes back up? Do I take the guaranteed break even?

I'm going with the latter. The way the market ran up but could not hold the gains tells me something weird is going on. It's time to play defense. If I get knocked out, and I think I will, I'll just wait for a signal at 1250.



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Jameson
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My stop got hit on soybeans while I was typing that, so now I'm basically rooting for the market to go down so I'll be justified in my decision. But I think it was the right call, even if the market goes back up.

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Jameson
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Well, I was dead wrong on that call BUT...I got back in just in time. Minutes after my last post I watched the soybeans go down to about 1238, then it started to go back up. Jumped around from 1240-41 and I decided I needed to buy back in. I don't know, it was just a gut feeling. I said to myself, "You do understand the market may keep going lower? Before you place that order, fast forward 90 minutes to the close and beans are down to 1231, a penny away from your stop. You sure you want to do this?"

And my response was a simple yes. Despite my earlier misgivings it felt like the right thing to do. The price, I felt, was telling me the trend was still up.

So I bought at 1240 and beans closed today at 1253, up 24 and a half cents. The final 60 seconds were the best part, with the market just zooming upward.

Did I make a mistake in moving my first stop up to break even when I knew it would take me out of the trade? Should I have sat tight? I mean I was one freaking tick away from getting the actual green light to move it. A whole $12.50 more, and I could have said later on, "My system was telling me to do it. Wasn't me, it was the system!" Sometimes, though, you gotta use discretion. I have a method that, for its simplicity, is as disciplined and emotionless as any of them, but there's still room for hunches and gut calls.

I don't know. Doesn't matter now. I got back in is the important part, and I'm on the right side of the trend.


Close of the March soybeans. There's big volume all over the place today:



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  #59 (permalink)
Jameson
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ES is getting ugly. Two losses so far this week and a third possibly on the way. This is a big reason why I trade only a couple markets. The losses can pile on when it gets choppy. Is it me, or has the S&P pretty much just sucked ass since the beginning of the year? Yesterday and today were a train wreck:



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 Big Mike 
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Jameson View Post
Is it me, or has the S&P pretty much just sucked ass since the beginning of the year?

I would say it is just you. The channel has been magnificent in ES.





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Jameson
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Oh sure it's been in a definite uptrend, started the year at about 1270, but the moves have been small and choppy. Compare the price action since January 1 with the preceding five months. Granted late summer and fall had uncommonly high volatility, and perhaps that's why the daily price swings aren't as great right now. Everything goes in cycles.

"Sucked ass" was probably too strong a description. "A little quiet" might be more accurate. For me at least. It all depends on your trading time frame and system. Me, what I'm really looking for are multi-day moves of 40- 50 points or more while I keep a trailing stop 10-15 points behind the market. Haven't had any yet this year.



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Jameson
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Undaunted, I continue to plug away in this choppy ES market. My short trade from 1340 got stopped out last night for the third loss this week, but discipline and consistency are the key here so when I got a signal to buy at 1350 I took it:





March soybeans, meanwhile, keep moving up. We got a weather market.



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Jameson
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I'm going back to what I originally said: this market does suck, at least right now. Four straight losses in the ES. This is a doozy. I'm almost laughing at this point.

I know I'm going to make this money back. It may take a while, but I will make it back. Currently short from 1340, exactly where I was at this time yesterday.



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 Big Mike 
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Jameson View Post
I'm going back to what I originally said: this market does suck, at least right now. Four straight losses in the ES. This is a doozy. I'm almost laughing at this point.

I know I'm going to make this money back. It may take a while, but I will make it back. Currently short from 1340, exactly where I was at this time yesterday.



You seem to not understand how channels work, or are completely ignoring the channel exists. Buy the low of the channel, sell the high of the channel. You seem to be doing the exact opposite, thinking it will be a breakout every time. That is why I posted my chart, to demonstrate to you the market has been excellent because it has been a highly defined trading channel.

Mike

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Jameson
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This is where you find out if you've got what it takes. Since I started this journal things have been pretty easy. A loss here and there, and a couple nice wins that more than make up for it. Now you're seeing, in real time, my first journal drawdown. (And it really hasn't been that bad since I trade only two markets. Soybeans are actually doing good.) It would be easy to say I'm going to sit out this market, or I'm switching to natural gas, or I need to tweak my system.

Can't. I'm fully committed at this point. I have to stick with it. When the conditions are right, and they will be again, my system can make a lot of money. I've seen it.

To me this business can be boiled down to two simple principles: manage your risk so you don't lose all your money when the market's going against you, and be there when the big move happens. You have to be there. Losing four in a row is bad enough, but missing the one that would have made up for those four just makes it twice as bad. So you have to take them all.

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Jameson
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You seem to not understand how channels work, or are completely ignoring the channel exists. Buy the low of the channel, sell the high of the channel. You seem to be doing the exact opposite, thinking it will be a breakout every time. That is why I posted my chart, to demonstrate to you the market has been excellent because it has been a highly defined trading channel.

Mike

I don't trade like you or probably like anyone else here, but I've got faith in my system. When I want advice I'll ask for it.

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 furytrader 
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It sounds like you have the right discipline for trading the way you trade - one thing I know is that you will NEVER know when the next big trade is going to come. It is like a thief in the night.

Have you ever backtested your approach? Backtesting, for me, is what gives me the confidence to ride through the inevitable rough patches.

Thanks for sharing your insights and trade ideas.

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Jameson
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Thanks fury. Truth be told I got this system from a book called The New Commodity Trading Guide by George Kleinman. Kleinman's got 30 years experience and runs his own brokerage. He knows whereof he speaks.

He says in the book that he backtested the method extensively, and then he trades corn for five months in 2008 and lists each trade with charts and analysis, just like what I'm doing in this journal. It was all done in real time, and he notes at the beginning that he has no idea how it will go. Turns out that after five months he makes over $17,000 on one corn contract, and he mentions that the numbers for soybeans and crude oil were much higher (of course 2008 was a watershed year for trend followers). This was from March to August, before the crash.

I have not personally backtested this method but I've traded it every day with real money since last May, and practiced it for many months before that. The slump I'm in now is not common but still within the realm of possibility. It's not the first time.

The ES will break out of this narrow range before too long, and folks who are buying at 1335 and selling at 1355 will get their hands slapped. Not wishing them ill will or saying they're wrong, but the pendulum will turn as it inevitably must. A solid trend will emerge and hopefully I will be there to catch it.

At times like this you definitely wonder if the grass is greener. But you have to resist the temptation to start changing things or abandoning ship. When a golfer is in a slump I'm sure it must be mental and emotional agony. I'll never hit the ball straight again! But you have to just stick with your plan, stick with what got you here.

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Jameson
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Another reversal in ES today. Long from 1350:





March soybeans below. Previous trade resulted in a 10-cent profit, then the market essentially bounced off the moving average and set up for a new buy. Long from 1260:



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 Big Mike 
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Jameson View Post
At times like this you definitely wonder if the grass is greener. But you have to resist the temptation to start changing things or abandoning ship. When a golfer is in a slump I'm sure it must be mental and emotional agony. I'll never hit the ball straight again! But you have to just stick with your plan, stick with what got you here.

At what point do you acknowledge this method is a failure? A pre-determined "stop" period to prevent you from just continuing until the account is blown, should the method not be fruitful? Comparing live results to your backtested results, comparing MAE, MFE, avg profit, avg win, expectancy, drawdown, runup, etc --- at what point would you say the results have diverged in such a bad way that the method is not sound?

Mike

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 furytrader 
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As for Big Mike's question, it's a really important one (not just here but for any systematic approach) - when is it time to pull the plug? My thinking is that you look at how the system is performing versus its historical performance, with some idea of what represents "normal" vs. abnormal drawdowns, based upon the standard deviation and frequency of losing trades. You have to define what an abberational (is that a word?) string of trades would look like before you start trading and either reduce or stop trading once you see a series of trades that meet that definition.

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Jameson
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At what point do you acknowledge this method is a failure? A pre-determined "stop" period to prevent you from just continuing until the account is blown, should the method not be fruitful? Comparing live results to your backtested results, comparing MAE, MFE, avg profit, avg win, expectancy, drawdown, runup, etc --- at what point would you say the results have diverged in such a bad way that the method is not sound?

Mike

I don't know. Not yet. Not after a few bad days in one market. I've studied and traded this method extensively in real time, over a variety of markets and conditions. It's normally pretty profitable, though it does have its ugly periods. That's about the best I can give you. Five losses in a row is frustrating but it doesn't ring alarm bells.

By the way ES has moved above 1360 this morning, allowing me to move my stop to the 1350 entry point. At least the losing streak is over.




Meanwhile the March soybeans have moved to 1270, enabling another stop move to break even (well, very close at least):


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Jameson
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Bit of a tough break this morning in the beans, when the market dropped down to my stop at 1260 and knocked me out of that trade for a break even. Sometimes our stops are just hit, sometimes they are just missed. After that the market rallied, putting me into a new long position at 1270:




S&P, meanwhile, can't hold its Sunday night gains and is bouncing around 1360:



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Jameson
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Current position: long March soybeans from 1270.

Made an unusual move for me in the S&P. My last trade was a buy at 1350. Sunday night the market got as high at 1369.50, tantalizingly close to signaling to move my stop from 1350 to 1360, thereby locking in 10 points of profit. I held off as the market went lower Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday afternoon, with the market sitting around 1360, I decided to move my stop up 5 points to 1355. I figured one, the market looks like it is on its way back down to 1350, which would not only take me out of my long postition but would also initiate a sell position. Two, I decided to take some profit after I was up over 19 points, even if just for a minute. It's very unusual for me to be up 19 points and have little or nothing to show for it, but it does happen sometimes. I've learned and continue to learn that anything can happen in the markets sooner or later.

Normally I would wait for the market to go to 1370 and then move the stop to 1360, but that it couldn't hold the highs from Sunday told me to go ahead and take something. The market hit my 1355 stop a little while ago so I'm out with five points profit, or $250 per contract. Currently I'm set up to sell at 1350. Where ES goes next is anybody's guess.



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Jameson
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Currently long from 1270 in the March soybeans. With a move up to 1280 this morning, this allowed me to move my stop from 1260 to 1270 thus insuring at least a break even on this trade:




I caught a huge break this morning in the ES. I had a sell order working at 1350 and the market got within one tick of hitting it, down to 1350.25. That order not getting filled saved me from a 10-point loss as the market rallied over the next 90 minutes, as I would have naturally placed a covering stop at 1360:



Pretty quiet week so far. That's fine. As I've said before, the fewer trades made the better.

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Jameson
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Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
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Although I don't trade crude, here's a cherry-picked but totally accurate example of what my method can do in a sustained trending market. This is the April CL since last week. Just like with the markets I do trade, I would enter and exit crude on the numbers ending in 0--100.00, 101.00, etc. Actually in this case it would be numbers ending in 00. I'd place my stops $1 from my entry point, so a buy at 100 would have a stop at 99, or a sell at 102 would have a stop at 103. Crude's volatility requires the greater risk. Then for every dollar of profit I would move my stop one dollar. Simple as that. Here's CL on a 30-minute chart with a 180 WMA. The same rules apply. Watch for a close above the WMA, then a move above that closing bar's high to the next number ending in 0 to buy. I didn't show this part, but on 2/13 the market set up for a buy at 100 which, if the rules were followed, would have resulted in a $1,000 profit per contract. A rebuy occurred on 2/15 at 102, and that is where the chart picks up. The result so far would be $4 of profit, or $4,000 per contract, and we're still in the trade looking for more.



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  #77 (permalink)
Jameson
Memphis, USA
 
 
Posts: 84 since Jun 2011
Thanks: 1 given, 23 received

Initiated a long position in the ES toward the end of the day. I missed the setup when it occurred (and you can barely see it on the chart) so instead of entering at my customary number ending in 0, in this case 1360, I went ahead and just took a market order at 1361. I get uneasy waiting for the market to come down if I'm buying, because sometimes that one more point you're waiting for never comes. Something told me to just get in and don't worry that I'm a little bit off. Turns out that may have been a prescient move because ES hasn't looked back since.

Long 1361 w/stop working 1350:


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