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The 22 Days: A Price Action Trader shares his Journey
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The 22 Days: A Price Action Trader shares his Journey

  #31 (permalink)
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Thanks for your thoughts about your trading journey however rough at the moment it is. I as I'm sure many others have felt similar. I have the same thoughts about the markets being "rigged", run over by institutional HFT, manipulated by the Fed and corporate and political interests etc. Like it's a jungle with a bunch of booby traps at every corner with fakeouts and whiplashes, etc.

My comment about your charts. Is there another instrument you could trade, or make use of a different type of chart(tick)? Is there an optimum time period to trade it? Just my opinion, but it seems the the first three screenshots you have show a market that looks extremely hard to trade off of as it seems the market at that time isn't doing much of anything. Unless you have the vertical proportion of the graph condensed the bars look really small and hard to see much of any price action and it's stuck at the ema too like a vine. Brooks himself says extremely tight trading ranges are hard to trade I've heard in his live webinars. Of course, the last screenshot looks much better to trade.


Last edited by Cloudy; March 22nd, 2012 at 11:35 PM.
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  #32 (permalink)
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Big Mike Members watched over my shoulders to help me be a confident trader (Day 17)

The support I received was tremendous.

Thank you to all who posted inspiring replies.

I was able to recover my 'winning streak' today on a live account at a much much reduced size:

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I couldn't resist posting this - I am full of gratitude.

I also attended FuturesTrader71's seminar yesterday on Big Mike (set my alarm clock at 2 AM India Time :-) ) - it has been perhaps orchestrated by the gods to be so timely and the topic was what was needed to imbibe a healthy dose of common sense and perspective again.

THANK YOU BIG MIKE. THANK YOU Surly. THANK YOU Anagami. Thank you Cloudy. Thank you otazaide for making your first post on Big Mike for helping me.

You guys don't know what you collectively provided me with. You might have done the equivalent of just saving Holland from flooding with your simple act of putting your fingers in a leaking dyke.

Five fingers. A miracle called a hand. Which might seem cheesy but I don't QUITE know why I haven't QUIT yet. All the magical people out there, Thank you once again.


Analysis of the day and why I took these trades:

I was long from yesterday at 810. I was expecting an upside move after the climactic selloff yesterday and after the deep lower low below 802 after the break of the major bear trendline (drawn in yesterday's last chart). Today the major bull trendline had not been broken till a pinbar formed with a top at 825 and the market went sideways thus breaking the bull run. I covered at the break of the bull trendline at 816.

10:00 AM

I was conservative.

That is to put it mildly.

I was burnt, bruised, maimed and mauled by five days of unending movement against me each time I took a trade and had almost blown my account to bits. I cannot recollect which time this was out of the many blown accounts. I have basically lost count. Event this time. Inspite of the solid plan. Because I froze. Like always.

10:30 AM

Hence even though the market had printed a clear higher high and a trendline could be drawn and I was looking to get long.....


... I did not take the trendline touch at 12:30 PM. (Well, actually I did but kept a super tight stop loss which was foolish because between the ask and the bid by stop loss was the spread and was instantly hit.)

And since I kept squirming for losing all that lovely money by not taking that trade I entered later at the green arrow, took quick profits off at 825 where the market formed a double top.

I also hesitated to short this clear setup.

Because I still have not forgotten all these wounds.

The good things were that:

1. I entered not too tight stop loss orders except the one I have highlighted above.

2. I recognized opportunities but acknowleged that the market is random and was prepared for all possibilities.

3. As a bonus: I PREDICTED market direction correctly (but this point is meaningless and not important without context, where I got filled, and where I placed stops!)


Last edited by iqgod; March 23rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Added detailed analysis of day
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  #33 (permalink)
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Very nice post @iqgod.





Enjoy your weekend and get some sleep.

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  #34 (permalink)
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iqgod View Post
Is Trading Profitably (capitalized) just a temporary phenomenon? After being a trader for more than four years, after having used many strategies, even seemingly great ones which are based on price action, it took me just a fortnight to give back all my profits and go deep into red.

When I entered trading with its magical illusion of untold riches, easy money and a life full of free hours to do whatever I wanted to do it all seemed so very easy. Now I realize that it is the hardest easy money I ever made...


iqgod,

Forgive me for my lack of patience sometimes, I will admit I only skimmed through. It is Friday and something in your post caught my eye on the home page.

I did not find where you mentioned your account size, but I saw "10% loss" for example. Can you share an approximate size of your account?

Or if that is not comfortable, can you describe your profit targets, stop losses, daily goals, annual goals, max drawdowns, all as percentages of your account size?

What markets are you trying to trade with that account size? I did not recognize what I saw, except Corn.

I see a few charts of 2 minutes and I saw a weekly, is there anything else you trade with? Do you have a screenshot of your total view of the markets?

I thought I saw you called your broker to exit a trade? Are you trading by telephone still?

How do you perform when sim trading?

I may be trying to answer your question from a too technical perspective, but would like to take a shot at it if it interests you. If you want to PM me instead of post publicly with answers to those basic items I'd like to see where you are.

If nothing else, you have passed the tenacity test!

I blew up more than once and kept coming back. Compulsion, stubborness, ego, insanity, all had a part in it. But so did committment, hard work, surrender, acceptance, risk management, self-management, and a whole list of thoughts and emotions that have nothing to do with trading, but can change everything.

Good luck in getting this worked out.

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  #35 (permalink)
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thanx @iqgod...i didnt saw your journal...you understand the obvious reason...limited time for even myself.

@Surly , took my wods.......one similar trait in my trading style is....i could never sit for more than 30-40 min during my trade time...that too is limited to only morning half. I trade with roaming here and there in my house...completing multiple daily task...

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  #36 (permalink)
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yea that Trader 71 webinar was timely for me as well

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  #37 (permalink)
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Why do we fail as traders? A Personal Hard Look


GaryD View Post
iqgod,

Forgive me for my lack of patience sometimes, I will admit I only skimmed through. It is Friday and something in your post caught my eye on the home page.

I did not find where you mentioned your account size, but I saw "10% loss" for example. Can you share an approximate size of your account?

Or if that is not comfortable, can you describe your profit targets, stop losses, daily goals, annual goals, max drawdowns, all as percentages of your account size?

What markets are you trying to trade with that account size? I did not recognize what I saw, except Corn.

I see a few charts of 2 minutes and I saw a weekly, is there anything else you trade with? Do you have a screenshot of your total view of the markets?

I thought I saw you called your broker to exit a trade? Are you trading by telephone still?

How do you perform when sim trading?

I may be trying to answer your question from a too technical perspective, but would like to take a shot at it if it interests you. If you want to PM me instead of post publicly with answers to those basic items I'd like to see where you are.

If nothing else, you have passed the tenacity test!

I blew up more than once and kept coming back. Compulsion, stubborness, ego, insanity, all had a part in it. But so did committment, hard work, surrender, acceptance, risk management, self-management, and a whole list of thoughts and emotions that have nothing to do with trading, but can change everything.

Good luck in getting this worked out.

Answers to the Tenacity Test: (all these combined must be the Answer Key aka THE HOLY GRAIL, but if only all these knotty problems are cut through by a sharp Excalibur)

Firstly, I have gathered all the data you stated. I did not reply immediately because I did not have all this data off hand. I labored hard over the weekend. However while giving answers I will also have to add my personal story and my personal problems. I hope that by posting this on a public forum I might serve as a red flag hoisted over a shipwreck, if only to warn other sailors of the treacherous rocks lying just beneath a seemingly calm surface. So here are the facts and the story behind the curtain which even my spouse has not heard till date – I am laying bare EVERYTHING. My premise is that I have nothing to lose (no more damage than all that has been done) and everything to gain (insight, guidance, advice). That will be in the next post.

Since the Story is Long here is the Answer in Short:

<Answer in short begins>

What is my account size?

For this you would really need to read the story to get an idea of what the ride has been like.

However since this is the short answer section, it is Rs.40,000 RIGHT NOW. It was Rs.50,000 in the morning before the market opened.

Which markets?

All securities which have futures contracts on the NSE and BSE – these are the two Indian stock exchanges.
All futures on NSE.

(The Corn chart you saw was not traded by me, it was an example posted by Peter Brandt who trades on the CME).

Is my account size large enough to trade these markets?

NO NO and NO. (But at one point – yes, it was) For example the security I have traded and posted charts of is NSE:ABB. A futures contract of ABB is for 250 shares of the underlying hence if the share price is Rs.400 then the contract is worth Rs.1,00,000. The margin needed to buy / sell one contract is around Rs.35,000. Thus one contract barely fits my account size (a good point: the leverage is okay i.e. 2:1)

How much risk should I be taking?

Ideally I should be taking no more than 1 % risk on each trade.
This means I must not lose more than Rs.500 on each trade.

How much risk do I ACTUALLY take?

Well, I lost more than Rs.15,000 today. That was 30% of my existing pile. HOLY SHIT. I FEEL LIKE A WRECK AFTER SAYING THAT.

I have not stopped trading INSPITE of reaching my monthly loss limits. Post mid-March it seems limits do not
matter.

In the heart of my hearts I am a perfectionist. I would not dream of trading like this. People who know me know how logical, disciplined and fastidious I am in my daily work. But they also know how reckless, gambling-prone I am – for example give me a ‘deal’ in a shopping mall and I am hooked. Doorbuster sales are my weakness. Ditto in trading. If I feel that there is a high risk opportunity which will be worth 10x the reward, then I simply execute the trade. If I miss that opportunity for whatever reasons (not at my desk, sleeping etc.) then I take even more risk (the stop is far far away) and I still enter that trade.

I will show how I approached this exact need to be in a trade in my next post which shows how I traded today.

Which timeframes?

5-min charts.
No, let’s be honest – 2-min charts.

None of which are what I SHOULD be trading.

I have a day job.

And the Indian markets are open at the exact same moments as my day job.

I wish to be honest here – I trade off 2-min charts during work hours. And then I sit late and work like a dog to finish my day's assignments.

But it doesn’t always work this way in a job, does it? The following may sound like one big crib, but it simply is the real picture. It might sound sympathy inducing but it should not. It is fashioned out of my need to do a day job and bring steady income to support a growing family, and at the same time pursue a dream of being an entrepreneur someday when trading full-time will be the only business I am into. But right now it is a cocktail where none of the two paths are being walked on properly. Instead I am tumbling down a “middle” path where progress is noticeably absent in my work life and neither are the profits falling into place due to the reasons stated in the next paragraph.

The environment is locked down. I cannot install any trading software of course. I have to rely on google charts and free quotes on the internet. My trendlines are “drawn” by placing a stiff ruler against an LCD monitor and they are all I have… I cannot really draw the trendline and expect it to stay or stick. It is in the air.

The colleagues may ridicule me when they see me with a chart. So I take one quick look at it after every second minute (since its a 2 minute timeframe) when a bar closes. And then get back to thinking what I need to do when price gets to so an so point.

Sometimes I have to place orders before running off to meetings. Needless to say those are not really places where I should be trading anyway – the risk:reward is not right. But I am worried that once I get into a meeting
I will have no chance to place an order. So I go ahead and place the order anyways.

I use a mobile to trade, but it takes time to login, locate securities, enter trading password etc. The session times out if I just leave the connection on and do not trade. Hence I sometimes have to call my broker via telephone to execute orders. Sometimes their lines are busy. And I helplessly watch price slipping away from green to red. And all the while my trades are “right” (except that this may be a hindsight bias because I haven’t told my broker a target price and stop just yet) – i.e. price hits my target price but often then goes the other way. Sometimes the brokers lines are busy even though I am free to close the position. Then as losses deepen and the account starts to bleed, I freeze.

Where are my stops?

Read the above. And below.

Why do I behave this way?

At some points I feel my understanding of the markets is so complete that THERE ARE NO STOPS. Of course there are mental stops, but then they are constantly moving like a hazy mirage in a heated desert – a mound of sand (price) shifts due to the market wind and the stop dune shifts as the market changes structure, and I am too blinded by the heat haze to notice how really far price has come. Till I get a call from the broker politely informing me that she is closing my position if I don't transfer funds.

Deep inside I KNOW I should be trading the daily chart, but the quick reaction I get from the 2-min and 5-min i.e. a feedback loop is “absent” on the dead daily chart. But I also know that it is just an excuse and I want the lower frames for a kick I get.

In simulated trading environments too I behave EXACTLY the same. In fact losing money in the blender of the markets has shredded my heart so many times that real money and sim seem exactly the same right now. The numbers are all enticing even on sim. On both I go full tilt. Period. (Sigh! Which is why I fail, which is why I fail)

Goals?

I want to double or triple my small account in one – two months.

After that, I solemnly promise myself, I will risk only 1 % of my account. (The devil inside me chuckles, satisfied.). Then I want to make Rs.5000 per day. (Which is a wrong notion in itself - setting expectations from the market on a day to day basis - I need to define it on a more longer term basis such as Rs.1,00,000 per month where I have just multiplied the figure by 30)

It is as stupid as that. I know it is gambling but then somewhere inside my monkey says that maybe I will hit it
lucky and then you can go on being a saint with a larger account size.

I have not yet learnt. I have not yet learnt in the true sense and spirit of learning.

</Answer in short ends>


Last edited by iqgod; March 26th, 2012 at 01:44 PM. Reason: Formatting, typos
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  #38 (permalink)
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My story as a trader - lessons learnt so far

Prologue

Here is the longer story, the behind the curtains of the mind, a peep into a room lit with the author’s own candles:

As stated earlier, I started when the recession was at its deepest. I was new to the markets. I did not know a and hence my approach was like an amateur approaches a playing field and this ‘this is easy’. My mutual fund investments were at less than half of what they were worth and still sinking. I was mad at the markets and trying to avenge my losses. A neighbor had given up a cushy job as a manager and was making a living trading and teaching the ropes of trading. I am prone to not trust people and I am stubborn and bookish and wish to do things on my own, hence I started off on MY path of learning. Through books.

Since I was just ‘testing the waters’ I started off, I reasoned that this business just involves having balls of steel.

No wimpy men (or women!) here – just high testosterone fuelled, cash loaded, consistent winners.

Losing was baaaad. Only fools, wimps and people who chickened out lost.

If you had guts and adequate money, the fluctuations of the markets would turn into gyrations that allow your stockpile to zoom up like a rocket.

Then rinse, repeat. Compound interest with a new meaning.

E=MC2

Exponential equals More Trading with Capital x 2 times the guts

Old Albert had it up his sleeve all along.

Often I was just incompetent and did not know what I was doing. With no target to aim at I just shot from the hip at every new discovery I made. No sim here. All live.

If I had all that money from my five or six trading accounts I could be a breakeven trader. Now, just getting all that capital back will take me a long time.

The total losses run into around Rs.5,00,000. Ironically my capital today stands at Rs.50,000 (nay.40,000 once the day will close, so I better speak fast) and it is exactly at 10 % of my original booty. Go figure compound interest in reverse.

The loss of confidence is incalculable. True I have gained lot of knowledge and feel confident yet, but these demons are so unassuming and subtle that I do not know if I may fall prey to them anytime, at any point of the trade. Sometimes they (demons/ monkeys whatever you call them) visit me when I am at my peak feeling invincible; sometimes they work their way quietly while I am too tired and too sapped to protest; but many times they are driven by me as a result of GREED and more GREED.)

Each time I turn into a accusing, finger pointing loser I give these excuses (maybe some of these are painfully true and need to be addressed till which point I have no business to be trading):

1. I did not find enough time to analyze the market because of family chores.
2. I was ‘right all along’ – the stop did me in.
3. I did not have balls of steel and chickened out.

One conception I feel which has a truism to this very day is worth mentioning:

4. I did not move fast enough to assume the risk once the trade opportunity presented itself. Or I did not assume the risk, and did not move at all.

Reasons for this were (and a proposed solution):

I had been bitten hard by the booby traps the market had placed along the way and by the time this trade presented itself I was
Hence, the twin morals: LIMITING LOSSES PER TRADE + LACK OF PATIENCE TO TAKE ONLY THE BEST TRADES

Thus, risk management and self-management.

Effects of these misconceptions:

Once I was just about to put my money in some stocks that I had analyzed and decided they were ripe for shooting up. At that time I was reading Channel Surfing / Balance Dynamics by Michael Parsons.

At this point my father walked over to me – the money was needed for a new family apartment. Without second thoughts and being a dutiful son I took a payout from my trading account and I handed it all over. And miserably watched those stocks shoot up after the Indian Elections where the stock market gained 2000+ points each trading day moving from 10,000 to 14,000+ points. I watched in agony – my money WOULD have doubled, tripled in a couple of days.

Such is the nature of markets to present opportunities to even the unprepared and unskilled. Yet I keep feeling the forebodings of ill-luck each time (which may not be perfectly true since luck favors those who are prepared.)

I have often watched 10% of my account disappear. Once I watched 100% of my account disappeared (even more, since I answered a margin call and transferred more funds after a bad trade gone really bad). I also watched the trade come back soon after and felt even more agony of having my long term stop… I felt hunted and deceived.

Even since those few trades I have treaded with SUCH extreme caution that it has resulted only in piddling profits.

Some Truths I have Learnt (and some myths that I have unlearnt):

It is only now that I am realizing that the market is an untamed beast – to trade takes an incredible amount of mental discipline, being on the block for more hours (your day job seems like a breeze after the grinding discipline and energy needed for the markets).

The beast cannot be tamed.

It can be observed and its characteristics can be decoded in bits and pieces. Even then it cannot be predicted.

The only thing that can be done is you can come prepared for ANY eventuality. And that involves multiple things.

And all those have to do with you and nothing to do with the market.

You can eat healthy, sleep well, and then show up in the forest OR not come to fight the beast when you are not in the prime of your health.

You can decide how much weaponry you will hurl at the beast. If highly leveraged, it adds to walking over a rope bridge over a flaming river while in the fight. Few can survive such battles. Or you can decide not to use leverage, lose no more than 1 % on each trade. And put your feet on the solid ground and then fight the beast.

What makes more sense?

True that over the flaming river and on the rope bridge bring more honors to the warrior, but then who counts the corpses littered on the bridge? Which legend is celebrated for becoming a mere statistic? Taleb and Darwin ring true at such points.

You can select the timeframes to trade. Choose a quieter life more in tune with your inner being rather than going hyper on lower timeframes thinking you still have the vigour of a teenager. (And you may, but that is an entirely different story for now).

You may make wrong moves, predict the beast wrongly, but having your armour ready (STOPS, hard stops, in the market) would save you from most of its claws and leave you alive for many many battles to come.

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  #39 (permalink)
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I can never forget this chart as long as I live:


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It contains all the elements I have been plagued with in my trading life.

You have the privilege to observe, with commentary:

1. How I broke my rules by not waiting patiently for setups

2. How I became cocky with consecutive wins and increased position size.

3. How I could not devote my full time to trading, and missed opportunities to exit at a favorable price. Since I had blown my account with my first broker and I was trading with a shrunk account, I was using another broker who had a weird product which I was not fully familiar with and which allowed more exposure by placing a market order alongwith a stop loss order but no way to put a corresponding target price i.e. you could execute a target order only as a market order - there was no concept of OCO orders :-(

4. How I froze after missing the place to exit at a profit, and didn't take a partial loss - instead I let the trade sink for a full stop loss hit.

I just received my trasaction statements. I am down more than Rs.15,000 after taking everything into consideration.


AND I do not know WHY I executed any long trades to start with. I had decided that today was a down day based on the opening price action and the daily chart as marked below. Once price forms a double bottom either today or tomorrow, its only THEN that I expect it to go up to test the top spike of this spike and channel range (a three push wedge too) I have marked.

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Last edited by iqgod; March 26th, 2012 at 01:52 PM.
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  #40 (permalink)
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iqgod View Post
I am starting this entry with these series of rules because they are the guiding principles the journal will be based on:

You will make more money if you avoid certain types of trades.

If you can’t resist taking the less optimal trades and blame it on human nature it means that you are losing discipline and are not following your plan,

The most important thing to note is that trading counter-trend will result in missing the “with trend” trades. In his case money not gained is money lost.

Don’t do countertrend trading until after a major trendline break with momentum and a retest of the trend extreme.


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Im just trying to get that image of a falling chainsaw out of my head...ouchhh

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