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Learning to trade the ES using volume profiling
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Learning to trade the ES using volume profiling

  #221 (permalink)
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Profiler View Post
I have now been trading the ES live for almost 6 months. I still trade 1 lots and I still lose money, on average, though very little. This feels way harder than it was last time even though I dont have to get up at 115am and I do have other sources of income. I honestly expected to be trading 2 or 3 lots by now and making a little bit of money. I don't feel like I am making that much progress. Figuring this out has been on my mind almost 24-7 since I started. I wake up at 5am because it bothers me I have not made sense of this yet. I can go out to dinner with friends and be engaged in conversation but I'm thinking about the ES in the back of my head and my failure thus far is eating me up. I will persist. I will figure this out. I have committed myself to do whatever it takes and a truly committed person can not be stopped. The next few months or more are really going to suck- maybe even worse than it has already been. But I look back on overcoming my prior struggle as one of the high points of my life. I plan on doing the same for this period.

Profiler, I applaud your commitment to success, both in the past and the present. Six months is really not that long to expect yourself to be not only breakeven but making money and upping your size on the ES, without some serious tutelage or mentorship. I know all too well the feelings and scenarios you expressed above. Keep at it (but please, try not to think about ES when out with friends at dinner if possible), and remember that "figuring it out" is a process, and is not something that happens all at once; so celebrate the small wins.

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  #222 (permalink)
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3-18 pre-market

Economic data: none

ON Profile: We have a big gap down on heavy volume (420k) along with a big range (14.5 pts). The hi is one tick below the 1544.25 CHVN and the low is 1529.5 for some reason. There is a double bottom at the low but otherwise it looks like a strong low on the profile. Vpoc is sitting at 1538.5. ES is currently trading above the vpoc, some 12 handles off the low.

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ES is headed for a gap down open. I am thinking its of the OAOR variety instead of OD. 1541.25 is the major CLVN in the area and could be the key to the day as it seperates 2 minor balance areas as shown on the pic below. I'm thinking initially the ES sells off on open, potentially down to the 1535.25 CHVN but then responsive buyers start to wade in and if successful through 1541.25 then to the other side of the balance area at 1548 and potentially finish with only a small loss on the day. Rejection at 1541.25 puts 1535.25 back on the table along with other side of balance at 1527.25 and of course the gap zone below it. Bigger picture, all time frames are pointing higher. ES has had quite a run over last 3 weeks so this might be just the excuse people were looking for to take some profits and add again later from lower levels. I think ES could trade as low as the 1460 level and still be in favor of the bulls.

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Levels Above: 1541.25 CLVN*, 1544.25 CHVN/1545.25 LVN from 3-13*, 1548, 1549 mc vpoc, pLo**, 1551.25 CLVN, 1553.5 nvpoc

Levels Below: 1535.25 CHVN**, 1531.5 LVN from 3-5, 1529 LVN from 3-5, 1527.25-1521.25 gap zone

Hypo#1- ES opens OAOR, sells off to 1535.25 to pick up buyers then rotates up to 1541.25, if accepted then targets 1548, if rejected back down to 1531 or lower.

Hypo#2- ES opens OAOR and pushes up to 1545.25 level and finds sellers that knock it down to 1535.25. If rejected, back up to 1541 and higher, if not search lower for buyers.

Hypo#3- ES opens OD. Go with!

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  #223 (permalink)
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3-18 trades and recap


1. Sold 1541.25 CLVN on 3.75 pt move after an OAOR open. Volume below 20d average so far. Breadth extremely negative as to be expected with such a gap down. Tick was negative, now mostly positive. Its gone 5 ticks against me pretty quickly and vpoc has shifted up above at 1541.75 as prices are being accepted above the CLVN. Stopped after 6 min and .5 MF.

2. Sold 1549 pLO/CHVN on 3 pt move up. 2nd vwap 2 ticks above which could provide more resistance Market has clearly been moving higher but not giving me a good entry long. Stopped after 2 minutes, clearly some stops were triggered. I faded and paid the price.

3. Sold 151.25 CLVN on 5.25 pt move. 2nd vwap right here too. Last fade of day for me here if it doesn't work. Well they took it 4 ticks in my face for the gap fill but it looks like an aggressive seller entered there and now back to entry. See if they can take it down more. Its gone 5 ticks in my favor now but 1550 will be difficult to get through as it has a lot of volume there. 15 min it has traded my exit price but only small (300). Scaled after 15 min and 1.0 MA. Second scale given.

4. Long 1549 on 3.25 pt pb. Vpoc has been established in prior range above at 1550 and buyers have controlled the day so looking for pLo to hold and move up into close. Negatives are fact that on prior move up the hi was only taken out by 1 tick. Waiting for a pullback to the 1547 vwap was tempting but I have been waiting for the vwap pb all day and no dice. Scaled after 12 min and .5 MA. No second.

5. Long 1544.75 (2 ticks below mid/VAL) on 4 pt move down. Selling definitely getting aggressive into the close and series of lower lows and lower highs in place. Quickly 4 ticks against me but then back to entry. Hmm. 15 min in and now 4 ticks in favor but then back to entry with 10 minutes to cash close. Gun to head I say this is a loser. Scaled after 21 min and 1.25 MA! Second scale given.

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Recap
ES opened OAOR with a sizable gap to the downsize and responsive buyers took over quickly and auctioned it up through the key 1541.25 CLVN all the way to the other side of prior balance and into prior range where price was accepted for the better part of the afternoon until sellers emerged and knocked it back down into the 41-49 balance area where it closed. We end up with value and vpoc about 7 pts lower. Price also finished down about the same but well off the overnight lows. Volume was better than average at 1.65 mil but not exactly heavy. If you look at a 24 hr daily candle, we end up with long wicks both above and below. We now have 2 days in a row of lower vpoc and value which is of note. Sellers had the golden goose and fumbled it right from the opening bell- but I still give the bulls the victory today though.

My trading was garbage today. I faded a strong market on the way up and then bought it on the way down. I am lucky to escape green when it could have very easily been a limit down day. I'm not sure that my first trade was a bad idea. We had a big gap down and one should try and align themselves with the gap and the 1541.25 was a key level for a short if it was going to work. And the strength of the bulls wasn't readily apparent to me up to that point- they weren't super aggressive and volume was merely average. But they didn't allow any pullbacks. Not to the mid nor the vwap, it was a very stealthy strong auction, at least to my eyes. The IBLO had a double bottom which made me think a rotation back down was likely. It never came. I was desperate for a long in the mid 1540s area but I couldn't justify anything (because it didn't serve up an easy entry like a mid pb). Of course finally when I throw in the towel, when there is enough confirmation for me to sack up, its time for the bulls to take profits and sell to me. I guess the true strength of the market was evidenced by the fact that my longs gave me scales during the sell off.

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  #224 (permalink)
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3-19 pre-market

Economic data: housing starts/building permits

ON Profile: Choppy night last night leaves behind a blunt profile. There is a double top at the hi and a double bottom at the low. Prices only traded below yesterdays vpoc by 2 ticks while the upside was contained roughly by the VAH. Volume is slightly better than average at 175k and range is normal at 5.5 pts. Vpoc sitting at 1547.5 and price is currently above that. I would say nod to the bulls.

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Yesterday was kind of a wild day (including globex) and with minimal economic data on tap today and tomorrow being FOMC day, I am anticipating a quiet, rotational day with an upside bias and OAIR open. I think todays key level will be the 1551.5 CLVN that separates the 41-49 balance area from the 53-57 balance. If the ES is accepted above that level, I see no reason why the all time highs at roughly 1559 can't be a reasonable target. If its rejected then that put the nvpoc at 45.75 on the table with potential to explore the lower end of that balance at 41. All time frames are pointing higher.

Levels Above: 1551.5 CLVN*, 1553.5 nvpoc, 1557.25 yr Hi, 1559 all time cash closing hi, 1570 all time cash hi

Levels Below: 1548 CLVN, 1545.75 nvpoc*, 1539.75 CLVN**, 1535.25 CHVN*

Hypo#1- ES opens OAIR inside/at VAH and rotates lower to close nvpoc and pick up buyers where it grinds higher through the day.

Hypo#2- ES opens OAIR inside/at VAH and pushes higher but is rejected at 1551.5 CLVN then targets 1545.75 nvpoc and possibly lower to 1540.

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  #225 (permalink)
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3-19 trades and recap

1. Long 1550 on 1 pt pb from a triple top hi at 1551 that looks very poor-nonetheless, very aggressive entry by me. ES opened OAIR and rejected 1551 CLVN on open then moved lower to 1548 CLVN and rejected that and formed very poor hi above. 10 minutes in and its gone 3 ticks in my favor and 6 against but printed very small on my exit so I havent been stopped yet. Listless action and very poor volume so far. Stopped after 21 min and .75 MA.

2. Long 1545.75 nvpoc on 5.25 pt move down after it printed very weakly at the ONLO (193 only) and popped up 2 ticks quickly. Its gone 5 ticks against me and 3 for, now a tick in favor and vpoc has shifted to just below my entry which at least signals buyers are active here (along with sellers). Stopped after 16 mins and .75 MF.

3. Long 1541.25 key CLVN on 4.75 pt move. Very news-driven market right now but this is the bottom of the balance area and an important level from yesterday. Stopped after 2 min and .25 MA. Well that was a bust-continued lower for another 4 handles though so thank god for discipline.

4. Long 1535 CHVN on 4.5 pt move down- this level was fair value for the 3 day balance after the breakout above 1524. Really nasty selling based on cyprus so stepping into building burning as well as fading for 4th time today- not wise. Scaled after 2 min and .25 MA. Second scale given.

5. Sold 1538 on 4.75 pt move up. Truthfully I wanted to wait for the mid/LVN/CLVN up at 1541.5 but this rotation was nice and the tick spiked up to +800. Scaled after 5 min and .25 MA. Second scale given.

6. Sold 1541.5 mid/vwap/CLVN on 5.75 pt move on big news spike. Stopped after 30 seconds and .75 MA. Dang.

7. Sold 1453.5 prior intraday low/LVN on 3 pt move after getting stopped at 43 on my prior long. Scaled after 40 seconds and 1.0 MA. Second scale given.

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Recap
ES opened innocently enough OAIR inside value with weak volume and an upward bias. A poor hi was in place but the ES struggled going higher and went lower in search of buyers. None were found until much lower as the ES fell out of the current balance area and drove all the way to the 1531.5 swing low from 3-5. Buyers were there and strongly bounced it up back thru the 41 level where it closed around 42. Wild day, big range, very heavy volume. Vpoc shifted 7 pts lower, value area shifted lower, no overlap whatsoever and price about 5 pts lower. We now have 3 days in a row of lower vpoc migration and value area. It would seem a test of the gap zone 1527.25-1521.25 is in order. Overall, the longer time frames are still bullish but maybe the daily time frame is turning bearish now.

My trading was shiite today. The whole problem was related to the poor hi put in at 1551- I was completely fixated on the market returning to that to clean it up. That combined with the fact that I was expecting a quiet rotational day led to me being caught completely off guard by this sell off even though my second hypothesis called for rejection at 1551 and exploration lower. So I ended up fading the damn thing 4 times in a row getting long and stopped out on first 3 while spoos were just getting crushed and down 19 handles. What a joke! I will say in spite of that, my winners all gave scales and had I been trading 2 lots I would have finished in the green today. I'm dead tired and tomorrow could be another wild day so time to rest up...

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  #226 (permalink)
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3-20 pre-market

Economic data: FOMC

ON Profile: Last nights profile says "news" to me. Very wide range and heavy volume. Not sure why the low stopped where it did but the high failed 3 ticks ahead of the nvpoc at 1553.5 and only 1 ticked the hi from Monday. Vpoc sits at 1547.25 which is right around the distinct LVN from yesterday at 1547.75.

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So the poor hi at 1551 I was fixated on yesterday gets taken out overnight... Normally on FOMC day I would expect a 5 handle rotational snoozer before the announcement but this cyprus story continues to make waves and anything is possible. I'm not ruling out another trip to low 1530s or a move up to new 5 year highs. I expect an OAIR above value and I expect responsive sellers will make the first push but after that is anyone's guess. I think yesterdays VAH/LVN at 1543.5 could provide enough confluence for a bounce. Two day mc vpoc is 1545.5 which also the vpoc of all trading since the breakout above 1524 so maybe, absent any news it goes to there and camps out for a few hours waiting for the fed. A peak above 1551.5 that gets accepted targets 1553.5 and then 1557 and above to breakout city. A move below 1541.25 brings 1338 and 1335 and below back into the picture.

Levels Above: 1551.5**, 1553.5 nvpoc, 1557.25 5 year hi, 1559 all time cash close hi, 1570 all time cash hi

Levels Below: 1547.75 CLVN/on vpoc/LVN, 1545.5 mc vpoc, 1543.5 LVN/pVAH, 1541.25 CLVN*, 1538 CHVN, 1535.25

Hypo#1- ES opens OAIR above value and responsive sellers make first push lowerto pick up buyers around 1545.5 where it rotates until the fed. Fed whispers sweet nothings into markets ear and we push higher to new hi's.

Hypo#2- ES opens OAIR above value and buyers make push to 1551.5 CLVN and fail and sellers take control again like yesterday.

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  #227 (permalink)
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3-20 trades and recap

1. Long 1552.25 on potential OD after open 1 tick above pHi, 1 ticking lower and taking off. Stopped after 4 min and .75 MF. Well, I went for it and paid 6 ticks to find out if I was right. No regrets.

2. Long 1554 after ES broke out above IBHI then came back down to test 1553.5 and printed weakly (and not filling my 1553.25 bid) before moving back up. Christ, instantly 5 ticks against me. We have had a very rotational day which is typical on fomc days so theoretically should play outside in but now news is out was looking for continuation of upside. I must admit the hi does look nice. 10 minutes in and its gone 4 ticks in my favor and back to entry. All I can say is prices are being accepted higher, it seems but my trade location is horrible. Stopped after 21 min and 1.0 MF. Would have been winner had I waited for original entry...

3. Long 1550.25 vpoc at close. Ooops, scratch city.

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Recap
ES opened a tick above yesterday's hi and it looked like we were off to the races. Enthusiasm lasted less than it took me to write this sentence and the next few hours were classic pre-fomc small range chop. Afterwards, an upside breakout occurred but that really got beat down quickly and spoos auctioned all the way to the lows in last 15 minutes of the day. Overall, we have value and vpoc much higher. Price finished higher but ultimately was rejected from the balance area above 1551.5 which I thought was interesting. Volume was ok at 1.4 mil.

I took 2 trades today and they were both losers. I'm fine with the first one. I took a shot at jumping onboard early on a trend day-didn't work. In the future trading multiple lots, all I need is to be right once to pay for a whole bunch of losers and then some. Second trade I screwed up due to impatience and I paid up, cost me getting a scale and turned into a loser.

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  #228 (permalink)
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Just read your thread this afternoon.

First off. Great consistency. Great risk management. Great attitude. Great effort. You've got half the battle won in just those things. Seriously.

Here are some things I MOST HUMBLY see. Take what you will.

1. I'd like to know what timeframe you're looking at. (The chart you post daily with your markups)

In no specific order.

2. It looks like you take "blind trades" as I call them. You see a volume node or something that you think will be a game changer, and you are just limiting in there with (seemingly) no regard for anything else. I know FT talks about information risk vs price risk, and he would probably side "mostly" with you, but I think there needs to be a balance. Some confirmation. Not too much, not too little. We all have to find what that is for us. For me it's typically a candle close on my main timeframe, or a pattern-based entry on a lower timeframe.

3. WHERE IS THE TREND? Are you keenly aware of swing highs and swing lows throughout the day? This is what defines the trend for the day. I see time after time, we're printing higher highs and higher lows and you're fading the trend just because you have some CLVN up there... I'm not a profiler (just looking into it to add to my knowledge over the past few weeks). I am a pure price action guy, and I can help you in regards to that. I'm sure you know more about profiling than I do.

4. IMPOSING YOUR VIEW. It's like you think the market will/may come here and you have these standing limit orders in. All the while, if you learn to see what IT IS DOING there are a lot of other opportunities. It's like your imposing your view on the market as opposed to being in the "now moment opportunity flow" and taking what is given. Don't be too rigid in your expectations.

5. Holding winners longer? Probably a good idea. (looks like you may be doing the FT-inspired hard stops and targets though for +/-6, so I dunno).

6. Stalking trades and missing by a tick or no fill at the high/low tick. Why not be more flexibile? I'm telling you, no one is that good. Actually, it's not even a matter of being good. The markets are simply not that precise. We have to think in terms of AREAS to do business, not a single tick level.

7. Are you using multiple timeframes? I see you are looking at the daily's for levels and your composite profile.. but are you REALLY using (utilizing rather) multiple timeframes? This is made up of using the higher timeframe for major S/R levels (whether PA based or profile based) but then you use a trading timeframe to determine the trend WITHIN that larger context, and you're on high alert when price ENTERS AREAS that are important on the higher timeframe, then you can use a lower timeframe to really get a fine-tuned picture to what is happening to price within that area that you're interested in doing business and have a hypothesis about what can happen.

8. Also, being aware of rotations. If you get long after a 6pt rotation up... make sure to at least be aware of that fact. The key to success is fading a rotation on one timeframe which is in fact, putting you WITH the trend on another timeframe.

I just typed this all practically stream of consciousness, so forgive me if it's not legible and ask whatever you want to for clarification. Also, I can tend to sound harsh at times. I, in no way, want to sound harsh. I'm only offering a simple opinion and hope to help in some small way. It's all up to you anyways to succeed.

Most respectfully,

Merritt

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  #229 (permalink)
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indextrader7 View Post

1. I'd like to know what timeframe you're looking at. (The chart you post daily with your markups)

Well the chart i post in the afternoon is a 3 min but when i trade i am looking at a 2500V bar

2. It looks like you take "blind trades" as I call them. You see a volume node or something that you think will be a game changer, and you are just limiting in there with (seemingly) no regard for anything else. I know FT talks about information risk vs price risk, and he would probably side "mostly" with you, but I think there needs to be a balance. Some confirmation. Not too much, not too little. We all have to find what that is for us. For me it's typically a candle close on my main timeframe, or a pattern-based entry on a lower timeframe.

yup, most of my trades are blinds based off a CLVN or nvpoc or a ledge or a mid and I know thats not the way FT does it but ive been doing it just for the sake of being mechanical and limiting the variables so i can measure what went wrong as best i can

3. WHERE IS THE TREND? Are you keenly aware of swing highs and swing lows throughout the day? This is what defines the trend for the day. I see time after time, we're printing higher highs and higher lows and you're fading the trend just because you have some CLVN up there... I'm not a profiler (just looking into it to add to my knowledge over the past few weeks). I am a pure price action guy, and I can help you in regards to that. I'm sure you know more about profiling than I do.

in my prior life all i did was fade. and i recognize i fade too much but its the ol' "this thing wont give me a nice pb for a long" so i end up watching it go up 5 handles and then try a fade. its something i truly am trying to work on but im caught with feeling like i have to justify entry location with something, be it a clvn or vwap or whatever and most of the time when you need to hop on board it isnt available. i need to change that...

4. IMPOSING YOUR VIEW. It's like you think the market will/may come here and you have these standing limit orders in. All the while, if you learn to see what IT IS DOING there are a lot of other opportunities. It's like your imposing your view on the market as opposed to being in the "now moment opportunity flow" and taking what is given. Don't be too rigid in your expectations.

yeah, unfortunately the market doesnt bow down to me

5. Holding winners longer? Probably a good idea. (looks like you may be doing the FT-inspired hard stops and targets though for +/-6, so I dunno).

the plan is to let winners run when i trade multiple lots, for now as a 1 lot piker im just trying to figure out auction theory and where to get in.

6. Stalking trades and missing by a tick or no fill at the high/low tick. Why not be more flexibile? I'm telling you, no one is that good. Actually, it's not even a matter of being good. The markets are simply not that precise. We have to think in terms of AREAS to do business, not a single tick level.

again, just trying to be mechanical, i know this will have to change in the future

7. Are you using multiple timeframes? I see you are looking at the daily's for levels and your composite profile.. but are you REALLY using (utilizing rather) multiple timeframes? This is made up of using the higher timeframe for major S/R levels (whether PA based or profile based) but then you use a trading timeframe to determine the trend WITHIN that larger context, and you're on high alert when price ENTERS AREAS that are important on the higher timeframe, then you can use a lower timeframe to really get a fine-tuned picture to what is happening to price within that area that you're interested in doing business and have a hypothesis about what can happen.

i am- to the best of my ability. i will qualify that by saying my ability isnt very good.

8. Also, being aware of rotations. If you get long after a 6pt rotation up... make sure to at least be aware of that fact. The key to success is fading a rotation on one timeframe which is in fact, putting you WITH the trend on another timeframe.

im most definitely aware of rotations.
I just typed this all practically stream of consciousness, so forgive me if it's not legible and ask whatever you want to for clarification. Also, I can tend to sound harsh at times. I, in no way, want to sound harsh. I'm only offering a simple opinion and hope to help in some small way. It's all up to you anyways to succeed.

Most respectfully,

Merritt

loads of thanks for this, you really nailed my weakspots. feel free to post here anytime with suggestions. that goes to anyone and everyone as well.

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  #230 (permalink)
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3-21 pre-market


Economic Data: claims, home sales, philly fed, LEI

ON Profile: So yesterdays profile had an incomplete look to the downside and it appears the overnight session kind of filled that in. We have a 5.25 pt range on slightly higher than average volume thus far (191k). The hi is just 2 ticks above yesterdays vpoc and the low is 1 tick below the 1545.75 CHVN. Really nice reactions last night off the 1547.75 CLVN and 1545.75 CHVN, both would have given 2 scales at least and only 1 tick of heat with nice rotations into them. Overall shape is somewhat blocky.

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A check of the composite shows some interesting things happening. Over the last few days the vpoc since the breakout has jumped around. Initially 1535.25 was the mc vpoc. Then after monday and tuesdays action it migrated higher to 1545.25 and finally after yesterday it has shifted up to 1550. So despite the recently volatility, value is shifting higher still.

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Economic data out today could shake things up but I'm not expecting it. I think ES opens OAIR in-range, at or below value. Yesterday the market explored above the 1550 mc vpoc and was strongly rejected late in the day. I think today market checks below 1550 to search for buyers and I think they will be found. Overall, longer time frames are still very bullish. Daily time frame is balancing.

Levels Above: 1551.5 CLVN, 1553.5 CHVN, 1559 cash closing hi, 1570 all time cash hi

Levels Below: 1547.75 CLVN, 1545.5 CHVN/ONLO, 1543.5 3-19 LVN, 1541.25 CLVN**, 1538.5 CHVN, 1535.25 CHVN**

Hypo#1- ES opens OAIR and pushes higher but fails at 1551.5 CLVN then moves lower looking for buyers, pausing at 1545.75 and turning up or continuing on.

Hypo#2- ES opens OAIR and fails at 1547.75 CLVN/pLO and heads higher through the day.

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