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The Logical Trading Journal

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  #11 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

Mixed day for me today. The "Bump and Run" pattern from the past few days remains so I have decided to make some minor tweaks for my trading plan for NQ and CL. I seem to be doing OK trading ES.

CL Combine: The market did a "bump and run" to my very first trade. Got long at the break of pre-market/initial congestion, brought stop to par once it went 20+ points in favor. Got me again at my stop and proceed to go exactly 50 cents to my target. This is the 3rd time I have written this sentence in my journal since starting it so going forward I will be more aggressive taking profits and less aggressive moving stops to par. After the first lost opportunity, I should have shut it down but didnt. This statement has also been repeated a few times so going forward, I will count missed opportunities as successful trades and either shut it down for the day or lower my target. Got chopped 3 times and had to stop due to max loss.

NQ Combine: Same story as CL. Long at initial break. Moved stop to par, bumped me and ran 10+ points towards target - didnt reach it but I would have gotten a decent win out of it. Failed to realize that had the first trade worked for me, I wouldnt be looking for big ones anymore. Also, my confidence in NQ has taken a hit now due to multiple execution errors and I am unsure what to do. With 7 days out of 20 gone and another 2-3 days like this would blow up the combine, I have no option but to keep trying and employ the same plan changes to NQ as CL.

ES Combine: I feel I "know" the ES better than any other market. Was ultra passive with my trailing stop today. Went long at break of initial congestion and sat through the whippy open. Managed to stay it it. Didnt even move my stop until it went 4 points in favor. When it got to 5+ points and only a couple ticks away from target, plus the news hour approaching, exited with 5 points. Market sentiment shifted after the news and got another short opportunity which I have been passing in the past but took it today for another 3.5 points. Then I stopped.

Summary: Trade management changes in the plan for CL and NQ. No changes for ES. CL -35 cents, NQ -21 points, ES +8.5 points.

Trade Report Pictures:

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  #12 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

Mixed day again. Looks like if I have a good day in the minis, I dont in CL and vice versa.

ES Combine: Went short at market open upon break of initial congestion. It didnt go far - maybe 4-5 ticks and came back and took out my stop. I hesitated on the long entry on the break of the same congestion area upward. Had another level about 1 point up where I finally managed to enter long. This one went 3 points in favor and came all the way back to my par stop. After the stop out, and with yesterday's start up, finish down in mind, I got a short signal and went short. It was a low confidence trade shorting into the very congestion from which I just took a breakout long a few minutes ago and its fine if I did it once. But I got stopped out and then did it again and got stopped out again. I failed to then get back in long. Having missed the long opportunity at the right location, I chased it and got long 2 points higher. It went 3 points in favor and again came back, stopped me out to the tick (exactly) and proceeded to go beyond my 6 point target.

NQ Combine: The "bump and run" story with NQ continues. Happened twice today. Similar to ES, got long from initial congestion break. Went 5+points in favor, and after about 20 minutes, I moved stop to par and it got me. Again got a long signal at the same level (Slightly higher) and the same story repeated.

From tomorrow onwards, it will have to come back and stop me out at my original stop level or hit my target. I am done moving stops to par. I can count at least 10-12 trade during the last 8 days where my original stop was never hit and price made it to my target.

CL Combine:
The day in CL was over in the first 5 minutes. For the first time in 16 trading days, my target was filled without hesitation. Got my short setup immediately upon pit session open. I was prepared to take 20 or 30 cents and close it but it kept going. I had clicked on my target order and dragged it up with the intention of dropping it as soon as I see any sign of hesitation (I am assuming that works on T4) but it just kept going. Now with 4 days to go, I still have about 41 cents to make to qualify for funding. This would be the worst time to change anything in the trading plan, so I am just going to stick to it and see what happens.

TST Trade Report pictures:


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  #13 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

The mutual exclusivity continues between the eminis and CL. I got too aggressive in CL today and paid for it. On the other side, Mr. Market couldnt have been more generous. I made a mistake but you didnt have to do much to make money today in the eminis.

CL Combine: I just fired all of my bullets too quickly and no targets got hit. The highlight was my long off the open congestion break that went 30+ cents and as discussed yesterday and the day before, I did not move my stop. It came back almost 50 cents and stopped me out. Now I am confused. To move or not to move stop, that is the question! Will let time decide this but my time may run out on this combine. With 3 days to go, there is a possibility that I may not make it to the profit target. Regardless of what happens, I think I have proven that the system works but the trader does not yet - primarily because of trade management issues. I think I can single out one thing that will help for sure - I need to trade more than 1 contract so that I can keep moving my stop to par as soon as I take 1 contract off on winning trades. Throughout this combine, I have easily left more than the total combine target on the table. I feel that if I had 2 contracts on, I may not have to so carefully balance the act of trailing my trade and taking profits. So if this combine does not make it, my next one will be the 50K combine that has double the daily loss limit of the 30K combine and I can trade the same plan with 2 contracts.

NQ Combine: No mistakes today. Perhaps could have held the trade a bit longer. Got long off the initial congestion break and took the 1st contract off at 10 points right below ON and previous day high. The 2nd one I should have held longer, especially since it had broken the 2 previous highs but got out with 12 points. I got scared looking at the p&l in the DOM :-) and I wanted to keep it. I know the stats on this combine look bad but this was the first day I got to see the potential of my plan. I wouldnt be surprised if this combine is in the black in the next 2-3 trading days.

ES Combine: Execution error right off the open. Wanted to place a buy stop above the initial congestion but I am still getting used to T4. In TradeStation, if you click a price in the bid column above the best bid, it automatically places a buy stop and below it places a buy limit. I am so used to the TradeStation DOM and I forgot to check if T4 was set to stop or limit. Anyway, lost 6 ticks on that. Then placed the buy stop, got long and I was wishing I had 2 contracts on just so I could get out of 1 and hold the other. But since that wasnt the case and price was 2 ticks away from my 6 point target, I decided to get out with 5 points.

Summary: CL -34 cents, NQ +22 points, ES +3.5 points. No trading tomorrow and most likely Tuesday either. Likely be back Wednesday next.

TST Trade Reports:


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  #14 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

There is a high probability that I will not achieve my combine target with CL. I "manufactured" my 3 trades in CL today after missing the move right off the open and paid for it. 0 discipline. My charts did not even give me a signal today until very late in the session by which time, I was out of bullets. Now I just hope to keep the combine above water for the next 2 days and hope to roll it over into a new one. There is a big difference in my trading ES vs CL. I seem to like the slower movement of ES more, maybe because it allows me time to think before/after entry so it is also about my psychology or mindset or whatever it is because I follow my plan way better in ES than in CL. My NQ trading was plagued by execution errors but since the past 2 trading days, I seem to be recovering from those.

At this rate, I am not even sure I want to have a funded account to trade CL unless my confidence level in my CL trading gets better. Maybe going for shorter targets or trading 2 contracts and taking a quick profit on the first will help - I am not sure. This combine should have achieved its target within the first 10 days. The biggest issue has been trade management and that is because I am all in and all out and am required to balance trailing the stop vs taking profits. I plan to trade CL tomorrow and Friday and if I manage to roll over the combine, I will try the 50K combine and trade 2 contracts and see if that agrees more with my trading mindset. Cant think of anything else for CL.

ES and NQ were methodical today. Both faked me out short right after market open - no big deal, its part of the plan. The longs in both more than made up for the initial losses. I was able to hold for only 5 points in the ES long (I havent yet let any one of my trades to get to 6 points - price has always gone beyond it) and in NQ, I wanted to take 10 points on the first contract but managed only 9 and the 2nd target was between 18 and 26 points but I got out with 14. Still room for improvement here but overall it seems to be working for these 2 markets.

Combine Trade Reports:

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  #15 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

CL: I would have given myself a higher probability of making my CL combine profit target, had I stuck to my plan. I got too stubborn by going for home runs and not taking the base hits. At least I stuck to my plan for entries. 4 trades in all. First two went a little and I did not move my stop. Got taken out on both for a combined loss of 22 cents. Then came the big one. Entry was right, immediately went in favor. Now that I was down 22 cents, I had this notion in my mind that I needed 100 cents from my trade. It went 47 cents in favor and I stubbornly kept my stop at par. Came all the way back to stop out the trade at par. This was before the inventory report and it didnt occur to me that there might be another move after the report. And sure enough, there was. I caught that too. My entry was 107.82. It went to 108.54 (72 cents) and I just held on to it until the close and got out with 58 cents. Had I taken 30 or so cents on the earlier trade, I would have had a fighting chance tomorrow to make another 50 and achieve the target. But now I am 80 cents short and thats a lot to ask for in 1 trading session. I will try but at least I know I will be able to roll this combine over to a new one. I get to do it all over again - and this time, its going to be different because I am going to dig deep and find the discipline to trade CL right.

ES: I feel very fortunate to have caught the only move of the day. I was all set to go short off the open but then saw a pattern that reminded me of what "they" are trying to do. I waited for confirmation and went long at 52.75. The move stopped 2 ticks short of my 6 point target. I got out with 4 points and called it a day.

NQ: The eminis market behavior was just not there for my trading plan today. I battled and lost in NQ but stopped before getting to max loss recognizing that it was a losing battle.

Summary: CL +36 cents, ES +4 points, NQ -10.75 points. Tomorrow is the last day of the CL combine. The plan is to not be stubborn like today. Just trade my plan. Thats it.

TST Trade Report Pictures:

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  #16 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

CL combine is dead and so is my confidence in my current method of trading CL. CL behavior changed last week and this week and my plan was not suitable for it any more. Since I made a little bit of money I expect it to be rolled over into a new combine. My trading mentor and guide repeatedly says that "the only thing that matters in trading is how much you keep" and nothing could more true than that especially when I look at my 20 days of trading CL. I made a lot of good trades but couldnt keep any of that. I am still confident that I can trade CL, just need a more agile trading plan. Cannot trade it with the idea of hitting home runs each day. Instead, going forward, I will gear it more towards taking the base hits and still be able to go for the occasional big one.

NQ combine is following CL's footsteps. In fact, it is worse than CL. Need to make major adjustments in order for it to at least survive the combine.

This is what I feel like today: and this is what I intend to be on Monday:

My ES trading has been rock solid so far. I intend to modify CL and NQ trading plans to mirror ES as much as possible so that I have the same psychological edge I have in ES.

Today might have seemed like the day to harvest the crop in ES but what happened could not have been foreseen and therefore there was no way to take advantage of it. There is no way to plan for something that happens once a year - maybe. So I stuck to my plan and after giving up 1 loss, took my 6 points (for the first time!) and called it quits.

Back Monday

TST Reports:

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  #17 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

With no CL trading today, I was much more relaxed. CL TST combine got rolled over and I am unsure if I want to trade CL at this time on the new combine. There is no methodical movement whatsoever in CL since the last 2 weeks or so. I could scalp but thats almost like throwing darts to find out how lucky you are. And even if it works, its useless because CL behavior is very abnormal these days - directionless most of the day with an algo spurt here or there and then drops 100+cents within 10 minutes on no volume after market close??? Not for me - not yet. Instead, I am going to focus on the ES and NQ combines for the next week or so and reevaluate maybe by end of next week and then make a decision.

In the Eminis, I could see the overnight was mostly a channel with the highs at 59.75. ES has a tendency to "fake out" in one direction before taking off in the other and it sort of did that. For whatever reason, I was biased long today. I went long at the break of the overnight/channel high at 60.

NQ also had a similar overnight structure I went long ES and NQ at exactly the same time (literally). I knew the first resistance was going to be prior day's high and I thought I would get out for 4 points when it hit 64. The ES combine was just 6 points short of the target and I didnt want to push it much. I tried getting out at 64 but couldnt so got out at the best bid at 63.50.

When ES retraced from the prior day high, I decided to take 1 contract off in NQ for 6 points. With a short signal forming in NQ, I exited my remaining long position and went short at the same price but it didnt go much and ended up getting stopped out for a full loss. NQ was at breakeven at this point.

Both ES and NQ formed another long signal and I went long NQ at 54.50 Took the first contract off way too early for just 6 points. I wanted to hold the 2nd one till 74.50 for 20 points but ended up getting out at 69. And that was the day.

Not sure why I skipped the long in ES from 63 when I went long NQ. There was no reason to skip it. I was up 3.5 points and I could have easily risked 1.5 to get in long ES but I didnt. This is my biggest weakness at this point - not being able to hold on to winners and after getting a little profit locked in, afraid to give it back.

Anyway, another 3 points in ES and the TST combine will make it to the profit target. Looking forward to it. Also been tweaking NQ a bit each day and it seems to be getting better.

It does look like I came in today. 7 more days to go...

TST Combine Trade Reports:

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  #18 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

Its easy to learn when to trade - easier actually. Much harder to learn when not to. I choose the word "learn" since we do not always do what we know. A day like today is most challenging for a breakout trader like me. Every 1 out of 5-6 days is like this and eventually I will get better at recognizing them and not give up too much back to the market.

Wont blame myself too much though. Its been a struggle so far and I have done a good job of overcoming them. A journey of a 1000 miles begins with 1 step and I am on step 4 or 5. I did what I could have done given my current trading plan and my understanding of my journey towards successful trading.

The new rolled over combine becomes active on Thursday. I am still not sure if I want to trade CL or maybe I should trade YM. My trading methodology is sound - I have no doubt about it. Wait for congestion, go on the breakout and hold for as long as possible to capture those 1 or 2 moves per day. Simple. There are areas that need improvement and they will improve in time but until then, I need the market to be there during those 20 trading days.

Dont have to decide anything right now, especially on a day like today. Today is done... next please...

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  #19 (permalink)
Houston, TX
Posts: 294 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 1,420 given, 757 received

Still have to learn when not to trade, when to wait, when not to be eager to enter into trades, let them come to you, dont chase. My day was done in less than 10 minutes. I fired off 5 trades in ES and NQ and maxed out my losses for the day. Had I waited a little bit instead of being eager to get into trades, I could have done much better today.

The open was similar to yesterday and it chopped me up within 10 minutes. Mid morning, "they" decided to take it up. No news, nothing and it just took off. I dont really care why the market does what it does. I just care about what I will do when it does what it does. I couldnt do what I wanted to do when it went up because I was out of bullets.

This calls for a change in the plan going forward at the risk of missing a winner and that is fine because so far, only once has my 3rd trade after 2 chops has actually made any money, the rest have all lost. Going forward, if I get chopped up twice, early. I will stop until price leaves the area and starts accepting price elsewhere and then breaks out of it. I will either get another entry and try to bring the day back to even or simply not trade anymore. By doing this, I am no worse off, I at least give myself the opportunity to bring the day to even or better as opposed to being done for the day at 8:40 AM.

Still havent decided what I am going to do with my 3rd combine. Its active now. I am not trading until next week because of all the rollover process tomorrow/Friday so I have time to decide what I want to do. Also trying to decide how I can bring the NQ combine back above 0. Its doable. With 5 days to go, I need to bring my A game to the market. With FOMC next Wed, chances of chop are greater next Mon, Tue so maybe I will wait until next Thursday to continue trading the combines.

Lesson to be learnt so far from the ES combine is the similar to what I saw with CL. I need to do better on my winning days, when the market is favorable to my plan. I cannot do much more different on losing days, they are going to be there, are inevitable and part of the process. But, my winning days have been sub-par compared to what I planned for. The journal is full of entries like "got out too early", "could not hold", "afraid to give back profits" etc. Have to focus on that and I will.

Probably no journal entries until next Thursday.

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  #20 (permalink)
Birmingham UK
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker: TST/Rithmic
Trading: YM/Gold
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Posts: 3,651 since Dec 2012
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iNeo View Post
Still have to learn when not to trade, when to wait, when not to be eager to enter into trades, let them come to you, dont chase. My day was done in less than 10 minutes. I fired off 5 trades in ES and NQ and maxed out my losses for the day. Had I waited a little bit instead of being eager to get into trades, I could have done much better today.

If it's any consolation I have trouble with the same issue, and for me it tends to show up most of all when we are around market tops, I call it my 'frazzle zone' and I usually take a pasting. Typically the ES (60 RTH and 135 ETH) are grinding north along upper Bollinger bands that I know are my 'Stay Away' indicator. And I always ignore it, and pay for it. Fortunately tomorrow is always another day, though yesterday I nearly decided it wasn't.

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