My September ILF trade was a loser, and I am certainly glad I went ahead with the EDV hedge. Looks like for October I am going to sell the ILF and get some more EDV. Not sure yet.
As far as I can tell, electoral politics in Brazil, a tight race for President, had a drastic impact on their stock market. Add to this this ongoing debt debacle in Argentina, and it looks like the little Latin market rally is taking a breather. I guess that is one sketchy explanation of what happened.
On the positive side, for the first time ever I traded with a plan, according to the plan, and according to the rules. I was sorely tempted on a daily basis to break the rules. The psychology behind this was purely fear. And also a newbie desire to get points on the board on my first trade back.
I held fast.
In response to the voice in my head that is full of doubt about my strategy, I was able to respond calmly with a determination to exert discipline and follow the rules. If I go off track right from the start, that will set a bad precedent, and then the pattern will repeat again and again, buy high and sell low, lather, rinse, repeat, and I get chopped to pieces.
If there's one thing I have learned about trend trading, it only works for those who can stomach the drawdowns.
If I wanted to engage in a little unfair criticism of myself on this trade, I got hurt a little bit on cost basis, since I was not able to execute the purchase at the time I wanted. For October I expect to be spot-on.
I want to let you and all your readers know that in October futures.io (formerly BMT) has a Trading Journal contest w/prizes. The contest runs October 1 to October 31, and the three best journals (as decided by futures.io (formerly BMT) members) will receive a 150K combine from TopstepTrader.
That thread will be open for posting starting Wednesday, October 1. As the author of your journal, you need to make a post in that thread linking to your journal, and then ask users to press the "Thanks" button on that post if they want to vote for your journal to win the contest.
Members can vote for as many different journals as they want. Votes are cast in the Contest thread only, and only on the first post made by the author of the journal that contains a link to their journal. This is done so I can easily count the "Thanks Received" by author/journal, and award the three prizes.
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Finally getting around to logging my Sept. ETF rotation trade:
ILF 904 buy 43.06 sell 10/02 35.89 LOSS 16.67%
EDV 9/04 buy 110.97 hold
EDV 10/02 buy 111.69 hold
Analysis: ILF trade was the worst performing trade for this strategy in the backtests since 2008. It came close to triggering my stoploss at 20%. Statistical anomaly, an outlier.
Bad -- did not enter trade at indicated time, due to technical issues. Failed to exit at indicated time due to user error. Good -- chose to put on the EDV hedge; followed the rules.
Psychology: my first trade back since sitting on the sidelines for a year; to have the first trade be a loser like this -- I mentally went through some changes over it. I can see that my mind goes all over the place during a trade like this, it's like the fog of war, and the only thing I have to hold onto is the Rules. Looking at how this trade went wrong, I am tempted to think that I am jinxed. Inside my head I identify this "jinxed mentality" as a pattern of magic thinking that I have always fallen back on. But actually, I am not jinxed. I show up and I execute and the results inevitably follow. I have a trackrecord that demonstrates this.
Something that I have discovered about myself is that I am good at following simple rules, I can overcome my inner fear, anger, and greed and just sit with it. Once the position is on, I can sit with it calmly. I don't give a fuck what that monkey inside my head is telling me to do this particular instant, I am going to hold fast.
I wasn't planning to put any trades on yesterday, and so I dozed off at the NY open, which is bed time here, only to wake up a half hour later and discover an amazing looking looooooooong red wick on the EDV candle, shooting up 10 points. "That can't be real," I said.
Then the monkey trader in me took over, and pretty soon I was logged into the platform and contemplating buying some TMF or some other leveraged bond ETF. This is in spite of the fact that I am already perfectly positioned with EDV with a bunch of shares.
I'm looking at all sorts of issues that have gone up around 10% at the open, and Monkey Trader is saying "me too, me too."
And then I think back on the Year of Penitent Reflection I have just gone through over USLV, which I bought in exactly the same mindset. How painful that was.
Q: Did you learn anything in the past year?
A: Don't chase.
Last edited by suko; October 15th, 2014 at 09:03 PM.
This market has got me emotionally seesawing all over the place. It's amazing to me that one comment by somebody at the FED can have such an impact on sentiment. But it's been like this all year. One comment by the FED and...
My education continues. I find myself focusing my studies on volatility products even more. Tomorrow I am going to try a small swing trade in ZIV, as the term structure has reverted to contango. I am still not comfortable with the idea of fooling around with VXX for any time frame. I think a simple strategy of swing trading ZIV according to term structure, contango risk on, backwardation risk-off (instead of fooling around with VXX) may be worth trying out.
QOTD: "What we are really talking about here is a derivative of a derivative."
Clarification: that last post was a bit elliptical. What I should have said was that volatility ETF traders seem to follow a strategy of XIV or ZIV risk-on when the front month(s) of the VIX futures term structure is in contango, which is 80% of the time, and then switching to VXX when the VIX spikes and backwardation of the term structure occurs on the front months, which is usually times of crisis. "Crisis alpha"
So, the typical trading strategy is to alternate between ZIV or XIV and VXX.
I spent a couple hours last night studying a charted timeline of the VIX term structure from 2004 to the present, with reference points at all of the historical events that affected volatility, such as FED announcements, yield curve inversion, invasions, etc. (As a Japan resident, I was a little surprised to see that the most cataclysmic event we have ever experienced over here, the Tsunami/Fukushima, hardly registered in terms of VIX -- I guess that shows how little Japan matters to US market sentiment).
Anyway, now I have a much better cause/effect grasp of VIX spikes and the resulting very scary spikes in VXX and XIV.
The much less volatile ZIV is a better vehicle for a newbie like me. I will leave the pursuit fo crisis alpha to the veterans.
All day yesterday I was in the torment of the retail trend trader with a large position on. I spent all night reading the financial infotainment, blogs, twitter, futures.io (formerly BMT), etc., trying to bring up my market awareness. I am seesawing back and forth in my mind whether or not I should break my trading rules and take a very nice little profit in the trade I have on, or follow the rules and let it ride.
It's the very same torment I went through last month over ILF and BABA. I want to break the rules and then chase some momo, try and get one huge win. I need a huge win. Last night I wanted to sell my EDV and put on a significant ZIV position.
But I was unable to yield to temptation, after all, and I decided to follow the rules and sit on my hands.
I need to reconcile myself to the fact that I am going to be in the same torment every time I have a position on.