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RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures
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RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures

  #41 (permalink)
Elite Member
Newport Beach, CA
 
Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

012915

Up $996 net. I had a number of solid, planned trades but unfortunately I took just as many emotionally driven trades with no basis. Trying to scalp and swing creates real issues. When I am holding a trade for a swing I find myself looking at lower time frame charts which often show adverse price action and create anxiety. When I am scalping I end up focusing on higher time frame levels and compromising the integrity of my scalp entries. This happened in CL. Yesterday CL reacted at an important level after FOMC. Today after the pit open, prices initially held, and I became convinced that a major bullish swing could be underway. As a result I took 8 long trades without any real basis. I was so determined not to miss the big move that I focused on mediocre 1 minute setups, but the lack of follow thru clearly indicated the market wasn't ready to run. Fortunately I kept the losses small but it still took about $400 off the day. I finally caught part of the turn and was able to get that back, but my entry and exit were not great. A good trade in GC overnight and YM at the turn made for a decent day. If only I could: 1) avoid taking a position without a setup that meets my trade plan requirements, and 2) stick to my planned exit levels, both stop and target!

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. B 1 GC 1265.9 at 3:41, S 1 1272.8: $686
3000 tk, entry/exit per plan (both sides executed overnight) - highlights something I am finally starting to recognize: measured move levels (not at major swg hi or lo) in context of counter to steady state trending is much more likely to drive profit taking (so still result in a reasonable reaction) than it is to drive strong counter trend order flow, setting up much more favorable entry after the pull back in the direction of the trend. Contrast this to a ranging market where the measured move levels drive real counter trend order flow.

Trades 2-6: see 1m chart - series of long entries in upper range, between 6:04 and 7:34, with 1 small win, 2 full stops, and 3 scratches: ($300)

Trades 7-11: see 1m chart - series of long entries in lower range, between 7:54 and 10:30, with 5 scratches: ($100)

12. B 2 YM 17111 at 8:19, S 2 17141: $292
The trigger for this was based on 144tk chart, but the basis for the trade was the successful test of the daily key price level of 17051. The was low of the day prior to December low and would have served as the entry level for the shorts who thought they had a successful trade (next day lower close) to then get absolutely crushed. That level represents their break even exit for all to see and anticipate buying pressure. Arguably it represents an area of very strong potential demand.

13. B 1 CL 44.14 at 11:09, S 1 44.54: $396
1m, entry per plan, exit per plan. Finally caught the trade I was waiting for. My long bias was based on yesterday's successful test of the 44.10 measured move level. I took this trade on the pull back from the breakout that held (close enough). There was a far better long setup that I hesitated to take and then missed that triggered at 43.85 at 9:34. That setup wouldn't have had the support of the 45.10 level but it was a valid setup in my trade plan.

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-012915-cl-1min.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-012915-gc-3000tk.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-012915-ym-daily.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-012915-ym-144tk.jpg  
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  #42 (permalink)
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Comment on supply/demand areas

This is something I spent some time reviewing after today's close I wanted to share. I got chopped up trading CL today in the range from 8:00 to 10:00 PST before catching a decent move. One of my strategies is to monitor consolidation areas that form as a result of breaking up and the breaking down around some important price level (trapping breakout traders in both directions, possibly the cause of ranging markets). When the level eventually holds I enter on the next breakout beyond the near swing point.
Someone highlighted that in these mid range areas there is typically some level that precedes a strong swing that often then defines the range of subsequent trading range. We can look at the base of that strong swing as representing an optimal entry point, or the "smart trader" entry point. Price should not exceed this area go if there is going to be a move in the direction of that earlier strength. On the enclosed chart there are 2 obvious areas of strong demand that I have circled, one from late yesterday and one from around 8:10 pst today. We can see what happens when a strong level breaks - the strong break down at 7:30. We can also see what happens when the level holds - the strong break up after 10:00. There are 2 takeaways. First, remain flexible - when the first demand area failed it created a great short setup that I missed because i was so focused on the long side. Second, if I had simply held my stop beyond the 2nd demand area I would have avoided taking 5 scratches and would have had a far better entry price for the eventual move. Whether I would have patiently sat through the minor springs is another question.

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RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-areas_demand_supply.jpg  
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  #43 (permalink)
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Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

013015


Up $569 net. Forgot to post on Friday. Today (Monday) no trading - refining my Trade Plan and reviewing January trading. My kids had the day off from school Friday and I hadn't planned to trade then either, and as a result I hadn't prepared. I was fortunate to have finished the day without a big loss, let alone positive. Once again the biggest gain came from a trade I planned and left in the system with limit orders, both entry and exit executed in my absence. Goes to show my value added is a lot less in the area of active management. I should stick more to planning structural trades that staring at every developing bar.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. B 1 CL 44.49 at 6:03, S 1 44.37: ($124)
1m, marginal setup shorting at top of trading range
2. B 1 CL 44.37 at 6:08, S 1 44.51: +$136
1m, Entry/Exit per plan - entered near base of strong buying pressure
Both of these trades were relatively marginal because there is no obvious formation (that I can see) on the 1 minute pit session chart. Looking at the 3000 tk globex chart there is a much clearer formation. By 8:30 the transition to strong bullish order flow is clear, but I missed it completely.
3. B 1 S (soybean) 963.75 at 6:35, S 1 961.25: ($129)
1m (RTH), not valid Entry/Exit - entered on stall above key price after spike down, but into clear bearish strength that completely reversed the prior day's bullish leg
4. B 1 S 962.5 at 6:40, S 1 961.25: ($67)
same trade, same mistake
5. S 1 S 961.25 at 6:41, B 1 958.75: +$121
5m, Entry/Exit per plan - entered after price held and bar closed below the 963.25 key price
6. B 1 S 959.5 at 6:44, S 1 958: ($79)
5m, Entry/Exit not per plan -
7. S 1 S 959.25 at 6:47, B 1 959: ($42)
987t, Entry/Exit not per plan - after bar closed with big bottom tail, entered on Stop above the 958 key price level, but lack of conviction shook me out
8. B 2 S 959.25 at 6:47, S 2 961.25: +$192
987t, Entry/Exit not per plan - after exiting, no further selling came in so reentered in larger size, stop held beyond LOD. I thought/hoped this might move sharply higher, but after stalled at the base of the strong leg down I exited at market.
9. B 2 S 960.5 at 6:51, S 1 963, S 1 959.75: +$79
same trade, last try - no further selling came in so tried again - reached 1st Tgt then tightened stop on 2nd ct - this is sloppy trading with no discernible edge - quit while I am slightly ahead
10. B 2 NQ 4172 at 7:12, S 1 4175, S 1 4179: +$192
987t, Entry/Exit per plan
11. B 2 YM 17148 at 12:21, S 2 17178: +$292 +
987t, entry/exit via limit orders left in the system, executed while I was out

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-013015-cl-1m.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-013015-cl-3000tk.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-013015-s-5m.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-013015-nq-987t.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-013015-ym-987tk.jpg  
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  #44 (permalink)
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

020515 and 020615

Combined Thursday and Friday down ($1,267). No trading Mon-Wed, refining trade plan, reviewing Jan results. Should have stayed out Thurs/Fri as well. I was still doing research and writing. The trades aren't worth going detailing but in general: Took 23 trades including 5 in YM between 12:30PM and 12:40PM on Feb 5 that had a combined loss of about $450, and 6 in ES between 12:02PM and 12:32PM on Feb 6 that had a combined loss of about $400. I also completely forgot about a buy order for US I left in the system before the jobs report, and didn't realize it had gone off until it had already hit my stop, $250 loss. The YM trades were straightforward: they were all shorts based on 1 minute reversal formations in a strong bull market. The ES trades were crazy - stop and reverse, repeat. These days happen when I am not going through my process, lose contextual awareness, and then jump into the market because something catches my eye. Serves me right for taking this serious business too lightly.

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  #45 (permalink)
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Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

020915

Up $911 net. Fully focused today. Big issue is that I am getting caught up in the details and end up focusing too much on smaller opportunities, missing the big turns. CL was a good example of this. I had it mapped out reasonably well but my focus was on the scalps.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. S 2 ES 2052.75 13:11 (Friday), B 1 2050 (Sunday open), B 1 2045: +$517
27000 tk, entry per plan, exit per plan. This was dangerous. My higher time frame bias was to look to fade any push above 2062 but I missed the entry, waiting for too much confirmation.

2. B 2 ES 2044 6:30, S 2 2046: +$192
1min, entry per plan, exit not per plan. was targeting 2048 but the choppiness scared me and I took profit too soon.
3. B 2 ES 2046 7:25, S 2 2044.5: ($159)
1min, entry/exit not per plan. Got in too early, against very strong bear trend bar. Was buying test of Friday day session low, valid setup area, but got caught up micromanaging particular levels and my expectations were too rigid. Ruined an otherwise good trade opportunty.
4. B 2 ES 2044.25 10:49, S 2 2043.25: ($109)
1000t, entry/exit per plan
5. B 2 ES 2041.5 11:20, S 2 2045.5 11:43: +$392
1000t, entry/exit per plan
6. B 2 NQ 4209.25 at 12:01, S 2 4207.25: ($89)
987tk, entry per plan, exit too soon. Plan exit was below prior swg low = 4201.75. exited impulsively.
7. S 2 ES 2043.5 at 12:43, B 1 2041.5, B 1 2044.5: +$42
8. B 1 CL 52.07 at 18:01, S 1 52.20: +$126
3000tk, entry per plan, exit not per plan. lost patience during quite time.

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-27000tk-020915.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-1m-020915.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-1000t-020915.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-nq-987t-020915.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-3000t-020915.jpg  
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  #46 (permalink)
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

021015

Up $507 net. Quiet day, focusing more on stocks, although no PnL to speak of. Still trading insignificant size to try to better develop a process. Still relatively unprepared. With futures, I can focus on a handful of markets and get fully prepared in about 30 minutes. With stocks I find the prep time to be far longer.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. B 1 CL 52.28 at 6:03, B 1 CL 52.12 at 6:05, S 1 52.25, S 1 52.52: +$362
3000tk, entry per plan, exit per plan, but I was focused on the wrong side of the market. The weak reaction up, and then the strong BO down thru the TL pointed to a real bearish shift in sentiment.

2. S 1 S 980.75 at 9:11, B 1 977.75: +$146
987tk, entry per plan, exit per plan. Entered after Agriculture Report as price remained fairly contained. I find that as long as I wait just enough to avoid getting run over when a serious trend develops, the volatility surrounding the crop reports creates terrific trading opportunities, quite predictable tests of the obvious key price levels.

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-3000t-021015.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-s-987t-021015.jpg  
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  #47 (permalink)
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Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

021115

Up $605 net. The result is reasonable but the trading behind it was extremely sloppy. Around 10AM I ended up jumping into ES last minute without proper preparation and in a very cavalier way, enter at market against strong counter trend pressure. I then impulsively reversed and got spanked again, giving back earlier gains and then some. I read recently a great quote: "Never take a trade that wasn't considered at least 5 minutes earlier". I was frustrated missing early trades in stocks (my nemesis market), became tired and unfocused during the quiet period. The other mistake was taking profit too quickly in CL. My 2nd CL trade entry was at a major supply zone, and the follow thru was quite strong. I was really hoping for a retest of the supply zone but the market went straight down. This had me rethink my position management rules. I need to consider swinging those trades that occur at either the edge of the range/channel or at major supply-demand zones, rather than simply exiting at the next area of counter trend strength. I then got lucky on after hours volatility, shorting both YM and ES at key price levels, presuming that this type of strength, occurring after hours, into the edge of major trading range, could easily reverse. In the fast market I am too quick to enter/exit at market. In this case it worked out ok but often this is the source of out sized losses.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. B 1 CL 48.94 at 7:01, S 1 49.13: +$186
1m, entry per plan, exit per plan. Only problem was that I was completely on the wrong side of the major trend, obvious on the chart. My exit should have been an entry short. As has been a recurring comment of mine, this is a function of trying to pick bottoms/tops in steady state trending markets rather than waiting for a pull back.

2. S 1 CL 49.91 at 9:23, B 1 49.66: +$246
987tk, entry per plan, exit per plan. This was a great area for trend resumption and the test price action was a single narrow range channel, essentially an extended 1 leg PB, much more indicative of a PB in a trend market rather than the start of a major trend reversal. The last move down was on big Mo and had not been retested, an unlikely formation for a major turn.

3. B 2 ES 2057.5 at 10:10, S 2 2054.5: ($309)
3000tk, entry not per plan, exit not per plan. One of my rules is that if the test swing is a spike, succession of counter trend strong trend bars that I need to wait for some evidence rrounding the crop reports creates terrific trading opportunities, quite predictable tests of the obvious key price levels.

4. B 1 US at 146'22 at 12:36, S 1 146'28: +$183
1000t, entry/exit per plan.

5. S 1 ES 2074.75 at 13:39, B 1 2070.25: +$221
27000t, entry/exit reckless, gambling

6. S 1 YM 17922 13:42, S 1 YM 17949 13:43, B 1 17924, B 1 17888: +$287
60m, entry/exit per plan, far better relationship than in ES. First entry was too early. 2nd entry was at the appropriate level, then moved tgt for 1st entry to 1st entry price (break even), held 2nd for PB to breakout point.

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-1m-021115.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-987t-021115.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-3000t-021115.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-us-1000t-021115.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-ym-60m-021115.jpg  
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  #48 (permalink)
Elite Member
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

Up $470 net. Took only a few futures trades. Tried to focus more effort on stocks. I am pleased that I took no blatantly bad trades (no basis, not per plan), but I realize this generally means I wasn't nearly aggressive enough. Often I find the biggest wins are often from the setups that, at the time, looked questionable.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. B 2 ES 2076 at 6:48, S 1 2078, S 1 2074.75: +$29
9000tk, entry per plan, exit not per plan. At a glance appears to be overbought, but entered b/c reactions are getting smaller, buying pressure stronger. However these conditions can be choppy. On Key Price BO my plan dictates that I keep my stop beyond the swg low preceding the upside BO. In this case that would have required stop below 2071.75, risking 4.25 pts. Had I used proper stop then would have been big win. As an interesting aside, I find that the initial impulse in ES often runs as far as the risk would need to be (1R). Here, key price = 2075, stop needed to be at least 2071.5, so risk 3.5 to 4 pts. This implies initial impulse should run at least to 2078.5-2079.

2. S 1 CL 50.42 at 7:04, B 1 50.22: +$196
3000tk, entry per plan, exit not per plan. Entered when reaction held below 50% of last up move, and plan exit should be ahead of base of last up move, around 49.85. I saw another key price level at 50.17 and exited ahead of this. Sometimes this saves a trade, but more often I am finding that such fine tuning detracts too much from profit.

3. B 1 CL 49.89 at 7:27, S 1 50.04: +$146
3000tk, entry not per plan. too much selling pressure, no evidence yet of buying, was supposed to wait for bullish pressure in the form of strong bull trend bar and then take the next signal bar, if approximately in line with first signal bar. This was aggressive entry but I exited as soon as I saw no real buying come in. The next valid bull setup occurred around 8:00, the double bottom, but I missed it.

4. S 1 CL 50.38 at 8:25, B 1 50.23: +$146
3000tk, entry per plan, exit per plan. entry was actually too far away from the key price level of 50.53, and this caused me to exit about 0.10 ahead of the proper exit.

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-9000tk-021215.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-3000tk-021215.jpg  
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  #49 (permalink)
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

021315 to 021715

For Feb 13 thru Feb 17: Down $367 net.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. S 2 ES 2086 at 6:34 2/13, B 2 2087.50: ($159)
1min, reasonable entry/exit although absence of decent signal bar hinted that buying pressure was stronger than it appeared. I misread the choppy price action as weakness. As soon as there was a bar close with low above 2086 key price level I should have reversed.

2.S 1 CL 53.10 at 7:30 2/13, B 1 53.18: ($84)
1min, entry/exit not per plan. I should not be taking a trade based solely on lower time frame unless market is in a very strong trend or activity is unusually high. Friday before 3 day weekend is particularly light trading.

3. S 1 CL 52.75 at 8:23 2/13, B 1 52.84: ($94)
1min, same issue as above. getting chopped up in ranging price action.

4. B 1 CL 52.84 at 8:26 2/13, S 1 52.94: +$96
reversed last trade. simply trying to get back to break even.

5. B 1 CL 52.20 at 10:52 2/13, S 1 52.40: +$196
scalp, not per plan

6. B 1 EC 1.1365 at 9:24 2/16, S 1 1.1337: ($354)
3000tk, entry not per plan. Needed to see some evidence of slowing momentum, and clearly at my entry level the market was strongly declining. It was US holiday and I wasn't watching this, so left limit order in the system - serves me right. Main problem was that I was buying too high in the supply curve after a clear turn.

7. B 2 ES 2082.25 at 15:00 2/16, S 1 2085.25, S 1 2082.25: +$142
9000tk, entry per plan, exit 1 per plan, exit 2 not per plan. I needed to keep stop beyond the entry swg low and I tightened to break even. Common theme - cheating on system rules to try to save a few ticks is dramatically impairing performance.

8. S 1 US S 145'26 at 16:04 2/16, B 1 145'27: ($36)
9000tk, entry per plan, exit not per plan, same issue as with ES. The problem I am having is taking action based on what I see on lower time frame chart rather than following plan. The 2 conditions that have hurt my trading over the years more than anything else is 1) taking trades into strong or strengthening counter trend pressure (trade plan says I am supposed to wait for evidence of slowing momentum via trigger formation) and 2) managing existing trades from lower time frame chart rather than from trade plan rules. If I could eliminate those 2 problems...

9. B 1 CL 51.29 at 6:43 2/17, S 1 51.51: +$216
30m, entry/exit reasonable

10. S 1 CL 51.51 at 8:29, S 1 51.65: ($144)
30m, entry/exit reasonable

11. S 1 CL 52.48 at 10:16, B 1 52.62: ($144)
30m, entry exit reasonable

Attached Thumbnails
RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-1m-021315.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-ec-3000t-021615.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-es-9000tk-021615.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-cl-30m-021715.jpg   RB's Formation Trading Process for Futures-us-9000t-021615.jpg  
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  #50 (permalink)
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Futures Experience: Advanced
Platform: TS
Broker/Data: IB, TS
Favorite Futures: ES/YM
 
Posts: 42 since Jun 2010
Thanks: 4 given, 42 received

021815


Up $204 net. Wait...late day crude trade...now Down $490. Today was a very disappointing. I was focusing mainly on stocks and have simply confirmed what I knew all along - trading lower time frame setups, stocks in play, is not my thing. With futures I can focus on a handful of markets, but with stocks I find myself jumping around from stock to stock. I have come to believe that successful trading is 90% prep, 10% screen watching. With stocks I find myself 10% prep, 90% watching. The traders I know who do well actively trading stocks are literally watching every minute of every stock on their watch list. I did that today and by the time FOMC minutes came out I couldn't spell my name. I had been up about $500 at that time and gave up $1000 on a handful of mismanaged trades.

All PnL gross of commission/fees, all times PST
Format: Bought/Sold (B/S), #cts/shrs, Ticker, Entry Price, entry time, exit (S/B), Exit Price, PnL

1. S 1 CL 53.09 at 6:30, B 1 53.21: ($124)
1m, entry/exit per plan

2. S 1 CL 53.77 at 6:49, S 1 53.47: +$296
3000t, entry per plan, exit not per plan. Big weakness in my trading is inability to let larger opportunity play out. My planned exit was 0.25 lower but I was too anxious to get positive for the day.

3. S 1 CL 53.37 at 11:01, B 1 53.07: +$296
Exited way too soon - pull back after strong reversal, potentially far to go. Need to evaluate price action after entry as much as before entry to see how price is reacting to each key price level, holding strongly beyond or simply stalling.

4. B 2 US 144'28+ at 11:27, S 2 144'24: ($271)
3000tk, entry per plan, exit not per plan.

5. B 1 CL 51.94 at 13:30, S 1 51.25: ($694)
Had order left in system that I entered ahead of FOMC Minutes, didn't realize today was API petroleum report at 13:30. Got run over. Had chance to exit at small profit but I hesitated. My head was frazzled from looking at lower time frame stock charts all day. Last day I will be focusing on stock scalping.

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