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Papa's Trading Journal
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Papa's Trading Journal

  #1 (permalink)
Elite Member
Wake Forest, NC
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
Broker/Data: VanKar
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papa15's Avatar
 
Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
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Papa's Trading Journal

I have been a member for several months now and fully intended to start a journal a while back, but kept putting it off. There are several reasons for that but none of them are really valid. Well, April was not kind ( I messed up a CL trade something fierce, then smacked myself up side the head and promised I would not trade CL again until I doubled the size of the account). Today was not a good one for me either. I keep making the same mistakes over and over, and I bet if I asked you for your top 10 list of mistakes, mine would be very similar.

Anyway, I am retired from the Navy. The pension keeps the bills paid. I am not trading to put food on the table, pay the mortgage, or keep the lights on. Neither am I out to get rich quick. My goal is to slowly grow a small account over time to assist my kids in sending their kids to college. The 14 in Papa14 is for the number of grandkids (it will soon have to change to Papa15). The bottom line is to be profitable.

Aw, but there is the catch. Everything I have tried has run into issues. My journey is probably similar to many:
1. Buy a program (in hindsight how could I have actually believed a $900 trading system will really work, especially one that has about 10 indicators and at least that many colors.....hint...it uses Ergodics)

2. Go to chat rooms....could not follow the calls...half the time could not tell if was supposed to be long or short since conflicting signals kept coming....not only was I not winning but was paying $249/mo for the privilege of losing...

3. Get educated....read books....buy dvd's...read forums.....great info but must be able to put into practice....

4. Sim trade....really well....very easy to take all trades when no real money involved.....if only could pay for college with sim money

5. Trade live...get the school of hard knocks....

Well, I could go on forever but most of you have been there and done that too, so no need to rehash what you already know.

The two biggest issues in my losing, beyond all others, is gap trading the ES and not cutting losers (honoring stops). I was told early on in the chat room phase that something like 85% of all gaps close and that if you go for a half gap fill, it is something like 95% success rate. All of that may be true, but I can tell you from personal experience if you are trading a small account with a relatively small stop you ain't gonna win 85% of the time (today both of those issues are what did me in, btw).

I am starting this journal to hold myself accountable to 1. Not trade gaps 2. Honor all stops 3. Improve my trading self discipline.

My method has evolved over time and since I am swearing off gap trading is down to one simple technique which I will explain in a minute. One of the changes I made recently was to switch from NT over to ThinkorSwim. I have been a customer for a long time and they gave me a much, much better rate than the advertised $7 RT. So all charts I post will be from TOS.

Since I am on a small account, I trade mainly the 6B in order to be able to do multiple contracts. I only use market hours. I put in a line noting the opening price for the day. If price is above the opening price, I only look for longs, and if price is below the opening, I only look for shorts. I use a 5 min chart. For a long situation, I wait for a red candle to close, and then put in a buy stop 1 tick above the high of the red candle. The stop is below the red candle. The target is usually at least 6 ticks if one contract, or 5 and 10 if 2 contracts. One of the issues I am working on is improving the reward/risk ratio. I have had trouble getting it to be above 1:1. In order to succeed, I know I must get there.

I have slowly weaned myself off of indicators, so don't expect to see any on my charts. The last to go was the Person's Pivots on ToS, but I must admit I still do occasionally look at them to see where potential S&R could be. For the most part, I just stick to my basic game plan. Oh, and I will quit trading for the day sometimes after one win.....remember I am not being pushed to make lots and lots of money....I do want to emphasize this is not a hobby but it is not my only source of income either....I do want to have time to enjoy those 14 (soon to be 15) little ones.... keep your priorities straight.

Oh, 1 thing I could use some help on is how to attach a ToS chart to a posting. I am not sure how to save the ToS chart. If anyone knows, please let me know. Thanks.

Papa14

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  #3 (permalink)
Elite Member
Wake Forest, NC
 
Futures Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
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Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 586 given, 1,244 received

Tuesday May 4th


Had a large drop in the 6B overnight. Price opened and headed higher. I waited for the opening trading to take place and thus ignored the first red candle. I did put an order above the second red candle thinking the pound would trade back towards yesterday's close. That order was not filled. I watched price go below the opening price and watched the two green candles form taking price back above the open. I had a sell stop at 1.5152 and price dropped like a rock, and slippage caused me to fill at 1.5146 and price immediately jumped back to 1.5152. I had the stop above the opening price. Price meandered around for about 15 minutes, only going my favor by 1 tick. I was concerned with the large overhead gap , thinking price would go up. After about 20 minutes, I closed the trade for a scratch (losing only the commission). Had I been a little more patient, the market did go down and the trade would have been a full winner. There were plenty of other entry points, but I need to go do some chores, so decided this is a 1 trade day. Overall, down 1 commission.

 
  #4 (permalink)
Elite Member
Frankfurt
 
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hey papa, welcome with your journal here !
we love good journals !

for pictures - take small a screenshot programm, make a shot of your chart + upload it here in the journal as attachement.

thats the easiest way to visualize your ideas here.

max-td
 
  #5 (permalink)
Elite Member
Wake Forest, NC
 
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Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 586 given, 1,244 received

Tuesday May 4th

Came back from doing my chores well after the regular trading hours were done and saw the 6B market made a big turnaround. Just before I left, I canceled my buy stop I had setting above the red candle at 9am (don't like orders when I can't watch). The market action brought to mind all that TRO used to say about entering near the low of the day after a green candle forms....just can't figure out real time when I have seen the low of the day. Any way, there were multiple entry opportunities on the way down in price and there were opportunities to get long above the opening price. Clearly from the low of the day at 1.5088 back to the opening price of 1.5158 there was a strong move up and most folks could find a suitable entry, but my rules say to sit on the sidelines and that is what I would have done had I been here.

The attached chart is a 10 min chart of today's action and is identical to my 5 min chart in appearance. It is my first time using a screen capture program so hopefully it works and I will get better at posting them.
Papa14

Attached Thumbnails
Papa's Trading Journal-may-4th.jpg  

Last edited by papa15; May 4th, 2010 at 10:58 PM.
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  #6 (permalink)
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Wed May 5th

The British pound had another overnight drop. It opened and almost immediately continued going down. I put in a sell stop below the second green candle, was filled and had 8 ticks fairly quickly. Remembering yesterday's price action, and visions of TRO, I decided not to short anymore and watched for rising prices.

Here is where I made two mistakes. I had a buy stop resting above the first green candle and it was filled on the doji at 10:45. With the large gap, I felt the market should continue up, so I put the stop beneath the hanging man candle at 10:25. When price approached it, I moved it lower, since I felt really certain the market should go back up. It did, but I was wrong to do what I did. Second, I moved my price target towards break even. I just wanted out. I did get out with a small profit. I could (and should ) have held on for a full 8 tick win. These are two mistakes I have repeatedly made and they have cost me big time. These are issues I need to correct.

A better course of action would have been to cancel the buy stop when the market went below and stayed below the opening price, then let the market trade back above the opening price, look for a red candle and follow the normal technique. Also, I noticed on a 10 min chart, there appears to be less noise. I will watch that over the next several days. I have read often that it is best to trade off larger charts as long as you can handle the increased stops required.

Overall, +9 ticks.

Papa14

Attached Thumbnails
Papa's Trading Journal-may-5th.jpg  
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  #7 (permalink)
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Thursday May 6th

Had decided last night to take today off. Several reasons: 1. Thursdays have historically been a rough day for me for some reason 2. Elections in UK could have big impact on pound 3. Was going to re-arrange the office

Turned out to be a good decision not to trade. More volatility than I can handle

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  #8 (permalink)
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Monday May 10th

I continue to sit on the sidelines. The volatility is just too high for my liking. Market is being moved by a lot of cross currents and the moves are very large. For those with the stomach to trade this environment, there is the potential for great reward. For those, like me, with small accounts and a penchant for less violent moves, it is a good time to take care of the "Honey Do" list that seems never ending....the market will calm down eventually and plenty of opportunities will present themselves.

I also am taking a look at Big Mike's price action journal/method. ToS does not have range charts, so I am practicing on a 233 tick chart for 6B and a 512 tick chart for ES. I am using a 34 ema on these tick charts...long above the ema, and short below it....using HH/HL for longs and LH/LL for short.....so far, good results but not ready for prime time....

Papa 14

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  #9 (permalink)
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Friday May 14th

I continue to sit on the sidelines. The volatility in the markets just does not fit my tastes. I am waiting for the European news and the banking systems to settle down. This is just a good time to paper trade.

Papa14

 
  #10 (permalink)
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papa14 View Post
I continue to sit on the sidelines. The volatility in the markets just does not fit my tastes. I am waiting for the European news and the banking systems to settle down. This is just a good time to paper trade.

Papa14

Papa,

Do you have a particular indicator that determines 'too volatile'? Like do you look at VIX or Daily ATR for your instrument, etc, to determine this? Or, do you simply use subjective gut-based considerations to know when you want to start trading again?

Mike

Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

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