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lax99's Trading Journal (ES/ZB/Some Currencies)
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lax99's Trading Journal (ES/ZB/Some Currencies)

  #101 (permalink)
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For Monday 8/8/2016:

The market pushed significantly higher on the back of good NFP data. NFP missed, but the surprise was to the upside (255k actual vs 180k expected) and the market took off from there. Friday's volume profile is suggestive of balance near the highs. Now, this may simply be because there wasn't enough inertia to push the market around late-day. My guess is that we have only begun to find higher value.

I'm not usually an obnoxious bull or bear; there is plenty of reason to be short and long, depending on your timeframe. However, I continually see traders on the news or Twitter saying "Here are ten reasons why I'm selling this and leveraging my entire account to do so". I think they're dead wrong. There have been entirely too many bears spelling doom since the ES began this long term auction--I'm talking from about late 2014 or so.

Monday opened up near last Friday's value range. We saw a rejection of higher prices and slow chop around on the lows to fill in the profile with a B shape. Tuesday saw quick expansion lower with a shakeout past 2144 that saw responsive buying. The market closed in the middle of value on Tuesday. Tuesday also had a wide value range, suggesting that market participants had plenty of opportunities to get long or short where they wanted to. Wednesday and Thursday were balanced days with trade pushing slowly upwards; old lows were rejected on Wednesday, and Wednesday's POC was rejected for higher prices on Thursday.

The culmination of this week's trade was obviously a push to ATH's. I'm very bullish going into this week because Friday's trade was balanced at the highs. To me, it seems that the market was accepting price in the high 70s. Otherwise, we would have seen a sharp reversal and close near lows.

Monday Theses:

1) Gap Higher.
- I expect a gap above today's range to become an opening drive type of day. If anybody is short over the weekend, they'll be running for the exits if we open around 2180.
- +1/+2 rotations, possible VWAP long if it plays out like Friday played out.
- 20 handle push into 2200 wouldn't be out of the question...
- Close on highs

2) Open in Range.
- Auction slightly lower to the lower end of Friday's value (2174) and then see responsive buyers step in and kick the market into gear.
- At most a pullback to 72.50 (Friday's mid and -1SD) before pushing higher.
- Value once more found in high 70s; a close higher than Friday but not very high (2182-85).
- Nice, tradeable auction with plenty of VWAP tests and opportunities to buy discounts and sell markups. Price action suggestive of a slow and orderly move to new highs.

3) Gap Lower.
- An opening push lower to Thursday's highs (63.50).
- An attempt to return to higher prices; trade back up to 70-72.
- Rollover once the market nears Friday's value range, with rotation downward to the opening price.
- A long, difficult day of trade. I'd expect wide five to eight point swings with plenty of retail bus opportunities to take advantage of.


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  #102 (permalink)
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Here's my performance for this month so far. The commissions bit is off (as is my Total Net Profit, then) because I just introduced it midweek.

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These are the bits I'm most focused on. All values are in ES ticks (=$12.50) unless otherwise noted.

1) Percent Profitable = 57.14%
2) Average Trade = 0.64
3) Avg Win, Avg Loss = +2.40 / -1.71
4) Largest Win/ Largest Loss = +6.50 / -2.75
5) Avg MFE, Avg MAE = +2.71 / -1.11

Things that stand out:

I'm close to 60% profitable which I expect is about average for a daytrader.
My average win is greater than my average loss, though not by a large amount. I'd consider a +5 / -1.71 as a large amount.
My average MAE is less negative than my average loss. My average MFE is less positivethan my average win.

I'm no amazing statistician (especially when it comes to relevant trading information) so if anybody knows more than I, I'd appreciate any and all commentary.

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  #103 (permalink)
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Monday's Trades:

1: Long 77.50, 76.50, 76.25, stopped at 73.75.
- I'm glad I wrote this trade down. My "averaging in" is awful, and my basis hardly improved by like 50 cents as I "averaged in".
- If I'm averaging into a trade, the scales need to be two to three points away from each other to actually influence the basis.
- The trade was in line with my thesis, but it was too early. Instead of jumping the gun on my levels, I need to wait for the zones that I'm interested in.
- Poor trade overall.

2: Long 74.50, holding overnight (looking for ten handles).
- This is the trade I should have been waiting for all day instead of futzing around with the first long.
- Solid execution and I'm happy with my basis as it is on the lower end of the volume profile--> advantageous R/R long going forward.
_________________________________

The market sold off from highs again today. For some reason, this seems to be the pattern recently. Overnight pushes higher are met by sellers on the opening bell, and value builds near the lower third of the day's range.

"Markets move lower to draw in buyers, and higher to draw in sellers"

The market is in balance right now. We moved higher, drew in sellers, and came off close to ten points from the morning's highs. Buyers showed up late in the day to return the market to just under RTH VWAP. Our value area is thin (in comparison to the back half of July's consolidation period) but it is holding from 2174 to 2178.25.

My long is from 74.50. I'm pleased that I managed to get the average that I wanted, even though it came at a few hundred dollars cost from my earlier attempt to get long. I would love to run this trade for a solid ten or twenty handles into 2200, but the fact of the matter is that new highs were rejected. Before even thinking about 2200, we need to revisit 2180 and see the market hold up there.

Most of the volume traded up here is on the lower end of the value area from 74-78. This has me thinking that shorts are booting their platform up at 9:30 AM Eastern, smashing the sell button, and then walking away in the afternoon. My feeling is that the last week of trade was characterized by two different timeframe traders.

First, we have the daytraders and retail folks who are prolifically active on Twitter and StockTwits and similar sites screaming that "ES has topped, my five indicators and ten trendlines tell me so".

Secondly, we have bulls who aren't imposing their will on the market--they're simply buying the daily discount that comes around New York lunchtime. I think this sort of action is along the lines of a fund that handed over the ES books to a junior trader; the junior trader isn't allowed to trade huge size, but he or she knows that the fund is positioned long and that dips should be bought.

I want to position myself for new all time highs sometime during the month of August. I want to see 2200 trade, which is why I've basically been in buy-the-dip mode for the past two weeks. I have a +1.00 point lead on my longs. Let's see what the overnight has for me...

Theses:

1) Gap open higher
- I would love to see a gap higher into 82 or so, but that's just me talking my book. I don't realistically think this will happen.
- Gap above 82, opening drive up to 2200.

2) Open in range (High)
- I expect a repeat of today. If we open around 2179, I expect to see responsive selling back down to today's 2176 POC.
- Mid to late day action will likely get slow, and then slightly bullish like we saw this afternoon.
- I expect a push past today's 73.25 low. I want longs to get stopped out and I want to see a little shakeout. I'm thinking along the lines of what happened two weeks ago as the market bounced around in range. Day Z would exceed Day Y's low by a point or two, before recovering the range that Days X, Y, and Z had all been trading in.
- Overall, today's profile suggests that the market is having a hard time selling off (more volume on lower end of profile). This has me still wanting to buy dips.

3) Open in range (Low)
- I expect a push up driven by bulls looking to buy the lower end of value. I will look to scale short around 78-79 as the upper end of value is explored, with the idea that we need to go test the gap from Friday.
- If we turn lower, I expect trade to be much more volatile than what we saw today; I'd look for something like last Tuesday in terms of volatility and range.


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Last edited by lax99; August 8th, 2016 at 07:44 PM.
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  #104 (permalink)
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lax99 View Post
Monday's Trades:


In response to what you had asked, I would like to comment on my entries as well. Glad to see MP / VP in your analyzes. I hope this can bring more people to this way to view the markets. @Inletcap, good to see you here as well

The Friday profile was short covering again. Who was watching the Friday market saw that there It was difficult to go beyond that point (78) and at the end of the day the formation of P was very clear. (It was possible to see this formation much earlier).

I was already expected this resistance that day and sold what I bought at 77.75.

Today I bought in beginning of the day at 78.00 (as aggressive trader I am) but I had plan A, B and C today and I was able to reverse my position in time. When I saw that the region above 78.00 was rejected (selling tail) and prices returned to within the previous day's value area, I have prepared my sale right there at 78.00 for obvious reasons.

I hope the picture to clarify my ideas.

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Last edited by calafrius; August 8th, 2016 at 09:07 PM.
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  #105 (permalink)
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lax99 View Post
Here's my performance for this month so far. The commissions bit is off (as is my Total Net Profit, then) because I just introduced it midweek.


These are the bits I'm most focused on. All values are in ES ticks (=$12.50) unless otherwise noted.

1) Percent Profitable = 57.14%
2) Average Trade = 0.64
3) Avg Win, Avg Loss = +2.40 / -1.71
4) Largest Win/ Largest Loss = +6.50 / -2.75
5) Avg MFE, Avg MAE = +2.71 / -1.11

Things that stand out:

I'm close to 60% profitable which I expect is about average for a daytrader.
My average win is greater than my average loss, though not by a large amount. I'd consider a +5 / -1.71 as a large amount.
My average MAE is less negative than my average loss. My average MFE is less positivethan my average win.

I'm no amazing statistician (especially when it comes to relevant trading information) so if anybody knows more than I, I'd appreciate any and all commentary
.

My percent profitable is generally 55-60% ish on any given 5 day trailing period. I will have outliers (esp when I have longer term trades) that can get 80%+ or a little under 50% when we chop so that sounds normal. We've had some rather tight ranges with ADR around 10 so you are winning ¼ the avg daily range- personally, I'd like to see my avg win at about 50% of ADR ( recognizing scaling effect on these stats- of course we want 100 ). IMO- ADR is a better benchmark than mfe/Mae as it puts you up against what happened during the day vs what happened while you were in a trade- if you cut your trade short, you will not know it using those metrics. Now for my observation- you need to have some bigger positive outliers! Having them will greatly improve your ability to withstand the inevitable drawdowns- this may be a function of the range lately but it's purely an observation that could get you to a 4-6:1 win loss ratio- it only takes a couple big ones to really change your p&l.

My 2 cents- hope that's the kind of feedback you were looking for???

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  #106 (permalink)
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Inletcap View Post
My 2 cents- hope that's the kind of feedback you were looking for???

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

I agree on the outlier standpoint. I've been looking over tiger's old posts about skewing your results with large, profitable outliers. It seems that many outlier cases come from pushing the thesis right at the edge of no return, and then seeing the market validate your thesis in a major way. I think I'm hesitant to really push a thesis and hold on to the runners for a large positive outlier because my trading feels very risk-adverse right now.

I've been trading small and not pushing a position when it's really running for me. In looking over my journal, I saw a couple of days with a solid 5 handle trade that only had a single contract on!. It seems to me that if I'm going to be profitable and successful in this business, I've got to learn how to push it when the going is good.

_____________________________________
I'm going to reflect on my recent trading here. This section isn't directed toward Inletcap or anybody.

My "scale in" today was awful. I bought the market and then I scaled in a mere point lower. I am no professional, but I think that a scale should be on the back of trying to establish a basis around a zone of interest. In the future, I need to have in mind an exact price that I want to be my average. I'll bust out a little math and see where to scale in around it--as well as a final, last-ditch scale--instead of shooting from the hip.

The other large issue that I have is that sometimes I feel like I'm trading from two different minds. Mind 1 says "Little bits add up. Hit the daily goal and turn it off." Mind 2 says "Bits add up, but large winners are what make traders profitable. Trade each trade like this is going to be a ten handle winner." Obviously, a little bit of both is likely the way to go. I find myself stuck in the middle sometimes though, and I figured that I should detail it in this journal.


Last edited by lax99; August 9th, 2016 at 01:57 AM.
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  #107 (permalink)
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lax99 View Post
Thank you for taking the time to comment!

I agree on the outlier standpoint. I've been looking over tiger's old posts about skewing your results with large, profitable outliers. It seems that many outlier cases come from pushing the thesis right at the edge of no return, and then seeing the market validate your thesis in a major way. I think I'm hesitant to really push a thesis and hold on to the runners for a large positive outlier because my trading feels very risk-adverse right now.

I've been trading small and not pushing a position when it's really running for me. In looking over my journal, I saw a couple of days with a solid 5 handle trade that only had a single contract on!. It seems to me that if I'm going to be profitable and successful in this business, I've got to learn how to push it when the going is good.

.

I don't think I ever really understood the old saying "Your best trades are generally the hardest ones to take" until a I started trading with context and a thesis. You hit the nail on the head! Also remember that pressing could just be skipping a particular scale out level because the trade keeps looking better and better (i.e. internals and volume supporting higher prices and it looks like OTF is finding their way into your trade so you stay in vs taking a planned target). This is a good example of achieving asymmetric returns which Tiger liked to talk about (phrase from Mind over markets book) using your exits wisely vs your entries. Guess I'm just saying that it doesn't have to be adding contracts or getting the best entry fill- as long as you are maximizing your trades potential with what you are comfortable with and what you have going on at the present time- all is good.

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  #108 (permalink)
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Tuesday's Trades 8/9/2016:

I exited my overnight long for a handful of ticks. My basis was 74.50 and today's high was 83.50. I exited based on some things that I saw online; a few people talking about symmetry and the end of the world and I closed my position.

I cost myself nearly ten ES points by doing so. I'm furious with myself. That would have been the kind of outlier trade that my bottom line could have benefited from. Never again will I exit a trade because of something I read. From now on, my entries and exits are based on my own beliefs entirely. I will not let others influence my trade decisions.

Trade 1: Short 81.50, exited 83.25 for a loss.
- That was close to the edge of my thesis. I should have added to the trade at that point as all of the ducks were lining up; P-Shaped profile, +3SD weekly fade, break of IB high.....
- I will trade better tomorrow and I will trade better the day after that.
- I am so freaking sick of top-ticking myself. Goldman is not running my stops; I am not comfortable enough with the risk involved with building a position and I flee my position like a scared rabbit.

Trade 2: Short 82 & 76.25, exit at 77.75
- This was a good and bad trade. The good came with me recognizing that my short thesis was beginning to play out. The bad came with me scaling into a trade a full five handles after the move. That was incredibly foolish.
- Looking back on it, there was a bus stop around the IB-Mid (79.25) that I should have sold with both hands.
- My first target was at 73.25 (weekly -2SD). In somewhat of "dick-for-a-tick" fashion, I was stubborn and exited far later than I should have as the market regained the value it developed throughout the day.

Overall, I'm angry at myself. These past two days have been ridiculous as far as execution goes. On Monday, my thesis worked out almost perfectly. Did I trade it that way? Of course not. On Tuesday, my entry was close to the HOD--and then I bought a tick below HOD to stop myself out. As paradoxical as it sounds, I think I need to trade slightly larger size. I'm forcing myself to pick an entry with a 1-lot that goes hardly a point against me. That just isn't feasible when trading the ES, or any product for that matter.

I'll update later with theses for tomorrow. It's bar trivia night tonight! Overall though, I'm looking for two things:

1) Higher
- Market held Y-day low. Value developed higher (83-77.25 today vs 78.25-74.50 Fri/Mon). I expect value to push and extend the range up to 2190 to stop out shorts around today's POC (81.75).

2) Lower
- We need to rebalance inventory a bit after Friday's push that turned into a P-Shape profile.
- Push the lows from Monday, stop longs out into 2170 or so (Weekly -3SD vwap).
- Catch shorts off guard and recover value area low (VAL) at 78.

More later.

Lax99 (Tucker)

________________________________

To expand on my earlier thoughts:

1) Higher

- Today's POC was 81.75. The most traded price was almost at the high of the day! This smells like longs exiting and shorts scaling in. We didn't break Monday's lows today; the ON is lower but is still a few handles away from 73.25. I'm starting to think that bulls aren't actively pushing the market. They're simply accumulating with every five to ten point dip, and waiting for the inevitable short squeeze that will happen near the highs.
- Today's value area expanded higher! Today's VAL wasn't even as low as Y-Day POC. Somebody is still buying the sonuvabitch.
- Tomorrow's opening is going to be important. If we open in value (77-80), I expect a discount lower to the 75s or so--just enough to make longs sweat and start to exit their positions. I'd love to enter long at an extension below value around 74-75.
- The highs were not put in on low volume. The POC and HVN was just a couple of points lower than the high. This is not characteristic of a market which rejects highs with gumption... I think we need to retest the highs.

2) Lower
- The longer I stare at the chart, the less of a case I can make for lower prices.
- Shorts saw quick price action in their favor today, which usually is a sign of OTF sellers hitting the bid in quick fashion.
- The market closed near the open, which is usually indicative of indecision in the marketplace. Bulls don't know whether they should buy, and bears don't know whether to press the short.


Here's why I'm bullish: (I'm a bit tipsy, so my apologies if I end up writing a tome by the time this post is done...)

1. Price action was not bullish, but the MP suggests bulls lining up to buy the lower prices in the afternoon.
2. We're near 2200. Do you honestly think we're going to lose 80 handles to 2100 before we push another 20 to 2200?
3. Today's low did not exceed yesterday's low.
4. Today's POC is near the upper end (possible P-Shape...) but the market is not thin below it. On the contrary, the market is thick with value and trade in the 2177 area.
5. I don't know. I'm tipsy and I'm in BTFD mode. I have no position though. God help me if I trade under the influence...


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Last edited by lax99; August 10th, 2016 at 01:06 AM.
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  #109 (permalink)
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Thursday's Trades:

1. Long 74 & 75, exited at 74.50.
- My reasoning was solid on the entry. I should have pressed the gas a little bit harder though.
- I was AFK when 70s printed. My thesis was to buy 70s (fade -3SD weekly) which I missed by a tad on my first entry.
- My second entry was freaking once again terrible.
- I shouldn't be scaling up into positions as they move in my direction--unless I somehow magically bought the LOD--but I should be scaling into them as they go against me, as paradoxical as that may sound.
- Especially in the ES, an instrument which has harmonic rotations close to three handles, the odds that I get a better basis by scaling in lower and eventually scratching my initial entry are very high.

Furthermore, recent trade has had small ranges. What's more likely in this case...

1) My analysis is terrible. The market pushes five full points against me (roughly half of the daily range) and I exit.

or...

2) My analysis has merit. The market rotates for and against me. By increasing my position size two to three handles (1/4 ADR) away from my entry, I increase my profitability if my thesis ends up being right.


I'm willing to bet that the latter is more likely.

_________________________________

Well folks, we're screwed. The breakout that we had from FOMC has pretty much failed and we're back in the range seen beforehand. Why are we screwed? Because OTF is completely out of the building until further notice. Lethargic volume on the rally to 83.50 combined with a market selling back off into range makes me think one thing, and one thing only.

We are in an extended range/consolidation/bracketing period. The range appears to be 2183.50 to 2141.50

Theses:

1) Market marches down to long term 2160.75 POC. Bearish Case
- Open near the lower end of today's range, 68-72 (or possibly at today's POC, 71.25)
- Rotation upwards into today's LVN 74.50 (This level is also important because it marks the lower end of the distributions we're seeing recently).
- Failure back down to today's lows, and down to the 60.75 POC. This gives about fourteen points of range which is slightly out of the recent 13.25 handle range.


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2) Market rejects today's lows and gets pushed back into this week's 74-80 value area. Bullish Case
- Quiet consolidation near today's lows (67-70 range) for a while like we saw this morning.
- A quick push up to this week's VWAP (76).
- Rotation around the 74.50 LVN/lower end of value.
- Push to 80s--weekly +1SD--and rejection back to this week's POC 77.25

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The first case is a "repair the market profile" case. We have some untouched POCs from Monday last week, as well as an obvious gap down to last Thursday's 63.50 high. The second is a sort of rejection of lower levels; I think this is unlikely, especially seeing that there is simply so much damn volume down in the 2160s. Without OTF to throw the market around, a retest of 2160 seems inevitable.

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lax99 View Post
...I cost myself nearly ten ES points by doing so. I'm furious with myself...


- My second entry was freaking once again terrible...

lax, I know the feeling. I had a terrible entry in GC today. It worked out, but there is something I have found that works when I make the terrible mistakes...

When you find you have made a terrible decision, just slip a bamboo sliver under your fingernail. It's like negative reinforcement therapy. (I'm kidding you know, don't actually do that.)

But it's the idea of it.

I feel for you man, ohh yes. *bangs head against wall on my trades yesterday and today* Slivers! *oww oww oww*

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