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

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

Hello Everybody,

This is the first entry in my trading journal, one that I hope to maintain for many years and trades to come. I'm in my 4th year at CU Boulder studying aerospace engineering (not exactly a finance major) and I enjoy surfing, climbing, skiing, traveling, and trading. Part of my trading struggle has stemmed from my tendency to analyze, and re-analyze, and re-analyze again. I've had to dial down my indicator quantities time and time again to try to reach a manageable system--I was definitely one of those starting traders who thought that a MACD, Stochastic, RSI, ADX, CCI, FBI and XYZ were necessary to trade well.

Having experienced good years and bad years, I've learned that trading shouldn't be difficult. You buy or sell, and make or lose money. But for me, the difficult part has been trading well. I am a horrendous overtrader of both size and frequency. If I lose money in the morning, I'll double down without regard for risk management on my next trade to get the money back. If I win in the morning, I'm either too nervous to take an afternoon trade (for fear of losing money) or I'll trade poorly (thinking that I'm invincible).

My profit target is $5000-6000 per month, which works out to a little bit over $1200 per week. I realize that 1200 per week on 2 contracts is a tall order, but I have hit my target for the past two weeks due to ES volatility. I don't know if setting a profit target at this stage is reasonable, as I will be trading at most 2 contracts at a time (ZB or ES, charting w/ TOS and executing via OptionsXpress). My current TOS/oXpress combination is a bit silly, but most of my trade executions are done via mobile app. I would like to use Ninjatrader, but I am in class or the gym or the outdoors too frequently to sit at a laptop and trade. Perhaps when my risk control becomes better I can use Ninja for a set-and-forget trading methodology.

I will make a concerted effort to stop trading each week if I hit my profit target. I know myself well enough to say that I am too drawn to trading, and I will probably put on a trade after I hit my target if I think the setup looks good.

So, a quick summary before I start throwing up charts:

1. I will trade at most 2 contracts in either ZB or ES until my success is proven. If I have a spread on, it will be 1-1.

2. I will try to reach a $1500 weekly goal. Without trading on M/F, my target falls in the $400-500 per day range. On 2 contracts, this is 5 points per day in ES or 8 points in ZB.

3. At the end of each week I will evaluate my trading throughout the week. Please feel free to offer advice and criticism as you see poor trading habits crop up. I really do appreciate this community's knowledge.

4. At the end of each month, I will withdraw half of my profits or add zero funds to any losses, and continue my self-eval.


Last edited by lax99; July 25th, 2016 at 10:32 PM.
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Quick Summary
Quick Summary Post

Lax99's Trading Journal. A quest to understand myself and my own trading habits and style and possibly pad my wallet at the same time.

My trading method relies on volume profile to better understand the interaction between buyers and sellers throughout the day. I also use Bookmap for a real-time visualization of the limit order book, though I do not use DOM in my trading (I'd go crosseyed!). I also incorporate the opening range / initial balance information as a means of determining what sort of action is more likely to see throughout the rest of the trading day.


Last edited by lax99; May 29th, 2016 at 10:50 PM.
 
  #3 (permalink)
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Entry 1 09-03-2015: Continued ES Volatility, ZB Quiet


I'm starting by listing the most recent trade I took this week, which happened in the Sunday overnight session.


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In all my brilliance, I noticed what I believed to be a flag starting up around 17:15 (Mountain Time). I blindly sold it, on the back of my belief that the recent trip back to the 1990 area was a nasty short squeeze, but nothing more. I wanted to be short, so I sold.


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My position was rarely a winner on Monday. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have placed a sell order near the blue dashed VPOC, or somewhere along the purple VWAP. I interpreted the late day sell-off as bearish, sold another ES (net short 2), and hoped for the best.

Tuesday, the market opened much lower and I should have taken my profits then. My profit goal was more than reached. I am a bit annoyed at myself for being greedy. Greed was really the only reason that I held on to a winner in hopes for more money.

On Wednesday, the market chopped around its blue dashed VPOC. My knowledge of Volume Profile is rudimentary, but I believe the market motion to be: 1) Sellers offering perceived value; 2) Buyers purchasing value; 3) Brief indecision, and buyers purchasing for perceived (much) higher value.

I exited my position on Wednesday because I didn't want to lose more money from an already winning trade. Yes, I need better trade management skills, which is exactly why I'm here


If anybody has comments or criticism, feel free to fire away.

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Entry 1 09-03-2015 Looking Forward ES ZB

Tomorrow gives us Unemployment Data. This will likely bring volatility to already highly volatile markets.
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Based off of the Volume Profile, the market perceives value at the green lines which I have drawn (1972 & 1925). The price range in which the ES is currently trading is close to low perceived value in orange. I believe that, regardless of the actual Unemployment Number, the ES will move towards one of these two green lines. I do not plan to trade tomorrow--if I was, I would fade a move to the value areas unless the number is nowhere near recent data. Again, if anybody is reading this, please feel free to chime in and let me know if my Volume Profile understanding is completely off.



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The bond market is trading right in its recent perceived value range. Like I said, I will not be trading tomorrow. If I was, I would not trade ZB because I do not know how to interpret recent action. The technician in me wants to sell it right here and look for a 150 handle, but I will wait to see how it reacts to Unemployment Numbers tomorrow.


That's all for now. My profit target (and then some) was hit on Tuesday, I exited the trade Wednesday, and I will not trade for the rest of the week.

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Entry 1 09-03-2015 Evening Update

Interesting overnight action in the ES. On a 3200 tick chart, it zoomed from accepted volume levels near the close right through a lower volume node, ending down 15 points or so at a high volume node. If I'm being entirely honest, I wanted to sell it at the close. I didn't because I didn't want to take on the risk (up to 1972, I thought).

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When I look back at previous charts, I'm seeing a high volume node (HVN) near 1925 if price movement continues lower, and 1974 if higher. Tomorrow is another day.


Side note, I said that we have unemployment data tomorrow. I don't know what I was thinking, because tomorrow is NFP.

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Entry 2 Quick ZB Short

I sold 2 ZB at 155-24 on Sunday evening to fade a bid into the POC. I took the trade because I saw overnight action drop down slightly, thought that I could make a few ticks on a fade during a short choppy trading session. Included is the chart with the trade I took.

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I had a stop placed at 156-00 in the case that the market began trending against me. I exited the trade this afternoon at 155-17 to exit at the current POC and avoid any overnight market moves before the open on Tuesday.


For Tuesday, the market (ES) is very close to an area of value. The closest HVN is at 1927, with a LVN trough around 1955. I don't think a move into 1955 is fade-able, as the next area of value is up around 1973. I think that a 1955 trade will chop for a while and reach up to 1973. My guess is that a move into 1973 will set up another bull trap.

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Like I discussed above, I think that the bull trap is a perfect distance away from the "breakout zone" that many weak bulls will enter the queue to see 2000, and subsequently be shaken out. On the other hand, a quiet day will be sideways to lower IMO, looking for a HVN test at 1927.

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Entry 3 Fast update, charts later

Short 2 December bonds at the poc(154 07) looking for lower prices after rollover.

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Not Bad. Question: Why not trade on Monday or Friday? Seems like if we want to make any money, wake up around 2am CST, stop around 8am and call it quits for the day.

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javajoe response


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Not Bad. Question: Why not trade on Monday or Friday? Seems like if we want to make any money, wake up around 2am CST, stop around 8am and call it quits for the day.

First, a brief trade update. I tried selling ES midday yesterday at 1953 to defend the recent high and quickly got stopped out for just a point of loss when the move broke through. Thankfully I had a stop in place, because the market squeezed quite a few shorts... I sold 2 ZB at the POC last evening (154-07) and covered this morning at 153-23 because I was headed to class. Lucky me, I avoided a short squeeze again.

In response to javajoe:

For me, trading on Mondays and Fridays isn't as hard and fast of a rule as I'd like. I've found that I lose most money on Mondays and Fridays as either Wall Street reacts to international news, or liquidity dries up nearing the Friday close. I took a trade on this Monday during a sort of triple-dog-dare scenario (low liquidity, US holiday trade, China closed) which was probably poorly conceived if I'm looking at this from a risk standpoint.

If I trade on Friday and I am currently not at my profit goal, I find myself revenge trading to make my goal, which usually ends in more losses. If I trade on Friday and I already hit my profit goal, I am 1) breaking my own rules and 2) probably looking for a quick winner to buy dinner which turns into a loser.

I have a followup question for you, javajoe. What exactly do you mean by 2AM CST to 8AM? There not much volume in any product between those times, unless you're talking about European trade. I personally couldn't trade those hours because I need a bit of sleep to pursue my studies.

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Entry 4 Charts and Recent Trades


I sold 2 ZB again overnight at 154-07 and covered this morning at 152-23 instead of 153-23 like I previously said. I swear that I'm actually taking these trades--even I am surprised that I've been picking bottoms recently. I've included a screenshot of my trades cleared to foster a bit of trust. There's nothing that annoys me more than a trader calling out "perfect trades" that never happened.

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These are the trade locations (white ovals). I sold during the evening session at the blue dashed POC looking for further downside in the morning. When I next checked my positions, I was happy to see a winner, and I exited the trade to go about my day without worrying about market motion.

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I took this account screenshot a few minutes ago to show the trades I took. You'll notice that the numbers don't exactly match up. What actually happened was I sold 2 at 157-07 on average, decided to take one off the table when I saw a few ticks of profit, and accidentally sold one more. I closed this 3-lot short at this time. I later sold 2 ZB scaled in; the first upon initial weakness, and the second upon continued weakness.


In any case, I have hit and exceeded my weekly profit goal of $1500, coming in at $2813.

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