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FM's Trade Log

  #101 (permalink)
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September 21, 2016

This is my 101st post on futuresIO, and coincidently it is also the 101st reply in this journal! I have about as much chance of winning this month's contest as Gary Johnson has of being the next POTUS, but nonetheless would appreciate your show of support with a THANKS in the contest page here! https://futures.io/feedback-announcements/40234-fio-journal-challenge-september-2016-a-3.html#post595065 Shameless self promotion concluded.

5:55am Trend has shifted. Yesterday's action was firmly higher, and it's tempting to say that this is now an uptrend. However, I'm also looking at this as a sideways range between 45 and 43. I've circled a similar topping pattern from Monday followed by a strong selloff. I am not necessarily expecting similar action this morning due to the heavy news report schedule. We have petroleum inventory report at 7:30am and FOMC this afternoon. A lot of traders will be sitting out. Still, my prime focus will be on the short side if we see any weakness off of the OR. Expecting reversion back to Y_High $44.40. But given the general thrust of the market is currently higher, I would entertain a long trade if it looks buying pressure resumes and there appears to be room to run.

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6:25am. So far the action today is a snore. During the first 25 minutes of the pit session we've had less than half the number of contracts traded compared to the previous two sessions. Going to take that as a warning that moves are more likely to fizzle out right now. I'm going to go take care of some other things and check in when the inventory report is released, if I have any availability at that time.

8:35am. No trades today. OR has held nicely all morning but action is pretty muted for an inventory day. My thesis never materialized. I want to note this scenario in the back of my head for future reference - frequently when the market moves agressively overnight and stalls at the edge of a channel, particularly after a significant change of direction, you get this kind of drifting action along the channel boundary. This can be profitable simple trading in the same direction as the overnight move, but for small targets off the OR to that channel edge. Today gave several of those opportunities.

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  #102 (permalink)
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September 22, 2016

22
==
Created Thursday 22 September 2016

6am. CL Continued its rally overnight. If the market wants to make this easy, it will pull back to 45.80 and then turn higher again. But the market doesn't care about what's easy. If strength continues through the open, I'll look for any excuse to get in long for a continued melt up. Home sales at 7am.

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6:17am. Market was close to popping and then fell right back into the lower half of the OR. I am going with a first thesis that this is still a melt-up situation. I'm zooming into a tighter up channel and if we see strength off the bottom of the OR, I'll take a long.

6:21am. OK, got a test off OR bottom, and a higher low bouncing off it. I'm just going to hold my nose and buy. This is the kind of trade I have always had trouble with. Market has a lot of room to fall if it meets significant resistance. Giving this trade a 7:

News/Prep: 1 (less than an hour to a major release).
Stop placement: 2 (Stop below low of day and below near-term trend line)
Getting a good price relative to noise: 1 (Entered on a pullback but had already turned higher by 10 cents)
With trend: 2 (buy buy buy)
Room to run: 1 (move is somewhat extended since it's been multi-day. In terms of ATR though, one could see it go to 47)


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Moving stop up a bit.

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6:51am. Market continues a slow crawl around 46.40 now. Feels like the market is waiting for repor at 7am. Since I have some wiggle room, I'll ride it out. Update 6:56am - pulling stop to just below .25.

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It wasn't meant to be. Had a shot though. Out for -2 on QM. Equivalent of -5 ticks on CL.

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That trade took all morning and I've got some other business to get to. I will keep one eye on the short side out of curiosity but I think that's it for me today.

Last comments for the day. I did a decent job taking an uncomfortable position long and giving it room to succeed or fail. Turned out to be a range day. Both longs and shorts got tossed around today. I'd like to improve on my ability to identify and succesfully trade a range day as it develops.

I currently don't have VWAP on my charts but I do look at it off and on — just trying to only add what is absolutely useful--but it seems like I might need to start looking at it and some SD bands. But which one, or both? ETH VWAP? RTH VWAP? Today, both gave an interesting perspective, and may have helped give the right angle to take advantage of the range day.

Here's the RTH VWAP on 1 minute chart, where you can see reversions to VWAP off the extremes of the range:

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And here's the ETH VWAP, where you can see a nice bounce off VWAP to the long side:

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I'll probably take some time this weekend to work on my workspace and add some of this contextual data to some background charts. Pivots and Y_OHLC and such as well, but it can get so cluttered. There are some button-indicators that let you switch things on and off easily to de-clutter, and I will look into those too.

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  #103 (permalink)
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September 23, 2016


Friday's trade log:

A bit late to the party this morning, playing catchup.

6:30am. Market is opening nestled just under the VWAP and in the bottom half of the OR. Sitting under major round number 46. This looks like an intersting opp for a scaler. Take one short here, add another all the way up to 46.20. Bail out over 46.35.

Having said that, the bullish case is still very interesting here, especially because of the overnight impulse reaction off 45.50 all the way to new highs. This slide may just be a retracement of that impulse, and a break upward could blast off north of 47.

Given that I'm a bit out of rhythm, I'm going to be in wait-and-see until something compelling develops. There is a minor news release at 6:45 PMI Manufacturing but sometimes it can be a mover so I will wait for this.

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6:55am. Price broke the upper channel boundary and held in the top third of the OR for a while. Tested back to OR-mid and turned back up. ETH VWAP sits below. 46 sits below. Prior resistance-now-support sits below. Target is a measured move up to 46.95

News and Preparation: 2 (no news on the horizon. Despite waking up late today, I managed to run through my regular analysis before entering)
Stop Placement: 2 (have a few different levels on my side)
Take advantage of noise to get a good price: 1 (was a bit impatient with the entry. Waited for a dip but could have done better.
With trend: 1 (I find myself doubting the bullish case, despite the primary trend being up. This action could be a sideways consolidation around 46, which would leave me hanging)
Room to run: 2 (has to blow through a couple levels but not overextended at all).

Total entry score: 7

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46 will be my new favorite number if this holds:

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7:45am. Not much has changed in the last 30 minutes. It's tempting to just pull the trade and take the small loss. Doesn't seem like this one is going to move, and I've got to go flat by 8:15 anyways. However, I am not in the business of jumping ship. I can deal with taking a loss. But pulling the trade and watching it run without you - shitsville.

8:15 flat for -2 ticks. Market ran lower, mostly by chance (unexpected news regarding fed regulations on commodities trading targeted at Goldman). Coincidentally my initial gut-call of shorts up to .35 was spot on. No matter.

Ended the week positive by a few ticks. It's Sunday now and I haven't had a lot of time to review / formulate a plan for going to multiple lots / adjust my workspace with more contextual levels. We'll see what I can get to today but next week will likely be a minor iteration off of this week's strategy.

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  #104 (permalink)
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Unplanned outage

I've had a nasty cold making its way around my family for the past couple weeks. I was the last to get it and it had me floored all weekend. Between this and work and all the other stuff, something had to give so I could get some rest. With a bit of luck I'll be back in action next week.

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  #105 (permalink)
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FlyingMonkey View Post
I've had a nasty cold making its way around my family for the past couple weeks. I was the last to get it and it had me floored all weekend. Between this and work and all the other stuff, something had to give so I could get some rest. With a bit of luck I'll be back in action next week.

At least half the population underestimate how serious man-flu is.

Travel Well
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  #106 (permalink)
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What I've been up to

The change of season from Summer to Fall hit me like a wet towel this year. People sometimes accuse southern California of being completely bereft of seasons. This is not true. If anything, living in southern California makes one even more sensitive to the subtle signs of our gently tilting planet's traversal across the solar plane. The air starts to make different sounds, the birds chirp in a slightly sharper key, and the din of children playing in the playgrounds takes on a somewhat mournful tone as school goes back into session. A couple days ago, there were actual drops of water coming out of the sky. In the mornings it is still dark at 6, and the temperature dips below 70 F, assaulting our sensitive desert skin and turning our faces into cracked and dried landscapes. It hurts just to get up in the morning.

Such has been the excuse, in combination with other actual time sinks and legitimate stressors, that has kept me hitting the snooze button a bit more than I care to admit over the past few weeks. That changes next week. I'm getting back into a rhythm and I will do battle with the November 6 time change power through it.

But I haven't been completely dormant. Part of why I haven't been live trading is because I wanted to implement some new tools in my NT8 workspace. So with the help of a bit of whiskey and a couple of quiet nights, I created a strategy for handling scale-in-and-out positions. In the picture below, I have the long version of the strategy enabled. The buttons on the top right are to add and subtract contracts from the open position at market. The panels on the bottom right show some key position data in ticks. The "readout" button prints that same data to the NT Output window. The "Printout" button prints out position metrics in a comma delimited format that can be pasted directly into my spreadsheet for tracking trades. I did all this for 2 reasons - I want to easily track my trades from flat to flat, not as individual contract round turns. And I want to see at a glance where the current trade is at, which the chart-trader does not show correctly for multi-leg positions.

Most of those stats are self-explanatory. The "BaseLine Risk" in ticks is the amount I stand to lose from my pre-trade account balance should price hit my stop on the current trade. The "GiveBack Risk" is the amount of unrealized ticks I stand to lose should the market run to my stop from the current price.

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I also created a few context-indicator buttons that turn on / off RTH OR ETH VWAP bands (blue below), and an ORx indicator that I set to 15-minutes to show me the opening range top/bottom and mid (purple below). Very big thanks to @Sim22 for the indicator posted here: https://futures.io/local_links.php?action=ratelink&catid=27&linkid=1676 . My button code is based off the samples included in NT8 documentation, but I yanked a few of Sim22's tricks with windows controls from his sample as well. The only thing in my indicators here that may be slightly novel is that I allow the entry of a session template as a variable. This lets me show a RTH indicator over a ETH chart by using a secondary bar series. I'll probably make a session pivot and Y_OHLC button indicator as well.

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There are still a few obvious bugs in these that I need to work out. Once I've fixed those, if there is any interest in any of these I may post in the downloads section.

As far as the trading methodology, I've thought about it and played around with this in Sim, and I'm going to drop QM for the time being and go back to CL. It just squiggles more, and I really like the squiggles.

My goal starting monday is to start using scaling in live trades, and maintain a baseline risk under 40 ticks at all times. I'll talk about that in more detail next week. I've got a long weekend next week to go for a much needed get-away to the big trees in Sequoia. So I want to get a few days live trading early in the week so October isn't a total wash.

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  #107 (permalink)
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October 24, 2016

Market is hanging onto this $50 level by a thread. Will be keeping an eye on the open to get a sense whether weakness will continue, or we bounce. Currently beneath ETH VWAP. Given the longer term trajectory and the trendline still holding, my bias is slightly long.

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Had to hit the head. Missed this clean bounce off round number and ETH VWAP at 50.50. Something inside me wants to look for a long down here near ON low.

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Going for it. Having pretty low confidence in this counter-trend trade. News+Prep: 1. Stop Placement: 2. Noise and Info/Price: 2. With Trend: 1. Room to Run: 2. Trade Grade = 8.

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Added on a little show of strength. Brought stop in. This one is either leaving the station now, or I'll be jumping off.

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Gave me a little bump. I took one off at RTH VWAP. I now have a baseline risk of zero after bringing stop up a bit. Can let this one run or fizzle.

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There were a number of opportunities to add more back into this trade. I didn't have a ton of confidence in it, and needed to get to some morning business anyways. While I was in the shower I gave back 30 ticks. Had I not been afk, I would have pulled stop into RTH VWAP, giving back a bit less. Oh well, not too bad for my first live scaling trade.

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Clearly I have a lot of work to do getting better at the actual process of scaling. My second contract came off very quickly for just 7 ticks. Maybe that's fine, as it let me get some risk off. But as 50.10 started to firm up, there were a few opportunities to add. That would have given me more flexibility as price continued to the ETH VWAP, to take some additional profit out of the trade.

Here's what my stats look like as automatically output by the "Printout" button:

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  #108 (permalink)
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October 25, 2016

A few weeks ago I added back in a longer term chart to my workspace. I made it the 60-minute RTH chart. Sometimes it shows things a bit differently to see the retail sessions with all the gaps between. In today's case, it clearly shows yesterday's sharp bounce above 49.50, and the key levels within this 49.50-52.00 range.

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Today I'll look for signs of weakness to support a moderate short bias. There just seem to be more reasons to believe the market will drop. Overnight, price failed to overtake 51, staying within this descending sub-channel. We remain above yesterdays VWAP, and that Y_VWAP looks like it wants to get challenged again. And if one looks at 49.50 - 51 as the dominant range right now, we are in the top half of that, trajectory looking for another test to 49.50 However, I will need to watch closely and switch my bias long if there is a strong open. A pop to test 51 and beyond is not improbable.

Kind of surprised at myself for clicking the sell button, which is usually not a good sign. Impulsive decision. Price was slipping away and I was impatient. At any rate, the idea is that this channel holds and OR_mid and Y_VWAP_ETH holds and we continue to drop to retest Y_Low.

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Yep. I knew it going into it. This was a poor decision, and I bailed in amateurish fashion. Tried to drop a contract on the equities open pop but I was too slow, ended up taking most of the full hit on both lots. I had a bad price from impatient entry and as a result I didn't have the right angle to either stick with this or gracefully exit.

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I'm not doing a good job of rating my entries before I take them. Right after I entered, I started to grade it, and didn't like it. News/Prep: 1. Stop Placement: 1. PriceRisk: 0 WithTrend: 2. Room To Run: 1. This trade is a 5, and technically I should not have taken it. It was a chase / FOMO trade.

The most obvious reason to not take it, other than the fact that the down leg already had 80+ ticks in it, was this big blue line below. I looked at it, I saw it, I chose to ignore it.

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Alright! Moving on. Tomorrow is another day. Better analysis, better trading.

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  #109 (permalink)
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Tactical Analysis

02
==
Created Wednesday 02 November 2016

I'm back from the Great Western Divide. If y'all haven't been to Kings Canyon / Sequoia, I can't recommend it enough. Been there more times than I can count and it never fails to tingle my spine with Awe. This pic is off the internet, though I did get some just-as-good ones with my family:

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Now back to the markets. I've noticed as I've been keeping an eye on things the past few days, injecting a tactical plan into my market analysis seems to give me more confidence in my decisions. Putting a couple of scenarios on the board with varying supposed probabilities is only half of the picture. How will I PLAY OUT those scenarios. If I put some thought into that ahead of the action it can put me in a much better position to take advantage of the opportunities that present.

The market has been in an agressive downtrend for over 10 days. Today is Inventory Report at 10:30 and FOMC in the afternoon. Speaking in terms of proportions, this downward move looks ready to take a break, but these two movers today have the power to push it for another leg. Overnight, the market continued to sell, and pre-open it is firming up around $46. There is a decent looking channel enclosing yesterday's action to this morning, and the market is currently at the bottom of it. Despite the market being quite sold, I will not be tempted by Longs unless something changes drastically. Additionally, I will probably not be able to take any trades after the Inventory report due to my work schedule. Because of this, I will play for small-ish targets today if I can get any entry at all.

If there is a little bit of early buying, I will look to 46.25 and up to show resistance for a short entry with a reasonably small target. I will also keep an eye on the opening range once it develops, to see if the OR_TOP offers any resistance for a short opportunity back to the bottom of this channel. Currently ETH_VWAP has offered resistance, and if OR_TOP lines up with that level, it will add reason to pick a short. If I take an entry, a price north of 46.30 will let me use a wide stop outside of the channel top boundary. Any lower entry price than that, I will need to get more creativev with my stop being tighter within the down-channel, and if price blasts through it, re-enter at a higher price.

The scenarios that these tactics will NOT work for: 1. I take a short near the bottom of this channel, price blows through my stop and then whipsaws back down (I have no good tactic to re-enter in this scenario). 2. Any scenario that has buyers breaking the upper channel boundary this morning after sucking me into one or multiple losing short entries on the way up.

The scenario that offers me no entry opportunity is if we never re-trace to offer a good short opportunity. Price continues to melt below $46 and runs away lower. I have no good tactic for taking advantage of this scenario. If I had stronger conviction that this market had a lot of room left to run on the downside ahead of the inventory report, I'd entertain a single contract pilot short off the open, but that is not the case.

And any scenario in which buying is met by additional sellers somewhere within this channel is a scenario I should be able to profit from.
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The market picked the scenario where it melts down between ETH_VWAP and the bottom edge of this channel. My plan dictates stand clear of this, and so I have. Now I will keep one eye on the market while the inventory report hits.

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IF the gyrations from the inventory report yield a bounce that has the possibilty of weakness and staying inside the channel, fulfilling my existing pre-report plan, then I MAY take a short. Otherwise I will not improvise and will shut down for the day. I am definitely making a note of this type of meandering melt-down-the-leading-edge-of-the-channel morning action between VWAP and channel boundary. Can use this in future scenario since it seems to come up all the time.

Report ran stops through the channel and blew out the bottom. If I were an improvising man (I am not today) I'd look at 46.40 - .50 for a short.

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.40 worked not once but twice so far. Shutting down for the day. I am happy that I followed my plan today, and I have two concrete takeaways from a tactical / analysis perspective. First is how to play the non-commital-melt-away pre-repor scenario: anwer - try leaning early on ETH VWAP. Second: Post-report improvisation can work. For example, on a channel break, take the retrace to the prior channel boundary, but be nimble about it. I hope I can work these kinds of ideas into my morning prep, yielding more good trade opportunities.

I know that if you draw enough lines on a chart you'll see things bouncing off of every little thing, but I must say the way the bands opened up with the volatility and price bounced between ETH and RTH bands was impressive today.

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In Other News, my daughter just yelled at me: "Papa, stop working and make Mama some food!"

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  #110 (permalink)
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Thursday, November 3


A lot to consider this morning. Market is still below Y_OPEN, but we did get serious buying in at $45 yesterday. Off that bounce, the market has continued a corrective upward track and is positioning itself for the open to either break below 45.50 and retest $45, or snap Y_OPEN / $46 and continue higher to 46.50.

There is manufacturing data coming out at 10et. Will need to be aware of the clock. I will need to consider longs or shorts, depending on what unfolds, my bias is for a continued correction higher. Here are the tactics.

1. Upward trajectory holds (this is my bias).
a. If price gives you an opportunity to hop in LONG on a turn in the 45.50-.60 area, take it. If able to get multiple lots on, lighten up around $46 and $46.50.
b. Price doesn't give you an opportunity near the bottom of this "channel." But, the OR action is strong. Take a long with a stop below the OR. Add if dipping to the bottom of the channel.
c. Price blasts through Y_OPEN without you in the trade for whatever reason. Keep an eye on VWAP. Look for a little retrace to lean on to jump on board.
2. Upward trajectory breaks (below 45.50).
a. Look for a retrace to 45.40 for a short, and very cognizant of $45 just below.


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I'm in here for a long. With trend: 1. Price/info: 1. News / Prep: 2. Room to run: 2. Stop placement: 2. So, give it an 8. I

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The channel blew and then so did my stop. Out for -16. May have been too tight with my stop. There's clear horizontal support around 45.35 from yesterday's prolonged consolidation area.

I'm now eyeballing the broken-channel scenario and entertaining a short in the little armpit there around 45.45. But price is starting to run away. Cautious of a revenge trade, I'm taking some time to gather my wits and if I miss it I miss it.

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Alright, I'm in. If this one doesn't work I don't know what to say . . . I tried. Room to run: 1 (significant consolidation area just 15 ticks away) . Stop placement: 2 . With trend: 2. News / Prep: 1 (moderate-mover reports less than 30 mins out). Noise / Info risk: 2. Give it a 8.

This trade was a good idea. I made a critical error in managing / executing. I had a golden opportunity to add to the trade for a better price, and I didn't take it. Hilighted the spike/reversal into 45.50. If I add there, I now have some wiggle room to take profit out of the trade as the drop meets resistance around 45.25. Unfortunately, I skip on that because of old squirrel-gut syndrome. Now I have no wiggle room. I let it ride and stop out for a couple ticks loss.

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One mistake at a time. My pre-market prep was good today. I laid out enough scenarios to cover a broad range of possibilities. I followed the plan. Of the two scenarios that materialized, one was wrong, the other one could have been right if properly managed. Properly executed, today was a winning day, but due to poor execution it was a losing day.

Really need to work on that old squirrel-gut syndrome. It gets worse after one losing trade.

One last note totally unrelated. Every now and then I'm watching a sporting event and a quote pops up from a player or announcer that sticks with me. Last night in the baseball game when the cubs took out their starting picture for what appeared to be very little good reason, the announcer said: "Never make a decision that makes your opponent happy."

Seems pretty obvious. Seems like it relates to trading in some way, though I'm not sure how to practically apply it. Never Make a Decision that Makes Your Opponent Happy.

Edit: OK, with price turning right after I stopped out, and now down 50 ticks from there around $45 just as my scenario outlined, the above quote is directly applicable. The question is who is my opponent and why do I tend to make him happy?


Last edited by FlyingMonkey; November 3rd, 2016 at 11:14 AM.
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