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FM's Trade Log
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FM's Trade Log

  #31 (permalink)
Elite Member
Los Angeles CA
 
Futures Experience: Beginner
Platform: NT8
Favorite Futures: NQ YM ES ZN CL GC HG ZS 6E 6A 6J 6C
 
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Posts: 235 since Jan 2016
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Beating the Odds

I did not trade well today. I was taking "setups" instead of reading the market closely. I was "trying to make money" instead of filtering out mediocre opportunities. For the sake of transparency, posting the charts below. Generally, I think my entries work best when pouncing on limp-wristed moves. In today's case, neither of the moves I pounced on were limp-wristed. I was entering in the direction of the longer term trend, but still, there were strong impulses against my entries and I should not have been fading them. I was just connecting dots instead of really reading the action.

Fortunately, I've been here before, and I recognize a few things I can do to try correcting quickly. The odds of going 0 for 3 on a coin flip are 1 in 8. Not astromical, by any stretch, but I've seen these results continue unabated before, indicating that I'm trading poorly and my longterm odds of winning trades could be well less than 50%. If I go 0 for 5, 1 for 10, etc., it becomes increasingly unlikely that I'm any where near where I want to be.

Trying to think of what I was doing differently in SIM, when I had only one losing day out of 10. I'm going to jump around a bit less, picking a few instruments early on that look interesting and focusing intently on those throughout the morning. And I'm going to focus on reading the action, and pouncing once I see a weak hand, rather than just drawing lines and picking spots.

-7 HG

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-6 6A.

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Here's to a strong finish for the week.

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  #32 (permalink)
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The beatings shall continue until morale improves.

It's time for some serious rambling. Be forewarned.

I was pretty pissed when I left the screen today. But that feeling dissipated almost in the blink of an eye. It was a tension release.

Never before has it been so clear to me where my focus needs to be in order to improve my trading. Never before has it been demonstrated to me in such clear cut detail, from Sim to Live. This is all about the tension I feel when trading, and how it prevents me from making good decisions.

It's been said a million times in different ways. Maybe I just need to say it my way and let it sink in. There is a part of the mind - a muscle in the brain - that deals with tension. Anxiety. Fear. Adrenaline. Fight or flight. It's one of the things that separates us from animals, when it works. From the monkey, as I've heard it called on this forum. In order to trade well, in the way that I want to trade, that muscle needs to be so well exercised, practiced, and toned, that it can hold a wire of tension so tight that the rest of the brain, the part that makes decisions, can walk across it like a tight rope.

It's not the money, or at least, it's not just the money. I could go burn a few benjamins to ash and, aside from the regret of not giving that money to someone who could benefit from it, I'd feel less angst over it than I do from a crap day of trading. This is more. This goes down to the heart and soul, not just the head. This is a stubborn will to succeed. This is self worth. This is dreams deferred.

The level of pressure / stress isn't going anwhere. Even if I got to a quit-your-job scenario, where all the stressors of competing trading against a very demanding day-job vanish, there is still the pressure to earn an income solely from trading. Surely that is as much stress if not more. This is something I have to gain control over, if I am ever to make this work.

And I don't think continuing to trade is the way to do it. I am making what I hope is a rational decision that, based off of the last few days, my inner-game is just not up to where it needs to be, and there is no reason to think that continued trading would help resolve the issue.

And I don't think going back to sim trading is the way to do it. If there's one thing that's more clear to me now than ever, it's that I've torn through enough charts and built myself enough of an understanding of how to wade through a market and find opportunities. I'm no wizard, and I have a ton still to learn, but I know enough to make some money, if that's all it took.

I'm not a person who thinks Sim trading has no value. It's helped me practice and learn a lot. But I'm getting to a point where I start to understand the perspective of folks who say Sim is useless or even potentially damaging. I wouldn't go that far, but I can see a case that taking trades in Sim can build up a casual trading reflex in the mind that doesn't serve you at all in the heat of battle. This reflex then needs to be torn down and replaced with a steely reserve. With a calm under fire. Maybe better to just start small and build up the nerves of steel bit by bit. How well do training wheels on a bicycle work? I remember falling and crashing into a tree the first time the training wheels came off. Now I see these kids running around on those standup bikes with no training wheels. Take the pedals off and walk it around for a while. Now you're getting the balance, bit by bit. After a few months, now we just add pedals, 10 minutes later they're riding a friggin bike.

I'm pretty afraid of heights. I can't approach the edge of anything without getting a sinking buzzing sensation in the pit of my stomach. It's not even rational. If I see someone else get close to the edge of something, I get the same feeling. Even sometimes on TV or in a picture, if I see it there I'll get a flash of the same thing. But I can overcome it. I've learned to do it. Relax a few key muscles, breath, breath. I can jump off a waterfall. I can exercise that muscle. Calm at the edge.

So, here's the plan. I'm going to keep with my routine. I'm going to wake up early, and engage with the markets. But I'm going to do some other things also. I'm going to mix it up a bit. I'm going to exercise and I'm going to meditate. I'm going to nourish the parts of my life that need nourishing. Go play that par 3 before work once in a blue moon. Go play that guitar. Stop deferring gratification so you can look at more charts. Don't put trading at odds with anything else the heart wants. Don't add tension where it doesn't need to be.

And how am I going to engage with the markets? Without placing trades, live or sim? Still not quite sure. I'm going to observe. I'm going to drill. I'm going to drill into my head this decision-making process until it's second nature. I'm going to absorb the markets, note my bias, note my perspective, and watch it play out either for or against. I'm going to imagine myself taking trades. I'm going to imagine other participants taking trades. I'm going to think about how they would feel if they were in that position. I'm going to think about how I would feel if I was in this position. And I'm going to see where that takes me. My hope is that I will start to build and internalize a visualization passively what trading should be for me. And once things start to gel - however long it takes, maybe a week or a month who knows - I'll start peppering in a few real trades, reflecting upon that for however long it takes, and repeat repeat repeat. This is just a way to continue to learn by doing, but without actually doing anything that I've been doing so far. Don't sim. Don't trade. Just look at the markets and focus on what's going on inside of you as you do so.

Alright. So here's what went down today. It's kind of hilarious because all this was spurred by a net 8 tick loss in CL. No melt down at all. But the devil is in the details.

My thoughts looking at the below M15 chart at 5:30 PDT this morning: "CL is in an uptrend but 42.20 has held a few times already. Overnight move up was strong, but still if this bounces off 42.20 then the shorts could have it down to 41.40 or even 41.00. However, bare in mind that it is an uprend, and that overnight move was strong, so any move down is likely to meet with dip buyers along the way and longs shouldn't be ruled out, especially since a breakout over 42.40 is not off the table."

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Price eventually did make it's way down to 41.40, as I had thought. And indeed it did present several buying opportunities along the way, as I had thought. I couldn't have staid for the whole move down, as I had other commitments, but I could have capitalized on the time I was there. Instead, below annotated 2-range shows the details. I haven't shown this small timeframe before but in this case it best illustrates what went down.

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If you've made it this far, you have officially read a lot of my words. Thanks! I'll be around. Maybe we'll do some stream-of-consciousness market mediations next time.

Cheers.


Last edited by FlyingMonkey; April 15th, 2016 at 02:37 AM.
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  #33 (permalink)
Market Gizzard
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hey man...I feel the same way. Sorry to say misery loves company, but in this case, I feel like having someone going through something similar can work in both our favors to help figure out the solution. Like you, I feel I gain no benefit from sim trading. Also, I feel like I "know" how to trade, yet just can't seem to execute at the right time, or execute and exit too quickly, etc etc, thus rendering my "knowledge" useless. The question then is, do I really know how to trade?

I think part of the answer lies in ill-defined rules. I think that you (and I) trade emotionally, based on chart price action and gut instinct. However, due to the emotional entry, being in a sustained successful trade becomes very difficult. I'm not sure exactly what you use to decide on a trade, but I think having something more mechanical, especially with when to exit, might help ... alot...and I'm speaking to myself also.

I'm not sure if you've already these books, but I just purchased PATS and will also purchase YTC, both to make myself more confident about price action interpretation. Lastly, I've switched my charts over to volume, and I think that helps in looking at price action a bit better.

Be peerless
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  #34 (permalink)
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Brewing

Haven't posted in a month or so, but have been brewing up some ideas and preparing to start trading live again in the next few weeks hopefully. I've been focusing on trade-ideas and just tracking whether my ideas generate money making opportunities, to gain confidence in my "sight". And I've been fleshing out a few tweaks to my trading method that will force me to be more hands-off in order to let those ideas work themselves out without me getting in my own way. (Much along the lines of what @jackbravo suggested above - a more mechanical exit criteria leaves less room for emotional mistakes).

For now, I will try to just post the pre-market ideas as often as I have time. It has been a very busy period for me in other areas of life, so it has been a good time to take a semi-break here and recharge a bit. Here we go.

ZN: Looks like this breakout has some legs to lean on. I'd be interested in buying on a pull back here for a little bounce:

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6E: This impulsive move up looks legitimate, and we've put in a higher low on the longer term chart that could signal 6E is starting to bottom out of the May down trend. Still, I'd anticipate this do toss around a bit more on this timeframe before resolving, and it is at the top of a downward channel here. I'd like one more push higher to short for a little drop.

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YM:
Equities a mixed bag right now, with YM looking like it is done melting up, but NQ / ES still making a case for higher prices. I could go either way here. I would like to be a buyer on a drop to 17660 but I would wait to see that the level shows sign of support. If for some reason YM just drops right through, I'd skip it. I would like to be a seller on a push up to 17760.

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  #35 (permalink)
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Thanks: 808 given, 578 received

Futures Edge on FIO
Briefly recapping yesterday's ideas...
The ZN idea triggered and turned out to be a loser.
The 6E idea did not trigger. It did push a little higher eventually, but not in the morning hours where I enter trades.
The YM idea triggered and followed the program perfectly, resulting in a nice winner.
Properly managed, these ideas would have generating an overall profitable day with winnings outweighing losses by a good factor.

For today, I'm watching the following.

6J: Looking back as far as February, this level we are encroaching between .0091 and .0095 has been the top. We may bust through over the next few days, but short term odds should favor a deflection. I don't have any solid near term level to lean on, so as we poke at the .0092 level I'd look for it to show signs of weakness here before taking a short against that level. Odds of this triggering today are low, but it could happen.

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ES: I'm looking short today. The last few days remain in correction / consolidation and until this zone breaks obviously one way or the other, it seems the right approach is to find extremes and fade them. Ideally I'd like to hang my hat on 2100 and say odds are against us crossing that line today. I'd short around 2095.

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Last edited by FlyingMonkey; June 2nd, 2016 at 09:46 AM.
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  #36 (permalink)
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Recap

The 6J idea didn't trigger.

The ES idea was really close, but it became invalid when price moved to the target without first going to my ideal entry price. I was waiting for 2095 (really, 94.5). Instead it stalled at 2093.5 and moved down to the target of 87. Once that move was made, a lot energy on the sell side had been consumed and I would take the waiting order off the table. So not entering the short when price did later climb all the way back up to 95. Image below shows the original plan and how close it came to triggering. This one would have left me standing at the station.


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  #37 (permalink)
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Today's ideas

Ideas for today:

ZS: Looking short around 1144 to ride for a possible break below 1136.

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6B: Often the most obvious thing is what happens. This could blow the gap, but if it doesn't, the sellers will take over. Looking to sell the first bounce after 1.35 holds.

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NQ: Trying to mix up with a bullish idea to offset the two bearish ones. I distrust this grinding move higher, but I'd jump on a Long if we see a retrace to 4295 area. Already looking at the opeing action this one is probably off the table.

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  #38 (permalink)
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Interesting, following now.

Wondering about your experience in Futures. It says beginner, if it really is don't you think you're trying to trade too many instrument at the same time? Please don't get the wrong idea because I'm also new and learning. Might not a bad idea to do 1 or 2 first and knowing it well enough to get enough data.

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  #39 (permalink)
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Results pretty sloppy today. For a bit of context, I'm still in experimentation mode here. These are still sim trades 1 contract only. And I have postponed my go-live for various reasons. Just doesn't make sense for me to risk real money as I'm still re-evaluating. The approach I am evaluating is very hands-off. This is partly out of necessity (limited time to watch charts) and partly technique (trying to let trade ideas work themselves out). I apologize if the types of pictures I post changes here and there as I am still sorting out the rhythm and detail of how I will be logging this. It will flesh out as it progresses.

ZS loss -$262.50 (hingsight: idea could have worked with a better entry and/or a stop placed further out):

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6B loss -$175 : (hindsight: The obvious thing did eventually happen. I think I could have done a better job with my entry here, or just avoided it).

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  #40 (permalink)
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rintin2x View Post
Interesting, following now.

Wondering about your experience in Futures. It says beginner, if it really is don't you think you're trying to trade too many instrument at the same time? Please don't get the wrong idea because I'm also new and learning. Might not a bad idea to do 1 or 2 first and knowing it well enough to get enough data.

Hey there rintin2x,

Thanks for the comment. In actuality, the time I've been watching futures markets closely (always part time) goes back to around 2010. Since then I've self-taught and live traded on and off, even auto-traded a bit, and managed to not lose my shirt, but also not make any money overall. I'd like to say that I list my experience as "Beginner" out of modesty, but honestly I really don't think I have any right to claim a higher experience level as a break even or losing trader.

I used to focus on one or two instruments. That was when I had a few hours time to dedicate to watching the market every day and could actually trade like the majority of other futures daytraders on this forum. However as of about 2 years ago, time constraints (work + family) have pushed me into the margins and so I've had to adapt. Increasing the number of instruments presents me with enough opportunities that I can pick and choose which ones i like and count on getting one or two potential trades in the early hours without having to force it on one instrument.

Believe me, I've questioned the efficacy of this idea. I have traded it successfully for a period of 3 months profitable in a row, but it fizzled from there. I have now once again modified my approach, partially to adapt to further shrinking of available time, and for the moment I continue to look at a wide range of instruments. It is entirely possible that I will go back the other way at some point, maybe even soon, but this progression still at this point seems logical to me.

I do agree that a chart is not just a chart. Instruments behave differently and focusing on just a couple can help enhance your feel. That said, I continue to experiment with focusing on the attributes of market action that are universal and I will use metrics to look back and see if I can determine whether certain instruments are / are not working for me and then respond accordingly.

-FM

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