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SoftSoap's NQ Journey - from SoftSoap to SoftGold
Started:August 28th, 2016 (01:13 PM) by SoftSoap Views / Replies:11,854 / 268
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SoftSoap's NQ Journey - from SoftSoap to SoftGold

Old September 4th, 2016, 08:04 PM   #31 (permalink)
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End of Week Summary

These were my goals for this week:
  1. I will take 0 Emotional trades - Failed
  2. I will enter 100% of my trades into spreadsheet - Passed
  3. I will screenshot all my entries & exits - Passed
  4. I will not look at account P/L until Friday (unless I sense I'm getting close to a stop) - Failed, started watching on Tuesday as I was anxious about drawdown
  5. I will write in my journal every day - Passed
  6. I will watch FT71's last webinar - Failed
  7. I will pick my next trading book and listen to half of it - Failed
  • P&L - -4.20%
  • Trades taken - 20
  • Rational trades - 6
  • Emotional trades - 5
  • Mixed trades - 8

Out of those trades
  • Excellent trades - 1
  • Good trades - 6
  • Ok trades - 3
  • Bad trades - 3
  • Really bad trades - 6
Win% - 25% yikes
Weekly expectancy - -35.75

Well, I just finished my worst week since I started trading live full-time (last week of July). However there is one positive to this negative week.
  • I took a lot less trades this week than I usually do, specially on a week where I don't do as well. This shows that I never got into the "I'm so mad that I'm going to trade every second to try and make it up" mentality. There's been days where I've taken 20 trades because of this so it was nice to see that this never happened

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity
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Old September 5th, 2016, 09:35 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Week 36 Weekly Prep

Some thoughts from my weekly prep
  • Still in balance, Currently 21 day balance between 4835 and 4750 - will we see this balance until Yellen speaks? For now, go with that assumption
  • Prepare for a trend day, but do not expect a trend day - trade what the market tells you
  • Looks to be a slow week. Monday was a holiday, nothing huge in terms of news reports
  • Unlikely to break the top of the balance area (~4835) but could break the bottom of the balance area (4750), although I'm skeptical about that
  • Try and see where the tops and bottoms of the day will be before committing too much

Goals for the week
  • 0 Emotional trades
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • Unless huge trend and you have amazing entry, no adding to existing position
  • Do not look at P&L until end of week, unless you feel you are close to a golden rule threshold
  • Write in journal every day
  • Watch FT71's last webinar
  • Define what is most important for me to perform well psychologically, turn that into goals that can be tracked and measured easily
  • Re-word my psychology prep from 'aggressive coach' to 'calm and logical, yet effective me' approach (credit to @iqgod for making me see the light on this)
  • Edit - Learn about time of sales and the DOM

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity

Last edited by SoftSoap; September 5th, 2016 at 11:57 PM.
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Old September 6th, 2016, 09:59 AM   #33 (permalink)
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2016-09-06 Prep


  • Looks to be a slow day today
  • ISM Non Manufacturing data coming out at 10EST, apart from that we have nothing else worth noting
  • ON session was mostly bullish

Psychology goals of the day
  • 0 Emotional trades
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • Don't force a trade, if no favorable setups occur today it's okay
  • Stick to trading plan today - very basic plan today so 0 reason why this isn't doable

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  1. 4815 zone - Surprisingly still zone throughout this balance. Previous Week High
    • Likely to hold on a day like today
    • Can take preemptive short
  2. 4800 zone - WEAK area, tested 3x ON so far
    • Do not take preemptive trades
    • LF Short opportunities
    • Be comfortable not taking a trade here
    • It'll be tempting to short this during the first 30 minutes of the session - Only do it if very very strong signs
  3. 4780 zone - WEAK area
    • Friday and Monday Low
    • LF long opportunities
    • Be comfortable not taking a trade here
    • No preemptive trades
    • Be hesitant with short opportunities due to low range
  4. 4770 zone
    • Could be bottom of day if we have a low range day
    • LF long opportunities
    • Be hesitant about short opportunities
    • Look for volume confirmation
    • Careful about entering preemptively

Edits:

You can trade around the tops and bottoms of the day as long as:
  • It doesn't happen within the first hour of the trading session
  • Volume allows it

If market is slow take advantage by watching FT71's webinar, and learning more about DOM

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity

Last edited by SoftSoap; September 6th, 2016 at 10:11 AM.
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Old September 6th, 2016, 08:57 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Emotions throughout the day

I'm sitting here looking at the market open and I thought I would record some of my emotions. On my monthly summary I realized that I take 27% of my trades in the first 30 minutes of trading, but I only win 21% of those trades. I'm trying to be a bit less trigger happy during that time, so I'm thinking and writing down my emotions instead.

I need to understand my emotions and what triggers them, so I can learn how to mitigate them effectively.

Here's my raw feelings throughout the day:

When the market moves one way, I feel anxious for not being in a trade. I want to be in a trade. I want to feel like I am being productive during the most important part of the day. However, that doesn't equate to me making sound trades and profit.

Example I wanted to get into a short position at ~4807 area with a 'bear' strategy right at the open (feeling bearish, signs aren't quite there). However I chose not to take that trade.
5 minutes later we were at 4799 and you can bet that all I was thinking was "why didn't I take it, did I make the right call? I think I made the right call not to take an emotional trade, but maybe I didn't?"
Now those are usually the times that my brain remembers, the times where I didn't take a trade and it went my way either until target or just for a bit. My brain doesn't want to remember the times where I didn't take a trade and I avoided losing money.

The funny thing is that when I started writing this, market looked like it was going to move bearishly. However, right now about 15 minutes into the market, my entry even at 4807 would've been stopped out. I need to mark these events and ensure that they are engraved in my mind.

Right now I have a sell order at 4817 and honestly all I want to happen is to have my order filled and for the market to go the other way at least 5 points and then slowly come down. I just want to be in a trade in order to feel like I'm being productive. A revelation I guess, but definitely not something I want to keep as a trader.

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Order filled. I gotta say that the first trade of the day when I'm patient and it comes to me feels very relieving. I feel like an addict getting their fix in the morning. It feels good to be filled, to be in a trade, to have the potential to make money.

But does that feel too good? Too good that I end up chasing that feeling? My numbers showed my biggest error in August was FOMO, so that could be the case. Either way I feel like I'm chasing the wrong thing here. I shouldn't feel better simply because I'm in a trade. Because if I'm in a bad trade, why should I feel good about that? Why should I want to chase that? This is something to think about that needs to change. I should feel good for taking a good trade (win or lose), and I should feel just as good for not taking a bad trade.

Back to my trade, the market was moving very fast and aggressively taking out quite a bit of volume. We saw the most volume in 1 hour that we had seen for this 21+ day balance session. I thought it was going to continue and I changed my target to 4796. The market literally came down to 4796.25 while I was out and it has now moved up to 4807. I'm starting to feel a bit stressed and wondering whether or not I should've been watching this trade closer. Did I get too greedy with my target? Should I have gone with something more conservative such as 4801? The volume was so strong and news backed up a bear move so I figured that targeting 6 points above the low of the day wasn't too greedy. As a matter of fact, I thought this could go even lower than that to around the 4780 area just on the amount of volume involved and how fast it still moved.

Maybe this is just a pull back, but either way it makes me nervous. What should I do in these situations? I'm trying to look at things objectively but it's hard to do that when a trade that was a tick or 2 away from your target is now going 9 points against you.

I want to get out of this trade, but am I just being emotional? The right thing to do here would be to reanalyze everything as if I wasn't in a trade.
When I do that:
  • I see huge pockets of volume
  • I see the overall volume decreasing
  • I see the last 15 minutes (currently 1047) of the volume profile starting to balance
  • I don't see a reason why we would break the 4815 mark in the next couple of hours
  • This looks like a pullback - but am I missing something? am I only seeing what I want to see? I don't know
  • I should probably take a picture so I can refer back to in the future

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Right now I need to be thinking clearly. I've put my stop in a place where I don't think the market will hit (above 4815), and my target has remained the same. I don't know if this is the right answer. As I write this I just watched the market jump up 4 points in 30 seconds and wow my heart is racing. I want to get out I don't like how this is going. I'm frustrated, I'm angry at myself for not getting out earlier. This feels painful in a way.

What is the right decision here? Do I get out because it's emotionally draining me? Do I stay in because I think that's the right thing to do?
Do I take a small profit and just look for the next trade?
Do I risk more in case this is just a pullback and the market turns around?
The EU close is happening soon so will that make things go my way? will it make things go against me?

So many questions and no answers.

This is a big weakness of mine. When things don't go as expected, I'm asking myself so many questions that I just can't answer and I end up with 'analysis paralysis' and end up not making a decision at all. I need to prepare myself better when I enter a trade for these scenarios, so I don't have to think when emotions are high.

Right now I'm at a point where not making a decision and walking away is a lot easier than making a decision. All I am thinking about right now is - I'm up $200 if I walk away right now, but I am down $200 from where I could've gotten out. That hurts and makes it difficult to think. This is such a bad way to look at things, I should not be viewing a $ value in the market because my goal is long term growth not short term profits.

I'm just watching it, every tick that goes towards me adds a bit of relief, but every tick it goes against me causes 5x the stress.
It went up to 4810 and is now at 4807.5. 20 minutes ago 4807 felt really bad, now it is starting to feel somewhat good.

This is an emotional roller coaster. All I want is to look away and see a 10+pt move down so I can feel relieved.
The thing that kills me the most is how slowly this is moving. Currently at 4813.5.
I want to get this over and done with, are you going to hit my lowered stop of 4815.75? or are you going to drag this on?

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The selloff was so strong, 80K+ contracts in 1 hour. How did that get reversed so much and so fast? Why is there no continuation on this move after a pullback?
Was it just jitters over the ISM #s? Was this just a great opportunity for bulls to buy at a lower price? Are we now in a bull market? Am I seeing the beginning of this 20+ day balance? Is the market sick of the uncertainty that it's just going to act as if there won't be a rate hike? Are we having another brexit thing here where we hate uncertainty that we want to find something to believe in? The % of rate hike has lowered and the election is coming up so are people starting to bet on the fundamentals? Why did I fail to plan for this during my morning prep?

There I go again with tons of questions and no answers, I feel blind in a way. I don't like being blind, I don't like not knowing. But this is part of the job, I just need better preparation so I'm not thinking of different scenarios as I go along.

Thinking about this put a light on the fact that before the market opens, I plan a lot. But once the market is opened I stop planning and thinking about scenarios. Instead I browse forums, check facebook, read articles, watch news, etc. But I don't keep building on my trading plan. I will change that.

Unfortunately my stop got hit, I didn't lose $ on this trade but I took 1 point. I made a huge mistake by not moving my stop down to a better level, I don't know why I didn't do it this time because I almost always do. The trade went my way 21 points, one tick away from my target, and I walk away with 1 point profit. My entry point was fantastic, 1.50 points before the big reversal, my target was pretty good and just off by 1 or 2 ticks, but once I didn't hit it I didn't react fast enough. I didn't make the tough decision of taking 10-15 pts as my target wasn't going to be hit. I took the easy way out, which is to do nothing. Leaving my trade to chance. What do I always say? I'm not in the chance business, I'm in the trade business - so wtf?

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity
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Old September 6th, 2016, 09:40 PM   #35 (permalink)
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End of Day Summary 2016-09-06

Futures Edge on FIO
Psychology goals of the day
  • 0 Emotional trades - Passed in terms of entering a trade, but I was very emotional and not rational while in my trades
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • Don't force a trade, if no favorable setups occur today it's okay - Passed, I feel all my trade entries were calculated and none were forced
  • Stick to trading plan today - very basic plan today so 0 reason why this isn't doable - Failed, took trade outside of plan

3 trades today.
  1. Rational trade - 1 Short @ 4817 with target of 4796, came 1 tick away from target - froze and didn't take a smaller profit so only made ~1pt. Look on above post for more detail. Really bad trade because of my awful execution once my target wasn't hit. 2 hrs in trade.
  2. Rational trade - 1 short at 4819 expecting small range and zone to hold - I was wrong and it didn't. I took a smaller risk than usual so that was a small loss. Good trade because good entry point, signs were there and stop was small relative to the usual, but enough to prove I was wrong. If I got out a bit earlier this would've been an excellent trade despite being a loss. 15 minutes in trade.
  3. Mixed trade - 1 short at 4824.75. Expected market to turn around and end at ~ a balance for the day which would be 4810-4805ish. Market went up to 4827 and then went my way, balancing at ~4818 mark, I felt good about the trade and expected a sell-off at the end of the day as we were up 40 points from the day open. I was wrong and the market went bull at the end of the day instead of bear - It finished near the top. Ok trade, decent entry and reasonable target, I didn't quite adapt to the market though. 90 minutes in trade.


Summary
2 rational trades and 1 mixed trade, so that's good. I didn't take any emotional trades and my mistakes were that I didn't adapt to change in market conditions, and I read the market wrong. I just wish that I could've made the first trade work so I could've ended positive for the day. Oh well, there'll be more opportunities.

3 things I did well
  1. 0 emotional trades
  2. 0 FOMO trades
  3. Small loss despite having a completely bad read on the market (felt tight balance / bearish day, instead it was a strong bull day)

3 things I could improve on
  1. Effective decision making
  2. Efficient decision making
  3. Lowering my stop when I'm up 20 pts in profit

Yesterday's excellence is today's standard and tomorrow's mediocrity
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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:22 AM   #36 (permalink)
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2016-09-07 Prep

Psychology goals
  1. 0 Emotional trades
  2. 0 FOMO trades
  3. Only add to position if market opens very strong bear as your ON entry is good (4836.50) - be careful though
  4. Do not look at P&L


Things to look for during the open
  • Are we breaking out of this balance? Will we have another very strong bull day? or will we go back to a balance?
  • Right now it looks like we might break new AT highs and potentially break out of the balance, but not sure if it will happen at beginning of session or not
  • Watch for the resistance as we inch closer to those new AT highs
  • Is the market
  • How the market interacts with the low of the day. Does it slice it? Do we chop around it? You are looking for any signs that hint towards a bull break out of balance, or a bear pull back into balance
  • Look for the overall volume #. If we are breaking out of a 22 day balance, we want to see force driving that push. If not, it could lead towards a bear move back into balance
  • Watch how quickly volume pockets get sliced. We could see some LT player activity today. Look for any signs that big pockets have entered the market and are pushing it one way or the other


Do not let your short entry from overnight cloud your judgment. Be prepared to exit as you interpret some of the signs from the open

1EST Apple announcement - how do apple announcements affect the NQ? this will be my first time seeing this


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  1. 4850 area - Never been tested, expected to be initial resistance if we are breaking out. Watch for signs that the move will end and potentially reverse here
  2. AT high zone Tested strongly 2 days - LF shorts or signs that bull breakout is happening. Be very careful not to get in a situation where you short expecting balance and get stopped out, and then long expecting breakout and get stopped out. Read the market
  3. PDH and ONLow zone - Look for bear continuation or STRONG signs of a shift in trend and a bull move. Be very careful with a bull entry here as it's so close to the AT high. Avoid under most circumstances
  4. 4815 zone - Broken yesterday, tested so many times. In the past this has been strong resistance but weak support. If broken this could again become a strong resistance area but be wary to rely on this on first contact as support. Watch before acting here
  5. 4800 zone- Surprisingly held yesterday with all the volume. Could be support if market makes it that far down today

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Old September 7th, 2016, 01:08 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Morning session 2016-09-07

12-14EST is the time when I lose the most amount of money so I'm getting ready to take a bit of a break, might as well write in my journal.

So far I've only taken 1 trade today.
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Entry was done overnight at ~4EST while I was sleeping. Stop was set at 4840.5, target at 4819. Entry was rational.
When I woke up this was up about 4 points, and I debated taking the 4 points and buying back if we made it to that area again, I wasn't sure though and was expecting the market to let me know in the first 5 minutes what was going to happen. This didn't happen and I contemplated exiting my trade at a small loss an hour into the trade, but the signs on my 1 hr chart were telling me that the volume was low, and we were reaching all time highs so I expected a very strong sell-off.
We got a sell off eventually but not as strong as I was looking for, I moved my target up to 4822 and the market went down to 4822 but didn't fill me haha.
The market was moving up after that and was at around 4824 and all I kept thinking was is the same thing that happened yesterday happening again? I need to lock down a win if the market is going to turn around.
I moved my stop down to 4826 and my target I left at 4822.
I watched the market and was looking for bear wicks as well as strong volume down, I didn't get it so I chose to exit out at 4824.50.

That was a goodish move as my stop would've been hit before my target. The right play would've been to pick a better stop area and keep the target. I do feel we will hit my initial target at the 19 area, but yesterday I also felt that we were going to hit my target and the trade ended up going 20 points against me.

Overall though I've stayed very calm. Today for the first time I wrote down list of things that I need to watch to either keep me or get me out of my trade. As the market was going against me I was looking for things that were showing I was wrong and should get out, and I didn't see any of them. While the market was going my way, I was looking for signs that I was right.

I didn't see any signs that I was proven wrong on my entry yet, so I kept the trade and it was good.

I'm going to walk away but I've set some alarms, here is how I set up alarms in NinjaTrader.
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I use a sim account and set orders where I want to start watching the market for a reversal. I leave the volume on loud and walk away.

There is an alarm function in NinjaTrader and it seemed more difficult than this, but to be honest I didn't give it much attention. This is effective for now, I'll worry about optimizing this later.

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Old September 7th, 2016, 10:17 PM   #38 (permalink)
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2016-09-07 Summary

Today was not a break out and we moved back into balance, although not as strongly as we have the last 2 times we tested all-time highs.

I took 2 trades
  1. ON entry at 4836.50, exit at 4824.50. More detail in the post above.
  2. Then I shorted at 4817.25 expecting the market to continue its trend down. About 20 minutes into the trade I realized that I had made 2 mistakes. 1 I got into a FOMO trade, 2 I had taken a trade while conditions were flat. Both were things I wanted to avoid so I got out and took a small loss of 2 pts

Psychology goals for today
  • 0 Emotional trades - Passed
  • 0 FOMO trades - Failed
  • Only add to position if market opens very strong bear as your ON entry is good (4836.50) - be careful though - Passed
  • Do not look at P&L - Passed

3 Things I did well today
  1. Held a position that was negative for more time than I would like and didn't get out due to stress
  2. Realized I made a mistake entering a trade and didn't wait for the market to prove me wrong
  3. Felt calm today, both trades were rational

Bonus- First time I made money on a Wednesday

3 things I could've done better today
  1. Reading the DOM better so I can make better decisions on whether or not to
  2. Faster decision making - I was lucky the market was slow on my 2nd trade, I should've exited earlier
  3. No 3rd

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Old September 8th, 2016, 10:18 AM   #39 (permalink)
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2016-09-08 Prep

  • Looks to be another slow day today
  • Will we be testing the AT high again today? We broke it yesterday and then bounced back slightly.
  • Last 2 times we broke the AT highs during this balance area, we trended bear for the next day or 2 and 60-80 points
  • After hitting the new AT highs yesterday we only trended for 2 hours before recovering, and ~25 pts
  • Currently ~ 4819 area so 20 pts from AT high set yesterday.
  • ON volume is a lot lower than usual, but this is the first day of a new contract. Is that normal? Does the first day of a contract tend to trend one way more than another? Honestly I'm not sure what to expect today, SIM data was always very choppy during first couple of days so I always skipped it.
  • Also the price was just 4816 with the ask and the bid ~1pt higher, seems very odd?
  • Quite a bear change this morning, prepare for a bear trend day, but look for signs of confirmation
  • Mario Draghi speaks this morning, not sure how that impacts the NQ but I'll be watching it - Looks like it did have an impact, Ill need to polish up more on some of the EU matters. Currently 16pts down in last 15 minutes.
  • Jobless claims came in just behind consensus, not that big of a deal though
  • Not sure if any of the other news today are worth following

Psychology goals for the day
  • 0 emotional trades
  • 0 FOMO trades
  • Do not look at P&L
  • Walk away if you find yourself emotional
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  1. AT High area
    LF Short or to get our of position
  2. PDL, was strong resistance in the past
    LF Long or bear continuation
    Can take a preemptive long trade at PDL
  3. 4800 area, weak
    Look for trend reversal or bear continuation
    Do not take unless high volume
  4. 4780 area

Things to watch in the open / before the open
  • Whether or not we move closer to the close of yesterday ~4730
  • Look for signs that this will be a bear trend day
    • Watch how quickly we slice the 2nd zone, look for signs in the volume profile that zones are being sliced
    • Look for high volume initially and then lower volume getting in front of the move
  • Watch VIX / ES / YM
  • Look for signs that we will balance today
  • Watch how price reacts around PDL

So I took a quick pre-market trade at PDL expecting a slight reversal and a potential good entry prior to the market but wow I was wrong.
The market completely sliced through the area, I lowered my stop with the movement so I took a smaller than usual loss but it was very weird watching that and the DOM.
No volume, very little orders on the DOM and it moved very fast. Bid and ask price would fluctuate from both above or below the actual price, to sometimes being a point of spread. Just seems like very odd behaviour. Maybe I shouldn't take another premarket trade since it's first day of a new contract?
I just checked the 09-16 contract and the volume and market seems to be acting properly on there, did I make a mistake by switching to the market early?
The NQ 09-16 has seen double the volume in the last 15 minutes that the NQ 12-16 has seen since the open yesterday?

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Old September 8th, 2016, 03:32 PM   #40 (permalink)
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SoftSoap View Post
...
I just checked the 09-16 contract and the volume and market seems to be acting properly on there, did I make a mistake by switching to the market early?...

No, you didn't.

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