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Zach's Log

  #321 (permalink)
Legendary Embracer of Uncertainty
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Nice to take a little break every now and then eh? Good to have you back man

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  #322 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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I traded my first FOMC today. I gotta say, it was intense; especially going in with the intention of capitalizing on that craziness. In preparation, I wrote down what I considered to be the "top 3 levels" that I would exclusively trade from: 2990, 3001, and 3012.50. I also wrote down "Seize the moment!" which is definitely a good reminder going in, to counter the deer-in-the-headlights effect that such volatility can induce.

Needless to say, it was a great day. 2990 turned out to be a great short. (I even used a 2 point stop! :O)

To update those who are interested, I have been writing every single day about my trading and the other relevant things. My writings have taken on a much more personal format or tone, and because of this, I've helped myself out immensely (this kind of writing isn't the kind of writing you'd want on the internet). It's amazing what totally honest journaling can do, and I'm glad I made the changes I did. I do miss you guys, though. I feel I should post more, for sure.

Things are now (consistently) looking up, mostly because of my attitude. Next time I encounter a challenge in my trading- for example; losing money after making money- or I encounter a psychological challenge because of this or that, I must remember that it isn't the obstacle that's the problem, it's my attitude towards it. This is relevant to everything, but it seems especially important for successful trading.

My brother used to tell me that when you grab something, you grab right ahold of it: "Grab it by the balls." (similar to the grab life by the balls expression). You don't wait, you don't hesitate, you just do it.

It's both my self understanding and my grit that give me my edge. I know now that these things are a pre-requisite to the technicals that make money.

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  #323 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
Trading: MNQ, MES, M2K
 
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Posts: 498 since Sep 2018
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What a day it has been. I lost 3 trades in a row today, but I don't feel that bad about it because I know I did the best I could, and I followed every rule- I may just need to execute faster/refine my entries even further, or use a wider stop loss. With the first trade, I got stopped out to the tick, and I watched as price plummeted in my direction. This was actually funny at the time. With the second trade, I logically assumed that it would be safe to short "pre-maturely" at ~2969, given that the market was turning around a point or two before pivotal levels, after the craziness at 10am. I turned out to be flat out wrong with this one. I actually had a thought before entering the second trade "Wait until price reaches ~2972", but upon inspecting the daily chart's LVNs further and considering the pace of price action, I decided logically that shorting at the 2969's was a better decision- it just didn't work out. And as for the last trade, I was also stopped out (almost) to the tick. I suppose my entry here was a little bit on the sloppy side- I actually had someone over my shoulder as I was about to enter, but I don't want to blame them for it. I wanted them to see me enter, tbh. Anyways, these are the kind of days that really test your psychology, your grit. I had the right ideas, I just didn't execute properly, and perhaps it wouldn't be wrong of me to say that I got unlucky. It could be argued that my entries were fine, I just need to use a bigger stop loss- but I'm still hashing this out, and because of this I'm considering bumping my stop loss up to 3 points, but then I would have to increase my profit target to 6 points which I find unsettling. I can easily get 4 points. Those extra 2 points feel like a mile, though. Currently my win rate is just underneath 50%, but I think it would go up if I were to increase my stop loss size by a point.

Anyways, just wanted to share some good ol' fashioned pain with you guys. It has been a minute.






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  #324 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
Trading: MNQ, MES, M2K
 
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Posts: 498 since Sep 2018
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Today's trade:



I went short at 3095.75 with 2 points of risk, with a profit target at 3088. Look at how close I was!

I've changed some things in my trading since I've written here last. I don't always trade with the daily chart now, because I've realized the short-term context matters more to me as a small order flow trader. Today's a good example; the MES initiated up slowly I think minutes after 9:30, and the market naturally stalled at higher prices then ended up breaking through them, and we continued to break another level or two until we finally reached the 3100's.. It was "obvious" (I'm not using that term loosely) to see in the order flow at the time that we ran out of buyers after minutes of being up there with no buy action. Out of caution and respect for the trend I didn't go short right then, because I wanted even more evidence that we were done up there. I waited until we regressed down some. Sure enough we made lower lows after hitting the ATH 102, and that gave me the conviction to sell around level 3096. In my mind, traders were finished buying and had to take profits, and we hadn't went through our usual trend reversal yet. At the end of the day, I was just too early is all. I'm working on that still.

Also, I recently have been experimenting with the 4 point stop, and damn, it's comfortable. I/I'll use it when the market calls for it, though- it would be out of place for me to risk 4 points in slow, ranging conditions, given that I'm capable of utilizing a tighter stop loss in that kind of environment. Once again, it's all context dependent and personal, which is an aspect of trading that I found to be very hard to accept in the past. I still find myself mentally establishing where I'm going to enter before the market gets there, but my awareness of that tendency saves me more than not. "Just pay attention!"

Lastly, I came up with this question list that keeps my mind active while trading. I've mostly incorporated it into my trading process, but unfortunately I'm still human and run on auto-pilot sometimes.. It keeps me "responsive" (responsible) to what's happening in the market, and in case I deviate, I have this notification that pops up at 9:45 (15 minutes after the open) that reminds me to ask myself these questions after my first bout of observing price action. Two questions from my list:

(The most important one in my eyes): 1: Given the current behavior of price action, and given what the market has done in the last 15 minutes, what sort of play or set-up makes sense right now?.. The answer to this question is sometimes obvious, and if it's not, it influences me to further investigate what has happened, and to pay closer attention to what's happening. It makes me put 2 and 2 together, as long as I'm not married to a trade hypothesis.

2. Where are the bulls and bears stop losses?


That's a big chunk of what I've changed while I've been away. I'm sure there are some aspects of my trading that I haven't recognized have gotten better, but I can say for sure that I'm way less scared of taking an individual trade than I used to be. I mean, when you get stopped out so many times, you kind of get desensitized to it. It's to be expected with such a small stop loss, too. (I'm glad I made the decision to trade real money back in June- I think I would've stagnated in my growth otherwise)

Alright, just thought I'd update my journal for once. I'll be back soon.

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  #325 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
Trading: MNQ, MES, M2K
 
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+6 points today in the MES with 2 points of risk:



What made this trade a high probability trade?: The daily picture seemed overbought. We traded in a range yesterday. Today is Tuesday, historically the most volatile day of the week. The structure in the 30 minute chart was triple top-esque, and I could readily visualize the ranges space being filled by trading through established daily LVNs (I could see a stop run happening easily with that many LVNs right next to each other). We were bearish in the footprint since the start of the open. We were around the weekly value area high which I shorted, with my stop loss obviously above the VAH and an LVN (two conflated levels). This was a good trade.

I was in the trade for roughly an hour. I had planned to get out at 3112 (just before a daily LVN), but I thought and felt that I was pushing my luck with it being a very bullish market in the daily. I didn't have a profit target set because I'm practicing reading the market in the moment to make logical exits. My trade management was decent overall, although I gave into fear at sudden responsive buying beneath LVN ~3117 (this fear certainly wasn't unfounded given the bigger picture). I could have squeezed another 3-4 points out of this trade, but besides that, I'm proud of how diligent and how unafraid I was for the majority of the time with truly reading the footprint with a trade going. Me a month or two ago would've either held it until it reversed and stopped me out, or I would've exited at 4 points for the PnL. It's the how of price action and the chart structure that should determine p/t's.

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  #326 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
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+4 points in the MES today.


Trade #1 was a loser. I went long at daily LVN 3111 with 2 points of risk. I was quickly stopped out by what seemed to be a stop run and took 3 ticks of slippage. -2.75 points. Initiative move down.




Trade #2 was a winner. I risked 2 points again going short this time at daily LVN 3002 (entered a tick below it) and met my mental profit target 3095. I considered closing at 3092, but was a little "shook" from the intensity of the move. I'll get better at managing my fear when it comes to exits. Might take another year or two +6.75 points:



Good trading day. Before the craziness transpired at 1PM EST, there were plenty of opportunities to go short around daily LVN 3117.75 in the AM, particularly just before the LVN at todays VAH 3116.75. I was tempted to short around this price more than once, but price action wasn't flowing, and my stop would've coincided with yesterdays daily VPOC which was only 2 points away from the LVN I'd short. There also was an opportunity to buy at 3111 early in the morning, which I missed. I was on the side of caution most of the morning session because price action was simply choppy. Plus, I had conflicting views of the bigger picture; the daily was bullish, yet too bullish. Price magnet 3091 from the monthly VPOC was practically underneath us, too. It's odd, I noticed this VPOC in my pre-open analysis the past couple of days, and during my trading session I checked out FT's Trader Bite and he said the same thing (I don't watch him before trading anymore, as his scenarios often influence my decision making). Anyways, these were competing factors of opposing sentiments that canceled each other out in my mind, and it was difficult to take a trade as a consequence. On the other hand, an initiative move down like that cannot be ignored. 3091 was reached as well.

My manual exits seem to be getting better, mostly because I watch the footprint like a hawk now and know where I'm going to get out if I see anything funny. I couldn't exit on my own in the past, because I didn't have enough experience, and the experience that I did have, I didn't trust. Also, trade management really requires a calm and still mind in order to make the right decisions, which seemed impossible to attain in the midst of a trade even in my recent past. As a trader with a position going, you can only do so much.. It's best to remember that.

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  #327 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
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Posts: 498 since Sep 2018
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-2 points trading the MES today:



The open was totally bearish in the footprint. Price responsively sold off from 3110 at the bell all the way down to 3100. That's when we went sideways for half an hour, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out the orderflow. I saw an odd amount of buying given the sell off this morning, so the buyers had me spooked.. "Are we going to break up through 3105?!".. I stayed out until some price event changed my mind: Once we broke 3100 and continued to the downside, I became bearish. I couldn't fight against this second break lower. I sold the pull-back at LVN 2098 with 2 points of risk, mentally targeting 3091, or better yet, 3088. The trade went in my favor 4.5 points, but I was looking for that bigger profit (these 6 point winners might have me spoiled) and in the end, I left money on the table. I did notice a difference in the orderflow down around the 3095's, so I mentally established I'd close if price rose above it. Sure enough it did, and I didn't take my exit and rationalized my way to getting stopped out. Old habits die hard.

If the conditions are ripe tomorrow and I enter a trade, I'll be sure to "close at 3095." I watched the market after that loss, and I was determined to take a high probability trade and do the right thing this time. Unfortunately, the market slowed down quite a bit, and I didn't see any great set-ups.

Despite that mishap, I entered a good trade. It's going to take awhile to become better a managing trades anyhow (and I've always been stringent with my stops and profit targets because I didn't know how to manage a trade in the first place). I've only been trading live for roughly 6 months, so I don't want to get ahead of myself. Isn't that reassuring?

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  #328 (permalink)
Legendary Market Wizard
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Review for Thursday November 21, 2019

Hi Zachary,

I like the look of your latest charts, glad to see you've moved away from that 8 Range footprint chart.

I hope you don't mind me posting this on your journal, but it's really a follow on from some of our previous discussions.

I don't know if you've looked at any of the latest writings over at the "Tao te Trade: way of the WLD" journal, but I started looking into what he was saying late last week and so far I like what I'm seeing when I apply his concepts to my own charts.

@wldman has been very open and helpful discussing the methodology and the ideas behind looking for Range Expansion that follows an inside bar, while keeping in mind where the higher time frames as in : Monthly, Weekly, Daily all opened and where we are right now.

(I don't mean to be over simplifying here, but you need to read through his journal yourself to really pick out all of his nuggets.)

This is how the ES Monthly, Weekly, Daily looked at the end of the day today:




I also keep a 4 hour, a 60 minute and a 15 minute chart all plotted with the next higher time frame overlaid in Boxes so I can see the different times in one place.

4 hour with Daily, 60 minute with 4 hour, 15 Minute with 60 minute



I've been keeping an eye on a 15 Minute footprint and entering my trades on either a 5 minute or a 1 minute chart.

Today was a little different in that we had US-China trade war jitters overnight and a significant 11.5 point Gap-Down at the Globex Open at 18:00 ET Wednesday night.

I'm not saying it always happens, but anytime I see one of those Gaps at the Globex Open (Down or Up) I usually expect they will (at some point in time) start closing bars above the higher edge of a Gap-Down Open or the lower edge of a Gap-Up Open. They don't always happen right away, (Get closed) but I always try to keep an eye on them.

Today that happened on a 15 minute chart, during that spike up in the overnight market around 08:15 ET, but my Daily Chart at the EOD (End of Day) still shows that Gap since we have not yet had a daily bar close above 3108.75 (Wednesday's ETH Close).

In any event, here are a few charts with some observations typed on the screenshots for you to consider.

After the 10:00 ET News and the Counter Trend Period were behind us.



Measured Move calculated after London Close at 11:30 Eastern (16:30 GMT)



And how did the measured move work out?



Hopefully this last one isn't too large to see clearly?



Trade well Zachary


Last edited by TopGunNote; November 21st, 2019 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Added missing screenshots
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  #329 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Posts: 498 since Sep 2018
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TopGunNote View Post
Hi Zachary,

I like the look of your latest charts, glad to see you've moved away from that 8 Range footprint chart.

I hope you don't mind me posting this on your journal, but it's really a follow on from some of our previous discussions.

I don't know if you've looked at any of the latest writings over at the "Tao te Trade: way of the WLD" journal, but I started looking into what he was saying late last week and so far I like what I'm seeing when I apply his concepts to my own charts.

@wldman has been very open and helpful discussing the methodology and the ideas behind looking for Range Expansion that follows an inside bar, while keeping in mind where the higher time frames as in : Monthly, Weekly, Daily all opened and where we are right now.

(I don't mean to be over simplifying here, but you need to read through his journal yourself to really pick out all of his nuggets.)

This is how the ES Monthly, Weekly, Daily looked at the end of the day today:




I also keep a 4 hour, a 60 minute and a 15 minute chart all plotted with the next higher time frame overlaid in Boxes so I can see the different times in one place.

4 hour with Daily, 60 minute with 4 hour, 15 Minute with 60 minute



I've been keeping an eye on a 15 Minute footprint and entering my trades on either a 5 minute or a 1 minute chart.

Today was a little different in that we had US-China trade war jitters overnight and a significant 11.5 point Gap-Down at the Globex Open at 18:00 ET Wednesday night.

I'm not saying it always happens, but anytime I see one of those Gaps at the Globex Open (Down or Up) I usually expect they will (at some point in time) start closing bars above the higher edge of a Gap-Down Open or the lower edge of a Gap-Up Open. They don't always happen right away, (Get closed) but I always try to keep an eye on them.

Today that happened on a 15 minute chart, during that spike up in the overnight market around 08:15 ET, but my Daily Chart at the EOD (End of Day) still shows that Gap since we have not yet had a daily bar close above 3108.75 (Wednesday's ETH Close).

In any event, here are a few charts with some observations typed on the screenshots for you to consider.

After the 10:00 ET News and the Counter Trend Period were behind us.



Measured Move calculated after London Close at 11:30 Eastern (16:30 GMT)



And how did the measured move work out?



Hopefully this last one isn't too large to see clearly?



Trade well Zachary

@TopGunNote, you're more than welcome to post in my journal. Any advice from another trader (especially more experienced ones!) I encourage. So, thank you.

It's interesting to see that you go so far as to use all of these time-frames to establish current context. At one point, I made it necessary in my process to establish the sentiment of the weekly time-frame in order to align myself with the trend, with the OTF. I'd only trade with them. Overtime, I became more lenient and eventually only paid attention to the daily chart, the hourly, the 30 minute chart, and the 8-range footprint chart. I realized I was missing moves of the opposite sentiment that I felt more than capable of acting on- particularly, I didn't want to miss trading either extremes of ranges during obvious range days. Sometimes the weekly and daily chart wouldn't permit that, and it sucked to miss trade after trade that I could take at the cost of one less factor in my favor. Of course, this wasn't the best idea, as I ended up taking lower probability trades and I over-traded. I often traded against the trend due to my responsive approach to the market, and I was only infrequently receptive to what the market was really trying to do; what has saved me recently is simply paying attention to the intensity of moves in the footprint without having formulated a single hypothesis (my trading ideas are developed through the price narrative since the open and are based around daily LVNs.). "Stacking" and interpreting these time-frames in conjunction with another wouldn't necessarily hurt me at this point, as I'd trade more like a sniper.. What I'm thinking and feeling right now is concern that perhaps I've taken a step in the wrong direction by not considering the higher time-frames (the weekly, monthly, etc.) as much as I should, given your experience and advice.

Any-who, I'll check out @wldmans journal. Thank you for the advice and the charts, it certainly does put things into perspective.

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  #330 (permalink)
Maine, USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader 8
Trading: MNQ, MES, M2K
 
Fluid Fox's Avatar
 
Posts: 498 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 1,860 given, 2,041 received


Because I didn't post last Friday, here's Friday's trade (-2 points):





At the time, I thought and felt it was an awesome trade given the selling pressure and how all of these levels lined up. The market was relatively short last week as well, and I was succeeding with bearish pull-back trades. Looking back now, I do consider it a good trade- it just would've been better if it was in the direction of the daily trend.. It seems I can never argue with that.

Also, I'm in a trade right now that I entered before noon today, and I intend to let it run or stop me out. I'm long. I'll let you know how it works out tomorrow.

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