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NW Trader's Journal

  #11 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Out of Sync

This was a day when I was not in sync with the markets. Of course, the YM was thrown out of whack just before I sat down at the computer this morning when Powell hinted at interest rate cuts. I had that on my calendar for 0700 but obviously he spoke around 0530 instead and the markets spiked. CL was not particularly volatile today but I just couldn't get in harmony with either product.

I only took 4 trades and 3 of those stalled enough that I ended up working the stops to get out with just a few ticks on each. I did take one pullback on CL which looked very clear to me, only to have it reverse so quickly that I couldn't move my stops in time to avoid a big loss.
So, I posted a loss for the session. So far, I am still just a little bit ahead for the week so I hope I can maintain that over the next two days.
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Happy trading everyone!

Today's results:
4 trades
3 winners: $55
1 loser: ($200)
Gross P/L: ($145)

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  #12 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Globex and another scratch day

Over the past few months I have occasionally traded off hours (Globex) on a Sim account just to see what it was like. I found that most markets are slooooooow and sometimes erratic and I assume that is due to low volume. Nevertheless, some patterns in some markets still seem to work. Last night my Live account was up and running as I walked past the computer and I noticed what looked like a nice pullback in CL. So I sat down and took the trade. I only took one contract because I figured there wouldn't be much action and I didn't want to risk as much anyway. It took 15 minutes but I did hit my 10 tick target for $100. I then tried another pullback, this time on YM, but it was slow, wandered and finally stalled and I closed it out for an even scratch. Interesting.

Today was my short day with just an hour to spend trading before heading to work. I've said before that I don't often trade the OR, but this morning CL seemed to be at the bottom of a range and at the bottom of a small trend within that range so I felt there was a good chance of a small spike at the open. I entered with a couple contracts but the spike was smaller than I thought and I did managed to work my stops and get out with 12 ticks.

Then I took what I thought was a textbook failure of a breakout but the price immediately slammed both my stops for a loss of 22 ticks. Ouch! I've had a couple losses like this lately so I need to go back and study these and see if I'm somehow missing something on the charts. Study, study, study, it never ends! That's what makes it so fascinating, right? If trading was easy then everybody would be doing it!! Or so I am told.

Day's results (including overnight trades)
4 trades
2 wins: $220
1 loss: ($220)
1 scratch: 0
Gross P/L: 0

Well, zero is better than a loss, but I'll never get rich with scratch days either. I am still up just barely for the week so I'll plan on a positive day tomorrow and total it all up then.

Happy Trading everyone!

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  #13 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

End of a flat and disappointing week


The long and the short of it for this week is that I ended up with a $12.50 gross loss, but after calculating in commissions it was a bigger loss than that.

I have just felt out of sync with the markets, especially the last 3 days. No real reason I can put my finger on. I just don't seem to be seeing the setups and find myself "reaching" for the trades. My win ratio was 60% which is not far off from where I need to be, but Win-Loss-Size-Ratio was upside down so that despite the win ratio, my ultimate results were flat.

I'm going to spend the weekend reviewing the charts and reviewing my reference material. I will also need to work on my head a little bit because I am frustrated by the weeks results. In fact, I was so frustrated that I even took a revenge trade as my last trade today and I just don't normally do that. Naturally, it added to my day's loss!

I know that trading is always a work in progress but I am not immune to the emotions of the game. I plan on being back on Monday morning with a fresh attitude ready to flow with the markets. I hope everyone else ended their week on a high note and that your weekend will be full of fun, family and, okay, maybe a beer or two!

Days results:
6 trades
3 winners $297.50
3 losers: ($405.00)
Gross P/L ($107.50)

Weeks's results:
25 trades
15 winners: $1437.50
10 losers: ($1450.00)
Gross P/L ($12.50)

Average Win: $95.83
Average Loss: 145.00

Winning %: 60
WLSR: .66

Most of my trades today were on CL so I am including just that chart. My revenge trade was on YM and, trust me, NOBODY wants to see that!

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  #14 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Off to a bad start

Well this is a sad story, but will be familiar to anyone who's been doing this for awhile. Today's short, sad story is entirely about lack of discipline.

This morning I started out in CL as usual. I missed the first big move and took a loss, then hit a little winner, then another loss as I missed the second big move. As I sat back and looked at the chart I realized that with a simple moving average strategy I would have picked up both big moves in oil this morning instead of the results I had. Here's where the day fell apart.

A year or so ago I did use a moving average strategy and had some early success with it, then proceeded to draw down my account over a couple months. So this morning, the devil inside me said "Hey, why not put your old MA strategy on the screen since it obviously would have worked?" And so I did and knocked down two quick trades for modest profits.So the little devil now sitting on my shoulder says "Hey, we're back to better than scratch now and this is EASY with the MA, so let's knock out some big bucks!" Of course, anyone who'd been trading very long knows what came next: I took 4 losses in a row, was not only guilty of over-trading but also came close to hitting my personal Maximum Allowable Daily Loss!

Yes folks, this is how it's done: study, practice, find a strategy that works, then at the first opportunity abandon it and throw real money right out the window! Crap!

So now I start the week under water and will have the negative psychology of digging out of a hole working against me. Despite that, I need to be here tomorrow with a new attitude and a very real reminder of what lack of discipline can do to me. Some lessons can be expensive, but the worst part is that I have had opportunities to learn this lesson in the past and obviously have not done so.

Today's results (I'm not even bothering with attaching the sad looking chart today):
10 Trades
4 Winners: $510.00
6 Losers: ($1,030.00)
Gross P/L ($520)

Moral of the story: Plan your trades, Trade your plan. Period. Hope this sad little tale will help someone else hear avoid being an idiot.

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  #15 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Another day, another step forward....

I missed posting yesterday because my work schedule interfered. After my Monday post it would have been understood if you figured I had just abandoned ship! But no, I stumbled, skinned my knees and hopefully learned something. So I am back in the mode of doing some adjusting.

Yesterday was a short day for trading for me, only one hour, but after Monday I was determined to only trade the setups that I knew even if I took no trades at all. I took two trades and one was great while the other was a loser. I looked hard at that second trade afterward and it still looked good so I gave the market that one.

Today, after more study of my past charts, I felt that I was just entering trades too early. Sometimes it works out beautifully but I think that is also the cause of some of my large losses where the market immediately reverses on me and catches both my stops at maximum loss. So I decided that I would not enter until the setup was clearly visible and confirmed. So I waited, and waited, and waited. As I watched CL go through a lovely trend, generating ticks by the dozen, I saw no opportunity to enter according to my plan. Since I was doing nothing but watching, I decided to switch my chart to a tick chart from the time chart I have been using just to see if opportunities would exist there. Voila, what a difference!

I used tick charts for quite some time over the past year and always felt they provided a more accurate picture of market sentiment and direction than time charts. So why did I change? I found that, especially during volatile markets, that the bars appeared so quickly that it was difficult to adjust stops or keep up with what the market was telling me. I'll admit that I am old as dirt and prefer things at a more moderate pace and I found the time charts, even a 1 minute chart, to be easy to keep pace with. And, the course I took recently also used time charts so it all fit together pretty well. However, I never changed my opinion that markets are easier to read on a tick chart. So today I tried them again.

Within 45 minutes of switching to the tick chart I had booked two successful trades for $500. It was so easy that I forgot my initial principle for the day of only trading those setups that were confirmed. So, bang, bang, I took three losses in a row and was now underwater for the day!

I sat back, remembered what my original plan was and decided to spend a bit more time trading WITH DISCIPLINE but on tick charts. I normally don't trade past 9:30 PT but I decided to skip the gym today and work on this method because I felt like I was onto something. So I had breakfast and then patiently watched the screen. By noon I placed two more trades on CL and one in YM, all profitable and ended up with a positive day. Since my trades were spread out so far today I am only including the charts for those last trades.

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I am still under water for the week due to my disastrous start on Monday, but I feel like I made good progress today. You never know if a change you make is a one-day-only thing so I will pursue this for awhile and see where it takes me. All in all a good day, not only because I was profitable but because I think I am continuing to learn and grow as a trader.

Happy Trading everyone!

Today's Results:
8 trades
5 winners: $970.00
3 losers: ($610.00)
Gross P/L $360.00

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  #16 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Short day, good day

Today is one of my short days, giving me only an hour to trade before going to work. I also put one trade on Globex during the Asian session last night. That was like watching paint dry! I think I can use Globex in the evening to perhaps add some small profits, but I won't have time every evening to do that and even when I do I'll be lucky to get in one trade. Last night I finally closed the trade after 32 minutes so I could go to bed and booked a whopping $20! I know the London session would be better for this but in my time zone that starts at midnight so I don't see that happening unless I have a bout of insomnia some night!

This morning I watched CL drop like a rock from the open but did not see any opportunity to enter. I wonder if other people here have a method of entering a run like that? In my trading method, if the run doesn't pause at least for a tiny pullback then I don't have an entry. I know you could just jump in after 4 or 5 bars and cross your fingers that it would continue but I'm hesitant to do that.

In any case, the run finally started pulling back and I tried twice to enter when I thought the pullback was done. Once I got stopped out for a small loss and once I scratched the trade for a small profit. Third time was a charm however and I caught the pullback, hit my first target for 10 ticks and then was stopped out on the second contract for 27 ticks, giving me a total of $370 for the trade.

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Here's something for the coulda/woulda/shoulda file: I have mentioned before that if the market is choppy I use a target for the second contract but in a trend I manually trail my stop. By the time this trade started running this morning I was just minutes away from having to go to work. So, instead of trailing my stop like I normally do, I tightened up on it as it ran and therefore was stopped out on a very small retracement. In this case the run continued and if I had not been pressed for time and used my normal method of trailing, my second contract would not have stopped out until 91 ticks which would have given me a total profit for both contracts of $1,010!! There will always be the ones that got away, right?

Results for the day:
4 trades
3 Winners: $430.00
1 Loser: ($40)
Gross P/L: $390

I am finally into profit for the week after my mind-boggling losses on Monday. Hopefully I will be able to extend that profit a bit more tomorrow.

Happy Trading everyone!

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  #17 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Sliced, Diced and Chopped!

Wow, good old Crude Oil (CL) chopped me up today.

I started last night and took a small 4 tick profit on the Asian session. Then this morning I took a trade on CL, it was real sluggish and I realized I had not moved my contract month ahead to September. Rookie mistake! I closed the trade for +2 ticks and moved my chart ahead. Then CL whipped me like an old mule!

I took three trades, took three losses and hit my Mandatory Session Stop Limit. Wow, that was fast! The first trade I managed to short at precisely the moment the market moved up. The next two trades the price did move in my favor but not enough to hit my first target, then reversed and hit my stops.

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I need to be more aggressive with my stops when the trade is obviously turning against me. I do okay if my first target is hit and then I have to move my second stop, but I have a psychological hangup on moving my stops with both contracts in the red. However, the type of trades I am trying to take should move fairly quickly in my favor or not at all. I need to toughen up a bit mentally and be prepared to move my stops immediately even risking stopping out of a trade for a loss that ultimately moves in my favor. I can always get back in the trade if it looks right.

That lesson and also making sure that my setups are absolutely confirmed before entering are the two things I will carry into next week. I got a little down on myself after Monday's losses, but I recovered from that and even after today's losses I don't feel quite as bad. The market today seemed choppy and maybe what I do need to do is learn to recognize when the market is like that and just stay out of it. Lessons, lessons, lessons; always a learning experience!

This is the end of my 5th week back on live trading and despite the losing week I am still profitable after 5 weeks. However, I can't have very many weeks like this and still stay in the black. This weekend will be spent studying the charts from this week, doing a bit of reading in my current trading book (The Art & Science of Technical Analysis) and preparing for next week. Oh yeah, there will also be a barbecue, beer, rum & cokes and some laughter -- I do have a life other than trading!


Results for the day:
5 Trades
2 Winners: $60 (Globex and CL in wrong month!)
3 Losers: ($620)
Gross P/L: ($560)

Results for the weeK;
30 Trades
15 Winners: $2,230.00
15 Losers: ($2,520.00)
Gross P/L: ($290)

I hope everyone else's week was, unlike mine, in the black and that you have a spectacular weekend!

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  #18 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Monday morning going down

Okay, no charts and only a brief note today.

Over the weekend I added some Keltner channels to my charts which, after switching back to tick charts last week, I should have known was too many changes in too short of a time.

Then, I was up half the night with a sick spouse and knew when I staggered in to turn on my computer this morning that I had no business trading today. But I did anyway. So, took 4 trades, hit Mandatory Session Stop Limit and was done in about an hour! The Keltner channels cluttered things up for me and, combined with a lack of sleep, just created confusion.

Now I'm going to get some sleep, get rid of the Keltner channels and maybe even go back to my original time-based charts. That, at least, was my baseline and I can start again from there.

1. Don't make too many changes at one time because you can't tell which change was good and which was bad.
2. Don't trade when you are not mentally sharp, whether due to sickness, lack of sleep or some emotional garbage you may be dealing with. Trading requires a sharp, uncluttered mind.

Happy trading, everyone!

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  #19 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Back to basics

After taking substantial losses on Friday and Monday, I had to sit down have a little "come to Jesus" meeting with myself. I went back to basics, took everything off my screen except for my 20SMA, removed all indicators except the MACD which I use as a visual reference for momentum and the ATR which I used to alert me if conditions are too volatile to trade. These are the things I have been successful with and, even if I have a bad day, I don't need to be adding things to my charts. Down deep, there is always that hope for the "holy grail", but we all know it doesn't really exist.

I'm still exploring the Asian session for overnight opportunities. Last night I worked with Gold (GC) and it appears to have just about as much or more volume and action as the JY (Yen) or ES that I have been experimenting with. I did take a small loss on GC but I chalk that up to still learning my overnight system. I use a bit different chart setup which is more like a scalping setup than my standard daytime chart.

Today was one of my short days where I have just one hour to trade before I go to work. This morning I was determined to only take trades that were in my wheelhouse and confirmed. I've mentioned before that the only Opening Range trade I normally will attempt is when there is an obvious imbalance just prior to the opening. This morning at 0559 CL moved quickly above the range it had been in for a few hours. Often price will over-react to that sort of imbalance during the open so I went short at 0600. Price hit both of my targets for +30 ticks. A nice start.

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Oil couldn't seem to present me with additional opportunities in the short time that I had so I took a look at YM after the open there. I took a good, solid pullback but then the price stalled a bit and started backing up. I have gotten gun-shy about this type of situation where the price backs up and I don't move my stops, ending up often with a maximum loss on the trade. This morning I began tightening my stops in an effort to lessen what appeared to be an impending loss. My stops were hit for a 12 tick loss, and then the price moved away in my original direction! Just another lesson that when the trade is solid, I need to hang in there, accept the risk I have already established and wait for the move to start. It's tough to make that call, but now that I am moving back to basics and only taking trades that meet every criteria I have, then I should have about a 70% chance of the trade working out.

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Anyway, I felt a bit better today working with my simple charts and making informed choices. Dang it is a long haul to learn this business but I still find it fascinating and potentially very rewarding.

Today's results:
3 Trades (including Globex last night)
1 Winner: $300
2 Losers: ($160)
Gr P/L $140

Hope everyone had great trades and a good day!

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  #20 (permalink)
Seattle WA/USA
 
Trading Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TradeStation
Broker/Data: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: CL, YM, ES
 
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Posts: 97 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 130 given, 245 received

Hump Day


This was an interesting day although, unfortunately, not a winning day. It was interesting because I quit when I planned to even though I was under water for the day. It was interesting because rather than just recording my trades as I often do, I reviewed each and every setup and entry and was able to find an error on every losing trade. Even on one of my winning trades I found that I made an error on the entry that would have made it an even better trade than it was.

I have always "sort of" reviewed my trades, but seldom done a tick by tick analysis of the trades to see what fits my strategy and where I wandered away from it. I don't know why I haven't been this nit-picky before, but I sure did see things in a different light.

There were no astounding revelations, I don't mean that. But I could see where I had rushed my entry by a bar on a pullback, or not allowed an extra bar of confirmation on a break out failure. It's so easy, especially when monitoring two time frames, to "see" an entry on the lower time frame that has not been confirmed on the upper time frame. By examining exactly where I erred and what would have happened had I adhered to my strategy, I hope that I can gradually etch the strategy into my brain so that, in the heat of the moment, I will adhere to my rules.

So, strange as it sounds, even though I lost money today I feel very good about the overall results of the day's activities and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Day's results:
8 trades
3 winners: $790
5 losers: ($925)
Gross P/L ($135)

Happy trading everyone!

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