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shodson's Trading Journal

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  #151 (permalink)
 shodson 
OC, California, USA
 
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1/15 - I woke up kind of late and didn't get logged on until 10min after the open, but it was OK as MTG recommended not fading the gap. I didn't have time to analyze why or perhaps set up another plan, so I just blindly stayed away as recommended. And again it was the right call as the market opened lower and never looked up.

At this point I would usually NOT trade because I said I don't have any other setups that I have as much confidence in as I do MTG. The moderator took an extreme low $TICK reversal trade, which I've done in the past, and so I followed along with 1 car since we were below the Globex lows. Targeted 2pts, SL at -2pts. I later increased SL to -3pts as I remember that these readings don't always mark the end of a move, rather, the beginning of the end, and it might have some more down work to do. Anyways, took a full 3pt loss. MTG admits he's not as good of a day trader and only trades 1/10th the amount of contracts he does on gap fades.

I got around to updating my trading log for the year and published it on Google Docs for all to laugh at. All of my non-MTG trades lost money, and all of my MTG trades made money. Plus I missed 2 days of MTG winners, as previously documented, which would have made me even more money. Happily, I got bigger with my MTG trades than with my other trades as my confidence in my other systems are not as strong. I want to do more trend-trading, taking with-trend entries, substantiated by multiple time-frames in my discretionary trades and am working on that as well.

ES: 1 loser: -12 ticks

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  #152 (permalink)
 shodson 
OC, California, USA
 
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1/18 & 1/19 - Monday was a holiday, light volume so I decided to not trade.

Gap fading today was not good, gap was small and indexes were too mixed up.

For those that have asked me how well MTG performs you can look at their new blog posts, reviewing their equity since 2007 and an analysis of their 2009 trades. In short, he had about a 67% win rate with a profit factor of 1.4 for the year. It doesn't consider the fact that not all gap trades are taken with the same position size however.

" My Gap Trading Since the Markets Peaked in October, 2007"

" Analysis of My 2009 Gap Trades"

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  #153 (permalink)
 shodson 
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1/20 - Wow, got run over by a truck today fading the gap. I almost didn't want to trade this at all since the market condition numbers in the ES weren't that great but MTG went for it so I did as well, but I reduced my risk just trading 1 contract. The numbers were better in the YM so I went in there as well. Still, the curse of the bullish engulfing pattern when fading gaps kicked in with a vengeance and I got stopped out on both pretty quick (explained in the last third of yesterday's gap wrap video).

ES: 1 loser: -20 ticks
YM: 1 loser: -50 ticks

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  #154 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Hi Scott,

Just wanted to pop in and say "thanks!", good job on the posts and journal, and keep it up.

Has your trading improved as a result of this thread? My hope is yes, and I'm always trying to encourage others to start similar threads so they too can benefit. Thanks for being an inspiration to them.

Have you changed anything in your method as a result of this thread?

Have you learned more about your strengths and weaknesses, and applied some sort of plan or effort towards putting them in play as a result of this thread?

Mike

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  #155 (permalink)
 shodson 
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Big Mike View Post
Has your trading improved as a result of this thread? My hope is yes, and I'm always trying to encourage others to start similar threads so they too can benefit. Thanks for being an inspiration to them.

Have you changed anything in your method as a result of this thread?

Have you learned more about your strengths and weaknesses, and applied some sort of plan or effort towards putting them in play as a result of this thread?

Your questions are very timely Mike. I'm hosting my OC Traders Meetup tonight and that is in-line with the topic of tonight's Meetup: what did you learn in 2009 and what do you plan to do better in 2010. So you're forcing me to think through it before we meet up tonight.

I believe the journal has improved my trading, and I always encourage others to do it. Knowing that I better have a good reason why I entered a trade because I'm going to have to explain myself to my fellow traders has been helpful. But I think more importantly, the feedback I get from other traders regarding my trades or my strategies has been valuable.

One thing I've changed or at least realized is that I only want to trade high-probability setups. Or better said, highly-profitable setups (setups with low win rates can still be highly-profitable). Of course, that sounds obvious, but if I don't know the odds or probabilities of success, then I'm just gambling, and I don't think many traders know the odds of success or what to expect from their trades, they are just following some chart pattern or hoping for some support/resistance line to hold.

I think my discipline, patience and ability to stick with a plan is pretty good. In fact, once I enter a trade, and my ATM/DOM has the MM defined, I often walk away and let the computer take over. Why sit there and watch it go up and down and stress yourself over it? Plus, I'd rather get some other things done.

I think where I want to improve is in finding high probability setups. Right now my main setups are fading gaps, as guided by MTG's probabilities. Also, I use statistics a lot in my IRA with my options trading (option selling, gamma-scalping, etc), which I will start journaling here as well soon. I'd like a system that trades more frequently, or trades larger time frames (swing) or something that keeps me in the market longer because I feel like when I'm not in the market for days and I see big moves made in markets that I missed that time is ticking away and I'm just missing out. Yet, I don't want to trade just for trading's sake, so I sit aside. Plus, I don't trade full-time so I need something that doesn't require me to sit in front of a trading screen all day. So I've coded many strategies and indicators, and sometimes they work great but then they don't. With the recent addition of lots of historical data I'm encouraged now that I can test my strats over larger periods of time to see if they have some long-term statistical edge. I also often examine 3rd party trading systems, knowing that most of them are junk, but looking to see if any of them can also give me an edge.

I'm somewhat discouraged now that my account is smaller (due to previously mentioned withdrawals) as I need to trade much smaller and my earnings potential is much smaller now that it's almost not worth my time. Yet I love trading because I learn something new every day, even if I'm not trading or I am but with small amounts, I still come out the other end a better trader.

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  #156 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Nicely done, Scott.

And don't allow your account size to work against you. By measuring everything in percentages, it really doesn't matter much. You've got to give yourself time to slowly build things up.

You can blow up a building in a few seconds with enough dynamite, but it takes months or years to build one from scratch.

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  #157 (permalink)
 shodson 
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1/21 - Gap odds looked good in ES and NQ and 3 of the 4 indexes were lined up in the same zone, but MTG didn't fade the gap because the gap in the ES was less than 1pt. While the setup for NQ looked the best, bullish sentiment on the Oracle news had the NASDAQ leading in the early morning so I was stopped out on my short gap fill, only to watch it turn around. Since I usually don't trade NQ I only traded 1 contract. Meanwhile, ES followed the same path up and down, but I wasn't stopped out so I hit my winning target on that one.

When gaps are small I go for the extended target. When the gap fill numbers are good enough (usually 70+% win rate, >= 1.2 profit factor) I take the extended target win rate and divide them by the gap fill win rate and if that's also above 70% then I just target the extended target.

I enjoyed last night's Meetup. Met some guys that day trade stocks, and one just moved out here from NYC to set up a trading arcade and has been day trading stocks right out of college (5 yrs ago), seems to know how to read the tape really well.

ES: 1 winner: 2 @ 12 ticks
NQ: 1 loser: -50 ticks

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  #158 (permalink)
 shodson 
OC, California, USA
 
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1/22 - no trades, mixed up zones across indexes, probabilities not that great, stayed away. It did fill in < 10 mins pretty quickly for a nice 11tick gain though.

NO TRADES

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  #159 (permalink)
 shodson 
OC, California, USA
 
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1/25 - Took a winning gap trade. MTG targeted 1pt in front of gap fill, but I mechanically went for complete gap fill. While MTG hit their target much sooner, I walked away and went to work and left my ATM on the manage the trade and it hit my target 1hr 45 minutes into the day for a 6.75pt winner.

I only traded 1 car because the market condition probabilities weren't as strong as I would have liked them to be, the the other numbers supported my entry.

ES: 1 winner: +27 ticks

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  #160 (permalink)
 shodson 
OC, California, USA
 
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Posts: 1,971 since Jun 2009
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1/26 - No good gap trade opportunity or viable setup, stayed away.

NO TRADES

Got some new books: High Probability Trading Strategies by Robert C. Miner and Trading Options at Expiration by one of my favorite authors on options, Jeff Augen.

Also, I'm going to be putting in a lot of research into open-range breakout scenarios and strategies to trade on days where there isn't a good gap fade setup. I've seen time and time again where the market makes it's daily high in the first hour or so and defining and playing the breakout can be profitable. The challenge is what start and end times to use to define your range, what stop and targets to shoot for, and when to filter out setups that are less likely to succeed. So far I've been looking at the first 15mins after the open, and targeting 50% and 100% of the range, with stops at 50% of the range (the range midpoint).

While doing some research I came across this NeoTicker blog that has downloadable NeoTicker systems that, according to the author, are profitable. Could be worth looking at...

Trading Systems That Work - NeoTicker Blog

I was also revisiting the RSqueeze indicator. I used to try to use it to trade when coming out of squeeze, and on fast time frames (5min or so) but I always seemed to enter at the end of the move. I think the better way to use it, and my understanding as to how John Carter uses his TTMSqueeze, is that once you get a 5th squeeze signal, those 5 bars define your range, then you play a breakout of that range, target 1x and 2x the range, with a stop at the other end of the range, where you could reverse. I just eyeballed this on forex using 30 and 60 min time frames and it seems to work well, but it could be due to just "happy eyes" which I've experienced many times. That is, I see a strategy that works when I eyeball it on a chart, but once I define the precise rules in code, it never works as well. The eyes do deceive!

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