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Eric's CL Day Trading Journal

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  #1 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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Hi Guys.

First I want to say I'm thankful this group is here. I've been lurking for a while. I'm all about camaraderie and love. I think being connected with other people who love trading is awesome.

I'm just getting started with trying to day trade CL. But I've been doing stock market stuff for about 4 years.

I spent the last 2 years developing automated trading systems for ES. I'm running a live portfolio of swing strategies that consist of a number of different long and short strategies.

I put everything I've got into those, so much time and effort, and they're in the midst of an enormous drawdown. It could wipe me out. They're designed to be high-risk aggressive trades, but this is definitely tough on me.

It's been a great learning experience though. At this point, I am done trying to adapt those ES automated strategies. I've done so much statistical analysis on them. The 20 years of back testing either gives me an edge or it doesn't, and I'm not going to tinker with it at this point. Maybe in another half year I'll re-visit the idea of editing the strategies if my account hasn't blown up.

In the meantime, I've been trying to find other things to do in the stock market. I love this stuff. I wake up every morning excited about the market. It's like a game to me.

I want to day trade and I have really enjoyed trying to trade CL (all on SIM for the day trading right now). Right now I'm using price action and a "feel" for the volume/momentum as my sole basis for making trades. I have a vwap line on the screen too. I trade off a 1-min chart and keep a daily chart open.

The big problem for me is that my mind has really been geared toward rules/automation, so every time I try to do an intraday trade I feel like I am going in blind because I don't know what the historical stats show about the probabilities of the trade outcome.

I think I might be different than most people learning to day trade because I already am very good at following trading rules and managing my emotions. I practice mindfulness regularly.

So my big challenge at the moment might just be finding trade setups that have edge on a 1-min CL chart. I'm probably going to run some form of back tests I guess just in order to get a starting point on some setups with some basic edge, but ultimately I'd love to develop an instinct for market and momentum conditions.

I'll journal stuff here. I plan to be pretty real and vulnerable and just put it out there with how it's going for me.

I'd really love to hear any feedback, tips, or questions from you guys.

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  #3 (permalink)
 jokertrader 
NYC, NY
 
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Could you please elaborate on what platform/automation language you are familiar with? CL is great and many times nasty - so question will be how much of order flow automaton can you do for outright directional day trading?


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 LastDino 
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eferggbd View Post
Hi Guys.

First I want to say I'm thankful this group is here. I've been lurking for a while. I'm all about camaraderie and love. I think being connected with other people who love trading is awesome.

I'm just getting started with trying to day trade CL. But I've been doing stock market stuff for about 4 years.

I spent the last 2 years developing automated trading systems for ES. I'm running a live portfolio of swing strategies that consist of a number of different long and short strategies.

I put everything I've got into those, so much time and effort, and they're in the midst of an enormous drawdown. It could wipe me out. They're designed to be high-risk aggressive trades, but this is definitely tough on me.

It's been a great learning experience though. At this point, I am done trying to adapt those ES automated strategies. I've done so much statistical analysis on them. The 20 years of back testing either gives me an edge or it doesn't, and I'm not going to tinker with it at this point. Maybe in another half year I'll re-visit the idea of editing the strategies if my account hasn't blown up.

In the meantime, I've been trying to find other things to do in the stock market. I love this stuff. I wake up every morning excited about the market. It's like a game to me.

I want to day trade and I have really enjoyed trying to trade CL (all on SIM for the day trading right now). Right now I'm using price action and a "feel" for the volume/momentum as my sole basis for making trades. I have a vwap line on the screen too. I trade off a 1-min chart and keep a daily chart open.

The big problem for me is that my mind has really been geared toward rules/automation, so every time I try to do an intraday trade I feel like I am going in blind because I don't know what the historical stats show about the probabilities of the trade outcome.

I think I might be different than most people learning to day trade because I already am very good at following trading rules and managing my emotions. I practice mindfulness regularly.

So my big challenge at the moment might just be finding trade setups that have edge on a 1-min CL chart. I'm probably going to run some form of back tests I guess just in order to get a starting point on some setups with some basic edge, but ultimately I'd love to develop an instinct for market and momentum conditions.

I'll journal stuff here. I plan to be pretty real and vulnerable and just put it out there with how it's going for me.

I'd really love to hear any feedback, tips, or questions from you guys.

Good job on starting a journal, will follow it!

Now just adding my penny but you can get your manual trading strategy components tested for "probabilities", even if you have to do it individually for each component do it, then run different simulations of those components with each other, then work on eliminating on what you don't need by trading them on sim for extended periods.

As you have already found out, manual trading is little different from automation as psychology plays in here, so to just comfort yourself better have those stats on back of your mind.

I must also add one famous quote here; "Past success does not guarantee future success", this applies to trading a great deal. So don't always look at the stats, you might find something horribly improbable working better for you in manual trading than on auto. Because here you are the main component of your strategy, not anything else.


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  #5 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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LastDino View Post
Good job on starting a journal, will follow it!

Now just adding my penny but you can get your manual trading strategy components tested for "probabilities", even if you have to do it individually for each component do it, then run different simulations of those components with each other, then work on eliminating on what you don't need by trading them on sim for extended periods.

As you have already found out, manual trading is little different from automation as psychology plays in here, so to just comfort yourself better have those stats on back of your mind.

I must also add one famous quote here; "Past success does not guarantee future success", this applies to trading a great deal. So don't always look at the stats, you might find something horribly improbable working better for you in manual trading than on auto. Because here you are the main component of your strategy, not anything else.


Thanks for the input LastDino!

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  #6 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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jokertrader View Post
Could you please elaborate on what platform/automation language you are familiar with? CL is great and many times nasty - so question will be how much of order flow automaton can you do for outright directional day trading?


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I have been using TradeStation for all my back testing. I've only back tested the ES thus far though, and 95% of it has been on daily charts. I haven't incorporated order flow into any of my tests, just price action type of stuff.

So day trading is like a whole new world to me. I'm used to daily charts and slow-moving plays and patience.

I'm training my eye to look at order flow and all that. Haven't even thought about how to back test order flow yet. It's a whole new exciting world for me to learn and explore.

I started using Ninja about a month ago because the prices are so much better. I am planning to do all my trades manually for day trading, but if I end up doing automation I might set up the strategy in Tradestation and have someone convert it to Ninja for me (I don't know Java).

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  #7 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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I traded from 6am PST to 8am PST (9am EST to 11am EST). From this last couple months of watching CL, it seems like that's the hot zone. I also trade from 11am PST to 1130am PST since there's juice during that time.

Today in the morning session (all on SIM right now for day trading) I lost $506. I traded 2 contracts per entry (mainly so that I can have one contract that locks in a short target profit and one for a longer target profit). As far as ticks, I lost 18 ticks per contract.

I did 23 total trades during that two hours. I was kind of flying all over the place. It was really fun! But also felt inconsistent and not systematic and like it might have all just been tomfoolery.

In general I was just looking for trends and trying to make entries that supported the trend. I always try to have a level of s/r between my entry and stoploss.

In my mind one key problem is that I am not consistent with the setups I look for (since I don't know yet which setups have a proven edge). So I'm trying really tight stoplosses in some situations and in others I'm putting two swing levels between my entry and stoploss. And sometimes I just go for a 5-tick scalp and other times I go for the 30-tick victory.

So I feel unsettled because it's like I'm in here blind and inconsistent. I truly believe that I'm the type of guy who could handle the emotion of trading a system that only wins 20% of the time but has a nice positive expectancy, but since I'm not sure that any given strategy I've tried actually has edge, I end up having a lot of doubt. I know there will be plenty of losing days even with good strategies, but were my losses today due to poor strategies? I really have no idea.

I'm trying to trust the process though, and trust that if I keep accumulating screen time that it'll start to become more clear to me where high-probability opportunities lie.

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  #8 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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In the 11-1130 PST session I made 5.5 ticks per contract of profit, about $100 net.

I played the bounce off a prior swing high at 57.33. I entered at 57.31 with a stoploss at 57.36. Got one tick away from my stoploss then went down.

Was hoping there might be more juice in this one from an end-of-day volume push.



Once it hit 1130, I wanted to try to get 10 ticks out of it but it started going in reverse, so I locked it in, and then it proceeded to immediately go to my original 10-tick target.

That's what I mean about wishing I had clear day trading rules in place already. If I honor my rules, I have little problem missing extra ticks. I've trained my mind for it. But since I don't have rules, I end up questioning everything I'm doing. We'll see how this all unfolds.

Tuesday final result: -400

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  #9 (permalink)
 Rcap 
Frankfurt Germany
 
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Nice to see that you started your journal. Good luck for you!!

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  #10 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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Well I got annihilated today. Lost $1172. That's a whopping 54 ticks per contract!

I use 2 contracts per trade, so that I can have one lock in a short gain and one lock in a long gain (which ideally smooths out results). Well for the first 6 trades, I didn't get a single win! Not even on one contract...

I've been going with just gut on these day trades, based on the look and feel of the chart, always using s/r to protect my stoploss. So I haven't been looking for specific setups. I just look at the chart and if it "speaks" to me and says "this is a long", then I go long and set up a stoploss below nearest s/r.

It certainly feels like I'm spinning my wheels. I need setups that have edge, and it seems very inefficient to try to find those setups by just discretionarily trading each day. One good day or one bad day mean virtually nothing, so I'd have find something and do it over and over to see if it really works over time and yet that could prove to be a huge waste if I go down the wrong rabbit hole.

So I might start doing some back testing again to try to find some basic setups I can use, and then fine-tune them over time. In the past I've had trouble finding anything with edge on short term charts through back testing though.

Not sure how this is all going to unfold. I'm going to keep sim trading each day on CL though regardless with the hope that I'll get a better feel and train my eye. Over time I hope to have specific setups I use though.



That's my trades for the day. If anyone wants to give critical feedback, I'd love it. When I look back at it now, I think I probably need to stay out of the way of the open. Also, I obviously went short repeatedly on that really strong opening drive, but that thing just kept drilling through layer after layer of resistance. Didn't seem probable that it would do that and I got diced up. Would love to hear from anyone who feels they have input.

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 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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Yesterday I was reviewing what some others on the forum were saying, like @PandaWarrior, about risk control being a real key to success. He mentioned that Top Step Trader's risk tolerance rules were good to use as an idea of how little risk we want to be extending.

I spent time thinking about what it means to me to be risk-protective. And I came up with these concepts:

1) I still like the idea of 2 contracts at a time so that I can use one contract to lock in profits soon but still have a chance to make a healthy profit. I think that's actually something that helps with risk, because if I was only going for big shots, I'd have a higher probability of stacking up lots of losses in a row, which makes top step trader rules hard to achieve.

2) I think that moving my stoploss up to zero quickly is something that mitigates risk. It will definitely cause me to miss out on some winners, but it also lessens my losers for sure.

3) I might use one of the contracts to lock in profit at a point that's equivalent to my stoploss (ie if my stoploss is 6 ticks, then i put a profit target at 6 ticks). That way the trade gets to breakeven quickly. I'm not sure that this really would have a positive expectancy for that one contract though, so I'm not sure if this one makes sense. But it's an option.

4) Do less trades. Be very selective about my entries. Only the golden opportunities should be traded.

5) When I enter a trade, I should look at the "other" side to think of what they're seeing. If I am considering going long for example, but I see that I could just as easily be going short right there, then that's not a play worth doing. It has to be no major reason for the opposite side to be making an entry (or a weak reason).

6) Don't trade the open, close, or oil inventory too volatile.

Overall: lean heavily toward risk protection instead of FOMO. I believe I'll eventually be capable of that if I can prove to myself that it has a positive expectancy.

So I decided that today, I was going to try being really safe using these ideas.

And I did wait for the open to get through before I started trading, first time in a long time! And price went up, and then it had a pullback and the pullback looked absolutely perfect (57.35) and I got long. It started to go my way and then immediately failed. I'm ok with that though because it looked like a great setup.

And after that trade I immediately,without realizing, went back into my gunslinger mode haha.

The fomo is real for me! I actually didn't realize how badly I had it until this experience today. It's largely fomo, but also an urge to find setups that I'm good at executing and making money on.

I ended up at -500 for the day. Had a couple of good trades that looked like obvious opportunities, and they did win. That was great. I also took some questionable trades. I definitely didn't consistently use my risk-protection approach outlined above.

It's true that I don't know which setups will ultimately work for me. But I think if I take the approach of risk management outlined above then it might give me better odds of success and maybe just as important is it also might help me really narrow down the absolute best opportunities.

I think it's still a long road in front of me. But this seems like a good baseline framework to use while I explore. Risk control, risk control.

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 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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I walked away +$50 today. Unbelievable!! I didn't lose!!

I was way tighter with my risk today. I took myself out of what turned out to be some big plays because I was so eager to take risk off if it didn't immediately go right. I pulled myself out of one play at breakeven and it would have turned into a $400 winner, for example. Same thing on another $100 winner.

But the max I was down at any point was -200. I got up to +200 but then faded back down. Overall, I do feel like this is going in the right direction: risk control. I'll get better over time at figuring out that balance. I probably leaned a little too heavily toward risk control today.

I went into the day thinking 56.00 was a big level, and I actually saw the wedge forming going downward into 56.00 and I played that for my biggest win of the day.

It broke 56.00 down to 55.75, and man that chart formation right there is EXACTLY what I normally look for on a trend reversal. A really strong spike in one direction, then a failed re-test that doesn't quite make it to the original low but gets close. From my couple months of looking at CL, it seems like that's a great pattern for a winning reversal. I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger on it. I had two separate times I came very close, finger on the trigger. I somehow went from total fomo mode to total risk aversion mode haha.

But even though I saw that reversal, I was still thinking "let's see this thing go back to 56.00 and I'm going to short it big time". Sure enough it got back there and I was ready to fire, but the price didn't bounce real hard off there. It kind of hovered for like a few minutes, so I didn't think that was a resounding "yes" to my theory being right. I was in risk control mode, so I didn't play it. That would have been a nice little hundred bucks.

Then when the price bottomed out at 55.85 and went back up, I have to admit my brain was pre-configured to still be thinking short. Exactly what everyone says not to do. But when the price broke up thru 56.00, I flipped the switch and realized this thing might be headed up. I was just a little bit too late. I put in a bid at 56.02 at 736am and it touched my price but didn't fill me. The price just took off without me. I really wish I had gotten long at 56.00 a couple minutes before when it poofed above a few ticks and came back down. It was set up for me to give it a shot but I just wasn't looking at it that way until like a minute too late. Always so funny when you look at the chart in hindsight: I was trying to save one tick and gave up so many...

Overall had a lot of fun trading today though. I think I'm probably still over-trading!
Excited to see where this risk control concept takes me though. Nice to not lose several hundred dollars for once...


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 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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This day ended up being like a replay of my first day when I started the trading journal.

Strong upward trend day, and I kept shorting at every major swing level on the way up.

The price hadn't gone all the way down to the end of the range, and i was looking at 50% pullback levels for the bigger short trend and got knocked back at every turn.

I lost $800 today. And this is supposed to be in my risk control approach. Part of my risk control approach is moving stoploss up to breakeven asap and setting a nearby profit exit for one contract. But I literally didn't have a single winner today.

Positives from today though:

1) I didn't trade the open. That matches my risk plan.

2) This is the least amount of trades I've done in a day in several weeks. So I'm getting better at being more selective and not exposing myself to as much risk.

Problem is the trades I'm selecting aren't winners. I'm not sure at this moment what exactly I need to change about my setups to give them better odds. I am watching futures.io webinars and trying to learn more, but I'm kind of fracturing my focus by doing that because it's a lot of different ideas. Like I saw a guy who recommended a volume-spike price reversal and I tried that today twice and both times it failed.

The main problem for me ultimately is I don't know which setups have edge, so I'm still experimenting basically.


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 rocksolid68 
Duluth MN
 
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Hi Eric

Couple of thoughts for you to ponder that have helped me:

Go to a larger time frame.

Don't pull your stop to break-even so quickly.

When trading multiple contracts on CL I don't pull my additional contracts to break even until I hit my first target which for me is 15 ticks.

CL needs room to breathe and I used to pull my trailers to break-even very quickly like you are doing. This really reduced my winners.

Experiment some in SIM with a larger time frame or even tick charts.

Good luck!

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 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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rocksolid68 View Post
Hi Eric

Couple of thoughts for you to ponder that have helped me:

Go to a larger time frame.

Don't pull your stop to break-even so quickly.

When trading multiple contracts on CL I don't pull my additional contracts to break even until I hit my first target which for me is 15 ticks.

CL needs room to breathe and I used to pull my trailers to break-even very quickly like you are doing. This really reduced my winners.

Experiment some in SIM with a larger time frame or even tick charts.

Good luck!

Thanks for the input @rocksolid68!

I keep seeing people talk about managing risk, and to me that means keeping losses tight and being selective about plays. But maybe I'm not interpreting it correctly.

May I ask how large your stoploss is typically for your CL trades? And do you have an other risk management mechanisms in place beyond what you've already described?

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 rocksolid68 
Duluth MN
 
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Initial stop loss for me is 7 - 10 ticks depending on my entry. For a long time I thought I could get it down to a 5 tick initial stop loss but found CL was a bit too erratic for me to achieve that tight of an entry.

I found that if you only trade 1 contract (whether in SIM or live) it will force you to refine your entries and you will learn how to hold on longer to winners.

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 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
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I haven't posted in several days. I'm still plugging away every day. I am trying to drastically reduce the number of trades I do, and focus solely on the really important levels.

I'm spending time taking Adam Grimes' free course and also watching webinars from futures.io. Continuing to try to soak it all in.

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  #18 (permalink)
 eferggbd 
Monterey, CA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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I'm really enjoying the Adam Grimes free course at Market Life. He seems to think like I think, where with any given trade setup idea there is a question of "yeah but how has this worked historically over many samples". The back test mentality.

I don't know yet where this will lead, but he does share some of his research in the course and I think maybe I'll be able to use that as a springboard to come up with some trading strategies.

I may not post here much for a while because I'm also keeping a journal in a Word doc where I document some private thoughts and I'm having trouble carving out the time to maintain both. If there is a point where I want to open my experience up for input or feedback, I will post here again. I'm really grateful to be part of this community.

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