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Jtradr Journal
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Jtradr Journal

  #1 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader
Posts: 26 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 16 given, 27 received

Jtradr Journal

I'm not sure how often I'll update this but there are occasions I would like to hold myself accountable and so I'm going to try to do that here and hope it helps.

First off I am very new to trading @ < 6 months. I trade equity futures and I absolutely love it, it feels right and I am grateful to have the opportunity to trade without needing it as income. Therefore my goal is 100% capital appreciation.

I am drawn down nearly 8% at the moment it is the lowest I have been. I have been drawn down for a long time and it wears on me. Since December I have been clawing my way back but occasionally I am making mistakes that if I didn't I would be much closer to even. There isn't any point in sugar coating any of this, if I am going to lie on the internet about my trading results then I might as well hang it up.

First, I turned on my screens to see a setup coming... I waited and put in a limit buy at my entry and it was missed by a single tick. I thought about getting in a little higher but held off because it violates my entry rule. Sure enough the market traded just about straight up.

Second, I wanted to short the open but earnings were coming shortly and I held off because I had no edge on the release. It would have been a nice trade since the market dropped pretty swiftly. Nothing I can do about that.

Then the unforgivable sin, on the pullback I took a long trade that was so arbitrary I couldn't believe I even did it. I do not do that often, in fact, next to never. The order was immediately filled and stopped out. In fact, I went back and saw that my stop was the last order on the bar. I was the low. Stupid.

I don't have to tell you that 10 minutes later I got a legitimate entry and took it. I got stopped out. The market will punish our mistakes won't she?

Shortly after I got another and took it, it was a solid trade. I had a PT that would have ended me up on the day if just barely. I wrestled with a BE stop with economic release coming out. I decided to move to BE because I had no way of predicting the number and I had 8 ticks of cushion. It was a decent number but I was stopped out anyway and up the market went and would have filled my PT which was +24 ticks.....

I don't often violate my entry rules, it is one of my strengths, I don't trade in the middle of ranges but when I did today it put me behind and made me frustrated.

So today I did not trade well and I get an 'F' for the day.

A little about me:

Weaknesses: Not pulling the trigger, managing profitable trades, not trusting myself (not thinking in terms of risk:reward).

Strengths: Stop discipline. Risk discipline. Complete market neutrality (no long or short bias). And (current example notwithstanding) patience. I can stare at a price chart for 2 or 3 hours waiting for a setup without needing to trade. Almost no indicators... I am not a "messy chart" guy.

Do any long term successful traders have any comments on my strengths and weaknesses? How they look from the outside?

P.S. I had to go back but since I have taken trading seriously and treated it like a job I have taken 3 trades out of my trading plan out of hundreds of trades. Sadly, back when I started trading I treated it like sitting at a roulette table ( I thought I was serious but I was not). Those days set me back quite a bit.

Last edited by jtradr; February 11th, 2011 at 01:51 PM.
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  #2 (permalink)
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  #3 (permalink)
Big game hunter
Trading Experience: Advanced
Platform: Esignal, MBT navigator
Favorite Futures: Currencies
Posts: 2,526 since Jun 2009
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Long term protifable (me) - not quite , but short term yes I am . Not pulling the trigger means you wont get paid so pull the trigger no matter what . For me the same problem plagued me because I would always see the holes in my plan/regime after I got in and then the next chance to get in I balked and hesitated . For example I would get in and then the exit plan wasnt clear and I would bobble the trade . No matter what you do dont get in unless you have made a step by step plan for any actions involved with your trading from starting your computer to looking at charts to finding a setup to defining the risk to finding the exit to recording the trade . Then when you have a step by step by step plan take it to the market and execute it mechanically like a robot focussing just on your plan and do it religiously until you have executed enough trades you feel comfy laying down real $$s . Then after you lay down real loot a few other skeletons are going to jump out of the trading closet - conquer them the same way , mechanically playing out your plan word for word . The weakness lies in the trader not a well oiled plan and if you dont plan for everything the little wekness' will wipe you out . Think like how they plan a space shuttle flight , a tiny little pinhole in the fuselage becomes a major catastrophe at 10000 mph so if you account for anything that may occur youre prepared when the time comes and everything else will take care of itself .

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  #4 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader
Posts: 26 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 16 given, 27 received

A mixed week despite an up week.

This week I did not make my target of taking 12 points out of the market. I took a whopping 4.5 but given a choice I'll take earning 4.5 rather than giving 4.5 back.

What I did wrong:

I had a fair week headed into Thursday afternoon but I had a winning streak going and I felt compelled to keep it flowing in my favor. I took some afternoon trades which I almost never do and it cost me. I went down almost immediately. Then battled to scratch. I had a single tick in my pocket and I should have walked away but I made a fatal counter trend call which reminded me of my old self and sure enough I took a full stop for it. This put me down, I tried one more trade to try and even out and took another stop. I then quit for the day down 4.5 points. This was a terrible failure on my part because I would have ended the week +9.25. Learn Learn Learn.

I am sick this week and I tried to trade through it which may have been a mistake. I made a couple of points today (Friday) but I missed the greater trend terribly and executed my trading plan nothing short of miserably. I am glad to have ended the day positive but I absolutely can not let these trending days get away from me. I will cut myself 10% slack for being sick but in the end the trade today was a sell and then go to bed and wake up richer. Very disappointed to waste this day.

What I did RIGHT:

Monday morning I began trading with a positive attitude and well prepared. My first trade went well and took my target out. I was feeling a good day coming on when the madness started. My girlfriend wasn't working which is almost always a disaster as she was in one ear and the phone ringing off the hook on the other. The old me would have tried to trade through that but I took my 1.75 points and just turned the damn computer off. Could I have caught another trade? Could be but it would have been done under the worst conditions and knowing myself once I get behind I have a hard time letting go. I took the winner and I feel good about that decision.

Tuesday I was up and gave some back. The old me would have tried to get my money back and probably scratched on the day. I am slowly learning that sometimes you just take your money when you have it. Sometimes you need to press harder when you are up and sometimes you need to cash in some chips.

Wednesday was a solid morning, I went up early and didn't feel the need to press at all. It was the right move.


I am still hesitating on occasion. It is happening less but I still am not fluid. I try to enter on limits and a stutter step is enough sometimes to let the trade get away from me. I am better but I am not where I need to be. Also, there was no excuse for Wednesday afternoon, I turned what would have been a 75 basis point week into a 40 basis point week and that isn't good.

I am chiefly pleased with my effort to stay with the trend although that completely fell apart on Friday. The old top-picker still rears his ugly head once in a while but certainly vastly less often.

Good Luck folks.

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  #5 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader
Posts: 26 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 16 given, 27 received

It's a few posts in but here is a little about the way I trade.

First off my goal is 100% capital appreciation. I do not "need" the money in my trading account (I think you know what I mean).
Second my risk per trade is excessively low at the moment. The reason for this is I consider my absolute top priority risk management and my second priority consistency. I have not reached a goal of consistency and therefore I do not believe that more risk is wise or even potentially profitable. My consistency goal is 3 months 50% accuracy with a 1:2 risk reward ratio or better. My weekly goal at the moment is +1% capital.

My risk per trade is .3% yes you read that properly, .3% Depending on the entry I am looking at it can be as low as .2% per trade. Why? Please refer to my goals... I will not raise my risk until I am consistent, mechanical, and profitable. If I am not trading the way I know I need to to beat the incredible odds against me why would I take more risk?

I trade real money... always. I think sim trading is an awesome tool for people... just not me. I have tried it and it is just not what I need to learn. I need the pressure I need the risk I need to feel the pain and the joy... it's the way my mind works. Sim trading is not compatible with my personality.

I trade with the trend almost always and I trade MA crossovers at highs and lows of the current day when I feel there is opportunity.

75% of my trading is done at extremes of the day or the last 2 days. I detest trading in slow markets in the middle of day or even 1/2 day ranges. I truly believe that a stop is not a stop is not a stop. If you risk 2 points your likelihood of being stopped out is very very dependent on where in that day range your 2 point stop is. If you are selling dead in the middle of a 5 point range with no MA's no trend lines and no current open high low between your entry and your stop you are not adequately protected in my opinion. If you miss a trade, so be it, there will be another. Entering late to the game so your stop is up past the pivot or the pull back means you are at the risk of having your stop run.

I use CurrentOHL, PreviousOHLC, EMA 55 and WVMA 55 MA's on range charts. That's it.

And now the terrible sin: I believe in fundamentals. Fundamentals move the markets, technicals allow you to enter and exit.

I have a lot to learn and I think I always will.

Good luck everyone! Be calm, swift and decisive.

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  #6 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader
Posts: 26 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 16 given, 27 received

Another fairly tough week.

First things first I did not meet my goal of taking 12 points out of the market. I did take 8.5 points which was slightly better than my 4.25 (misprint above) of last week. The problem was I had a scratch day with 10 trades!! The commissions killed me this week as I over traded badly that day trying to eek out a gain.

What I did wrong:

I over traded on Tuesday trying to keep a winner going. Twice in the week I had a trade on that I cut short only to have it run on me and it would have been a nice week had I taken even half those moves. In fact, I need to recognize that those one or two trades are always going to make my week and as such I need to be sensitive to letting my trades run longer. Yes, I did hesitate several times and skip some trades so that old habit is proving very very hard to break but I did trade a little better and I hope that trend continues. It is up to me to make is continue. I need to get more mechanical in my trading.

My big dig on myself this week was my unwillingness to try and catch break ups and break downs. There were several times this week when the market traded sideways in what I call a stutter step or stuttering pattern when the bars are full (no wicks or tails) and they are just a tick above and below the previous. I'm sure there is another name for that. Then the price would take a swift break down and I would just freeze and miss some very nice moves. Even missing a 1.5 point scalp hurts when you miss 3 of them in a week!

Friday sucked, horrible jobs report for trading equities. Couldn't get anything going, couldn't get in the groove. Ended the day with 3 ticks which screwed my whole week up. I really wanted 10 ticks for a solid end to the week but I couldn't get focused with the price action. Big let down. I let myself get shaken and fearful.

What I did RIGHT:

Well, I traded more... which was a double edged sword with my one overtraded day. Overall though I entered more and with more decisiveness which was good and encouraging. Definitely not having a losing day (in ticks not net of commissions) was a nice thing. I was upset with myself for skipping trades and cutting trades early and not having a better week but in retrospect it was another winner and I am clawing my way to my 3 profitable months which since screwing up my January sets me back to needing to stay in the black until the end of April (December was good and January was horrible). I am doing a better job of not letting a single day blow out my week. I am thinking of trading more as a grind which intellectually know but when I am trading I have been guilty of dialing down to the point of losing the bigger picture. I am keeping my prospective better. I stayed focused a little better meaning that I didn't let the outside world break my concentration which I am guilty of. I still have work to do.

Thursday morning I had a great short I took that was a pattern I have skipped soooo many times. I went short and got stopped a second later and I immediately recognized I was just early and the short was solid so I took it again and had a nice trade. I was very proud of myself for that trade.


I need to get my trend lines drawn earlier and more often. I need to zoom out and get the bigger picture more frequently when the market slows down. I need to keep checking my correlated markets like DAX and oil and Euro, Yen, 10 and 30 year to get an idea if something is brewing that could predicate a move. I have been a little buried in my 4 range chart and I don't like that.

2 profitable (if barely) weeks is good but I know that I can kill those weeks easily if I lose my focus and discipline. It also puts pressure on me to keep it going. Monday is post Super Bowl so I will be foggy but it will be an important day. It will be important to make a quality first trade next week. No throwing money away.

Good luck folks!

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  #7 (permalink)
Trading Apprentice
Trading Experience: Beginner
Platform: NinjaTrader
Posts: 26 since Dec 2010
Thanks: 16 given, 27 received

Wow what a tough week. I seem like a broken record at this point but my mistakes made mistakes this week. Where to start?

Monday was a disaster, drew serious heat from the GF who wasn't working. That seems to a reoccurring theme as well but Monday it killed me. There is a thread on this site somewhere about family support and everyone on there for the most part seems well supported. Well I'm on the other team. I'm getting killed over here

Tuesday I could get nothing going and over traded. Lucky to get out scratch. Wednesday was good, Thursday and Today were horrible. Over all out of the week with 6 points on a lot of trades. No where near my goal.

What I did wrong:

This one is easy since I did it ALL WEEK LONG. I cut all but 1 winning trade off early, I skipped trades, I tightened stops and profit targets. This week was a massive regression to old habits. In fact, I am damned lucky to get out plus for the week, if the market noticed me screwing around in the corner there I'm sure she would have taken a nice hunk of capital from me. I always knew I would regress at some point and need to regroup but I am very discouraged with the amount of fear I displayed this week. I had three just AWESOME entries and I cut them all short at the first sign of resistance and once again they would have made my week. I know I am close to a break through here but damn.... not this week.

What I did RIGHT:

Good God, I don't even feel like writing this section. I read the market fairly decently. I am noticing patterns a little better (for all the good it did me). The one thing I guess I will give myself is that I am identifying entries better. I also remain a closet optimist since if I could get everything firing at once I think I could put a good run together here. I am very much looking forward to next week to redeem myself and I like it when I am excited to trade. The other thing is I managed by some miracle to stay positive this week so the streak is at three weeks and running. 9 more to go before I move to phase two.


Well this week can be summed with this phrase: Fear Begets Missed Opportunity.
Missed opportunities in trading means you are getting paid which makes the entire exercise a little tough to go through. This weekend I will be spending some time dealing with my head as it is not cooperating here.

Good luck folks.

Last edited by jtradr; February 11th, 2011 at 01:50 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #8 (permalink)
Site Administrator
Manta, Ecuador
Trading Experience: Advanced
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Favorite Futures: E-mini ES S&P 500
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Posts: 46,939 since Jun 2009
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Here is the thread:

I would suggest involving your girlfriend in your trading some, so she can understand why you are away in your office so much, etc. You could print out say 5 charts, and ask her to pick "up or down" and tell her to draw a line at target and stop. Then you could tell her the result the next day. Just something simple like that. Then she can maybe appreciate it isn't as easy as she thinks. Unless, of course, she picks all 5 correctly That is still fine, she can start trading her own account


Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.

Need help?
1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first.
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4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance.
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