Keep Calm and Don't Move Your Stops.....

A little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning!

The Purpose of Life is Joy!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

I'm back, sort of

Its been almost two months since my last post. I had been winning non stop and I started to feel invincible and then I started losing and I couldn't stop. I drew down quite a bit and did not know why. In real time, the trades looked awesome but in hindsight, I was WTF!!

So I took some time off, came back a week or so later, did some market review, then did some sim trading for a week or so and then I started trading again last week.

Its been slow but good. I am being really picky with the trades and taking conservative exits.

I have been watching Sandy's videos and also this other guy on youtube that trades forex and the explanations between him and Sandy are quite different BUT the overall trade locations are nearly identical with similar results.

I began incorporating more of both of these this week with noticeable results. My second week back and I am up 2% on after having recovered all the losses last week.

Some of the speed at which I recovered losses was using Sandy's method of adding to winning trades. When I was losing, I was losing with small size and when I started winning again, I was winning with larger size. It was nice to see the losses be regained so quickly.

This week I am trading with single lots again. I didnt want to fall back into the trap of feeling like I was invincible so just taking it slow. Funny thing is, I am making way more money trading like this than I was before.

This is a four hour chart with the support/resistance gained and lost marked on it. Yesterday I was long about 40 ticks from the top blue line and took it off near the first untested resistance level inside the green sideways zone. It went a bit further but in all honesty, that was my biggest trade ever.

This was today's trade, much smaller but executed with near perfection. I figured the top of the near term channel would be taken out so I exited just a tick or two below that level and that is where it stopped at least for now. That was around 45-46 ticks I think with only one lot but I am very satisfied with that today. 

I've started using Trading View for charting as I like it very much and connects to my broker easily. I still execute on the broker platform but the drawing tools and visualization are much better on Trading View. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Nickels and dimes

Picking up nickels and dimes are better than nothing. No time to sit around and wait for the trend short and I got a decent counter trend scalp out of it today.

A new equity high for me today. This is new territory for me. I have been in the digging out phase for so long it became natural for me but now, I sometimes think about how high can I go and I get nervous with that kind of thinking.

I see how my own hubris as well as other traders I follow sometimes experience violent draw down when they start winning and thinking they are invincible. I know I am not but after many new equity highs in a short period, that kind of stupidity sets in.

I like very much how Sandy trades for a few weeks and then takes a few weeks off. It prevents in part, a long period of thinking you are the superman of trading.

This year, I think I will trade until early December and then take a month off and come back early January. That is two months from now and seems like a reasonable target. If things go off track before then, I will stop trading for the year.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

One and done

Perfect day, probably left a lot more on the table but done inside the first 5 minutes with very nice 30 tick spike in my direction.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

flip flop

Yesterday was a full stop out day. Got trapped in the noise with very poor emotional and technical control.

Today was slightly better. Long with poor read went my way 10is ticks then stopped at BE and by then I was looking short so just flipped to short and got roughly 30 ticks.

Not really happy with the intial read though I supposed better late than never. I'm still not convinced we are in an overall short scenario on the higher time frames. Its an inflection point and it might take days to resolve so for the next few days I will be trading very gingerly if at all until I resolve in my mind the correct higher time direction. Either that our just scalp for a few ticks here and there on the very short time frames.

Time will tell.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Piss Poor Performance

So I'm home for lunch and took at look at my earlier ideas in light of how things played out.

As you can see, it didn't work so well today. Some poor reads AFTER my original idea to get filled around 55.60 failed and went down without me.

I tried to be long back to that level and that worked but again without me after a BE stop out.

Then later on, it tagged those areas and reversed down per my original idea but of course I was long gone and had not left an order in.

Overall, a reasonably good read on both the shorts and the longs but ended the day down 1 stop out after trying to be short in the noise before the cash open.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Another early day

Once again another day done early.

This trade set up on the 5M chart and the daily. My original premise was all this support lost and a gap fill trade. I was right on both but executed rather poorly on the gap fill piece of it.

I got the trade on and figured I had plenty of time to get figure out exactly where I wanted my targets but the darn thing went so fast that I barely  had time to adjust my preset target a bit before it just kept  pushing down.

Then the price just stopped mid air for no reason and started putting in what looked like a potential V bottom and I got nervous and bailed out, just as price just collapsed from 55.40 all the way down to my original target of 55.00. I left another 40 ticks on the table. Had I walked away today would have been an outlier for me. Oh well. Time for the weekend.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Out Early

On the days I trade, I like it when I am done really early and today is a perfect example of this.

While the set up wasn't the best in my opinion, the conditions for a trade were all met. Because I was getting in pretty late after the short leg had started, I was very aggressive in moving to BE once it got started in my direction as I think there was a 50/50 chance of reversal long before continuing a short.

But it worked out pretty quick and I got 30+ ticks in just a few minutes. I know there is more but I only need one trade a day like this and I am a happy camper.

I should add that this trade was found on the 30M chart but executed on the 610 tick time frame.

Weather is great here, time for coffee and meditation here in my man cave with the roll up door up and the crickets signing.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Right but still wrong

Did a stupid thing today.

Couldn't sleep last night, something I ate because my stomach made all sorts of unpleasent sounds all night long. After watching about 20-30 you tube videos, I decided to see what the market was doing.

I was long and tried to sleep while it was in progress but ended up not sleeping at all so got up to see it had went in my favor and then scratched out. I had a break even stop on it so I could sleep peacefully.

Then I finally got to sleep around 3:15ish and got up at 6AM. Made some coffee and decided to see what else I could find.

Turns out a nice trade area but I was so sleep deprived I should not have been making money decisions in that state. It worked but it was still the wrong thing to do.

Another thing that happened today was fear. I have been making new equity highs all week and I know it has been happening but this morning, I started thinking about it and I started to fear I would lose. I was able to suppress that fear and still trade well but that was a fear I have not felt in a long time.

I have decided to take a few days off and let the success this week settle in and let me get over new equity highs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sill short

Still a long way to go to close the gap from Monday but I think it might take a few more days and therefore I take my 30-40 ticks and be done for the day.

Today was pretty easy. Just sell the untested level, make sure my exit point is within reason and my bail out point isnt to far away just in case and go.

I was watching on all time frames but it was most obvious on the 1M chart which is where I took the trade and then monitored it on the 5M chart. It didnt need much monitoring as it went straight down from my entry point. That is the way I like a trade to work, quick and easy.

The weather is finally turning nice here and I am sitting outside trading on my iPad and drinking a lovely cup of coffee. Time for some meditation and then off to the "real" job!


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Short bias

I'm still short biased, so took one with the smallest risk I could find and it paid almost instantly. I think it has room to run a bit but there is significant support in the 61.58 area. Its where the gap open occurred and price has been there twice already so until that breaks, shorts for guys like me need to exit before that level and today, I choose what I call an inside swing level on the 5M chart to exit.  Good for 40ish ticks.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Discretion today.

Got up, saw a nice short opportunity, got in, was up 15-20 ticks then saw the $10 gap up, knew I was on the wrong side and bailed out with 10-15 ticks and walked away. I figured it might be pretty volatile today but in all honesty, it was just buy and hold but I was on the wrong side of that and I knew I wasn’t gonna shake the sell side bias.

Tiny money today but better than fighting a trend all day.!

Friday, September 13, 2019

One and done

Yesterday, 3 and out. Today, 1 and done.

I couldnt see bigger targets but 30 ticks is enough for me. Should have added but entry point was further along in the trend on the shorter time frames than I liked for added risk so left it alone.

I traded every day this week, one loser day and 4 winning days. A new equity high for me I think and going into the weekend on a high note. Roll over next week so probably wont trade that day at all. Maybe not at all until the volume is clearly higher on the new contract.

Time to go. The weather is beautiful here in sunny AZ so time to enjoy it. Its been a super humid summer which we are not used to so having the dry cool mornings right now is such a wonderful thing. I'm back to trading outside again with my laptop and my iPad. I have to say its my favorite way to trade!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

3 and out

Twice at the first level and once at the second one. All stops....and I ran out of time and ideas.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Another quick hit

I like shorts and I cannot lie!

Seriously, it does seem like I am better to the short side but my intention is to just follow the momentum based on how price is moving. Thats what I did today. 

I realize that many times I am short and the overall trend is up but I trade smaller time frames and I am ok with being counter trend as long as my time frame is short. Other times I recognize the over all trend is long and I am long. Those are the moments when I want to be large and hold longer if possible. Slowly starting to realize the difference. Sheesh.

I think price will end up in the 57.30 area today but I am done for the day. Lots to do.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Quick hit

I wanted to be long today but couldn't really build a case. Turns out there was one but I couldn't see it. But there was a case for a short off a daily high double top after a long run up and that felt good to me even though it is counter trend on the higher time frames.

In these situations, best to be quick and both in and out.

A quick 30 tick hit short and flip long for another 10 or so ticks and time to hit the showers and get ready for the "real" job.

Short in the red, out at the green. Back in at the green because by now I had a clearer picture of where the longs were but no real longer term exit in mind. Only in it for ten as it was just a scalp. There was more of course, but I couldn't see it and it was at the open as well.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

No stops

Well after all this time, I finally decided to stop using stops.....or at least a tight one. Things work so much better if you allow the trade room to breath. To be fair, I still have a disaster stop but its so big it feels like no stop.

Its only been a few days and I'm a bit jumpy with it and that bit me in the ass today but overall it is very freeing.

Lets see how it plays out going forward.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Time flies

I've been having fun these last two and half months. Trading off and on, mostly off though as my day starts early and ends late most of the time. In general I have about 30-45 minutes to legitimate trading time in the morning which in all honesty, isn't really enough although I have gotten lucky a few times first thing in the morning.

Lately I've been toying with the idea of switching to forex swing trading. Smaller positions, hold a hell of a lot longer using daily and weekly charts, adding to the winners as they progress and trading CL in the morning only when a perfect set up happens which maybe once a week in my allotted trading hours and try to do that trade with near max size assuming risk allows.

I have a few days off at the end of the month and I will turn my attention to the forex thing and really consider it then.

On a side note about the "real" job, I am in the process of remaking an entire mortgage division in my image. I have great staff thats had no leadership in the last 3-4 years and they are excited to have someone with actual mortgage leadership skills at the helm and I am excited to be there with them. I have having fun at work which is more than most people can say!

Anyways, I will be back in a month or so with an update about forex and maybe some ideas about trading that instrument.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Change In Direction

Just when you think things are pretty well dialed in, things change. I have been working at a large national bank for the last two years and I thought I might retire from there in a few years but about three weeks ago, an opportunity presented itself to make a change.

I quit my job at the large bank and took a much better position at a small local financial institution making better money. It's a job I would do for free if I didn't need to feed my family!

I get to fix something that is broken and create something out of nothing. I love building and creating and I get to do this on someone else's dime!

So I have been focused on ramping up for this new opportunity and while I have traded off and on since then, it has been maybe only once or twice a week for the last three weeks. I haven't really had time for much. But I suspect this is getting ready to shift back to normal this week so we will see how it goes.

This was my trade from today. Roughly 53-54 ticks before commissions. I had a trade yesterday with similar results but I forgot to take a picture of it and I didn't have time to post.

Time to pack it in for the day. Lots to do. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

That's better

An odd day, I thought we might a bit of a pull back after the overnight run up and I did position short but it was right into gained support. I took that trade off with a small loser but I should have just reversed the trade.

Instead I took the pull back and it was very uncomfortable so I added to it on purpose to try to force myself to be in the moment and that made it worse. So I closed the trade for a small loss with double size.

Then with a clear head once more, re-took the trade and went to wake my daughter up. When I got back, my target of 78 ticks was filled and I looked like a hero. I fully expected that to happen but just not so fast. I was prepared to wait all morning if needed to let price work itself to that level.

I had seen the gap on the daily chart, and we were not that far away so I elected to stretch a bit and see if I could put on the trade and hold it long enough to reach it.

Overall, well done other than not seeing the longs in the first place but credit is due for being able to switch bias quickly enough to take advantage of it.

The only real thing I regret is taking off the first long as it was completely valid just super uncomfortable.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Slave labor

Slaves work might work for free but at least they get room and board. I got neither today.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Head in ass day

I was having a little glitch in my platform, nothing major and I could have ignored it but I chose to try to fix it and then get tech support on the chat box whilst trading. Can you say DUMB ASS!!

The chart tells the tale. No need to make it worse by continuing.

I'm not sure why I am posting everyday. From once a month for nearly two years to every day? Hmmmm. Perhaps its the need to think out loud. Who knows. Oh well, I am learning to go with the flow and if the flow says to write, then I will write.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Not killing it but not losing either

Just closing the gap between mental and emotional sloppiness and disciplined thinking. That is all I want to do right now. The big dollars will come.

Inventory day but I elected to try to be strategic about it and be patient and I was for the most part.

The pics tell the story but in the end, I got around 20 ticks total. The last trade was the one I was waiting for and yet all the waiting must have gotten to me. I took the trade, closed it, took it again and then bailed too soon. It did exactly what I thought it would do. Emotional capital expended fighting the urge to be stupid. It was better today for sure but still difficult.

The first chart is 30M and it made me a bit nervous to be trading either direction but I did take a short as noted on the second chart, a 5M chart. 10 ticks.

Third chart I had an order in that did not get filled but would have worked really well.

Last chart is the trade I really wanted. I had a long bias the entire morning and it set up nearly exactly as I saw it happening in my mind. I just couldn't hold it long enough which seems silly but I think I over thought the entire morning and allowed fear to set in thinking I didn't really get it right.

Done for the day, not unhappy about the analysis part, still have a gap to close between the mental aspect and the emotional aspect of this game. Perhaps for the first time in my trading endeavor I recognize the disconnect between the two. I always thought if you get the mental piece right, the market knowledge and the technical skill right, that would fix the emotional aspect. That was wrong headed thinking for sure. I have talked about it before at length but the actual awareness of the disconnect was missing. I know its there now and I can face it head on.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Better still

Traded one lot today as it was chopping around and buyers kept coming in and I just didn't like that. I had a 2-3 break evens as I was pretty jumpy around the lack of conviction for the shorts but eventually it did break loose and I had a bit left in the tank and took a decent profit but left it well short of my ultimate target.

Lots of money left on the table today but the gap got closed a bit more.

EDIT: Price just printed my ultimate target. Just to poke me in the eye a little bit.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Better but not great

Today was emotionally trying.

I read things a lot better but execution lacked on the shorts. I think if I had left the shorts alone, by the time the longs I was expecting showed up, I would have been able to hold it better but I expended some emotional energy where it probably didn't need to be expended.

After the overnight trend up, I was expecting a pull back and a possible trading opportunity short which did present but I was trying to be very precise in my entry and I waited to long on both occasions and didn't get anything except a break even trade I won't dissect here.

The longs set up near perfect but instead of going all in and scale out like I discussed on Saturday, I decided to try to scale INTO the trade.

This worked very well but I was very uncomfortable with it for the reasons noted on Saturday but I forced myself to do it. I may or may not do this again. It was difficult emotionally.

I had a wide gap area on the 30M with 61.80 as the top of that gap. I was pretty sure that gap would be filled and that is where I set my targets for both positions.

However, as the open profit piled up and then it stalled at the bottom of that gap, I grew impatient and closed one position and held the other for the runner but honestly, my emotional capital was gone by then which I recognized and I closed the other one as well. This short supply of emotional capital is/was the result of 1. The long draw down period; 2. The very short time since the come to Jesus meeting and 3, expending capital unnecessarily on the shorts.

The short trades were/are a result of the some of the issues I came up with in the meeting with myself last week. FOMO, greed, impatience all reared their ugly head and instead of waiting for the long I knew was coming, I wanted it all. I suppose I could had it all as well but these were not calculated trades but rather emotional ones. Always a recipe for disaster. Thankfully I knew where I wanted to be long and kept that in focus and shifted to longs as that level approached. I became much more rational and thoughtful as that trade set up for the entries.....but still had an emotional exit.

As I type, its trading at 61.73 and has for a little bit so perhaps its done for now. Who knows. (EDIT, it just printed 61.81. Fifty four ticks from my original entry long.) There is resistance on the daily chart at 62.20 and I think we might make it there today but I am done.

I executed pretty well on the long, piss poor on the shorts and while nicely profitable today I know I could have done way better. I'm not angry or disappointed, I know its but another step away from the abyss I found myself at middle of last week.

At this point in the journey, all I am interested in is daily closing the gap between where I was and where I want to be and I did that today.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Some eye opening shit

I haven't really kept stats on specific setups in a long time.

One of the things I decided to do after my come to Jesus meeting was keep some stats and see if certain setup or ideas were serving me.

I had to go back a couple of weeks and re-create these things of course but here is what I found.

Exactly 1, Uno, One, and I mean ONE set up accounted for nearly all my gains. The others were at best break even. In all honesty, the other ideas were really losers and I got lucky on a couple. I guessed right and one was a larger winner. Throw out those marginal (ok losing ideas) and suddenly even with the mental sloppiness of the last few weeks, I am profitable.

This is the issue though. Mental sloppiness and emotional overconfidence says I can make a winner out of anything and that is the real reason for the stupid ass trading over the last few weeks. I have always known those setups were marginal and for the most part avoided them but I can see very clearly now how impatience, greed, FOMO and general stupidity leads you to think over time you can make them work.

With stats clearly demonstrating the complete opposite, perhaps its time to do as Andrew Carnegie once said "if you want to be rich, focus on one thing".

The other thing I discovered was that even with really good timing, trading small and scalping doesn't really work. It works to help get your head straight but to make money you really have to let things run a bit, even with limited time available to trade, I can afford to let a winner run. However, my emotional weakness is I need to ring the cash register quickly and I hate watching open profits reverse on a pull back and so Thursday and Friday I began scaling out of a position instead of trying to scalp only or scale into a position and it has helped my PnL quite a bit. I know its not optimal mathematically but if it provides a crutch emotionally and that leads to larger profits overall, then I am good with it. Just have to keep the losers smaller than the winners and its all good. During those same 2-3 weeks using just the one set up idea, letting the winner run with a trail stop at major swings would provided more than double the all in all out scalping thing I have been doing. I have the math to prove it.

So going into next week, I will begin trading 2 lots again. One off early to "get paid" and provide the mental crutch and the other to actually make money. Its much easier for me to let it run if I made something on the trade early on. Crazy stupid I know but that's how I am wired.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Growth Is It's Own Reward

When you look inside deeply, you see things a rational person would deny was there. But looking in the mirror honestly causes growth. And that is its own reward.

Today's chart is a reflection of some incremental growth.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's the Damnedest thing

It's this game we play. We walk a knife's edge between confidence and arrogance. One will make you rich and the other will humble your account and your ego. The difference between the two can be measured in nano meters and it takes a force of will to maintain the correct side of this double edge sword.

You can't be successful in this trading game without having supreme confidence, but the second it slips into arrogance, which incidentally can seem like confidence if you are good at lying to yourself, you will get hammered.

A few weeks ago, I was explaining to a friend how "easy" my trading had become. I showed him a set up that happened that day on my phone and how perfect it was. He was suitably impressed and I felt the internal meter tick over from confidence to arrogance. I left that encounter feeling pretty pleased with myself and my ability. It was pure arrogant bragging, it cannot be described any other way.

The next day started a losing streak that in all truth isn't really over. Yes I have had nice winning days but the losing streak started then and the consistent winning has not returned.

So I took myself to Starbucks with my journal yesterday afternoon and had a come to Jesus meeting with myself. You know this kind of meeting. Its where your boss calls you into the office and chews your ass for something you did and tells you if you don't get your shit together, he's gonna send you off to meet Jesus in the afterlife. That kind of meeting.

I hate writing with pen and paper but that is where I think the best and where I have the best break through's personally. So I committed to just sit there and think through it. And I did. So far 4 pages of stuff all related to emotional and mental sloppiness. This time though, I didn't just stop at what was wrong but how could I approach the issues in a rational and methodical way to either overcome the obstacle or figure out a work around.

I also committed to actually write each one out. Normally I take all kinds of short cuts when writing with pen and paper. My handwriting is not great and gets worse over time as I write. But this time I forced myself to write with purpose and to slow down and write in a way that I could actually read my own handwriting years later.

The process was cathartic and I may in the next few weeks detail some of what I discovered about myself (again, its the same old shit) but also the tactical ways I could work through them or around them.

On Sunday evening, I took a look at the daily chart and decided Monday would be a good day to be long. I could not shake the bias for longs and it just chopped around. Big losing day. Yesterday, I had the same bias. Be long and it was a huge long trend day right up until the moment I opened my charts and for the entire time I had available for trading it was short but I was long. Yesterday was a disaster day. Two in a row. This is what finally prompted the come to Jesus meeting. Two big losers in a row after 2-3 weeks of inconsistent results.

Today is a different story. I got up late and used one of the processes I wrote down to decided if I wanted to trade and in what direction, I normally don't trade prior to inventory but the set up looked pretty good so I took it and it worked perfectly. One and done today. My smallest size due to the recent inconsistency and I will stay small for at least a few more days but today felt different, like I was much more in control of my mental and emotional state. It feels more like the way I felt before the bragging event.

Chart tells the tale.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

Finished early so time to post

Sometimes the stars line up perfect!

I took the trade off way to early but my trade idea worked perfect so no second guessing.

Its a small picture because I only took a snap of the larger time frames to show the set up. The smaller time frame is not as clear hence the reason it took me two tries to get it right. The first trade was a 3-4 loser because I wasn't sure but once the second opportunity came around, I knew it was good to go.

The exit was due to two things, I saw the inside pivot which price stops at a lot AND there was an enormous buy order at .88 on the DOM. Something like 450 lots right there long before price every got there so I front ran that level by two ticks.

Friday, March 8, 2019

An interesting day

A day for posterity for sure. Run away trends are frustrating if you are not in them....which was the case today. Still it turned out ok.

I did the recording with Jing instead of Snagit to force me to keep it under 5 minutes!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Back to Trading

It took me a bit longer to get back to trading for real. I just didn’t feel like hitting it hard in January. A bunch of stuff happened late December at work that really got me into a negative mind set and trading in that frame of mind only leads to losses. I did trade a few days in January but my heart wasn’t in it and I felt like I needed a longer break so I just let it be until today.

I also made some slight adjustments to targets and stops. Stops are wider now and targets are based on time frame. I trade two charts, the 5M and the 1M depending on how the chart looks in relation to the other. Smaller targets on the 1M and larger targets on the 5M.

My aim is to make money and stop. I don’t care about win rate, I don’t care about huge winners,I don’t care about looking smart or clever, I don’t care about nailing the bottom or the top, I don’t care about if I am technically correct or if my levels are the best or not. All I care about is being in line with market movement and taking some home for me every day.

To that end, my only consideration is this; am I in line with the market momentum and if so, where can  I get in to minimize my risk and give myself the best opportunity to capture some sort of reasonable profit before the next level of support or resistance stops the movement in my direction.

That’s it. I have no other criteria beyond looking for specific bar formations to help me acknowledge I am on the right side of the market momentum.

Platitudes, cliches and the well worn trading euphimisms all have their place but I'm pretty tired of them. As it turns out the only thing that matters is risk and not being greedy. Control both and you have a pretty decent shot at being profitable.

One of the days that I did trade in January, I let a huge winner turn into a loser because I was greedy and wanted it to go even further but it turned back on me and took out my stop. That was the day I quit trading and really looked inside at what my motivations were, and once identified, what I needed to do to in order to satisfy those motivations.

Turns out my motivation was all wrong. I said I just wanted to make money but what I really wanted was to be a rock star trader. Once I figured out that what I said and what I meant were two differen things, thats when I got serious about what I really wanted. And that prompted me to where I am today in my emotions and thinking.

Today, I dont give a crap about all that other stuff, I just want to make some money every day or at least most days and just let the rest go. I can do that by just being patient and letting the market handle it.

Today, I was in and out, made my money for the day and now I am done. I think I will post a bit more often but not every day. I like writing and I like writing about trading so might as well.