Thur Mar 26 Trade Signals and Journal

20200326
Short 1 RTY 1134,0, -0.1
Short 1 RTY 1134.3, -0.1
Short 1 RTY 1135.1, -1.5
Short 1 RTY 1142.0, +10.2
Short 1 NQ 7632.0, -3.25
Short 1 NQ 7631.5, +28.50
Total NQ +25.25
Total RTY +8.5

So much different about today's early action than yesterday, although both began with an initial surge upward. ...and these 1st trend moves are nothing to sneeze at.. ....and please don't. The difference to our success were the clearly established Sell Entry Models in the initial surge, completely lacking in yesterday's early pop. The result, today provided a great set of profits as that surge reversed ("If it goes up fast, it seldom lasts", my mentor would always remind me....) Whereas yesterday, no such entries were revealed to short that initial launch, even though the RTY made an incredible 30 pt move straight upward. So, I was left with trying to buy the falling pullback in the 2nd trend, always a riskier endeavor, and got crushed like the witch beneath the falling house. Stay aafe...


Wed Mar 25 Trade Signal Summary

20200325
Long 1 NQ 7605.0, -0.25
Long 1 NQ 7600.0, -0.75
Long 1 NQ 7690.0, -2.25
Long 1 NQ 7691.0, -0.5
Long 1 NQ 7675.0, -0.0
Long 1 NQ 7668.0, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 7658.0, -0.5
Long 2 RTY 1085.5, 1085.5, -1.5, -1.5
Long 2 RTY 1080.0, 1080.0, -1.5, -1.5
Long 2 RTY 1078.0, 1078.0, -1.5, -1.5
Long 2 NQ 7470.0, 7470.0, +5.5, -0.5
Long 2 NQ 7455.0, 7455.0, +25.0, 18.0,
Short 1 ES 2433.0, 2431.0, -0.25, +2.0
Short 1 ES 2434.0, -2.25
Short 1 NQ 7484.0, -2.25
Short 1 YM 20848, -8
Short 1 NQ 7496.0, -2.25
Short 1 NQ 7502.0, +27.0
Total ES -0.5
Total YM -8
Total NQ +60.25
Total RTY -9.0

Tues Mar 24 Trade Signals and Journal

20200324
Long 1 YM 19620, -2
Long 1 YM 19580, -1
Long 1 NQ 7353.0, -2.25
Long 1 NQ 7350.0, -0.5
Long 1 NQ 7330.0, +19.75
Short 1 NQ 7394.0, -0.25
Short 1 NQ 7402.5, -0.5
Short 1 NQ 7410.0, -2.25
Short 1 NQ 7415.0, -2.5
Short 1 NQ 7415.5, -0.5
Short 1 NQ 7411.0, +12.25
Short 1 YM 19900, -1
Short 1 YM 19902, -2
Short 1 YM 19945, -8
Short 1 NQ 7450, -2.25
Short 1 NQ 7456.0, +31.75
Total YM -14
Total NQ +52.75

"What's the secret to catching those turns?", I'm often asked. The short answer: persistence. But unless the signals for such exhaustion moves were solidly in place for a Trade Entry Model from my daily Trade Plan, I would never tolerate such repeated stop-outs trying to establish these short runners. Your entry model must be solid in the first place, and be derived from multiple, disparate technical events arriving at the same time, or nearly at that the same time at the right corner of your video screen. I never look for price confirmation. Most trades depend on it. I find this to be a huge flaw in their thinking... Although it may be of use in positioning for swing trades with your underlying instrument being an equity or an index ETF, it can be severely counter-productive in the smaller frames of futures trading. Instead, I look for SIGNAL confirmation. ...and if that signal confirmation is there, I am willing to forego any number of stop-outs until the swing trend is truly in progress, and my profit meter is spinning its dial like a filling station pump on full throttle. These volatile, near-violent swing turns tend to sweep you into the chart patterns at breath-taking speeds these days. But the entries can be equally wicked to endure before hitting the right one. And if the action is in a stutter-step type mode, like it was today, then the sweep will often be just enough to warrant moving the stop-loss to near b/e quickly, and then tending to the re-entry process a bit deeper into the thrust. For these, I eyeball whole numbers and grid numbers in advance of their arrival, and try not to be too surprised that price eventually makes the grid element I thought unlikely only minutes before. "Expect the unexpected", said Heraclitus. Had he been a trader, he might have said, 'Bet on the unexpected', or even 'Don't bet until the unexpected finally rears its head'. Stay safe, stay home...

Mon Mar 23 No trades, away from the screen.

Fri Mar 20 Trade Signals and Journal

20200320
Long 1 NQ 7320.0, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 7311.5, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 7398.4, +40.0
Total NQ +33.5


Continued with a 0ne-and-done strategy, using the first available swing signal presented. The earlier the swings, the more volatile of late, and if the entry model remains valid through the fractal extension, tends to survive the successive stop-outs attempting to catch the reversal swing back through. Sticking to a 1-lot management for the most part as well, but did notice that while working the NQ somewhat painfully, the RTY offered a sweet gimmie entry into the same reversal whip.. Pretty hard to concentrate on more than 1 contract at a time these days... it comes fast, and goes even faster...

Have an appointment in the AM on Monday, so most likely will not be back in time to call the frame. Stay safe, stay home.

Thur Mar 19 Trade Signals and Journal

20200319
Long 1 ES 2336.0, -0.25
Long 1 ES 2333.0, -2.25
Long 1 NQ 7059.0, -0.75
Long 2 NQ 7045.0, 7045.0, -3.5, -3.5
Long 2 NQ 7029.0, 7029.0, -0.75, -0.75
Long 2 NQ 7020.0, 7020.0, -3.25, -3.25
Long 2 NQ 7015.0, 7015.0, -1.25, -1.25
Long 2 NQ 7014.0, 7014.0, +20.0, -0.75
Long 2 NQ 7015.0, 7015.0, +20.0, +27.75
Total ES -2.5
Total NQ +48.75

It's pretty rare that I'm able to book 50 points in the NQ for trading in the First Frame of the day... so I guess at least some feeling of elation would only be natural... but not today. Having struggled to find a position that would sweep up with against the First Trend Test-n-Reject reversal, I exited the 2nd contract at the first meager resistance it met for nearly net 50 pts for the pair, only to watch NQ price go up some 400 points in a near vertical take-off. ...and I also had the audacity before the session began to cue students into removing their targets that a bigger share of the excursions could be captured. This is why I remain a small trader... It's not lack of vision, but commitment to act on what's visible at hand.

Wed Mar 18 Trade Signal Summary

20200318
Long 1 ES 2374.25, -1.75
Long 1 ES 2372.0, -2.25
Long 1 YM 20046, +128
Short 1 ES 2439.0, +9.75
Total ES +5.75
Total YM +128

Tues Mar 17 Trade Signal Summary

20200317
Long 1 NQ 7053.5, -3.50
Long 1 NQ 7042.75, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 7039.5, 3.25
Long 1 NQ 7025.0, -1.75
Long 1 NQ 7026.75. +65.5
Total NQ +53.75

Mon Mar 16 Trade Signals and Journal

20200316
Short 1 ES 2457.0, +19.75
Total ES +19.75


There's an odd psychological profile exhibited by traders who naturally suffer from the antipathy of stop-outs. Sometimes this is revealed in the dangerous habit of pulling stops as the market approaches so as to avoid the pain.... no matter how great the sea of red that stacks up from doing so. Sometimes, especially in those who are well schooled in just what this sea of red is doing to their account, unattended, as it were, by a protective stop, move the stops up impossibly close. This pain, they figure, is more akin to ripping off a small band-aid than having your gall-bladder removed. Just so. But sometimes, and this is the odd part, this anxiety over being stopped out takes its action in moving THE TARGETS too close, instead of the stop. That's right. So afraid of missing out on the pure luck of finally having a successful entry, they dump their trade before it even has a chance to develop, less it does what their losing streak has been so consistently depicting, a poor entry model. And nowhere does this tendency show up more than in the extremely volatile markets. These traders see the market like a game of 'hot potato', with the object of getting it out of one's hands as fast as practicable. ....and nowhere is this a bigger waste of opportunity than precisely the place most likely to induce it, the high volatility markets.

Raise your targets on your ATM strategies. Then, raise them again. Then, raise them yet again.. And even that will probably fail to deliver what these incredible excursions are offering these days. I should know. For even with my targets substantially raised, I usually fail to capture even half what the average swing turn has to offer in the First Frame of trading each day in the stock index futures.

Fri Mar 13 Trade Signals and Journal

20200313
Long 1 ES 2546.0, -1.25
Long 1 ES 2543.0, -2.0
Long 1 ES 2540.0, -0.25
Long 1 NQ 7459.25, -2.75
Long 2 NQ 7458.25, 7459.75, +21.75, +40.25
Total ES -3.5
Total NQ +59.25

"When it goes up fast, it seldom lasts." My mentor in the early days had a gift for reducing the often dramatic and emotional into the simplest terms.... often making you feel completely stupid for having been duped by the most forceful of market actions. But today, that simplistic characterization cut a two-edged sword. The 'goes up fast' part can, of course apply in either direction. And a lock limit move up tends to mesmerize one's trend appraisal no less than does a lock limit down. "What in the world is the news?" you immediately ask. But it really doesn't matter. What matters is what, if anything, can you do with the market's position vis-a-vie the news. And as mouth watering a gap up was today's opening prices were, nothing in the ORB patterns allowed me to execute a Trade Plan approved short entry for the ride down.

But what about that ride down? If 'it goes down fast', wouldn't is just as likely be positioned to 'seldom last'? And just so did Trade Plan models appear in 3 of 4 contracts to fade the 1st trend extremes that occurred just less than 30 minutes after the opening. That's all that matters... not the news, the assessment of the news, the disappointment in the news, the additional information to the news nor any of the news about the news. If it's in your entry model criteria, take the trade. If not, wait til it is.

Thur Mar 12 Trade Signals and Journal

20200312
Long 1 ES 2549.5, -.5
Long 1 ES 2494.24, +19.75
Short 1 NQ 7571.25, -0.75
Short 1 NQ 7590.0, +42.5
Total ES +19.25
Total NQ +41.75

The sweeping swings of such incredible volatility do indeed offer tremendous opportunity... and if you pick your targets wisely, you can also get your stop-loss to break-even very quickly. The earlier in the frame you go, the cleaner the turns... but think how most small traders approach this just the opposite. They wait til 'things settle down', and get caught later in the frame in nothing but chop. Go early, go home. Stay safe, and away from crowds.

Note: contracts roll today, and the volume begins to shift to the new contract noticeably after the 1st hour. That's why we continue trading the retiring contract for the 1st frame, and roll for trades thereafter.

Wed Mar 11 Trade Signals and Journal

20200311
Short 1 RTY 1322.1, -1.5
Short 2 RTY 1325.9, 1325.9, +5.9, +13.9
Total RTY +18.3

Some might say that leaving so much opportunity on the table and walking away with a one-and-done type trading plan is a big waste... but volatility doesn't always work your way... and if the initial swings in the lower time frame of the post-opening action can be gauged with some accuracy using the combination of a fractal algo, a TrueTrend Momentum indicator and an exhaustion grid whose line plots offer considerable consistency, then a goal in hand early beats the stutter-step and whiplash that so often attends the signals appearing later in the frame. .... stay safe out there, and good trading to all.

Tues Mar 10 Trade Signal Summary

20200310
Long 1 NQ 8232.5, -2.25
Long 1 NQ 8231.0, -2.25
Long 2 NQ 8140.0, 8140.0, +10.0, +20.0
Long 1 YM 24447, -2
Long 1 YM 24440, -13
Long 1 YM 244410, -12
Long 1 RTY 1326.0, -0.5
Long 1 YM 24430, -2
Long 1 YM 24432, +50
Total YM +22
Total NQ +25.5
Total RTY -0.5

Mon Mar 9 Trade Signals and Journal

20200309
Short 1 NQ 8158.5, +20.0
Total NQ +20.0

This one-and-done tactic would have been far better served if I had stuck to my guns and entered the 1st NQ Serial Sequent trade offered by today's extreme gap action opening. ...but I balked.... Although annoyed by my decision, I waited patiently for the next. And although worth twice what I took for it, I decided to leave well enough alone, as the drama was very high, and very hard to ignore. And although proud to observe several RTY and YM signals that proved as equally rewarding for those venturing into them, was content to sit on hands and think about a nice cup of double espresso so soothe the head on an otherwise stormy morning weather day.

Fri Mar 6 Trade Signals and Journal

20200306
Long 1 NQ 8433.25, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 8430.0, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 8421.5, -0.25
Long 1 NQ 8420.0 +20.0
Long 1 ES 2931.0, -0.5
Long 1 YM 25304, +36
Long 1 NQ 8405.0, -1.5
Long 1 NQ 8389.0, -3.25
Long 2 NQ 8380, 8380.0, -0.5, -0.5
Long 1 NQ 8375.0, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 8370.0, -3.25
Long 1 NQ 8371.25, +20.0
Short 1 NQ 8335.25, -3.25
Short 1 NQ 8341.0, +20.0
Total ES -0.5
Total YM +36
Total NQ +37.75


Tolerating a series of stop-outs takes a bit of fortitude, and a considerable amount of confidence in your methodology. Using a fairly precise Trade Plan event models tell you little if anything of the impending volatility you are stepping into. All that is emotional context... and these days, that's running high.... to say the least. So if you're not willing to re enter the trade when the wave fractal your models calls for appears....but SWOONS on, then you might as well stay home and accept the schedule's 'game day week buy' the NFL allows for traders who otherwise might like to remain in fairly good health, awaiting days of more accommodating action.