Fri Dec 28 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Long 1 YM 12937 +14
Long 1 NQ 2610.5, +4.0
Total YM +14
Total NQ +4.0

Weekly Trade Summary 20121228-20121224
Total ES +3.0
Total YM +30
Total NQ +7.5
Total TF +0.6

For the past two days, early TF bull leadership failed and acted like a distraction and a decoy to the ensuing bear collapse. So when price broke again sharply again today, there was a tremendous temptation to go with it and short the YM inflection level breakdown, like I should have done with the NQ yesterday in order to catch that bear price collapse. But today, the only contract making that inflection breakdown was the YM, and as a rule in the trade plan, I do not follow YM solo impulse leadership, in either direction it might be attempting to lead. That rule saved me today, and kept me from shorting into the decline. Yesterday, no such rule was there to forbid me shorting as the NQ was doing the leadership role and the YM and ES were there to accompanying the decline. So jumping on board the break today would have only compounded the error I made yesterday by NOT jumping on board. Rules are there to follow. They are in a trade plan for a purpose. The point is not to go which way you think the market is trying to go, but go which way the setup model tells you to enter, regardless of your appraisal at that moment. Stick to the rules. And if you're stop'd out with a loss while following your rules, embrace your losses. Learn to love your losses if they come from following your rules.

Dec 27 Trades & Journal

Long 2 YM 13055, +7, -0
Long 1 TF 836.6, -0.3
Long 2 NQ 2626.0, 2626.0, +2.0, -1.5
Long 1 TF 835.1, -0.7
Long 1 TF 833.5, -0.4
Long 1 ES 1404.25, +3.0
Long 2 TF 831.5, 831.8, +0.7, +0.5
Long 1 TF 829.9, +1.2
Total ES +3.0
Total YM +7
Total NQ +0.5
Total TF +1.0

Trading with a bad cold is not advised. You'd think sitting in front of the video screen would not be a problem. But it's amazing how sharp your focus has to be in order to do a good job trading... even when you're trading with a plan. However, I must confess that the trade I missed today that would have captured the initial collapsing trend shortly after the opening was a trade I've missed on other days when I had no excuse whatsoever. The circumstances are worthy of note, because they remind us to trade the contracts separately as the signals occur, and be wary of ducking signals because a countering signal in another contract opposite to the prevailing trend may yet be not far off. As price rolled down today, the NQ hit an inflection point just after making a new LOD. I went long that trade with 2 units and exited one at +2 in order to pay for the trade, as my plan specifies. But at this juncture, the trade setup called for stop-and-reverse to short, should the low I was trading from fail. It did, and dramatically price was sent collapsing across the board in every contract, even though the new lows in the TF from this collapse offered a potential buy signal. By the time the TF quit falling, the NQ short position would have been fully paid for with the 2nd unit well on its way to some very nice profits. So what if the TF was working into buy territory, the NQ signal stood on its own. ....but I didn't take it, and was thus left out of that collapse as it quickly reached its first oversold level. Trade the plan, and take the signals where you see them, in any contract that is part of that plan. Stay focused and clear headed.

Dec 26 Trades

Long 1 TF 843.4, -0.4
Total TF -0.4

Mon Dec 24 Trades & Journal

Short 1 NQ 2656.0, +3.0
Short 1 YM 13099, -1
Short 1 YM 13101, +10
Total NQ +3.0
Total YM +9

Just want to wish all a Happy Hanakkuh and a Merry Christmas,
and continued opportunities for prosperity in the coming New Year.

Fri Dec 21 Trades, Summary & Journal

Short 1 TF 842.8, -0.8
Short 1 YM 13135, +15
Long 3 TF 840.6, 840.6, 840.7, +0.5, +1.8, -0.2
Short 1 NQ 2658.0 -1.5
Short 1 TF 845.5, -0.3
Short 1 YM 13158, +10
Long 1 YM 13130, -1
Long 1 YM 13117, -3
Long 2 YM 13117, 13116, +10, -2
Long 1 YM 13089, +10
Long 1 YM 13058, +20
Total NQ -1.5
Total YM +59
Total TF +1.0

Weekly Trade Summary 20121221-20121217
Total ES -0.0
Total YM +72
Total NQ +0.5
Total TF +8.7

The trade entry models in your plan should contain both a structure (wave pattern element) as well as a price level number element. Too many traders only use the latter, and have little more to go on than intuition that the number price is approaching will hold. Today, sticking with the plan meant using the YM contract, as signals from the TF contract did not come from price and structure intersections, but instead, appeared separately, accept for a nice pullback long play around 10:05am ET. Stay with the plan, and trade what's in front of you, not what you want it to be. Stay focused and disciplined. ...and have a good weekend....

Thurs Dec 20 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Short 2 TF 845.5, 845.3, -0.5, +0.5
Short 3 NQ 2690.5, 2691.5, 2691.75, +.25, +2.0, -0.25
Short 2 TF 848.1, 848.3, +0.5, +1.0
Long 1 TF 846.0, +1.5
Short 1 TF 848.6, +1.0
Total NQ +2.0
Total TF +4.0

Today's NQ short trade, at around 10:12am ET, deserves some examination, as the failure to capture the subsequent gains as price declined was not from a really poor entry price level, but handling of the stp-loss orders. The first unit was taken perhaps a bit early, and as the topping pattern developed, it was apparent that fill was at the bottom of that pause/reversal pattern. I exited that and re entered it just a bit higher, so as to still be working the plan with 2 units. The goal of our trading is to exit half the order at a minimum profit (+2, in the case of the NQ, +0.5 o/b in the TF), in order to 'pay' for the trade with a net break/even stp-loss on the remaining unit. In this case, we were able to exit that 'repositioned' 2nd unit at +2.0. And once out of the 1st unit, the stp-loss was moved to -2.0 for the remaining unit, which is the net b/e for the pair we seek. The next repositioning of that remaining stp-loss to about its own entry level should only come after the pattern has had a further break away from the pattern. Today, I moved that stp-loss on the last unit before that further break down occurred, and, as might have been expected, I got stp-out of it as the pattern continued to form, just prior to a more final breakdown that nearly took the NQ to a new Low-of-Day, and at least a decent 10pt profit. I was already at a net b/e for the pair, why move the stop on the remainder so soon when it violated a rule I have in my trade plan?

I can point to lots of little excuses that rule one's behavior at those moments. Loss of patience, avoidance of further frustration, reappraisal of the market's trend due to price action, assumptions as to where price was trying to go, etc. All or any of those were probably contributing. But that's what a trade plan is for. It's meant to supplant the 'thinking' and instead, create a guideline for behavior that lies outside of such market appraisals. Trade the plan. Be content that if the trade plan rules are valid, and you still get stop'd out, you traded the plan, and those same rules, if followed consistently, will produce far better results in the days ahead than outguessing their validity from trade to trade, from appraisal to appraisal.

Wed Dec 19 Trades & Journal

Long 2 TF 842.9, 843.1, +.5, -0.5
Long 2 YM 13281, 13280, +6, +10
Long 2 YM 13278, 13276, +4, -5
Short 1 TF 844.7, +0.8
Short 2 TF 845.5, 845.6, -0.3, +0.4
Long 1 TF 845.9, +1.4
Total YM +15
Total TF +2.3

Today, the signals at the early lows were not clear, and those that did come within plan parameters failed, except for modest results in a long YM position. The challenge later was to take the TF breakout after the lows were already well behind us, in the face almost no participation by the other contracts. However, the TF breakout trade was clearly in the trade plan, and it did net a minimum profit. In recent weeks, I would have talked myself out of that trade, but have to admit today I acted in a more disciplined way. Trade the plan, and if losses occur in the course of executing that plan, then learn to love your losses.

Tues Dec 18 No Trades. Vacation Day

Mon Dec 17 Trades & Journal

We make calls in the mini and E-mini index futures contracts in a real-time, text-only chat room. Go to the Home Page and click Free Chat Room for instructions.

Short 2 TF 826.0, 826.0, +1.0, -0.1
Short 1 YM 13141, -2
Short 2 TF 824.8, 824.9, -0.0, +0.5
Total YM -2
Total TF +1.4

It can affect you far more emotionally to miss trade entries than being stp'd out of the entries that you catch. A perfect trade setup today for an early short against the initial bull trend was signaled clearly by the Serial Sequent Wave Method. But that entry area came and went with one of those quick spikes that did not fill my entry order just two ticks or so higher. It then fell straight down 4 pts, and subsequent action failed to give clear buy signals to position long with for further bull action in neither the YM, the NQ or the TF contracts. But what about the ES? Why ignore the ES contract...? True it's clunkier and less volatile than the rest, and the huge volume often stands in front of getting a fill at target entry and exit numbers. But if it's in your trade plan, and no other signals are present in the other three contracts, you have failed your trade plan if you ignore them. And today, I did just that, failing to capture the 2nd wave of buying because I was so intent on finding a buy signal in the sharp pullback in the YM, NQ or TF instruments. Stay focused. You must see the potential signals BEFORE they arrive. I will add these lines to my trade plan to clarify my action items, and to add to the mantra of reciting the plan each day before the opening bell: "If no clear signal model is present in the preferred contracts YM, NQ and TF, be sure to check the ES. Trade the ES on valid signals, unless filling successfully in one of the others." This is a rule. Trade the rules and you are trading the plan.

Fri Dec 14 Trade Sums & Journal

Short 1 TF 822.0, -0.5
Short 1 NQ 2637.5, +4.0
Short 2 TF 822.9, 822.8, +0.8, +1.5
Long 2 NQ 2629.5, 2629.75, +2, +2.75
Total NQ +8.75
Total TF +1.5

Weekly Trade Summary 20121214-20121210
Total ES -0.0
Total YM -13
Total NQ +3.75
Total TF +5.6

If you have all four main stock index futures contracts up vertically, side-by-side
on one of your monitors, you can often see the shape of the day model forming even in the very first few minutes of the day. Today, contracts went different directions in early going, suggesting range bound trade. That doesn't mean chop action necessarily, but more likely, volatility in rapid range bound swings. With the right methodology, a market that is range bound can be easy pickin's, sometimes far easier than big lunging impulse moves in a single trend direction. The plan is to apply a methodology that is work in any day model environment, regardless of your opinions as to which way the market may actually be trying to go. Trade the plan, not your opinions. Review your plan before going into battle. Then, when the session is over, review your plan as to how and where you failed it. If your plan it good, it should contain setup models that work far more often than they fail. If not, that part of your plan needs serious work. But if your plan is good, then the only real work to be done is on yourself. Your emotions are fluid. And unfortunately, your sense of focus and discipline does not show up for work each day in the same quantity or quality. That takes daily application of determination. Stay focused. Apply discipline to the plan, then your opinions won't even matter...
...and good weeks and months will follow those of more mediocre results, like those we've experienced lately.

Thurs Dec 13 Trades & Journal

Short 1 NQ 2674.0, -0.5
Short 1 TF 830.0, +1.0
Short 2 NQ 2679.0, 2679.0, -3.0, -3.0
Short 1 TF 830.8, -0.6
Short 2 YM 13259, 13261, +7, +10
Long 2 NQ 2682.0, 2682.0, +2.0, -0.0
Long 2 NQ 2679.0, 2678.50, +1.5, +2.0
Long 1 TF 730.2, -0.1
Short 1 TF 829.9, +1.3
Long 1 TF 728.2, +0.6
AM SubTotal YM +17
AM SubTotal NQ -1.0
AM SubTotal TF +2.2
PM trades:
Short 1 TF 824.5, -0.2
Short 1 TF 824.8, -0.5
Total YM +17
Total NQ -1.0
Total TF +1.5

The early trend of the day is often accompanied by sharp, short covering if that trend is bull, and quasi-panic liquidation when a bear. That makes positioning for the reversal of the 1st trend of the day challenging. But like today, staying with the plan eventually rewarded trades as YM sell signals showed after initial stp-outs in NQ and TF shorts. The mistake there was not re entering YM short upon further Inflection breakdowns, as it was then the 2nd trend direction of the day, and YM was clearly the leader. I balked at that important part of the trade plan, leaving much of the eventual YM decline on the table. Inflection breakdown triggers in the NQ and TF did eventually follow the YM, and a TF breakdown trigger proved profitable. There, the mistake was in only taking 1 contract. I still feel trepidation on breakout plays. I hang back from them, even though these today were clearly in my plan. Taking only 1 contract is a way to comply with the pressure I put on myself to stick to the plan, but somewhat half-heartedly. I can do better. Profit goals are not reached without taking the risks necessary to achieve them. Keep the focus of those risks on just those trades that are in the plan, and often at moments of greatest fear. That is where the profits you seek are hiding. Be strong. Trade the plan. Sidebar: contract rollover is today. The TF contract tends to hold better volume throughout the rollover day in the current contract, and is usually wiser to begin trading the new contract on the Friday following the Thursday rollover. But not so for the CME products ES, NQ and YM contracts. Their current month contract can drop off quickly after the 1st hour on rollover. I continue to trade them on rollover day only through the 1st frame til 11:15am. Any PM trading in those contracts on rollover day risk slippage from loss of volume.

Wed Dec 12 Trades & Journal

Short 1 TF 835.7, -0.1
Long 2 NQ 2685.5, 2685.5, -2.0, -2.0
Short 1 TF 834.2, -0.5
Short 2 TF 834.8, 834.8, +0.5, +0.8
Long 2 YM 13261, 13261, -6, -6
Long 2 YM 13257, 13257, -4, -4
Long 3 TF 835.2, 835.1, 835.1 +0.5, +0.5, -0.2
AM SubTotal NQ -4.0
AM SubTotal YM -20
AM SubTotalTotal TF +1.5
PM Appendum
Short 1 TF 836.8, -0.4
Long 1 TF 834.4, +0.9
Total NQ -4.0
Total YM -20
Total TF +2.0

When the contracts seem to be trading out of unison, almost in separate, disparate trends, in-trend and reversal entries are especially challenging. Profits in one direction and contract might only end up off-setting losses in another. But that's why you have a plan, so that at least you have those off-setting gains. Today's economic report schedule calls for a trifecta of FOMC reports, 12:30pm, 2pm and 2:15. After some initial jockeying, it's not unusual for prices to just drift. If your early trading does not push losses near to your maximum daily limit, you will still have something to risk against possible pre and post FOMC release setups, when the volatility usually returns. Keep with the plan. ...will post an appendum if any PM trades taken.....

Our trade plan at ValhallaFutures includes a pre-news setup. An excellent one occurred in the NQ and YM at the Noon hour low, .....if you were in front of the screen... so just a shoulda coulda for me. Post news trades came when things settled down a bit, but were only marginally net profitable.

Tues Dec 11 Trades & Journal

Short 1 TF 830.9, -1.0
Short 2 TF 832.3, 832.5, -0.8, -0.5
Short 2 TF 832.7, 832.7, -0.4, -0.0
Short 2 YM 13258, 13258, -5, -5
Short 2 TF 835.3, 835.6, +0.4, +1.0
AM SubTotal YM -10
AM SubTotal TF -1.3
Appendum: PM trades
Long 4 TF 833.8, 833.2, 833.0, 833.0, -0.1, -0.4, +0.5, -0.2
Long 1 TF 832.1, -1.0
Long 2 TF 831.4, 831.3 +1.0, +1.0
Revised Totals:
Total YM -10
Total TF -0.5

Persistent Trend Days appear without warning. By the time their characteristic 'tells' have appeared for you to recognize, an initial trend thrust can already be behind you, and a trader is left either fading extended waves of thrust without success, or skipping in-trend pullbacks entries because they seem too shallow. The other way is to take entries at what Serial Sequent identifies as SubSequent Inflection Breakout Triggers. ...and these don't always appear in all contracts. Today, my focus did not include the NQ which up til today was lagging the overall bull moves day after day with the heavy AAPL component. Murphy's Law: the change you are looking for will appear in the least expected place you have now become accustomed to ignore. The chance to recognize a buy signal and enter before today's 1st frame explosion got away was in the NQ only. Asleep at the switch, I was left to the less attractive alternative of fading the thrusts of a Persistent Trend morning in the TF contract, where my focus was in lazy residence.

When a more conclusive sell signal finally did come in the TF contract that eventually provided enough pullback to cover all losses and move my P&L into positive ground, I felt compelled to exit at the initial mechanical profit levels, rather than take the play into the post-Boehner news conclusion it deserved, and thus left 2/3's of its potential on the table. There is not much in one's plan a trader can correct when faced with profits that recover part of earlier losses. Working your way back to health can also push you deeper into the hole if you insist on recapturing all your losses with each successive trade that begins to go your way. This only compounds your problems. It's the reality of trading. If your trade plan works more often than it fails, and you never let yourself dig deeper into a hole of losses than the amount of a single day's profit goal, you can always work your way out of a bad day.

Instead, focus on the miss opportunities and/or bad trades that got you into negative territory in the first place, not your lack of premonition that could have recovered from all your losses had you brilliantly held some specific later trade to greater lengths than normal exit targets. Today, I missed an important in-trend breakout trade in the NQ that would have set me straight for the day, and well towards my normal profit goals, had I only had better focus on trade opportunities on other key contracts contained in my trading plan. Review the plan each day before the day begins. Understand where your focus must be in order to succeed with plan execution. Stay focused. This is the discipline of trading. This is the key to success.

Mon Dec 10 Trade Summary

Long 1 TF 824.0, -0.4
Short 1 TF 823.3, -0.2
Long 1 TF 823.4, -0.5
Short 2 TF 823.9, 824.0, +0.5, +0.7
Short 1 TF 824.0, -0.3
Long 1 TF 824.1, -0.2
Short 1 TF 824.6, +1.3
Short 1 TF 824.4, -0.0
Short 1 TF 826.5, +0.6
Total TF +1.1

Fri Dec 7 Trades & Wkly Summary

Long 2 NQ 2654.0, 2654.25, +2.0, -0.0
Long 2 YM 13101, 13101, +10, +7
Long 1 TF 820.9, -0.6
Long 1 TF 819.4, +1.3
Long 2 TF 821.9, 821.7, +0.5, -0.7
Long 2 YM 13114, 13114, +7, -5
Long 1 TF 821.3, -0.4
Long 1 YM 12092, -5
Long 1 ES 1410.25, +2.0
Total ES +2.0
Total NQ +2.0
Total YM +12
Total TF +0.1

Weekly Trade Summary 20121207-20121203
Total ES +2.0
Total YM +40
Total NQ ++5.0
Total TF +9.0

Thurs Dec 6 Trade Summary

Short 2 YM 13034, 13043, +7, +10
Long 1 YM 13012, -0
Long 1 TF 817.1, +1.8
Short 1 TF 819.0, +1.0
Short 1 TF 816.8, -0.6
Long 1 TF 817.0, -0.4
Long 1 TF 816.6, -0.2
Long 1 TF 818.6, +1.4
Long 1 TF 820.9, +1.0
Total YM +17
Total TF +4.0

Wed Dec 5 No Trades, Cable Internet Outage

Tues Dec 4 Trade Summary

Short 1 TF 822.2, -0.1
Long 1 TF 821.9, -0.5
Short 2 YM 12990, 12990, +7, -1
Long 2 TF 820.7, 820.3, 820.2, 820.0 -0.8, +0.5, +1.0, +2.0
Long 1 TF 820.1, -0.5
Long 1 TF 818.4, -0.3
Long 1 TF 818.3, -0.3
Long 2 TF 816.8, +0.5, +0.9
Total YM +6
Total TF +2.4

Mon Dec 3 Trade Summary

Long 2 TF 821.1, 821.1, +0.5, -0.0
Long 2 TF 821.0, 821.0, +0.5, -0.5
Long 2 TF 818.3, 818.4, +0.5, +1.5
Short 2 YM 13019, 13019, -3, -3
Short 1 NQ 2696.25, +3.0
Long 1 YM 12991, +11
Total NQ +3.0
Total YM +5
Total TF +2.5

Nov 30 Trades and Mntly Summary

Short 2 NQ 2679.5, 2681.25, +4.0, +2.0
Short 1 TF 822.6, -0.4
Short 1 TF 822.8, +1.1
Short 1 YM 13037, +17
Long 1 YM 13014, +10
Total YM +27
Total NQ +6.0
Total TF +0.6

Weekly Trade Summary 20121130-20121126
Total ES -0.0
Total YM +32
Total NQ +26.5
Total TF +12.5

Monthly Summary Nov 2012
Total ES +7.25
Total YM +184
Total NQ 56.5
Total TF 29.8