Fri Jan 25 Trades & Journal

Long 1 TF 901.6, -0.4
Short 1 NQ 2735.0, -2.0
Short 2 NQ 2727.25, 2737.0, -2.0, -2.0
Short 2 YM 13820, 13820, +15, +20
Short 2 NQ 2738.25, 2738.5, +3.0, +4.0
Short 1 TF 901.5, -0.2
Long 1 YM 13778, +10
Long 2 NQ 2722.5, 2721.75, +0.5, +3.0
Short 1 YM 13794 -3
Short 2 TF 900.8, 900.8, +0.4, +0.5
Short 1 TF 901.5, -0.2
Total NQ +4.5
Total YM +42
Total TF +0.1

Weekly Trade Summary 20130125-20130121
Total ES -0.0
Total YM +54
Total NQ +14
Total TF +2.3

Nothing is more satisfying than trading the mini-Russell, in my opinion. And nothing attains a daily profit quota faster than a couple of successful mini-Russell trades. Today, I did better at focusing where there signals were really coming from, and consequently had a decent net day in the NQ and YM where the signals matched my trade plan. Trade what's in front of you.

Thurs Jan 24 Trades & Journal

Short 2 NQ 2727.0, 2727.0, -0, -1.5
Short 2 YM 13768, 13768, -3, -7
Short 3 TF 901.1, 901.3, 901.2, +0.2, -0, -0.5
Short 2 YM 13796, 13797, -4, +7
Long 2 YM 13780, 13781, +5, +5
Short 2 NQ 2740.75, 2741.25, +2.0, +3.0
Short 2 YM 13811, 13809, +7, -2
Total YM +4
Total NQ +3.5
Total TF -0.3

Habits are very hard to mold. With the growing disparity in relative strength and leadership between these four contracts we trade each day, it has been more important to trade them separately. Today was one of those days where a sharp impulse rally exploded upwards shortly after a very jarring gap down NQ opening. But the signals to guy that impulse came in the NQ and the YM, not the relative strength leader TF. Such things can be a distraction and cause hesitation. And once spent, that early rally left little for trade opps than counter-trend shorts at the highs, where precise levels were harder to find. (My current trade plan quits taking trades around 11:15pm, before a fresh bear impulse trend got underway.) Stay alert. Be ready for anything. The market is most likely to surprise you, in the opposite direction to your expectations.

Wed Jan 23 Trades & Journal

Short 2 TF 896.5, 896.7, +0.6, +1.0
Short 4 YM 13709, 13710, 13710, 13710, -2, -3, -2, -2
Short 1 TF 896.4, -0.3
Long 2 TF 896.5, 896.6, +0.4, -0.0
Long 2 TF 895.3, 895.2, -0.1, +0.4
Long 2 YM 13693, 13692, +6, +11
Long 1 TF 895.0, -0.0
Total YM +8
Total TF +2.0

Another day of teeter-totter leadership, shifting first from one contract, then to another. Several times, the mini Russell seems to have turned with relative strength against the other, only to fail and get back to its original bearish trend. The Russell is often the leader. It often acts 'smart' about the eventual trend outcome. Keep your eye on that and you can't fail.... is an assumption you can't always make. Lately, it hasn't done such a great leadership job. Yesterday's persistent bullish TF was more an exception to recent trade action than the rule. But when it does shine at the job, signals can be a lot easier, and so is the trading. Trade what you see. Consider the contract models for what they are, regardless of whether one contract signal conflicts with another. Stay focused.

Tues Jan 22 Trades & Journal

Short 2 NQ 2737.25, 2737.25, +2.0, +4.0
Long 1 TF 890.0, -0.0
Long 2 TF 889.6, 889.4, +0.5, -0.1
Long 2 TF 888.8, 888.8, +0.4, +0.1
Short 1 TF 890.6, -0.4
Total NQ +6.0
Total TF +0.5

Trade signals are always challenging when there's so much divergence between contracts. Today's NQ again weighed like a stone. But with the Dow and Russell initially buoyant, I took that profit too quickly, on the wrong leadership and relative strength assumption. The NQ was still extremely heavy when the TF buy signals came in at the LOD (low-of-day). And with another error in leadership judgement, but in the opposite direction, I left all the TF bull recovery profits on the table too. Trade the contracts separately as the signals occur. This might incur stp-outs as the contracts and their true-trend leadership roles unfold or shift, but there is no other way to handle a trade plan without doing so. Stay focused. The first day in the week requires some special efforts to gain concentration. Shake the weekend off.... the new trading week won't wait for you to become alert.

Thurs Jan 17 Trades & Journal

Long 1 TF 784.5, +0.9
Short 1 TF 785.6, +1.0
Short 1 YM 13507, -4
Short 1 NQ 2744.75, -1.5
Short 1 NQ 2745.25, +2.0
Long 2 NQ 2739.0, 2729.0, -1.0, -1.0
Long 1 TF 884.1, +0.7
Short 1 NQ 2738.5, +2.5
Total YM -4
Total NQ +1.0
Total TF +2.6

When the emotions are running high, it's hard to take multiple contracts. When a signal arrives, you just can't believe you're fading such a strong trend. When taking a breakout, you can't believe the trend will continue for you... But without taking a 2nd or 3rd unit, you can't really capitalize on the trend anyway, you just keep your losses small. It's very hard to capture the trend with a 1-lot that threatens to take back all your initial profits after a push or two in your direction. Nothing is more discouraging than giving it all back. Thus it was for me at the 1st Hour high in the NQ, today. The sell signal was valid, the buying spike stp'd me out initially, and I had to re-enter. With less confidence, I re-entered with only a 1 lot....only to watch the market fall all the way down to the LOD (low-of-day). Make your position size part of your plan. It's alright to step into a 2 or 3 lot position one-at-a-time as the potential turn develops. If it blows through you quickly, you were only in partially. But if it does stall for a few minutes, that gives you the potential to add a 2nd or 3rd and control the stop distance to just beyond the budding pattern, thus keeping the loss small on all units. If the turn fails to develop, or the breakout fails to follow-through, your losses are small. But it does little good to try to capture a trend with a 1-lot. The first lot is taken to pay for the trade, eliminate or reduce the cost of the stp-loss risk on the remaining units, and to ensure you try and walk away with at least something if a larger trend does not develop. There's no trade management or trend management with a 1-lot. There's only luck and good guesses. Have a trade management plan. It's a separate thing from your trade entry plan, which is technical or trade model oriented. Stick to that trade management plan with the same discipline you use with your trade entry plan. The plan will give you the flexibility you need to capture larger pieces of the trend.

Wed Jan 16 Trades & Journal

Short 1 TF 879.3, -0.1
Short 1 TF 878.7, -0.6
Short 1 TF 880.2, -1.0
Short 2 TF 880.7, 880.7, +1.0, +0.8
Short 1 YM 13443, -0
Long 2 TF 878.6, 878.7, +0.5, +1.0
Short 1 NQ 2726.0, -1.25
Short 2 YM 13435, 13435, -4, -4
Short 1 TF 879.8, +0.7
Long 2 NQ 2724.5, 2724.75, +2.0, +2.0
Total YM -8
Total NQ +2.75
Total TF +2.3

Some challenging whipsaws in leadership in the early going. Any of these contracts can pull a surprising big swoon as they stretch out into an impulse. One level of resistance may give way and stop you out. Some would say never go back to a losing position. But that's what strategies with auto stop-loss placements are for. They allow you to take a moment and reassess the setup. In Serial Sequent, if the wave structure is still due a reversal, and the wave has simply blown through one number to get to the next, the trade should be reentered... assuming it's in your trade plan to have taken the trade in the first place. Floor traders may be more skilled at this than most of us, but it's something that everyone needs to get use to when trading futures. Stay focused. At any stage along the way, as waves gel out their new positions and fresh numbers of support or resistance are hit, be prepared to look at the market in a freeze frame of potential setup. Your opinion about where you think it's trying to go is not important. Instead, ask yourself the question "Is this a model in my trade plan?". If so, the Trader's job is to ignore the Accountant's qualms about the loss you just took, and ignore the Analyst who tempted into predictions, and trade what's in front of you. Be the plan. That's the Trader's role. He executes the plan as agreed to, even at moments of great trepidation or fresh losses. (see the free ebook at for more about the Trader, the Accountant and the Analyst's roles.)

Tues Jan 15 Trades

Long 2 YM 13414, 13412, -0, -5
Long 1 TF 875.8, +0.7
Total YM -5
Total TF +0.7

Mon Jan 14 Trades & Journal

Long 2 TF 877.6, 877.4, -0.5, -0.5
Long 2 TF 877.0, 976.9, -0.5, -0.5
Long 2 TF 876.5, 876.5, +0.7, -0.4
Long 3 TF 876.2, 876.3, 876.3, +1.0, +0.5, +0.5
Short 2 TF 875.6, 875.6, +0.2, -0.3
Short 1 YM 13421 -5
Short 1 TF 878.9, +0.5
Short 2 NQ 2726.5, 2726.5, +1.0, -1.25
Short 1 TF 878.9, +0.5
Total YM -5
Total NQ -0.25
Total TF +1.2

Just one big move with a signal in today's 1st frame, and it left me in the dust. Serial Sequent can require switching from a Long, to a Stp n Rev Short, and sometimes then a Turn n Rev back to long. If the market is choppy, those signals can come without much payoff; and if so, flipping the switch back and forth conflicts with the recent lessons to have more patience and let things develop. Such was the case today, and I opt'd for being more patient with the last signal and just reduced the stp loss on the last short signal in the early down trend to about b/e, but did not Turn n Rev back to long. But either position was according to plan, so no use beating oneself up too much on lack of better intuition. And after the 1st frame volatility was over, we were back to last weeks grind and divergence. But at least the action was a bit better than last week. Keep to the plan. The market will always come around.

Fri Jan 11 Trades & Journal

Short 1 TF 879.7, +0.8
Long 2 TF 878.9, 878.9, -0.1, -0.3
Short 1 TF 878.6, +0.5
Long 1 TF 876.9, -0.0
Long 1 NQ 2736.0, -1.25
Long 1 TF 875.9, -0.3
Long 1 TF 875.7, +0.7
Long 1 TF 875.8. -0.2
Short 1 TF 877.3, -0.3
Total NQ -1.25
Total TF +0.8

Same action as the rest of the week. The pace is slowed to a crawl. But today, I would have had a better net if my resolution to have more patience had stuck. I did at least take the signal at the early Russell inflection to go short, but the action was slow that I got out before it really developed. Same with the long at the lows. I bought the 875.7 1st hour lows 3 times, and judged the failure-to-launch as a sign of weakness... and exited all again before it finally climbed into a bull rally to go short. Each signal taken was according to plan setup models... but my patience did not fit the recent slower pace to the markets. Trade what's in front of you. Adjust to the day as it is. You can't change the markets. You can only change yourself.

Thurs Jan 10 Trades & Journal

Long 2 NQ 2736.5, 2736.25, -1, +2.0
Short 1 TF 877.5, -0
Short 1 TF 877.7, +1.0
Long 1 NQ 2732.0, -1.0
Long 1 TF 775.5, -0.1
Long 2 TF 874.7, 874.6, -0.2, +0.5
Long 2 YM 13325, 13325, -3, -3
Long 1 TF 874.5 874.3, -0.0, +1.0
Total YM -6
Total NQ -0.0
Total TF +2.2

Tough going again, but kept with the plan and at least stayed positive. These markets are characterized by lots of retests, small bounces, and a lot of grind, punctuated by a very sharp thrust or two which signals and trade plan do not always provide for. But as they say, it is what it is, and if better trading results from such markets require adjustments on your end. No use expecting the markets to change. We have to change ourselves, and the first thing I need is a bit more patience. Keep to the plan. Stay disciplined.

Wed Jan 9 Trades & Journal

Long 1 NQ 2714.75, +4.0
Short 1 YM 13332, -4
Short 2 TF 876.8, 876.8, +0.5, -0.3
Short 3 TF 876.8, 876.8, 876.9, -0.3, -0.0, +0.5
Short 2 NQ 2726.5, 2728.0, -0.0, -0.0
Short 1 TF 877.5, -0.1
Long 1 ES 1457.5, -0.0
Long 1 TF 876.3, +0.5
Total ES -0
Total YM -4
Total NQ +4.0
Total TF +0.8

It takes volatility to profit in futures, among other things. And if you have a method for recognizing turns, volatility can really work in your favor. The lack of volatility can affect the mental game too. You tend to give positions up too quickly when they don't respond, and you don't wait long enough for a setup to gel before getting in. Take the initial trades as the signals occur. Test the waters. Some days are better handled just keeping your powder dry for better markets. Stay disciplined. Better markets will always return.

Tues Jan 8 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Long 2 NQ 2715.5, 2715.75, -1.0, -1.0
Long 2 TF 872.2, 871.1, -0.5, -0.5
Long 2 TF 871.8, 871.9, -0.5, -0.5
Long 2 YM 13278, 13279, +8, +6
Long 2 NQ 2708.5, 2708.25, +2.0, +2.0
Short 1 TF 870.6, -0.1
Long 1 TF 869.7, -0.2
Long 1 NQ 2702.75, -2.5
Long 2 TF 868.4, 868.5, +1.1, -0.3
Short 2 TF 870.7, 870.7, +0.1, -0.0
Total YM +15
Total NQ -0.5
Total TF -1.4

Breakouts can be the bane of traders. When they are working on one day, a trader can be drawn to them thereafter, only to get chopped up quickly. When you pass on them, and they work without you, you only feel more compelled by your apparent stupidity to start taking them again. But a trade plan should have rules. These rules should favor the type of breakouts that work more often than they fail. Those that do work but are outside of your plan, must simply be tolerated, despite the annoyance of your sidelined cash. And then there's your limit to the number of trades you take within a session. Mine is ten. Beyond that, and even if the losses are small, the commissions begin to be an issue. It's important to recognize when things aren't working... whether it seems to be with your executions or the plan itself doesn't seem to be in sync with the action. Keep the losses small. Tomorrow morning will be a different trading environment than today.

Mon Jan 7 Trades & Journal

Long 2 TF 871.6, 871.3, +0.5, +1.0
Long 1 TF 872.0, +1.0
Long 1 TF 872.4, -0.4
Total TF +2.1

Being uncertain on a Monday morning is not unusual, but it is a mental condition that can be anticipated. Like the way I missed the first short in the TF when it closed the gap today. I pulled the order and thought I'd give it a minute to gel.... oops. It reversed so quickly I couldn't even chase it for a fill. Be prepared. Futures trading doesn't allow you much time to consider the trade. You have to see it coming. When it arrives, you have to be there waiting for it. No hesitation allowed.
Stay focused. Be the trade....

Fri Jan 4 Trades & Journal

Long 2 NQ 2721.0, 2721.25, +2.0, +3.25
Short 1 YM 13337, -1
Short 1 YM 13340, -4
Short 1 TF 874.5, -0.1
Short 1 NQ 2726.0, +6.0
Long 1 TF 874.7, -0.4
Long 1 NQ 2714.0, -1.5
Long 1 NQ 2713.0, +3.5
Total NQ +13.25
Total TF -0.5

TF is the preferred contract in my trade plan. It tends to lead the market. But this can be inconsistent. How do you manage days the Russell isn't leading the trend? Trade what's before you. On my main monitor, from far right to left, I have the TF (mini Russell), the NQ in the middle, then the YM, and finally far left, the True Trend Momentum Indicator... all in vertical scales. (The ES seldom leads, is the least volatile, and the least attractive of these four contracts to trade. It's on a separate but adjacent monitor with some tick charts.) With the three main contracts in prime view at all times, leadership is not difficult to see. Stay flexible. The NQ and the YM are both great contracts to trade, although not as good as the TF. But your question is not which contract do you like the best, your question as a trader is
'where are my signals?' Stay focused. Trade what's in front of you.

Thurs Jan 3 Trades & Journal

Long 2 TF 870.5, 870.3, -0.4, -0.3
Short 2 TF 870.2, 870.5, -0.6, -0.3
Short 2 TF 870.7, 870.5, -0.1, +0.5
Short 2 TF 872.0, 871.8, +1.0, +0.5
Long 2 NQ 2737.25, 2737.5, +2.0, +2.5
Total NQ +4.5
Total TF +0.3

Leadership is a fluid technical indicator. It complicates the trade plan if setup models use it as a condition qualifier. What if it changes or dissolves before your eyes? Such was the action today with two initial losing TF entries. Stay calm. Wait for the setups to gel. Eventually, some technical sense will be made of the trend signals and setups. Your trade plan has behavior governors that minimize your total losses and total losing trades allowable. Until that it reached, keep your powder intact until better setups appear. Sometimes a break-even day is a victory, and a small profit day is better than no profits at all. Trade the plan and stay disciplined. You'll do better tomorrow.

Wed Jan 2 Trades & Journal

Short 3 TF 869.4, 870.0, 869.9, -0. +0.5, +1.6
Long 1 TF 868.3, -0.2
Long 1 YM 13277, -5
Total YM -5
Total TF +1.9

Big gaps often suck the energy right out of the market. We were gratefully able to identify the 1st hour high and captured a decent short. But when signs appear that further signals come inbetwixt support and resistance signals, you are likely to face choppy action. Take what the market offers. It is what it is.... tomorrow is always another day...

Mon Dec 31 Trades

Long 1 TF 829.2, +1.0
Short 2 TF 834.3, +0.5, +0.7
Total TF +2.2

Happy New Year to all...