Thurs Feb 28 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Short 2 YM 14080, 14080, -3, -5
Short 2 ES 1519.5, 1519.25, +2.0, +1.25
Long 1 TF 910.0, +1.3
Long 1 TF 908.7, +1.2
Short 1 TF 909.6, -0.2
Total YM -8
Total ES +3.25
Total TF +2.3

Not all trade signals work out. Sometimes it's nothing more than a frothy market that knocks you out, only to confirm the signal earlier shown to spite you. Sometimes the charts don't quite fulfill a signal, and you are left standing on the platform as the train leaves the station without you. This is why you trade with a plan. This is why you consider 4 index futures contracts that behave just differently enough to spread the opportunities and signal the turns and breakouts. Stay focused. Know your trade plan and trade it with discipline, despite the temptation to tape-read the ongoing trend. Tape reading is intuition, and the most dangerous thing about it is that sometimes it actually works....

Wed Feb 27 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Short 1 TF 901.8, -0.7
Short 2 TF 902.5, 902.3, -03, -0.5
Short 1 NQ 2716.25, -2.0
Short 2 NQ 2717.5, 2715.25, +4.5, +3.0
Short 2 NQ 2719.75, 2719.5, 2719.25, +2.0, -0.5, -0.5
Short 1 TF 905.5, +1.3
Long 1 TF 903.8, +1.2
Short 1 YM 13943, -7
Short 1 YM 13995, -5
Short 2 NQ 2736.5, 2736.75, +2.0, +5.5
Short 1 TF 990.5, +1.3
Total YM -12
Total NQ +14
Total TF +2.3

Welcome, the return of volatility. So glad to see it for our trading, but admit I hardly knew how to handle it as it seems like so long since its been here. The sell signals showed some good production, despite stepping into them too early for some small stp-outs. Recovery from that was important, because when the next set of sell signals appeared, you had to be ready. Today's action was frothy, and it had a Housing report and a Ben Bernanke testimony to contend with. And was only able to catch 1 in-trend play on a solid TF pullback buy signal. The NQ did offer a great inflection level breakout signal, but my focus was elsewhere, mistakenly, and for this I missed a good participation in the bull trend. Without those deep pullbacks from just the right signal places, this day would not have looked so good. When things start popping, almost inexplicably, even though the internals aren't there to explain it, you need to keep an eye on the potential inflection breakout levels. Serial Sequent provides both these, and the most likely reversal levels to short. But you have to stay disciplined and wait for the signals to appear. Since the method's signals lead not lag the market, you at least have the chance to know if the next wave up is a reversal zone or that of a breakout. Impossible really without it. Come to the free chat room and see how we roll.. but expect some real humility here when I fail to stick to the trade plan. The best tech analysis is worthless without a trade plan.

Tues Feb 26 Trades

Short 3 YM 13857, 13863, 13864, -0, +7, -7
Short 1 NQ 2714.0, -2.0
Short 1 NQ 2715.5, -1.5
Short 2 YM 13888, 13886, +7, +20
Long 1 TF 998.4, -0.4
Long 1 TF 997.6, 997.7, +0.7, +0.4
Long 1 TF 994.6, -0.7
Long 1 TF 993.7, +1.3
Long 2 NQ 2699.0, +2.0, +2.0
Long 1 TF 895.5, -0.3
Total YM +27
Total NQ +0.5
Total TF +1.0

Mon Feb 25 Trades

Long 1 TF 916.7. -0.2
Long 1 TF 916.5, -0.3
Short 2 YM 14042, 14043, -3, -5
Short 2 NQ 2764.0, 2763.75, +3.0, +2.0
Short 2 YM 14062, 14060, +7, +20
Long 1 TF 915.1, -0.2
Long 1 YM 13019, -7
Long 2 YM 13988, 13985, -0, -3
Long 1 NQ 2744.0, +3.0
Short 1 NQ 2750.5, +2.5
Total YM +9
Total NQ +10.5
Total TF -0.7

Fri Feb 22 Trades

Short 1 NQ 2721.0, -2.0
Short 1 TF 910.0, -0.4
Long 1 YM 13908, -7
Long 1 ES 1504.5, +2.0
Short 2 TF 910.9, 910.9, +0.7, +0.9
Short 1 TF 909.9, -0.0
Total NQ -2.0
Total YM -7
Total TF +1.2

Thurs Wed 21 Trades

Short 1 NQ 2730.75, +2.0
Long 1 NQ 2723.5, +2.0
Long 2 YM 13842, 13840, -3, -5
Long 2 YM 13842, 13839, +7, -7
Long 1 TF 906.3, +1.7
Short 1 TF 910.2, -0.3
Short 1 NQ 2723.0, +2.0
Long 1 TF 907.2, -0.0
Total YM -8
Total NQ +6.0
Total TF +1.4

Wed Feb 20 Trades

Long 1 TF 928.5, +0.7
Short 1 YM 14014, -5
Short 1 NQ 2778.25, -1.25
Short 1 YM 14032, +10
Short 1 TF 927.8, -0.2
Long 1 YM 14006, -5
Short 1 TF 927.3, +0.7
Long 1 YM 13991, -5
Short 1 NQ 2769.5, -1.25
Total YM -5
Total NQ -2.5
Total T +1.2

Tues Feb 19 Trade & Journal

Trade Summary
Short 1 TF 924.7, -0.4
Short 4 TF 927.8, 927.9, 928.0, 928.2, -0.3, -0.3, -0.1, -0.3
Short 2 YM 13021, 13020, +10, +16
Short 1 TF 928.3, -0.5
Short 2 TF 928.7, 928.3, -0.2, +0.1
Total YM +26
Total TF -2.0

If your trade plan includes entry models that can capture the early breakouts and impulse pops the futures markets often offer, you must stress the importance of being ready from the opening bell to take those signals, even if the sleepy burrs are still around the corners of your eyes... ...or you haven't had your coffee... ... or there are other pressing personal things on your mind... Trading requires complete focus. Rehearse those early plan models in your ahead. What are their criteria? Sometimes, it's an intuitive market appraisal in the early going that keeps us from executing our plan. Today, I missed the early bull breakout entry signal, which came as a 'Stop and Reverse' in my trade plan. I could feel the appraisal in my head saying "The TF is too high already. It's up in nose bleed new contract highs. How can I possibly be a buyer!?" But that was exactly what the signals were. And having missed that, I was left with the scraps of sorting out an ugly consolidation pattern, which involved more stp-outs than profits. Be ready with your entries. Your trade plan should withstand intuitive market appraisals. We're not tape readers. Tape readers can rationalize anything, whether it's staying out of a valid trade, or taking a bad one. It can always fit some market appraisal in the emotional flow of the action. We're The Trader. We have a trade plan. It's been constructed on models that work far more often than they fail. Follow the plan. Take the trade models. And if your model cannot overcome your market appraisal, then something legitimate in that market appraisal should be part of the trade model. But if it is not, then your appraisal should be ignored. Be ready. Stay disciplined.

Fri Feb 15 Wkly Trade Summary & Journal

Short 1 TF 923.3, +1.0
Long 1 TF 924.1, -0
Short 1 TF 924.3, +0.8
Long 1 TF 923.6, -0.3
Long 1 YM 13952, +10
Long 1 TF 922.5, +0.6
Total YM +10
Total TF +2.1

Weekly Trade Summary 20130215-20130211
Total ES -0.0
Total YM +3
Total NQ +0.25
Total TF -1.5

Managing losses has to be a key attribute for survival trading futures. Your methods won't produce all the time. Sometimes the markets just grind. And even if your trend signals are working, you can just get stp'd out repositioning for them. Incorporate behavior stp's into your plan. Limit the number of losing trades in a session, and even consider limiting the number of losing trades in a row. And above all, limit the number of losing days in a row your plan will tolerate before kicking you back to the simulator mode. If your losses remain small for the week, your capital will still be there next week. Keep to the plan. The discipline will save you.

Thurs Feb 14 Trades & Journal

Short 2 TF 919.4, 919.8, -0, +1.7
Short 1 YM 13942, -6
Short 1 ES 1515.0, -0.25
Short 1 ES 1515.5, +0.75
Short 1 NQ 2763.75, -0.5
Short 2 TF 920.7, 920.7, -0.2, -0.3
Short 2 NQ 2769.0, 2768.75, -0.5, -0.75
Short 2 NQ 2768.75, 2769.5, -0.5, +2.0
Short 2 TF 921.7, 921.5, +0.9, -0.3
Short 1 NQ 2768.5, +2.0
Total YM -6
Total NQ +1.5
Total TF +1.8

Opening trades were on the simulator today, with my trade plan behavior trigger of 2 losing days in a row putting me into the penalty box. Discounted the small stp-outs, and rationalized taking the last two trades with real money. The dollar amounts were not significant, but is always a bit of a stigma to shake off a losing streak, even if a short one, and get back to real trading. Without behavior triggers, I've watched traders continue to lose day after day, thinking 'I'll get it all back tomorrow'. The markets are difficult here.... although they're never easy... but this slow grinding action and contract bifurcation presents additional challenges. It is what it is. We trade with what's offered us. But if our trade plan is constructed to curtail losing trade behavior, we get 'stp'd out' of real trading and back on the simulator to execute our trade plan and monitor the market action and the trade results. Respect your capital. It's your most critical tool.

Wed Feb 13 Trades & Journal

Short 1 NQ 2767.0, +2.0
Long 1 TF 916.6, -0.5
Long 1 NQ 2764.25, +2.0
Short 1 NQ 2767.5, -1.75
Short 1 NQ 2774.0, -1.5
Short 1 TF 918.1, -0.5
Short 1 NQ 2780.25, -0.75
Short 2 YM 13992, 13994, -6, -1
Short 2 TF 919.9, 919.8, -0.4, -0.5
Short 2 TF 919.9, 919.7, -0.2, -0.1
Long 1 TF 920.4, -0.7
Long 2 YM 13979, 13980, -3, -4
Total YM -14
Total NQ -0.0
Total TF -2.9

Another day of extreme bifurcation with the YM contract taking an unusual bear leadership role to boot. It's usually a bad bet to follow the YM to new highs or lows when such usual leaders like NQ and TF are pushing so persistently in the opposite direction. And if such leadership indicators are not variable within your trade plan, there is no reason to simply change your plan to suit your intuition about unusual market conditions. The point is that when your trade plan produces long strings of winning days, it should include a limit to your losses on days that it fails. You can cap the number of trades, the total maximum allowable losses, or even limit the number of losing trades in a row, all as a way to cut your trading off for the day. I also limit the number of losing days allowable in a row before I spend a day at simulated trades again. Today was the second losing day in a row for me, so tomorrow, I start the day on the simulator. If I can make 3 winning trades out of 5, I can turn the simulator off and go back to real trade mode. If unsuccessful to post net winning trades for the day, I use the simulator again on the day that follows until a series of winners can be established. If the market is going into a period where trade signals have become erratic or inconsistent, it's wise to keep your capital protected until things return to more normal conditions. The markets will always be there. Your capital may not....

Tues Feb 12 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Short 1 TF 912.6, -0.2
Short 2 YM 13934, 13935, -5, -5
Short 1 TF 913.5, -0.6
Short 2 TF 913.6, 913.7, -0.4, -0.2
Short 1 TF 914.2, -0.3,
Long 1 TF 914.5, -0.3
Long 1 TF 915.2, -0.2
Short 1 TF 915.2, -0.2
Short 1 NQ 2768.25, -0.75
Total NQ -0.75
Total YM -10
Total TF -2.4

You seldom learn anything from your profitable trades. Sometimes they work even when they shouldn't. Such trades often do more harm than the profit did good. What can even be more frustrating, however, is when your losing trades offer you nearly nothing to improve on. Those are both a waste of capital and your time. Sometimes the best you can learn from a day of bifurcation and drift is just to keep your losses small, and don't let them exceed more than a day's goal of profits. After entering, and price begins to go your way, move the stp's to within a few ticks of your entry. You're looking for a trading day that offers follow-through to entries in the direction of your trend. A choppy market will simply bump you out. Fine. Because if it's too choppy, you shouldn't be trading in it anyway. Call it day. The market will improve. Some lemons do not make lemonade.

Mon Feb 11 Trades

Long 3 YM 13900, 13898, 13899, +11, +8, +7
Short 1 NQ 2769.25, -0.5
Short 1 TF 909.7, -0.1
Short 1 YM 13928, -3
Total YM +23
Total NQ -0.5
Total TF -0.1

Fri Feb 8 Trades & Journal

Trade Summary
Long 1 TF 910.1, -0.0
Short 2 NQ 2777.5, 2777.0, +4.0, +2.0
Long 1 TF 910.1, +0.9
Long 1 YM 13947, -3
Total NQ +6.0
Total YM -3
Total TF +0.9

"Be ready when the market is." Isn't that what I said yesterday, too? Well, I was ready for the market
to repeat the same thing in the same direction, but apparently wasn't ready for it to take off sharply with little hesitation this time in the opposite direction. Yes, it can be hard to be a bull when prices are up in nose-bleed new high territory. The daily frame and large bull sentiment leanings are fraught with sell signals. But you're a futures index trader. You really only care about the next few minutes. So what if the daily frame is screaming one direction. Just try to stop the market with the insistence of your sell orders before the market is actually turned. And such prognostications are useless in the lower frames anyway. Be the trader. Both the TF and the NQ gave early long entry signals today, right out of the Opening gate. But if you missed them, you were left with table scraps of large consolidation patterns. Yes, I managed to pick off a couple hundred dollars using Sequent signals around those larger patterns, but the daily profit goals would have easily been reached within the first long entry signals of the early bull spike. Be ready when the market is. They don't sound an opening bell to put you to sleep. Wake up and be the trader....

Thurs Feb 7 Trades & Journal

Long 1 TF 907.9, -0.2
Short 2 NQ 2744.25, +2.0, +4.0
Short 2 YM 13883, +3, -2
Long 1 YM 13884, -5
Long 1 TF 905.9, -0.5
Long 1 TF 904.4, -0.3
Long 2 YM 13820, 13822, +13, +7
Long 1 TF 900.5, +1.3
Total NQ +6.0
Total YM +16
Total TF +0.3

You have to be ready when the market is. A big selling day has been due for weeks. And although you might be on vacation for awhile or have become mentally accustomed for the market to be a one-way trend, it never is. Be ready when the market is. Two early short signals, one in the NQ, the other the YM, positioned me for the decline. But instead of sticking with them, I didn't give the bear a chance to develop, and at the first sign of hesitant action, I dumped them. The breakdown signal for the short YM position was especially clear... except after I got in it. Then my mental game was not ready for the slow stalling beginning, and was dissatisfied when an immediate plunge did not develop. ...but it did, just minutes later. And I subsequently left the best opportunities to capture that decline on the table. Know your game plan. Know your trade models. Sometimes it's true they don't work out. But you have to give them their fair due, or what's the point in having a plan in the first place? The point is to take the mental trepidation out of the decision process. That aspect of trading is always awaiting in the background to mess with your game. You have entries. You have stops. Execute the plan. Position yourself to be surprised. Don't over-think it. Give it a chance to develop, or take your stp-outs as planned. Be the plan.... not the tape.

Wed Feb 6 Trade Summary

Short 2 TF 903.0, 902.8, +1.2, +0.5
Short 2 YM 13894, 13898, +1, +11
Long 2 TF 902.8, 902.6, +0.5, +0.9
Total YM +12
Total TF +3.1

Tues Feb 5 Vacation Day

Mon Feb 4 Vacation Day

Fri Feb 1 Vacation Day

Thurs Jan 31 Vacation Day

Wed Jan 30 Vacation Day

Tues Jan 29 Vacation Day

Mon Jan 28 Vacation Day