May 012014
 

I went to update my blog this morning and saw that it hasn’t been working for a while.  That was a bummer because I wasn’t aware of it.  So that’s fixed now.

After some nice time off it was difficult to get back into it.  March was spent more observing the market than trading.  And in April I got back into a daily (well almost) trading routine.  There are a few days of the month that I can’t trade due to other activities.  I’m still trading in the last 2 to 2.5 hours (depends on when I get home from work).  I managed to take trades on 8 days, that’s about half of the days in the month considering I was gone the week of Easter for vacation.  Many days I was “trading”  but didn’t get a valid setup.  I need the market to be moving for me to enter on a pullback, so days where it was balanced I would not have a setup.  Overall I’m pretty happy with this and will continue exactly the same strategy for May.

Here are the stats:

April Stats

I’m very happy with the stats, which were a major focus for me.  I want the avg win to be at least twice the avg loss.  And I’d like the profit factor to be above 2.  A bonus is having a win rate near 50% because if the win rate is lower that’s harder psychologically.

My targets are 2:1 on the risk.  In many cases I could have targetted a specific price which would have given more profit.  But I’m doing it this way because once I establish consistency with 1 lot then i’ll add the 2nd lot and will target a specific price with that one.  So all I’m counting on is that the first lot with 2:1 is profitable so I can increase size.  I’m not looking to maximize profit on this first lot.

And the list of trades:

April Trades

Notice that I’m trading 100% NQ.  This was a big change for me and it took some time but for the type of pullback entry I’m looking for, NQ is a better fit.  When I get to trading size on NQ I imagine I’ll have to seriously consider going back to ES but for now NQ is fine.  It has lower multiplier so less $ at risk and that helps psychologically.

In writing this I realize that this trading journey hasn’t been straight forward but rather a few steps forward and a few steps back.  Some months many steps forward and some other months huge steps back.  The decision to do full time consulting had a big impact on my trading, as well as the slow grind up, etc.  Conditions change all the time and I’ve been slow to adapt.  This is why late last year I tried to simplify and go back to basics and come up with a method that will work in the most market conditions and most importantly, learn to identify when it won’t work and sit out.  This has been a big accomplishment.

I do my analysis and if I find what I’m looking for I set either a limit order or an audio alert in my zone and then I walk away from my PC and spend time with the family.  This takes a lot of emotion out of it.  It reduces chances of me getting sucked in and placing stupid trades.  Some days my limit never fills or my audio alert never fires.  Some days it does.  The income (or loss) is very small compared to my consulting income so there is no real pressure to trade or make money.  If I don’t get a trade it doesn’t bother me.  I only want to take good setups.  One at a time.

As I said, this is a big change and I’m happy with the results so far.  Let’s see if I can continue it in May.

Good luck with your trading.

 

 

Jan 262014
 

I was taking time off from trading around Christmas and then just after Christmas Zenfire forced everyone to upgrade and then zenfire was no more.  The first few days I figured they’d get it fixed.  Then a week went by.  And another.  And then Mirus got involved, saying they had a backup datafeed (Continuum) but that was only available for customers clearing through Dorman and I clear through RCG.  I didn’t mind a few weeks off but I was very disappointed in both zenfire for botching such a huge upgrade and Mirus for having no backup.  But it got worse.  Mirus was making promises and then going silent.  Last I heard from them, all RCG customers would be automatically converted to Dorman January 21st and would be able to trade live the 23rd.  That came and went with no word from Mirus.

I read in a forum that I was not alone.  One user didn’t get converted so he asked and it turns out they didn’t want his business because he was Canadian.  Another didn’t hear back either.  So I will contact them tomorrow and see what my options are.  In hindsight I should have just opened up an account with the minimum deposit at another broker so I could trade but I was being naïf and maybe lazy too.

So I’ve enjoyed about 6 weeks off from trading and I always think it’s good to have a break like that because it lets us look at trading with a different perspective.  My trading partner has been doing well so I’m eager to get back in it and join in his success.

Besides trading I’ve been keeping myself very busy with my current consulting assignment, an SOA certification, home improvements, spending more time with the kids and wife, etc.  So when I do start trading again it’ll be hard to give all that up.  My plan is to identify a couple places for a pullback, set the audio alerts, and spend time with the family.  When I get the alert I’ll look for an entry.  I’ll keep it very simple.  And I’ll share how it goes here.

Good trading everyone.  Hopefully we’ll have a correction and some good volatility.

 

Dec 122013
 

I had a zone that coincided with the lower end of balance.  The bounce up off the lows looked strong and ES looked even stronger so I thought we’d finish balanced.  I put my order in and left my desk.  I stopped out but I think it was a good trade.  Had I been there watching for confirmation I would have done the same thing although I would have exited when the red arrows came in below my entry, which would have saved a few ticks.  Saving a few ticks can actually make the difference between a profitable and unprofitable strategy since the edge is so small, but I have to balance trading with family & personal time in the evenings so that’s ok.

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