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Rob C

Rob C's Trading Journal - starting Feb 1 2019

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Thursday 04/02/2020

I had a well-being score of 7/10 this morning.

I took 2 live trades with BA and LK.

My watchlist: AMD, LK, DAL, WBA, CCL, and BA.

Both my trades were entered in PM. BA looked good both on the 1min and 5min chart. The 5min had an engulfing and the 1min a small wedge. But I usually don’t do well taking a reversal. But SPY was strong at that moment and a reasonable size ask appeared in L2. So I went long. My target was PDC with my stop at the recent low (127.40). Trade went well. Too bad I took 1/3 share size. I reduce my shares in PM and when taking a reversal. The price popped soon after the open and went beyond my target. I finally exited when it lost the 50MA-1min

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LK was being investigated and dropped huge in PM. It seemed to be holding the 9/20MAs and slowly rising but I was nervous to take the trade. My finger sat on the buy button for about 20 seconds and then I heard Brian said he went long which confirmed I wasn’t crazy for thinking about it and went long as well. The volume was so high I didn’t call it a PM trade and went full shares. My stop was the bottom of the previous candle. I took lots of partials and finally got out because I didn’t want to go through another halt again. I can already call this the trade of the month.

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What did I do good today? Good use of SPY

What I am grateful from today LK

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Friday 04/03/2020

I had a well-being score of 7/10 this morning.

I took 2 live trades with APA and AMD.

My watchlist: AMD, APA, DAL, TWTR, CCL, and BA.

I liked APA in the PM and was respected a 5.40 price level. When a large ask appeared above that price I went long with half share size. My stop was VWAP. The price slowly moved up nearing the open and the plan was to add to my position when it broke above 5.46 daily level. But it popped to quickly to add at the open. I was able to take two partials before S/O at B/E.

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AMD opened with so-so volume and an indecision candle. The second min candle was a nice hammer. So with SPY moving higher I went long at the break of PDC. $45 target with 200MA-1min as my stop. The price was wild and unpredictable and I took two partials to reduce risk. The price finally popped a little and I got one good partial in before S/O at B/E.

 

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What did I do good today? Stopped trading when it seemed the market was too wild this morning.

What I am grateful from today Luckily to be green today. It was very wild price action, I could have easily been red today.

Edited by Rob C
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Monday 04/06/2020

I had a well-being score of 7/10 this morning.

I took 1 live trade with CCL.

My watchlist: AMD, MGM, DAL, ZM, CCL, and BA.

I usually don’t look for PM trades until 15 minutes before the open. But CCL was trading in a tight range with a sharp 8.85 reistance level and a more convoluted support level about 8.78. There was a reasonable size ask at 8.88 which would help the price break the 8.85 level. I took a long and then made a hot key mistake with setting my stop and took a loss. But I immediately re-entered. I was a bit stressed about taking a trade so early so I decided to set my stop and walk away for a few minutes. When I returned CCL  had popped and started to head back down. I sold half my shares immediately. At that point I am done for the day. I spent the next few minutes trying to squeeze out a little more profit.

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I took a couple of SIM trades at the open, but nothing to speak of.

 

What did I do good today? Good use of L2. I knew myself well enough that I should walk away from the screen, since I was jumpy and when I saw there was a well defined stop.

What I am grateful from today CCL pop was very lucky I am quite aware of that.

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Tuesday 04/07/2020

I had a well-being score of 7/10 this morning.

I took 1 live trade with CCL.

My watchlist: AMD, MGM, DAL, AAPL, CCL, and BA.

In PM CCL was bouncing between levels 12.23 and 12.41 for 25 minutes after 20 cent pop.  I went long when the price bounced from 12.23. There was also a reasonable size ask above the 12.41 level. I have a 10c minimum stop rule for PM and first 30 minutes after the open. I don’t even have a hot key with a stop smaller than 10c. So my stop was larger than what the chart said I would need, but this gives me some buffer if I have to ride this into the open. My final target was $13. I was hoping to get at least one partial before the open. Though price slowly rised it never reached my price to take a partial. The price did increase enough that the 50MA-1min was above my stop to help it for support. The price open with good volume and I took a partial at the high of PM. Just as I did Andrew announced he entered the CCL trade making me feel I took my first partial too early. Then it took me 3 partials to take profit at 12.60. The spread was fine, but the price was just so spikey. My big partials were my first and 5th. Then all out when it broke HOPM.

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What did I do good today? Good use levels and taking smaller partial size.

What I am grateful from today Stressful trade but held on.

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Monday 04/13/2020

I had a well-being score of 7.5/10 this morning.

I took 1 live trade with DAL.

My watchlist: MU, MGM, DAL, TSLA, CCL, and BA.

Well I took a 5 day vacation. I didn’t feel myself lately. My discipline was really waning. I usually don’t take enough time off from trading, but at least my family’s vacation will force me to stop trading a couple times a year. Due to the pendemic the vacation was cancelled of course. So I went awhile without a break. Plus, the additional stress that of course will be added at this time, I needed a break. I was actually prepared to trade last Wednesday, but I didn’t feel myself. I didn’t even have a plan at the open. I always have a plan. I knew something was up and shortly after the open I turn off my platform and walked away for 5 days.

DAL had an interesting PM. The last five 1min candles before the open all touched the 24.95 price without breaking it. SPY was also dropping as we went into the open. The plan was to go short if the price broke the 24.95 and 200MA-1min. DAL opened with strong volume. And quickly dropped below the two levels. I shorted with PDC as my target and the 24.95 as my stop. The price dropped and I took two quick partials. Then I set my autostop at B/E and was quickly stopped out. Another minute later it looked like DAL was setting up even more for a short and SPY was really dropping. So I shorted again. I know I take terrible partials, but today was ridiculous. I will chalk this up for being my first day back. But I caught a 10R move, so I usually get about half in profit. Today I got 1.4R profit from a 10R move.

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What did I do good today? Good use levels and watching SPY

What I am grateful from today Taking a short. I have been taking so many longs lately I am getting a bias.

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Tuesday 04/14/2020

I had a well-being score of 7.5/10 this morning.

I took 3 live trades with CCL.

My watchlist: RCL, JPM, DAL, ROKU, CCL, and AMD.

I liked the 1min indecision candle with good volume at the open for CCL. But I wasn’t sure the direction until about 3.5min after the open where it was holding VWAP as resistance. Plus I really like having the 200MA-1min in front of my trades in the first 4 minutes. It acts like a magnet. So I went short with a $12 target and VWAP as my stop. Yep the 200MA-1min was a good magnet and I got a partial in, but that was it. Then I stopped out at VWAP. I was thinking about a flip but I couldn’t tell if it was intellectual decision or revenge so I didn’t.

I took a couple of SIM trades with DAL but with poor discipline and got chopped up, then I noticed CCL setting up again. I thought I missed the entry but then I heard Andrew took the trade long. But I waited to see if I could get a decent entry. About a minute later the price dropped and bounced off the $12.50 price which was respected in PM and went long. My target was the HOTD with VWAP as the stop. I got two quick partials in and auto stop out at B/E.

Then I saw CCL setting up again if it could just break the HOPM. I went long again when it bounced off the 9MA-1min. But now my stop was far away (still VWAP) so my share size was half of what it was before. Then after a minute I heard Andrew said he was getting out of the trade which caused some stress since I was staying in the trade. But with my large stop I was fine staying in. About a minute later the price started to move up and made my day.

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What did I do good today? Traded late in the morning for me, where I found my winner.

What I am grateful from today Third times the charm.

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Wednesday 04/15/2020

I had a well-being score of 6.5/10 this morning.

I took 1 live trade with AMD.

My watchlist: BAC, APA, DAL, TSLA, CCL, and AMD.

No obvious setup from PM. AMD and BAC were heading lower into the open so I was keeping an eye on both of them. I almost took a 1min ORBD on AMD when it broke the LOPM and again at the break of the 1min candle body. But couldn’t figure SPY out so held off. Then AMD reversed and made an 1min engulfing. But there were a few MAs and VWAP above the price. I went long on the break of VWAP but with half shares because there was a strong PM level at $54. When it broke $54 I added heavily so I was 1.5X normal share size on the trade.

My target was the 200MA-5min and my stop was the 50MA-1min. The price did actually reach my target. I did take quite a few partials but using smaller % size each partial than I usually do.

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What did I do good today? Watch the SPY chart well without losing focus on my trade.

What I am grateful from today Finishing my day before the markets got really choppy.

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Thursday 04/16/2020

I had a well-being score of 6.5/10 this morning.

Another day I didn't feel myself and felt no discipline. I guess last Wednesday was not a fluke. I need some time off. It has been a month now with the "Shelter-in-place" and my work has evolved into 7 days a week. I have been recently lax with my meditation and other self coaching activities, so I will strengthen those first. I will force myself to take 2 days off a week from work.

I will not open my platform tomorrow. If I open my platform next week it will be SIM only. If I don't see any improvement I may be in SIM for the rest of the month. I don't usually journal my SIM trades on line so you won't be seeing much of me in the near future.

Good luck to everyone. Trade safe. Stay safe.

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My summary of my second year of trading live.

If I sum up my two years of live trading, it would be the surprising path of self-improvement that day trading instigates. Day trading, especially at the open, is an effective and sometimes harsh vehicle to face all your fears and unproductive habits. All the layers of checks and balances that you have developed over the years to counteract personality flaws no longer work. Trading is too fast, too fierce, it pierces through the mental defenses because the decisions are instant. So as both Mark Douglas and Dr. Steenbarger state in their books, you must improve yourself to improve in trading.

In case you don’t want to read my whole post I have tabulated the differences between my first and second year. Then I explain in more detail below.

 

1st Year

 

2nd year

Profitability

Break Even

 

Profitable

Common Setups

1/5min ORB - break out from levels

 

15 sec and 1min ORBs. Fallen Angels

Key trading parameters

Candles, (Daily+PM) levels, MAs and T/S

 

Price action, candles, volume and L2

Office setup

Laptop with two external monitors. Stand up desk

 

Laptop with two external monitors. Stand up desk

DAS Setup

Two montages, four 1min charts hotkeys by shares size

 

One montage, six 1min charts and hotkeys by risk size

Stops

Manual

 

Hard stops

Bias

None

 

Long

Broker

CMEG/Centerpoint

 

IB

Chat

Always on

 

Turn on for PM show and turn off a few seconds before the open

Journal

Online on the BBT website. Heavy data mining for improvements

 

Private and now video with hand written journal. Some minor data mining.

Study

13 hours a week outside of markets, training and studying. Recaps, reading and SIM.

 

10 hours a week and most of it Futures and psychology.

Max loss

Did not hit max loss for the last 9 months of the first year.

 

Max loss is hit about 3 times a month.

Exercise

Run 3 times a week and walk 4 times a week.

 

Run 7 days a week.

Meditation

10 to 20 min a day

 

10 to 20 min a day

Stress

High stress before the market open then heart pounding until I stop trading for the day.

 

Mild stress before and during the open with occasional stress increase on certain trades.

Luck

Hotkey and other mistakes always go against me

 

I get some lucky breaks sometimes.

 

So for profitability I lost money my first 3 months live, then was break even the next eight. Finally, my last month of my first year I was profitable. My second year I have been profitable 11 out of 12 months reaching my 20R/month goal five times. My setups haven’t changed that much, but the indicators I use have changed. My first year I was heavy into breakouts of daily/PM levels now I am more into price movement and volume. So my first year I could explain all the specifics why I took a trade. My second year the trade setups are more difficult to explain. Things like, “I just felt the way the price was moving it looked like it was going to pop.” Not helpful when you are mining your journal for consistency.

I have kept to two computer monitors the whole two years. Since I trade the open I need to keep my attention focused. Data overload is easy and I will miss the move. This year I even lowered to one montage to help me focus on one trade at a time.

It sometimes feels I took a step back with my stops. My first year it was all manual stops, now it is all hard stops. I was always hoping, with the manual stops, as I get better I would start to exit before my stop when I see the trade going bad. That skill never materialized. Instead I wasted lots of mental energy keeping to my stops without any benefit. So I switched to placing a stop order right after I enter the trade.

My first year I tried two different brokers. First I tried CMEG which took quite an effort to open an account. The killer was the $3 price tag on every ticket. Since my risk per trade was low at the time and I take too many partials, I would have good trades that I would not net any profit. After a few months I switched to Centerpoint when BBT had a deal on 35 cents per ticket. But my fills were so bad I was unable to trade the open. When I discussed it with the broker they suggested I switch to a different (faster) route which cost $1 a ticket. The fills were OK but not impressive. Then the shorts availability was REALLY bad and they were known for having the best shorts availability. They would split their shorts into easy and hard categories. The easy short list you can just short. The hard to short list stocks you would have to use their app to find shares. This app, besides costing more money than their commissions, would take too long to use at the open. I usually like a list of 6 stocks on my watch list. But the whole time I was with Centerpoint half my watchlist would not have shorts, while I see Carlos have shorts most of the time. The final straw was due to the unreliability of their max loss risk setting. It would only sometimes work. When a stock spikes down for an instant and touches my max loss the risk controls would work too well and liquidate my position and lock me out. But when I was stuck in a trade that even the panic button could not get me out of I thought I was safe because the risk controls would save me. But when I called the broker to get me out of the trade they informed me it was already three times my max loss and they do not know why the risk controls failed. Then I finally switched to IB and have been quite happy with them.

My first year I would have the chat on as I traded. But I found myself with terrible FOMO hearing better trades being taken. Now I listen to the PM show and turn off the chat seconds before the open. This has improved my trading. My journaling has sure changed from year one to two. The first year I journalled on the BBT website, which you can see from the previous posts. My second year I record all my trades and watch them later. Then by hand I journal my notes. I find hand writing the notes goes into memory better. I use to study a bit more my first year, trading on SIM, reading tech books, watching recaps, reading other BBT journals and reading trading psychology books. My second year I watch and trade SIM on Futures trading and read self-improvement books. I still meditate the same amount but I have moved to more intensive exercise.

I went 9 months, in my first year, without hitting my max loss. I was proud of my discipline. But now I do try and trade if I am in a deficient. Most of the time I do dig my way out. About 3 times a month I don’t and hit max loss. I am getting better about the max loss. In general my stress levels have gone way down as I trade. My first year my heart would pound at the open even though my risk per trade was quite low. Now I am more excited at the open and only stressed once in a while.

My luck has changed. Hotkey mistakes and bad fills ALWAYS went against me my first year. Now I get some lucky breaks sometimes. So myself destructive behavior may be decreasing. Here is my thoughts on luck:

I met one of the luckiest people and worked with him in graduate school then the corporate world for about 12 years. It’s amazing how luck is always on his side and he always makes the assumption that luck will be on his side. After 12 years I see how it actually works. It’s two major traits. One there must be dozens (or more) little decisions made every day that are very binary. He will always lean to making the decision that may bring something positive, though the odds are very small. I will tend to do the opposite and make decisions that may cause something negative to happen. After say a week, a few hundred of these choices have occurred. One or two pan out or a combo of several and something reasonable go his way and the opposite for me. Since it is impossible to follow the repercussions of all these choices, it looks like good or bad luck.

The second trait is an open mind to different possibilities. If you think that something positive may happen, when an opportunity, though it may be outside the box, crosses your path, he would see it and act. I would be close minded and not see it. There is actually some data for this. I once read about an experiment where volunteers were gathered. One set of people considered themselves usually the lucky type and the second group considered themselves unlucky. Everyone was given a newspaper and asked to count the number of pictures in the newspaper. The unlucky group usually took 2 or 3 minutes to count all the pictures. The lucky group usually took around 10 seconds. Because the lucky group all noticed a big sign on page two stating, “there are 46 pictures in the newspaper.” The unlucky group were focused on just looking for pictures and never noticed the sign. You can imagine how that applies to day trading. 

 

The final thing that made me profitable? This is the change that finally placed me into profitability for ORBs. Add a few cents to your stop. I kept missing huge runs by the price dropping and taking me out by a penny or two and going for a 10R run. I kept telling myself it was a coincidence there isn't an algo going to my stop and taking me out. But after a 100 or so times I realize that is exactly what the algo is doing. Because I have set my stop in the same place as the other 10,000 or so retailers. So we all can be taken out at the same penny or two because we all chose to have our stop 5 cents below VWAP or something like that. So I added a couple of cents to my hot key. I still choose the same stop as always but my hot key makes the stop a couple of pennies deeper. Same for my B/E stop key I added a couple of cents. Now, at least half the time, the price drops just misses my stop and the stock takes me with it on its big run.

 

I spent the first year reading trading books and stock trading books. I remember when I read in Douglas/Steebarger’s books about needing to improve yourself if you want to improve your trading. I thought that’s fine, so how do I do that. All the trading psychology books give you details on how to improve your trading and the need to go deeper, but they would never say how. All the books seemed to discuss how to fine tune your psychology. They were very good, but didn’t help. What about me who needs a complete overhaul? So I tried paying a course from the Van Tharp Institute. This is a trading school, that is on the pricey side but very good. Van Tharp actually has a list of 40 trading rules that I recommend reviewing. I posted them here: https://forums.bearbulltraders.com/topic/2199-tharp-think-principles-for-trading/?tab=comments#comment-16787So I paid for one of their self-study courses. I posted the work I did here:

https://forums.bearbulltraders.com/topic/1286-van-tharp-institute-peak-performance-course-for-traders-my-journey-through-the-course/?tab=comments#comment-8893It was a lot of work and I only found a few things useful, which I will list here. First, the most common trait they have found in successful traders is that they exercise four or more hours a week. Second, I took a test to see if I have enough avenues to decrease stress in my life that it was safe for me to day trade. I failed so badly that my score wasn’t even on their charts. And finally they recommended listening to the book The Secret.

 

Forgetting about the mysticism or trendiness of The Secret I found two things very useful from the book. First, how to correctly be positive. I know that a positive attitude helps, but you have to correctly be positive. For example I would say to my-self “I will not trade the premarket, I will not trade the premarket.” Well that is reinforcing the negative and making trading in the PM more likely. Instead saying, “I will have full control of my trading in the premarket,” is better but not quite there. The correct way is to be thankful that you already have full control of your trading in the PM. It is weird to be grateful of something you don’t already have, but this places your mind in the right state. How can you be self-destructive about PM trading if you already think you have control over it? The second useful thing from the book is it gave me a list of authors that I can look to for answers.

For some reason I shied away from the well known authors, assuming they were trendy and read quite a few of the less well known ones. Their books were good and they seemed like people I would respect, but none of them were useful. So I decided to try one of the more trendy authors, James Ray, and found his book very good. Not crazy he went to prison, so you really have to separate the message from the messenger. Though only some practical use, and too much mystic explanation, it did tell his journey how he found answers for himself. His interpretation on the Bible’s claim of a rich man going to heaven is like a camel passing through an eye of a needle was alone worth the read.

Then I continued to Jack Canfield’s book Success Principles. Because of his fame with the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I originally thought he was too trendy. This book was also very good and more practical. The I read the Unfu*k Yourself book. Another trendy book that is worth reading and some Tony Robbins stuff is very good and the most practical. Again due to his trendiness and tons of info commercials I originally shied away from him as well. Another good book is the Alchemist  which puts everything together in a fictional story.

 

So I still have a lot to learn, but now I have some knowledge of the improvement methods. I hope to start trading Futures live soon. I have been trading SIM for a few months now.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your trading and other pursuits.

Rob C

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I took my first live Futures day trade today (ES). Since there is no Futures section in the forums I thought I would post it here.

I studied Futures for 6 weeks then started "bar by bar" sim trading (stepping through time manually) for two months. Then I traded sim for 7 months. My first 3 months being terrible. Then went live today. I have been learning through the Day Trading Academy. So the setups you see me take were created by them.

There was no setup for about 20 minutes after the open so I was able to finish with my equities trading and focus on Futures. There was great momentum down from PM and I tried to short on a pull back but did not get filled. Then there was a failed break out where I got to excited and took the trade long before a HH confirmation. Luckily the market was kind enough to teach me a lesson by stopping me out to the tick.

Then I took a break out trade that worked OK but I did exit a bit early.

I hope everyone had a solid day trading.

Rob C

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Edited by Rob C

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Day 2 going live trading Futures (ES).

It's funny I watched the market from open to close and only made one trade (a loser). There were 3 other really good setups but they never gave me the entry I wanted.

There was good upward momentum at the open. I went long at the first pull back in hope the price will test the high of the day. Day trading Academy calls this a "Test Trade" and is the simplest setup to learn. After 5 minutes I pulled my stop up and was stopped out by a tick. But that is OK if I didn't pull my stop up I would have been stopped out 3 minutes later before the price shot up to my target.

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I hope everyone had a solid trading day.

Rob C

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Day 3 going live trading Futures (ES).

I took 4 trades today, which is a lot. I usually take 1 or 2 Futures trades a day.

Lots of upward momentum for almost two hours. Finally, a pullback around 11am EST and I tried to go long, but I had issues with my platform. Actually this was first time this has happen on Ninjatrader. It took almost 5 minutes to reset so I was a little late with my entry. I exited the trade on the early side for +3.25 points. The price made a new high and back tracked quickly. I went long with a break out trade that didn't move much so I exited at break even.

Later I tried a what The Day Trading Academy refers to as a Test-Retest trade. This is essentially a double top trade. I was immediately stopped out. After the stop I noticed there was a foreboding repeating pattern that I missed about 30 minutes before.

Then another break out trade. Essentially, it was a HOTD trade but entry on the pull back. This one worked but was way too early on the exit as each bar was making new highs. My nerves were definitely high today.

I hope everyone had a good day. Thanks for looking.

Rob C

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