Friday, December 30, 2011

Correlation was on vacation today

With the hindsight, it wasn't that much of a good idea to use spread trades exclusively today as the markets were anything but correlated. Maybe because today was the last trading day of the year. Or maybe because of some window dressing activities. Or both. Go figure. Anyway, the only trade that made me a profit was the long Dollar Index/short T-notes spread netting me a little bit more than $825. The other 2 spread trades I made were net losers. The long e-mini S&P/short euro spread lost me $740 which is not that bad compared to the long crude/short gold spread which buried me by approximately $2425. Net result for today -$2339 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below. Consolation: I ended the month of December with a surplus of +$6573 in my trading account. I will work hard to do better than that in January. Thanks for all your comments and Happy New Year 2012 to all!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A pretty good day to end (almost) 2011

Today, I decided to use spread trades instead of straight forward unidirectional trades. Judging by the results I got, I might do that more often from now on. My first spread trade was placed yesterday evening before going to bed and involved being short gold and long crude oil (using 3 contracts on each side). It turned out to be a pretty good decision as I ended up bagging a little more than $5k on that one. The other one, a calendar spread on natgas (long Feb/short March) was a lot less shiny. My strategy was to wait for the release of the EIA numbers at 10:30 and then if the price went down, get out of the short leg and stay long for the rest of the day. That's exactly what happened except that after I closed the short leg of the trade the price of natural gas kept falling down and I had to close the long leg at a substantial loss. Thanks to my gold/crude trade I had a comfortable buffer to absorb that loss. Net result for today +$3402 trading 3 contracts on average (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To stop the controversy about my crude oil trade

For those who think I'm a liar here's the screen capture of my Interactive Brokers account for today. You will see that I had a huge gain today. It compensates for the huge paper loss I had on Tuesday (too bad I don't have that screen capture). Needless to say that I'm not proud I took that much risk. Regarless of that big gain today, my trading account balance is only about $300 more than what it stood at last Friday. Maybe I'm a reckless gambler/trader like some people qualified me but certainly no liar. I hope this is clear now.

The reason why I didn't publish results yesterday

Yesterday, I didn't publish my trading results because I was still holding a sizable position in crude oil at the end of the pit session. 99% of the time I make sure I am flat at 2:30 PM. But yesterday was different. At one point I was down around -160 ticks on that short trade with 4 contracts. I was afraid that by publishing my results readers of this blog would think I had lost $4000, which I had on paper but not in reality. A trade is not over until it's over, right?. So, I didn't take a screen capture of my broker's platform and post it here like I do usually. FYI, the only trade (besides the one on crude oil) I took yesterday was a natgas long trade that ended up at +31.1 ticks. So that is basically the net result for yesterday +$311. Today, I did not trade. I just closed my crude oil short trade when the price dropped to my entry level of 100.07. So, I broke even on that one which is good considering the risk I took by doubling up to 4 contracts yesterday. Therefore there is no result to publish today either. I will be resuming trading tomorrow given a chance.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Low volume day typical of Holidays

To start let me wish you all a "ginormous" Merry Christmas! Hope Santa will bring you whatever it is that makes you feel happy. Today's low volume-low correlation environment was typical of Holidays trading. Personally, I only traded during the first hour and a half of the session this morning. I always prefer to limit my exposure when markets display low volume and do not correlate between each others as usual. So, I only did 2 trades. One on natgas and the other on t-notes. Both were small winners. Today was also the 7th consecutive winning day for me and, with only 3 trading days left in December, there is a possibility that I beat my record of 10 consecutive winning day. Not that it matters that much but it would certainly feel nice. I cross my fingers. Net result for today +$230 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Natgas was my biggest winner today

Some of the people that leave comments on this blog or on twitter/stocktwits on my trading have been "warning" me lately to stop trading natural gas presumably because it would "kill" me. Well, looking at the performance over the last 5 trading days, one has to realize that natgas has been one of the main contributors (with crude oil) to my positive bottom line. So, I'm not too sure what those warnings are all about but I certainly don't subscribe to them. In fact, I believe that to be consistent in trading, one has to diversify the type of commodities/futures contracts he trades. In November for example, t-notes were consistently winning therefore contributing to my bottom line. December is the exact opposite. T-notes have lost me money more often than not during this month. You see what I mean? I'll stick to my strategy of diversifying my financial instruments no matter how many "warnings" I receive. Nevertheless, I appreciate the challenge of point of view that they bring. Keep them coming please. Net result for today +$687 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A fifth consecutive winning trading day... yeah!

Although small in terms of net result, today was my 5th consecutive winning trading day. Last time I recorded the same kind of winning streak was around mid-October. Other than that I am afraid I have not much to report from my trades except maybe to say that most of my trading signals were weak today. Natgas could have been a big winner for me but, since I had put a "take profit" limit order in place when I initially entered the trade, I was stopped out prematurely with a tiny 15 ticks gain (at least that's a profit) when the market erupted on an aggressive short squeeze. The euro spent most of the pit trading session range bound inside the Initial Balance area therefore I didn't get any signal to enter. Overall I'm satisfied with the positive outcome of my day with a net result of +$133 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most of the action took place overnight

Today was kind of a non-event day in the sense that most of the action in the markets had already taken place during the overnight session. It was especially the case for the euro and crude oil markets. Since we are only a few days before Christmas, volume is low. Therefore, moves tend to be exaggerated normally in such an environment but this was certainly not the case today. All in all, not a very exciting day and nothing really special to report in this post. I nevertheless managed to end my day in the green for a 4th consecutive day. Net result for today +$475 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crude oil and natgas made my day today

Today, the most volatile commodities among the ones I trade on a regular basis were crude oil and natural gas. After registering a new year-to-date low around 3.050, natgas bounced back up en route for 3.120. Like I said last Friday, I believe natgas has bottomed for the rest of the winter. Oh, of course, we may experience a retest of today's low but I think that, if it happens, it will prove to be a bear trap more than anything else. I don't see it drop (and hold) below 3.000. Crude oil was its good ole self. Very volatile, very "fluid". A real treat for daytraders/scalpers. Euro and t-notes didn't have any detectable trend so I basically ended up breaking even on my trades on both. Net result for today's trades +$834 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Options expiration Friday... didn't trade much

I usually do not like to take too much risk on opex Friday because of the irrationalities often witnessed in the markets on that particular day. Correlations do not exist anymore and it is rather difficult for me to find my way in such an "anything-goes" type of environment. So I concentrated on natgas (again?) because my analysis was telling me that its very oversold condition could only lead to a bounce of some sort today. And I was right. So, other than this trade on natgas (and a less successful one on t-notes), it's been a pretty quiet trading session. I nevertheless managed to end my day in the green and keep my batting average above 80%. Net result +$531 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tried a calendar spread trade today on natgas for a change

Fed up of going in only one direction on natgas lately, I decided today to enter into a calendar spread prior to the release of the EIA injection/withdrawal numbers this morning. I was short January/long February contracts. After the release the market spiked up... and down within seconds so I wasn't really able to exploit discrepancies between prices during that short a time span. Nevertheless, after maybe a little more than 1 hour into the trade I finally closed the spread at a small profit. I may try this more often in the future and possibly with bigger size next time. I like the fact that the risk is relatively low on that type of transaction. My other trades today were pretty much "standard" short-term trend following as usual. All in all a trading day than ended in the green. Net result +$797 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gosh! Couldn't help it. Had to lose on natgas...

Today,  my stubbornness regarding the direction natural gas should have taken cost me dearly. Natgas is so oversold that I couldn't get myself to short it although, with the hindsight, it was the right (and should I add very profitable) thing to do. Well nobody is perfect, right? But I should know better. I've been there, done that and lost money in the past with that attitude. You see this is the one thing I still have to work on. When I am convinced that a particular financial instrument is very oversold/overbought, I have a hard time following the trend. If I were a position trader, I might get away with it most of the times, but as a day trader it's probably the surest way to lose tons of money. Overall, a day to forget but to learn from nevertheless. Net result -$691 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Fed leaves everything as it was - non event

There were a lot of expectations going into the FOMC meeting today but the mountain delivered a mouse so to speak. Most of the action on the market today was before the announcement and not after as it is often the case, although volatility was less than usual. All my trades were made before noon because I do not like being in the market (unless hedged) before the Fed's rate decision press conference. Other than that, I finally was able to make a couple of trades on the euro this morning. It had been a while since my last euro trade. I haven't felt comfortable with currencies lately especially because they have been powered by unpredictable political events/rumors more than anything else. Everything will eventually be back to "normal". The question is when. So, overall, a positive trading day. Net result +$730 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Started (finally) to trade 2 contracts at a time

Big stressing day today for me as I started trading TWO contracts at a time instead of just one on my intra-day trade signals. Well, it wasn't so bad after all except that at one point, on a crude long trade, I was down substantially and decided to double up on my position to average my entry price down. Risky and kind of a double edge sword but it turned out to be the right decision to make and that's all that matters. The rest of the day was pretty smooth as the markets started going nowhere (and slowly with that). Possibly already starting to anticipate the FOMC interest rate decision tomorrow. Speculation is going wild as to what the Fed will decide. QE or not? I don't think they will launch QE tomorrow but... we never know. All in all a relatively non-event trading day that ended up in the green. Net result +$584 trading 2 contracts (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A euro summit that turns out as a non-event

A lot of traders were expecting high volatility today on the markets because of the European summit. As it turned out, the Europeans did not announce anything new to save the euro (no surprise considering it is a hopeless situation), therefore the markets behaved... well, as usual, i.e. went up and down to close virtually at the same place than the days before. For a daytrader/scalper like me, this is not a bad trading environment. I managed to do pretty well on crude today while making sure to stay away from the euro. Natgas was the black sheep during this trading session. For the last couple of years, this commodity has been in one of the most impressive downtrend that I have witnessed in my 11 years plus of markets observation and trading. Wish I had shorted this little s.o.b back in June and sat on it until now. Sometimes I envy the position traders for the kind of return they can make over a few months. But... this is not my style. Ain't patient enough for that... too bad for me. Result for today +$471 trading 1 contract (net of commissions). BTW, thank you for your comments! For those who think I should be trading more contracts, I totally agree with you. I hope to be able to garner enough courage to increase my size soon (been burned so bad in the past that I'm still scared I guess - I'm no hero). Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today's spread trade: long gold/short euro

For those of you who have taken the habits of reading my posts, I apologize for not being able to publish during the last 2 days. I had to cope with a major tradestation computer breakdown. Now everything is finally back to normal with a brand new trading computer. Today, I did a spread trade buying gold and selling the euro simultaneously. I very rarely do spread trades but the opportunity was too tempting this morning and I couldn't resist. The outcome has been pretty good also, netting me roughly 30 ticks without taking too much risk really. Other than that, I did the usual t-notes and crude oil trades with pretty good results. But I wasn't able to get into any natgas trade today. Don't know why. I didn't feel it... and on top of that signals weren't very clear. Anyway, I had a pretty good day overall with a net result of +$1042 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today a natgas trade hit me on the head

It's very late and I'm back from the hospital. My mother had to go through an operation and I have been kind of worried all day because of that. But that's not the reason why I had negative results today. It has more to do with a natgas trade that went sour after (on a rare occasion) I doubled the size of my initial position to average down its price. It was a bad decision considering natural gas kept on going down without any sort of bounce up whatsoever. Thanks God I went short crude oil at a certain point and was able to reduce my loss to a manageable 49 ticks. In short, a day to re-learn to never average down again. Net result for today -$486 (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A NFP day that didn't produce a lot of momentum

Usually the first Friday of the month when the statistics regarding jobs creation and unemployment rate come out, they produce a lot of movement on the markets. But not today. Maybe because numbers came out pretty much as expected and, I should add, were basically pale in terms of impact compared to the blockbuster announcement of Central Banks coordinated intervention earlier this week. T-notes are so difficult to trade for me lately that sometimes I want to stop trading them. But just about a month or so ago, I was writing here on this blog that they were the most regular money making instrument for me. Conditions change quickly on the markets nowadays needless to say. So I will keep trading them for a little while still. I'll re-evaluate later. Net trading result for today +$268 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I was not able to concentrate on my trading today

Lots of things and distractions going around today in my trading office has resulted in a poor state of concentration on my part. Consequently, my entries were lousy and my exits even worse. In a sense, I am lucky to end up my day in a quasi breakeven situation. I should have probably avoided trading all together today but my "addiction" (sorry... passion) is too strong and even if conditions were not ideal I just couldn't stay away from my monitors. Tomorrow is NFP day, so a lot of action and chaos are to be expected on the markets. Therefore, caution will be the name of the game. Result for today -$95 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A day that really started on the wrong foot

Boy, what a day! Out of luck completely today. Not that luck can be counted on in trading, but usually you do not anticipate absolute bad luck either. This morning at exactly 07:59:52 AM, I entered in a long T-notes trade. At exactly 08:00:00, which is to say 8 seconds later, there was that news coming out of the blue on the wire about a coordinated Central Banks intervention to lower swap rates across the board, effective immediately. Boom! T-notes price dropped instantaneously by approximately 30 ticks, and never really recuperated. From that point I knew my day was pretty much screwed and that all I could possibly try to achieve for the rest of the day was to minimize losses. Needless to say that after such an electro-choc, markets were pretty chaotic and totally clueless in terms of direction. Therefore, I wasn't able to recuperate anything and recorded by biggest losing day in more than 3 months. One consolation: tomorrow cannot be worst from a "bad luck" point of view I am sure. Net result for today -$699 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The present volatility helps my trading results

Volatility can be a two-edge sword. It can mess up your results in a big way (not to mention your trading system rules) but it can also enhance them when you are on the right side of the equation. Today is a good example of what volatility can do for me sometimes (hope that it could do it all the time of I didn't do anything out of the ordinary today. I didn't stay longer in my positions. I wasn't more patient than usual, nor did I traded a bigger size. I just made the same old trades I do 95% of the time but my results are above average. The only explanation to this is volatility. It was good to have it on my side for most of the time today. But since this is not a factor that I can control, I still have to stick to my basic rules no matter how volatile a particular market can be. T-notes and the euro have been very difficult to trade lately. Maybe other traders have had more success with them but for me it's been nothing but a struggle to trade these. Better days will be back eventually. Markets are always changing. Net result for today +$746 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My only lost today is a trade made by mistake

I don't know what I was thinking about when I hit the sell button on the euro early this morning but it took me a little bit of time (maybe 15 minutes) to realize I had actually sold the e-mini S&P 500 Dec. contract instead of the euro. Realizing my mistake, I immediately closed the position at a loss and forgot about any euro trade for the rest of the day. It's always better and less costly to correct the mistake immediately than waiting/hoping for the unwanted trade to start making money before getting rid of it. Fortunately this was my only bad trade of the day. Crude and natgas more than compensated for my mistake on the ES producing together my biggest winning day on a net basis since early July 2011. A very good day indeed. Net result +$976 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A lot of hot air was blowing on the markets today

A post-Thanksgiving environment with shortened trading hours for a second consecutive day brought a lot of what I call hot air on the markets. I mean by that when commodities inflate quickly to deflate as rapidly. Some traders like that kind of environment, but not me. Last couple of days were rather uneasy for my style of trading, particularly coming from the Treasuries market which clobbered me almost all week. Hope for the return of some normality on Monday. Maybe I'm just tired too. This happens sometimes when some kind of a mental fatigue takes hold of you (me). T.G.I.F.! Net result for today +$133 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below. Take care!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I should have stayed on the sidelines today

When there is a shortened trading day like we had today for Thanksgiving, you can either have a very interesting trading session (maybe because nobody really expects it) or a dud. Today was kind of a mix of all that where we had a yawner for the first 2-3 hours and then the markets woke up suddenly towards the end and started doing something. Unfortunately for me I got trapped in the middle of this environment and was "surprised" by the sudden move. After that, I was never really able to turn things around in my favor due to the lack of time until the markets closed. Some days it really is better to stay on the sidelines than going in and lose simply because there's enough time left on the clock. Net result for today -$258 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Low volume = a lot of whipsaws

Typical low volume-lots of whipsaws pre-holiday trading day on the markets. I wasn't able to get any decent signals on the euro (again) and crude oil today but fortunately t-notes and natgas were there to compensate. As much as in the last couple of days I got hammered with bad t-notes trades, today it was the exact opposite as the Treasuries market was quite favorable to my trading style. Because of Thanksgiving tomorrow, the weekly EIA injection numbers for natural gas (normally on Thursdays) were released at noon today bringing with them instant high volatility on that market. I was fortunate enough to catch a ride on the way up, scalping some precious ticks all within a couple of minutes. Right after that markets started to hit the snooze button and I was done for the day. Net result +$289 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What a difference a day make...

As usual, not much time to write on my blog, so I'll be brief again. Today was basically the exact opposite of yesterday's monster volatility day. Maybe because it was a pre-holiday trading day, traders were thinking more about tomorrow's turkey than markets, I can't say. The euro market for one was a real snoozer. I never got an entry signal, so I just didn't trade it. The crude oil market has been good to me lately and today was no exception, with nice orderly up and down movements. Really nice and, should I say, easy. Can't say that about the Treasuries market that is just awful right now. No direction, no conviction and... manipulation by the Fed. It's been a losing proposition for me since the beginning of the week. It'll come back to "normal" eventually, but when? OK, that's it, no more time to blog. Net result for today +$283 (trading 1 contract, commissions included). Details below.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A little too much volatility for me today

Another day of low volume/high volatility on the markets. I guess I better get use to it, and adapt, since it looks like it has become the new normal. And adapt I did. So, for me it's been a day of spread trades again because I definitely prefer to lower my risk when markets conditions are unpredictable like that and spread trades are the only way I know to achieve that, besides of course staying on the sidelines. So, I was successively, long crude/short euro, long January natgas/short December natgas and long t-notes. The end result was not bad at all considering what it could have been had I decided to go all in in a particular direction (and proven wrong) in such a volatile environment. So, one more day in the green with net result of +$495 on the basis of 1 contract traded (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another spread trades day

Definitely, spread trades have been more and more useful and profitable under the recent market conditions than I first expected. We are not talking about mega profitability here but at least the risk is more under control than when you are outright long or short a particular futures contract.When you use unidirectional trades, you absolutely have to be right about market direction in order to make money. In a spread trade, the risk of error is still there but if you know what to look for as entry setup and are able to time your entry, well you do not have to be right immediately. You have the luxury to wait for the "natural" imbalances of the markets you spread trade to right themselves (they will eventually but sometimes not for long) and close your entire spread trade at a profit. I think that I will make this strategy a central part of my play book in the coming weeks, at least until the chaotic market conditions that we experience now become a little bit more normal. Net result for today +$253 trading 1 contract commissions included. Details below. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Natural gas saved my day... or the power of diversification

If it wasn't for a very profitable natgas long position (btw that I opened seconds before the release of the weekly EIA injections number. Call me lucky here.), I would have ended up my day of work in the red. Almost all of the other transactions I made were losers. This, I believe, illustrates the importance of diversification when trading for a living. I know some people will disagree with me on that saying that specialization in one particular market is more profitable, but from my experience it certainly wasn't. Each trader is of course unique and operates more efficiently I am sure when adopting a style that suits his/her personality. Mine is "diversify and you will win more constantly". Sometimes, I have to admit, a little luck is helpful. But this aspect of trading probably evens out over a certain period of time. So, all-in-all, another winning day with a net result of +$300 (trading 1 contract, commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A lousy whipsaw Wednesday

With the exception of crude oil (which swift upward drive at the beginning of the pit session I missed), the other instruments I trade did not really go anywhere today (especially t-notes). They just went up and down in a disorderly fashion that is kind of difficult (and boring may I add) to trade. Natural gas has been on such on depressed state of mind lately that every time you believe it is done falling, well it falls even more. Wish I had shorted that little s.o.b. back in June. This is starting to look as the short trade of the decade. If this goes on, soon they will pay you to accept delivery of the stuff. It's really a truly undervalued commodity imo, but visibly the market hasn't noticed yet. It will in time for sure. Hope I'll have the guts to back up the truck when that time comes around. Overall a yawner type of day for me. Net result: +$96 trading 1 contract commissions included. Details below.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A doubling up on natgas that paid off

Not much time to blog today as I am already late for a late afternoon appointment. Today, I came back to my usual 4 futures contracts and had pretty good results overall. Natural gas has kept going down lately but I am convinced that it will rally over the next 2-3 weeks. It almost always goes up during the last 2 weeks of November and I feel this year won't be any different. That's why when it came down again this morning I doubled up on my initial position and exited with a nice profit. Since I'm a daytrader I do not keep positions overnight otherwise I would have held on to it. For me over the next 2 weeks it's going to be a "buy any dip" type of trading strategy with natty. I did not get any good setup on the euro today so I didn't trade it. That's about all I can think of right now so here are the net result for today's trading: +$552 commissions included. Details below.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trading different financial instruments sometimes

Today, I traded several different financial instruments because they seemed to offer more potential than my usual 4 futures contracts. I particularly liked the spread trade involving corn and wheat. Normally, wheat sells at a premium over corn. Today, it was the opposite, so it gave me an opportunity to enter long wheat/short corn. I did not want to wait too long before closing that spread trade cause, hey, we never know. The other trades were pretty much breakeven trades, so not much to say about them. I was kind of busy today with other things so i didn't want to spend too much time in the markets. Tomorrow will be business as usual. Net result for today +$152 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A tiny losing day because of a second spread trade gone bad

When I am not sure of the market's likely direction on any given day, I should refrain from trading. In fact, this is what I normally do. But lately in a futile effort to outsmart the markets, I have started using spread trades in these situations. If well executed, a spread trade does not represent the same degree of risk than a straight forward regular unidirectional trade. Sometimes you can even be wrong on the main direction of your spread and still make money (obviously a less frequent occurrence, but still). Well today for me it was more in line with statistics and my short euro/long crude spread trade never really took off. I had been patient enough (I think) to wait for the right setup before initiating it but the euro at one point went through the roof and, frankly, I wasn't expecting it to go that way that fast today. Too bad to end the week on a reddish note but that's the way it is in the wonderful world of trading. Net result for today: -$48 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A spread trade that did not turn in my favor in the end

After carefully analysing both the crude oil and euro markets early in the morning (at least I thought I had done a good job at that point), I decided today to enter into a spread trade where I was long euro and short crude. I rarely take those kind of positions because I find the timing of the entry to be a delicate operation of "guessing". But from my earlier analysis things looked particularly good today for a spread trade. At the beginning of the position being put on, everything seemed to work just as planned. But it did not stay like that passed the first hour. The problem was mainly due to crude which keeps trending up on vapor thin volume these days. Probably because of the Iran-Israel potential conflict, but who knows really? Anyway, I had to close my spread trade at a loss towards the end of the day cause I didn't feel like carrying it overnight. Thanks God I had other winning trades to compensate and I ended up my day in the green. Net result for today: +$288 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A good, volatile day of trading, especially on crude oil

Thanks to crude oil's incredible volatility, today was one of my best trading days in about a month and a half. It is difficult to explain why there was so much volatility on the markets but, in general, for a daytrader/scalper like me, it is generally very profitable to trade under that kind of market condition. I had problems only with natgas and the euro, but for the same volatility reason. So this can be a factor both ways in your trading  if you see what I mean. In short, a very good day for me. Net result for today: +$606 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rumors aside, there was nothing to stimulate the markets today

Besides rumors coming out of Europe, more specifically out of Italy, today was very light in terms of economic news, at least concerning the markets that I trade. So, as is often the case in such a context, markets were more or less drifting in search of meaning and direction. I kind of like to trade under those conditions because I find it is easier to anticipate support/resistance areas that are likely to hold. You trade the range so to speak. Opportunities maybe rare in such a low volatility context but risk is low too. All-in-all, a good day for me. So here is the net result for today: +$340 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nothing was going smoothly today... hey, it happens

Nothing came easy today with my trading as the many whipsaws in the markets were stopping me from doing any real progress in positive territory. Especially, the t-notes and euro markets were particularly indecisive today as my results can attest. It was one of those days were you are always fighting, so to speak, to come back from losses. At the end of the day, the markets won and I lost. Since it is only my third losing day in the last 18 trading days, I have nothing to complain about. Tomorrow should be better as usually after a whipsaw kind of day the markets tend to trend more decisively. We'll see. So, results for today -$318 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Post-NFP trading: a slow day at the races

Every month when NFP day arrives, I always ask myself if I am going to trade or stay on the sidelines. The reason being that on those specific days, the markets tend to be highly irrational prior to the announcement and sometimes as much as a couple of hours after the release. Well, today was worst in my opinion cause it took until lunch time before the markets that I trade started behaving more "normally" (granted such a state exist). Some traders like to trade those yo-yo like markets but me it makes my head spin. So, I got involved but kept my stops tight, head cold, and ended up in positive territory at the end of the day. That's all that matters for me. So here is the net result for today: +$224 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below. Have a good weekend!

P.S. some people have asked me why I keep writing "trading 1 contract..." after my results. Well it's to show that consistency in trading is more important imho than anything else. Once you're consistent enough, you just trade bigger in terms of contracts and multiply by 2, 3 or 4 your daily results without changing anything to your trading style.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nothing special to report... except profits

Most of my trading today was done in the morning, as it is more and more the case lately. T-notes and crude oil trades were the most predictable again as opposed to euro and natural gas. One has to admit that the euro has become of late prisonner of politicians' hidden agenda and is more than ever prone to mainstream medias manipulation. In short, it is not easy to trade solely on a technical analysis basis. I have to use my "intuition" more and more and I don't like that very much. Concerning natural gas, we had today the weekly release of the EIA injections number, that incidently came on the bearish side. So every Thursday it's kind of rock'n roll on this market. I got caught the wrong way a couple of times with natty but managed to escape with little damage. So for today, net results of +$376 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A breakeven day

It hasn't been a very interesting day to trade for me today with the FOMC meeting looming on the markets for most of the day. My main loser was a t-notes trade that I took early this morning and for which I was up 12 ticks at one point but neglected to close. These are the kind of mistakes that are easy to make especially when the market is not moving very much in anticipation of a news to be announced that, when finally release, doesn't produce any significant effect. Tomorrow should bring some volatility because the markets will try to anticipate the employment numbers to be announceed on Friday. Net result -$13 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How a good trading day can be spoiled by a bad trade

Lately, it seems that I'm always on the wrong side of the trade when it comes to natural gas. Maybe not always on the wrong side, but these trades are laborious more often than not to say the least. At one point today I was up over 70 ticks but then I entered this stupid trade on natural gas visibly right on time to see it turn against me. In no time at all, my stop loss of 40 ticks was hit and even slipped a little bit. Sometimes, it is difficult as a trader to rely solely on technicals when your knowledge of fundamentals are in contradiction with what you see on the chart. This was one of those cases where I was right fundamentally but wrong technically in terms of my timing. Anyway, I managed to end up my trading day on the positive side with a net results of +$303 trading 1 contract (commissions included). Details below.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A lot of movement today but with no direction

It was not an easy day to trade today mostly because the markets were in movement for sure but didn't know really (nor were they sure) where they were going. In such an environment, I found a long time ago (the hard way of course) it is safer to be in and out of positions quickly. I mean like staying in the market only for a few minutes (5, 10, 20) at a time. This tends to work well for me usually. That was pretty much the case again today except on the euro where I went long initially, then reversed short because the market was going against me, to finally exit at a loss because it was again going against me. Eventually that flip flop game would have paid off but I wasn't ready to get back in on the euro anymore at that point.

One person commented on Friday on this blog that I could possibly explain my trades in more details to enable some readers to learn. It is a good suggestion and I will try to do that more often in the future, although I have very little time to devote to this blog which is used more as a scorecard by me and people that could find here an interest in keeping up to date with my real trading results. Speaking of results, here they are for today: +$208 (commissions included) trading 1 contract. Details in picture below.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A good (but not glorious) trading day in the markets

I usually like to take it off early on Fridays because, well, it's Friday! Also, over the years I've noticed that once we hit the 11:00-11:30 AM mark, things go either wild or directionless, so there's not much sense for me sitting there waiting for something logical to happen. I had many good trades today but natural gas was the black sheep of the herd. It refused to come down as I expected it would/could. Well you can't win them all as we say. If all of my trade decisions had been winners since I started trading I would probably be richer than Georges Soros. But it's not the case. Making a decent living doing something I like above all may in fact be the most precious win. Net result for today trading 1 contract and including commissions: +$282. Details below.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10-year notes were the most predictable again today

Among the 4 financial instruments I trade every day, I must admit that Treasury notes are the most predictable to trade. Not that they are "sure" winners every day, but compared to the wild gyrations of crude oil, natgas or the euro, they're a little bit easier on the trader if you see what I mean. Today was no exception to the rule. The easiest trade contest was again won hands down by t-notes. As for the others, I had all sorts of roller-coaster rides with each and every one of them. Anyway, what's important in fine is that I had a positive trading day. Net result today trading 1 contract (including commissions) is +$266. Details in the picture below.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A day of ups and downs that ended nicely

Boy, what a difficult trading day that was. The morning session was just awful with lots of bad trades. At one point I thought I was going to call it quit for the day. But discipline, patience, perseverance and the ability to cut losses early have to be the trader's best arsenal. To keep doing what one is used to do every day no matter the outcome is really the key to successful trading imho. But like anything else it is easier said than done. Anyway, I am glad this one is over. Result for today +$435 trading one contract.

P.S.: tomorrow I will not be able to trade because of some appointments, so there will be no post. Back on Wednesday.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A small losing day because of a... forgotten trade

Something special happened today that had not happened to me in a long time. I blew most of my profits, and even a little bit more, because of a trade that I completly forgot I had. In fact, I thought I had closed it earlier before leaving my desk but obviously something wrong happened, maybe I didn't click properly on the buy button or something else but, anyway, the reality is that this short natgas trade sat there unattended for at least a couple of hours while I was busy preparing to drop my wife at the airport. Of course during that time the market went against my position (no luck here folks). Moral of the story: trading is a high risk activity and anything can happen when you indulged in that activity; good and bad. It's unfortunate because I had had a perfect day until that mistake. Net result: - $123 (trading 1 contract). Detail below.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A very high volatility day on the markets

What would best characterized the way markets were today is high volatility. Generally, it's a good environment for daytrader like me. But when its TOO volatile, its gets very risky to trade. The morning session was not as volatile so that's when most of my 9 trades were executed. The afternoon was wild and not suited for a conservative guy like me. Anyway, I am experienced enough now to know when to trade and when to be careful. All in all it was a good trading day with substantial profits. Results: +$489 (trading 1 contract). Details in pic below.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A losing day because of a couple of bad crude oil trades

Not much to say for today's trading results except that I got caught wrong footed on 2 specific crude oil trades. One came right before the release of the inventories numbers at 10:30 AM and the other one right after. I normally have a certain success trading those crude news announcements but that was obviously not the case today. After the losses, my objective was to recuperate as much from my losses as reasonably possible doing other trades, which I achieved up to a certain point. All in all, it was one of these days where you swim against the tide all day long. Results for today: -$642 (1 contract per trade). Tomorrow should be better. Details below.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More trend and volatility today on the markets

I had quite a few more opportunities to enter the markets in both up and down direction today mostly because we finally got a day where trend and volatility were back, at least in the morning session. Crude and natural gas were more active than the euro and t-notes markets as I ended up making 3 trades in each market. At one point during the trading session I was up more than 60 ticks net profits. Unfortunately, my second natgas trade went sour forcing me to reverse and lose roughly 24 ticks on the operation. My t-notes trades were also losers but to a lesser extent. All in all, not that bad of a trading day with a 34.5 ticks net profit result or +$345 (on a 1 contract per trade basis). Details below.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A good fishing trip... but could have been better

It seemed to me today that I spent most of my time fishing for either higher or lower prices through the use of buy/sell limit orders. Market orders were not on the menu du jour so to speak. That was that kind of day (for the instruments I trade at least) where markets lack conviction and do not commit to a specific direction or trend (see here for an example of a normal day distribution on crude). I found a long time ago that when in an environment like this, one is better off using well calibrated limit orders than to respond to trend following signals with market orders. But, from time to time, you miss good trades waiting for a specific price with a limit order, like the one that passed under my nose on t-notes by 2 ticks and, as it turned out, would have been a huge winner. Better luck next time. Today's net result (using 1 contract): +$417. Details below.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Slow grinding day

It seemed today like most of the heavy-duty action had been done during the overnight session, particularly on crude oil which ended up closing 3% higher than yesterday. I had a couple of good trades on it during the pit session. In fact, that's where virtually all of my profits come from today. The euro, which hasn't been kind to me lately, didn't provide me with any good real setup to trade today. So, I didn't trade it. My only 10-year notes trade went nowhere fast and turned out to be my losing trade of the day. Finally, I took 3 trades in natural gas. They were all small winners. For two of them, it would have been more profitable for me to show a little bit more patience. Sometimes, it is only a matter of holding on to the trade 10 more minutes. Anyway, overall a reasonable Friday trading session. Net result today (trading 1 contract): +$368. Details below.