Thursday, November 17, 2011

An interesting SIM experience

A very interesting day, to say the least.  To begin, it was a day I probably shouldn't have traded due to a migraine headache, but it was mild enough for me to overlook some pain in order to experience my endless fascination with the markets. 

The bottom line end results don't reflect my true performance.  In general, there's much to feel positive about what I accomplished today.

Thursday, November 17
Total gross profits:  -$775.00 (see section below: "TradeStation's SIM was terrible today")
[SIM adjusted gross profits:  -$???.??] 
Total trades:  39
Accuracy:  44.7%
Contracts per trade: 1


Rough start
As I began the day, my plan was to scalp the day, and it didn't start off well, with a couple stop losses right away.  As I approached the $500 gross loss mark, I entered a short trade and realized that a call from Renato's DS alert was near the top of the downward trendline, which was also the top half of an intraday triangle.  Nice confluence of resistance.

Placed a trade and took a rest
Once the trade went in the money far enough for me to move the stop close to b/e, I took a break to rest.  Since I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone, my profit target was set to the lows of the day, which at the time was 1220.  So in some ways, you can say I broke my rules of not getting out with a +2.00 scalp profit target.  Maybe I went rogue, or maybe not?  This was an instance where I felt strong enough with the trade to walk away and let it run.

A nice surprise when I returned
When I returned, it was nice to see that I was up around +8.00 ES points.  And although it had broken out of the bottom of the triangle, there appeared to be good support right under the breakout of the triangle, so I booked the profits and went long.

After a few losses in a row trying to go long (i.e. going against the trend!) and and seeing that my my original profit target was eventually hit (which means I should have rested and stayed away longer!), I realized the trend was down.  No more mistakes like the prior few days, so I entered a short trade based on a DS level and let it ride for another +6.00 trade.

Nice recovery
With that trade and a few others, I went from a -$500 day, to a +$200 (gross, non-SIM adjusted) day based on 1 contract.  Not a bad +$700 (+14 ES points) swing, especially since I was feeling crummy and the markets were quite difficult to trade.  I felt I got some redemption, since unlike the other day, I was able to stop catching falling knives and traded with the trend.  A thought crossed my mind that I should stop for the day here, and be happy.

Shouda quit...but did I?
I couldn't stay away.  And from that point on, things got weird.  Maybe due to the trading volume, but my TradeStation SIM account started to freeze up when a stop market or a market order was placed.  The charts and data feed continued to operate as normal, but I'd have to imagine that TradeStation doesn't allocate much resources to their SIM order servers. 

TradeStation's SIM was terrible today
Confirmations were taking 15 seconds up to a minute or more.  I would watch my stop loss orders get hit, and filled at prices up to 4.50 points away (NOT ticks)!  Granted, I did get a few fills where I got 1 or 2 ticks in my favor, but those were rare.

And what really confused TradeStation was when my stop was hit (but pending and not filled), and when I entered a new position a few points away.  There were then 2 orders floating and getting queued up.

For example: Instead of properly executing the stop loss first at b/e, and then executing the new entry, TradeStation processed my 2nd order first, and essentially let the first order get rejected or processed at a price a significant distance away from the stop price.

In other words, my fills became a total mess.

A WTF moment!
As the SIM fill confirmations continued to take longer, there was once instance where I deliberately entered 3 orders with brackets (OCO profit and loss orders) in relatively close proximity, waited a few minutes while the orders were pending, and ended up with over a $300 loss!  Yes, it was a WTF moment.

So after my "nice recovery" morning, the afternoon was a completely different story.  Based on a combination of a less than perfect SIM order execution, and then my "let's try and break the F'in SIM" attitude, I ended the day with a -$775.00 gross loss. 

As the SIM order system really started to freeze up and snafu the orders, my last 3 trades of the day within a 20 minute period accounted for an amazing -$600.00 against my P&L!  This better NOT happen when I'm trading my live account.

So there is no need to even make any SIM adjustments today, since most of the stop and market orders in the afternoon had unrealistic slippage of considerable amounts.  In normal market conditions, how often would you get a 4.50 point slippage?

What went well?
  • Even when I had a large drawdown today, I never gave up.  As I have done more often than not in the past, I recovered from a large deficits.  The more I do this, the more confidence I gain.  But I'd rather be trading from the position of having a large profit!
  • I identified the trend and utilized the DS levels to identify entry points that kept me trading scalps in the direction of the trend. 
  • I did fade the trend if there were many confluences that indicated a significant high or low was in place (shorting the top of the triangle is one example from today), and let them run beyond the usual +2 ES points.  But I have to be careful that I'm not doing selective rogue trading on a whim. 
    • I've noticed that many of the big runners take place on contra-trend trades that are near the highs or lows of the day, and also near other significant levels.  
    • This is something I will continue to analyze and refine in order to help understand when to let a trade run (it'll be much easier once I start trading enough contracts to scale out on all trades).
These markets are no where as easy as what I experienced in early October, but I welcome these adverse conditions.  Bring it all on now, both good and bad, especially while I'm on SIM.  This way, I'll be better prepared to handle what the markets will throw at me once I'm trading live.  Let's go.


Technology Consultant said...

Hope this downturn & volatility ends soon in the markets.

Tomross58 said...

Hey Grove,,,
I also experienced some sim 'slippage" or terrible fills and that can really throw a person off. We are getting our education in very tricky times but its the market we have and we have to be ready to adapt.
The DS is sinking in more and more everyday and also helps keeping me focused on my charts and levels.


Anonymous said...

Tradestation sim has been terrible for months. They keep saying they are "working on it", but months later it appears they just don't care.

Grove Under said...


Thanks for the feedback. At least I now know it's not an issue with something on my end. For a while, I thought maybe it was my PC or something.

I can see why TradeStation doesn't really care about "fixing" the problem, since they don't make any money on SIM transactions.

However, I'm sure they realize that there's a cost/benefit tradeoff -- this issue causes a big perception problem for a select few users, who may then end up moving their accounts somewhere else due to the perceived inadequacy (justified or not) of their system (I'm in that camp).