[EDIT 11/16/2011: Follow-up to this post here]
One of the challenges I've had when trying to define and clearly
articulate my best trades is, well, I haven't had enough of them under the circumstances.
Since I'm still in the early stages of learning the Diamond Setups
methodology, my experience was generally "given fish while learning
to fish" during the first month, and that sure turned out to be quite a solid month that didn't seem real.
Even if I were to look at back at my most profitable trades in that first month, I wouldn't have been able to tell you why
I took it, except for the fact that Renato gave an alert and I entered
the order (and it usually made money). As great as it is to make
money that way, I have an even more intense desire to be able to trade based on
my own independent analysis. So that's what's great about Renato's
program -- he has no problems teaching you to how to fish based on everything he knows, and he does a very good job at it.
When I started to try and "fish on my own" after 3 weeks of starting the DS program, things got a bit stale for a week, then a bit rocky, and finally I had the big meltdown(s) just as I started to trade live. But upon reflection, I did learn and study what worked well for me, even as the red ink was spilling everywhere.
One of the "lightbulbs" during those dark times is so simple
and something that I already written about it in the past. How to save your emotional capital....simple,
don't fight the trend! Since the aggressive trading method I use generally
goes for +2.00 profits, knowing the trend will help me ride the wave
instead of against it, so that I can get that little extra "umphhh" to
carry me to the finish line. Every little bit of help counts.
Determining the trend
There are many ways to determine the trend, whether it's by trendline,
moving averages, chart patterns, etc. Like anything else in trading,
there's no right or wrong way -- just a way that suits your personal
preferences, each with their pros and cons. I'm using a method that I
learned many years ago, so it's something I feel comfortable with and
seems to work.
Assuming the trend is already up, I generally look for the swing low
that preceded the HOD or a critical swing high, and if that swing
low level is broken, then the trend will potentially change (possible chop zone), or the trend will change to down. And as long as new highs are created along
with higher swing lows, then the trend will remain up. And vice versa
Here's an example of how I calculated the trend today:
After reviewing my trades in the past, I've found that when I'm explicitly aware of the trend, AND I only look for quick scalp trades in the
direction of the trend, I usually do well.
Fight the trend and my
emotional and trading capital usual suffers. If I do end up trading against the
trend because of a strong signal, I'll usually be extra quick to take profits or to scratch the
trade. Very common sense -- this is not groundbreaking stuff by any
But it's so easy to get "stuck" or "out of sync" when trading a market
that is trending strongly, especially if you've had success selling the
highs and buying the lows during sideways or choppy markets. I've had
to snap myself out of trades recently -- exiting an against the trend trade early
just to prepare myself for the next trade that goes with
the trend. Those with the trend trades usually end up with working better and more quickly, just the way I like it!
* * * * *
Monday, November 14
Total gross profits: $337.50 +6.75/car
[SIM adjusted gross profits: $162.50] +3.25/car
Total trades: 11 [2 scratch, 2 loss]
Accuracy: 63.6% [scratch counted as loss]
Contracts per trade: 1
NOTES: I'm starting to think my SIM adjustments might be too
penalizing, but I'd rather have it this way vs. being surprised with my
results once I go live again. In essence, the trades I adjust down to
+2.00 ES points were +2.50 wins in SIM. So I have total confidence that
those trades would have been filled in real life.
Nearly all the trades today were prior to lunch. I got Costco on my
mind for whatever reason, and used that as an excuse to leave once the
markets started looking choppy as we headed into the lunch hour.
However, I came back to see that there was quite a strong move higher
while I was away.
There was a +2 opportunity during the lunch hour that I missed, as well
as another +2 opportunity in the afternoon where I brought in my stop a
little too soon. But all in all, today felt like a solid day mentally,
and I believe having a lunch break helped me to maintain my patience
in the afternoon.
The one full loss I had went against the trend, and not only that, it
was initiated based on a level that wasn't quite as significant as I had originally thought. But instead of scratching it or minimizing the loss once I
discovered my error, I decided to let it stop me out.