Tag Archives: FX

Trade 160413

Only just posting this trade from April and it’s now June… which goes to show how much time I am not devoting to this endeavor at the moment.

Complete stagnation may be something of an understatement but as previously mentioned this is mainly due to working a ridiculous amount.

So… this is probably my least stellar effort recently due to me having completely missed a key aspect of this ‘setup’ (which it isn’t really) or rather a key component in taking these types of trades so you don’t get your ass handed to you…

M5 EURUSD 160413

There’s way too much uncertainty here at this point to be trying to fade this move.

  1. Move up is +70 which isn’t generally enough to start trying to fade
  2. Not enough space/inefficiency from where I got in to the area shown in the rectangle
  3. Lack of contextual understanding… which I’ll explain below.

My observation is that multi-day ranges break from the opposite side… or to explain this another way… by the time you notice it’s in a range it’s time to start looking to buy at the BASE or sell at the TOP. I was out by about the 30 points out this cost me.

In this case I wasn’t paying a blind but of attention to the context of what I was doing.

M30 EURUSD 160413 context

The smart move would have been to sell later.

The smarter move was to actually get an idea of context and buy the retest @ 1.3110

Genius move? Buy the test of the low at 1.3030

I’ll settle for smart/patient at this point 😉

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Major Changes – Part 2 of 2

Okaaay… I’m feeling quite intimidated writing this post because somehow ‘Part 1’ generated 380+ page views and I’ve just gained my 200th follower on twitter. So no pressure there then!

Honestly I’m somewhat mystified by this (especially related to twitter) but never the less I really appreciate the interest, comments and support. Thanks 😀

You are all awesome.

—– At this point I paused to make tea and then got completely distracted by passiveaggressivenotes.com —–

and we’re back in the room…

Part 1 of this post closed with me making the point that to be truly successful you need to trade your own personality in the market.

You need to go through the process of breaking down what charts are telling you and then re-building a trading approach that you can connect with technically and emotionally.

I finally realised this in/around the same time as stumbling blindly across a Canadian trader called Chris Lori. Now I’m going to point out from the get-go that I’m not affiliated to Chris (or anyone) and what follows is my own entirely independent opinion.

I’m also going to stick my neck out a little and say that my intention is to get ridiculously good at this skill. If this wasn’t clear before from reading my blog it’s now in black and white. There’s a sector of my personality which doesn’t do half measures and it’s worth being aware of this in respect to the next part(s) below.

What I’ve not found anywhere is an explanation or framework for improving as a trader.

I know this may seem a little hard to believe but really, think about it for a moment… Who’s out there teaching the process of how to improve as a trader? How do you go about the process of learning without burning tons of cash? More importantly – How do you make sure that instead of learning at random what you’re gaining is targeted experience?

I feel compelled to make another ‘gym’ analogy here to help explain this last point…

In the last month it’s finally dawned on me that I need to slim down and change my body composition. I’ve lifted weights for years now but I’ve still got a bit of a spare tyre. Finally I’ve finally found out what to eat, the type, frequency and the amount of exercise I need to do. BUT I only discovered this after what’s essentially been years of random experimentation.

Just think about if I’d gone about trying different diets and workout routines in a structured manner? I’d have been there (where I want to be) years ago already. Guess what? It requires me to do exercises I dislike and to have way more self discipline – LOL

Now you need to follow me on this. The reason I flew all the way to Ft Lauderdale for a workshop was that Chris had put a slide up in a webinar that broke down the process of learning to trade in a extremely structured way. An outline that directly relates experience to feedback and building a discretionary trading model linked to ones own individual personality.

This is a scientific approach I can use!

I can teach myself to fish without having to radically re-shape my personality or to try to become something/someone I’m not. In addition this wasn’t based on indicators or even specific setups but more on an entirely price driven view of the market.

At this point readers who know about price action trading will assume I am talking about pin bars or specific candle patterns etc… or will think ‘yeah, I trade price action too…’

Nope, sorry. The point I’m going to really labor here is that most of the 4 day session was spent with Chris explaining the conceptual framework he’s built up about how price moves which is essentially irrelevant of the fact that you’ve got candle ‘x’ or shape ‘y’. This was all about what’s happening to price behind the fact that it’s represented by a candle which is linked to a time period. If you want to get more from this post then a good place to start is at Chris’s site where you can sign up to a whole bunch of very decent information/videos for free.

Other than that it’s worth pointing out that almost half of the 36(?) attendees had also previously been at one of his workshops. Some had paid to come back three/four times already. That’s really a great recommendation in itself

Now if you’ve a cynical disposition you’d assume that it was because they didn’t ‘get it’ in the first place. However it was clear to me they were back because, like any expert, it was worth learning even more from the depth of Chris’s forensic view of how price moves. Personally I believe Chris’s take on the market is exceptional – he is a very, very good trader.

It was also great fun talking to a bunch of relatively new (and some very experienced) traders and I can honestly say there weren’t any idiots there. Not one.

I picked up so much in Ft Lauderdale but crucially I learned to see the market in a way which actually makes sense to me. There’s so much depth and information there – when you know what to look for!

I now know how to use what I’m seeing so that I can come up with trades of my own that match my outlook. All of these things rely on a conceptual framework and not a bunch of setups from someone else which I myself may or may not be successful at trading.

So what am I currently doing with all this new-found knowledge?

  • Creating a structured learning plan based on taking apart one aspect of trading at a time and thoroughly understanding it
  • Building my own trading model just for GBPUSD

Now if you think about the detail behind just these two points you can see that we’re now very, very far from looking for short-cuts. It’s not quick, it’s not sexy and it requires hard work.

It may though be the only way to succeed and then to remain consistently profitable long term. No-one else can really tell you when to get in 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and got something out of it. If you’re feeling disappointed that I didn’t give away more specific information about Chris and his approach then I really recommend you check out his site which is really the tip of the iceberg.

Beyond that I can’t recommend enough that you actually come to a workshop. Barring the advent of the zombie apocalypse I’ll be going to the next one whenever/wherever it happens to be.

Thanks for reading.

Major changes – part 1 of 2

So approximately 18 months into what was supposed to be a two year project I’ve reached a very interesting point in my journey that I’d like to share…

If you’re looking to become profitable and consistent in this endeavour I seriously suggest you pay attention.

In part 1 I’m going to argue that as much as we’d all like to deny it the following is true. Learning other people’s specific setups and copying their trading methods does not work.

In part 2 I’m going to try to explain what this means as far as learning to trade goes and some of the things I’m doing about it. Part 2 will take me a couple of days to put together so lets kick off part 1 first.

So 18 months in and having extended my timeframe for becoming profitable on a consistent basis I have been very much on the point of giving up. Well, not quite, but the most ‘giving up-est’ I’ve been so far.

This prompted me to look around for what the profitable traders I’ve ran into have said about their own path to success and whether there were any common points. Here are some very lose observations: –

  1. The average timespan seems to be 3-6yrs to get really good
  2. If you dig a little deeper it’s mostly nearer 6yrs
  3. Those that seem to be consistent threw out the rulebook and developed their own trading methodology from scratch based on personal observations
  4. The majority of these individuals use ‘price action’ rather than charts with loads of indicators and wavy lines
  5. Some only trade one or a very few number of markets with very simple setups/rules
  6. Most of these rules are entirely dependent on experience which reinforces their discretionary approach
  7. Anyone who is very heavily promoting or selling themselves/their approach probably isn’t actually trading at all

So what does this tell me – other than I’m possibly screwed?

It’s been written over and over and over (which I’ve also completely ignored) that you can’t really trade someone else’s system/approach.

Acknowledging this truth would mean that I’m going to have to do a lot of hard work so I’ve ignored this up till now and not understood the point being made.

This statement removes the possibility of all short-cuts and frankly that’s a bit of a bugger.

However I now know this to be true from the following experience.

In October last year I signed up with Jimmy Young and went through his excellent and extensive training. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Jimmy’s approach and he is a completely genuine, honest and straight-forward guy with 20+ years of trading experience. The amount of effort he puts into educating his students is frankly un-paralleled. He’s got some extremely talented students and I can’t find any fault at all in how he conducts himself.

He genuinely wants everyone he’s teaching to succeed

When snow storms took out his local power/internet in the US Jimmy decamped himself to a motel for 3 days so his students could still get the information he provides every day. No really – Jimmy’s sending out a 10-15 minute webinar every day going though the previous day’s trades and what would have been the best approach as well as providing a huge amount of insight to the next day.

I know his approach completely works but I just am not able to enter the market and trade like he does. My personality with regards to trading just doesn’t work like his. Sad but true.

In order to not get emotionally steamrollered every time I look at what’s happening in the market I need to do what so many (now) successful traders have done and break everything down to something I can understand. Only then will this connect my personality, my unique view of the world and my psychology with how I trade.

Not only can I not trade like Jimmy, I can’t trade like @Trader_Dante, @FTSEDay, @50pips, @FT71 or any of the other great/supportive people I’ve run into on this mad arsed pursuit. To quote Monty Python…

Yes, we are all individuals!

So exactly where does this leave me, you or anyone else out there looking to become a consistently profitable trader?

You need to pull the market apart for yourself and see how it works with your own psychology/approach/creativity in mind. Then you can put it back together for yourself and objectively test what works. I’ve now come to the conclusion that this is the long, boring, slow and un-exciting process of becoming a trader. Just like working out and eating right is the long, painful, slow process of getting into really good shape.

There are so many people selling shortcuts, there’s the considerable challenge of self delusion and on top of that the impossibility of trying to change your personality to match someone else’s trading style… On this basis I’m un-surprised that few actually get there.

At this point you might think that I really should give up.

So why am I really excited now about moving forwards?

Well, think about it for a moment. What if the thing that’s holding you back isn’t that you’re not a good trader? What if it’s got a lot to do with the fact that you don’t take good trades like person ‘x’ because (surprisingly) you don’t see what they see ’cause you’re not them? Logically this makes complete sense to me. What a relief it is to put that burden down!

Perceptually the world I see isn’t what you or anyone else sees. You can get 100 different interpretations from the same chart. What follows from this is that you need to trade your own personality in the market.

How do you get to a point where this can happen? Well, you’ll have to wait for part 2 in order to find out and you’ll discover why I went all the way to Florida to really move things forward…

A retrospective of the last 9 months

It’s been 9 months since I started blogging about learning spread-betting and in the last few weeks my posting rate has dropped off dramatically. Apologies for that.

The reason for this un-characteristic lapse is I’ve actually had a LOT of material to get through so I can actually achieve some level of profitability and consistency rather than blogging about making a bunch of errors, right?

So I’ve been looking back to the beginning of the year to break down the journey so far into manageable chunks that contain some pointers to anyone on a similar path.

Stage 1.

“I haven’t a clue what I’m doing but am going to trade anyway”

At this early stage, you have to consider that you’re very vulnerable… What do I mean by  that?

Well unless you’re living under a rock you’ll come across all sorts of people and organisations who will do their utmost to teach you to trade or sell you the secret to making money from the markets.

Let me be really clear. If you’re going to sign up at any time for a two day course that promises to be able to teach you to trade and it costs £2,000 then you’re about to get screwed. Whatever it is that they promise to be able to do in the time available, given there’s 40 people in the room, is going to be mainly basic and not useful. Just don’t do it.

The most you want to be paying for anything like this (2 days) is £250 and I’d only suggest this is ok after you’ve spent a few months trading. Why? Because otherwise you’ll have no idea whether what you’re seeing is crap advice or not.

If you want to check someone out then see www.forexpeacearmy.com – type in their name and hit ‘search’.

Also – While I ignored the following advice I really suggest you don’t make the same mistake. Start with a demo account and learn the mechanics of trading. No, it’s not exciting but really – it’ll save you money. If you can’t keep your hand off your wallet trade at 10p per point or something really low.

Depending on your tolerance for pain and how much you value being right this stage could last you quite a long time. At this point I read a lot of books about trading. Most of them didn’t help. It’s a funny point that I actually really thought that they were helping at the time but this turned out to be not true and some contained a bunch of total crap. The ones about psychology were actually very useful but in a general sense more than related to trading. I’ll have to revisit the pile of these and see what they actually contain in a few months.

Stage 2. 

“This is really hard and I keep losing”

I’m just coming out of this stage (lol). Previously I considered giving up a couple of times but I’m also quite stubborn so I’m still here. There’s a reason for this that I’ll get to near the end…

Everyone starts trading and thinks it’s all about the charts. If they can get the right combination of things on their charts and somehow deal with the emotional aspects associated with making decisions it’ll be ok. There aren’t that many people out there telling them anything otherwise either.

This reliance on charts (and that everyone sells/wries books from that perspective) is one of the big issues in the UK. My personal belief is that the pursuit of the right combination of lines on a screen is basically people searching for a shortcut. Nine months later I can tell you there aren’t any…

In another blog post I mentioned an audience member arguing with Richard Farleigh about technical analysis as being the be all and end all of trading. I’ve also seen a similar debate happen with Anton KreIl (hedge fund guy) and the same comments in various books. Sadly I didn’t pay enough attention at the time because like everyone else I was looking for a shortcut.

Stage 3. 

“Mostly what I thought was correct is wrong, let’s start again”

It would be crazy to spend another 9-12 months failing at this and not making any money. A few weeks ago this was what I was faced with… so I decided to roll the dice one last time and go to another FX seminar/event. Two days in London for less than £250 and the guy had lots of positive feedback online.

Before I write about this I have to say that I’ve encountered some great people on the road so far. I’m happy to report they’ve managed to ‘crack it’ and are making money at trading – they’re also extremely generous with their time. Special mention goes out to TraderSteve  who is a total diamond and I’d recommend people who want a winning longer term system check him out.

If you want to get a proper education as far as how a hedge fund works and the basis on which they’re making trades then go check out Anton Kreil’s site www.instutrade.com which I’m sure is going to have a big impact on the educational landscape in the UK where trading is concerned.

This is a ‘higher level’ approach to trading based on ideas not lines on charts… be very afraid as this requires you to think and involves a ‘next level’ approach to fundamentals which I’ve not seen anywhere else.

So back to me here… In one of those ‘serendipitous’ moments I ran across a guy called Jimmy Young who has 20 years of FX trading experience in banks and has spent the last 10 trading his own account. www.eurusdtrader.com

All I can say is that if you actually want to use your brain, learn to trade profitably and make money then at the very earliest opportunity get hold of this guy’s course and use it.

Seriously.

When you find that becoming successful requires you to think then ask yourself this question… ‘Do I really want to be a trader?’ If the answer is ‘Yes’ then be glad you’ve found possibly one of the best people on the planet right now to teach you.

For anyone of a cynical nature: – I do not personally benefit from any recommendations made in this blog. My intention is to become as really good trader, not to create some artificial passive income generation blowhole. Got that? Ok? Good.

Stage 4. 

“Even though I’ve now got the right tools, I still suck as a trader!”

Why? Because I’ve not had enough practice to actually become half decent. Difference now though is that 9 months later I’ve finally found the right tools. I can’t really express how relieved I am about that last sentence.

Because it’ll make you smile here’s a short list of my current trading issues: –

  • Not entering the trade when I should (talking myself out of pushing the button)
  • Closing the trade too early (think I’ve figured this one out)
  • Lack of mental flexibility (thinking too much)
  • Not understanding the implications of news that comes out (thinking too little)
  • Not having enough time to trade (work)
  • etc…

None of the issues above are about the tools, the market or the strategy. All the issues are my responsibility to solve ’cause they involve the bit between my ears. I’m still an idiot but now I’m an idiot with a flamethrower and not a teaspoon 😉

See, even with the right help this is still a very challenging activity… which is why I love it 🙂

Thanks for reading

Interesting lessons from Thurs/Friday

My results overall this week were rescued by me being short EUR/CHF on Friday at the point that US non-farm payrolls came out in the USA and the subsequent 60 point fall essentially saved my arse. Prior to that I’d again made a couple of ridiculous trading decisions like entering the Dow long before it opened – this seems to be a recurring mistake of mine. Having blogged this mistake three times now I’m really hoping to not repeat it anytime soon! Note to self… Do not enter indices bets while they’re not actually open!!

So yes, mistake number one – entering the Dow long at about 7am in the mistaken belief that I had suddenly gained godlike powers, well enough powers to influence the world opinion about the US economy. I did (I think) have the opportunity to close this slightly up before the inevitable slap for my incurable arrogance happened but I got distracted and got stopped out at -45 points of so…

Also made similar mistakes with Silver early on – have committed to stay out of this lunacy for the time being and this was rounded off by an attempt to recover my losses by going long GBP/USD in the afternoon…

So somewhere in the horizontal line I went long – this is on a 15 minute chart and the grey section is the part which came later… Now, with amazing hindsight powers, it’s clear this trade was a total punt.

  1. I’m right in the middle between support at 16,306 and resistance at 16,418 so there’s no way I should be even considering this trade.
  2. There’s no confirmation or entry signal whatsoever.

So, all things considered I take full responsibility for not managing my emotional state (trying to recover losses from previous dumbass decision) and taking this trade in the vain hope it’ll go my way. Doh!

Now, it’s an important point that previously (i.e. in the preceeding weeks) I’ve lost and then walked away from the markets in some sort of hissy fit to recover and essentially steel myself for another stab at trading. In the process of 2-3 days absence I’ll have missed some blinding opportunities and only serve to get pissed off at myself further in the process. Nice!

So with some trepidation I resolved on the following day (Friday) to keep an eye on what was happening. Looking at EUR/CHF I could see the worlds longest multi-day down trend as well as the price attempting to rally back to the trend line. Time to go short!

From the chart this still isn’t the best trade setup as I’m still somewhere between the blue and red horizontal lines 😉 but at least my entry (first horizontal line) short came off a previous lower low, the stop wasn’t too far away and I stayed in because it didn’t really have a lot of strength bouncing off support – not enough to take out my stop anyway. Then, as the NFP data came out, BANG!

I was suddenly 50 points ahead and moved my stop down to capture most of this. It could have kept going but I was happy and eventually got taken out by the reversal. (everything in dark grey happened after I was out of the position)

All in all I didn’t manage my exit too badly I think.

Now, this led me to look around at other instruments in the following hours and this is something I’ll be keeping a close eye on this time next month…

For the FTSE100, GBP/USD, Dow and EUR/USD there was a proper setup with a confirmation on the hourly bars following the news release.

So,  with any sudden drop if the daily chart is trending up and if there’s a reversal which is confirmed by an hourly bar (in the chart it’s got a low test before I’ve marked an entry point) then I’d suggest this is a pretty good and low risk trade.

Pity I missed 4 of them but hey, at least I’ll know for next time 😉

FX spread betting = £££ needed

So here’s an idea… While FX might be the most ‘trendingest’ market, due to the huge volumes, as previously pointed out you can’t possibly hope to make good decisions unless you’re not under stress. Not really having enough cash to cover a loss is pretty stressful so there must be a psychological minimum… I’m sure it’s possible to have a stab at working this out.

£0.50 is the minimum amount you can place per point on IG Index

100 points is a fair number when placing your stop so you don’t get stopped out prematurely

1%-3% max is what you want to risk per trade

On this basis you needs a trading account that is between £1667 and £5000 in size if you’re going to trade FX without ‘worry’ over incurring losses that your account can’t handle.

Since the average spread account size in the UK is £980(?ish) then most people are essentially using money they can’t actually detach themselves from emotionally… no wonder losing is easy!