Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Weekend Trader - Big Apple Expo Updates

I'll post periodic thoughts over the weekend, adding to this post from time to time, so check back as the event progresses. Posts are newest to oldest:

Sat 7:20pm Continuing to catch up on old times as I chatted with Carolyn Boroden who I hadn't seen in years (we'd helped mentor a common friend in the past who was the former head of cardiac surgery for the Chicago hospitals who passed away a few years ago ... rest in peace Firouz), and also chatted with a few CME employees.

Early impressions of the public portion of the Expo so far is "lots of toys", including mega LCD screens and complex strategies that have my head spinning. I kept it quiet that much of my trading is done on an 11 inch screen, and that I do one thing over and over and over again. So lots of Ferraris are for sale to repeatedly run to the store and back.

I also asked the Futures Magazine folks when the final 2008 CTA performance results will be out, and they said within a few weeks at which point I'll close the book once and for all on the '08 benchmarking effort. Pat did almost spill the beans when he kept referring to me as his "largest individual futures trader" ... need to watch that.

I'm still looking for presenters offering up their personal trading performance records. No luck so far and still seems a taboo topic ... check back tomorrow. I did learn though that a 1-point move in one ES futures contract was worth $50 though.

Seriously though, the Expo folks have done a good job once again rolling out the red carpet for the industry, and it's nice to be among some old friends. And many presenters seem geniune that you can't learn to trade from a weekend event. I've also noticed a lot of the old fly-by-night horse race callers have disappeared, and prices for some "tutorials" have been slashed from $700 to $70. Plus, the chocolate cake at dinner was great.

Missed connections again with Linda, but expect to touch base with her after her Sunday A.M. public talk.

Last update today. More tomorrow.

Sat 1:50pm You won't believe this one. Here I was, sitting in my hotel room flipping through the Expo catalog, when I glanced at the back inside cover and noticed an ariticle entitled "Trading and Svithjod Rock". My first thought was, "hmmmm, who would write about such an abstract concept with which I'm pretty familiar?" ... before I glanced to the right and saw it was a reprint of my January 17 blog post (which is also listed in the key post index in the lower left) along with my pic.

Now I of course have given Tim Bourquin the OK to syndicate any of my posts (Tim's a great guy and we'd connected years ago), yet I was surprised anyway. And if you couldn't make it to NY, you already have one page of the catalog.

And a heads up that the blog site is referenced there, so prepare to get out the welcome mat.

Too funny.

Sat 11:25am I've already chatted with Pat Lafferty, and Tim Bourquin wants to squeeze me into one of his studio interviews which I'll link on this site if we make that happen.

So far, attendance seems to be strong, and I'm definitely seeing a heightened thirst for "real" knowledge. I'm also finding it cool attending as an attendee vs. a presenter, as I've simply sat in the back row of a couple of early CME presentations. The bulk of the Expo starts tonight and is held on Sunday.

Pat reinforced his views that Mr. DeFazio has no clue as to how markets work, and his tax proposal as written would shut down the futures markets. Yet I agree with recent comments and my personal views that we need to unite and make a strong stand anyway.

Linda Raschke has also asked for me to speak to her trading team and has been trying to connect with me, so I hope to close that loop today as well.

More as the weekend unfolds ...


traderboy said...

Great to hear you made it to the expo okay. I hope everything continue to go smoothly for you. Thank you for keeping us informed with how everything is going. I definitely agree with you in that we all need to unite in order to make sure this talked about transaction takes remains on the sidelines and hopefully goes away for good.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take care,

Sam said...

Great blog and I've become a regular reader. Since you have traded E-minis (/ES) for so long, thought I'd throw these questions out and see if you have any insights:

- Do have any idea how much of the market volume is institutionals vs retails on non-news days? I assume the big guns make up most of the volume on "event" days.

- How much of an impact does ES trading have on individual stocks? To put it another way, does the tail wag the dog i.e do stocks make big moves because of large amounts ES buying/selling?

- You must be best placed to answer this ;) We keep hearing rumors of "PPT action" whenever the market shoots up 20 handles in 5 minutes but I'm very skeptical of such conspiracy theories. Do you think something like that really exists?

Sorry if my questions are too long and once again, thanks for the great blog!

E-Mini Player said...

Nice! Wish I could be there :)

Don Miller said...

Hi Sam -

On the retail vs. institution issue, I imagine large traders comprise a relatively high % on most days, yet that's more intuitive feel as I don't have any stats to back it up. [Keep in mind that "retail vs. institutional" is better characterized in these times as "large vs. small" as the line is very blurry.]

Great question on does the tail wag the dog or does the dog wag the tail. Sort of a chicken and egg paradox, and to this day I'm not convinced which leads which.

I don't put much thinking into conspiracy theories ... if a price jumps strong, it's because for that moment buyers are stronger than sellers ... always. My job is to react accordingly and if I tried to understand the "why's", it would essentially convert me from a trader to an analyst (a problem for many traders who often waste time tying to understand why the door opened vs. walking through it before it slams shut).

Great questions ... I just try to keep the mind very simple and uncluttered.


Get In Get Out said...


Wanted to know how your experience was while you were sitting in the back row of the CME presentations this morning. Looking at the show schedule I would assume you attended Tom Sosnoff who is with thinkorswim, on his presentation on stock index futures & his other presentation on entry & exit criteria. Wanted to know if there was anything above & beyond the ordinary that piqued your interest as fascinating where you can dispatch on your blog. Or if the presentation was a beginners abc/123 on the basics for newbies? Thanx Don for the commentary for those who couldnt attend.

Get In Get Out said...


Wanted to know if you will be attending Linda Bradford Raschke presentation tomm from 10:30-11:15 on her presentation on how to day trade the e-minis. I hope there will be some advanced techniques that will be insiteful instead of a beginners introduction on the product. HOw long will you be at the expo on Sunday before your departure? If I decide to go wanted to say hello.

Don Miller said...


I only attended a few of the TOS segments ... they did a good job although much of it was kept pretty basic for the retail trader. I also learned they charge $3.50 per futures contract, so they'll need to get with the program and lower their rates if they want to remain competitive as a broker.

Not sure I'll attend Linda's presentation, but I do plan on following up on her request for me to speak to her team.

I expect to be around until early to mid-afternoon ... train back heads out at 5pm if I don't reschedule earlier.

Once I touch base with Linda and Tim, I'll be done doing what I came here for. Last thing I want is for anything to mess with my head.


Get In Get Out said...


I think you are great when you say you are still looking for presenters offering up their personal trading performance records. This in case, I find it fascinating if these gurus or presenters that are telling you about their complex strategies that have your head spinning, what their P/L are to see if these complex strategies are indeed consistently successful, That is if these P/L statements even exist? Perhaps these complex strategies are doing 2 things. 1)Selling a book or dvd to a newbie trader to suplement a gurus income or 2)Getting new traders in the market to test these strategies out to provide liquidity for professional traders to take their money... If these gurus new how to be a profitable trader by keeping things simple S$$$$D with an 11" screen perhaps their would be no liquidity in the markets by them not being able to sell thier head spinning complex strategies. Just a thought.

Get In Get Out said...


Wanted to know how you are going to interpret the complex trading strategies, if you are going to keep them in mind & maybe try one or two of them out? or if you are going to flush them down the toilet after your check out of your hotel room so they dont mess with your trading psych Monday morning when it is time to get back to work at 9:30AM. Thanks for the truth behind the Dashboard.

Don Miller said...


Nooooooo change in strategies ... 'twas never the intent and never will be.

I just came to touch base with some contacts ... all the rest is noise that I've been trained to block out.

Some rhetorical ?s for my own benefit as well as onlookers ... with all due humility, why introduce a new variable to proven probability methods that have stood the test of time? Why mess with something that generates $1M+ per year? Why mess with 34 out of 35 ++ days in 2009?

The only thing I ever need to do is increase my focus, and I've purposely stayed away from hearing anything that has to do with trading strategies. When I mess up, it's me ... NOT the methods :-).

That's what ruined Seve Bellestaros and what ruins many traders. It's not the method ... it's the execution.