Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday Notes - A Glimmer of Hope

4:15pm Well, there may be a glimmer of hope after all [for my trading ... not for investors], as I made a few adjustments today that seemed to pay off to finally allow me to grade the bottom line dark green for the first time this year ... albeit barely at +$15K which is my lower end threshold for dark green, so there's certainly nothing to shout about.

First, I've modified the daily scorecard to now include grading both trade entry and exits (vs. lumping them both together), while adding a "No Regrets" objective, which is exactly as it suggests ... having a recurring goal to end the day with no regrets, especially in terms of not hesitating in taking the trade when the opportunity arises.

I also added emphasis on the sizing component of the scorecard to emphasize adding to positions where I feel I have the upper hand (btw, adding for me is simply adding a Tick or two higher ... we're not talking about establishing long term intraday positions here).

And finally, I'm trying my darndest to focus on increasing my contract sizing during certain times of the day from increments of 15 to increments of 30.

In terms of technicals, the indicator of the day award goes to the VIX, which gave little reason to go long for anything other than scalps. The 15-minute price chart of course looks like a mirror opposite.

So while I still have a long way to go, call it a possible breakthrough which only time will tell if these slight adjustments will kick the brain back into "2008" gear.

We know one day means nothing.

As always, time will provide the true answer.

And here's the quote of the day from's midday update:

... yet the bottom line is that despite some very intriguing valuations down here, this is still a scalper's market, making predictions that go beyond the next few hours a hazardous undertaking.

I couldn't have said it better, except perhaps to change "hours" to "minutes".

btw, I know I'm a bit behind on comment responses ... please be patient as I catch up and continue to check prior day's posts for follow-ups. Plus, poker night tonight. Still 3rd with 4 weeks to go, but closed the gap a little last week with the 2nd place finish.


RexVulgaris said...

NEAT.. I DO like the idea of self grading exits as a means to focus the mind.. may 'borrow' that idea


Unknown said...


Congrats on a very good day. I mentioned the other day that I had incorporated your Scorecard into my routine with a few changes. One of the changes that I made was to separate entry and exit. I'm glad to see that you made the same change.


Jorge said...


"No regrets objective"? Added! Thank you!

Best trading,


Charles said...

Don, glad to hear you made some progress on getting that foot to the 'ol floorboard...i too had an excellent day.

And speaking of 2008, today's action felt just like late Nov(20th,21st to be exact) '08...which may explain my great results today -- i was ready for it.

On a more somber note, if this mkt went into a full on '87-style crash , i would not be surprised in the least. Just gotta be ready for that too...


E-Mini Player said...

Nice work; glad to see the bottom line graded as super green!

Severino said...

Hello Don,

Not sure if you had a chance to see this yet, but it might help explain why you made this statement the other day.

“(I can't believe I just wrote kudos for CNBC ... perhaps the world is indeed coming to an end.)”

CNBC gives financial advise


Steve said...

Don, do you have a hard and fast rule when adding that you will only add in the direction of the trade or do you add against, ie average down into a position?


Peter Coussement said...


I wonder why you don't trade based on the candlesticks? You seem to prefer barcharts.

Would it not be a better approach to apply western trading techniques upon candlesticks? At least this is what Steve Nison says...

Happy Friday!


Don Miller said...

Peter -

Why do some people like black cars and others red?

Personal preference. How can I say any stronger that there's no "right" way to trade or set of indicators ... only different flavors of the same thing.


Don Miller said...

Steve -

Not really ... just depends on the action.


MACDOW said...

No regrets - is a master stroke because that kind of sums up the day for us. I am still hoping to get my friendly programmer in india (long distance) to code something similar that will run as a program. Will share it with everyone when the thing eventually arrives and works:)
Great post as usual Don. Thanks


Unknown said...


As you have been disappointed in your trading as of late I'm happy to hear you feel better about it today.

My question, your system/style seems extremely focused. Why do you feel that the problem was you and not the market conditions of Jan-Feb.

As an aspiring trader I want to know your feelings on competitiveness as an asset to your trading. By nature I am pretty laid back. I'm an ex-jock and enjoyed winning but it was less important than the values, friendships and comeraderie that I gained playing football. Do you think every trader needs killer instinct or can I overcome this with discipline, focus and psychology.


Don Miller said...

Hi Pamela -

We're of course all different in terms of what motivates us as individuals, yet for me, I've found that being "laid back" or "easing up" results in complacency and/or sloppiness.

I do believe trading is a mental sport ... and will go to my grave believing so. It is certainly a competitive endeavor as everyone is scrambling to "take the chips" from the other guy/gal as futures trading is a zero-sum game.

As far as the market causing my performance drop-off in Jan & Feb, I don't believe that's the case at all, as it's our job to constantly adapt to the changing tide.

Certainly, performance drops often occur which reflect a change in pace that we haven't adjusted to quickly enough, yet in my case I believe it was because my intensity simply dropped several notches -- even though I still trade every day.

And for me, the minute I "feel good" about my trading will be the minute the losses will begin to occur and accumulate.

It's simply how I'm wired.