Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Notes - The Sideways Shuffle

6:15pm I'll call today "The Sideways Shuffle" -- which is a dance I don't do very well -- so I made like a wallflower during much of today's session looking for deeper retracements to short, as well as a possible late day squeeze north which has been the norm of late yet never materialized today.

Oh, I caught a couple of TICK extreme fades and initial pullbacks to short, yet purposely kept a very tight leash on positions (even tighter than normal for me!) until the dance tune decided to change ... and I'm still waiting ... which resulted in a very modest day barely worth acknowledging. And we'll stay with our recent theme of only checking the P&L weekly.

One event I had to fight through for the first time since I can remember was a slight order entry slip in stopping a probing long position after the post-open barf tried to turn north (1-minute had turned up). Specifically, I manually hit the bid (a reminder all my trades are manual) and thought I'd exited my 30 lot once the trade premise broke down, before briefly glancing away from the screen and then back again only to notice I was still long 30 contracts. Fortunately, I didn't walk away from the screen ... duh. I still don't know what happened unless I clicked on the DOM line between two bid levels which thus resulted in no action, which is almost impossible to do, but the only explanation I could come up with. It certainly won't affect my entry or exit mechanics as it was simply an anomaly.

That took me out of rhythm a bit, as well as costing me a point or so on the exit as I worked to scale out as quickly as possible to regroup without joining the panicking retail longs who were waving the early white flag.

And while I'd normally be looking to tomorrow morning with great "morning after trend" anticipation, I wouldn't exactly call today's action a "trend", as it was more sideways after the first hour than anything.

And so this never-ending double-sided 3D puzzle we call the market continues.

I guess it's a good thing I like puzzles ... except when it comes to doing the sky, which is what today felt like for me.

btw, great back and forth discussion in the comments to yesterday's post. For whatever reason, this crazy little diary is beginning to feel more and more like that dust speck in "Horton Hears a Who" in terms of a community that is taking on an industry life of its own while defying popular convention. Maybe we won't kill it after the upcoming one year mark of the experiment is over.


Anonymous said...

What do you notice the biggest difference is between trading the euro session and the us session is for you?

Thank you for your insight and help

Don Miller said...

JW2 -

Lack of energy and focus during the prime time of the Europe session (which starts 3am my time).

It's never been a great match for me energy-wise.


Unknown said...

Hi Don,

Any thoughts on the debate that is raging over on Brett Steenbarger's site about account size? 20% return on capital?

Traderfeed post about capitalization.


Don Miller said...

Matt -

No comments really ... I'm just trying to stay focused on my own trading.

Also, you may want to check out the "My Views on ROR" key link in the lower left, as ROR can be a very misleading and irrelevant statistic for traders who primarily care about a bottom line income figure.

No question about needing to be adequately capitalized, although the definition of "adequate" will always be open to debate.


Unknown said...

Dear Don- Thanks for the ongoing disclosure which I find more open and frank than the vast majority of blogger/traders. Plenty claim they put up the trades with little to no evidence but it seems you do and then write about the ups & downs. Although we have different methodologies, could you address how many years of pure futures trading you did (aka the school of hard knocks) before considering yourself fully competent and able to pursue a sustained effort? Thanks very much. Vince Fulco

Hay Farmer said...

Ok... I cant believe I never saw that search box. Maybe I was scrolling down to fast to read the more excuses...thanks for mentioning the search box! I just spent a couple hours reading old posts and getting answers!


Don Miller said...

Hi Vince -

Not sure I'd ever consider myself "fully competent" ... lol ... as once I reach that stage, the challenge of the chase and strive for personal improvement will likely be over that keeps the blood pumping.

Seriously, you learn something every day, and I think the moment any of us think we've "made it", any degree of accomplishment will easily be put at risk. Again, golf is a great -- albeit overused -- analogy.

Having said that, and to try to answer your question, I joined the Merc in Feb '04, so I suppose that's 5+ years of serious futures trading. Keep in mind I traded stocks and ETFs before then, so I probably had a slight leg up when I began.

As for blogging and "claims", please keep in mind I still view this blog as first and foremost my diary, and it just is what it is in terms of good, bad, etc.


Anonymous said...

Hello Don,

to fade tick extremes is what a lot of daytraders do these days and still the art is to know when the extreme has run its course (1000-1300)and when you try to catch a falling knife in the case of a sell-off. I think your strength (or one of them) is to be in sync with the order flow and see these retail/wholesale chartpoints. Which again is an important lesson here that 90% of trading success happens between the ears and not with indicators.
Since you say you started 2004 with the IOM and a bit earlier with ETF´s and I guess you are in your late 40s what did you do after college ??

Don Miller said...

Max -


With respect to your question, I'm 48, graduated in '83 with an BSBA in business/accounting (later got the MBA in the 90s), and spent much of my early post-school life in corporate america where I eventually ran companies and helped start-up new ventures. (The '05 Stocks and Commodities interview linked on the lower left section of the blog provides a good overview ... although I think the full archive isn't free any more.)

Along the way, I got my MBA in the 90s before eventually finding my way to this crazy little game.


Unknown said...

don - how many 'sequences' a day on average do you play?