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Friday, March 28, 2014

Day Trading /CL Sweet Crude Oil Futures

I'm busy learning a new trading strategy. Paper Trading, of course, until I have put together a futures trading fund and know for sure what I'm doing.

The nice thing about futures is that it costs less (in terms of Buying Power funds), and there are no day trading regulations on futures as there are on options. (see my post on November 13, 2013 - day trading regulations: Nasty Business)

I settled on oil futures (/CL) because they are volatile, and move in $10 increments, so I don't have to fuss with the multipliers (each commodity has a different multiplier which makes it very complicated to move around from product to product when you're a newbie). Also, they have a fairly low margin requirement compared to some of the others.

On my broker's platform "Think or Swim" there's a section called "Active Trader" which you can configure with a chart(s) and beside it, a "ladder" showing realtime active data, and allows you to place trades "on the run" as it were -- thus a quick way to day trade.

I am using a few chart indicators for entry and exists. But I am researching more possibilities as I learn. The newest one I discovered through friends (who taught me this strategy) called "Volume Profile." Here's TOS's description of the study which sits(like Fibonacci bands) over your candlesticks :

The Volume Profile study represents trading activity over a time period at specified price levels. Considering the input-defined aggregation period, the Volume Profile plots a histogram showing price distribution, revealing the dominant price values in terms of volume. The width of histogram's row represents the number of actual transactions made within the price interval defined by the row's height.

The longest line of the Volume Profile defines the price level at which most of the real transactions were made during the specified time period; this level is called Point Of Control (POC). By default, the price range surrounding the POC level where 70% of the trading activity took place for the specified time period is Value Area (note that the percentage is customizable within the "value area percent" input parameter).

On the upper chart above, the red line is the POC level which I consider a "median" line which the price fluctuates around. The other lines above and below are somewhat similar to support/resistance (as I see it). In addition to this chart, I use another chart below with MACD and RSI. I'm playing around with the settings but at the moment I have MACD set for 6,19,9, EMA and the RSI set for 14,70,30. I have a lot of research to do on these settings before I'll be sure they are useful.

I am trading ONE CONTRACT at a time. This is all I can do with a minimum fund, and the margin requirement for one /CL contract is $3,400. I am putting an immediate stop on each trade, staying very conservative with $50 to $100 profits per trade. If the trade goes against me, I WAIT. I do not take losses unless it is close to end of day and my loss will not impact my daily profit figure by much. I started this project on March 25th, and here are the results to date. Mind you, this is a paper money account set for a $5,000 (minimum) fund just to test the waters:

  • Date--------------- # of Trades--Daily Profit---$5K Fund Balance
  • March 25, 2014-----18 trades-----$415.08-------- $5,415.08
  • March 26, 2014------3 trades-----$678.19-------- $6,093.27
  • March 27, 2014------9 trades-----$157.50-------- $6,250.77
  • March 28, 2014------3 trades----($427.76)--------$5,823.01
  • March 31, 2014 ---- 4 trades----$195.71----------$6,018.72
  • April 1, 2014---------6 trades----$377.95----------$6,396.67
  • April 2, 2014--------15 trades---$642.02-----------$7,038.69

  • If I can earn this kind of money every week, it would certainly satisfy my needs. So I shall continue to paper trade until I can verify this strategy. To be realistic, let me say that this is extraordinary, and I'm sure losses are in my future (I do believe in beginner's luck in trading) but I find this a simple and quick remedy to my current situation which is not having enough funds to properly trade options for income.