Welcome to Wall Street, Main Street and Me

Monday, June 30, 2014

**Live** Day Trading the /CL Futures 6/30/14

Things are slow and steady. No fear/no greed. I'm really keeping it small, determined to make this work.

My "real" job isn't going great, so under a lot of stress. I gave notice today and it was ugly and uncomfortable, so not a great time to be trading either. But, just want you to know my committment to the DIY philosophy.

For you newcomers, there's a whole "history" of me trading oil futures with Paper money. But this is the real deal, starting with $5K on 6/26/14. I'll put up a tally when I'm not feeling so fried (from quitting my job. Ack.)

Meanwhile I plan on doing real in-depth explanations of my charts soon. Just not up to it yet. It's going to rain again...out there...and in here too, folks. Life is hard.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Think Or Swim's "Active Trader" software

Those of you who got interested in scalping futures with me know (from earlier posts) that I use the "Active Trader" on the TOS platform. I thought I would review it today as well as the chart and indicators I'm using in my everyday trades.

Here is the whole page, as I have it set up. You have many other options (for ex. you could put TWO charts instead of one, and even reduce the size of the ladder (on the right) and have a bigger chart beneath it, all the way across. But this is the way I like to see my information. Simple, simple, simple.

On the left I have a chart and two indicator/oscillators (MACD and RSI) and on the right the "Active Trader" ladder. Note that I have circled the little box at the top that says "Auto Send." That means I can just click next to the price I want (on the ladder) and register my order without a verification box opening and waiting to be clicked to place the order. I.E. it makes for very quick buys/sells with one click of the mouse. (so be careful and leave that unchecked until you are confident with the software). Using it, you can use your mouse to just slide your order up or down to a higher/lower price by just dragging the mouse. VERY nifty.

In this freeze shot I have NO trades on, and no open orders. So this is just a picture of it off hours.

The left side of the AT ladder, a green colored column is the "Buy" side used to purchase a long contract. The right side, colored red, is what you'd click on to "Sell" or short a contract. When you have a fill, the price on the ladder will be marked with little arrows, so you can see where your contract sits. The golden color that sits on the price shows you the current price. That little gold highlight moves up and down rapidly reflecting the activity of the traders. So you can see the price of /CL at the time I took this photo was $105.74 --that shows in the upper right corner as well as on the golden rung of the ladder. You will note that there are 11 contracts open at $105.88, but the rest of the open contracts (showing in this photo) are just 1 contract for each rung.

I took this snapshot after hours and you can see there are VERY few overnight contracts open. Those little yellow numbers highlighting the green and red rungs of the ladder are the number of contracts open for that price level. When you make a trade, you will see your contract(s) increase that number as it fills.

I can't say enough how much I love this ladder software which makes quick daytrading just a dream, in terms of input. Slide that little mouse around and trade!

In tomorrow's post I'll go over, in detail, the setup of this chart.

Weekends are no fun with a closed market.

Here's another little shot (on a separate occasion) which shows that I purchased a long contract for $104.02 (surrounded by arrows to indicate my contract); and I have an open order to sell it at $104.12 (a .10 profit x $10 each rung = $100). And I have a stop order in for $103.99. (that's too close; I'd get stopped out if this was real, but this was just an example I set up in paper money). Those open orders are the ones I can slide up and down to different prices with my mouse, as I change my mind watching the market move. I don't have to cancel and set up a new order...just slide those red icons (with the little x's which are used if you want to cancel the order altogether, and not just move it) up and down. Easy peasy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

**Live** Day Trading the /CL Futures 6/27/14

Wow, we're having severe thunderstorms. I've reset all the clocks in the house twice now! Down and out in the tropics takes on a whole new meaning when you can't walk the dogs!

Got a little bit of trading in before work this morning. Here's the Cash and Sweeps account for the day:

I need to go into the office on Saturday but if I get a bit of time over the weekend, I'm going to review my chart setup again, in some detail. I keep tweaking it hoping to get better information. But in truth, I watch it go up and down, and that's about as better as I believe it's going to do. Charts report where the products have been, they can't really tell you where they're going. So I don't have a lot of faith in the technicals, but you have to use something, and that's what we've got. However it's a game of probabilities, and you have to trust your own good sense.

I'll explain my logic when I put up the chart over the weekend, and we can think about it some more. The proof is always in the results.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Home" At Last!!! and...Some Words About "Family"....

Wow, what a trip it's been. I haven't had a trading fund in a number of months (I've lost count of how many! But I used what was left of my fund to buy a house in January, so it's been at least all of 2014) and it feels really good to open my software this morning and ta da~ ! My funds are cleared, and I began to trade /CL sweet crude oil with REAL money for the first time!

Now I live alone with dogs and a cat, so I don't have family around to chat up my trading. But I DO have an extended family of friends, people I love dearly (dearly!) who think I'm crazy as a bat in a sunroom, and they consider trading (most especially MY trading since I'm the original pauper) nothing but gambling. That in spite of the fact that they have never traded themselves and don't have the first notion of what it is I really do But since I have just been through the worst financial crisis of my life, they can't imagine that I would turn to trading to pull myself out of the abyss. Now, this affects me. Why? Mostly because I love them and expect them to respect and trust me. But basically they think I'm lying. What happened to me financially was not entirely my own fault. I had the assistance of an entire nation and a recession to aid in my downfall. And I certainly didn't lose it trading! In fact, trading kept me buoyed for many months when I would have fallen faster and harder without it.

So when I sat down to trade today with my new baby fund...I found my heart in my throat. What if they are right? What if I am delusional? What if I lose it all and they will say "I told you so!" (after all, there are no guarantees in trading, and losses WILL and DO happen. The trick is to win more than you lose, and that's called the skill of it, which I have devoted about four 1/2 years of my life learning).

Then I realized a couple of things:

One. It really helps to have a trading partner, or a trading buddy. Someone who understands the things you do, and with whom you can share new knowledge and swap bragging rights and horror stories without them thinking you're a braggart or jumped off the deep end. I really need to work on this one, as I don't seem to find the right match. It simply is totally defeating to let family and friends get under your skin. If you don't have the courage of your own convictions, then reconsider whether you should trade at all.

Two. What are the worst enemies you have in trading? I learned this when I was brand new, and it took me a couple of years to master any kind of control. Fear and Greed. And that's exactly what I found this morning...rampant fear in my heart! The minute I recognized that pest for what it was, I settled down and in the very limited time I have before sailing off to a "real" job (as my "family" calls it) I made $200 trading. (after $77 in fees, I netted over $100.)

So, you've seen me through the papertrading of /CL oil futures. Here I go with real money. I'm disclosing all to you because you, I realize, are my true trading buddy. I love your comments, your emails, your questions and I feel like this is the place to show you the money. It's puny, it's pathetic, but hey! It's mine and I love the chance to be back in the game.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Re-Opened Account -- Hold on Funds

Not exactly sure if the rules are broker-specific, or regulated, but I put my monies into my fund (at last, hooray!) and it shows on my online trading platform as received funds. But when I tried to sell a contract tonight, it rejected. I texted TOS and was told funds would not be available until Thursday 6/26. That's about 4 working days on hold. Just FYI. No instant gratification in this game...it keeps reminding us. :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

I'm very happy to report that I have put hands on a baby amount of money to re-open my trading fund (the real one), so as soon as the new ACH account is established, I'll be taking deep breaths and trading for real. (I've recently changed banks, so need to set up another ACH. But VERY small futures trades to start.

What's an ACH account?

For newbies, this is the electronic transfer that you can set up with your broker, a link between your trading fund and your checking (or savings) account. It allows you to send money either way, to/from each other. If you have big profits in trading, you can move some of them out and not be tempted to trade with them. Or if you need more money in trading, you can just do a quick ACH transfer into your fund. It makes the tired old wire transfer process obsolete. Although a WT might be quicker, I'm not sure. WT's have to be done one at a time, through the institution, whereas ACH accounts, you just go to your computer and input the transfer, day or night. Easy peasy.

What do you need to know to set up an ACH account?

In your customer profile section of your online brokerage (and I pray to Wall Street that you're using an online brokerage like Think or Swim) you'll find a place to set up new banking. Choose the ACH option (NOT wire transfers).

You need the numbers off the bottom of your check. The 9-digit number on the left is the routing number to your bank. To the right of that is the number of your checking account. (if you want an ACH to savings, you have to find the number for your savings account).

BTW, a wire transfer uses a DIFFERENT routing number, something local, so don't be confused. If in doubt, call your bank.

P.S. My brokerage put two little deposits ($.33 and $.10) into my checking account and then I had to go into TD Ameritrade and verify the amounts. This to prove the whole ACH set up was legit. The second I verified the deposits, my account was active, and I just transfered monies to my trading fund.

Let the fun begin!

Happy Trading! ##

Monday, June 9, 2014

/CL Update - 6/9/14

OKAY! I weathered the storm, but felt I was losing money day after day by NOT being able to trade (the funds tied up by margin requirement) so, today I got out at a $580 loss. The losses were up in the $3K level for many days, so I consider getting out this cheaply a win.

If you recall, I bought two contracts at 104.16 and then the market dropped for days...I sold them this morning for $103.87 (.29 cents x $10 = $290 per contract, $580 total loss).

Since I got out, I've been trading (small, small, small) and already recouped that loss today already. It does not pay to lose big. So I'm glad I held out, but next time I'll set a stop before I walk away, confident. NEVER be confident!

I need to update the running tally of wins and losses for this account:

  • 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
  • April 3, 2014--------10 Trades--($379.40)---------$6,659.29
  • April13, 2014--------1 trade--($30.00)------------$6,629.29
  • April 30------about 100 wee trades $442.61........$7,071.90
  • May 1, 2014 (count the trades yourself)----------$7,528.62
  • May 9, 2014 -------45 trades --($27,44)-----------$7,501.18
  • May 14. 2014---- 37 trades---$1,485.62-----------$8,986.80
  • May 20, 2014------24 trades---$750.54-------------$9,737.34
  • Jun 9, 2014------18 trades---$303.38**-------------$10,040.72

  • **included in this profit is a $580. loss which I held from 5/28 to 6/9 to assure the loss was not larger.


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    /CL Oil Futures Expiration Calendar

    I got confused about expiration dates and one of our readers pointed out that I had an incorrect expiration date on the last blog entry. I looked up the CME Group chart and by golly, she was right. JULY (the current oil future) doesn't expire in July; it expires June 20th. So, for anyone else out there who might be confused, here's the chart:

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    /CL - When Bad Goes to Worse

    Okay, on 5/28/14 I purchased two futures contracts in /CL (oil) and walked away (WENT TO WORK FOR 5 HRS) without setting a stop. I don't know what possessed me. I got distracted, or overconfident, or the paper money reality kicked in and I just wasn't paying attention. A LESSON LEARNED.

    Those $104 contracts dropped like a stone and STILL haven't come back. Since my last post, they've dropped even further. I'm posting my running Cash & Sweeps. The "white line" shows the adjutments that have been made to the account for the daily settlement prices. (if the market goes up, these will adjust back to original figures).

    The circled red item is the 5/28 purchase of the two losing contracts.

    And here is the Active Trader page, show in full with both the Chart, the indicators and the Active Trader ladder on the right.

    Until I sell these losers, I haven't got actual losses. Since they are July contracts, I have until mid June to allow them time to come back. So they're not truly losers yet. BUT, in fact, every day that passes with these sitting here, my cash fund is tied up and I can't be making my daily profits, so in fact I'm losing money every day whether these two contracts finally are sold at breakeven or a small profit. (the likelihood of the market swinging high, high, high above my $104 price is next to nil.)

    This paper money account is crucial in learning how to trade. You do NOT walk away from open contracts without setting a stop. Decide what you're willing to take as a loss ($100? $500?) and SET THAT STOP. Or sit there and day trade, and get out when it turns on you.

    I had doubled my original $5K fund to over $10K. Now I have (on paper) "lost" $3,540.00 of those $5K profits. Since 5/28! Just to show you how fast it can turn on you, so this is not a strategy for sissies. If your emotions get involved here, you're dead in the water.

    I'm hanging in with this, and kicking myself for not setting a little stop. I'd rather lose $500 than $3500. Wouldn't you?

    Happy Trading. Learn from my mistakes!

    And PAPER TRADE if you are not a pro!! I only share these "bad" trades with you because every other website seems to be selling something and telling you how much money you're going to make. It's true you can make money, but if you're careless or uneducated, you can lose it as fast as you make it. And more. So I want example of both the good AND the bad, in full disclosure, so that readers can actually trust that this blog is about the truth.