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Andy Jordan Educator for Futures Trading Strategies on Spreads, Options, Swing/Day Trading, and Editor of Traders Notebook. You can read my bio by following this link.
May
01

What is “walk-forward” testing?

Walk-forward testing is the first real step in testing any system on live data. A trader should be somewhat confident that the system or method can produce results in line with the hypothetical results received from back testing. At this stage of testing, it's important to watch a trading system or method run over live data for a period of weeks or months until a large, statistically valid univers...
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Apr
27

How to Handle Fear

​ The best way to handle fear comes in two steps: 1. A detailed trading plan 2. Risk control Let's look at risk control first. You have no doubt, read it many times: "Trade with money you can afford to lose." Here's another one: "Trade positions that are so small that you may think, "what's the point of even putting on the trade?"" One more: "Do not over-trade!" All of the above carry essentially ...
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280 Hits
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Apr
20

It's the Decision of the Market

The market will tell you on any given trade how much money you are going to win (or lose, or break even). It will tell you this quite simply, by how well it is moving or not moving in your direction. If you think, contrary to this, that you have any influence on the outcome of the trade, or that you "deserve" to win more, you will probably overreach yourself. The market will let you know the range...
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249 Hits
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Apr
09

Pulling the Trigger

"Sometimes I absolutely dread sitting down to trade. I have had so many bad experiences that I'm not sure I can pull the trigger. Anything I can do about it?"    What happens to us as we trade colors the way we see things in the market and influences the way we approach them. We take a big hit in a particular market and we decide never to trade there again. Or, when we have a great ...
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297 Hits
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Mar
15

Pride Goes Before a Fall

Next to lack of discipline, I find that pride has resulted in the destruction of many traders. Pride is a powerful emotion. Pride is what we feel when we've made a great trade or done something that makes us look good in the eyes of others. Trading is a tough business. Few traders succeed at it, so when you are doing well, you feel proud. But watch out! There come a time when pride can overpower y...
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608 Hits
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Mar
07

Mounting Losses

There are at least three things you can do to avoid mounting losses: 1. Write off a relatively small loss 2. Admit your mistakes 3. Don't let the desire to protect your reputation interfere making logical trading decisions. The three are common human shortcomings, and you need to be aware of them. None of us are immune and if you are not aware of these weaknesses you will not be able to keep them ...
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621 Hits
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Feb
22

Is trading futures gambling?

​ Trading futures is gambling only when you trade them without full knowledge of what you are doing. There is a good measure of self-knowledge required to choose the proper course to follow if you want to become a trader. It has even been postulated that many small traders in the futures markets, without knowing it, secretly want to lose. They jump in with high hopes—but feeling vaguely guilty. Gu...
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574 Hits
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Feb
17

Stress or just Excitement?

There is a tendency to become overemotional when trading. Overcoming the propensity to play emotionally requires a conscious commitment to specific trading objectives. This entails choosing a target, developing a strategy, and finding a method for adhering to it. A goal enables you to keep a relatively even keel through good and bad periods, to sustain momentum, and to keep from becoming bored. Of...
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521 Hits
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Feb
08

Why do some traders make money with seemingly effortless confidence while others sweat bullets every time they act?

We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking that the most successful traders somehow were somehow born different from the rest of us. We imagine they were born to win no matter what they did. But if that were true, you would also have to believe that those who succeed tend to do so because of their genes, social background, or luck, and not because they pursued success with more diligence, patienc...
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552 Hits
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Feb
01

What should I do after closing out a trade?

You must be disciplined in following the plan of your trade religiously. Once you have closed your position, you should record everything about the trade. Write down where you wanted to enter the trade, what you expected out of the trade, and what you actually did get out of the trade. Make sure to include notes that will help you learn from the trade, reasoning what actually took place once you e...
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647 Hits
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Jan
16

Keeping a trading journal

I keep one of sorts, it is part of my monthly homework. The journal is very basic and includes what trades I made during the day and my reasons for getting into the trade. My journal has changed a bit over time since my reasons for entering a trade now are pretty consistent. I think there are three reasons for keeping a journal. One reason is to have a manual backup in case there's a system or sof...
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908 Hits
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Jan
11

The "Now Trap"

There is a great attraction in all aspects of the modern age to immediacy. Likewise, most of the trouble in trading occurs through this love affair with the "now," with impatience, and with trying to hurry up the trading game. Traders want to make money in the markets now, today, and not tomorrow or next week. We love the Now. We are devoted to it and give it much weight. This problem may be espec...
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724 Hits
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Dec
19

I just wiped out for the second time. Am I some kind of trading freak?

Most successful traders failed at some point in their careers and wiped out their account. Many traders lose because they do not understand the nature of the decision-making process, which should be based on rational price action analysis versus emotional, irrational reactions to price action. A reason should be required for each market action taken. When fear exits a trade, it is more difficult t...
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748 Hits
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Dec
08

Is Seasonality the same in all Markets?

You can find seasonality in all markets but I personally think there is a big difference in "reliability" or "strength" of seasonality in the markets. I personally think seasonality is strongest in the commodity markets. In all markets where you have a physical product and a production cycle during the year. Because the production cycle is always the same you get typical seasonal behaviors in thes...
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576 Hits
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Nov
22

Is learning the trading business like learning any other business?

The importance of how you learn the business of trading cannot be minimized because of the factors that determine your success or failure. Learning the business of trading is basically no different from learning any other business. Winning means learning major guidelines and concepts that you repeat so often in your own behavior that they become good habits. These good habits then become automatic...
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640 Hits
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Nov
16

Being in a positive state of mind

Being in a good mood won't necessarily make you a winner, but being in a bad mood will almost assuredly make you a loser. Starting since time began, the number of people who have won large sums of money through trading while feeling depressed, irritable, or angry could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand! In short, try to trade when you are in a good mood. Restrict yourself to times whe...
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744 Hits
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Oct
04

Patience as a Central Pillar of Your Strategy

Think of patience as a primary part of your trading strategy. Don't assign it a secondary or lesser role, elevate it on the list of what you consider important. And don't be put off by it when it doesn't seem to be working — it's working. Don't start feeling self-righteous about not trading, as if now it owes you (because you have been so disciplined and patient). This is a trap. Don't start to fe...
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799 Hits
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Sep
18

Achieving Self-Esteem

The single most important component of the personality related to personal achievement is self-esteem. Self-esteem is simply how much an individual likes himself and correlates to high achievement on a one-to-one basis. The more an individual likes himself the higher levels of performance he can achieve in any area of his life. Traders should always have at least one physical or mental activity ev...
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805 Hits
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Sep
08

Emotional Extremes

Many beginning traders undergo emotional extremes, feeling sheer ecstasy after a win, but crushing disappointment after a loss. However, as a mature trader, you grow to realize the folly of allowing the natural ups and downs of trading to impact your emotions. Although as a winning professional trader you may stay calm and relaxed even after a series of losses, remaining rational and composed can ...
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Jul
28

Admit when you are wrong

Recently I heard another tale of woe involving the failure to admit being wrong. This man followed a familiar path. As a day trader in the E-mini S&P 500, he first contacted me to tell me that he was unhappy with the data he was receiving. He wanted to know if I could recommend a good trading program for him. I mentioned a couple of them to him and he decided on one. Another interval of time w...
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Derivative transactions, including futures, are complex and carry a high degree of risk. They are intended for sophisticated investors and are not suitable for everyone. There are numerous other factors related to the markets in general or to the implementation of any specific trading program which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of hypothetical performance results, and all of which can adversely affect actual trading results. For more information, see the Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options.