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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.

Do Something Else!

You need to find other things to do while padding the time waiting for better trades. Try to study the markets or different ways of trading, or simply do something completely different like going to the beach. It is critical that you learn to enjoy yourself in ways other than being in a trade. The fact is, if you are trading in a professional way, you are out of the market much of time. So you nee...
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Optimized Entry or Exit

Optimized entry (green vertical line on the chart below) or exit ( red vertical line on the chart below) is part of seasonal patterns. For example: the spread X–Y shows a strong seasonal up move in July with an optimized entry date on July 3 and an optimized exit date on July 28. This means “usually” the spread moves up between July 3 and July 28, but this is just based on statistical data of the ...
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Simplicity of Trading

Trading requires that you take decisive action. Implementing a successful trading plan quite often requires that you make quick decisions when the right market conditions come into play. The more complicated you make your trading, the harder it becomes to make quick decisions. We all know it can be hard to make trading decisions when your money is on the line. Most of us have a natural desire to a...
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Develop a Trading Plan

The main message I want traders to understand is how important the disciplined execution of a well thought out trading plan is in today's markets. Nobody knows for sure what a given market will do next. Having a plan of attack will allow you to successfully cope with the uncertainty that is an inherent part of trading. I think it makes good common sense to have a well thought out plan of attack fo...
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Vacation trip to Samaná

From Saturday October 29 until November 5 my wife and I took a vacation trip to Samaná, Dominican Republic. From Santiago, where we live, it takes about a 3 hour drive to get there. I love the region of Samaná because it is still very virgin compared to Bavaro or Punta Cana with only a few hotels. Usually we stay at a hotel on Cayo Levantado, a small island in the Samaná Bay. I love Cayo Levantado...
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As a percent of capital, should I go big or small?

Careful risk management is a key component you being able to trade at your best. Comfort level is really important when it comes to risk. You need to be comfortable in three areas: Emotional, Mental, and Financial. We could even add Physical to that list without having to make too great a stretch. If there is a real danger that you will lose large amounts of capital, or money that you just can't a...
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Overconfidence

When traders are hot and seemingly cannot lose: When they make several trades that perform exceedingly well, there is a surge of human pride. They feel like the pitcher who strikes out the side for all nine innings of baseball. They feel invincible, brilliant, and master traders to say the least. When a trader feels like that he thinks he can do no wrong and make no mistakes. He comes to believe a...
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Time

You pay a price for every profit you take with time and effort required to obtain it. Not to mention the years of experience upon which your knowledge and system methodology have been constructed. The slippage, and getting knocked out on a winning trade by one tick have a cumulative mental attrition that can only be offset by constant profits, vacations and other interests not market related. Time...
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Is trading more of an art than a science?

I believe trading is far more an art than a science. For one thing, if trading were a science, then we should all be able to enter the same trade at the same time, and exit at the same time getting identical results. We all know that just isn’t so. Yet if trading were scientific, we should be able to get identical results doing the same thing. I believe such expectation describes the “scientific m...
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Don't let your emotions influence your decisions in trading

Trading is nothing more than a long, random statistical run. An experienced trader knows that even if he is in a losing streak right now, as long as he sticks to his already approved trading plan, he will come out a winner in the long run. This is why becoming angry is pointless. In fact, it is worse than pointless, because heated emotions often lead to poor decisions in subsequent trades. In such...
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Stressful Times

We are living in stressful times. However, In times of greatest economic stress, the worst thing you can do as a trader or investor is to panic. Reactions to situations that are born of fear are rarely wise or helpful. Perhaps you didn't sell before everyone else began to, and the market is in a slump. Now you’re facing a huge loss, all in one day. Your first thought may be to call your broker and...
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A typical Traders Notebook Outright Swing Trade

Today I want to show you a trade we had the other day with our new service. As you can see below, we were looking for a few entries in several markets. We were filled in the long Soybean Meal trade at 301.5 with an initial stop at 299.0 (the risk was $250 per contract traded). During the overnight session the market moved a bit, but everything was very quiet. At the open of the day session the mar...
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Five Basic Steps To Becoming A Successful Trader

1. Focus on trading vehicles, strategies, and time horizons that suit your personality 2. Identify non-random price behavior 3. Absolutely convince yourself that what you have found is statistically valid 4. Set up trading rules 5. Follow the rules 6. Don’t be afraid to abandon a rule that is no longer working.   In a nutshell, it all comes down to: Do your own thing (independence); And do th...
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Market Technicians

Market technicians tend to peer into market detail from the point of view of mathematics and statistics. A market technician will present you with something like: “There are only four range possibilities for a price bar for any chart time frame: The outside bar; the inside bar, the higher high and higher low, and the lower high and lower low. Using only the open, high, low, mid range, and close da...
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Markets tend to part the foolish from their money

Sometimes you feel that you are able to throw caution to the wind. That is when you must be careful to not spit into it. One satisfying aspect of trading can be identifying a market (or spread) that is undervalued, at support, trending, breaking out, or behaving seasonally – and then seeing it continue to behave as expected. When it does so, it pays to be aggressive – boldly assuming positions, an...
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Becoming a consistent winner

Many novice traders underestimate how long it takes to become consistently profitable. They assume they can trade profitably in a matter of months, whereas veteran traders will tell you that such consistently profitable trading may take several years. And it's difficult to achieve. It requires great effort and persistence to become a steady winner, yet many aspiring traders think only minimal effo...
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Learning from Mistakes

If you make mistakes during trading, go back in your mind to see what you could have done better, or differently. There is usually something to learn from each trade. For example, did you stay too long in a single trade? Did you trade too aggressively, or not aggressively enough? Should you have cashed in (or added) some contracts, but didn’t? Mistakes don’t matter much if you learn from them. Ana...
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Do I deserve to win?

The world's most successful traders believe in themselves and their ability to win. In fact, many of them feel that they “own” the market. They are not necessarily being arrogant, but they are sure of themselves and that they are able to take profits out of the market. Most important is they believe that they deserve to win. They have a mind-set that is conducive to winning as a trader. It's essen...
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What is the best way to enter or exit the spread trades?

I think there is no “best way” to enter or exit spread trades, there is only “your way”. Let me explain: I personally prefer the open and the close to enter all my spreads. I don’t like to watch my spreads during the day and I focus only on the closing price. Most buying and selling is at the open and at the close, especially in thin markets. When you use a limit order you can enter anytime you wa...
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Feeling Neutral

Some traders unconsciously ratchet their emotions up a notch each time they avoid a trade when the market is not in their favor. So their emotions build, like steam pressure, to higher and higher levels. You can see the anger growing in them. They feel that by patiently staying out of every trade that they are demonstrating superior trading skills, but they are not being rewarded for it. When we i...
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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.