Yearly Archives: 2019

Traps just before RTH Open

 

I've written a lot about displaying patience at the open. About waiting till the bias is clear and trading conditions are favourable.

But there are some situations where I don't display patience.

Where I'm keen to get a trade on as soon as I can.

No patience. No delays. It's game on!

One of these situations is when the market sets up a trap just before or just after the RTH Open. (RTH = Regular Trading Hours).

Today we'll look at an example which sets up just before the open.

Here's the general concept:

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

This concept can be applied in any market which offers pre-session trading leading into a clearly defined "regular" day session. Spot forex traders might apply it at the UK open, or the US open.

This example set up a break of the overnight low. Here's what I was seeing:

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

(YTC PAT FTC Ref: Vol 2, Ch 3, P143))

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

<image: Traps just before RTH Open>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Embrace the Suck

 

Let's talk a little about mindset. Or more specifically about our expectations leading into the day.

Because I suspect that the way I approach the game differs quite a bit from many other traders.

The market has opened…

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

It's all about expectations.

I expect a really tough day…

and embrace the suck.

<image: Embrace the suck>

Source: Wiktionary

This difference in mindset is important.

Expecting simplicity leads more often than not to disappointment and frustration, as conditions do not turn out the way you expect.

And disappointment and frustration do NOT typically lead to effective decision making, as we analyse the market and identify and manage trade opportunity.

Expecting a challenge leads to a slightly more defensive mindset. One ready to survive through difficult conditions. And yet still open to potential large gains when the market surprises us with more favourable price movement.

Market conditions OFTEN suck.

The sooner you can accept and appreciate this. And in fact EXPECT it, the sooner you'll be able to get on with the job of managing it.

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

<image: Embrace the suck>

EMBRACE THE SUCK!

If the market provides massively favourable conditions… that's a bonus.

If my execution just happens to be flawlessly in sync with the price movement… that's a bonus.

But I don't ever expect it.

Confidence does not come from hoping or praying for A+ trading conditions.

It comes from knowing that even if the market conditions are crap, or your execution at times really stinks, you can adapt and overcome.

Embrace the suck!

Expect it.

And learn to prevail despite it.

That is how you develop unshakeable confidence.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Quality Vs Quantity

 

Trading offers you incredible freedom of choice. You have almost complete control over when and where you will take on risk. And of course, how much risk.

<image: Quality Vs Quantity>

But while this freedom is great in theory, it's potentially devastating for many who are still searching for their edge.

I suspect MANY developing traders would find that there is great power in applying limits to this freedom.

I was chatting in recent weeks with a trader who made this breakthrough. His problem was a common one – overtrading. In particular when in drawdown, where he would keep grinding the session deeper and deeper into negative territory.

It was always obvious with the benefit of hindsight that he was out of sync with the price movement. The smart decision would have been to stand aside. But he was unable to accept this at the time, always sure that the next trade would be the one to turn everything around.

His solution… self-imposed limits to his trading.

Not just when in drawdown.

EVERY DAY!

<image: Quality Vs Quantity>

Feel free to change this to any other number which suits your needs. Maybe you'll prefer two. Maybe four or five.

All are fine, provided it's MUCH LESS than the typical number of trades you take each day when allowed free reign.

This provides are two key advantages.

Limiting the number of trades each day:

  • Allows you permission to wait for QUALITY trade ideas.
  • Limits the potential for deep drawdown through overtrading while out of sync with the market action.

 

Let's demonstrate through a hypothetical example:

"My Trade Plan – Today is FOMC Day, with the FOMC Statement due at 14:00 and the Press Conference at 14:30. I will stand aside prior to these events due to the increased potential for unfavourable price movement. From 14:30, I will seek a maximum of three trades only, noting that my best performing setup in post-news environments is the first pullback following commencement of a new directional trend (like demonstrated here)."

<image: Quality Vs Quantity>

<image: Quality Vs Quantity>

With great freedom comes great responsibility. (Thanks to Voltaire, Eleanor Roosevelt, Stan Lee and the many others who have expressed this idea in numerous forms!)

If you find yourself struggling through too many poor trade ideas, consider applying limits to your trading activity.

Allow yourself three trades per day.

Try it.

Maybe the solution to finding your edge will come through a focus on QUALITY rather than QUANTITY.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Sideways Trend into the Open

 

On Monday, prior to the market open, I shared the following YTC article via social media – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/patience-at-the-open/

The title of the article is "Patience at the Open".

And that pretty much sums up my intent in sending out that link. Simply trying to slow down the excitement and stop you jumping into the market prematurely, on the first day back from a long-weekend.

If you trade as I do, taking pieces out of the trend structure as it unfolds at the RHS of the screen, there is often no hurry to catch the first trade of the day.

If the bias is immediately clear, by all means trade.

But if there is any uncertainty, the superior play is often to stand aside and wait. Remain patient. Allow the uncertainty to resolve itself.

This will typically only take a few minutes.

The prior article outlined two of the "warning signs" which have me standing aside. Firstly, bias conflict. And secondly, seriously bad-looking price action (choppy with much overlap). Review the article if you missed it.

But in a great example of the market rhyming, rather than repeating, Monday offered a slightly different scenario. It's a variation of bias conflict, but unlike the prior example which had a directional trend into the open, this time we had a sideways market.

We manage this exactly the same way though. Remain patient. And allow any conflict or uncertainty to resolve itself.

Let's step through the open on Monday.

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

See here for rules on defining the trend structure.

Let's zoom in a little…

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

<image: Sideways Trend into the Open>

See here for the six YTC Principles for future trend direction.

This is a really easy concept. Our aim is simply to stand aside and wait, whenever there is uncertainty in the opening market bias.

There may be no uncertainty. You might have a directional market into the open with a momentum drive in the same direction. Go for it. There's no need to wait.

But if there is any doubt, or confusion, or uncertainty, then stand aside. Wait till it resolves itself. Wait till there is some clarity. And wait till you have confidence in your read of the market action.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend

 

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

REFERENCE: Definition of a sideways trend – Vol 2, Ch 3, Pages 99-102

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

<image: First Pullback in a NEW Directional Trend>

Not all trade setups are equal.

You need to collect and review your stats to determine which setups provide your A+ MUST-NOT-MISS potential opportunity of the day.

For me, the first pullback in a NEW directional trend is one of these MUST-NOT-MISS setups.

No, they do not always profit. And sometimes they offer profits, but I mismanage the opportunity.

But when they do run and I perform well enough to catch them, the profits can more than make up for any other failed attempts. As always, we profit over a series of trades. Individual trades are irrelevant.

Check your own charts, in your own market and timeframes. Note any sideways trend environments. Find a breakout which occurs with some strength, which holds the break. And see if you can also find edge on the first pullback into this new directional trend.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

One of the Best Habits I Acquired along my Trading Journey

 

I posted the following image on social media on Tuesday, showing a nice example of a false breakout and reversal from a period of volatility contraction.

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

The important point though… and the one which offers the most value to you… is not the image itself but rather the text that was posted alongside the image.

  • One of the best habits I acquired in my trading journey – EVERY DAY I find at least one price sequence which I find interesting and STUDY IT. Consider whether or not you might also benefit from actively developing this habit.

I received the following questions on Twitter:

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

(1) What does my price sequence study involve?

The study relates to observations in price action or market structure. It does not typically involve study of the trades taken during the session. I have a separate part of my review process for trades.

Sometimes it is structured and will focus on a particular topic for a week or so. Maybe I will decide to study transitions from one market environment to another. Or to study price behaviour on the break from a higher timeframe trap. Or maybe… well you get the point. If there is a particular topic of interest to me then I might focus solely on that topic for a period of time.

See here if you want a list of possible "categories" for your Market Structure & Price Action study – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/market-structure-and-price-action-journal-categories/

But other times, when there is no particular topic of interest, the study will be unstructured and based on any observation which I find interesting. Often this will be a sequence which I didn't read well. Perhaps something I didn't see coming. Or something I didn't react to quick enough.

For example, the shift in sentiment occurring from point B to C in the volatility contraction above, is one that I was too slow to recognise and react to. So it became the focus of my study that day.

(2) How much time do I devote to this study?

Typically no more than 10 minutes. The topic will become obvious during the session. All it typically takes is a quick review, along with identification and recording of lessons learnt.

(3) What are some questions I ask?

That is largely going to depend upon the topic you're studying. And it should be self-evident. But it should relates to (a) how did price behave, (b) how could I have recognised this more quickly, and (c) how should I have responded to this information?

Let's look at a few more examples from Tuesday and Wednesday this week:

Tuesday:

Tuesday offered a brilliant example of the saying, "The market doesn't repeat, it rhymes".

Note the similarity – volatility contraction, expansion, and then opportunity available in the opposite direction as the expansion leg fails.

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

Let me be perfectly clear – I am NOT a pattern trader. But volatility contraction and subsequent expansion is one pattern that I do often see. And one that I do often take advantage of.

Typically it's through seeking YTC PAT PB opportunity, on the first pullback after the breakout, expecting the expansion leg to continue to drive with momentum.

For whatever reason, I've been slow to react to a failure of the expansion, for two days in a row now. I missed it on Monday. I missed it on Tuesday. Through reinforcing this lesson, I aim to ensure I will NOT miss it again.

Wednesday:

Thankfully, I'm not going to bore you with another example of a false breakout from volatility contraction.

Let's start with a higher timeframe chart:

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

Ok, so nothing surprising so far. The review basically confirmed my real-time thinking.

But then the review also picked up something that I "should have" been aware of intra-session, but did not consider at all.

Let's look at the overnight data leading into the session open.

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

Nothing changes here in terms of decision making. The failure of the second break is still the critical point at which I should accept that my "feeling" of a bearish market bias was wrong.

But this additional information does add weight to the earlier analysis. And it's information I should have been aware of intra-session.

If the market sentiment was indeed bearish, then one of these breaks of a key overnight level, SHOULD have held. The fact that they couldn't hold confirms that my "feeling" about market sentiment is likely wrong. Watch for a break to the upside and further dominance by the bulls.

I do take note of key overnight levels pre-session. It's clear though, with hindsight, that this information did not make it into the session (at least not in the forefront of my mind).

Lesson: Greater emphasis is required on pre-session levels.

Bonus Entry:

I'm not going to do another. But I just can't resist sharing this.

From Thursday, on the 3 minute timeframe:

<image: One of the best habits I acquired along my trading journey>

This is one of the key benefits of a Market Structure & Price Action Journal. Over time you start to see familiar patterns of price behaviour. All of which builds skill in real-time assessment of market bias and real-time recognition of opportunity.

Now it's your turn:

I received this request on Facebook, following the original social media post: "Please post something on Indian markets like NIFTY or BANKNIFTY. Thanks".

My response: "I don't trade the Nifty so can't help you with that market. But I highly recommend you commence creation of your own Market Structure & Price Action Journal. You'll achieve far greater value from that daily practice, than from anything I could provide."

Re-emphasising the point from the original social media post:

  • One of the best habits I acquired in my trading journey – EVERY DAY I find at least one price sequence which I find interesting and STUDY IT. Consider whether or not you might also benefit from actively developing this habit.

Regardless of your market, your timeframe, or your strategy. Give it a try and see if you get the same benefit that I received.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading a Massive Increase in Emotion

 

I want to write a short followup to last week's article – First Pullback After Significant Structural Change.

Email feedback during the week made it clear to me that some information which I'd assumed was obvious, was not actually obvious to all readers.

And as with most assumptions, it's actually INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT.

The article dealt with a trade taken well after my usual "stop trading" time of 12:00ET. This is normally time for my post-trading routines before heading off to bed.

But on this day I wasn't tired, so I went on with other work while keeping one eye on the markets. Not with any real intent to trade. Just to follow along. Unless of course an A+ trade opportunity came along, screaming out to be traded, and then it's game on.

So here's what happened (from a higher timeframe chart perspective)…

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

If you want to see the trade, check out the original article – First Pullback After Significant Structural Change.

So this led to a reader asking why I didn't trade LONG from the obvious level of support?

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

Great question!

My error last week was in approaching the trade and surrounding context purely from the technical charting perspective.

1. Obvious structure.

2. Break from obvious structure.

3. Trade the first pullback.

I didn't sufficiently explain the underlying reason WHY I consider this an A+ opportunity. And why opportunity LONG from the obvious level of support was something I was happy to pass on.

An excerpt from my response:

I think the cause of the misunderstanding here is that you're failing to appreciate how little I wanted to be trading. My trading was over. I had almost zero interest in trading. I had better things to be doing. UNLESS something absolutely amazing set up.

So yes, had I been trading from 12:00 I would have been seeking entry LONG, as you've suggested. Price held that level nicely.

But this is not the kind of action I want to take after a trading session is over. Can you see the difference between the two sequences? The sequence from 12:00 to 15:00 is just a continuation of the earlier session bias. But the move after support was broken is different. Suddenly A WHOLE LOT of traders are wrong. Everyone who is still holding a longer-term long position, established at any time in the last 3 hours, is suddenly in a drawdown. This is the kind of action I want to trade. Something that traps a whole lot of people. Something that shocks the market. Otherwise, I'll pass.

 

The break of support is something which SHOCKS the market.

Something that results in a massive increase in emotion.

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

<image: Trading a massive increase in emotion>

Viewing charts from the perspective and emotion of "the other trader" is the key premise underlying my whole trading approach in the YTC Price Action Trader. Outlined in Chapter Two and then evident in the whole analysis and trade process.

The same applies with every trade you see within my newsletter and blog posts. Even, as in the case of last week's article, where the discussion focused solely on the technical aspects of charting. Look to my charts from the perspective of "the other trader". It will be there somewhere.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

First Pullback after Significant Structural Change

 

I don't often trade after midday Eastern Time. It's the middle of the night here and I'd much prefer to get some sleep.

But from time to time I'm alert and awake and there is no chance I'd be able to sleep even if I tried.

So I'll complete some of my post-session review and then go on with other work, while keeping an eye on the markets.

The default intent is to NOT trade… unless it's screaming out to be traded.

What does that look like?

Here's one example. A trade that is so damn obvious I would have been kicking myself if I missed it.

It's a YTC PB trade. But what is important is not so much the trade itself, but WHERE it happens in the "bigger picture" market structure.

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

Dropping down to the Trading Timeframe to see the outcome:

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

<image: First Pullback after Significant Structural Change>

1. Structure!!!

2. Break of structure.

3. First pullback against the break of structure.

It's no Holy Grail. Sometimes there will be losses. And sometimes you'll miss the trade.

But it's opportunity I do NOT want to miss.

Happy trading, 

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading with a Guard Rail for Increased Confidence in Bias

 

Let's look at a tool that can help you manage the conflict between what you FEEL should be happening and what you SEE is actually happening. Particularly for those of us who prefer clean charts with price only.

Here is the NASDAQ 5 minute chart from Monday 4th March 2019.

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

You can't get an indication of how bearish it was due to the scale on the RHS being quite compressed.

This was a REALLY nice move.

But the day after I had some email discussion with a trader who was beating himself up over missed opportunity.

In his words…

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Yep… we've all been there… sitting on the sidelines while we watch the market go on without us. Can't go short because you FEEL it will rally any moment. But can't go long because you SEE it just keep falling.

The old saying comes to mind… "trade what you see, not what you think".

But like all of these simplistic truths, they're much tougher to put into practice than you'd imagine.

My immediate thoughts – don't beat yourself up. Ever.

Or if you feel it's warranted, then allocate a few minutes to let it all out. And then move on.

Today is just one out of thousands of trading days you'll have over your career. Take the hit. Learn from it. Move on.

And really… at least you didn't try to fade the move all the way down. It could have been a whole lot worse.

(NOTE: He actually profited on the day. All the anger and regret were simply because he knew he could have got a lot more.)

So we discussed a few issues.

Missing the initial short was a key part of the problem. This then triggered a shift to "outcome thinking" rather than "process thinking"; not wanting to make a bad situation worse by following up a missed opportunity with a losing trade.

As soon as you fear losing on a trade, it's game over.

So this is an issue he will work on, recognising now that missed opportunity can be a trigger that shifts his mindset away from productive thought processes.

But that is not the point of this article.

Our discussions also led to the recent article series – My Go-To Method for Solving Trading Problems. (Part 1, Part 2)

Because it provides a technical solution to another key part of his problem.

Something that could have provided confidence in entering and holding a short position while he sees that the market keeps moving lower, despite his bullish internal bias.

In other words… he needed a guard rail.

(NOTE: We're going to leave out discussion of S/R, which may have also helped. The trader does not use an S/R framework at all, instead trading the trend structure.)

The Guard Rail is a concept that was discussed in part 2 of the article series.

Think of this:

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The primary purpose of the guard rail is to prevent (or limit) damage should you veer off the road.

But it also provides a secondary function. It allows you increased CONFIDENCE in driving along the road without fear of falling over the edge of the cliff.

Can we achieve the same on our charts?

I think we can (to some degree).

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

<image: Trading with a Guard Rail>

Give it a try next time you find conflict between what you feel should be happening, and what you objectively see is actually happening.

Add a guard rail to the chart. Let it act as a clear line in the sand, dividing the chart into two zones. One side allowing you trade what you see is happening. The other allowing you to trade what you feel (and hopefully by then also see) is happening.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs