Category Archives: Trading Process and Strategy

Trading Process and Strategy – In this category we discuss all aspects of the trading process, including: (a) Technical analysis, (b) Trade Strategy, (c) Identification of trade opportunity, (d) Trade entry, (e) Trade management and exit.

Chasing Performance

 

Here's a little post-session exercise which may help stretch your performance to "never-before-reached" profit levels.

Pick a target just above your all-time-high for a trading session. Whatever that is – $100, $500, $1000, $5000 or more.

And ask yourself the following.

Looking at the chart for today's session, with the benefit of hindsight, how could I have achieved an all-time high in profits?

It's not about beating yourself up for having failed to reach new highs. Most days you won't reach them.

But it's about pushing yourself. Never settling for mediocrity. Always stretching to achieve more.

Look at the chart. Look at your trades.

Were there were price sequences which you failed to see? Is there some way you could you have captured them?

Were there price sequences in which you underperformed? Could you have taken more out of the move? Could you have increased size somehow? Could you have re-entered if stopped out? Could you have extended the targets or trailed price differently?

If you somehow did manage to squeeze all the profits out of your strategy that day, then ask if there were other ways could you have viewed price and profited? Operate from an assumption that there WAS some way to have achieved new all-time highs today. NOW FIND IT.

And just maybe… next time… you'll take the lessons learnt and actually push through to achieve these new levels of performance.

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

LWP Reference (for those who want to review the concept) – Vol 3, Ch 4, pp 72-77

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

<image: Chasing Performance>

Post-session:

Consider your outcome. And compare it with your all-time high.

Review the charts and find ways you could have stretched yourself to never-before achieved levels of performance.

Perhaps next time, this exercise might just help you reach the new target.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

What Puts You In Sync (or Out of Sync) With Price Flow?

 

I sent out the following post via social media earlier this week. It's a theme I've pushed quite a bit over the last few years because I feel it's incredibly important.

No matter what markets you trade. No matter what timeframe you trade. No matter what strategy you trade.

There will be price sequences where you are in sync with the movement and smashing it out of the ballpark.

And there will be price sequences where you are out of sync and just nothing seems to ever go right.

Here's the post:

<image: Not all conditions are equal>

Why is this important?

The quicker you can recognise change to favourable or unfavourable conditions, the quicker you can adapt tactics to suit.

In response to the post, I received the following question on twitter:

  • What are some things one can do to put together a framework for identifying these transitions?

 

Great question!

Here's one thing that you can do…

Before you can study the transitions, you need to know what type of price sequences lead to you underperforming. And which lead to exceptional performance. From that foundation, you can study the transitions in and out of these sequences.

So here is the plan…

Something you might want to consider post-session…

Examine the price sequences where you just couldn't read the market bias!

These are the sequences where you have no idea what is going on. "It's bullish. No… it's bearish. No… wait.. hang on…it's going… damn it! I have no idea at all."

The sooner you can recognise this (and accept it) the sooner you can stand aside and limit damage, waiting until some clarity returns to the market.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in complete uncertainty about the directional bias.

2. Review the conditions – market structure, price action and human performance factors – which may have influenced your decision making.

3. Document your findings.

4. Over time, you'll start to identify those conditions which have the potential to put you out of sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you found yourself fighting the bias for multiple trades!

These are the sequences in which you were confident that you had picked a market direction, but then got stopped out of one trade… and then another… and maybe more… as you fought what was in reality a completely opposite bias. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. But it's also where we learn. Study these sequences and learn what puts you 180 degrees out of sync.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in multiple attempts to trade the market from the wrong side.

2. Review the conditions – market structure, price action and human performance factors – which may have influenced your decision making.

3. Document your findings.

4. Over time, you'll start to identify those conditions which have the potential to put you out of sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you read the market bias well but just couldn't execute in sync with the market!

These are the sequences in which were 100% spot-on regarding the market bias, but just couldn't get those trades going. Choppy price action leading to hesitation. Or maybe tripping stops and leaving you watch from the sidelines while it goes to the target without you.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in a correct bias but a complete inability to profit from your market read.

2. Review the conditions – market structure, price action and human performance factors – which may have influenced your decision making.

3. Document your findings.

4. Over time, you'll start to identify those conditions which have the potential to put you out of sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and adapt more quickly in future.

Examine the price sequences in which you read the market bias well AND executed well.

These are the sequences in which you just smash it out of the ballpark. Not only can you see the market bias, but every fibre of your being senses it as well. And your timing just fits perfectly.

Post-Session:

1. Take note of any price sequences which resulted in A+ trading and clear outperformance.

2. Review the conditions – market structure, price action and human performance factors – which may have influenced your decision making.

3. Document your findings.

4. Over time, you'll start to identify those conditions which have the potential to put you quickly in sync with the market, allowing you to recognise and exploit the situation more quickly in future.

A whole lot of work, but it will pay you back a thousand-fold.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Traps Immediately After the Open

 

The open can be a time of great opportunity. But you need to be prepared.

My default option is to always wait for the Trading Timeframe (TTF) to develop some structure. To wait until the initial trend is clear and obvious.

But there are some times when I'll trade earlier, before the TTF settles into the day's trend.

Like here…

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

There are generally three situations where I'll take an early trade.

The only way I can catch them is to be prepared. BEFORE THE OPEN!

I will ask some questions:

(1) Is there some exceptional pre-session structure to trade off?

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

(2) If price drives strongly, will it be driving into clear space that offers good potential for continuation?

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

(3) If price offers a trap immediately after the open, would the structure offer a multiple-R potential?

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

If none of these three questions suggest good trade opportunity, then I will happily sit back and relax until there is some structure in play.

But if the answer to any of these questions is YES, then I will pre-consider how the price action will need to set up. And I will prepare myself for potential opportunity very quickly after the open.

Today I will remain alert and ready for a possible trap opportunity.

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

See here for more on PB Setups.

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

<image: Traps Immediately After the Open>

(1) Is there some exceptional pre-session structure to trade off?

(2) If price drives strongly, will it be driving into clear space that offers good potential for continuation?

(3) If price offers a trap immediately after the open, would the structure offer a multiple-R potential?

If the answer to any of these is YES, then pre-consider how the price action will need to set up. You might just find some opportunity very quickly after the open.

But if the answer to all three is NO, then sit back and relax. Let the open play out and wait until some new structure develops.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

It’s All About Real-Time Contextual Decision Making

 

You've learnt the pattern or setup. Great. But that's not trading.

Now work on the real-time contextual decision making around that pattern or setup.

Look beyond the pattern itself to the wider context.

Where is the pattern occurring within the larger timeframe market structure? What structure will suggest avoiding this particular setup? What structure might suggest caution, or reduced position sizing? What structure might suggest increased odds and the potential to really press the trade for a larger gain?

Where is the pattern occurring within time? Are there news influences which suggest passing on the trade? Are their time-of-day / week / month factors which might suggest standing aside?

Consider the behaviour of price movement – the pace, the volatility, smooth vs choppy price action.

What conditions might suggest adjustments to the default plan? All-in vs scaling in? All-out vs scaling out? Closer stops vs wider stops? Closer targets vs extended targets?

Consider the real-time decision making once in a trade.

What signs might suggest a loss of edge? How will you react to this new information?

What signs might suggest greater potential than originally perceived? How will you react to this new information?

What conditions suggest a re-entry attempt should be taken, if stopped out of the position? And how many re-entry attempts are appropriate?

Trading is not about simplistic patterns. It's about real-time contextual decision making.

If you've been on the wrong path then it's time to make a change. It's time to do the real work.

Best of luck,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Simple Session Bias – 3 (Spot Forex)

 

I had no plans to continue this recent topic on use of the opening range to provide a quick and simple assessment of "bigger picture" session bias.

But I had a few traders ask how it should be applied to the forex markets.

You can see the two prior articles here, if you missed them. The first introduces the concept. The second expands upon the concept with some additional detail.

 

All examples from these prior articles were from the futures markets, with the opening range defined by the first 5 minute candle from the 0930 open.

So what do we do in the 24 hour spot forex markets?

Simple…

Set the opening range at whatever point is most relevant to the dataset you're trading.

Let's look at some examples. As we do so though, please note that I will not be marking up these charts beyond simple positioning of the opening range. This will allow YOU to analyse the charts to identify the directional bias (if any) plus assess the ease with which price moves from the opening range (if at all). And put some thoughts towards how tactics might vary to best suit these conditions. If you missed the prior articles, again I recommend you refer to them first, via the links above.

The plan again –

Set the opening range at whatever point is most relevant to the dataset you're trading.

Those trading daily or 4-hour charts might like to use a monthly opening range.

Simply take the first daily candle of the month and extend it forward.

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex Monthly Opening Range>

Those trading 4-hour, 1-hour or 15-minute charts might like to use a weekly opening range.

Simply take the first 4-hour candle of the week and extend it forward.

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex Weekly Opening Range>

Those trading 1-hour charts or lower might like to use a daily opening range.

Simply take the first hourly candle of the day and extend it forward. I've chosen to start the day from the Asian Session open. Adjust to whatever might be relevant to your trading.

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex Daily Opening Range>

Lower timeframe traders (maybe 5M or 1M) might like to break the day down even further, into individual sessions.

Again, take the first 5-minute candle of the session and extend it forward.

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex Asian Session Opening Range>

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex European Session Opening Range>

<image: Simple Session Bias - Forex US Session Opening Range>

So yes… the opening range concept can be applied to 24 hour markets.

Set the opening range at whatever point is most relevant to the dataset you're trading.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

PS. You might also be interested in this old article from 2009 – Forex Opening Range Breakout Strategy

PPS: Intraday traders might also want to consider this idea shared in a couple of social media posts a few years ago:

<image: Displaying only EUR UK Session Data>

<image: Displaying only EUR UK Session Data>

 


 

Trade When You See Edge. Stand Aside When You Don’t!

 

A few weeks back we discussed a quick and simple method for identifying a "bigger picture" directional bias.

See here if you missed it and want to review the idea – Part 1, Part 2.

The second article generated quite a bit of good email conversation, with several traders now adding this to their current trading process.

One email included a brief question, which I feel it is important to discuss with all of you today.

  • "I always looked at the opening range as something that worked some times (when the market did move) and didn't work other times (when the market didn't move). So you taught me a great lesson here. It works all the time, because that failure of price to move from the opening range is the information we need to identify a lack of directional bias. What I would love to see though is how you traded one of these days that were neutral bias throughout the whole day. Like on the Tuesday for example, you said "My preference is to stand aside". Does that mean you didn't trade at all? Or at what point did you stop? Or if you did trade at any time, what was the reasoning at the time?"

 

Nice question!

Let's look back at the session on that Tuesday. This was the higher timeframe chart, with the opening range, as discussed in the prior article series.

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

Clearly a neutral bias throughout the vast majority of the session.

But yes, I DID make some trades.

Before we examine the trades, there are two key points I want to make.

Firstly, we need to remember that the image above is the HIGHER TIMEFRAME chart. Trading decisions and actions are based upon the Trading Timeframe chart, within the context of the structure provided by the Higher Timeframe chart.

And secondly, we need to remember that the session bias is something which gradually reveals itself over time.

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

Let's look at the Trading Timeframe Chart…

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

<image: Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.>

With hindsight there will ALWAYS be a ton of opportunity you can see.

By all means learn from it post-session if it's opportunity you want to catch in future.

But when you're operating LIVE at the hard right hand edge of the screen, it can help to remind yourself that you don't have to trade every price sequence.

When price is moving nicely and you feel in sync with the movement… when you see edge… only then do you trade.

All other times… when you don't see edge… shift that chair back so that you're out of reach of the mouse. Watch and wait for something better.

Or call it a day.

You don't have to trade every sequence. Trade when you see edge. Stand aside when you don't.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Simple Session Bias – 2

 

Last week I introduced two quick and simple methods for establishing the "bigger picture" bias for the trading session.

Let's look at this concept one more time, reviewing all sessions since last week's publication.

We will focus this time on the opening range method (my preferred method) and go into a little more detail.

Friday 3rd August 2018

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

Monday 6th August 2018

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

Tuesday 7th August 2018

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

Of note… this session was also the focus of a social media post. You can see it here on either twitter or facebook.

Wednesday 8th August 2018

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

Thursday 9th August 2018

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

Next Step…

Now it's time for you to take action.

If you like the idea, start applying it to your markets for a few weeks to see if it adds value to your own analysis and trade decision making.

Maintaining context is essential for effective price action trading. The "bigger picture" session bias is a key part of this context. And will hopefully have you trading (more often than not) on the right side of the market.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Simple Session Bias

 

Maintaining context is essential for effective price action trading.

And while that is true for all timeframes, it's especially so in the lower intraday timeframes where you can easily get caught up in the tick-by-tick battle between the bulls and bears.

My primary tools for context are the trend structure which I view on the trading timeframe chart and a support and resistance framework on a higher timeframe chart. All revealed here if you're interested.

But over time I've adopted a slight addition to this plan.

One additional piece of context data.

Very quick to establish. And very simple.

It essentially provides me with an immediate "bigger picture" assessment as to whether the session as a whole should be considered bullish, bearish or neutral.

I don't restrict trading to this session bias direction (although some people may choose to do so). I trade with reference to the trend and S/R structure, as discussed earlier. But the session bias helps to weight my preference slightly to this "bigger picture" direction.

When trading with the session bias I might show a little more patience in letting a trade prove itself. And a little more confidence in holding for larger targets.

Against the session bias, I might prefer to limit myself to A+ quality trades only. I might require them to prove themselves more quickly, or else I'll be scaling back the risk. And I might be satisfied with closer targets.

The method is simple – just display the opening range on a higher timeframe chart. Price holding above the opening range is bullish. Price holding below is bearish. Stuck at the opening range (or in the vicinity) is neutral.

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

VWAP works great as well. Again, price above VWAP is bullish and below is bearish. While price oscillating around the VWAP is more neutral.

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias>

<image: Simple Session Bias> 

Interestingly, you will note that both methods produce a slightly different result, at times, in particular immediately following the session open. That's completely normal. And it's fine (we're only getting a feel for a "bigger picture" bias here). Just be consistent in whichever you use.

Play with some charts and explore the use of either the opening range or VWAP. Or find your own method. There are many options.

Whatever you choose, just keep it simple.

No "analysis" required. Just an immediate visual assessment of bullish, bearish, or neutral.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Patience at the Open

 

Until you have a good read of the market, there is NO TRADE.

  • Confidence in your real-time understanding of the market structure.
  • Confidence in your real-time understanding of the nature of price movement.
  • Confidence in your real-time assessment of market bias.
  • Confidence in your projection of that market bias forward in time and price.

 

And most importantly:

  • An understanding of how future price movement should behave if your forward projection has some validity.
  • And confidence in your ability to adjust your understanding (and your trading decisions) should price movement offer something unexpected.

 

In simpler language… if you don't know what's going on… you have no business trading.

Watch and wait until some clarity appears, in terms of structure, price movement and opportunity.

The market open is one time which has great potential for confusion, doubt and uncertainty.

I remind myself before the open that there is no need to rush the first trade. If it screams out to be taken, then take it. But otherwise, be patient and allow myself time to get in sync with the flow of price.

Here are two of the market opening "warning signs" that have me keeping my trigger finger well clear of the mouse.

1. Bias Conflict

During the session I maintain a sense of the bias through the YTC Price Action Trader rules for trend projection.

At the session open though, I like to complement this with a really simple and objective method – the opening range breakout.

If they're in agreement, it's game on.

But if they conflict, it's a sign to be patient and wait till they come into alignment.

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

2. Seriously BAD LOOKING Price Action

Not just bad looking price action. We're talking seriously bad looking price action.

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

Remain Patient. Watch and Wait.

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

<image: Patience at the Open>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Other Trader (6)

 

Let's continue with an old article series – the metagame – trading AGAINST other traders who find themselves on the wrong side of the market.

Because…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

You can see the prior articles here if you missed them – OneTwoThreeFourFive.

Here is the general concept for today's trade…

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5> 

In playing the metagame, we aim to place ourselves in the mindset of any trader who bought late in the move, at or soon after the breakout. Feel their stress build as price stalls. And stalls. And stalls. Feel their pain as their "sure thing" collapses back below the stall region. And find a way to profit from their pain.

Yes, trading is a predatory game!

Let's see some charts.

We'll be seeking BOF Setup opportunity at this point here:

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

 

The key part I want to emphasise today is the following:

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6> 

 

Let's play the metagame and put ourselves in the mindset of those who entered LONG on the breakout.

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 6> 

 

Trading the metagame…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

Let someone trap themselves in a low-probability position.

Place yourself into their mindset.

Feel their pain.

And when it gets to the point where they've lost all hope, STRIKE.

Go get 'em,

Lance Beggs