Tag Archives: Price Action

Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.

 

I'm displaying charts without any trade markers here, so that you can focus on the price action without any distraction.

Because there is a very important fact that not everyone gets. And rarely is it displayed in such a simple and obvious manner, as it is with the two charts we'll discuss today.

That fact is that NOT ALL DAYS ARE EQUAL.

Regardless of your approach to trading, some sessions will provide structure and conditions which are highly favourable. In these sessions you want to actively and aggressively engage the markets. You want to press your advantage.

Some sessions will be highly unfavourable. In these sessions you want to step back and limit engagement. Your primary aim is to minimise any damage and survive to trade another day.

And of course the majority of sessions will fit somewhere in-between – at times slightly more favourable – and at times slightly more unfavourable.

Your job is to recognise the current conditions. And adapt.

Most people focus far too much on their setups. And focus far too little on the context of the market – the background structure and conditions within which they're seeking to trade their setups.

The following two charts display the E-mini NASDAQ (NQ) 1-minute chart from 09:30 till midday. This is my primary trading period. The two charts cover Monday the 2nd and Tuesday the 3rd of December. Of note, the vertical price scale (RHS) is the same on each chart.

<image: Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.>

<image: Recognise the Current Conditions. And Adapt.>

Perhaps what you consider favourable and unfavourable will differ from my preferences Perhaps if you have a preference for counter-trend mean-reversion scalping, then you'll prefer Tuesday's action to Monday's.

Regardless… the same point still applies.

Most people focus far too much on their setups. And focus far too little on the context of the market – the background structure and conditions within which they're seeking to trade their setups.

Spend some time identifying the structure and conditions in which you're most in sync with the market and most easily able to trade. And also, the structure and conditions which cause you problems.

Set up "rules" to allow quick recognition of the current state of the market. And guidelines for how you will trade.

The sooner you can recognise the current state of the market, the sooner you can adapt.

And perhaps you can stop giving back all of your "favourable day profits" when you find yourself chopped up in an unfavourable session.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Daily Market Structure & Price Action Study – 8

 

See here if you missed the earlier articles – No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7

The concept:

I've been writing online for over a decade now. And for that whole time I've been promoting the idea of daily study in both Market Structure and Price Action.

It's a simple task that takes no more than five minutes, but which offers incredible value to your own learning and development.

Sometimes this study fits within certain themes, if there is a particular feature of market structure which I want to focus on for a period of time.

Often though, it's completely unstructured. Simply searching for whatever captures my attention.

Either way, every trading day after the session is over, I look to the charts to find something interesting. Having done this for so long the findings are usually just reinforcing prior lessons. But occasionally, they'll uncover something new which can lead to further exploration, further learning and further growth and development.

The following are examples of entries in my Market Structure & Price Action Journal; although tidied up and expanded upon slightly to work in newsletter article & blog format. (The real journal rarely needs more than one image and a small handful of notes.)

I hope you find it useful. If you do, consider starting your own Market Structure & Price Action Journal.

 

Wednesday, 14th August 2019

We had a day today which trended lower throughout, although never with any great bearish strength. One which just grinded it's way lower. And one which at times "tempted" entry LONG to catch the reversal.

So I thought I should use my MSPA study to find a few "bigger picture" structural signs which should have had me positioned with bearish sentiment throughout the day.

Let's begin with the prior day, Tuesday 13th August 2019.

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

FTC Reference – YTC Price Action Trader Vol 2, Ch 3, P 143

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

Lessons:

  • When the market provides multiple reasons to favour one direction over another, prior to and leading into the session open, the Opening Range can act as a nice "line in the sand" to give you confidence in holding a bias in that direction.

 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Daily Market Structure & Price Action Study – 7

 

See here if you missed the earlier articles – No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6

The concept:

I've been writing online for over a decade now. And for that whole time I've been promoting the idea of daily study in both Market Structure and Price Action.

It's a simple task that takes no more than five minutes, but which offers incredible value to your own learning and development.

Sometimes this study fits within certain themes, if there is a particular feature of market structure which I want to focus on for a period of time.

Often though, it's completely unstructured. Simply searching for whatever captures my attention.

Either way, every trading day after the session is over, I look to the charts to find something interesting. Having done this for so long the findings are usually just reinforcing prior lessons. But occasionally, they'll uncover something new which can lead to further exploration, further learning and further growth and development.

The following are examples of entries in my Market Structure & Price Action Journal; although tidied up and expanded upon slightly to work in newsletter article & blog format. (The real journal rarely needs more than one image and a small handful of notes.)

I hope you find it useful. If you do, consider starting your own Market Structure & Price Action Journal.

 

Tuesday, 13th August 2019:

What a day this was. Or at least, what a day it started out as!

The opening drive was the feature of two social media posts. I'll copy them here if you missed them.

Post one:

<image: Opening drive post one>

And post two:

<image: Opening drive post one> 

I'm off track though. The opening drive was NOT the focus of my Market Structure & Price Action (MSPA) Journal.

Trades journal – yes.

Post session review – yes.

Because I underperformed.

But for the MSPA study, I found this interesting…

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study> 

A break of the initial balance area (opening hour) is a high probability occurrence. But despite all of that initial momentum, price could not continue.

Not even just up to retest the initial balance high. 

I was reminded of a previous MSPA entry from 30th of July, which was also shared via social media.

<image: Strong Opening Drives do not always continue> 

So the lesson today was simply a reminder of a pre-existing one. The fact that no matter how strong we see the market moving at the open, this is no guarantee of a trend day.

Sure, it might be. And we act as if it will be until proven otherwise.

But like all market analysis, we need to recognise that at best we're dealing with probabilities.

There is great danger in holding onto a belief in the state of the market, as if it's a certain thing.

Assess the state of the market. Act in accordance with that view. But don't trust it to hold forever.

Lessons:

  • Remain flexible in mindset at all times. There is no certainty. Nothing lasts forever in the markets. And when it changes, it can happen rapidly.
  • A strong opening drive is not always guaranteed to lead to a trend day.

 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Daily Market Structure & Price Action Study – 6

 

See here if you missed the earlier articles – No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5

The concept:

I've been writing online for over a decade now. And for that whole time I've been promoting the idea of daily study in both Market Structure and Price Action.

It's a simple task that takes no more than five minutes, but which offers incredible value to your own learning and development.

Sometimes this study fits within certain themes, if there is a particular feature of market structure which I want to focus on for a period of time.

Often though, it's completely unstructured. Simply searching for whatever captures my attention.

Either way, every trading day after the session is over, I look to the charts to find something interesting. Having done this for so long the findings are usually just reinforcing prior lessons. But occasionally, they'll uncover something new which can lead to further exploration, further learning and further growth and development.

The following are examples of entries in my Market Structure & Price Action Journal; although tidied up and expanded upon slightly to work in newsletter article & blog format. (The real journal rarely needs more than one image and a small handful of notes.)

I hope you find it useful. If you do, consider starting your own Market Structure & Price Action Journal.

 

Monday, 12th August 2019:

This was a difficult session. Choppy action. Narrow range (compared to recent sessions).

Definitely a session where you wish you just took a day off.

Of course, there's no way to know that till after the fact.

What is important though is accepting that such days are a normal part of the game. And in quickly recognising any potential for unfavourable conditions.

The sooner you can recognise potential danger, the sooner you can respond and adapt.

This doesn't always mean shutting down for the day. It may well be an option. But more often than not, it's just a warning to slow down a little. Step back and be patient. Wait for the easier opportunity perhaps at the edges of the structure. Don't jump into marginal opportunity just because you "want to" trade.

So that was the focus of today's entry into my Market Structure & Price Action (MSPA) Journal – What signs were present early in the session, which identified potentially unfavourable conditions?

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

This is one of my go-to, most reliable, signals for potentially dangerous conditions.

If the market sentiment was bullish or bearish then price would expand from the opening region. The fact that it can't, indicates either a lack of interest from both sides of the market, or at least roughly balanced commitment from both bulls and bears. Either way, a sign of potential chop ahead.

This is NOT a signal for no trading. But rather one of caution.

Take it slow. You don't have to trade every move. Wait for something that is screaming out to be traded.

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

One structural feature I hate is the presence of two "levels" within close proximity. Sometimes price gets stuck between the two leading to nothing good, unless you like getting caught in a real chop-fest.

And that's where we found ourselves today.

Opening range at the top. And the overnight low at the bottom.

If market sentiment were indeed bearish then this break should have held. It didn't.

Caution is required.

Again, this is not a "no-trade" signal. Just a warning that we're not likely to have an easy trending environment. Be patient and wait for the right opportunity. Maybe something like getting LONG on the retest of the overnight low!

<image: Daily Market Structure and Price Action Study>

Volatility contraction leads to volatility expansion.

Ok, not always.

But it's a good "rule of thumb" expectation.

So when we find ourselves stuck between the opening range and the overnight low, I was very interested to see the outcome of the break from this area of compression. If that could break the high of day, and hold the break, I'd be much more comfortable.

But no, it's not to be.

Immediate failure. And straight back into the chop zone.

This is a day for extreme caution. 

Lessons:

  • Price stuck at or within the opening range = CAUTION REQUIRED.
  • Price stuck between two levels in close proximity = CAUTION REQUIRED.
  • An inability for a break from volatility contraction to provide any meaningful expansion = CAUTION REQUIRED.

 

Simple!

As mentioned earlier, this daily activity rarely takes more than about 5 minutes. But I feel that it's been an incredibly important part of my own learning and development.

Often there is nothing earth-shattering, although it can happen. Usually after having done this for so long I find it's just reinforcing prior observations and seeing new instances of prior patterns.

All acting to build upon the mental models which I will use in the future to navigate the unfolding landscape.

If you haven't done so already, consider adopting the same habit. Every day – find something interesting in the markets to add to your Market Structure & Price Action (MSPA) Journal.

And as a side-note… consider doing the same with trades as well. Every day – find one A+ trade opportunity, whether you took it or not. Study it. And add charts and notes to your Trades Journal.

Short-term minimal effort. Long-term massive gain!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trend Change Study

 

Do you ever experience the joy that comes from watching a price sequence develop and feeling that it is just technically "beautiful"?

No? Maybe it's just me.

But I do really love this sequence.

And I think it is a good one for those new to the YTC Price Action Trader methodology who might still be getting used to the ideas of strength and weakness analysis.

Sorry for those who don't have the YTC Price Action Trader. This article won't be relevant. We'll get back to usual programming next week!

Here's the price sequence we're going to study:

<image: Trend Change Study>

Click here if you wish to open a larger chart image in your browser. Or right click to download.

Pattern traders call this a Rounded Top.

For me, it's a transition from Uptrend to Sideways Trend (very briefly) and then into Downtrend.

But what makes it great for review is the fact that the whole transition occurs in slow motion, with gradual changes from swing to swing, rather than a sudden and dramatic break of structure.

Price just rolls slowly over from Uptrend… to Sideways… and to Downtrend.

So… study time!

A primary aim in my own personal trading is to get "in sync" with the price movement. This is not just assessing the trend direction as up, down or sideways. But at a deeper level, aligning myself and connecting with the underlying bullish or bearish sentiment within the trend. The result being a strong sense for whether the trend itself is stable, or perhaps weakening, stalling or at risk of reversing.

The aim of this exercise: To start developing these same skills through studying a reversal price sequence, identifying the signs within the swing structure that could have helped you sense the trend weakening and rolling over eventually into a new downtrend.

Please note: (a) Our concern is NOT with how this structure might be traded. Just with keeping yourself aligned with price as it flows. (b) And while we recognise that we're missing the "feel" that comes from watching this occur live, there is still value for new traders in historical chart study. Knowing what to look for is step one. Then we progress to learning to see it unfold in real-time.

Let's go:

1. Examine the price swings as they move from start to finish, using only one single method of strength and weakness analysis at a time.

(a) Momentum slope – bullish swing comparison

(b) Momentum slope – bearish swing comparison

(c) Projection

(d) Depth

Take note of any signs that each method might offer, alerting you to a weakening of the uptrend and gradual rolling over into a downtrend. (Noting of course that not every swing gives clear evidence of change. You're looking for gradual changes across multiple price swings.)

Now let's try to make it a little more realistic…

2. Real analysis, conducted in real-time at the hard right edge of the charts, actually considers all methods of strength and weakness analysis as a whole. So this time, step through the chart swing by swing and let all four methods create a "picture" in your mind. Allow yourself to feel the uptrend weakening, rolling over to the sideways. And then again rolling over to a downtrend.

If you want to review the text first, refer to sections 3.3.1 and 3.3.2 (pages 113 to 144).

If you have a couple of hours to spare you may feel like replaying the sequence (NQ, 3rd June 2019). But for those of us with better things to be doing on the weekend, simply stepping swing by swing through the chart from left to right should provide sufficient learning opportunity.

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

 


 

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

 


 

Three Key YTC Lessons in this Opening Price Sequence!

 

Lesson 1: When two trade ideas fail to work, consider a break. When three trade ideas fail to work, force a break.

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

Lesson 2: When the pullback is deeper and stronger than expected, let it roll over. Get in on the other side.

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

Lesson 3: An exit is not necessarily final. Remain focused and consider re-entry if the premise is proven to still be valid.

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

<image: Three key YTC lessons>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Traps on a Retest of a Level

 

My normal trading times are between 09:30am and 12:00 midday US Eastern Time. You won't see many trades after midday because in my timezone that is 3:00am. It's time to complete my post-trading routine before getting some well deserved rest.

But occasionally circumstances allow me to push a little beyond this midday (3:00am) time limit.

This occurs ONLY in those times when (a) I'm feeling wide awake and alert, (b) the market is directional with smooth price flow, and (c) something is screaming out to be traded.

So that raises a good question. What exactly is something that is screaming out to be traded? Unfortunately that's difficult to define. Essentially it's a feeling. Let me explain.

The default option is to stand aside. Most setups I just leave alone. I'd rather get on with my post-trading routine.

But from time to time the market sets up in such a way that I just KNOW… I have to be in this trade. This one is so good. It's an A+ trade. An edge that is so obvious that I'd be a fool to miss it.

A trade which I'd rather enter and take a loss than miss the opportunity entirely.

Think carefully about that last statement if you're new to trading!

From a technical perspective though, they will almost always involve a trap of some kind.

You need to sense the blood in the water. Someone, somewhere, has got themselves caught. There is pain. There is emotion. And for me… there is opportunity.

Today… we get to see one of these trades.

A trap on a retest of a level. A setup that was screaming out to be traded.

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

<image: Traps on a Retest of a Level>

NOTE: Complex pullbacks plus the strength/weakness analysis used in this example are all covered in the YTC Price Action Trader.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs