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


Admit when you are wrong

Recently I heard another tale of woe involving the failure to admit being wrong. This man followed a familiar path. As a day trader in the E-mini S&P 500, he first contacted me to tell me that he was unhappy with the data he was receiving. He wanted to know if I could recommend a good trading program for him. I mentioned a couple of them to him and he decided on one. Another interval of time w...
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Overtrading

Overtrading
Overtrading is putting on trades unnecessarily, arbitrarily, and without a specific trading plan. Overtrading can also be trading with more risk than you can afford, and trading more contracts than you can effectively manage physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mistake #1: Assuming a real trader trades all day. Mistake #2: Trading for excitement. Mistake #3: Trading because you are frustrated. M...
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Some things that keep traders from “making it”

Some things that keep traders from “making it”
Three psychological traits prevent traders from becoming consistently successful, fear, anger and guilt. Fear blocks the trade decision making process due to worry about negative events that may or may not occur in the future. Guilt blocks the trade decision making process with unresolved concern about something that happened in the past. Anger is an emotional response to guilt, fear, the indecisi...
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The Crush Spread

The Crush Spread
The spread is defined as buying one futures contract, and selling a different, but related futures contract. Specifically, when trading the crush spread, you would buy soybeans and sell its respective products, the soybean meal and soybean oil. This is what is referred to as being crushed. If you buy the soybean meal or the soybean oil and sells soybeans, that is what is referred to as being rever...
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What kinds of emotions go with winning and losing?

What kinds of emotions go with winning and losing?
Once a trade is entered, there are two possible outcomes: Win or lose. Between the two is the breakeven point, and because it is in-between, it’s psychologically significant. Losing is involved with fear and hope. Winning is involved with greed. When on the losing side of a trade, the breakeven point is a place that inspires hope. Being human we have a natural tendency to avoid risk and loss. When...
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Money Management explained in a few simple words

Money Management explained in a few simple words
Money management involves a number of things and it is not to be confused with trade management. Money management is static. It deals with things like deciding the size of your margin account; deciding how much of your account you will put at risk on any one trade; deciding where to place your stop; and deciding on fixed objectives. The main purpose of money management is to save you from a disast...
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How do you go about making trading decisions?

How do you go about making trading decisions?
Careful analysis of all possible alternatives and all possible consequences of your trading decisions is the first step in good decision-making. Make every attempt to avoid impulsive trading decisions, invariably these lead to taking unnecessary risks. Strive to have a clearly defined trading plan, but keep it as simple as possible. Chart the equity of your trading method so that you can quickly k...
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Is it really possible to be consistently profitable?

Is it really possible to be consistently profitable?
When you are in a slump and feeling frustrated and disappointed, you tend to think, "I'll never be profitable, and there is nothing I can do about it." The consequences of such reasoning are that you'll never feel like putting on a trade ever again. It is better to think, "Profitable trading is almost impossible, but I can learn how the markets work, develop the necessary skills, and eventually ac...
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Kramer (from the Seinfeld show) on the Swiss Franc

Kramer (from the Seinfeld show) on the Swiss Franc
“ Hello, Kramer? You got a minute? Take a look at the Swiss Franc chart ­ what do you think?”   “ Well, I’ll tell you what I think! If the market is not going up, then it ought to be going down. But, if it’s not going down or up, it must be going sideways ­ unless, of course, it’s making a correction. But, if it’s not making a correction, maybe this is a small congestion, unless, of course, i...
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Avoiding Stress

Avoiding Stress
Trading can be difficult. It often requires you to look for trading opportunities during off hours. You can be making the mistake of thinking you have to take trade after trade during the trading day. When you think you have to trade all the time, trading can become a real labor, something difficult to keep at doing. Even the most exciting, rewarding activity can become commonplace if you drive yo...
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Your Worst Enemy

Your Worst Enemy
  In general, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to trading. If you're not careful, you will be your own worst enemy. There are many ways to sabotage yourself as a trader.   Not creating a trading plan, or creating one and then not following it are two of the most common.   Some ways to self-defeat are deep seated; they lurk at the back of your mind and work behind the scenes....
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When it comes to trading it seems that the more you know, the less you know, and the more you become confused.

When it comes to trading it seems that the more you know, the less you know, and the more you become confused.
  People have the tendency to believe that the accuracy of their forecasts increases with more information. This is the illusion of knowledge - that more information increases your knowledge about something and improves your decisions. However, this is not always the case - increased levels of information do not necessarily lead to greater knowledge. There are three reasons for this. First, s...
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Unlike many games and sports, trading has an additional factor: the market!

Unlike many games and sports, trading has an additional factor: the market!
Imagine playing tennis if the ball had a mind of its own, if it could run off to the sidelines and bounce up and down for a minute or two. Imagine a game of golf in which the ball could occasionally go off down the fairway, dance about, and do whatever it wanted. Imagine a chess game in which the pieces suddenly became worthless, or a hockey game in which the puck suddenly went against everything ...
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Anticipation regarding Losses

Anticipation regarding Losses
Trading is a business where you expect to see more losing trades than winners. Expecting to win is apt to produce more disappointment than joy. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a high percentage of winning trades, but it is safer to anticipate otherwise. To the beginning trader, especially, this fact of life can be stress producing and somewhat disappointing. How you cope with losses is all a matt...
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Spread Trading Idea 03/31: ZSX17 - 2*ZCN17

Spread Trading Idea 03/31: ZSX17 - 2*ZCN17
Today I am looking at a so called ratio spread: Long 1 November Soybean and short 2 July Corn. The spread looks interesting to me because it is trading at a level where it could turn around again and follow its seasonal pattern to the up-side. The current level (approx. 235) has provided support several times. The seasonal statistic looks promising as well, with 17 winning trades in a row. But thi...
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How to Approach Trading - Part 7

How to Approach Trading - Part 7
Conclusion It is critical to develop a well thought out and organized trading plan. It is then important to have the discipline needed to follow it. Diversify your trading into several unrelated markets, or focus on one market and time frame where you have seen you can make money. Trading, by its nature is not investing. Trading requires consistent monitoring on at least a daily basis because of t...
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How to Approach Trading - Part 6

How to Approach Trading - Part 6
Manage the Trade Once you get into a trade, you must eventually get out. Some argue that this is more important than where you get into a trade. My experience has been that any fool can get into the market, but it takes a successful trader to consistently get out with a win. As I follow the markets, I find there are four reasons to get out of a trade. Prices move significantly against my position....
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Can Trading be trained?

Can Trading be trained?
  Please listen to the following podcast when you have a few minutes: https://soundcloud.com/bloomberg-business/the-incredible-true-story-of-the-real-life-trading-places I found the podcast interesting because of a few facts I want to discuss in today’s blog post. First of all, I am also a believer that trading can be trained but not necessarily everyone can trade. Trading requires a certain ...
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How to approach trading - Part 5

How to approach trading - Part 5
Follow the Markets After you've determined your strategy and the market or markets you will trade, you can start following the price action. It is important to follow each market consistently and see the trading opportunities as they develop. Jumping around from one market to another often leads to missed or late execution of your method. I think it's important to let the market tell you what to d...
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How to Approach Trading - Part 4

How to Approach Trading - Part 4
Diversify:  Next, you'll need to choose which markets to follow. Diversification is one of the crucial factors in the success of some, but not all trading plans, and may in fact make the difference between success and failure of the plan. Putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea for some traders. This approach takes the position that rather than trading ten contracts in one mark...
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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.