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January 4, 2016 was the first trading day of the year. John Paul takes an Atlas Line trade at around 1997.0. The ATR is around 4.25 points. This means there is a possibility we can expect the market to move about four points in either direction. With the Atlas Line providing a guess as to the direction, we know where to place the profit target. The stop loss and profit target strategies are fully explained in the live training class that is included with purchase. John Paul looks to stay in Atlas Line trades for a maximum of 20 minutes if the profit target or another stop loss is not hit. At about 1:43 in the video, his profit target is filled. This trade was good for around 3 points (24 ticks) of profit. With Atlas Line trades, it is always better to look for price action that is close to the plotting Atlas Line. When price candles are far away, this is often an indication of overbought or oversold conditions.
As a reminder, the next eight week Group Mentorship Program begins Jan. 11 2015. An Atlas Line lifetime license is included. Classes are twice a week: Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST (New York Time). You will be coached live by John Paul on all of our trading action trading methods (about 10 total). All courses and software are included with lifetime licenses. Space is limited, so register early and get the first week’s ATO course and software ahead of time. Click here for information.
Most of us have heard about traders who travel the world while still being able to get in a few hours of trading each day. If you are this type of trader, you are already living the laptop lifestyle.
However, if your situation isn’t as extreme as this, you might be wondering when it makes sense for you to dip into your trading capital and spend a few bucks on a laptop for day trading.
What Portability Costs You
When compared to desktop trading computers, laptop’s portability and compact features come at a cost.
Think about it like this; have you ever seen those super tiny smart cars? Those ones that look like it would only take a gust of wind to knock it into the next town? Let’s say one of those cars cost roughly $20,000.
Seems like a high-ticket price for such a small car, right? A smaller car is certainly made with less material. While smaller might make you think less expensive, often we pay for compact features – such is the case in smart cars and laptop computers. On the other hand, similarly priced compact cars offer you more space and horsepower. The comparison becomes what features you value for your $$.
Features in the Best Laptop for Traders
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with paying a premium for a powerful computer that is still portable. By knowing the tradeoffs, you should be able to make a better, more informed purchase.
When buying a portable computer, there are always trade-offs. Traders should know which aspects of portability are important to their style of trading and computer use. Here are a few main factors to consider when researching which portable device is right for you:
1. Screen Size
Screen real estate is limited on laptops. However, traders have a few options. Most commonly, you will have the choice of a 13”, 15”, or 17” screen. You could always use traditional desktop monitors with your laptop in your home office. Most newer laptops will have an HDMI port, which can support audio and video with one cord – just like your TV. You might also find display ports on your laptop. This will also allow you to connect your laptop to additional monitors, though you will need a special cord. Keep in mind that if you want multi-screens on the go, you can always add a lightweight USB monitor to your travel case. These monitors come in 15” or 17” options and are incredibly useful for those who want their entire setup to fit in a travel case.
Weight is an important consideration for those who have to carry their laptop with them often. In laptops, the weight of the machine is most often related to the screen size. The bigger the screen, the bigger and heavier the laptop will be. Lighter weight machines tend to have screens of 13” or 15” in size. If you commute to your office each day, you will want a lighter machine in your briefcase.
3. Battery Life
Need to be unplugged? Battery life might be on the top of your list. If this is important to you, you should make sure the laptop you buy has good ratings on battery life. Otherwise, you will find yourself lugging out your charger and seeking an outlet to recharge.
What Traders Need in Laptop Hardware
While there are features that you should pick and choose based upon your specific needs, there are also specifications that you should not be lenient on when buying your laptop. Here are the hardware specifications that you need in a trading laptop:
- 4GB – 8GB RAM (Upgrade if possible; the more RAM the better. This is one of the least expensive upgrades – with the most impact. Generally you can double your RAM for roughly a hundred dollars.)
- An SSD hard drive for faster boot times and quick program launching
- A fast processor, preferably an i7, with a high benchmark score for all-around faster performance
These hardware features are important considerations for upgrading to a newer, faster computer. Since you are trading with the goal to make money, your laptop is a business tool. You should have the best tools to make the most out of your day trading.
Laptops for futures trading and day trading are less about a specific lifestyle and more about the features you value in a computer. Laptop trading isn’t an exclusive group. It’s an option that is open to everyone, though making the right purchase is super important for you to trade on a reliable, fast computer. The computer, desktop or laptop, should fit how you prefer to trade.
If you want to grab your laptop and trade from your recliner or make a few trades while you travel, then a solid laptop is a great investment. On the other hand, if you want the most power and the best processing speeds, you should look to a desktop instead for your next computer.
About Our Contributor:
Since the day he took his first Commodore Vic 20 apart, Russ “Eddie Z” Hazelcorn has been obsessed with making computers more powerful and more functional. At the age of 18 he started working on Wall Street filling out paper charts and since then has learned to combine his passion for building computers with stock trading. If you’d like to find out more details about what to look for in a trading computer, he’s created a buyers guide. Go to EZTradingcomputers.com to get your free copy.
Thursday, December 10, 2015 is the day to roll over your equity index futures. If you trade the E-mini, you can roll over your contract to the next contract period, March 2015 (ES 03-16 in NinjaTrader). It is customary to roll over the futures contract eight days before the contract expires. This is known as the roll date. The next roll date will be March 10, 2016.
Click here to see the CME page with an explanation and future dates
Click here to see the official rollover instructions from NinjaTrader
The way we roll over futures contracts is as follows. As long the current day is the roll date or you are rolling afterwards, NinjaTrader will know the contract contract to use for any given market at any given time. Keep in mind, this example shows you how to roll to the December 2015 contract. Your new contract will differ, however, the steps are relatively the same. To roll over:
1. Go to NinjaTrader’s Control Center > Tools > Instrument Manager.
2. In the name box (top center of the Instrument Manager), type in the abbreviation for the market you want to roll over, e.g. ES. Click Search.
3. In the result box, click the correct market and the row will highlight. Notice below how NinjaTrader knows to set the Expiry date to the correct value (12-15 in this case). Click the left black triangle / arrow button so that the new ES contract is added to the list on the left. Then click OK. Optionally, you can click the old contract and click the right arrow/triangle button to remove it from the list.
From this point forward, you can open a new chart for the new contract period or switch over your current chart by using the drop-down list in the upper left corner of the chart.
Trading the E-mini and other markets during the holidays can be tricky. Markets range can easily range from too little to too much volatility, among other things. To keep you on track this year, here are our top tips for your favorite future, commodity, or currency.
1. Big market movers are often on vacation. The remaining traders can force the market to move erratically. Annual press releases, quarterly reports, earning expectations, and end-of-year summaries can further drive these random fluctuations.
2. During the holiday season, count on half-days and holidays. On half-days, the markets tend to move slower and may catch you off-guard with an unexpected closure. Be aware of these dates:
Thursday, November 26, 2015: Markets close early at 1:00 p.m. EST and reopen at 5:00 p.m. EST
Thursday, November 27, 2015: Markets close early at 1:15 p.m. EST
Thursday, December 24, 2015: Markets close early at 1:15 p.m. EST
Friday, December 25, 2015: Markets closed
Thursday, December 31, 2015: Normal trading day
Friday, January 1, 2016: Markets closed
…As usual, the markets are closed on Saturday. Markets reopen on Sundays at the usual time.
3. Be aware of FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) dates, as volume thins and price moves in small channels. These dates are December 15 and December 16.
4. Remember the ATR (Average True Range) can be used to gauge volatility as well as determine profit targets and stops. Use a period value of 4 to get a good, real-time understanding of expectations. Stay away when the ATR is below 1 point and above 5 points.
5. With holiday spending at its peak and traders eyeing taxes, many traders will enter and exit large positions. This activity can create unexpected movement in the markets.
6. Markets often rise durign this time of year. Remember this especially with long-term positions. We have talked about the Super Year and expect this to be the case. Your intraday trading, however, may be a bit slower than normal, so prepare for this to reflect in your monthly reports.
7. The holidays are best spent with your family. If your trading is troubling, take a break and spend time with those you love.
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Here we are in mid-November. You may recall our previous 2015 Super Year videos that said the market would trend bullish by the end of 2015. As price climbed, new highs were met. With these new highs, we have new trading opportunities. Super Years – that is years ending in “5”, tend to perform bullishly.
What’s the market going to do now? What’s going to happen?
To demonstrate, John Paul uses a NinjaTrader daily chart and the December 2015 E-mini contract. With any good trading method, you must use specific rules. John Paul looks for the previous highest high (2110.50) and waits for a pullback (price dropping for about four consecutive days). Should you go long now? Not unless the trade validates. How does it validate? Take that recent high and the most recent lowest low. Then use the NinjaTrader Fib tool with a setting for 0%, 50%, and 100% to easily see where price needs to break the 50% level to validate the trade, so you can go long. Watch the video to see how he uses the Fib tool to accomplish this.
As a reminder, the next eight week Group Mentorship Program begins Dec. 8, 2015. Classes are twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. EST (New York Time). You will be coached live by John Paul on all of our trading action trading methods (about 10 total). All courses and software are included with lifetime licenses. Space is limited, so register early and get the first week’s ATO course and software ahead of time. Click here for information.
High frequency futures trader, Michael Coscia, has been found guilty on 12 accounts of fraud for “spoofing” market activity. He manipulated prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by placing large, unfilled orders (spoofing) and placing smaller orders that were filled. He effectively created deficits in the market, allowing him to temporarily have some control over price in a specific direction. Predictable movement became quite profitable for Coscia.
Spoofing is an illegal practice. Corscia’s case was the first test of anti-spoofing law introduced by the 2010 Dodd Frank Act. High frequency and institutional traders watched the case closely to see if the law was even enforceable. This case is a landmark with potential use against others suspected of similar market deception.
Nine weeks of spoof trading CME futures markets in 2011 earning Coscia’s company $1.9 million. By flooding the market with huge orders that were never intended to be executed, his computer program was able to act within a few thousandths of a second to take advantage of the spoofs. Regular, small profits became a lucrative business.
Coscia’s defense attorney stated his client was clever, called his actions victimless, and suggested the large companies were at fault for their losses. Jurors needed only one hour to unanimously convict Coscia of illegal “bait and switch” tactics. He now faces up to 25 years in prison.
Experts believe Coscia was not a lone wolf – many more spoof traders are believed to be out there.
What do you think?
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In this video, John Paul uses the Trade Scalper method live on the E-mini S&P. A small profit target and stop loss are used multiple times throughout the day. For this specific 1-min E-mini chart, he uses a 3 tick profit target and a 6 tick stop loss. The ATM strategy automatically places the target and stop. He enables the TextAndMarker setting so you can see the exact price at which he entered. The Trade Scalper method is fully explained – it’s not black box. The course provided after purchase fully discloses how to find these trades on your own manually, so you do not have to depend on the Trade Scalper software. The Trade Scalper software gives you entry signals and arrows to show you exactly where you should enter. His short trade gets tagged and filled very quickly, even for scalping. Coincidentally, the Atlas Line on a 5-min chart was providing additional confirmation to go short. Some traders use both methods like this for better trading. Remember, if you want to learn all the methods in one package, the eight week Mentorship Program is the best option – click here for details.
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John Paul adds the Atlas Line to his July 31, 2015 E-mini S&P chart to show you the live trades the software produces. The signals that you see in the video are the same for all Atlas Line users. Typically, he uses between 8-12 contracts, depending how comfortable he is with the market conditions. In this trade, the ATR was around 3 points. We like to use pre-configured ATM strategies because they allow quick selection of a commonly used profit target and stop loss. It’s very important to always have a profit target and stop loss in mind, otherwise you open yourself up to emotional decisions instead of price objectivity. The Long signal was given for 2100.75. The profit target and stop loss John Paul uses is based on what current market conditions can provide (as indicated by the ATR). Many traders use a fixed profit and risk strategy, which can get them into trouble. We have plenty of videos that explain exactly why John Paul uses certain profit targets and stops. For this trade, the profit expectation is around 10 to 12 ticks (based on the ATR). The stop, also based on the ATR, is double. Scary, right? But this is only a safety net in case there’s a sudden, and unlikely, catastrophic event. If the profit target does not get hit, we will most likely get out at a smaller loss, break even, or even small profit. You’re taught how to do these other stop strategies in the included live training session. Keep in mind that John Paul is fast-forwarding this video. The BarTimer normally counts down second by second, but you can see it’s sped up in order to show what occurred with the trade more quickly. This trade was good for +2.75 points.
The E-mini S&P, also called S&P E-mini, or simply E-mini, is an index futures security offered by the CME Group and regulated by the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). The E-mini is considered a benchmark of US stock market performance because it consists of various Standard and Poor’s 500 large-cap stocks. On the news, you may see the S&P and wonder how it’s related to the E-mini. Essentially, the E-mini is 1/5 the full S&P that you see on the news. As a futures market, E-mini contracts expire every three months. A new contract is then traded.
Why do people trade the E-mini?
- Low trade costs and greater leverage compared to typical ETFs or stocks (as low as $300 to $500 in some cases, but we recommend a minimum of $4,000 to absorb consecutive losses and learning)
- Minimal bid-ask spread
- Can be traded via buying or selling (short or long)
- Good liquidity and size
- Fast trade executions because the market is entirely electronic
- Regulated by the U.S. CME
The smallest increment on an E-mini chart is called a tick. Each tick is worth $12.50. There are four ticks to a point. Therefore, a point is worth $50. Brokers typically charge less than $5.00 to execute (in and out, also called “round-turn”) each trade. This $5.00 is multiplied by the number of futures contracts being traded. Putting this all together, if you trade one contract and make a profit of 16 ticks, this equates to 4 points, or $200. Since this is one contract, your broker will take about $5.00 from that trade, so you’re left with $195. If you trade two contracts, your profit is $400 before commissions and $390 after commissions. Remember that contracts act as a multiplier.
The E-mini consists of quarterly contracts: March (ESH), June (ESM), September (ESU), and December (ESZ). Some trading platforms, such as NinjaTrader omit the contract month and denote the numerical month value instead. For example, the March contract becomes ES 03-15. On platforms like TradeStation, a trader can specify @ES to monitor price over all contract periods without having to “roll over” to a different period.
Other popular futures markets include the DOW (YM) NASDAQ (NW) and the Russell (TF).
At Day Trade to Win, we focus on intraday trading, which means we look for trades from market open to market close. We do not typically hold positions overnight, and this should certainly be the case for any traders who are trading on margin. In most cases, we hold trades no longer than 20 minutes. We are out of a trade sooner if we make profit via price hitting our profit target or if a stop loss is hit. A stop loss is a safety net price from which you will exit at a loss if price reaches it before hitting your profit target. Our stop loss and profit targets are mostly dynamic and based on market movement. Our trading methods make sense because we trade based on what a given marked can realistically provide.
To avoid costly mistakes beginner traders make, join our next Group Mentorship Program.
Yesterday, our support team received the following email from Danny in Niagara Falls, Canada. He had some questions for John Paul regarding the ABC method. See Danny’s email and John Paul’s response below.
Thanks for the kind words and glad you are enjoying the videos. I’ll try to put some new ones out soon. See my explanation and chart examples from yesterday.
The ABC Method can be very helpful in both finding entry opportunities and determining whether there’s a trend. In the charts below, US/Eastern time (currently EDT or UTC-4) is used. Remember to adjust if your time zone is different.
With the ABC Method, think about splitting the trading day into three periods. The trading section can begin at the U.S. market open at 9:30 a.m. US/Eastern or the London market open at 3:00 a.m. US/Eastern.
We’ll start with one vertical line at 9:30 US/Eastern followed by another vertical line at 12:00 p.m. US/Eastern. This is a 2.5 hour period. You can consider this a range, as it contains a highest high and lowest low of all data (candles) within 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This is the A period.
If within the next (B) period, two 5-min candles close above or below the range of the A period, you can go either Long or Short on the close of the second candle. This must occur within the first 1.5 hours (by 1:30 p.m. US/Eastern) of the B period to be valid. Trending days usually break the A period.
The A Period
The B period begins with the same line you drew at 12:00 p.m. US/Eastern (the end of the A session). Remember to add a new line at 2:30 p.m. US/Eastern to conclude the B period. Yes, the B period is also 2.5 hours in duration.
The B Period
The same relationship occurs when comparing period B and period C for potential late-day rallies and breakouts. The C period needs to show two consecutive 5-min closing candles above or below the B range within the first hour of period C.
The C Period
The same relationship occurs during the London session A period, starting at 3:00 a.m. US/Eastern through 5:30 a.m. US/Eastern (2.5 hours). Then the B period occurs from 5:30 a.m. US/Eastern through 8:00 a.m. US/Eastern (2.5 hours). Then the C period occurs from 8:00 a.m. US/Eastern through 9:30 a.m. US/Eastern (only 1.5 hours).
The London Trading Session
Hopefully this clears up your understanding of the ABC method and how it can work with European markets. Remember that switching your cursor to a crosshair will help you easily identify the times on the time axis. Your profit target and stop loss should be relative to the volatility.
The best way to learn more about the ABC and all of our other trading methods is with our eight-week coaching program called Mentorship. Click here to find out more.