2016 Holiday Trading Hours

For the upcoming Good Friday holiday here in the U.S., the CME markets for equity, interest rate, fx, energy, metals and DME products will be closed on Monday, March 25, 2016. Trading resumes at the regular time on Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. US/Eastern.

The next trading holiday will be Memorial Day near the end of May.

2016 Trading HolidaysHere are all of the 2016 trading holidays…

*All times listed are in the US/Eastern (ET) time zone; the same as New York time. All listed closures apply to CME equity products (futures) such as the E-mini S&P.

Holiday Market Hours
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mon., Jan. 18: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
President’s Day Mon., Feb. 15: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
Good Friday Fri., Mar. 25: Closed
Memorial Day Mon., May 30: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
Independence Day Mon., Jul. 4: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
Labor Day Mon., Sep. 5: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
Columbus Day Mon., Oct. 10: Normal hours
Veteran’s Day Fri., Nov. 11: Normal hours
Thanksgiving Thu., Nov. 24: Early close at 1:00 p.m. ET
Christmas Day Mon., Dec. 26: Closed (Christmas Day observed)
New Year’s Day Mon., Jan. 2, 2017: Closed (New Year’s Day observed)

Click here for the official listing from the CME website.

Click here to compare the holidays in 2015.

Mentorship Video Testimonial from Marcus

» Click here to enroll in the upcoming Mentorship Program «

Marcus participated in the Mentorship Program over a year ago. He soon became a professional day trader. He was skeptical at first, but went through our eight-week coaching program, put in the time studying, and eventually left his full-time job to become a pro trader. He says he has been profitable because of the Mentorship Program and says the training is definitely worth it. He commends John Paul for his help along the way.

NinjaTrader 7 Mandatory Update

NinjaTrader UpdateThere has been some confusion regarding NinjaTrader’s mandatory update announcement. To simplify the explanation, all NinjaTrader 7 users will need to update to the latest version of NinjaTrader 7 by February 27, 2016. Click here for update instructions. Your existing indicators and customized settings will not be affected by reinstalling, as these files are saved outside of the NinjaTrader program folder.

Also, at this time, you are not required to update to NinjaTrader 8. In fact, NinjaTrader 8 is still in Beta (a non-final stage), and will likely continue to be under development in the months ahead.

The reason why NinjaTrader is forcing users to update is because NinjaTrader 7 versions prior to 7.0.1000.31 do not contain the latest NinjaTrader SSL certificate. Therefore, NinjaTrader will not be able to effectively communicate with its servers, thus breaking functionality. NinjaTrader version 7.0.1000.31 and those released after will contain the latest SSL certificate.

NinjaTrader has stated support for NinjaTrader 7 will continue after NinjaTrader 8 is released.

If you’re still using the really old Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating system, you will need to add a certificate on your system manually as described by NinjaTrader here.

Regarding our indicators, after the final NinjaTrader 8 is released, updated indicators for NinjaTrader 8 will be available.

Using the Atlas Line & Trade Scalper Together for Better Results

» Sign Up for Next Group Mentorship «

John Paul shares two E-mini S&P charts – on the left, the Atlas Line is being used with a 5-min chart. On the right, the Trade Scalper uses a 1-min chart. By seeing these two charts traded in real-time, you can get a sense of how both can really improve your trading.

In this instance, the Atlas Line provides the signal first at 1957.5. He has enough time to increase the order quantity before placing the short trade. Often times, John Paul will increase the number of contracts he trades under slower conditions to make up for a smaller profit target. A few different stop loss strategies are used – if the market turns around and goes against the trade, a prove-it stop will cancel out the trade. Likewise, the catastrophic stop will put an end to a much larger move. As always, the profit target is determined by the ATR. All of the profit target and stop loss strategies are covered in the included live training. For this Atlas Line trade, volatility is high and right at the edge where any higher, you should probably stay out. The doorbell sound is the Trade Scalper shooting off signals. It’s important to avoid trading at the same time in the same account with both the Atlas Line and Trade Scalper – do one or the other, or combine the methods where the Atlas Line can tell you the direction for the scalp trades. The profit target is around four points – don’t go beyond the ATR.

John Paul configures his 1-min Trade Scalper chart so you can get a better idea of how the Atlas Line can be used to obtain a price direction. A short scalping trade at a loss would not put John Paul in the negative for the day because of the previous Atlas Line win. No more than six ticks will be risked. Again, you have to adapt to real-time conditions when it comes to the market. Scalping is based on looking for fast and small market movements. If the Atlas Line says to look for short trades by producing a short signal, you can look for short Trade Scalper trades, either using the Trade Scalper signals or by your full understanding of the method. During the live training, John Paul explains the Trade Scalper method completely as well as how to use the included indicator software for NinjaTrader. Like the Atlas Line, You can use the Trade Scalper with many different markets. John Paul wins three ticks of profit with scalping in just a couple of minutes.

At the end of the video, he shows his total profit for both of the trades. He also reviews previous Trade Scalper trades earlier in the morning.

As a reminder, the next eight week Group Mentorship Program begins Jan. 11 2015. An full Atlas Line license is included as well as the Trade Scalper. 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 full licenses. Space is limited, so register early and get the first week’s ATO course and software ahead of time. Click here for information.

First Atlas Line Trade of 2016 Is Good for 3 Points

» Sign Up for Next Group Mentorship «

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 full 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 full licenses. Space is limited, so register early and get the first week’s ATO course and software ahead of time. Click here for information.

How to Know If the Laptop Lifestyle Suits You

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.

2. Weight
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, Dec. 10 is Roll Over Day for CME Equity Index Futures

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.

7 Holiday Trading Tips

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.

End of 2015 – Another Long Trade to Close out the Year?

» Sign Up for Next Group Mentorship «

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 full 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 Trader Convicted for Spoofing Markets

Day Trading CoachHigh 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?