Hello from a new trader with questions

Discussion in 'Index Futures' started by bmills313, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Hello all! I've been reading here for a while and really love the support and advice given here!

    I’m currently doing swing trades on stocks and looking to become a far more active trader and think that I’m going to give day trading Index futures a go. I’ve been trying out paper trading accounts at various places to get used to how the futures work before going out with my own money to give it a go an like what I see thus far. I currently just trade on the side but am interested in making it my full-time gig over real estate, which I’m in right now.

    I’ve decided to start off trading strictly the YM and trading 1 contract at a time. I choose this based on what I know about the Index and the sentiment from those here at ET who seem to feel it’s the best fit for a beginning futures trader like myself. I’d probably add the ES or NQ or something else down the line but for now I’d like to focus on one and go from there. I’ll be funding the account with $10,000 which I realize affords me the ability to trade more than 1 contract but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.

    I won’t ask about strategies now as I think that more depends on the trader and their “gut” feeling on what works for them and their account, etc. But, I’m probably going to stick to fairly simple strategies of fading gaps, watching for key support/resistance levels, pivots and so forth. With only trading 1 contract at first I can’t get too much into complicated strategies and such but I think I’ll be crafty enough to find some good plays out there when they pop up.

    I‘m looking for a little advice in a couple areas I’m having trouble deciding.

    First question is which broker I should be using. I’m currently with IB for my equities and I like them. Their order execution is fine for me considering that before switching to them I was just using Scottrade and E*Trade and letting my orders get filled whenever they saw fit. Since I’m not day trading with them and hold positions for a couple days at a time, ultra-fast executions are not as paramount to my success as others out there. I’ve read lots of good and bad with them and trading futures and I think I may just open another account solely for my trading of futures. I’m looking at the following brokers, in order from my favorite to least.

    Mirus Futures
    AMP Trading
    Open E Cry

    I guess I put Tradestation at the top of the list primarily because of their platform which I’ve read good things about. The others I would use with NinjaTrader which I like but I don’t like at the same time. OEC uses their own platform and I’m playing around with it but not very interested in it thus far. The commissions all seem about the same so I guess execution time and speed of the data are the things I’m curious about. Any thoughts on TS’s effectiveness for someone like me?

    Next question is which software to use. It’s really a 2 horse race between Tradestation and Ninja. Obviously if I go with TS for the broker side of things I’d be using their software and if I chose the others I’d go with Ninja.

    I’ve been paper trading the YM on Ninja for a while and trying to get used to the system. I’m very competent with computers and can code HTML relatively well and pick up other languages enough to get by but there’s something about Ninja that just doesn’t do it for me. I find it sort of clunky and not very streamlined and appealing to the eye. Like I want to have a chart with the NYSE TICK and other various indicators and lists of stocks I want to follow on a sort of “snapshot” page, etc. but it’s a total PITA with Ninja. The charting is nice and the ATM strategies are great but again they’re just not as easy to operate and manipulate as I’d like. I sort of feel that Ninja is a bit overkill for my application and I’d rather sacrifice power functions to get a nicer interface and more easy to understand layouts.

    The problem with TS is that I can’t get in to demo the software without opening an account. I’ve read great things about it and seen screen shots and think they look like what I’m looking for…but I can’t test it out. Can anyone here testify to the effectiveness of the TS platform or know of a way to demo it? Also, if I read correctly, if I make 10 R/T transaction in a month the platform fee of $99.95/mo is waived for the previous month? If that is indeed the case I think that TS is a pretty good deal.

    My goal is to keep paper trading for the next 3 months, learn whatever software I’ll be using and start the new year off with the real money and see what happens. I’m super excited to give it a shot and I’m sure I’ll be seeing everyone around here and asking for help, posting journal entries, etc. in the months to come.

    Any help or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated! Good luck to everyone!
  2. Balljet


    Hello.. don't know if I can help.. You are smarter than I am. I started trading real money without spending a lot of time paper trading. I think you are correct in doing so. I use TOS (thinkorswim) they are NOT a good futures tradng site yet. I just like them from my options trading. I know they will try and accommodate me. I didn't like TS, they were not supportive. I have learned, that it is paramount to have a system you trust and a risk control management in place.. That is imperative. Other that that, you are on your own, it's an unfriendly world out there!!

    Good luck!!
  3. Take a look at rightedge with open ecry or even using excel to quickly build out and test your strategies.

    May want to look at velocity with their free TT platform deal.
  4. Thanks for the heads up on RightEdge; I wasn't familiar with them!
  5. lindq


    This will be your first mistake, and possibly a fatal one.

    Trading on "gut feeling" is what puts new traders out of business quickly. It will take you years of screen time before you can master that, if ever.

    You need to start with developing a precise system which you've backtested and forward tested. Then you need to focus on executing that system flawlessly.

    When you can consistently make profits, you can then move on to your "feelings". Although by that time you will have hopefully realized one truth about trading futures, which is that it's all about statistical probabilitites, not about what you think or feel.

    Good luck.
  6. gnome


    You obviously understand...

    But for others who read this thread.... "successful trading is very much about logic and discipline... and little else".

    And so here's a tip you'll thank me for many times in the future....

    "Whenever you get a "gut feeling" about a trade, get out of your chair and walk over to the nearest door jamb. Then beat our head... HARD... until the feeling goes away."
  7. Let me clarify this, for the record...

    I was more implying that I wasn't going to be asking about strategies RIGHT NOW in this thread as I'm more interested in the topics at hand (broker, software) and would pose these questions down the line possibly in different forums.

    As for "gut feeling" that, too, was maybe a bad choice of terms :) What I mean...is that depending on different market conditions, forces, etc. my trading strategy will differ and I'll have to make the decision each day which strategies I choose to employ; those with the highest statistical probabilities of succeeding. For example, if I had a very simple strategy of fading the gaps on the open that strategy might work great if there's a big enough gap to fill in, the indicators point towards the gap beng filled, etc. Would I use that strategy if the market gapped open 15 points and indicators all pointed towards the market trending up all day? Nah. That's more of what I was saying. Maybe a more appropriate term besides "gut feeling" would have been "making gametime decisions."

    Edit: Also, certain strategies are just physically not possible with smaller accounts, time restrictions, etc. A strategy that involves scaling into a position with 20 contracts I cannot do due to account size limitations and I may have to select strategies that would work on an account of my size. Other strategies are rather risky and I'm not sure that I'm willing to risk that much money at one time or deal with the stresses of other strategies and so in that respect I have to have a "gut check" and ask myself if I can give it a go or try another strategy...

    Do you guys/girls use the same strategies every day or do you take stock of what's happening and then make your trading strategy/decisions based on that info? That's sort of how I do things but if you do things otherwise I'd love to hear why picking a strategy and employing it every day is the way to go. This is all new(er) to me, the futures thing, and I love hearing what you have to say!

    Thanks for the advice and help, gang!