Interpreting Time & Sales

Discussion in 'Trading' started by pvTrader, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. pvTrader


    Does anyone use Time & Sales to trade? I've been looking at T&S along with 1 minute YM chart, and I notice some "rythm" to the data. It's pretty interesting, and I'd like to learn more about it.

    Could someone enlighten me as to how you're using this data? Do you look at the contract size traded? Do you look at whether it traded at the ask or bid? (What does it mean if there's a lot of asks flashed?) Are there any general rules of thumbs?

    Are there any books or courses that can give me more detail?


    BTW - I'm looking at the T&S data on LiveCharts.
  2. Hi pvTrader,

    If your going to be trading the mini-sized Dow YM or the Eminis ES, NQ...

    I highly recommend you spend most of your efforts studying the action of Price & Volume on your charts prior to trying to figure out what's going on with the prints in Times & Sales...

    especially if your new to trading or not a scalper.

    I know some traders that do use Times & Sales and they are all scalpers and the few that are profitable traders only use Time & Sales as part of their exit strategy (not entry strategy).

    In the past here at ET I have said in error that one of them used it for his entry strategy...he has corrected me after seeing my post.

    With that said...a good thread here at ET to start understanding (not learning any specific strategies) or developing a basic understanding of price and volume is dbphoenix Price and Volume Journal...

    Yet, if you want to study and analyze Times & Sales...

    First get yourself a software program that does live-recordings like Camtasia or Snagit...

    Your going to need a large hard-drive because depending upon the size of your workspace on your monitor(s)...your daily recordings can be anywhere from 250mb to 550mb per trading day from 0830am - 1630pm est.

    Your also going to need a DVD recorder to store and accumulate your live-recording library for later review.

    An investment in the above will help enormously with your trading and if you can't afford it...

    Stay away from Times & Sales or any other type of Price & Volume analysis.

    Also, I don't think there's any books, seminars nor courses about T&S analysis (tape reading) on YM itself and stay from any books/courses that doesn't deal specifically with YM.

    (Note: I have a Plextor PX 708A and it works flawlessly for me since I purchased it last fall...much better than my Pioneer on my backup computer)

    All the above I've mentioned has been discussed several times before about Times & Sales or Tape Reading...

    You can use EliteTrader's search menu in the upper right corner of this website to find all prior conversations on Price and Volume analysis or Times and Sales (Tape Reading) analysis.

    In addition, I mentioned above that I only know a few scalpers that are profitable while using T&S...

    Those scalpers (the profitable ones) use Camtasia and its a daily ritual for them.

    More importantly, T&S info is secondary to what they mainly use...Tick Charts.

    Lotus also has a live-recording tool called ScreenCam but it only works on Windows 98 or less.

    I own both and arguably are the most important trading tools I have when it comes to studying, analyzing and learning about Price & Volume or Times & Sales.

    Last of all, I'm not a scalper but I am mainly a price action only trader and I do daily live-recordings of ES, NQ, YM, QQQ, SPY, DIA while currently only trading ES eventhough I watch them all.

    Once again...start with dpbhoenix thread prior to taking on any studies in Times & Sales.

    Good luck.

    Manage your trading like a business to increase your odds to be profitable

  3. pvTrader


    Thanks for the generous reply. It's very nice of you.

    I'm actually pretty comfortable looking at Price and Volume charts, although I trade longer term.

    I just looked at T&S yesterday and it intrigued me very much. Can someone give me a general theory of how it's used? For example, if there's a bunch of sales at the Ask that flash by with big contracts, versus a few sales at the Bids with smaller contracts, what does that imply?

    I looked up "Time and Sales" on the search function on this site, but it brings up almost all irrelevant posts. The search doesn't allow the user to narrow searches with " ".
  4. When doing your searches here at ET about the issue...try also using the words Tape Reading.

    You'll just need to sit down and read through all the junk posts to find any useful info or someone that sounds like they know something...

    The search menu doesn't have the ability to bring up ONLY relevant info :cool:

    You have to read through everything any pick out what seems relevant to you.

    Then send those that posted the relevent message a private message with specific questions.

    It's what I do when I need help with certain topics and I read through a lot of crap just to find a few little tidbits here at

    Your also going to need to be very specific about what you saw at what time of the trading day...

    I don't mean like saying in the afternoon...

    I mean like at 14:55:34, this size of prints occurred, how often et cetera.

    After all...we are talking about T&S prints and such conversation shouldn't be generalized because there's so much other variables occurring at any given time during the trading day.

    My point is this...Times & Sales cannot be simplified into a simple statement or two for actual use...

    Start doing live-recordings...

    Post a chart of price action with T&S.

    Last of all, if your a longer term trader and are just curious...just read through all those junk posts for any possible tidbits.

    If your actually going to use it and change your trading style...

    Contact those via private message with more specific questions...forget the general stuff.

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  6. rwk


    I too have been looking for information on T&S analysis, as well as analysis of depth of market (DOM), for both stocks and index futures.

    I just finished reading "Techniques of Tape Reading" by Graifer and Schumacher, but unfortunately there was nothing in it about actually reading the tape (record of time, price, size traded). Let me say that there were things I liked about the book, lest we re-ignite the controversy that raged in another ET thread.

    I think the heart of the theory about reading T&S is that trades at or above the best ask are bullish, and trades at or below the bid are bearish. Analysis of DOM is, I think, more complicated. Size on the ask is considered supply, and size on the bid is considered demand. Raising the ask, regardless of whether it is the best ask, is bullish and vice versa. With Nasdaq Level 2, there is also a theory about the "ax" being the market maker that spends the most time at the best bid or ask, which I put little credence in. That's a nutshell recap of what I have heard.

    I have not found a way to use any of the above. I am looking to build an automated trading system (ATS) to do both the analysis and trading, because I don't have the temperament to stare at a computer screen all day. I have the technology to build the ATS, but I lack a trading methodology. I have had some minor success with both automated and semi-automated systems.

  7. pvTrader


    Maybe this is more trouble than it's worth to figure out. :)

    I do like the automated system idea based on T&S, however.