Knowing when to get out

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by gluebunny, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Hi there, lurked for a while, time to ask a question.

    New to futures trading. Done the stock thing for a while, not for a living (not doing futures for a living either..hah)

    Been going at futures for two weeks. YM, 1 car at a time, tight stop losses (10-15 pts). Up about $350 post-commish in 7 days of trading which encapsulates a lot of learning. running a win:loss of 21:28 on my trades with a $84/-$50 gain/loss average. Not fantastic by any means, but I was up and learning.

    Just for the record, yesterday was a really active day, 1/3 of my trades were on that day. Trading a mix of price watching/SR and pivot lines combined with using stochs for entry/exit confirmations.

    Today I'm down $600 so far. 5:11 for today. Trading too much (16 trades in 3 hrs?!), everything is going against me.
    At some point in the last three hours it was time to get out and call it a day. I was obviously tilting and making dumb trades, too many trades, and just not thinking properly

    When was that point? I need to know for future days like this. Was it perhaps when I started opening up my stop losses to 30 pts "cbeause I was getting spiked out every time"? Was it when I lost $200 on the day? Was it when I hit my desk so hard my laptop turned off? I'm guessing all of the above.

    How should I determine when that time is? What do you do? Normally my emotions are relatively in check, but today brought out some anger which I need to evaluate.

    Maybe I'm just too inexperienced to trade todays chop? The ATR is so wide today that I'm just getting stopped out all over, and the trends aren't holding.

    Still fuming...any advice is much appreciated. I'm reading this forum now to glean more information.
  2. lwlee


    Today was a very choppy day. Any buying was met by sharp selling. So basically the market dynamics changed today and you couldn't adjust.

    What you were doing somewhat successfully before, probably worked best in a slow trending market.

    Widening your stop loss on the spur of the moment isn't the answer. Have a max daily limit and if you hit it, stop trading. Re-evaluate and learn from the experience.
  3. Sounds like good simple advice. I should just stick to if I lose what my daily target is, then stop.

    Any tips on how to realize early on based purely on price motion that the market is going to be choppy? Just watch it a bit and be careful? I know it was rollover day...that should have been a clue in itself.

    Thanks very much
  4. buybig


    man.. had to of been a tough day for futures.

    i tried paper trading for a week (emini) 1-2 lot position w/ tight SL.

    came to the conclusion that I was my worst own enemy. and that i shouldnt yet trade futures. I am VERY risk adverse.

    good luck and stick to your rules and procedures in a rigid fashion. only you can judge your risk tolerance.

  5. lwlee


    Rollover day is a volatile day.

    Just from observation, I was trading the er futures and every time an attempt was made to rally, the selling shot it down. If you realize that early on, you should have been shorting all day. Any buying was weak and limp.

    Typically I found it hard to switch intraday from short to long and vice versa. So I try to identify the predominant mood of the day and stay in that direction.
  6. Drew07



    I'm new to futures too and just had a two week run where I blew out so I definitely know how frustrating it is being stopped out a lot in chop. My advice would be to not push it and continue to make trades when you see that the market is chopping, you'll prevent overtrading and save some money. I'm guessing since your'e inexperienced you probably don't have a large account size. That makes it a lot harder if you plan on using tight stops. A lot of my losing trades would have been profitable if I had widened the stops a bit to allow more breathing room. Good luck.
  7. volente_00


    Set a daily loss limit and stick to it no matter what. It's not how much you can make, it is how much you can lose and still live to trade another day.
  8. Not sure what your expectations were going in, but 2 weeks is about the same as 2 hours. I've been at it for a bit longer, but I'm the same as you in the sense that I've position trades stocks for a few years.

    My experience in the YM has been this - you have to get 3 - 6 months of screen time in before you have a clue. You'd better be ready for losses. There are guys on here who say that it's stupid to mentally prepare for losses, and that there's no reason why anyone can't make money right away. I think that's horseshit.

    I know exactly what happened to you today. I know what those last 10 trades were all about. I've been there.

    All I can say to you is - if you aren't keeping very detailed records of your trades and analyzing them, you're just like all the other sheep.

    In answer to your question, the only way is to have a daily loss limit and stick to it. If you break your own rules and continue to trade past your limit, you should stop trading because you don't have the discipline necessary to make it.
  9. Thanks for all the replies, a few notes.

    - I know 2 weeks is nothing and I'm rank novice. I'm prepared for the long haul learning.

    - Account size is very large for the 1 contract im trading. Part of my non-futures portfolio was brought over. So I'm not fear trading in the slightest, other than the fear of being wrong...getting over that :)

    - I keep every trade and look them over the day after to see what went right, what went wrong. Big excel spreadsheet with every trade and win/loss ratio, expectancy, etc. I like to analyze things. Works well long as I don't get analysis paralysis while live trading. My only problem is that when I near a milestone (like today, breakeven) I get fear trading. I recognize all the same signs that I went through years ago when I started playing poker. Gotta deal with em in the same way and I think playing poker helps with this factor in that I recognize it and know how to deal with it.
  10. Surdo


    Trading is not poker, if you treat it that way, you will never win.
    Trade less often and more precisely.

    #10     Dec 14, 2007