Trading the S&P's

Discussion in 'Index Futures' started by bos indicus, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. I have been trading the S&P futures for about a month now, with mixed results. It seems that I lack a coherent strategy. Could I get some ideas as to some successful strategy's for trading the S&P futures? Thanks.
  2. trader79


  3. bos,

    You didn't say how much experience you have trading. The approach for a newbie is much different from an experienced trader who is trying the S&P's. I'll assume you are a newbie.

    I would read all the approaches described here and elsewhere but I wouldn't trade them without backtesting. You will find that many if not most will not prove profitable over time. What works tends to change as the character of the market changes.

    Probably the best thing you could do would be to invest in some backtesting software and historical data and run through various appraoches to get a feel for how they play out. You need to learn how wide your stops should be, what your exit strategy should be, etc.

    As a general approach, I would say try to understand what is happening with the big picture before you focus on a one minute chart. Determine the trend from the 60 and daily, pick out key S and R levels. Personally, I find Todd Harrison's site,, useful for this.

    I would say trade only in the direction of the trend from the higher time frame. Avoid trying to pick every swing all day long. The idea is to feel the flow and get with it. Swimming upstream is hard work and costly.

    Study opening gaps, reversal patterns, indicator divergences, how the market acts at S and R. Over time youwill begin to see tradeable patterns. Watch the tick, trin and prem. They are key to trading the S&P's.

    You need to understand that much of the action is random, so it is important to have a predefined exit point on every trade, no matter how certain you are that it will pan out. Believe me, many have blown up saying I know it will turn around.

    Good luck.
  4. but you might want to see if they still offer a free trial
  5. nik1033


  6. Thanks to all those who have responded. A little background obviously is needed since the question was interpreted as one posted by someone new to trading. I have been trading stock options since 1996. I started out using Tradestation 4.0. My question about strategy's was in regards to any nuances that may exist in the futures markets that may not exist in single equity markets. Thanks Again
  7. Kermit



    I think “nuances” between markets (e.g. S&P vs. single equities or even S&P vs. Nasdaq) are very hard to quantify, not to mention that it can be subjectively interpreted and what you perceive as important nuances or what is not important. To say that you want ideas on “successful strategies for trading the S&P futures” is a bit too vague I’m afraid. Are you looking for ideas in swing trading strategies, scalping strategies, etc…what? Are you looking to system trade or discretionary trade or a hybrid? Of course, strategies that work successfully in the current S&P environment may not do so well as market conditions change down the road. There’s a section on Strategy Trading here on ET that can serve as a resource for you.

  8. fan27


    I use Fibonacci techniques as described in "Trading with DiNapoli Levels" by Jo DiNapoli on 5 min spy charts (no different for S&P futures). From what I can see, his method seems to work in any time frame.

    Good Luck
  9. Fan27,
    Would you try to describe what is different about DiNapoli's levels when you compare it with ordinary s/r levels at high/low?
  10. fan27



    "DiNapoli Levels" are simply price levels where support is likely to manifest on a pullback in an uptrend ( rallies to resistance in a downtrend). In the case of an uptrend, the distance from reaction lows to the most recent high are measured to give retacement levels. When you have a .382 retracement from a lower pullback lining up with with a .618 retracement from a higher pullback, you got a pretty good place to buy.

    Hope that answers your question.
    #10     Mar 7, 2003