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I am involved in futures trading since 4-years. I am
working as a broker. The topic I would like
to discuss is a very old one: "Discipline"!
I made a lot of trades in very
different markets. My trading philosophy is basically 100% technical. I'm a
very big fan of technical analysis and technical trading systems. My very
special trading vehicle is candlesticks combined with stochastics or sometimes
a different oscillator, but I don't concentrate on the oscillators because they
are more or less the same. I really concentrate on candles.
I am also using Swing Catcher
because I think it is a really excellent program, but I use it in connection
with additional systems. Swing Catcher was the first software I used and I want
to explain my experience and show some big mistakes that I made.
I received the software and
installed it immediately. I had it run very quickly. The only problem I had
concerned the data feed from CSI (Commodity Systems, Inc.), not due to CSI, but
due to my modem. At this point, I want to thank Dave because he really
supported me in an excellent way!
I had a view at the performance
of the last month and I was really surprised. I decided to trade the German
Deutsche Mark and Swiss Franc futures (in low risk trading mode) because they
showed a wonderful profit (the first nonsense, because these markets are highly
correlated as I knew, but I was blind already seeing the profit on my
The first order was placed to
buy DM. The dollar was around 1.49 and from the fundamental point of view, the
buck was a buy but I decided to follow the system (that was ok).
The U.S. dollar came down to $1.46
and my DM position was perfect. One day after the long-DM, the system came up
with a buy signal for SF and I decided to go long.
I have to mention that it was
ok because I strictly followed the system concerning entering the market and
concerning the stops.
Both positions were winners,
but on the same day the German Bundesbank crossed my trading plans. Buba was
intervening heavily by selling Deutsche Mark. I was stopped out on both
positions with an absolute crazy fill on the Swiss Franc.
The DM locked in a profit due
to an adjusted stop, but the loss in the SF was bigger and I suffered a net
loss of about $1500. I was shocked. My account then showed a balance of $400
Now I recognize my second
stupid mistake: I simply overtraded my account. Two positions in highly related
currency futures in a $1900 account doesn't make sense!
I stopped trading due to lack
of money. As a poor student I could not afford to loose additional money.
I watched the system and a friend traded some signals for his account.
He made two loosing trades and
then told me that the system is no good. After thinking about the whole
problem, I came to the conclusion that he was absolutely wrong. He and I
already made our third big mistake. You have to follow a system strictly for a
longer time and not stop trading after two loosing trades. These trades are
simply not significant.
Then we watched the following
signals, which were excellent and resulted in big profits, but we had no
My friend revised his opinion
concerning the system very quickly and became a big fan. That was the fourth
mistake, because these few winning trades were also not significant.
He started to trade the signals
again and although he would have made profit on the next trades, he actually
did not because he did not follow the recommended stops!!! That was the fifth
mistake. He generally is no friend of stops, which is of course reflected in
his account balance.
After trading two years without
using the system from the beginning of the before mentioned trade, he lost
about $75,000. Of course, the system was called no good again after doing the
before mentioned last trade using the system but NOT using the recommend stop.
That was the next big mistake.
He always shifted his inability to make profit. Although it was obvious that he
made a wrong decision by not using the recommended stop, he said that the
system is good for nothing.
He then traded using his
"feeling" and lost a lot of money. But of course, it was not his
mistake. "The market reacted the wrong way," he told me, "they
are playing against you with the target to get your hard earned
I told him that this was by far
the biggest nonsense I ever heard in my life and asked him why he does not stop
trading if he knows this fact. He was not able to give an intelligent and
satisfying answer. He is still trading and of course still loosing
I won't continue, but believe
me I could tell you a lot of stories which would make your hair stand.
I really believe that a
successful trader needs three things:
1. Important - A trading system to find buy & sell signals that fits to the
trader, which he is comfortable with. (It need not necessarily mean a
2. More Important - Money
management techniques. That means you have to define your risk before entering
a position and then place the stop and do not change it once the market is
trading near the stop level. If you get stopped out, wait for the next signal
to step in again, but do not alter the stop 20 times. It does not make sense.
Don't trade to big numbers in relation to the size of your account.
3. Most Important - Discipline,
discipline and discipline! Trade the signals as they occur. Use the stops under
consideration of the risk you are willing to take and do nothing else! This
"nothing else" is maybe the most complicated matter overall.
The most successful traders are
those who comply 100% to the system they are trading. If the system does not
show the results you are looking for, choose or develop a different system with
a new approach. Don't make the mistake of having a system and not complying
with signals! If you can manage your mental environment to follow these three
points, you can bet on your trading success.