Tag Archives: Trade management

Twitter poll on expectancy

Trading Journal

I had put a poll on twitter yesterday with options to choose from various combinations of Winrate and Risk:Reward(RR)

Here is the twitter link:

44% of the voters chose Option 4, 32% of the voters chose Option1, followed by Option 2 and Option3 respectively.

Before getting into the groove of things, I would like to elucidate a bit about ‘Expectancy’ of a system. This term was coined by Van Tharp and here it is:

Expectancy = (Win rate x Average winner) – (Loss rate x Average loser)

If we insert this formula with the numbers given in the poll, We get the following –

Expectancy of System 1 = (0.5×2.2) – (0.5×1) = 1.1 – 0.5 = 0.6

Expectancy of System 2 = (0.7×1.2) – (0.3×1) = 0.84 – 0.3 = 0.54

Expectancy of System 3 (I meant to give the RR of system 3 as 1:0.8 but gave it as 0.8:1 – we will stick to what was given in the poll)
= (0.8×1) – (0.2×0.8) = 0.8 – 0.16 = 0.64

Expectancy of System 4 = (0.35×4) – (0.65×1) = 0.75

So, what is this expectancy? Expectancy is how much one can expect to make on the average over many trades. Expectancy is best stated in terms of how much you can make per rupee you risk. Tharp talks in terms of R-multiples but let us just focus on it in layman terms.

If someone risks 1% per trade and their system expectancy is 0.5, it just means that over a large sample of trades, he is expected to make 0.5% (1% x 0.5) per trade. So, if he has 100 trades in a year, he is expected to make (100×0.5%) 50% that year.

Surface level analysis of the poll results

1. It is quite obvious from the above calculation that higher the expectancy, greater is your chances of making money in the markets. So, as a new trader, it is pretty easy to select the option # 4 from the choices. No brainer there.

2. Few people pointed out that Option 1 is better as it is easy on psychology of the trader. It is true to an extent but if one is striving for better risk adjusted returns, option 4 is the obvious choice again (especially for a pure trend follower). Different people, different choices 😊

3. Some people take profits on the way and they would have naturally gravitate towards a better winrate system with lesser R:R. The traders who trail profits will almost always have a lower WR but better RR system in hand.

4. As I always advocate that there are various ways to skin the cat, nothing is right or wrong here. We just need to pick what is comfortable for us. But, if one has to analyse logically, it is option 4. On a side note, one comment mentioned that we need to find system that have a expectancy like the choices mentioned 😊. Fair enough !!

5. The traders who are new to the market gets enamored by the high winrate for a very simple reason – typically, they don’t want to take losses (Forget about newcomers – even the experienced lot do not like to take losses). Their mind can never get around in accepting the losses. So, they naturally gravitate towards high winrate as high WR typically means more number of winners than losers. But, what they forget is the other side of the coin – the Risk:Reward. They lose more when they lose and win less when they win. This has many statistical implications. We will see that in detail in the next section of this post.

6. Winrate and Risk:Reward should be seen together. They are like peas and carrots, day and night – always go together. This is why I like this expectancy as it nicely clubs both the parameters to give a logical view of the system in hand.

7. Few people have voted for option 3 as they feel high winrate can give them the psychological comfort – again, this is just another way of telling that ‘I don’t want to take losses’. As some great trader mentioned. ‘avoiding losses in trading is like you want to breathe in but don’t want to breathe out’. But if it works for you, great !!

In-depth analysis of the poll

1. Most of the stock market strategies employ trend following concept and the pure essence of trend following is to let the profits run. So, the detailed analysis is based on that assumption.

2. First let us dissect what High Winrate really means. Typically, a high WR system will have low Risk:Reward (compare to a low WR with same expectancy). This is a given. But, this also means that the average loser of a high WR system is usually larger than a low WR system(assuming the timeframe and expectancy are the same). In a trend following system, high WR is usually achieved by giving so much room for the market to catch the trend. Statistically, bigger SL will have a huge drawdown potential (am talking about maximum drawdown) and if the max DD is high, it is very difficult to proceed with the system for two important reasons –

a) The recovery factor will be high – meaning the number of trades it takes to get back to equity high(again) will be more and the problem exasperates if someone is trading higher timeframe. People grossly underestimate time drawdown – but it is a different topic altogether

b) Compounding can be a big problem for a system with larger max DD for obvious reasons

3. When a system has a bigger SL (again assumption is that we are talking about pure trend following systems with trailing stoplosses) like a moving average crossover system, the time the market spends between the entry point and stoploss is huge. This has so many psychological ramifications –

a) It can create havoc to our mind as it will feel that we are always in loss (even though it is not realized). One can draw analogy with an investor who enters a stock and the stock is underwater for 2-3 years. It is a very tough phase for that investor if he is still holding it.

b) It can force a trader to make mistakes (not following the plan) and just letting the emotions take the driver seat (how many of us have heard this ‘ I felt uncomfortable in the trade and got out but only to see the market moving in my favor again’). So, wider SL is a fertile ground for all these mishaps in the thought process.

On the other hand,if WR is less with smaller average losses, it will diminish the active trade time in grey area (between entry and SL) and give us a big advantage mentally.

4. Lesser WR and higher RR generally means smaller losses (compared to high WR and low RR/same expectancy system) and consequently, a trader can be well equipped for the proverbial series of losses in a row. One can place large number of bets or trades before we reach out max limit. So taking randomness into account, we give ourselves a fair chance to be in the game. Not to mention, these smaller SLs will also cap the maximum DD and will keep it nicely in control.

The below picture shows the 95% probability of losing streaks for various winrates. Even a 50% winrate system can have 16 losses in a row over 5000 trades. It is not a question of how but it is a question of when.

Workshop

5. On the flip side, Low WR and high RR will never have even distribution of profits as the system will turn positive only with large profits. If one misses those trades, then the performance would be pretty dismal.

6. The interesting thing is that most of us would feel better with a system that produces more winning trades than losers. The vast majority of people would have a lot of trouble with the 4th system (even though it has the best statistical advantage compared to other systems) because of our natural tendency to want to be right all of the time.

7. As I always say ‘there is nothing right or wrong’ in the markets. We just need to choose what is comfortable for us. The battlecry is ‘how to find the one that is comfortable for us?’. Very simple – try them all with minimum size. Your mind will naturally cling towards the one that is comfortable for you 😊

Happy trading !!

Law of Large numbers and its implication in Trading

Trading Journal

Besides loving to trade and playing cricket, I am an ardent subscriber to the statistical concept – the law of large numbers. According to probability theory, the law of large numbers is a theorem that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times. Moreover, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected value, and will tend to become closer as more trials are performed.

Let us look at some illustrations first before talking about its implications in trading.

Law of Large numbers and Coin toss

Law of large numbers is best illustrated by the example of a coin flip, which has a 50% chance of landing on heads. If we flip the coin twice, we have almost exactly equal chances of any scenario happening: heads twice, tails twice, or evenly split. The probability of getting 5 heads and 5 tails on ten flips is just 8% but that probability keeps increasing as we increase the sample size. If one flips the coin 100 times, the probability of getting 50 heads and 50 tails (P=0.5) increases to 70% and so on.

Below is a depiction of the Law of Large Numbers in action, for 1000 trials –

Workshop

As one can see, the more the sample size (trials) is, the probability of getting equal number of heads/tails increases.

Law of large numbers and casinos

Coin flips are interesting theoretically, but the Law of Large numbers has a number of practical implications in the real world as well.

A famous example is Casinos – who can forget the ringing sound of slot machines/clamoring laughters sound in the craps table of Casino halls. Casinos live and die by the law of large numbers. Each game has a house edge built into it, representing the average loss over the initial bet. Some sample edges are –

* Blackjack – 0.75%
* Baccarat – 1.2%
* Craps – 1.4%
* Roulette – 5%
* Slot machines – 5-10%

Over longer time frames, it becomes increasingly likely that the house edge will represent the casino’s profit margin.

Law of large numbers and trading

When it comes to trading, many misinterpret(in a negative way) this law of large numbers. They think that the more they trade, they would have more losses which leads to account blow-up. If a traders’ methodology has a statistical ‘edge’, and if he does not change the underlying parameters on the way, it is better for a trader to let the law of large numbers to work in his/her favor.

Trading decisions may appear to be binary – either buy or sell or up or down, but they are not. There are a critical variables which must be accounted for, such as how much am willing to lose/how to trail the profits, or in other words, what is the risk/reward of the trade and how do I manage the trade. So, there is something other than chance that comes into play when trading, and that is skill and technique.

It stands to reason then, that the better your skills and technique, the more you should trade. While Law of large numbers is important because it “guarantees” stable long-term results for random events, it follows that it is also important that our sample of trades is large enough to maximize the number of successful outcomes from our skillful trades and therefore maximize your earning potential. So, if it sounds so simple, why does traders do not allow this law to work for themselves? Why do they jump ships on the way(changing trading systems)?

Think about this for a second. The trader starts trading their plan with all good intentions. Things may or may not go well straight away, but sooner or later as the markets behavior ebbs and flows with/against the strategy’s strengths and weaknesses, losing trades will inevitably occur. At this point of time, the trader gets scared. They don’t like to give money back to the market, so they decide to try and modify the system to filter out trades like that last losing one. They begin to add indicators to charts, coming up with new ever more convoluted combinations, furiously testing to see what cuts out the most bad signals while leaving in place the good ones. A few times round this loop and suddenly, their chart starts to resemble something a seismologist might be more used to seeing than a price chart 🙂 As a result, again, the loop starts – they never let ‘law of large numbers’ to work as they dont stick around with one idea. Law of large numbers will be rendered meaningless if we keep changing the rules on the way.

Law of large numbers and behavioral difficulties

To let the law of large numbers work for us, we need to put trade after trade, over and over again without changing the underlying parameters. Just like onerously bolting on wheels on an automobile assembly line, making a series of trades can be very tedious. It may be hard to maintain self-control at times. It is understandable. We are human, and humans have a strong primal urge to seek out drama and action.

The kind of person who is attracted to trading is not the person who prefers tedium to excitement. This is the raw fact. If we are a trader, we’re probably the kind of person who has shunned a mundane 9-to-5 job for a more unconventional, adventurous profession (many come to trading for this reason). The excitement of working as a full time, active trader appeals to us. We thrive on the uncertainty and endless possibilities. What attracts us to trading, however, may also be a reason for our downfall, unless we are careful. We may be the kind of person who gets bored easily. It is quite possible that the long hours of self-control required to make a profit may be difficult to maintain. This is why many crave for action in the markets. So, eventually, they put on trades that is not part of their plan. It is exactly at this juncture, we break the ‘law of large numbers’ as it assumes that we do the same kind of trades(based on a definite idea) day in/day out. Essentially, we never stick around (or stick around with the same idea) for law of large numbers to work.

How to gain from Law of large numbers

It would be prudent if a trader(new and experienced alike) does the following –

1. Create a trading plan
2. Backtest the plan with large sample size (never fall victim to small sample skewing)
3. Determine your risk based on backtesting parameters
4. Create a money management plan
5. Stick to the plan to let the law of large numbers work

Final thoughts

It is illogical to subscribe to the theory that ” you’re only as good as your last trade. ” If you are going to trade for a living, there is no last trade, only the next trade. Whether, our last trade was a winner or a loser, it has absolutely no bearing on the outcome of our next trade.

Unlike gambling, a winning streak by a trader will NOT eventually be overcome by the parameters of the game, unless he somehow convinces himself that this is his inevitable outcome. Trading is not gambling where the house has the edge (let us not focus on the broker’s commission and negative sum game for a moment). Trading is a performance based activity that requires skill, technique, experience and above all, practice. Most important though, the trader must have the right attitude, focus, patience, and self-confidence, and then the trader will be the one who possesses the edge – not the other way around 🙂

Happy trading !!

Price action based trading + System trading Workshop

Introduction

As many of you know, i have been trading just the price (a.k.a naked trading) for the last 12 years and was receiving requests to take classes/workshop on how I do price action trading in a mechanical way(absolutely no discretion involved). Heeding to the popular request, I have decided to share the knowledge to people who are interested to learn. My goal is not only to teach you naked (no indicators) price action based trading for both positional and intraday trading but also about how to consistently make money in the markets – the A to Z of trading

Summary of Workshop details

In the first part of the Workshop, I will talk about the basic concepts in Price action based trading and combine advanced knowledge/experience to make the concept an actionable trading strategy that can be used immediately. Many of the price action based strategies are discretionary in nature but as am a rule based trader, I will be teaching you a simple rule-based strategy (for both positional and intra) that can be used as a basic building block to trade any asset class including stocks, options and futures.

In the second part of the workshop, I will round out the course by teaching you how to backtest a strategy effectively (to understand its efficacy in real trading), build a money management plan based on the parameters and Risk management plan along with trading psychology that is required to make money from the markets consistently. I will also help you learn about building a successful trading plan, whether you are a part-time trader or full-time trader.

On the whole, this one day workshop would be a complete package with a discussion about the methodology and using the method in practical real-time trading.

Who can attend

1. Anyone who wants to learn price action based trading for both positional and intraday trading
2. Traders with little experience but do not make money (Only lose money)
3. Traders who make money but not consistently
4. Traders who make money consistently but cannot scale up in trading size

Morning Session Topics – the trading strategy

1. Why price action based trading? – They say ‘Price is the king and it precedes everything’. Is it really true?
2. Market structure – Basics
3. Rallies and declines
4. Details of structural pivot high/lows – how to mark them mechanically (to avoid subjectivity)
5. Trends – what constitutes the trend
6. Analyzing trends based on price action structural pivots
7. Positional mechanical strategy with multiple set of mechanical (rule-based) entry/exit rules. Participants can choose the best set of rules based on their psychological comfort level
8. Intraday strategy with multiple set of mechanical (rule-based) exit/entry rules. Participants can choose the best set of rules based on their psychological comfort level
9. Useful price action tips and tricks to extract more juice from the markets

Afternoon Session Topics – executing the strategy to trade profitably (albeit consistently)

1. What is an ‘edge’ in a system? How to quantify an ‘edge’? Do I really have an edge in my system?
2. How to efficiently backtest a strategy – what to look for and pitfalls?
3. How to evaluate backtesting results to find the optimal risk to be taken per trade?
4. Why taking 2% risk per trade will not work for everyone (like the way it is suggested in popular books)?
4. Money management in trading – how to tailor made money management based on the backtested results?
5. Trading journal and its importance
6. The real holy grail of trading – Execution
7. Part time trading vs Full time trading – Differences and their effect on our P/L

8. Role of psychology in trading – will be covering the below mentioned points in psychology
a) How to create a consistent equity curve so you can get off the roller-coaster ride and sleep at night.
b) How to dramatically ‘level up’ your consistency and escape the ‘Sneaky Mental Trap’ that sabotages your profitability when things get ‘too good’
c) The little-understood way to handle fear that separates successful traders from those who are doomed to fail (Finally, operate at your true potential!)
d) How to become a better trader by becoming a better version of yourself (and why market conditions have very little to do with your results)
e) How to know if your mind is tricking you into taking lame trades with low profit potential and holding you back from the results you truly desire

Capital required for executing the method

1 lac/ lot for Intraday trading
2 lacs/lot for Positional trading (this can change based on the price of the instrument you are trading)

Fees, timings and location

Fees : Rs. 12000/person (Inclusive of Morning Tea/Snacks, Lunch (Veg & Non- Veg buffet), Evening Tea/Snacks)
Timings : 9 AM – 6 PM

Bangalore date and location:

Date: December 15, 2018
Location: –TBD–

Chennai date and location:

Date: January 5, 2019
Location: –TBD–

Workshop

Contact details

If you want to be part of the workshop and need further details on payment, please email marketswithmadan@gmail.com or Whatsapp 96770 36689

Participants feedback of Workshops
(please click on the Date/time link below to goto the specific tweet)

Additional Perks of attending the workshop

1. Telegram support group for the attendees (1 month duration) to clear out workshop related doubts.
2. My favorite PDF books on Money management, psychology and much more.
3. Psychocybernetics – my favorite NLP technique audio CD will be shared with the attendees

Happy trading and looking forward to meeting you in-person !!

Trading journal – why should a trader maintain it

Trading Journal

Introduction

Journaling our trades or in rudimentary terms, record-keeping is simply recording the trades with different set of values but it is not as simple as that. Now, I can hear some voices – ‘What is the big deal about journaling my trades? I have the best method in the world which is raking in 10% profits per week and so, I don’t need them” Fair enough. Happy for you!!

But, for regular traders (who do this for a living), a trading journal is probably the most important tool a trader needs to possess in order to trade the markets profitably. Proper record keeping can tell us what we have been doing right, what needs to improve and help find patterns in our method/behavior.

Maintaining a trading journal might sound unpretentious but even getting started, is an arduous task. First of all, most of the wannabe traders do not journal their trades. There is a strong reason for that behavior. If we keep a journal, then we will be forced to take responsibilities for our actions in trading rather than blaming the market, blaming others (eg: market makers, software glitches, hot social media guru, TV analyst), wife, neighbor’s dog and myriad number of illogical reasons. Records keep us honest and remember, numbers don’t lie !!

Key aspects of a trading journal

It is absolutely astonishing to know the kind of information traders can get from their journals if they include basic statistics about their performance. Trading predispositions that escape normal notice suddenly stand out when summarized statistically. With statistics, we can not only say that a trader made improvement, but can actually measure that improvement and track it over time. Such statistics capture improvements that will eventually show up in the profit/loss statement, but it may not be evident straightaway.

1. Observation about us and markets – It should have observations about us/our trading and about the markets themselves. I have found that trader journals usually are lop-sided toward self-analysis and include little in the way of market observation. When I began as a trader, I printed out daily charts of each day’s action and wrote comments on these, pointing out the patterns that I wanted to watch for in the future. After some time, this identification of pattern became automatic and it became easy to trigger that trade next time.

2. Observations about our best trades must be included – Many traders use the journal as a means of self-criticism or a venting out mechanism, and they only journal when they’re having problems in the market. Additionally, it should also tell our best trades so that we can focus on them more.

3. Journal should outline specific steps for improvement – It is not enough to write ambiguous generalities, such as ‘I need to hold my winners longer’ or ‘I need to be more disciplined’. Identifying specific steps we will take to hold onto winners (proper setting of trailing stops (if any), self-control strategies, etc.) or maintaining discipline (risk management, taking breaks, etc.) makes the journal a game plan for the next day/week/month. Such review is an essential step in the kind of continuous improvement that marks winners across all disciplines.

4. Net points and Average point in losing trade/winning trade (Risk:Reward) – self explanatory metric

5. Number of winning and losing trades

6. Winning ratio – this is one of the most beaten down parameter to lure newcomers into trading workshops/services and many others. This parameter is of no use if we don’t see it along with Average Risk:Average reward. A system with 30% winning ratio and 1:7 RR is much more superior (w.r.t risk adjusted returns) than a system with 75% winning ratio with 1:1.5 RR

7. Number of long and short trades – Some people are so smooth in taking short trades but they have hard time taking longs. This is a real problem for lot of newbies.

8. Time holding losing trades versus winners – It is very hard to make money over time by holding onto losers. Eventually, the size of the losers becomes greater than the winners so that even a trader who has more winning trades than losers can end up in the red.

9. Profit/Loss broken down by long and short trades and in-turn, broken down by market condition. This is particularly useful for discretionary traders. It tells them if they trade ranges better than breakout movements. If a trader’s performance is ominously worse in one mode than another, then it is time to start probing their trading for needed improvements.

10. Drawdown percentage (both average and maximum)– to identify the drawdown and see if it matches with the system’s expectations

11. Tracking emotions before/during and after the trade – Jotting down our emotions when we enter the trade, when the trade starts going in our favor/against us, stop outs and profit tgts(if any)…we will feel very different emotions in each of these stages. Identifying them (being aware) is the first step to understanding it. Over a period of time, the emotion patterns starts to repeat and we can really work on them.

12. It should have ‘entry note’, ‘exit notes’ and ‘what would i do differently’ columns for every trade taken.

13. It should have provision to subtract the commission+other taxes we pay irrespective of winner or loser.

14. Equity curve – nice equity curve graph is a must and a breakdown of monthly/quarterly points/returns in a pivot table

Probable learning out of a trading journal

When we see the metrics, we could see where we can work on (few areas of improvement) –

1. Holding onto losing trades as long or longer than winners – so, jotting down the time in a losing trade/winning trade helps here (Point # 8 of previous topic)

2. Significantly different profitability during morning vs. afternoon trading hours – this is applicable more to intraday traders. Many a times, fatigue can make an intraday trader go below his desired potential.

3. Different profitability during different market conditions, such as trending markets or volatile ones – there are 4 kinds of markets trending volatile, trending non-volatile, rangebound volatile and rangebound non-volatile

4. The tendency to give back the points of many profitable trades in a few large losing ones – this is the biggest sin a trader can make while formulating a system. Small losses/small profits/large profits are all OK but large loss is never OK for various number of reasons.

5. The trades and their distribution/sequence can teach us a very important lesson – not only markets and volatility are cyclical in nature, even returns are cyclical in nature. A stellar year can be followed with a lackluster year and the 3rd year could be an above-average year. This kind of understanding would give us the conviction to stick to the plan every single day.

Final thoughts

More than a tool, journal can be a great friend to a trader – they can remind us of what we’re meant to be doing. They are a way of focusing on process, rather than anchoring our moods and self-esteem to the ups and downs of P/L.

In the end, trading journal can be thought of as an exercise equipment – they only produce results if you work them regularly. So, let us start journaling our trades the right way and at the end of the day, let us be better traders. Atleast, we owe it to ourselves that much !!

Trading workshop

Introduction

B.Krishnakumar and I, are thrilled to announce our collaboration in conducting Trading Workshops across major cities of India. Our goal is not only to teach you some technical indicator/technical analysis but to also to teach you how to consistently make money in the markets – the A to Z of trading. With a combined experience of over 35+ years in stock markets, we are confident that we can make the whole learning process simplified for you.

Trading is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers in the world. But, almost all of us might have heard that close to 95% of traders end up losing money. If you’re trading the markets, the odds are stacked against you. Every day you are up against Dalal Street’s best and brightest, who have unlimited capital and ruthless computer algorithms. That’s hardly a fair fight.

Summary of Workshop details

In the first part of the Workshop, B. Krishnakumar will build upon the basic concepts of Point and figure chart and combine advanced knowledge/experience to make the concept an actionable trading strategy that can be used immediately. Essentially, he will teach you a simple rule-based strategy that can be used as a basic building block to trade any asset class including stock, options and futures.

In the second part of the workshop, I will round out the course by teaching you how to backtest a strategy effectively (to understand its efficacy in real trading), build a money management plan based on the parameters and Risk management plan along with trading psychology that is required to make money from the markets consistently. I will also help you learn about building a successful trading plan, whether you are a part-time trader or full-time trader.

On the whole, this one day workshop will not only teach you a simple (and efficient) strategy but it will also teach how to take your skillset and apply it to trading a strategy professionally – a complete package.

Target audience

1. People with little or no experience in the markets
2. Traders with little experience but do not make money (Only lose money)
3. Traders who make money but not consistently
4. Traders who make money consistently but cannot scale up in trading size

Fees, timings and location

Workshop

Topics details

Session 1 topics – by B.Krishnakumar

1. Basic & how to plot Point & Figure chart
2. What are the benefits of Point & Figure Charts
3. Basic buy / sell signals & Major Point & Figure Chart patterns
4. Fresh signals & Follow Through
5. How to calculate high probability targets
6. Simple Strategy to Trade Nifty Futures Using Point & Figure charts

Session 2 topics – by Madan Kumar

1. How to efficiently backtest a strategy – what to look for and pitfalls?
2. What is an ‘edge’ in a system? How to quantify an ‘edge’? Do I really have an edge in my system?
3. Money management in trading – how to tailor made money management based on the backtested results?
4. Part time trading vs Full time trading – Differences and their effect on our P/L
5. Trading journal and its importance
6. Role of psychology in trading – Everybody talks about discipline/patience but how does that relate to trading success.

Contact details

If you are interested to learn from us, please contact below

Email: pftrader@outlook.com / marketswithmadan@gmail.com

Mobile: +91 – 78240 21649 (B.Krishnakumar) or +91 – 96770 36689 (Madan Kumar)

Trading Q&A Audio/Video 1

Audio/Video response to the tweet posted on April 26th 2018

Here is the A/V link:

Bouncing back slowly but steadily

Mentoring

A trader asked me a question about how to develop the discipline in following his trading plan. Am sure many of us can relate to the questioner’s mindset in ‘trying to recover the losses as quickly as possible’. It is clearly evident that the trader does not believe in bouncing back slowly. He is also well aware of the risks involved in trading stock futures on result days but he could not control the urge to put on a trade.

Here is the question (quoting it) and the complete reply

Question:

“Hello Madan – i know i have to focus on maximizing gain and have to stop weighing losses more than gains. If I look at my losses, have incurred heavy losses in trading stock future and that too on result days. I need to bury this desire to recover what I lost quickly. I find it difficult but would want to know if there is any mental drill to have disciplined approach.

I understand that trading in stock future on result days is very risky, after I enter a trade if it is in my favor it nurture my belief that being undisciplined at times helps u in profit but in the long run I am at loss due to these trades only”

Reply:

First things first – please do not answer these questions but just answer them to yourself.

1. Why are you trading the markets?

2. What is the need to trade on results day (knowing well that the stock can go either way)? If it is not part of the trading plan, why trade that day? For example, i don’t initiate new trades on RBI days. There is always another trade right? I know few traders trade on earnings announcements day but they have hedged strategies.

3. Why are you impatient to make back all the lost money back quickly? Why are we not respecting probabilities, distribution of trades and climbing up steadily?

4. We are aware that ‘profiting by breaking our system/rules can create havoc in the long run’ but we still take comfort in the fact that we are making profits by not following our plan. So, what thought process is giving us this pleasure?

5. Are our goals oriented towards P/L or oriented towards the process? Why are we so focused on P/L than focusing on the process?

Common observations about an undisciplined trader:

1. More often than not, traders do not trade to make money. Trading is not rocket science. It’s like making biryani – all the raw-materials and perfect ratio/sequence has to come into play. Once we figure that out, making a great biryani is just a process of following the routine. All the major restaurants follow routine in making their special dishes every day.

Most of the traders trade to regulate their emotional state. Once the trader becomes attached to the need to trade and make money quickly —and once his perfectionist voice of “I should have bought there” enters the picture–he is no longer grounded in markets. It’s when those frustrations build over time, becoming self-reinforcing, that traders sway away from their plan/system. What derails traders is that, at some point, we switch perceptual lenses and view the trade through the lens of profit/loss (P/L), not through the lens of probabilities, risks, and rewards.

Mentally rehearsing a mindset everyday (please read psychocybernetics and see how you can implement mental rehearsing in trading. It helped me tremendously) in which it is OK to miss moves–there will always be future opportunity–traders can prevent many of these train wrecks. The practice of taking a break during the trading day, reviewing one’s state of mind, and clearing one’s head is remarkably effective in this regard. Clearly identifying the parameters of one’s trade–the optimal size, a logical way to trail SL, stop loss points that put risk and reward into proper alignment–also ensures that you are controlling your trading, not the reverse.

2. Many traders formulate intentions for their trades and then wonder why they have veered from their trading plan. When we ask them about their trading plan, however, there is nothing written down nor is there anything specific that has been planned. Often, however, we will hear from traders that they’ve violated their discipline. When we ask which rules they’ve violated, they cannot give a definite answer. How can we violate a discipline that isn’t there to begin with? The problem is not that an excess of emotion interfered with their plans and rules. Rather, they were never sufficiently planful and rule-governed to begin with. So, there is no emotion involved (or progress to be made) when there is no plan to follow in the first place.

Essentially, in my opinion, the single greatest way to build discipline is to turn rules and plans into ‘resolutions’. That means that you have to give those rules and plans a life of their own. The more you think of them (mental rehearsing/writing them down in a piece of paper whenever you find time in a day), look forward to them, grade yourself on them and reward yourself for them–the more real they become. You are most likely to abandon rules and plans that haven’t been internalized as resolutions/commitments. This is where ‘mental rehearsing’ would help immensely. It enables us to internalize our plans/goals effectively.

Unfortunately, mere intentions are not strong enough to trap these trading errors. We need the emotional force of resolutions and the reliability of routines. Turning intentions into checklists and checklists into resolutions is a great way to ground yourself into best trading practices.

Last but not the least – being disciplined is a self-fulfilling phenomenon. The more you are disciplined, the more you will see stability in your trading and the more stability in P/L (bottom left to top right angle), the more disciplined we become. And the cycle continues.

Hope it helps. Good luck with your trading !!

Intraday trading and position sizing

I started this activity to show how we can take a small account to a decent sized account on Feb 5 2018 and we followed fixed position sizing (4 lots) and skipped trades with stoplosses bigger than 20-22 points.

When I traded this system live and took 6lacs to 19 lacs in flat 8 months on compounding, I took all the trades and if SL was bigger than the intended risk, then I would reduce the position size to bring the risk down to the desired level.

On February 19th 2018, I tweeted about reduced position sizing for bigger stoplosses but received several DMs denouncing that idea as few folks are trading with only 1 lot (even though my money management plan clearly stated that we should start with 4 lots). Their contention was that they do not have a way to trade with reduced position size. I thought about it and estimated that we will never come this far w.r.t drawdown (even if we skip bigger SL trades). So, thought to myself that I would stick with the ‘SL too high and so, skip the trade’ logic. Boy, I was so wrong. Big mistake and we are paying the price for that blunder.

Here is the above-mentioned tweet

Just to a give a glimpse of the reduced position size trades and its effect on our net P/L so far. All the big SL trades were profitable trades and that has just increased the mental agony !!

February 2018 – Big SL trades

1. Feb 19 2018 –> Short 10412 (9:50 am) SL = 10451 (39 points) – we should have gone short with 50% position size (to keep the risk percentage constant).Exit at break of 10338 pivot – 74 points profit (for 100% position size). So, with 50% position size, we should have made 35 points profit (after cost on full size).

2. Feb 23 2018 –> Long 10451 (10:30 am) SL = 10418 (33 points) – we should have gone long with 75% position size. Exit at 3:15 pm low 10498 – 47 points profit (full 100% size). Hence, with 75% position size, we should have made 33 points(after cost on full size)

Overall, we missed 2 trades in the month of February because of bigger stoploss. Hence, if we had followed reduced position size logic (the idea is not to miss system trades if SL is big), February 2018 should have been -23(twitter trades points) + 35 + 33 = 45 points.

March 2018 – Big SL trades

1. March 6 2018 –> Short 10375 (2:15 pm) SL = 10406 (31 points) – we should have gone short with 75% position size. Exit at 10260 (3:10 pm bar high) – 115 points profit (for 100% size). Hence with 75% position size, we should have made 84 points (after cost on full size)

2. March 16 2018 –> Short 10315 (11 am) SL = 10345 (30 points) – we should have gone short with 75% position size. Exit at 10224 (3:10 pm bar high) – 91 points profit (for 100% size). Hence with 75% position size, we should have made 66 points (after cost on full size)

3. March 19 2018 –> Short 10181 (10:05 am) SL = 10220 (39 points) – we should have gone short with 50% position size. Exit at 10155 (3 pm bar high) – 26 points profit (for 100% size). Hence with 50% position size, we should have made 11 points (after cost on full size)

Essentially, we missed 3 trades because of bigger stoploss. So, if we had followed reduced position size, March 2018 should have been -104 (twitter trades points) + 84 + 66 + 11 = 57 points.

With this information in hand, it is obvious to see that we should have been up by 102 points in the system(had we taken all the trades with reduced position size) but rather we were down by 127 points at the end of March 2018. A difference of 229 points.

Reduced position size if Stoploss is big

Bygones are bygones. In the first post of this blog, I enunciated how we will deal with this activity and the money required for each lot. Here is the post.

Introduction – Growing small trading account into a bigger one

If we refer to point # 7, it states that “If we look at the Money Management plan that I posted, We have used 40K (including 200 points DD) for 1 lot but are using 50k per lot. We will keep 10k as a buffer amount incase of contingencies. We will invoke the buffer amount if we see unforeseen circumstances.” I believe the time has come to invoke the 10k buffer as we are at 190 points drawdown as of yesterday close.

So, we still have room for 130 more points of drawdown (based on the buffer) and given the fact that the system is faring decently, I think it is time to invoke this buffer amount. So, we will keep continuing the activity (despite numerous trollings and sarcasms hurled on me) until we hit 320 points drawdown. That would be the ‘hard stop’ for the activity. I take complete responsibility for not using reduced position size from February 19th tweet and infact, there have been numerous instances in the past 1.5 months wherein i was advised to take reduced position size for bigger SL trades by my trader friends. Better late than never and i truly believe the error has been rectified now (for the past 2 trades).

Final thoughts

The intention of this post is to elucidate the facts and to see how we can take this forward. Going forward, I will announce the trades as usual in Telegram but if the SL is bigger, we will take reduced position size(as deemed necessary) and 50% or 75% will be mentioned promptly in the message.

Happy trading and have a great weekend ahead !!

Mentoring requests and my response

Mentoring

It is Saturday evening and here I am. Last one month, my email box was swamped with requests for mentoring (as of yesterday, it stands at 32 requests). I was doing ‘blanket’ denial for all the requests except one but due to my natural propensity to respond to questions/requests, I replied to those emails with the reason for denying the requests. Eventually, it came to a point where I thought it is better to compose a blogpost about it.

As trading is a mind-numbing activity for me, in the past decade, I have helped few traders (free of cost) for months together with their trading related despairs and few of them are successfully trading fulltime. As I derive colossal pleasure out of these conversations/interactions, it was a win-win situation for me.

Rough plan for mentoring

Out of these 32 requests, I already took a person under my wings to assist in his trading career. He came up with his own system (as am not a system seller, I told him clearly that I will not help him with system building from scratch but I would be able to help him out to enhance it).

Having walked his path before, I think am more like a watchtower for his trading related activities and I believe I can positively impact his trading progress. I spend 1 hr per week over the phone with him and have few conversations over email/chat about his trading related evolution. We both know that there are no guarantee of success for him due to this relationship but we hope that it will shorten his learning curve (when someone who has walked his path is able to guide).

As I don’t have a structured way of doing this activity, this is what I have in mind for him. (We are in step 2 of the process right now)

1. If needed, enhancing his existing system (if am able to spot any logical flaw in entry/exit based on my experience, would suggest that). If the system sounds logically good to me, we go to the next step.

2. As there are 100s of ways to make money in the markets, we quickly progressed on to this step (sticking with the 1st step for a longer time is tantamount to ‘holy grail’ search).

So, backtesting the system for atleast 5-10 years to derive parameters to analyze if it is going to suit the trader’s psychology and if it is worth putting the money in. One system will not suit everyone (so he has to come up with his own) and if a trader is already attuned with his existing system (by trading it live) but not profitable consistently, he is an ideal person for me to help out.

3. Devise a money management plan based on his trading capital, his risk comfort level and backtested parameter (and if he has real trades with the system, nothing like it).This step will take some insightful thinking from my side.

4. Risk management (can be a part of money mgmt) – maximum importance would be given to this step to ascertain the risk appetite/goal of the trader. At the end of the day, risk determines our longevity in this profession.

5. Then, real trading starts – emotions kick-in. So, it is time for the trader to understand how emotions affects trading and how to embrace them (and not fight them out). We will probably handle fear of loss, fear of missing out, taking profits early and fear of pulling the trigger. These are the common roadblocks in a trader’s mind.

6. Once we go through step #5 (which is an ongoing process), we move on to handling drawdown part – both points and time drawdown. Hopefully, I would have fortified the trader about his system drawdown in step 2 itself (during backtesting) but real trading invokes the ‘real’ emotions out of us.

7. Helping him out in increasing position size slowly but steadily – not exponentially. The money management will have a clear-cut crisp plan to do this position size increase.

8. Once the trader is successful consistently (and able to execute his system with atleast 95% efficiency), I guess my job is done. I might have created a trader who can live on his own and hopefully, help others to achieve the same.

Vital pre-requisites I look for

I like to try out new things and as i have never done this before, am thinking of assisting 2 more folks (and hopefully to develop a good friendship in the long run) but i have certain pre-requisites in mind

1. A person with good character, ethics, and morals.

2. Be a person who is committed to things, dedicated, and have a stick-to-it approach

3. Someone who is looking to do things that may be uncomfortable for him to become better.

4. Minimum of 5 lacs in his trading account (more the better as we will have room for efficient money management). If someone is an intraday player, the required trading account size can be a tad lower.

5. Atleast 1-2 years of trading the markets (part time or full time). Cannot be a complete newbie

6. At least 2 hours per day dedicated for backtesting and reading chart patterns (Believe me – this is tremendous amount of work as we will do bar-by-bar replay and few iterations would be there). System building is just 20% of the game but it forms the foundation to the remaining 80% – to be successful in trading.

Fees for this relationship

I was doing this for free all along (and still do) and have spent numerous hours with few folks when I was in Bangalore but later figured out that people do not value the time if it is done free – free meals are only worth that much, I guess. They just squander away the time spent as if it meant nothing. Honestly, it is not about the money as I don’t need this extra money at all but it will make the trader more accountable and he will come to the table more planned with sound questions/utmost sincerity. It will make me accountable too.

Am planning to charge something that is not too less for the trader to consider this as a pastime or too high for the trader to think it as a burden. 20k per month is the figure I have in mind.

So, if you think you have what it takes to be a successful trader (and meet the pre-requisites), please email me with your background in trading/what has happened so far to ‘marketswithmadan@gmail.com’. If you are a free-loader/don’t take this profession seriously/do not meet the pre-requisites/do not have a system already (atleast a skeleton), please don’t bother to email me.

Hopefully this post gives me a chance to interact with only serious folks who want to do something about their trading profession (or take it to next level).

Happy trading all !!