Sure Is Quiet Around Here, Considering The Action

Nasdaq futures are quite a bit higher overnight, far outpacing the performance of all other major indices.  As of this writing, we are set to open about 50-to-60 points higher on the /NQ_F futures.  Pre market we had Durable Goods Orders and Jobless Claims which brought more buyers in, however most of the overnight strength is being attributed to earnings.

We are now above the midpoint of my proposed bracket range on the NASDAQ meaning the risk of being long is greater than being short.  At the same time, our intermediate auction continues higher.

These big overnight gaps can often create a frustrating day trade environment.  Risk is elevated because the market is clearly out of balance.  Often it is best to do very little, instead managing existing positions and carefully looking for rotation opportunities into stocks that have not run.

I highlight my primary upside target for the Nasdaq on the following intermediate term volume composite:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04242014

I am using a 24-hour market profile this morning since we had so much overnight action.  I want to see the footprint this action left and look for high opportunity levels as well as envision how today’s profile may take shape.  I have highlighted these observations below:

 

NQ__MarketProfile_04242014

Potential to Run Higher

Nasdaq futures traded mostly flat and balanced overnight until some early morning selling pushed us a touch lower.  As a result, the overnight profile shows two distinct volume distributions.  We have Flash PMI data at 9:45 and New Home Sales at 10:00 as well as some major Dow components reporting earnings before the bell.  Perhaps the most sensitive announcements pertaining to the Nasdaq come out after market close today, including earnings from Apple and Facebook.

What I attempt to do with a long term chart is speed read the context of the market long term and use the information for broad strokes of risk analysis.  Essentially, my vision is for the long term auction to come into balanced, bracketed trade.  This is something that has not really happened since mid 2012.  We are roughly above the middle or mean of this bracket, which makes risk of holding longs greater.  This still is occurring inside a very long term uptrend so I give the upside a slight benefit of the doubt:

COMPQ_04232014

On the intermediate term, my goal is to determine who is in control and when we may see a new intermediate term change.  Right now the buyers are in control of the intermediate term.  They are pressing prices higher since tax day.  We have come close to exceeding the prior swing high and the possibility exists that buyers can remain in control, further driving prices higher.  However, I took the stance yesterday that we may be nearing another inflection point and I made a few adjustments to my portfolio.  Yet buyers remain in control of the intermediate term swing, see below:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04232014

We use the short term auctions to gauge the continuation of the auction, always looking for signs of aging like overlapping value or opposing wicks (responsive selling) or sloppy distributions of volume within the profiles.  Yesterday exhibited strong buyer control but also displayed a few interesting signs.  We formed a P-shaped profile which suggests a short squeeze erupted early on but new, initiative buyers were not strong enough to continue pressing the value higher.  In context, their passiveness in the afternoon makes sense; we made a ton of progress via a gap higher and a strong morning drive.  Buying at this point became difficult.  Yet, we did see some buyers dipping their toes in as another rotation did develop late in the day.  Overall, buyers still in control also by closing out the day near the highs.  This auction is likely to continue higher in the short term, especially if yesterday’s value area low holds as support.  Otherwise, the gap fill trade may kick in.  See below:

NQ__MarketProfile_04232014

Earth Day Nasdaq Roundup

The Nasdaq composite is up slightly overnight on a balanced session of trade. One of the economic releases I will be watching today is the 10am Existing Home Sales and whether it stimulates trade in my shares of Zillow.  There are no other major economic reports out today, but we do have a slew of earnings on tap in the coming days which may materially affect the manner in which the NASDAQ trades.

The long term auction is in the process of balancing via a bracketed trade.  My goal in these conditions is to locate bracket extremes as well as the midpoint and base my risk around these parameters.  Currently I estimate we are below the midpoint but far enough away from bracket lows to justify reducing risk a bit.  As this balance progresses, the parameters will become more clear.  This process is more art than science.

The intermediate term swing trade is buyer controlled.  I decided to change my interpretation of the intermediate term timeframe recently.  The intermediate timeframe is not something I measure in time, but rather by the swing trade occurring.  Buyers control the current swing but are tasked with either printing a higher low, a higher high, or both.  Thus even through the control the current swing, their control is still in question.  See below:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04222014

The short term auction is buyer controlled.  We are seeing their force abate slightly as value begins to overlap.  However buyer participants came into Monday seeking lower prices and when they saw a perceived discount they snapped it up.  Look at the strong responsive buying tail we printed yesterday as well as the follow though initiating buyers who closed us near the high of the session.  This is a solid example of a buyer controlled market profile:

 

NQ__MarketProfile_04222014

 

Big Picture Balance

As we enter the thick of earning’s season, it becomes more important than ever to not lose sight of both the big picture and the intricate short term picture which develops before us.  Overnight we saw an upward move Sunday evening which gave way to balanced, two-way trade overnight and into the morning.  As the USA comes online, we are seeing sellers creep onto the tape.

The long term auction is very interesting this week as we can see a notable change taking place.  For quite some time, it appeared the long term auction was buyer controlled where it now appears balance has taken hold.  Research shows the markets spend more than half their time in balance thus one must expect such an environment to return often.  The question is whether buyers can build upon last week’s responsive buying.  To me, it is not so important that these recent lows hold, but instead that we see equal force being applied on the market by both buyers and sellers.  Here’s the current long term auction:

COMPQ_04212014

On the intermediate timeframe, we can see volume totally dried up when we made new annual lows last week.  Speculators often look for explosive, high volume type action to confirm a swing high or low when really the exact opposite occurs at these levels.  What happens movement in the direction of the trend stops bringing new participation in.  In this case, sellers were not motivated to act by the new lows.  Instead we saw a buy response which was equally as strong as the selling move down.  Thus began an intermediate term swing higher:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04212014

I am using my EMAs as well as the very low volume node just a tick above the very round 3500 price level as my intermediate term pivot this week.

The short term shows buyer control.  Value is migrating higher without much overlap and the profiles are showing healthy auction activity on both sides.  Whether this clean auction continues through an important week of earnings will be telling for the weeks to come.  See below:

NQ__MarketProfile_04212014

Peering Through The Looking Glass

Nasdaq futures were set to drift lower overnight after some mixed afterhours trade in Google and IBM added a layer of uncertainty into the trading environment.  Drift lower they did until about 7am when a low volume ramp higher occurred.  Since then we had jobless claims which was received initially with a push higher.  We are currently trading inside balance and inside range from yesterday which suggests a lower risk/reward environment.

The intermediate term auction is interesting.  Sellers came in where I expected yesterday, which was a patch of low volume nodes on the composite profile.  Their response was perhaps exaggerated a bit by the afterhours earnings which kicked off the selling.  Sellers still retain control on the intermediate term, but the most recent swing bounce has been the sharpest yet which leads me to wonder if the velocity will be enough to get us higher.  Above yesterday’s high we begin to enter a zone of fast trade.  First let’s observe the intermediate term trend:

NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04172014

Now we can increase the magnification and observe the short term auctions.  Tax day, 04/15, we printed an outside day where price exceeded both the high and low of the prior day.  In this case, it was actually the prior two days.  Yesterday confirmed the outside day by migrating value higher.  These two bits of context tell me buyers control the short term auction.  Volumes are lower given the holiday climate, but you can still see a clear distribution formed yesterday.  One subtle footprint however is a spike of volume near the highs.  Normally we would expect to see volume thin out at the extremes—if we are in balance.  This suggests increasing prices facilitated more trade and that an imbalance may exists.  I have highlighted this occurrence a few other observations on the following market profile chart:

NQ__MarketProfile_04172014

 

Building Expectations for The Day

NASDAQ futures worked higher overnight building upon the afternoon strength buyers were able to muster.  The responsive buying ignited soon after price took out the year-to-dates lows on the /NQ contract.  Instead of the new lows bringing more sellers into the marketplace, we saw volume dry up at the levels and then a sharp response from buyers.  The bounce that materialized has the potent look of a durable swing low for the next few trading days.

The long term auction has been disrupted after being controlled by the buyer for over a year.  Today the picture of the NASDAQ composite has changed a bit.  I perceive the long term auction as in balance which dates back to November 11th, or 11/11/13.  I do not choose these dates at random but instead observe the past market activity and how it relates to our newly revealed information.  My largest moving average (99EMA) is starting to turn lower on the daily chart but we do not have clear alignment of the moving averages which would add to a case for seller control.

I have built the intermediate composite volume profile to span from 11/11 to today so we can observe the volume taking place inside the auction.  It is hard to see, but 3515.25 is the volume point of control or the largest tip on the profile.  These are prices that both buyers and sellers consider fair and we conduct large amounts of trade at.  My goal currently is to sell some of my swing long exposure above this level.  Intraday, if I see price building acceptance above this level then I will look to trade a long beyond it.  I have highlighted this level was well as my swing trade targets on the following intermediate term profile:
NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04162014

The short term auction shows buyers with a strong response.  They need to build on it and yesterday they accomplished a response with the potential to be build upon with some initiating buying.  However, should they be overwhelmed with supply price could reject back down into three days of overlapping value.  Standing between sellers goals is a very interesting low volume node at 3485.50 which is also in confluence with several value area highs.  This level is my key pivot intraday between long and short bias, until a level more influential materializes.  Buyers show us gaining acceptance into the upper profile which has prices up to around 3545:

NQ__MarketProfile_04162014

 

We have jobless claims at 8:30am which could have a material effect on the picture we see coming into the open.  We also have Philadelphia Fed announcement around 10am to be aware of.

Stop Kissing All The Babies

The NASDAQ and equities in general treated my tattered tech portfolio to a bit of respite while I toiled away at various campaigns of industry and trading methodology.  My trading plan and its autonomous counterparts continue being built and optimized into a plan I intend to take live.  There is no amount of planning I consider excessive by this point in my trading experience because I have seen what this market can do to a person, intraday, without the rights set of tools and planning.  One must exude a high amount of discipline and execution to have even a chance at success in the futures markets.  The same rules apply to stock trading too.

The blood moon crests over our heads at night and its presence brings the parts of our life that we may be reluctant to address to the forefront.  The big white moon acts like a giant mirror and shows us where our shortcomings exist and then paints them blood red.  It can be a very unpleasant experience but it can also end well if we take the time to digest the introspective and use our stronger abilities to foster and settle our weaknesses.

My weakness is an excess of hope and opportunism.  I will run 100 miles per hour into a wall by over committing to all the opportunities I see.  This is how I end up with 20-25 positions.  This is also why the long term sellers of equity introducing MORE opportunity into the marketplace via IPOs troubles me.  If I don’t get a wrangle on my desire to peruse all the business opportunities out there I will end up in a sanatorium.

In summary, I plan to tighten up my book into 2-3 intermediate term trades lasting anywhere from 1-12 days, and 3-5 multi-quarter investments.  That way I can give proper focus to order flow trading in the futures market and my other enterprises—which I will not be expanding upon.

Sometimes I get lucky and I can trade around an investment like I am doing to Twitter right now.  Twitter is one of my top three stock positions and I took some YOLO options for a spin this afternoon with precision.  The harder I work, the luckier I get.  This trade was entered minutes before news hit the wires that Twitter headhunted some big time Google Maps fella.  I already have taken scales because I couldn’t care less about making a huge win on this trade.  Instead I am managing risk and putting a winner in the book.  Blood moon knows I need it after this string of April losers:

YELP, KNDI, WUBA, GOGO

I suppose one of those goof balls may still toss a hail marry to my egregious strike prices, but I am not expending too much hopium on that happening in the next two days.

Other action today was stopping out IMGN at nearly a -30% and ENPH for about a -15% if I recall correctly.

Less, more succinct trades and going easy after a win is how I am going to improve from here.  This applies to all timeframes of trade.

+1.3% on the day, -13% on the year, Elroi the algo still in testing (grr)

Hunting a Trading Range

It has been a busy morning in the futures market as premarket participants digest CPI data as Janet Yellen prepares to speak.  The reaction thus far to a slight uptick in CPI was a pop and fade.

The intermediate term auction continues to appear seller controlled with swing trades showing a series of lower highs and lows.  The question now is whether market supply will continue driving prices down on the intermediate term, or if instead price will stabilize and revert to the mean.   There is data supporting the latter outcome and that my expectation.  However, I respect the trend playing out on the intermediate term and must be willing to shift my stance should my expectation not occur.  I would not change this vision of a bracketed trading range developing if we took out our recent swing lows, but it would be a progressive step.

On the day timeframe auction, little changed between Friday and Monday.  We printed an inside day where our daily range was within the range of Friday and we also printed a neutral day with range extension to both sides of the initial balance.  Both of these characteristics suggest indecision on the part of buyers and sellers.  We printed an excess low yesterday which suggests we may see some follow through by swing buyers today.  I have highlighted this excess low as well as a few other observations on the following regular trading hours NASDAQ market profile:

NQ__MarketProfile_04152014

The Edge of Balance: The Reward Zone

We have some early strength in the NASDAQ index futures.  The question on everyone’s mind this morning is whether we will see the early weakness get faded by strong sell flow or whether the higher advertised prices encourage buyers to enter the marketplace.  The former has been more prevalent for the last two to three weeks.

For today’s presentation of the intermediate timeframe, I chose to build out the volume profile based upon the 72 trading sessions completed thus far this year.  From the volume profile emerges some unique clues into whether the intermediate term is balanced or readying to explore lower for value.  The pattern of lower highs and lows gives sellers a clear momentum edge on the intermediate timeframe, but what is volume suggesting about value?  We do show some consensus of value around 3550 which you will notice is below the midpoint of our annual profile.  This suggests value has built lower and adds support to the idea of a continued migration lower.  However we do show a semblance of the bell curve too which makes the mean revision trade still a viable thought, although one which needs to engage sooner than later.  Also, any bounce which materializes much be carefully observed verses the very low volume node at 3580.  If price cannot gain acceptance above this level we would further expect price to continue lower.  I have highlighted these observations and a few others on the following annual volume profile distribution:

NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04142014

The short term auction suggests buyers have an edge this morning.  We had a rather thorough auction during our globex session which built an excess low which can be seen as a thin tail below the profile.  This suggests responsive buying and sellers drying up.  As the USA comes online we are seeing the large value area from Friday gain acceptance via volume building higher on our current profile.  This creates the expectation for trade through Friday’s value.  I have highlighted Friday’s value area and the key levels inside of it on the following market profile chart:

NQ__MarketProfile_04142014_afternoon

Taking our attention out to the long term we can see the buyers no longer clearly in control of the long term auction according to the daily chart.  We are trading below our moving averages which are flat at best and some moving lower.  We are still above February lows and we may see a balanced, bracketed trading range form.  Overall the long term auction is in balance until we take out the February lows.

Opening Swing: It Takes Tools To Make a Swing Go Right

I started live trading the first range extension after the opening swing is printed.  I was using a DOM for trade entry and I immediately remembered why I dislike the DOM so much.  It is a very distracting tool, in my opinion.  The market is noisy enough as it is.  When you add the flickering of this device into the mix trading becomes even more obscure.

I will continue testing the strategy next week and I am setting chart trading up over the weekend.

One of my observations from trading this setup live is how incredibly fast it happens.  I can sit here in retrospect and circle the idea, but the live environment gives you seconds to get your entry in.  Also, the trade can take immense heat in seconds.  Without a rock solid plan and execution, this high probability scalp trade is destined for failure.  It appears the best approach is a limit order set in place beyond the opening swing on the chart.  Then as price exceeds either extreme your entry is hit and filled.

I thought the overlapping of opening swings on Tuesday/Wednesday was an effective piece of context.  I was a buyer of swing longs against it.  However, the prices did not hold off sellers who cut through them with a slow grind lower.  I am so familiar with being on the right side of the slow grind.  Usually sell flow is much more knife-like.  Anyhow I found it odd and powerful to be on the receiving end of a grinder (Thursday afternoon).

The infamous Elroi can be seen on my charts today.  He has been getting chopped up pretty good during the opens.  I have always found his signals to be more potent later into the session but I like to see the signals because they give me insight into how other algorithms are performing.

Here are this week’s opening swings in the NASDAQ.  Feel free to share your thoughts and observations:

MONDAY

NQ_OS_04072014

TUESDAY

NQ_OS_04082014

 

WEDNESDAY

NQ_OS_04092014

 

THURSDAY

NQ_OS_04102014
FRIDAY

NQ_OS_04112014

Sure Is Quiet Around Here, Considering The Action

Nasdaq futures are quite a bit higher overnight, far outpacing the performance of all other major indices.  As of this writing, we are set to open about 50-to-60 points higher on the /NQ_F futures.  Pre market we had Durable Goods Orders and Jobless Claims which brought more buyers in, however most of the overnight strength is being attributed to earnings.

We are now above the midpoint of my proposed bracket range on the NASDAQ meaning the risk of being long is greater than being short.  At the same time, our intermediate auction continues higher.

These big overnight gaps can often create a frustrating day trade environment.  Risk is elevated because the market is clearly out of balance.  Often it is best to do very little, instead managing existing positions and carefully looking for rotation opportunities into stocks that have not run.

I highlight my primary upside target for the Nasdaq on the following intermediate term volume composite:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04242014

I am using a 24-hour market profile this morning since we had so much overnight action.  I want to see the footprint this action left and look for high opportunity levels as well as envision how today’s profile may take shape.  I have highlighted these observations below:

 

NQ__MarketProfile_04242014

Potential to Run Higher

Nasdaq futures traded mostly flat and balanced overnight until some early morning selling pushed us a touch lower.  As a result, the overnight profile shows two distinct volume distributions.  We have Flash PMI data at 9:45 and New Home Sales at 10:00 as well as some major Dow components reporting earnings before the bell.  Perhaps the most sensitive announcements pertaining to the Nasdaq come out after market close today, including earnings from Apple and Facebook.

What I attempt to do with a long term chart is speed read the context of the market long term and use the information for broad strokes of risk analysis.  Essentially, my vision is for the long term auction to come into balanced, bracketed trade.  This is something that has not really happened since mid 2012.  We are roughly above the middle or mean of this bracket, which makes risk of holding longs greater.  This still is occurring inside a very long term uptrend so I give the upside a slight benefit of the doubt:

COMPQ_04232014

On the intermediate term, my goal is to determine who is in control and when we may see a new intermediate term change.  Right now the buyers are in control of the intermediate term.  They are pressing prices higher since tax day.  We have come close to exceeding the prior swing high and the possibility exists that buyers can remain in control, further driving prices higher.  However, I took the stance yesterday that we may be nearing another inflection point and I made a few adjustments to my portfolio.  Yet buyers remain in control of the intermediate term swing, see below:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04232014

We use the short term auctions to gauge the continuation of the auction, always looking for signs of aging like overlapping value or opposing wicks (responsive selling) or sloppy distributions of volume within the profiles.  Yesterday exhibited strong buyer control but also displayed a few interesting signs.  We formed a P-shaped profile which suggests a short squeeze erupted early on but new, initiative buyers were not strong enough to continue pressing the value higher.  In context, their passiveness in the afternoon makes sense; we made a ton of progress via a gap higher and a strong morning drive.  Buying at this point became difficult.  Yet, we did see some buyers dipping their toes in as another rotation did develop late in the day.  Overall, buyers still in control also by closing out the day near the highs.  This auction is likely to continue higher in the short term, especially if yesterday’s value area low holds as support.  Otherwise, the gap fill trade may kick in.  See below:

NQ__MarketProfile_04232014

Earth Day Nasdaq Roundup

The Nasdaq composite is up slightly overnight on a balanced session of trade. One of the economic releases I will be watching today is the 10am Existing Home Sales and whether it stimulates trade in my shares of Zillow.  There are no other major economic reports out today, but we do have a slew of earnings on tap in the coming days which may materially affect the manner in which the NASDAQ trades.

The long term auction is in the process of balancing via a bracketed trade.  My goal in these conditions is to locate bracket extremes as well as the midpoint and base my risk around these parameters.  Currently I estimate we are below the midpoint but far enough away from bracket lows to justify reducing risk a bit.  As this balance progresses, the parameters will become more clear.  This process is more art than science.

The intermediate term swing trade is buyer controlled.  I decided to change my interpretation of the intermediate term timeframe recently.  The intermediate timeframe is not something I measure in time, but rather by the swing trade occurring.  Buyers control the current swing but are tasked with either printing a higher low, a higher high, or both.  Thus even through the control the current swing, their control is still in question.  See below:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04222014

The short term auction is buyer controlled.  We are seeing their force abate slightly as value begins to overlap.  However buyer participants came into Monday seeking lower prices and when they saw a perceived discount they snapped it up.  Look at the strong responsive buying tail we printed yesterday as well as the follow though initiating buyers who closed us near the high of the session.  This is a solid example of a buyer controlled market profile:

 

NQ__MarketProfile_04222014

 

Big Picture Balance

As we enter the thick of earning’s season, it becomes more important than ever to not lose sight of both the big picture and the intricate short term picture which develops before us.  Overnight we saw an upward move Sunday evening which gave way to balanced, two-way trade overnight and into the morning.  As the USA comes online, we are seeing sellers creep onto the tape.

The long term auction is very interesting this week as we can see a notable change taking place.  For quite some time, it appeared the long term auction was buyer controlled where it now appears balance has taken hold.  Research shows the markets spend more than half their time in balance thus one must expect such an environment to return often.  The question is whether buyers can build upon last week’s responsive buying.  To me, it is not so important that these recent lows hold, but instead that we see equal force being applied on the market by both buyers and sellers.  Here’s the current long term auction:

COMPQ_04212014

On the intermediate timeframe, we can see volume totally dried up when we made new annual lows last week.  Speculators often look for explosive, high volume type action to confirm a swing high or low when really the exact opposite occurs at these levels.  What happens movement in the direction of the trend stops bringing new participation in.  In this case, sellers were not motivated to act by the new lows.  Instead we saw a buy response which was equally as strong as the selling move down.  Thus began an intermediate term swing higher:

NQ_IntermediateTerm_04212014

I am using my EMAs as well as the very low volume node just a tick above the very round 3500 price level as my intermediate term pivot this week.

The short term shows buyer control.  Value is migrating higher without much overlap and the profiles are showing healthy auction activity on both sides.  Whether this clean auction continues through an important week of earnings will be telling for the weeks to come.  See below:

NQ__MarketProfile_04212014

Peering Through The Looking Glass

Nasdaq futures were set to drift lower overnight after some mixed afterhours trade in Google and IBM added a layer of uncertainty into the trading environment.  Drift lower they did until about 7am when a low volume ramp higher occurred.  Since then we had jobless claims which was received initially with a push higher.  We are currently trading inside balance and inside range from yesterday which suggests a lower risk/reward environment.

The intermediate term auction is interesting.  Sellers came in where I expected yesterday, which was a patch of low volume nodes on the composite profile.  Their response was perhaps exaggerated a bit by the afterhours earnings which kicked off the selling.  Sellers still retain control on the intermediate term, but the most recent swing bounce has been the sharpest yet which leads me to wonder if the velocity will be enough to get us higher.  Above yesterday’s high we begin to enter a zone of fast trade.  First let’s observe the intermediate term trend:

NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04172014

Now we can increase the magnification and observe the short term auctions.  Tax day, 04/15, we printed an outside day where price exceeded both the high and low of the prior day.  In this case, it was actually the prior two days.  Yesterday confirmed the outside day by migrating value higher.  These two bits of context tell me buyers control the short term auction.  Volumes are lower given the holiday climate, but you can still see a clear distribution formed yesterday.  One subtle footprint however is a spike of volume near the highs.  Normally we would expect to see volume thin out at the extremes—if we are in balance.  This suggests increasing prices facilitated more trade and that an imbalance may exists.  I have highlighted this occurrence a few other observations on the following market profile chart:

NQ__MarketProfile_04172014

 

Building Expectations for The Day

NASDAQ futures worked higher overnight building upon the afternoon strength buyers were able to muster.  The responsive buying ignited soon after price took out the year-to-dates lows on the /NQ contract.  Instead of the new lows bringing more sellers into the marketplace, we saw volume dry up at the levels and then a sharp response from buyers.  The bounce that materialized has the potent look of a durable swing low for the next few trading days.

The long term auction has been disrupted after being controlled by the buyer for over a year.  Today the picture of the NASDAQ composite has changed a bit.  I perceive the long term auction as in balance which dates back to November 11th, or 11/11/13.  I do not choose these dates at random but instead observe the past market activity and how it relates to our newly revealed information.  My largest moving average (99EMA) is starting to turn lower on the daily chart but we do not have clear alignment of the moving averages which would add to a case for seller control.

I have built the intermediate composite volume profile to span from 11/11 to today so we can observe the volume taking place inside the auction.  It is hard to see, but 3515.25 is the volume point of control or the largest tip on the profile.  These are prices that both buyers and sellers consider fair and we conduct large amounts of trade at.  My goal currently is to sell some of my swing long exposure above this level.  Intraday, if I see price building acceptance above this level then I will look to trade a long beyond it.  I have highlighted this level was well as my swing trade targets on the following intermediate term profile:
NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04162014

The short term auction shows buyers with a strong response.  They need to build on it and yesterday they accomplished a response with the potential to be build upon with some initiating buying.  However, should they be overwhelmed with supply price could reject back down into three days of overlapping value.  Standing between sellers goals is a very interesting low volume node at 3485.50 which is also in confluence with several value area highs.  This level is my key pivot intraday between long and short bias, until a level more influential materializes.  Buyers show us gaining acceptance into the upper profile which has prices up to around 3545:

NQ__MarketProfile_04162014

 

We have jobless claims at 8:30am which could have a material effect on the picture we see coming into the open.  We also have Philadelphia Fed announcement around 10am to be aware of.

Stop Kissing All The Babies

The NASDAQ and equities in general treated my tattered tech portfolio to a bit of respite while I toiled away at various campaigns of industry and trading methodology.  My trading plan and its autonomous counterparts continue being built and optimized into a plan I intend to take live.  There is no amount of planning I consider excessive by this point in my trading experience because I have seen what this market can do to a person, intraday, without the rights set of tools and planning.  One must exude a high amount of discipline and execution to have even a chance at success in the futures markets.  The same rules apply to stock trading too.

The blood moon crests over our heads at night and its presence brings the parts of our life that we may be reluctant to address to the forefront.  The big white moon acts like a giant mirror and shows us where our shortcomings exist and then paints them blood red.  It can be a very unpleasant experience but it can also end well if we take the time to digest the introspective and use our stronger abilities to foster and settle our weaknesses.

My weakness is an excess of hope and opportunism.  I will run 100 miles per hour into a wall by over committing to all the opportunities I see.  This is how I end up with 20-25 positions.  This is also why the long term sellers of equity introducing MORE opportunity into the marketplace via IPOs troubles me.  If I don’t get a wrangle on my desire to peruse all the business opportunities out there I will end up in a sanatorium.

In summary, I plan to tighten up my book into 2-3 intermediate term trades lasting anywhere from 1-12 days, and 3-5 multi-quarter investments.  That way I can give proper focus to order flow trading in the futures market and my other enterprises—which I will not be expanding upon.

Sometimes I get lucky and I can trade around an investment like I am doing to Twitter right now.  Twitter is one of my top three stock positions and I took some YOLO options for a spin this afternoon with precision.  The harder I work, the luckier I get.  This trade was entered minutes before news hit the wires that Twitter headhunted some big time Google Maps fella.  I already have taken scales because I couldn’t care less about making a huge win on this trade.  Instead I am managing risk and putting a winner in the book.  Blood moon knows I need it after this string of April losers:

YELP, KNDI, WUBA, GOGO

I suppose one of those goof balls may still toss a hail marry to my egregious strike prices, but I am not expending too much hopium on that happening in the next two days.

Other action today was stopping out IMGN at nearly a -30% and ENPH for about a -15% if I recall correctly.

Less, more succinct trades and going easy after a win is how I am going to improve from here.  This applies to all timeframes of trade.

+1.3% on the day, -13% on the year, Elroi the algo still in testing (grr)

Hunting a Trading Range

It has been a busy morning in the futures market as premarket participants digest CPI data as Janet Yellen prepares to speak.  The reaction thus far to a slight uptick in CPI was a pop and fade.

The intermediate term auction continues to appear seller controlled with swing trades showing a series of lower highs and lows.  The question now is whether market supply will continue driving prices down on the intermediate term, or if instead price will stabilize and revert to the mean.   There is data supporting the latter outcome and that my expectation.  However, I respect the trend playing out on the intermediate term and must be willing to shift my stance should my expectation not occur.  I would not change this vision of a bracketed trading range developing if we took out our recent swing lows, but it would be a progressive step.

On the day timeframe auction, little changed between Friday and Monday.  We printed an inside day where our daily range was within the range of Friday and we also printed a neutral day with range extension to both sides of the initial balance.  Both of these characteristics suggest indecision on the part of buyers and sellers.  We printed an excess low yesterday which suggests we may see some follow through by swing buyers today.  I have highlighted this excess low as well as a few other observations on the following regular trading hours NASDAQ market profile:

NQ__MarketProfile_04152014

The Edge of Balance: The Reward Zone

We have some early strength in the NASDAQ index futures.  The question on everyone’s mind this morning is whether we will see the early weakness get faded by strong sell flow or whether the higher advertised prices encourage buyers to enter the marketplace.  The former has been more prevalent for the last two to three weeks.

For today’s presentation of the intermediate timeframe, I chose to build out the volume profile based upon the 72 trading sessions completed thus far this year.  From the volume profile emerges some unique clues into whether the intermediate term is balanced or readying to explore lower for value.  The pattern of lower highs and lows gives sellers a clear momentum edge on the intermediate timeframe, but what is volume suggesting about value?  We do show some consensus of value around 3550 which you will notice is below the midpoint of our annual profile.  This suggests value has built lower and adds support to the idea of a continued migration lower.  However we do show a semblance of the bell curve too which makes the mean revision trade still a viable thought, although one which needs to engage sooner than later.  Also, any bounce which materializes much be carefully observed verses the very low volume node at 3580.  If price cannot gain acceptance above this level we would further expect price to continue lower.  I have highlighted these observations and a few others on the following annual volume profile distribution:

NQ_VolumeProfile_intermediateTerm_04142014

The short term auction suggests buyers have an edge this morning.  We had a rather thorough auction during our globex session which built an excess low which can be seen as a thin tail below the profile.  This suggests responsive buying and sellers drying up.  As the USA comes online we are seeing the large value area from Friday gain acceptance via volume building higher on our current profile.  This creates the expectation for trade through Friday’s value.  I have highlighted Friday’s value area and the key levels inside of it on the following market profile chart:

NQ__MarketProfile_04142014_afternoon

Taking our attention out to the long term we can see the buyers no longer clearly in control of the long term auction according to the daily chart.  We are trading below our moving averages which are flat at best and some moving lower.  We are still above February lows and we may see a balanced, bracketed trading range form.  Overall the long term auction is in balance until we take out the February lows.

Opening Swing: It Takes Tools To Make a Swing Go Right

I started live trading the first range extension after the opening swing is printed.  I was using a DOM for trade entry and I immediately remembered why I dislike the DOM so much.  It is a very distracting tool, in my opinion.  The market is noisy enough as it is.  When you add the flickering of this device into the mix trading becomes even more obscure.

I will continue testing the strategy next week and I am setting chart trading up over the weekend.

One of my observations from trading this setup live is how incredibly fast it happens.  I can sit here in retrospect and circle the idea, but the live environment gives you seconds to get your entry in.  Also, the trade can take immense heat in seconds.  Without a rock solid plan and execution, this high probability scalp trade is destined for failure.  It appears the best approach is a limit order set in place beyond the opening swing on the chart.  Then as price exceeds either extreme your entry is hit and filled.

I thought the overlapping of opening swings on Tuesday/Wednesday was an effective piece of context.  I was a buyer of swing longs against it.  However, the prices did not hold off sellers who cut through them with a slow grind lower.  I am so familiar with being on the right side of the slow grind.  Usually sell flow is much more knife-like.  Anyhow I found it odd and powerful to be on the receiving end of a grinder (Thursday afternoon).

The infamous Elroi can be seen on my charts today.  He has been getting chopped up pretty good during the opens.  I have always found his signals to be more potent later into the session but I like to see the signals because they give me insight into how other algorithms are performing.

Here are this week’s opening swings in the NASDAQ.  Feel free to share your thoughts and observations:

MONDAY

NQ_OS_04072014

TUESDAY

NQ_OS_04082014

 

WEDNESDAY

NQ_OS_04092014

 

THURSDAY

NQ_OS_04102014
FRIDAY

NQ_OS_04112014

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