Happy New Year…Are We There Yet?

The first trading day of 2016 produced an awesome volatile day with many “decoupling’s” taking place.  The finish of one year and the start of the new year often produce numerous “decouplings” as money begins to shift strategy.  China got things going coming into Monday morning with the major equity exchanges shutting down after dropping 7% in 7 minutes.  Being a trader, I live for volatile days. I also freely admit that I need to be careful of what I ask for.  Monday’s markets were a solid case in point.  Major moves across the board complete with “decouplings.”  It became important to not “multi-task” and attempt to trade too many markets.  Even with a large pile of “fun chips”,  it can become frustrating and costly.

fainting_trader_China_2016Word to the wise: please accept and embrace that we used to have the capacity to trade from morning till night, on little or no sleep and trade 100’s of contracts in multiple markets and classes. — Accept that in a given trading today,  there are many strategies firing orders in and out of the markets. News travels at the speed of light as do most trading platforms and as is often the case, there are way too many opportunities to trade.  The added caveat is that all are not going in the same direction at the same time and support/resistance is being reduced to liquid magma flowing  up and downhill as volatility ramps everything up a notch.  The swings can be both joyful and frustrating when “normal” highly correlated  markets “decouple” as the fear factor is thrown into the ring.  This was the case on Sunday afternoon into Monday morning as new years trading started with China kicking a huge, huge can down the Great Wall that rolled around the globe in seconds.

In the world of algorithmic trading, attempting to electronically trade in most of the futures markets using different algorithms will become a daunting task that will sour your spirit if you’re not careful.  Narrowing your focus to two maybe three of your favored futures will allow you to keep tabs on the ability of your trading strategy to actually fire actionable signals properly.

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Being that, there are numerous strategies trading everything under the sun and that, the desire to trade everything tends to suffer greatly from the ability to actually monitor multiple markets and adjust strategy in line with the larger move(s).  Periods of indecision often produce “choppy” or range bound trading.  Algorithms fire constantly and when a large group either pauses or stops within a particular strategy it creates a vacuum of sorts.  The market will trade in a much tighter range but continue to fire buy and sell signals that meet the strategy guidelines but end up being stopped and reversed for a quick string of losses.  Adjusting strategy to smooth out signals is important and I personally find it much easier to keep that control in line when I apply it to a maximum of three markets on extreme volatile days.

Monday was such a day.

Are We There Yet?

To get back to the question asked in the title of today’s post, the simple answer is no – not likely.  More importantly, though, I believe it remains important to trade each day without an opinion as to what the “fair value” is or should be.  I leave that up to someone else to figure out and trade on.  I do, though, keep track of the weekly and monthly charts and keep an ongoing Elliott Wave count for the S&P 500, the DJIA, the NASDAQ, the Dollar/Euro, Crude Oil, Gold, and Silver.  Over the next week or so I will be updating the “counts” and how that relates all the way down to tick charts.

In the coming week I’ll take a look at Crude Oil.

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