Dealing with multiple time-frames

Before I became a serious Intraday trader, I used to trade on multiple time frames. 

Yes, some trades were scalps, some intra-day swings, some positional trades as well thrown in. The net result always had been in Red. The combinations would be different though, Green on Intraday / Red on Positional or vice versa.

The real consistency in my P/L happened only after I stopped participating in Sprints and Marathons parallel-ly. I realized marathons are not for me.

The idea I am trying to point to is, the probabilities and the risks associated with trading in different time frames is very different.  And its humanly impossible to do justice to both as one lone retail trader. Yes, if you have a team to work with, each with their own specialization, its a different ballgame.

Not recommending, but what has worked for me, given my limited resources and disposition is to focus only on Intraday time frame.

Think about your losses and red days, and see if mixing time-frames is the culprit.

NiftyScalper | StatShot - 02 | Volatility Clusters

StatShot 01 - Here

In this post let's look at the time segments within the day when NIFTY is more volatile. If you ask what is the relevance of this? Then perhaps you would need to dig a bit on the Internet to understand the relevance of volatility in the context of day trading, but for those in the know, here are the time segments which offer you the "meat" of the day. 

The idea is, your return on time invested would increase exponentially if you avoid trading in time segments that are not volatile. 

A through F stand for an hour of trading time and G for 15 mins. 9:15 to 15:30

A through F stand for an hour of trading time and G for 15 mins. 9:15 to 15:30

The light blue colour represents moves of 3 points / min; light pink represents 5 points / min; and dark blue represents 10 points / min. 

If you are wondering as to why segment "D" has the maximum number of 10 point moves well, here is some hint.

 All standard disclaimers apply, trade safe!

NiftyScalper | StatShot - 01 | High/Low Time Segment

Starting a new series here on the blog called "StatShot". The idea is to bring to you statistics based snapshots of NIFTY. Be warned that you cannot use these in isolation for your trading, it has to be used in a specific context while creating your strategy or setups.

Coming to our first 'StatShot' in the series. Let's took at what I call the 'High/Low Time Segment'. As an Intraday trader one of the key things is to determine your supports or resistances, and to do that you need to know when (at what time i.e.) does an index mark its high or low during the day. Of course you could slice and dice the data to get to more nuanced stats and probabilities.

So heres's how it looks like for NIFTY

Based on NIFTY Data (2014 to 2017) - A through F constitute 1 hour each and G is 15 min

Based on NIFTY Data (2014 to 2017) - A through F constitute 1 hour each and G is 15 min

With this info. you can take a probabilistic call as to where your supports and resistances lie.

Hope this helps.

Trade Safe. 

Workshop - Craft of Scalping | 10th Feb'18 - Bangalore

Making a an announcement about the upcoming workshop on the "Craft of Scalping". This is what I intend to cover in it

  • Market Statistics & Probabilities based approach
  • Focus on NIFTY only – One Market, multiple trades, size big philosophy!
  • Intraday only strategy - No overnight risk!
  • Free access to trading room for two months (Only for Early birds)
  • Key Topics
  • Probability Basics
  • NIFTY Market Back-tested Probabilistic Setups
  • Position Sizing & Trade Management
  • Execution Platforms and related Customization
  • Trading Psychology
  • Trading as a Business

Pre-requisite and Disclaimers

  • You should either be or looking forward to be a full time trader to benefit from this approach.
  • You need to understand the basics of Options and Option Greeks and a statistical bent of mind. We trade NIFTY Options with Nifty Futures as reference largely due to cost advantages.
  • You need to understand that it would take at least 6 months to understand and profit from this method - the workshop is only a beginning, skill building takes time, commitment and practice. If you cannot afford to put in the above, please don't even bother to get started.
  • Trading or Scalping is a business and can work only as a primary business, this is not something to be done on the side, this is not a hobby.
  • My method aims to teach you how to capture 10 to 25% of the range on a given day.
  • My method is an adapted form of Probabilistic trading, designed for scalping NIFTY Options, the two links and references below will give you a sense of the approach- a)  b) c) ORB Trade adapted from - Toby Crabel and Mark Fisher - This is one of the fundamental parts of the approach. 
  • You need to understand that it is NOT a get rich quick scheme.
  • You need to understand that this is not an advisory or tip providing service.

Venue - Grand Mercure, Koramangala, Bangalore

Date & Time - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on 10th of Feb'18

Early Bird Offer - Rs. 10,000 - Pay here - (Only 2 seats remaining as of now) if this gets filled your next choice is the the full fees - Rs. 15,000 - pay here

Ladies get a 50% discount on the full fees - Pay here

*Free for the physically challenged - Please contact me on mail or through the contact form.

For anything else feel free to reach out to me through the contact page or email.

Think of this before you start your trading this year - 2018

One of the fundamental ways to become better at anything is "Reflecting", more about it here.

So here is something you may want to start your year with,

Think about the following two contexts and the questions linked with it

Context 1 - Think of -

What kind of feeling that you like to end your trading day with? -> What kind of behaviors lead to that feeling? -> What kind of scenarios lead to that feeling -> How often do such scenarios occur? 

Context 2 - Think of -

What kind of feeling that you "DON'T" like to end your trading day with? -> What kind of behaviors lead to that feeling? -> What kind of scenarios lead to that feeling -> How often do such scenarios occur?

Thinking of the above two contexts will solve many if not all of your trading issues.

All the very best for the coming trading year! 

NIFTY - Scalping Set-up - 03 - Afternoon Range Extension

This is in continuation with the scalping set-ups series. 

The first one being (

The second one was (

The third setup we will discuss is called the Afternoon Range Extension (ARE)

1. What determines entry?

There are two key factors to consider when entering this trade

a) Range - You need to check the pre noon ie pre 13:30 range. The mean of which is around 60. There are three possibilities, one is we had a very narrow range in the first half or we had a super normal / very high range in the first half. While the former is good the latter obviously reduces the probability of an A.R.E. Lets take a look at both these conditions.

If you look at the figure 1 below the day had a narrow range of 27 till 13:30 post which we got an over all range of 63.75. So if you look at it you will see that 42 % of the range was formed in the morning and balance 58% in the afternoon. 

So the key factor to consider for entry is the morning range.

2. What determines the target and exit?

Now lets do some basic arithmetic, the mean % of range that forms in the first half is 71%. So if you work that backwards 27 * 100/71 = 38. Which means (38-27=11) a 11 point extension is possible even if the the index remains in low range at large.  

You could use other statistics to guide you? For instance

a) What has been the mean extension on days with under 30 range in the first half?

b) How many days in a given year does the index remain within the range formed in the first half?  Of which how many days does the index remain in a narrow range within 30 itself? Is it an event day? Is it an expiry day? 

c) On days when range extension happens in the second half? At what time does it peak before it pulls back or reverts to mean again?

NIFTY FUT - 19th Dec'17 - Fig. 1

Getting these numbers right helps us form a probabilistically informed structure to work with. 

That is exactly what we attempt to do collectively in the NiftyScalper Trading Room.

Hope you found this useful. Back test it if you would like? I am sure you will see an edge here.


Book Excerpt - "Most investors would prefer Intraday Strategies"

Reading the book - Machine Trading - By EP Chan. An I am not surprised when he says this. One may argue, machine trading is different from discretionary trading, but you can become more systemic, by creating rules. But the underlying premise of risk and reward does not change.


NIFTY - Scalping Set-up - 02 - Mid-Day Mean Reversion

This is in continuation with the scalping set-ups series. 

The first one being (

In this post we will look at the next most frequently occurring set-up (Close to 85 % of days). In the previous post we looked at Opening Spikes and Opening Drive, now this setup is the third play of the day.

1. What determines entry?

There are two key factors to consider when entering this trade

a) Range - Its recommended that you enter the trade once we cross the mean high low range for the pre europe open time segment. For instance this week the mean morning range has been 62.88 SD being 11.5.

b) Time Segment - Mean is again 11:52 (Hrs) SD being 44 minutes. So its good to attempt this play post 11:00 pm.  

 2. What is the probable - max favorable excursion - reward?

Since we are targeting the mean or the VWAP, we would need to consider where the low is. Typically it will be 25 to 35 points from the mean, so that is the path length that you are intending to capture. You should also factor in the usual time that it takes for price to traverse that length, which is around 1 hour. Please do note that we publish these figures for reference on a daily basis in the trading room. Have a look at the snapshot below.

3. What is the probable - max adverse excursion - risk? - Now that you know the possible target for your trade you can define the risk the way you prefer. Given the high probability of this setup you can have a fixed 1:2 risk reward and in an even where the stop loss does trigger you can re-enter again once the new low is formed.

4. Trade Management Approach - While a fixed R:R is one way, there are people who scale in and out as well, usually with a hedge on the opposite side. Of course that is a more aggressive way of playing this set-up.

On a closing note, I was surprised that this setup is pretty common in other indexes as well. Do have a quick read of the blog post below.


Market Profile, Order-flow, Footprint - Demystified - Part 2

In the previous part - here - - We got an overview of what these concepts are and how they fit in together.

Now in the part 2 - I am going put together my views on the relevance of these tools, in the context of Intraday trading and Scalping.

Does following the market profile concepts like POC, VPOC, IB, VAH, VAL give you an edge in your trading?

In all fairness, I must say conceptually these make sense, but are of no value in the context of trading decisions if you do not have back-tested probabilities to work with. In other words these things make for good reference values, but that does not help in trading. What you need is probabilities off the references. For example you need to know - % of time POC acts as a support, or once the price crosses IB, you get an extension of y points more than 70% of times. So bottom line, no back-tested probabilities, no use of these concepts.

Does following the ORDER FLOW / FOOTPRINT give you an edge in your trading?

This is a difficult question to answer, it has several parts to it

a) Quality of Data Feed - Like all other things in data analysis, garbage in is garbage out - Though you may have the best of the charting software, if the data feed sends garbage to it, its not going to be of any value. That is one reason, if you compare two foot print charts with data feeds from two different vendors, you should not be surprised to see different data in both the charts. Then there is a larger issue of the quality and nature of the data that the exchange shares with these data feed providers, this is where protocols like ITCH and OUCH come into picture, without which your order-flow becomes less reliable. I seriously doubt if NSE provides such granular data. Read the excerpt below from the book  - Machine Trading: Deploying Computer Algorithms to Conquer the Markets - by Ernest P. Chan

b) Back-testing Order-flow Data - Again, you need some references to work with even if you have Orderflow, for instance any buyer of greater than x size leads the trend by y %. This back-testing, is not easy at all given the quality of data that we have. As shared in the excerpt above.

c) Smart money & Orderflow - This one really gets my goat. Let me give you a few examples of what some "experts" claim.

Now let me share something from the horses mouth, ie the makers of these charts. - - Read the text again. 

This is like the drivers who claim that their cars can fly, but the manufacturer of the car says you cant. Who do you trust? - I leave it up to you. 

However, I do think there is evidence for the use of Cumulative Delta Divergence, but again not without back-testing it. 

So to sum it up, I believe if you have backtested price data, that in anyway subsumes volume, if you want you could do correlated backtests along with volume data, even better, but you don't need anything more.

At the end of the day, you also need to understand that we humans cannot process so much of information that multitude of charts and indicators offer, we need to in a way simplify our decision making, by focusing on probabilistic models/frameworks fewer markets and instruments.

With that I rest my case on this. 

Market Profile, Order-flow, Footprint - Demystified - Part 1

It's been close to a month since I started my trading room, and the response has not been bad I must say, close to 116 members and counting. To me more than the numbers what matters is the collective wisdom which is both created and transferred among members, more so because trading esp. the way retail traders operate, is a very lonely business and one has to find like minded people to work with. So on these fronts, I am pretty happy with the way things are progressing. Oops, I think I went on a tangent.

Coming to the topic, incidentally two members in the room asked me

a) Why I don't use Footprint charts? Wouldn't it give us better entries and exits? 

b) Why I don't you use Market Profile? Isn't it better to look at the markets from that perspective?

Two more members didn't ask me, but told me something

a) I was in a room where they claimed to use Market Profile/Orderflow and Footprint charts, but I lost 30% of my capital by following their trades, I hope your system is better.

b) I was a in room where they claimed they tracked "Smart Money" - But I didn't see any value in it in terms of their win rates.

That made me realize people really need to be educated about what this whole thing is. All these things are becoming some sort of "Snake Oil" to be honest.

Lets start with what is Market Profile.

There was this guy by the named Peter J. Steidmayer who was a trader at CBOT, and later had a management position as well at the exchange. He developed this approach to view the markets, in the form of a normal distribution. As you can see below, the middle area is the area where 70% of trade happened. 


Next he developed a way of representing Time, Price and Value - "Value" here means the price region where more than 70% of trades happened.  

Then there are concepts like POC - Point of control, POC represents, as you can see above, the the price at which trading happened for the max duration of time. VPOC is slightly different but related concept from Volume Profile, its the price at which max volume was traded for a given time frame. We will refer to Volume Profile at the end.

He also defined certain day types based on how prices get distributed on a given day.

The link does a good job of explaining, the concept of day types. At a very basic level what it means is if the day was Trending, Range Bound etc. with reference to something called IB - Initial Balance which is defined as the range of the first 30 mins or 1 hour.

So if the price keep holding above IB it obviously means buyers are in control and visa versa if price keeps below IB. I like these concepts, IB, Open Drive types etc. But they need to be tested for specific markets. So from a perspective of looking at the markets its good to use some of these concepts.

Now coming to the other two things Orderflow and Footprint

Orderflow - The interaction between the buy orders and sell orders and the price discovery at a given moment - Which happens with the combination of limit and market orders.

Read the above link irrespective of whether you are interested in the blog post or not, its very important for any trader to understand how and why price moves happen. But the bottom line is, a visual representation of orderflow is called Footprint/Number bars, depending on the company/software provider.

Below is an example of how it looks like

So how your next question would be how is Market Profile connected with Orderflow/Footprint Charts? - The short answer is they need not be connected.

You can trade with just Market Profile concepts and Profile charts like the one below, but it makes more sense only on time frames larger than 30 mins. Below is a day wise profile. But as you can see its not really intuitive to trade based on this, its good for post facto analysis though.

Now let me confuse you a bit more, by adding one more concept - with the advent of Internet and the easy access to volume data, a related field of Volume Profile and a lot of volume based indicators came into existence. The below chart gives you both Market Profile and Volume profile in the same view. You get to see the price at which the max volume was traded as a profile (VPOC), you can also get to see Cumulative Delta Divergences another interesting volume based indicator - 

Now, each of these things, Market Profile, Orderflow Charts, and Volume Profile can be used in combination or by themselves to make a trading decision. You can mix them up and create your own system based on a combination. 

In the next part I will share my perspective on the practical use of these tools. The key is - Do they have any predictive capabilities? 

Think about it, will see you with the next post soon.

NIFTY - Scalping Set-up - 01 - Opening Spikes & Opening Drive

Context - As a Scalper / Day trader, mornings are very important for me. Some of you would have noticed in the room that my position sizing in the morning is at max, the reason for that is simple - The probability of range extension + linear price moves (Opening Drive) is more in the morning than in the afternoon.

Now lets delve into the specifics of a setup. Remember the moment we use the word setup you need to be sure of the following elements before hand

1. What determines entry?

2. What is the probable - max favorable excursion - reward?

3. What is the probable - max adverse excursion - risk?

4. Trade Management Approach? Is it 

a) Fixed Size Buy - Scale Out

b) Fixed Size Buy - Fixed Size Sell - All in / All out

c) Scale in - Scale Out

d) Scale in - Fixed Size Sell/All out

While we would visit each of the above issues by themselves, we will now see how visually how does the opening spikes look like and is it worth trading them? 

Look at the image below, it's a NIFTY slight ITM Strike - These are two days of Opening Spikes

Fig -1 Opening Spikes

Do you see a trading opportunity here? Scalpers typically would do their "Johnny One Lot" as Tom Sosnoff calls it here. Knowing very well that the direction of the spike may or may not be the Opening Drive. If you can afford to loose no harm in warming up with a lot or two here. Typically this Occurs between 9:16 to 9:30 IST

Next comes the main Opening Drive trade which is where we expect around 50 to 60% of the day's range to form. The high of this Opening Spike or the Day High till that time becomes an important reference for a breakout trade for the Opening Drive. Typically this occurs between 9:30 to 11:30 - Read it as 1 hour of up move + 15 mins of consolidation at top / retests of high + 45 mins of Mean reversion. The below pictured represent the above two days and their Opening Drives.

Coming to the specifics of the setup

1. Entry Criteria

You define the candle closing time, for entry, you can define anytime, like close of 9:16 candle? - esp. if you want to trade the Opening Spikes. For Opening Drive its better to wait for 10 to 15 minutes at least. So the entry for Opening Drive would be the high after 15 or 20 minutes, you can define it or take it based on momentum at that time. Whatever approach you choose, understand that this is a breakout trade and its safer to enter a bit higher instead of lower, a bit higher would mean 1 or 2 points on NF.  


Since this is still the open, the probability of a range extending is fairly high. (In this para I am talking from a Options Long perspective, it can be CE or PE)

Also look for any previous day's price levels which can act as support/resistances.The following are the key - Previous Day  High/Low/Close/VWAP - If you are keen you may also want to mark similar levels for the previous week - High/Low/Close/VWAP. (In this paragraph I am referring to NF Nifty Futures)

The reason its important to keep these levels as a reference, is because larger time frame traders would use these levels as references (for Buy or Stop Loss) and that may create a flush/volume spike.  

2. What is the Reward - Max Favorable Excursion?

Now that we have defined the entry criteria, the next thing we would need to know is, what is the best and worst that can happen. Lets start with the best things first. Here I would borrow John Sweeney's concept of MFE (Maximum Favorable Excursion) which mean's if the trade works in our favor what is the max gains that we can expect from it. To understand that let me take you through some back-tests that we have done.

The first / second images tell us - what to expect if the price crosses the day high or day low formed till 9:17  on Nifty Futures?

Price crosses Day High till 09:17 

Price crosses Day High till 09:17 

Since we are direction agnostic, lets see what happens when the price crosses the Day Low till 9:17 

Price crosses Day low till 9:17

Price crosses Day low till 9:17

The above data tells us what is it that we can target, obviously if you are using options as a trading instrument you would need to factor in delta of the strikes which you are trading. Nevertheless, we now how a probabilistic sense of what to expect. 

The above information is relevant more for trading Opening Spikes. In the next update to this post, I will share the MFE for Opening Drive.

When thinking about Opening Drive we need to keep three factors in mind to understand the market structure at that point in time.

1. Define a reference - In our case we will use the mean or ATP or VWAP as a reference.

2. We need to understand the mean excursion from the ATP/VWAP- Look at the chart below. Which gives us an important data point - 

This chart tells us the mean percentage of the intra day range that gets formed before 1:30am . As you can see it says 60%, if for e.g. the intra day mean (high-low) range for the index for a given period of time is 70. 60% of 70 i.e. 42 is what gets formed before 1:30pm. 

3. The next aspect that we need to determine is, how does the 42 points range gets formed (between 9:00am to 1:30am).

In the chart below, what we see is, it takes about 83.4 minutes (apox. 1.5 hrs) from 9:15am to the point of Max excursion (high or low) during the first half .

So we have 3 references to work with, a) We know the mean/ATP/VWAP at a given point of time, b) We know the mean (H-L) range that gets formed in the first half 42/25 ish. c) We know that it happens in about 1.5 hours. Creating probabilistic frameworks like this is the key to scalping, its helps us understand where we are at a given point of time and how the odds of wins stack for or against us. 

Feel free to comment and ask questions in the room. Would be happy to clarify.


Launching NiftyScalper Day Trading Room!

I am happy to let you know that we at NiftyScalper are taking the next step to bring the day trading community in India closer through our slack based NiftyScalper Trading Room.

In the past few months, the number of coaching requests were quite overwhelming, and it was taking too much of my time, on top of it I could focus only on 1 or 2 people at a time.

Also, I realized there were several people who could not afford my coaching offering, based on my interactions with a few people I realized, a Trading Room would be a much better way of bridging this gap.

So this is what I intend to offer in the room (From 6th Nov'17)

1. Live Trade Alerts - Yes its not easy to follow, but the idea is to learn from observing so that in future you don't have to depend on the alerts at all. These alerts also act as references for any questions that you may have. Apart from alerts, I also provide live observations on the developing market structure, which includes aspects like Range, Range expansion levels, Points of invalidation for positions, Mean reversion areas etc. Watching the market and the reading the updates would help budding traders connect the dots. Which over the long run would help traders develop an independent sense of the market.

Do note, that I do not use any proprietary indicators, or exclusive and expensive technologies like order-flow/footprint charts. I would perhaps share my rationale sometime soon on the blog as to why I don't see an edge in it. Nevertheless, whatever indicators and references that I use, are (almost) freely available to everyone.   

2. Discuss Trade Rationale & anything else that wold help you become better at the game - Nothing like collectively discussing set-ups and clarifying by asking questions. I may not always be an expert at everything, the group over time will have several experts with different specializations, which would help you gather the wisdom of the crowds. 

3. Discuss/Share Articles/Books - Learning should never end, and if its does, thats the end. With that perspective, the idea is to share and discuss best of the books and articles in the Day trading space

4. View Daily Performance Logs - They say, what gets measured gets managed, so the idea is to post our daily performance logs so that we know how we are doing. This is more from an indicative purpose. One may not be able to post all scalp trades, but we will post trades which can be predicted well in advance. 

5. Specially curated blog posts and NIFTY data analysis reports only for members (after commercial launch) - There is a lot of effort and investment that goes into data analysis and related strategy formation, which is what would be shared with members. I also have data scientists on retainer contracts who help with testing various set-ups. All such data and reports would be available exclusively to the members.

The larger focus of the room will always be Quant/Statistics based scalping strategies. 

Given that I would be hiring people to manage the room and other associated costs, this would be a paid service, however we would make sure the costs are pretty nominal. Initially till the end of 2017 the room would be run on a beta mode and would be free for you to access.

I am also working on creating a detailed glossary and faqs which would help you and others understand the #scalp-alert messages and other conversations better. 

Look forward to your joining the slack group and would request you to type in a short intro (Location/Trading Exp./Etc.) about yourself in the #Intro channel once you join. 

Please use the link below to join

Thoughts on Scaling into Positions

I was reading an article "Advanced Scale-In Strategies For Short-Term Traders. by David Penn"

The closing remarks caught my attention. 

Part 1

Part 1

Part 2

Part 2

This runs absolutely against the one of the golden rules of trading "Never add to a loosing position". But the more professionals I met, the more I got convinced that, like all things in life, reality and edge has its nuances. So scaling-in in a given context is perhaps a good trade management strategy.

The key is - one has to know the context in a quantified sense, which is what is highlighted in the second snapshot above. 

My back testing on NIFTY tells me, Pullbacks in the trend and Mean reversion setups are the ideal candidates for this approach. If you are new to this, remember this can be a double edged sword, but then almost everything in trading is. 

More on it that I have written previously.

Book Excerpt - Layered Position Sizing

Note to Self - Learning from Losses

George Angell and his methods of Day Trading

When I started trading, esp. day trading, a whole lot of people told me, don't do it, it's the most risky form of trading. Then when I would ask them why is it more risky than say positional trading, they would not have convincing answers. That was a good starting point for me to build my conviction around the possibility of success in intraday time-frame. 

Likewise, when I started studying technical analysis, I was always surprised by the way traders at large perceive it, to be a predictive tool. If there is a crossover buy or sell. But they never told me why should the price move further if there is a crossover. That uncertainty brought me to the fundamentals, i.e. time, price and probability. 

So in my search for people who view the market price action in these fundamental ways, I chanced up on George Angell. You can search more about him and his books, but here I am going to post a selection of videos which he did I guess in the 90's. Its a part of a larger series and I would recommend you watch most of them.

What to look for and be mindful of when watching the videos?

1. Focus on the larger contexts and broad methods, not really the specifics.

2. His definition of "Scalping" is different from how I refer to the word. Over here I use the Tasty Trade definition. Keep that in mind as he may come across as if he is against scalping.

3. His methods are pretty relevant to NIFTY and its nature/market structure, hence good to back-test the ideas if you are serious about using them. His recommendations about order execution may not be relevant as NIFTY is far more liquid today than what ES/S&P would have been then.

The first video explains the fundamentals of price and time. You will understand the causes of price movements. Why you get pullbacks? Why does a breakout happen? Understanding price equilibrium? Side note - He looks at 1 min. bars.  Notice his emphasis on "Time" - How long does it take to get from point A to B, something most people overlook.

The second video is on day trading - Here he talks about the advantages of day trading and a lot more. In fact there is a series of videos that he seems to have done on the topic of day trading, watch them all. Most of what he says is absolutely right. 

Lastly, don't take anyones word (including mine) when it comes to what works and what doesn't. Think for yourself, apply your mind, try, experiment. At some point that "ah ha" would happen. 

Article Review - Intraday Path Length | Kim Zussman

While rummaging through the blog some time back, I landed on this gem.

Just read it. Re-read it, and try adapt it to NIFTY, you would see immense value in it.  I've always intuitively used the concept of "Path Length" in my trading, didn't know its something which the biggies also look at.

Tuesday evening musings - Learning from the master

I've always been interested in the skills development space, more specifically in the context of crafts. In my attempt to dig up more literature in that area, I came across two books. One, is 'Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford' and the other is 'The Craftsman by Richard Sennet'. Both excellent reads for those looking at understanding the virtues and value of manual work.

Getting to why I got to write this post. This morning while coaching one of my students, a sharp boy I must say, asked me very specific trade execution related questions and I was pleasantly surprised and glad that he did. He was one of the first among perhaps, 50 odd people who I have coached, to ask such questions. That's when I was reminded of what Sennet says in the book while describing how people learnt in Antonio Stradivari's workshop.

     Page 78, The Craftsmen

    Page 78, The Craftsmen

What I learnt from Victor Neiderhoffer | Article Review

I have been a fan of Victor Niederhoffer for a long time. What a talented multifaceted man. If you are into trading or any kind of speculative business you've got to read his books.

I read this ( article about him and thought of sharing some interesting snippets.

1. Experience in some sort of Performance Sport - I do think it helps to have had played a sport or done any performance related thing like Music etc. The reason I think its relevant is from a skill development perspective. All forms of sports or crafts require a progression of skill levels. It also requires us to observe, reflect, deconstruct, attempt and practice tasks. 


2. Discipline, avoiding noise and focusing on Short term moves - Being on time I guess is the first aspect of discipline, alludes to the idea of routines and their importance in success. The second aspect is avoiding noise, as a trader you need to have confidence in your system and approach and you need to avoid noise i.e informational noise. Thankfully I quit TV a decade back, and have never gone back. Lastly, look at that focus on "Short term moves". I have always been against the Random Walk/Fama school, and have been more of a Mandelbrot follower. Good to see the same beliefs at play here. 

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3. Market Statistics as an Anchor - It always helps to know how things works in a similar context in the past. The reason it helps is because prices in the short term are nothing but a reflection of the emotions of people, and that does not change.

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4. I told you so! If someone tells you that day trading does not work, its because most traders do not have the skills to make it work, but by itself patterns in shorter periods are far easy to predict than in longer periods.

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5. RIP - Efficient Market Hypothesis and Random Walk Theory - The moment you short your trading time frame, you will start to see the inefficiencies. If you are a trader reading this, think about Open Close as a separate even and High Low range formation as a different even, and you will see the ifficiencies clearly.

Capture_5-against RMH.PNG

Lastly, understand where risk comes from, I mean risk of ruin. While there is always a defined risk with which we take trades, risk of ruin typically comes from the possibility of an unforeseen event happening and you having no control over it. Read that statement again.

Now think about how to avoid being in that situation, that should be good enough to keep you going in this business.

Happy Trading!

Scalping as a Skill | How to Practice Deliberately

If you look at learning to Scalp - It has three components to it - Knowledge, Skills and Attitude. While Knowledge is something which is relatively easy to pick up, and may not take much time, its the other two components that take more time. Like any other skill, practice is an important component of it. You need to trade for a long period of time to gain expertise. 

One of the reasons why "Scalping" experience is preferred in several Prop Desks, Arcades and Trading Desks, is because Scalping is one way of accelerating the learning cycle by trading more. Yes it may seem counter intuitive to some, but think about it. The act of identifying levels and punching in orders, multiple orders sometimes, modifying them, and doing all this in an emotionally charged environment, not easy. Scalping helps you desensitize yourself from these emotional highs and lows as you would get to expose yourself to it several times in a day. This is the point where practice starts influencing your personality and attitude. 

I don't know of any successful trader who has not been though this cycle.  

But more importantly one has to structure ones practice. This video helps us understand the idea of deliberate practice better. Do watch it till the end, almost everything shared in the video is applicable to the world of trading and scalping.

Dissecting Momentum | NIFTY Intraday Scalping

One of the turning points in my trading journey was the time when I stopped predicting direction. It doesn't come easily and naturally. Needs a bit of conditioning but once you get through it, your cognitive algorithm works like a charm. It moves from a binary to a bayesian mode. 

Let me illustrate the two ways of thinking and how it manifests in the words that we use.

Trader 1 - Oh it has moved beyond this level now its not going to come down, its going to continue in that direction itself.

Trader 2 - The price may go up or down, if it goes up it should go till this point, and if it goes down it should go up till this point.

Notice the difference in thinking. Trader one is thinking in more or less a Binary way, there is no nuance there. Trader 2 is bayesian according to me. Because there are multiple outcomes each specified with a different confidence level. 

Let see how this can be applied to scalping 

Look at Figure 1 below. This is a 1 minute TF chart with the Green Line being the VWAP. Look at the last few candles, where do you think the price is headed? Obviously looks as if its going down.

Figure 1

Figure 1

This is a 1 minute TF chart with the Green Line being the VWAP. Look at the last few candles, where do you think the price is headed? Obviously looks as if its going down. Now look at Figure 2 below.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Such shifts are part of everyday price action, the only way to deal with them is to define "Trade Validation/Invalidation Levels"

That brings us to the topic of Momentum. Momentum has two parts to it a) Direction b) Speed. When scalping you cannot predict direction. What you can do is to take a probabilistic call on two things 1) Possible extent of move from a given reference point. ( This needs to be arrived at based on back-testing) 2) Volatility - Which is similar as 'speed' of the move. (Which again can be arrived at by back-testing for time intervals with high volatility)

In this case VWAP would be your reference level, the points marked in red (Figure 2) would be points of validation or invalidation depending on the direction that you are trading. Based on which you would also have to create a Risk Reward ratio to trade in such locations.

So the idea of this post was to explain why its futile to predict direction, instead its better to go with the probabilities and bank on volatility to get you to your targets. 

Also remember there are times when price would get to the point of validation and invalidation and still may reverse from there, what do you do then, I will leave it for another day.

Happy Trading!

Why 95% of traders fail? | Perspectives on that statistic

A few weeks back I had answered a question on Quora?

Incidentally came across another article on the same theme here -

Good to see someone else endorsing the same ideas. I will leave you with a few excerpts.  

Something I said in the answer. In fact good traders have a very high demand in the industry, more so in India. I personally know people willing to hire mature/responsible traders with a proven track record.

Something I said in the answer. In fact good traders have a very high demand in the industry, more so in India. I personally know people willing to hire mature/responsible traders with a proven track record.

One thing that people need to understand is, growth in any business including trading can be exponential, which a 9 to 5 job can never provide. But getting to the point of inflection, could take time. That is the test, perhaps. Can you hold on till that point, or would you quit before that. Choice is always yours. 

One thing that people need to understand is, growth in any business including trading can be exponential, which a 9 to 5 job can never provide. But getting to the point of inflection, could take time. That is the test, perhaps. Can you hold on till that point, or would you quit before that. Choice is always yours.