Volatility Cycles

Some of you eager beavers have to start wrapping your mind around the concept of markets moving in volatility cycles. Just like it is a common observation in natural systems (i.e. water, sound, electromagnetic) imagine a sinusoid wave that oscillates in repeating cycles. A few days ago I wrote an indicator that visualizes the idea very nicely – I call it ATRIP as it’s a hacked version of average true range:

What is important to understand is that these cycles are a natural aspect of all basic market types – bull, bear, and even sideways. In sideways markets they allow us to scalp or swing trade – an apt definition of the activity obviously. In trending markets low volatility cycles allow us to assess the tape/configuration and get positioned when high probability odds arise. Obviously the cycles don’t come and go like clockwork but there are ways to leverage them. For instance we are currently in a high cycle on the spoos and we are dropping. Once we start slowing down again it may be time to look for support zones but not before that.

The repeating cycles are prevalent across all market verticals, you will find them on the futures, on stock symbols, on Forex, bonds, everywhere. For some reason however I have rarely seen anyone address them in a constructive fashion (not saying nobody has but I have not found much) which is why I am spending some time on this. Once you grasp this concept you will never look at the market with the same eyes again. And it will probably affect your trading decisions as well – for the better!

Talking about possible support zones – on the E-Mini we’re looking at 1944 as the next possible bounce zone – assuming we actually drop much further that is. I’m not seeing a lot of mojo on the Zero today – at least not right now.

And if you add fair value then you get near the 1956 mark on the cash index – that’s where we find the 25-day SMA, which has been carrying prices higher before the recent correction.

EUR/USD – very interesting configuration here. This looks like a floor attempt and if we breach today’s highs I want to be long with a stop below today’s lows.

More goodies below the fold – please meet me in the lair:


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Cheers,

Friday Morning Briefing

Welcome to our morning briefing. Here we are reviewing short term setups ahead of the NYSE opening bell. If you are a scalper or swing trader then these setups may be of interest to you. As usual keep in mind that these are short term setups although they could be used as early entries for more longer term positions.

For some reason we’ve hit the motherlode on the setup front this morning – everything is coiled up and ready to rip. But careful – it’s quadruple witching Friday and that means you need to set your stops particularly generous today – add at least 25% to your common distance. But before we get to the goodies let’s talk about price action on the equities side. We’ve popped quite a bit higher and then pushed sideways all day with minimal participation (see the Zero indicator flat lining) in a common ramp & camp fashion. What does that mean and where do we go from here?

Well right away that is the wrong question.┬áThere is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to inherently flawed mindsets related to trading. You simply trade according to what *at the current time* is the most probable outcome – and sometimes that includes both directions (I can literally see heads explode here right now).

Let me give you an example. I have a chart on which price has reached an important inflection point based on your ‘lens’ (it’s all mental models anyway). How about a 100-day SMA plus we throw in a 25-week SMA nearby for good measure. PLUS the daily Bollingers have compressed and I suspect a big move is coming. Now based on prior history price usually has either bounced back or breached and then pushed higher very rapidly. Both trades could be profitable so I would get positioned short first with a stop above that inflection point. I expect to be stopped out of course (you always do) and once that happens I flip positions to be long with a stop below what now is tentative support. May I get whipsawed once or twice? Sure – can happen but in this particular case it doesn’t matter to me as I expect increased volatility to make up for some of the early losses if they appear.

Does this example always work? Of course not – but it’s an adaptive approach that over the long term has a positive edge. Now note that I spent a maximum of 5 minutes looking at my charts as the TA should only occupy 20% of my trading day. The other 80% are 20% campaign management and finally the most important and largest aspect of trading: self management, which is 60% of trading.

Too many of you guys confuse swapping directional opinions with trading – to me it’s merely mental masturbation. If that offends your fragile egos then GOOD – you are way too comfortable with your entrenched approaches. Trading is all about persona development and if you get settled/comfortable in a path that answers easy answers then the market will hand out instant punishment. Which btw, is why I love the trading racket – unlike in politics, the law, or religion it is not up to interpretation or opinion. Your acceptance of reality has no bearing on its validity – if you’re positioned incorrectly you will lose. In essence your job as a trader is to manage loss as best as possible.

Now let’s talk about the chart above – let’s just look at the price action. After touching and successfully retesting the 100-hour SMA the SPX is now back at the upper 100-hour Bollinger which has nicely contained price action over the past weeks and months. We may get scenario A or we may get scenario B – each direction is completely plausible as price has not yet told us that it’s ready to turn. Going short here right now is tempting as we ‘have not breached the new highs’, right? Well, yes and wrong – the assumption is that breaching the new highs has any meaning whatsoever – I mean we could breach it and then fall back like a rock! Maybe – so let’s look at how price usually moves:

This is our daily volume profile chart on the E-Mini futures – all based on trading volume concentrations. When we touched that 100-hour on the SPX we were near a volume hole and as you can see the big move up (and the prior move down) was exploiting an ‘easy move range with plenty of participation. Where are we now? Near a veritable volume chasm and that means we should be prepared for a pull back – but we can’t just go short without evidence. If there isn’t any on the daily (i.e. as in right now) then we look at the hourly panels instead for patterns. So let’s do that!

And there we have two Net-Lines opening the door to both directions. We are also seeing a bit of BB compression and if you curious as to what that means then look no further than to what happened on the 18th around 15:00 EDT. So we could get a big move here shortly – if you manage to get positioned early on the hourly then you can build your position up as the tape continued to push your way. And that means you may get an early entry into what turns out to be a daily or even weekly campaign.

And that is how professional traders approach it – it’s imperative that you remain nimble and continue to assess what the tape is telling you. How does that compare with simply drawing a line and saying – I’ll go short here, no matter what because the tape ‘is supposed to fall from here?’

On to the setups – crude looking at a lot of resistance here and I’m short with a stop above the 100-hour SMA.

AUD/NZD – coiled up like a clock and I’m long with a stop below 1.077.


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Here’s a new service I dug up the other day – dukascopy has a lot of negligible content but if you’re an Forex trader (and most of us are) then the daily spread monitor is very good medicine. So if you see spreads you can drive your car through it may just be your broker ripping you off.

Be careful if you’re trading the CAD crosses around 8:30am EDT – event risk. See you guys later today.

Cheers,

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Welcome to our morning briefing. Here we are reviewing short term setups ahead of the NYSE opening bell. If you are a scalper or swing trader then these setups may be of interest to you. As usual keep in mind that these are short term setups although they could be used as early entries for more longer term positions.

The spoos breached the 100-day SMA overnight and bounced back immediately. Of course we didn’t think they’re going to make this easy for us, did we? I’m currently long with a stop below the SMA but I’m aware that this may be another fake out spike higher. My current approach remains to be small position sizes to weather out the incessant whipsaw. I would be swapping for a short position on a drop below 1860.

The EUR/USD may just reconquer its 25-hour SMA and a NLBL that is about to expire. Taken together I think that 1.393 represents an inflection point and I would be long above it with a stop below the previous lows. However I am going to be out by 10:00am EDT one way or the other:

That’s right – Chairwoman Yellen is at it again in a bit over 2 hours from now – this is going to cause spasmodic gyrations all over the place. I sure could do without all that nonsense for a month or two, wouldn’t you agree?


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Cheers,





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