Stops…Damned If You Do, Destroyed If You Don't!

By: Leslie Burton

Trading in commodity futures can be a very challenging plight and the risk plan may mean the difference between a long-term trading life and a short-term trading life. Of course, there are traders that simply do not believe in stops and swear that the other brokers and/or traders are gunning for their stops.

First off, a stop may be a protective stop to offset a long or short position to limit the losses if the market moves against you. You may also use a stop to enter a market as channel breakout traders may want to buy and go long if a market breaks through support or sell a market if the market breaks through support. Buy stops are placed above the current market price and Sell stops are placed below the current market price. A stop order turns into a market order when your price is elected. In a liquid market, it may be at or close to your price. If you are in an illiquid market, the stop may be elected, but your fill price may be further away from your price depending on the market activity. A “static stop” remains fixed on a position until executed. A trader must remember, if offsetting the trade manually, to cancel the stop. A “trailing stop” may be used to lock in and protect profits as well. It may be set to follow your position by a certain number of points or ticks to move the stop up or down with the market. This may be done manually or by a bracket automatically. There may be conditions such as a limit moves whereby the market may be moving too fast and may pass through your stop price without triggering in creating more of a potential loss than anticipated. The term "limit up" and /or "limit down" is the amount of points, ticks or cents that a market may move within one session. The Daily Limits are set by the exchange to control the volatility until the market returns to a more stable state. Continue reading "Stops…Damned If You Do, Destroyed If You Don't!"

Why Futures for Stock Traders?

By: Leslie Burton

Whether you have traded a stock account for years or have just begun stock trading, you may have mixed results. Perhaps you have taken a course or you are simply well-read in your investment choices. The questions that every investor, trader and wealth manager must ask are, Am I diversified enough to produce a smooth equity curve with my portfolio? and Will this portfolio be weighted well enough to stand worst-case-scenario market conditions? If you hesitate to answer those questions, then perhaps taking a look at other products may broaden your knowledge and enhance your current investment portfolio.

The beauty of trading stocks online is that it keeps overhead costs down by trading out of your home. You will have immediate access to market information along with your account to place trades as you check the stock earnings, operating costs and any news that may impact the company. Typically, the cost of doing business is your low commission rate, use of your home computer and any subscription material to keep you informed. Most trading occurs in expanded hours, giving the investor time to trade whether it is a full-time or secondary job. The online platform allows the trader convenient access to the funds in his/her account readily. Continue reading "Why Futures for Stock Traders?"

The Future of Managed Futures… Past, Present and Future!

The first Managed Futures Fund may have actually been established around 1948, but the investment vehicle really became en vogue as Richard Dennis and his infamous “Turtles” gained in popularity. Richard Dennis, although working his way up from a runner, really began his reputation as large trader in the 70’s. The 70’s had crop failures to contend with and inflationary conditions which Richard Dennis could use his trend-trading style to position trade. By 1983, he believed that he could teach his methodology to an average woman/man to trade successfully as he had. He had been quoted by the Wall Street Journal in 1989 saying “We are going to grow traders just like they grow turtles in Singapore” thus coining the name “Turtles”! He selected his 21 men and 2 woman to learn the trend-following system with success, increasing his notoriety and adding some new traders to the spotlight. Actually about 60% of the trades may have lost money getting stopped out while the balance of trades were held with trailing stops to garnish more from the position. Other traders sprang up into the spotlight like Paul Tudor Jones and John Henry. The methodology is proprietary to the trader and never really divulged, so the entries, stops and the targets remain exclusive in most managed products. The trading model may take years to cultivate! Futures trading is a zero-sum game where there is a loss for every gain and vice versa. The challenge for the trader was to create a percentage to his/her favor! Continue reading "The Future of Managed Futures… Past, Present and Future!"

The US Dollar and Inflation!

The US Dollar Index is a measure of the value of the United States Dollar compared to a basket of currencies weighted accordingly:

  • Euro 57.6 % weight
  • Japanese yen 13.6 % weight
  • Pound sterling 11.9 % weight
  • Canadian dollar 9.1 % weight
  • Swedish krona 4.2 % weight
  • Swiss franc 3.6 % weight

The US Dollar typically has an inverse relationship to the other currencies and is traded at the ICE exchange. Post WWII, the US Dollar was tied to the Gold Standard, but today, the dollar is without intrinsic value. It is only valuable in that the US states its value. In recent years the value of the US Dollar may be decreasing due to oversaturation of the currency, low interest rates and the increasing debt in the US. The weaker dollar does typically help boost US exports as the foreign buyers may garnish more for their money when the dollar is undervalued. The US Dollar may also act as a safe-haven product that investors may flock to during times of uncertainty. The investment community may often reference the CFTC Commitment of Traders (COT) report to see the net longs or shorts in the market that week to determine any trends. It is typical to follow the big money in trading. Last week, for example, traders held a net short position in the dollar of $11.4 billion as of September 18th which was one of the largest short position in some time. The allocations shift and traders may follow the allocations. The US Dollar also may trade inversely to Gold which is actually another (hard) currency as well. Continue reading "The US Dollar and Inflation!"

Twelve Essential Steps To a Winning E-mini Strategy!

By: Leslie Burton

In the 80's, the US T-Bond contract was the most liquid market. The bond pit at the CBOT was so crowded that you could not turn around. There was a bit of intrigue with commodities. It was deemed "not a prudent man’s investment vehicle' — it was for the aggressive investor. It was not a climate for "everyman" as the margins were often high and the moves could be severe. "Everyman" needed a liquid market with reduced margins that would allow participation in the stock market in a diverse manner. The E-mini indices allow a trader to participate in a stock weighted average of a portfolio. Continue reading "Twelve Essential Steps To a Winning E-mini Strategy!"