Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Time to review 2015. 


Overall, I finished the year up 18.77%. A large chunk of that growth occurred in the last few months when I began trading the majors exclusively.

These are the results of ALL trades, including minors and exotics.

All Trades (Majors, Minors and Exotics)
Trades taken: 112
Equity growth: 18.77%
Maximum drawdown: 10.55%
Average reward-to-risk: 1.06
Win rate: 57.14%
Profit factor: 1.26

And these are the results of trades involving the MAJOR pairs only.

Majors Only
Trades taken: 30
Equity growth: 17.46%
Maximum drawdown: 8.12%
Average reward-to-risk: 1.04
Win rate: 73.33%
Profit factor: 2.32

Of the 18.77% growth, 17.46% came from trading the majors. Basically, the bulk of my profit came from trading the major pairs.

It should be noted that I only opened 30 major-pair trades, which is a relatively small sample size.

Here's the final equity curve (I've kept the y-axis confidential for privacy):

Major developments this year

Dropping the minors and exotics
I re-examined my trading journal a few months ago and found that the bulk of my profit came from trading the major pairs. I've been trading the majors exclusively since then and experienced significant success. I also revisited my backtests and found my systems performed better with the majors vs the minors and exotics.

Development of nine trading systems
This year, I developed nine technical systems to trade on the daily and weekly timeframes. Alot of these systems are based on older systems that I used to trade, but have been updated or modified. 

I can't daytrade
This isn't really a development, but my experiments with daytrading ended with failure. I just can't do it!

Surviving January 15, 2015
This was the day when the SNB (Swiss National Bank) depegged the Swiss franc from the euro. Many accounts were blown up. I had a live position on the CHFSGD but escaped, losing a few % of my account. Lessons a) use a stop loss (although it didn't help everyone) b) avoid pegged currencies c) don't deposit all of your equity with a single broker (only deposit enough to provide margin). 

Meeting up with other traders
I finally met up with a few traders in real life! Retail trading is a lonely career, so I think it's important to branch out and meet other traders. 

Goals for 2016

Capital raising
Basically gather more money to trade with. This means more hours at work and leveraging my profits. I hope to make 2016 the year of the Big Push.

Improving the quality of my trades
This will be an ongoing process. I'll remain mindful of news and nearby S/R levels when determining my trades, and focus on the majors exclusively.

Opening a myfxbook account
I plan to open a myfxbook account early in 2016 so everyone can follow my results live. 

Professionalise my blog
I'm still treating this blog as a personal diary, but if 2016 is successful, I plan to make my blog much more professional.

That's a wrap. Good luck in 2016, traders!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A trade I didn't take (GBPUSD)

With the FOMC press conference this week, I decided to sit the whole week out. In fact, I probably won't trade until after New Year's. 

Anyway, this was a trade I was tempted to trade on Monday. I saw a bullish pinbar on the GBPUSD. My technical indicators all said "BUY", but zooming out, I saw that the GBPUSD was in a longer-term downtrend, and I'd be buying into the upper boundary of the descending channel, posted below.

(click to enlarge)

I also considered the major FOMC decision this week, which has been widely anticipated and speculated for the whole year. This may be the first Federal Reserve hike since the GFC in 2008. Before the release of major news, the market will usually be choppy and indecisive as traders stay out. I took that into consideration as well.

And with the upcoming news release, there may be widely fluctuating spreads and gaps. Just another reason to stay out.

Major indecision + major channel resistance + wide spreads = STAY OUT!

Half the battle is in finding winning trades. The other half is in avoiding losers. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Review of November Campaign

November draws a close in a few hours, so I may as well post my results for this month.

edit: my last open trade for November just closed.

Trades opened: 12
Profit factor: 2.11
Account growth: 10.21%

Seven of those trades involved the minor / cross pairs, while the remaining five involved the major pairs. Interestingly, all five trades involving the majors won.

Major Developments

Halfway through November, I analysed my last 100 trades and found that most of my profit came from trading the major pairs. I've decided to drop all the minor pairs, and trade the major pairs for the foreseeable future. Since I'm trading fewer pairs, I probably won't trade as often. I'll see how it goes.

But to balance this, I also developed three new trading systems this month. Two are on the weekly timeframe (a weekly pinbar system, and a weekly low volatility candle system), and the other one's a small pinbar reversal system on the daily timeframe. 

With December around the corner, we can expect volatility to drop, especially during the second half of the month. I'll continue trading during the first two weeks of December, and then take a well-deserved break. :)

Then, I plan to finally open a myfxbook account on January 1, 2016. Now you can see my results live!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My performance on Majors vs Crosses

I've just notched 104 trades now, and spent tonight going through my trading history. I'm always looking at ways of improving the quality of my trades, and checked to see how I performed trading the major pairs (EURUSD, GBPUSD etc) versus the crosses and exotics. 

Performance of the Majors
Number of trades: 22
Profit factor: 1.79

Performance of the Crosses and Exotics
Number of trades: 82
Profit factor: 1.03

I also looked at my performance on JPY and non-JPY crosses.

Performance of JPY Crosses
Number of trades: 20
Profit factor: 1.35

Performance of non-JPY Crosses
Number of trades: 62
Profit factor: 0.92

Combining the results of the majors and JPY crosses...

Performance of Majors and JPY Crosses
Number of trades: 42
Profit factor: 1.55

Basically, my trades on non-JPY crosses and exotics have held me down. 

So where to from here?

I'm still deciding whether to drop more pairs. I've already dropped the exotics due to widely-fluctuating spreads and gaps. After over 100 trades, it appears I have a good edge trading the majors and JPY crosses. 

Interesting results. And this is why it's important to keep a trading journal. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 9 Nov to 15 Nov 2015

It's been a quiet week. I only entered one trade and won, pocketing a 0.67R reward.


I saw a low volatility retracement candle at Monday's close, and went short at its low. Price hesitated every time it approached my profit target. My profit target was finally hit on the third day of the trade. 

I think my profit target was too conservative, and I could've aimed for a 1R reward as there was still plenty of room to the most-recent swing low. Of course, I say that with the benefit of hindsight. 

The EURAUD is one of the higher-yielding currency pairs. The overnight interest added 5% to my profit, and I also collected an extra 15 pips in positive slippage. Not too bad!

(click to enlarge)


It was a quiet week, and I was tempted to open sub-optimal trades just so that I'd have a position. I held my nerve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 2 Nov to 8 Nov 2015

Last week was comfortably profitable. I'd entered four trades, won three and lost one. 


This trade had been opened the previous week, on the 29th October. There was a bearish engulfing candle, and I went short at its low the next day. I took profit at 0.71000, with a reward of 0.5R. Price progressed downwards a little further past 0.71000, before rebounding back up. 

(click to enlarge)


Likewise, this trade was also opened the previous week, on the 30th October. Momentum was strongly bullish, and I detected a bullish pinbar. There was scope for a 1R reward before meeting the next major resistance level, so I went long and took profit at 1R. 

(click to enlarge)


This was a straightforward setup. I saw a low volatility retracement candle at the close of 2nd November, and went short at its low the next day. I took profit at 1.25R a few days later. A nice simple trade.

(click to enlarge)


This trade was a loser. I detected a bullish pinbar aligned with bullish momentum, and went long at the break of its high. My reward was 0.5R, just before the swing high. It was pretty tight. Unfortunately, major news came out the same day as my entry (BOE interest rate decision), stopping me out. Looking back, 0.5R reward is too low for a major news day. If the BOE decision was favourable, I only would've won 0.5R. If it was unfavourable, I would've lost 1R. The R:R ratio was lop-sided for such a major event. 

(click to enlarge)


Be more aware of critical news events, especially central bank decisions and NFP. If there's a major event, aim for a reward of at least 1R in order to exploit favourable news. If I can't aim for a 1R reward (perhaps because support / resistance is too close), then stay out. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015


I finally closed my 100th live trade for this year! I started my current portfolio of systems back in May 2015, averaging about 4 trades a week. 

The statistics

Number of trades: 100
Number of trading systems: 4
Average position size: 1.96% equity risk per trade

Current equity growth: 11.35%
Maximum drawdown: 10.42%

Average reward-to-risk: 1.06
Winning probability: 55%
Profit factor (wins) / (losses + costs): 1.17

Equity Curve

I've kept the y-axis blank for privacy reasons.

(the x-axis shows "101" trades as my "first" trade is the initial balance).


If the current trend continues, then 20% annual growth seems reasonable, on par with professional hedge funds. The max drawdown of 10% is pretty normal. My profit factor of 1.17 falls within my backtest results (1.10 to 1.30). 

After reviewing my journal, I saw a number of trades that were prematurely closed due to psychological reasons like fear or impatience. If I had kept all those trades open, most would've hit their profit targets, so my performance should actually be better. A good trader needs to handle his mental state, so I'll continue to focus on this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

STATUS UPDATE: Dropping exotics

I've made the decision to stop trading exotic currency pairs like the EURTRY, NOKSEK and USDHUF. The spread on exotics gets extremely wide after the NY close, up to half the average daily range. This will reduce my frequency of trades, but I want to avoid getting stopped out by short-term wide spreads as much as possible. Exotics might be tradable on the weekly timeframe where the spread becomes relatively small, or where you're trading with extremely wide stop losses. It was a hard decision as I enjoy shorting the EURTRY and EURZAR (the overnight yield on both these pairs is massive, especially on Wednesdays).

I've also noticed that exotics tend to gap over the weekend pretty badly. It's awesome if it works in your favour... but it can also go against you. Risk management is key.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 26 Oct to 1 Nov 2015

I ended last week slightly down. I opened five trades, with one winner and two losers, and two left open over last weekend. 


This trade was a small winner (0.5R). I spotted a bearish engulfing candle / pinbar, and went short on the break of its low. I took profit at 1.53000. Price moved down a bit further, and then rebounded back up.

(click to enlarge)


This trade was technically sound. I went short on the break of a low volatility retracement candle. If you look at the chart, it would seem as if price never touched my stop loss. However, a major news announcement occurred on the 27th October (NZ Trade Balance), and the bid-ask spread widened to 34 pips. The chart shows bid prices, but if you changed it to ask prices, the high of the 27th October would've been 34 pips higher, showing my stop loss getting triggered. The NZ trade balance was very different than what was forecasted (-$1.2b vs -0.8b) so this would explain the wide spread. This was a bit of a "black swan".

(click to enlarge)


I was quite unlucky in this trade. I spotted a low volatility retracement candle, and went short at its low. I was hoping to see the most recent swing low get broken, and aimed for a reward of 1.5R. Price rebounded a few days later to take out my stop loss, and then stopped. Price massively gapped downwards on Monday, so I missed out on some very nice profit. Ah well! That's how it rolls. 

(click to enlarge)


I opened two other trades, short EURGBP and long GBPCHF. They were left open over the weekend. Will post their results once they close.


I fumed quite a bit over my AUDNZD loss. You can avoid spread spikes by closing trades before a major news event, but since I'm a swing trader, that'd mean exiting and re-entering all the time. I don't think that's feasible. I've traded for a relatively long time now, and these huge spikes (30+ pips) are pretty rare. You can account for these "black swans" in your backtests by increasing your transaction cost assumptions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

RESEARCH: Low volatility, high volume end-of-retracements (1H)

It's nearly 2am here. I'll post some interesting backtest results, then go to bed. Be warned, this is pretty complicated.

Just a brief background on tick volume. Since the forex market is decentralised, there's no way of measuring actual trading volume. The next alternative is to use tick volume, which approximates trading volume. 

I've hacked together a custom indicator for MT4, which divides tick volume by a candle's range. So if tick volume for a candle was 200 ticks, and pip range was 10 pips, it would return a value of 20 (200 / 10 = 20). 

Basically this would tell me how much "resistance" a candle faced as it formed. A high value would indicate high resistance, as it meant price required more ticks to move a pip.

Following from my first example, suppose we have another candle with 200 tick volume, but a range of 5 pips. 200 / 5 = 40. This is higher than the 20 we calculated in the first example. This shows that price faced much more "resistance" in this candle. 

With this indicator, I can understand the context of tick volume better. To provide even better understanding, I also added a 6-period SMA to the indicator, giving me the average ticks / pips for the last 6 candles. 

Getting on to the backtest, I examined the USDJPY and AUDUSD on the 1H timeframe, focusing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, as these days are usually best for daytrading (volatility on Mondays and Fridays tend to be lower). 

I specifically looked for "low volatility" candles which had a range of less than 0.67 ATR(24), AND formed during a retracement of the trend (measured with RSI(24)), AND must have ticks / pips > SMA(6).

Basically, this signal is telling me that the retracement is ending, and we know this because price has slowed down (it has a range < 0.67 ATR(24)), AND we know that more orders have come in, as ticks / pips exceeds SMA(6). Less volatility + more orders = end of retracement. Example is below:

(click to enlarge)

I backtested this signal from September 2013 to September 2015, with an entry at the break of the candle's high or low, in the direction of the trend, and a stop loss at the opposite end. I gathered 359 trades, and obtained the profit factors for the following reward-to-risk ratios:

The profit factors are quite slim. Transaction costs really hurt at this timeframe, eating up about 10% of each trade. That's a significant penalty. 

I put together an equity curve for a reward-to-risk of 1.25, using a starting balance of $25,000, with 2% risk per trade, and 10% transaction cost. 

It's not the best looking curve, but it's pointing in the right direction. Under real trading conditions, I don't think I'd just blindly aim for 1.25R reward with every trade. I'd see if there's any significant S/R or price levels before entering. Looking from the backtest results, rewards between 1R and 2R seem best. 

The next step is to see if this behaviour holds on other pairs. I chose the USDJPY and AUDUSD as their volatility is generally consistent throughout the day. I'll test the NZDUSD, and then the EURUSD.

Until then...


You can find a ticks / pips indicator for MT4 here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 19 Oct to 25 Oct 2015

This week has been a bit quiet, but profitable. I only entered 3 trades, winning two and losing one, and reversed most of the losses I made the previous week. 


This trade took awhile to conclude (at a loss). I saw a significant bullish pinbar on the 16th of October, and went long. While it hadn't broken the resistance level of the order block, the large tail showed significant buying. I felt there was a good chance of a breakout, and aimed for a reward of 1R. The trade was eventually stopped out on the 22nd October.

Looking back, was it a good trade? While the setup fitted my trading rules, I think I should've aimed for a bigger reward. Trading into support / resistance isn't really wise, so you want a higher reward to justify the low probability of the trade. I think a reward of 1.5R - 2R would've been better. 

(click to enlarge)


This was a quick trade I took on Thursday 22nd October. I spotted a bearish pinbar, observed that momentum was strongly bearish, and that there was some scope for a tight reward. I got out at 0.5R profit.

(click to enlarge)


Most of this week's profit came from this trade. I saw a low volatility candle on the 22nd of October, and short-term momentum had just flipped to bearish. I wasn't really comfortable and felt this was a lower probability trade, but saw that there was plenty of room for a downward move (next level of buying was between 1.12000 and 1.11000). I aimed for a reward of 2R.

(click to enlarge)


I've reversed most of my losses from last week, so October is now looking profitable again. There's one more week to go. I shouldn't obsess about monthly results, though, as I may only 15-25 trades a month. Hmmm, this is an interesting psychological observation. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 12 Oct to 18 Oct 2015

This post is a few days late.

I ended down last week, with 3 losses and 1 win. At the end of the week, I felt very unhappy and walked away from trading to recollect my emotions.


I had entered this trade the previous week, and held it over the weekend. It got stopped out Tuesday 13 October. Price resumed moving in my favour the next day. Ah well. 

(click to enlarge)


I had spotted a tiny bullish pinbar at Monday's close, and placed my TP just below a congregation of local highs. I was stopped out the next day. The candle's small range may've signaled sellers moving in.

(click to enlarge)


This is quite an exotic pair to trade. I saw a low volatility retracement candle at Tuesday's close, and went short on the break of its low. I took profit some distance above the last major swing low. I think my TP was technically well-placed, and got out with a 1R reward.

(click to enlarge)


This one was a loser. I spotted a low volatility retracement candle on Thursday morning, and went long when it broke higher. Alas, price action for the day was very choppy. The market turned against me shortly after I entered, and hit my stop loss. It then resurged upwards and closed higher for the day. Very choppy.

(click to enlarge)


Last week was psychologically damaging. I finished September strongly positive, but have struggled for October (I'm down about 0.8%-1% for the month). I decided to step away from trading during the weekend, and spent some time yesterday and today "system hopping", which is very bad. Basically I opened up a new chart and felt like experimenting with daytrading with 0.05 sized lots. I think I ended up opening about 10 trades and losing $5. Could this be an outlet? If you feel the need to revenge-trade or to system-hop, do it with a small amount and get it out of your system.

I also spent today going over my journal and doing more backtesting. I found that positive backtests + a profitable journal to be mentally soothing. Keep these handy!

Besides the "dummy" daytrades, I haven't opened any other live trades. I'll get back to proper trading tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

RESEARCH: Oanda Vs Alpari Open Ratios

OANDA and Alpari both offer their open position ratios to the public. Basically, you can use this info to gauge retail sentiment before you open a trade (it's generally best to use retail sentiment as a contrarian indicator, since most retail traders lose). 

The open position ratios of both brokers aren't exactly the same. OANDA indicates that it updates its open position ratios every 20 minutes. I assume that Alpari updates its ratios once a day. 

I checked the percentage of long positions open from both brokers, and came up with the following:

Like I said, the open position ratios of both brokers aren't exactly the same.

So which is most reliable? As OANDA says it updates its ratios every 20 minutes, I'm leaning towards OANDA.

However, if you look on Alpari's page, you'll see that it offers the open position ratios of MANY more currency pairs. OANDA only offers ratios on 14 pairs, whereas Alpari offers ratios on 40+ pairs, including exotics. 

If you're only trading majors or popular crosses, then using OANDA is probably your best bet. For everything else, you have no choice but to use Alpari (if anyone knows of any other brokers offering their open position ratios, please let me know).

Having said that, I wouldn't bother using retail sentiment if it's within 5% of 50% (e.g. 52% long, 48% short). 

And it's just my hunch, but retail sentiment for the more exotic currency pairs will probably be less reliable since less traders will trade them. A handful of traders may be enough to shift retail sentiment dramatically. Like I said, just a hunch.

Related posts

The statistical edge of trading against retail sentiment (from June 2014)
The statistical edge of trading against retail sentiment - part 2 (from July 2014)

Quick update on current trade stats

I've been trading with my current portfolio of systems since late May 2015.

The stats so far (I've normalised the risk level of all my past trades to 2%). 

Trades opened: 89
Win rate: 53,93%
Average Reward-to-risk: 1.06
Profit Factor: 1.17

My backtests show a historical profit factor between 1.10 and 1.30, so I'm performing as expected. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

RESEARCH: 4H Engulfing Candles on Tuesdays

I did some interesting research on large engulfing candles in the 4H timeframe. I found that Tuesdays seem to perform quite profitably. I backtested data from September 2012 to September 2015, with 11 currency pairs (AUDCAD, AUDCHF, AUDNZD, AUDUSD, CADCHF, EURGBP, EURJPY, EURUSD, GBPNZD, GBPUSD, NZDJPY, USDJPY). 

I defined a "large" engulfing candle as one that is 1.5 times larger than ATR(6), with the high and low completely engulfing the previous candle, AND closing outside the range of the previous candle. Example is below:

(click to enlarge)

My entry was the break of the engulfing candle's high or low, in direction of the trend (RSI(6) determined the trend). My stop loss was located at the opposite high or low.

The problem with this backtest was that there were relatively few entries. I collected 256 sample trades over the last 3 years. The results are below:

Reward-to-risk of 1 and below showed some profitability. So, for example, if my stop loss was 100 pips, I might want to aim for a reward of less than 100 pips (33 to 75 pips would seem optimal). 

Here's a basic equity curve for a reward-to-risk of 0.33 (the "optimal" reward-to-risk), using a starting a balance of $25.000, and 2% equity risk per trade.

Can this be a system?

Possibly. The backtest shows profitability between reward-to-risk of 1.25 and 0.25, so there's some flexibility in choosing your profit target. The only bad thing is that you can only trade once a week (only on Tuesdays). 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 5 Oct to 11 Oct 2015

I ended this week at breakeven. I opened four trades, won one with a 1R reward, lost one, and got out at breakeven with two other trades. I entered a fifth trade on Friday, which is still open.


An engulfing candle formed on Friday, which I saw as a very bearish signal. On Monday, I went short at the break of Friday's low, and took profit at 1R a few days later.

(click to enlarge)


The EURCHF has been ranging for awhile, and it looked like it was primed to break out on the downside. On Monday, I went short at Friday's high using a sell limit order, and aimed for a reward of 1.25R.

Price moved close to my profit target before reversing back to my entry. Seeing a very bullish candle, I decided to play it safe and close the trade, getting out at breakeven.

(click to enlarge)


I saw a bearish pinbar on Monday, which signaled a continuation of the recent downward move. I saw some scope for a 1R reward, and went short at the break of Monday's low. An RBA news announcement on Tuesday saw price move against me shortly after triggering my entry, and I got taken out. 

(click to enlarge)


Tuesday produced a bearish pinbar during a downward trend, so I went short on Wednesday at the break of Tuesday's low. Price moved very close to my profit target before reversing to my entry point. I decided to get out at breakeven since price came agonisingly close to my profit target, and knew that I'd become tilted if I turned my near-win into a loss. 

If I had held on, the trade would've won. Was my decision to get out correct? Well, the bullish pinbar had formed near the recent major swing low. I think it was a safe decision. 

(click to enlarge)


I opened this trade on Friday, after seeing a bullish pinbar on Thursday. I wasn't concerned about major price level 185.000 as it's been repeatedly broken in the last month, so I don't think there'll be many orders clustered around here. 

Friday produced a bearish pinbar, but reversals are pretty normal on Fridays as traders exit for the weekend. I decided to hold on over the weekend. 

(click to enlarge)


Don't think there's much I can learn this week. When price comes really close to your profit target and reverses back to your entry point, is it prudent to close the trade and get out at breakeven? I'd say yes. The reversal shows that there is significant support / resistance just before your profit target, and momentum is now against you. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

RESEARCH: Monday Morning Breakouts on Asian Pairs

In my previous post, I found that "average-sized" candles tended to signal profitable breakouts on the AUDJPY and USDJPY during Monday morning.

The next step was to check if this pattern continued in other currency pairs, especially Asian ones. I backtested the AUDUSD, NZDUSD, AUDNZD and USDSGD from 2013 to 2015.

Here the results from 405 sample trades (this includes the AUDJPY and USDJPY):

Yep, nothing. The profit factor was less than 1 for all R:R ratios, so the pattern didn't hold. 

Further findings

I used RSI(6) to measure the trend. This indicator tells me the "trendiness" of the last 6 candles. If RSI(6) > 50, then the trend for the last 6 candles is bullish. And if RSI(6) < 50, the last 6 candles have been bearish.

I divided my results further into two groups: trades that opened WITH the trend, and trades that opened AGAINST the trend. 

Results WITH the trend (215 sample trades):

Results AGAINST the trend (190 sample trades):

Interestingly, trading AGAINST the trend yielded pretty good results. It may have something to do with the unique dynamics of Monday opens. However, my gut-feeling is that this backtest has become too finely-tuned. My next step is to step back and look at Monday opens from another angle (perhaps by looking at candlestick patterns). 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

RESEARCH: Monday morning breakouts on the USDJPY and AUDJPY

I just finished backtesting Monday morning breakouts on the USDJPY and AUDJPY. This is based on my findings that 12.5% of the weekly highs and lows of the AUDNZD were found in the first 4 hours of Monday, which is very significant. While the USDJPY and AUDJPY aren't eactly the same as the AUDNZD, they are cheaper Asian pairs to trade, so I chose to backtest them first.

My strategy rules were pretty simple: enter on the first break of the high or low of the first 4H candle on Monday, with a stop loss on the opposite end of the candle. I used RSI(6) to measure the trend, and ATR(6) to measure average candle size. An example setup is below:

I backtested the USDJPY and AUDJPY from January 2013 to September 2015, and gathered 287 trades.

Initial Results

These are the raw results, at various reward-to-risk ratios:

Nothing remarkable, although there seems to be a hint of profitability with smaller reward.


I did a rough optimisation, looking at whether the size of the first 4H candle made a difference. I divided the candles into three groups:

1. Small candles have a range less than 0.75 ATR(6)
2. Average candles have a range between 0.75 ATR(6) and 1.25 ATR(6)
3. Large candles have a range greater than 1.25 ATR(6)

For small candles (94 sample trades):

For average-sized candles (140 sample trades):

For large candles (53 sample trades):


Average-sized candles performed very well, with profitability greatest with smaller reward-to-risk ratios. Large and small candles performed poorly. 

Since I've found that average-sized candles do well, the next step is to test other pairs and see if this pattern repeats itself.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

RESEARCH: Time of Weekly Highs and Lows on the AUDNZD

I spent today examining the AUDNZD and the time of its weekly highs and lows. For this analysis, I focused on the 4H chart, using data from 2013 and 2014. 

What days can we expect to find the weekly high or low? Interestingly, the most common day is Monday, followed by Friday and Wednesday. The least likely day is Tuesday. Results are below:

If we zoom in on the data, we can see what time the weekly high or low occurred (within each 4H block. 00:00 = NY Close).

Of particular interest is that 21.63% of the weekly high or low was found during the first 12 hours of Monday, and 18.27% within the last 12 hours of Friday. This means that 40% of the weekly high or low occurred during the first half of Monday, or last half of Friday. 

Weekly highs and lows also featured prominently during Wednesday and the first half of Thursday. Approximately 29% of weekly highs and lows were found within this timeframe. 


How can we use this information? I suspect that Monday morning breakouts may be profitable. This is something to look at, as it gives you the opportunity to profit from both the daily move on Monday, as well as the move for the whole week. This will be my next project. :)

Tuesdays and Thursdays look best for trading continuations.

Trading reversal signals on Wednesdays may also work. 

Be wary if trading intra-day on Friday, as there's a very likelihood of reversal during the latter half of the day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

WEEK IN REVIEW: 28 Sept to 2 Oct 2015

This post is kinda early as it's Friday night and the markets are still open for awhile longer, but I've closed all my trades so I may as well post my results.

This week has been profitable, 3 wins and 1 loss. Details below.


I'd opened this trade last week, and went short. My profit target was hit on 30 Sept, Wednesday. 

I trailed my stop loss as I got another entry signal on Tuesday 29 Sept. Rather than open another trade, I decided to move my stop loss closer. 

(click to enlarge)


Monday produced a fat bullish pinbar. I aimed for a reward of 0.75R. Tuesday produced another entry signal (bullish pinbar), so I trailed my stop loss up to Tuesday's low. I was stopped out on Wednesday, but because I trailed my stop loss, I only lost half of my initial risk. Overall, EURUSD price action has been quite choppy.

(click to enlarge)


Wednesday produced a bearish pinbar, and I went short on the break of the low, hoping for a reward of 1R. Friday's NFP release moved price in my favour massively, but I intervened in my trade and took profit early at 0.75R. My reason: I wasn't aware of NFP at the time I closed my trade, and thought something unannounced had happened (like a terrorist attack). Lesson: stay aware of major news releases! Silly move. I left money on the table.

(click to enlarge)


I saw a bearish pinbar on Thursday, 1 Oct, and went short on the break of its low. Due to the proximity of the 1100.00 price level, I decided to "scalp" this trade and go for a small reward of 0.5R. It was timed almost perfectly. Price reversed shortly after I hit my profit target.

(click to enlarge)


Stay aware of the timing of major news!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

RESEARCH: Morning breakouts on the AUDJPY part 2

This is part 2 of Morning breakouts on the AUDJPY.

I finished backtesting the rest of 2013, 2014 and early 2015, and collected 412 sample trades. The backtest degraded quite badly. Here are the profit factors for various reward-to-risk ratios.

It's pretty much breakeven.

Wednesday continues to perform very badly. What happens if we omit Wednesday trades? We're left with 316 sample trades, which provided the following results:

The results are better, but profitability is too marginal for my liking. Maybe it can be improved with some discretion, like avoiding trades that are next to support or resistance.

Heh, this is what my typical day is like, testing new ideas and reaching deadends 95% of the time. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

RESEARCH: Morning breakouts on the AUDJPY

I spent this afternoon backtesting morning breakouts on the AUDJPY. 

This is based on the 4H timeframe. Basically, I looked for candles at 00:00, with a range less than 1*ATR(6). I use ATR(6) as this gives me the average candle size for the last 6 candles, or the last 24 hours (6*4 = 24 hours). 00:00 = NY Close. 

I looked for small candles as this is based on my observation that small candles tend to precede large candles. I entered on the break of the high or low of the small 00:00 candle, with my stop loss located at the opposite end of the candle. Example is below:

(click to enlarge)

Results after 100 sample trades (from early to mid 2013):

It showed promise of profitability, especially with bigger reward-to-risk ratios.

I did a bit of optimisation, and looked at which weekdays performed better. The backtest showed good results, except for Wednesday. If I omitted trades on Wednesday, I get the following results (from 76 sample trades):

This is a significant improvement. 

This isn't a trading system (yet), but it's showing some promise. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

RESEARCH: AUDUSD Decisiveness on the 4H timeframe

I spent the last few days researching the behaviour of the AUDUSD on the 4H timeframe. Specifically, I was looking at how "decisive" price movement was throughout the day. 

I measure "decisiveness" by dividing the size of the candle's body by the candle's range (so decisiveness = candle body / candle range). Price movement on a full-bodied candle is more decisive than a doji, as price moved in one direction in the full-bodied candle, while it moved up and down in the doji. Examples are below:

Using the formula [decisiveness = candle body / candle range], I tried to measure the average "decisiveness" for every 4H block of time (00:00, 04:00. 08:00 etc), with 00:00 being the NY Close. My data stemmed back to August 2011, and was sourced from IC Markets.

The results:

My interpretation

We see that the average range increases throughout the day, until it hits 20:00, which is after London closes. However, it will tend to move decisively (i.e. in one direction) most often during 04:00 and 08:00, during the Sydney and Tokyo sessions, but only by a bit. My guess is that this is where Australian news will often be released. Decisiveness also increases marginally at 16:00, which I assume is also when most US news is also released. 

Can the info above be used to develop a system? By itself, probably not. But I think it can be useful as a component of intra-day trading. So, for example, you may prefer to use stop entries during 04:00 and 08:00, and limit entries during 12:00 and 20:00. But those are just my thoughts.