الثلاثاء، 10 يونيو 2008

Futures Spread Trading

How professional traders optimize profits Futures spread trading is probably the most profitable, yet safest way to trade futures. Almost every professional trader uses spreads to optimize his profits. Trading spreads offers many advantages which make it the perfect trading instrument, especially for beginners and traders with small accounts (less than $10,000). The following example of a Soybean-Spread shows the advantages of futures spread trading: Example: Long May Soybeans (SK3) and Short November Soybeans (SX3) Four Advantages of Futures Spread Trading Advantage 1: Easy to trade Do you see how nicely this spread starts trending in mid February? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, whether you use chart formations or indicators, the existence of a trend is obvious. (If you are looking for a concept of how to identify a trend, we strongly recommend visiting http://www.tradingeducators.com/?sou...philosophy.htm). Spreads tend to trend much more dramatically than outright futures contracts. They trend without the interference and noise caused by computerized trading, scalpers, and market movers. Advantage 2: Low Margin requirements Many spreads have reduced margin requirements, which means that you can afford to put on more positions. While the margin on an outright futures position in corn is $540, a spread trade in corn requires only $135 — 25% as much. That’s a great advantage for traders with a small account. With a $10,000 trading account risking 8% of your account, you can enter 6 corn spreads, instead of only 1-2 outright corn futures trade. How’s that for leverage? Advantage 3: Higher return on margin Each point in the spread carries the same value ($50) as each point in the outright futures ($50). That means that on a 3 point favorable move in corn futures or a 3 point favorable move in the spread, you would earn $150. However, the difference in return on margin is extraordinary:Corn futures - $150/$540 = 27.8% returnCorn spread - $150/$135 = 111% returnAnd keep in mind that you can trade 6 times as many spread contracts as you can outright futures contracts. In our example you would achieve a 24 times higher return on you margin. Advantage 4: Low time requirements You don’t have to watch a spread all day long. You do not need real-time data. The most effective way to trade spreads is using end-of-day data. Therefore, spread trading is the best way to trade if you do not want to watch or cannot watch your computer all day long (i.e. because you have a daytime job). And you can save all the money you would have had to spend for real-time data systems (up to $600 per month).So where is the catch?If futures spread trading is so fantastic, why does it seems that hardly anybody trades spreads? Well, it is not true that hardly anybody trades spreads: the professional traders do, every day. But either by accident or design, the whole truth of spread trading has been hidden from the public over the years.The purpose of this website is to inform you about futures spread trading. In the following we will answer the four frequently asked questions:
What is a spread?
Why trade spreads?
What can you expect when trading spreads? What Is a Spread?A spread is defined as the sale of one or more futures contracts and the purchase of one or more offsetting futures contracts. You can turn that around to state that a spread is the purchase of one or more futures contracts and the sale of one or more offsetting futures contracts. A spread is also created when a trader owns (is long) the physical vehicle and offsets by selling (going short) futures. Furthermore, a spread is defined as the purchase and sale of one or more offsetting futures contracts normally recognized as a spread by the fact that the two sides of the spread are actually related in some way. This explicitly excludes those exotic spreads put forth by some vendors, which are nothing more than computer generated coincidences which are not in any way related. Such exotic spreads as Long Bond futures and Short Bean Oil futures may show up as reliable computer generated spreads, but bean oil and bonds are not really related. Such spreads fall into the same category as believing the annual performance of the U.S. stock market is somehow related to the outcome of the Super Bowl sporting event. In any case, for tactical reasons in carrying out a particular strategy, you want to end up with:
simultaneously long futures of one kind in one month, and short futures of the same kind in another month. (Intramarket Calendar Spread)
simultaneously long futures of one kind, and short futures of another kind. (Intermarket Spread)
long futures at one exchange, and short a related futures at another exchange. (Inter-exchange Spread)
long an underlying physical commodity, and short a futures contract. (Hedge)
long an underlying equity position, and short a futures contract. (Hedge)
long financial instruments, and short financial futures. (Hedge)
long a single stock futures and short a sector index. The primary ways in which this can be accomplished are:
Via an Intramarket spread.
Via an Intermarket spread.
Via an Inter-exchange spread.
By ownership of the underlying and offsetting with a futures contract. Intramarket Spreads Officially, Intramarket spreads are created only as calendar spreads. You are long and short futures in the same market, but in different months. An example of an Intramarket spread is that you are Long July Corn and simultaneously Short December Corn. Intermarket Spreads An Intermarket spread can be accomplished by going long futures in one market, and short futures of the same month in another market. For example: Short May Wheat and Long May Soybeans.Intermarket spreads can become calendar spreads by using long and short futures in different markets and in different months. Inter-Exchange Spreads A less commonly known method of creating spreads is via the use of contracts in similar markets, but on different exchanges. These spreads can be calendar spreads using different months, or they can be spreads in which the same month is used. Although the markets are similar, because the contracts occur on different exchanges they are able to be spread. An example of an Inter-exchange calendar spread would be simultaneously Long July Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Wheat, and Short an equal amount of May Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBOT) Wheat. An example of using the same month might be Long December CBOT Wheat and Short December KCBOT Wheat. Why Spreads? The rationale behind spread trading is one of the best-kept secrets of the insiders of the futures markets. While spreading is commonly done by the market "insiders," much effort is made to conceal this technique and all of its benefits from "outsiders," you and me. After all, why would the insiders want to give away their edge? By keeping us from knowing about spreading, they retain a distinct advantage.Spreading is one of the most conservative forms of trading. It is much safer than the trading of outright (naked) futures contracts. Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of using spreads:
Intramarket, and some Intermarket, spreads require considerably less margin, typically around 25% - 75% of the margin needed for outright futures positions.
Intramarket, and some Intermarket, spreads offer a far greater return on investment than is possible with outright futures positions. Why? Because you are posting less margin for the same amount of possible return.
Spreads, in general, trend more often than do outright futures.
Spreads often trend when outright futures are flat.
Spreads can be filtered by virtue of seasonality, backwardation, and carrying charge differentials, in addition to any other filters you might be using in your trading.
Spreads can be used to create partial futures positions. In fact, virtually anything that can be done with options on futures can be accomplished via spread trading.
Spreads allow you to take less risk than is available with outright futures positions. The amount of risk between two Intramarket futures positions is usually less than the risk in an outright futures position. The risk between owning the underlying and holding a futures contract involves the least risk of all. Spreads make it possible to hedge any position you might have in the market. Whether you are hedging between physical ownership and futures, or between two futures positions, the risk is lower than that of outright futures. In that sense, every spread is a hedge.
Spread order entry enables you to enter or exit a trade using an actual spread order, or by independently entering each side of the spread (legging in/out).
Spreads are one of the few ways to obtain decent fills by legging in/out during the market Closing.
Live data is not needed for spread trading, saving you $$ in exchange fees.
You will not be the victim of stop running when using Intramarket spreads. What Can You Expect? Here is an example of what you can expect from Intramarket spread trading. We think you may be pleasantly surprised!! This spread was entered not only on the basis of seasonality, but also by virtue of the formation known as a Ross hook (Rh). The spread moved from -69.0 to -7.5 = $3,075 per contract. The margin required to put on this spread was only $608, thus the return on margin is more than 500%. Here is an example of an Intermarket spread. Look at the the following chart: Would you want to have been long live cattle from December until February? But, what about a spread between Live Cattle and Feeder Cattle? The spread moved from -10,200 to -7,200 = $3,000 per contract. The margin required to put on this spread was only $540. The return on margin is more than 550%. Lastly, we show you another intermarket spread. This one was made between Euro and British Pound. Although you might have made money on a Euro trade, you would have suffered from serious whipsaw during the entire length of the trade. What about a spread between the Euro and the British Pound? You didn’t have to be in this spread for very long in order to take some fat profits: During February the spread moved from $32,500 to $36,187.50 = $3,687.50 per contract. How do I start trading spreads? We can barely scratch the surface of what is available in the almost lost art of spread trading. There are times when seasonal spreads, coupled with chart formations, make a lot of sense. Backwardation in any market often provides an excellent signal for entry into a spread. All the best in your trading,

Fibonacci Trading Techniques

Introduction to Fibonacci trading techniques. First, a few words about Fibonacci himself… Leonardo Pisano (nickname Fibonacci) was a mathematician, born in 1170, in Pisa (now Italy). His father was Guilielmo, of the Bonacci family. His father was a diplomat, as a result Fibonacci was educated in North Africa, where he learned "accounting" and "mathematics". Fibonacci also contributed to the science of numbers, and introduced the "Fibonacci sequence" The Fibonacci sequence is the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, introduced in his work "Liber abaci" in a problem involving the growth of a population of rabbits. Aside from this sequence of number where every next number is the sum of the proceeding two, 0, 1 (0+1), 2 (1+1), 3 (2+1), 5 (3+2), 8 (5+3), 13 (8+5), etc. There are the "Fibonacci ratios".. By comparing the relationship between each number, and each alternate number, and even each number to the one four places to the right, we arrive at some fairly consistent ratios.. The important ones are .236, 50, .382, .618, .764, 1.382, 1.618, 2.618, 4.236, and for good measure we include 1.00 .. It turns out that the ratios are mathematical principles prevalent in nature around us, and is also in man-made objects. There are many interesting, entertaining, and poetic observations about Fibonacci numbers and ratios in the universe (see the reference section below). Fibonacci numbers appear in ancient buildings, in plants, planets, molecules, the dimensions of human bodies, and of course snails… But of what use is all that to the lowly trader? What really interests you, the application of Fibonacci techniques in the trading environment.. Traders usually study charts! Fibonacci ratios may be applied to the Price scale, and also to the time scale of charts. I study the price scale. My focus here will be on the price scale for now, perhaps in the future I’ll add some time-scale studies. Prices never move in a straight line. Look at any chart, you will see many wiggles, as price advances and retraces.. Stocks, Futures, Forex, all instruments which are liquid, will often retrace in Fibonacci proportions, and advance in Fibonacci proportions. Not always, and not precisely to the penny. But very often, and reasonably close! This happens often enough that profitable trades can result. I will show you some examples below. I used Fibonacci ratios with a few simple indicators to help determine probable price turning points, optimum entry, exit and stop-loss levels. My complete techniques are available in on-line video seminars, in-person seminars, and via my real-time on-line chat facility. For more details, see the this web page The application of Fibonacci to trading can be very complex, and take much time and experience to perfect. Many traders enjoy making the process as difficult and as complex as they can tolerate.. I do the opposite, I try to simplify, try to bring clarity. Fibonacci example - Microsoft Weekly chart. This lesson demonstrates a very basic way to use Fibonacci levels. You just read about Fibonacci ratios. We will use just one of those ratios for now, the .382 Fibonacci ratio. In this chart MSFT made a high of (approximately) $59.97 in December of 1999. After that, it moved down to make a low of $30.19 in May of 2000. The down move was $29.78 (59.97-30.19), quite a substantial amount. Projecting from that low in May, and using a Fibonacci ratio, we can calculate 29.78*.382=$11.37 . So 38.2% of 29.78 is 11.37 . If MSFT were to rally 38.2% of the down-move it would reach $41.57 (11.37+30.20). I’m using rounded numbers in my calculations, the chart above calculates it to be $41.564, we don’t need that degree of accuracy! Several weeks later, MSFT rallied and resisted right near that .382 Fibonacci level !! So we were able to predict a future probable turning point (after the low of May 2000), using the Fibonacci ratio of .382!! If only it were always so easy. The steps involved are:
Calculate the total value of a significant price-move (high to low, or vice-versa).
Calculate a Fibonacci retracement (in this case .382) of the prior move.
Look for price to confirm, by resisting (or support in an up-move) near that predicted retracement area. Fibonacci example - Microsoft Daily chart. This chart shows how a different Fibonacci level (61.8%) predicted resistance and a market turn. Notice how the market behaved at the .382 level (30.80 area). Initially the market spiked through, then fell back to that level (late October). We cannot expect a chart to retrace at every Fib level. We can expect some support/resistance as buyers/sellers enter the market at these levels, but we can’t always predict whether the market will actually turn at any particular level. Fibonacci techniques are used to alert you to a possible trade, if that price level does cause support or resistance. These techniques are not used as a trigger for entry. Other indicators are used in conjunction with Fibonacci studies to provide higher-probability entries.. As mentioned before, there are several Fib levels, .236, 50, .382, .618, .764, 1.382, 1.618, 2.618, 4.236, and 1.00 .. So there are several places to look for a market turn. They can be calculated in advance, but trading blindly at a fib level can be dangerous, because you never know for certain (in advance) whether the market will turn at any particular Fib level. I use other indicators to help overcome that problem, click here to learn how to determine which Fib ratio is likely to be strong enough to turn the market. Important notes from this lesson:
There are several Fib levels.
It takes some skill to determine which Fib level is likely to cause the market to turn.
There are some techniques to help you determine where a market is more likely to turn.
Do not blindly anticipate a market turn at a Fib level. More Fibonacci examples. QQQ Weekly chart with a deep retracement to .618 and a weak attempt to rally after that. However, consider the daily chart and intraday traders. they would have enjoyed the rally from $75 to $100, after going long from a support level that could have been predicted in March! QQQ daily chart. Multiple Fib levels timing the market perfectly in 3 consecutive waves up! Intraday chart, QQQ 30-minute. Notice the two market Fib retracements (there are others in this chart too).. The rally from 29.26 stopped at 31.10, then it supported **twice** at 30.39, for two good scalps. The next highlighted Fib support is at a retracement of .618 from the move up 30.47 to 32.49 .. Both of these support levels were predictable before the market supported there.. Hint:--- See how the rally continued after the shallow retracement to 30.39 ... See how the rally after the deeper retracement to .618 near 31.25 was a weaker rally.. This is common, a deeper retracement often foretells a weaker rally... See the next lesson in the table of contents for more on these advanced Fibonacci trading principles. Another intraday chart, S&P 5-minute.. The first Fib retracement is on a bearish move, an opportunity to short. The second is bullish, with a long entry near 999.25 .. Note that popular charting software will calculate Fibonacci to rediculous precision, we don’t need anything closer than one tick! Actually, you should allow some room don’t expect precision every time. Allow the trade some room to develop, or you will be stopped out too often. More Advanced - Microsoft Daily chart. By now you’re probably quite interested, perhaps applying all those Fibonacci ratios to many charts.. You should experiment with your own charts. As long as the instrument traded has a lot of liquidity (not a penny stock for example), you should start to see Fib support and resistance at work. You will start to notice that Fibonacci levels "work" sometimes and not others. Sometimes the trades are not profitable, or are less profitable than others. You need to develop the skills required to select better trades. In this mini-lesson I want to show you how to evaluate price action based on which Fib levels it responds to, and how the market behaves immediately preceding the Fib support/resistance. The chart below actually has many Fibonacci levels "performing well", providing support or resistance to the market. I want you to focus on the two that I have identified, for the purposes of this lesson. The first up-move that I have identified topped out at $26.90, and then retraced 61.8% before supporting at that Fib level. There was a pause at the .382 level, but it was not sufficient to hold the market. Now look at the rally from the support level near .618, it rallied but did not exceed the prior high of 26.90 … As a general rule, a retracement to .618 or below indicates that the preceding up-move is losing steam. A shallow retracement which supports at .382 is more likely to rally beyond the prior high than one which has a deep retracement beyond .50 all the way to .618 .. The impressive thrust from 22.55 up to 26.90 was negated by a quick move back to .618 at about 24.20, so a trader should not be too optimistic about a continuation of the initial up-thrust. Similarly, the move up in June, from 23.50 to almost 26.50 would also not inspire much optimism for a huge rally above the high of 26.50 … In general a shallow support at .382 would indicate a probable rally beyond the prior high. However, if the up-move preceding the retracement was sluggish rather than thrusting, you also should temper your enthusiasm. If the second rally which only retraced to .382 had the thrust of the first rally, it would be a more attractive trade! These are not firm rules, instead they are used as a guide, to help you filter for better trades. Every Fib level is not equal, some are more attractive than others. Important notes from this lesson:
Not all Fib levels are alike.
No technical study is perfect, you must develop the skills to filter out bad trades, and improve the odds of finding better trades.
Price action just before a Fib retracement can tell you something about the future.
Which Fib level causes the end of a retracement also can give a hint to future price action.
No technical study is perfect, you must develop the skills to filter out bad trades, and improve the odds of finding better trades. Good Trading

Learn Forex

How do I begin? Please give it to me SIMPLY. 1. The best advice on how to learn to trade profitably is to learn from experts with proven track records. Many learning styles are available to beginners at all levels: books, CDs, online courses, group seminars, even one-on-one mentors who will come right your home for a few days. We outline our Forex-Trader picks in Learning Forex Trading. Learning to trade from experts is worth every penny and has saved us untold thousands in mistakes.We would not recommend starting forex trading without any training. It is not hard to learn, nor difficult to trade successfully, but you must first provide yourself with a basic functioning knowledge of ’the game you’re in’. 2. While you are learning you will need charting software to practice reading the Market. Charting is an indispensable tool that shows you in real-time data what the market is doing moment by moment and also what the market has done in the past. As you learn to analyze these charts you can determine what trades to enter and exit, where to set your stop losses, limits etc. There are several good charting software services that you can subscribe to online monthly. See our Forex-Trader tested Charting Software picks in Tools of The Trade. 3. Then, to perform your actual trades online you need a real-time ’trading platform’ to execute your ’buys’ and ’sells’ directly in the Foreign Currency Market. You obtain a trading platform from a Forex Clearinghouse that is connected real-time to the interbank market. There are many good Clearinghouses (also confusingly called Brokerage Firms, Market Makers, etc.) that provide you with the trading platform to trade the funds in the account you have opened with them. Before you begin trading your ’real’ money, while you are learning, you will practice on your own ’demo account’ with play-money in it, which will be provided to you by the clearinghouse you plan to trade through. The contractual relationship you enter into with your Clearinghouse is a very important one because the Clearinghouse you choose determines many trading features and financial advantages to you both as a trader and as an investor. Forex-Trader tested Clearinghouses are reviewed in Tools of The Trade. We have outlined a Getting Started path with uncomplicated steps. This is the path that we would take if we were beginning trading over again today with ’what we know now’. The products and services we mention in these steps are all ones that we have personally used for some time with consistent success. As always you are free to forge your own path, and if you do, happy hiking. There is a mountain of products and services try out, and if you find ones you like better we would love to compare notes with you. Explain More About Charting Services To trade successfully you also must have good charting software and instantaneous data feeds critical to helping you analysis and interpret the movement of currencies moment to moment so you know when/why to buy or sell — this you subscribe to monthly. You can get a 2 week or more demo to familiarize yourself with one that has the features you like. The costs also vary, and some companies require a year commitment. There are some free charting services offered through the clearinghouses, but they tend to lack the tools to be truly useful. There are also some costly proprietary Specialty Software charting ’hybrids’ which are market forecasters tools that look more like video games than charts. Explain More About How Clearinghouses Work A good clearinghouse (i.e.. your computer access/link to the live Forex Exchange Market) is the partner with which you trade the money you have deposited with them in your trading account. After trying and demo-ing many we have found a small handful that are truly excellent for the beginner (and continue to be excellent as you grow) — meaning user friendly, legally accountable to regulatory bodies, and offering fair costs (spreads) for their services/trading software platforms. There still are many worrisome ones practicing in this closing era of unregulated forex trading (new Commodities laws are imminent). The topic of matching the right clearinghouse for your needs is discussed more in Tools of the Trade, because it depends on a number of factors — how much you can open an account with, how much the clearinghouse profit spread, what your liquidity needs are, your minimum/maximum stop loss and margin requirements, even where you live and how much time you have to give to trading in a 24 hr. day. How Much Does it Cost to Begin to Trade? Learning to trade will entail the cost of books and whatever traiining method you choose. It will also include a reliable computer with a minimum 128 Mb of memory to run the charting software and trading platform. Ongoing ’costs of operation’ include the monthly costs of high-speed internet, charting software, the email forecasting subscriptions — plan on spending $150./mo. up for ongoing costs. What about Pooled Clearinghouse Accounts to Trade with More Leverage? We strongly do not recommend pooled accounts in any circumstance. Perhaps you are considering self-trading a pooled- together family account because it would give you a perceived advantage of more leveraged funds to trade (50:1 up to 100:1 leverage) — any risks of loss represent a potential risk to family relationships, and for this reason alone we do not recommend aggregating with family or friends. However much worse are the too-numerous negative experiences of people allowing their investment funds to leave their control to become part of a ’managed’ pooled account. Not only is it a very risky investment idea, it is illegal for anyone to ’pool’ accounts without compliance with SEC (a USA Securities Exchange Commission) or international equivalent license. Never relinquish direct control over your money/trading account to anyone (i.e.. the ability to make withdrawals, deposits etc. directly by your own authority into your own account). A good fund manager, if you do choose to go the (legitimate) Managed Account route rather than the Self-Trader route, will make certain you have your own ’segregated account’ in your own name in a bank or brokerage firm. These individual segregated accounts can still be traded together as though they were in a single account by a designated trader as long as the clearing house uses a trading platform that allows it. You, as the investor/account holder, have direct access online to your account activity at all times, and direct control over your own account in your own name (just like a bank account). The importance of this, for the safety of your funds, cannot be over emphasized


USD/CHF - 1.0424 ... Despite falling sharply fm last month's high of 1.0625 to 1.0216, the greenback rebounded strongly fm there n rallied to an intra-day high of 1.0528 on Friday b4 retreating due to dlr's broad-based weakness in NY session, suggesting aforesaid rise fm 1.0216 has made a top there n initial choppy sideways trading is expected to be seen.Looking at the daily chart, dlr's rise fm 1.0216 signals the correction fm aforesaid top at 1.0625 has ended there n erratic upmove fm 08' record low of 0.9630 is likely to resume, a subsequent breach of 1.0528 wud signal such move has taken place n yield re-test of 1.0625, then later to 1.0714, being a min. 38% r of MT intermediate fall fm 1.2469 (Jun 07') to 0.9630. Therefore, buying dlr on present pullback in anticipation of resumption of recent upmove is recommended as only below 1.0356 (prev. res) wud suggest the price action fm 1.0625 is unfolding into a triangle n risk further decline twd 1.0260.Today, although Friday's decline has pressured dlr, reckon 1.0390/00 wud contain weakness n yield rebound, abv 1.0472 signals low is made, 1.0528 later