Set Ups And How To Incorporate Them Into A Index Futures Trading System

Trading requires the participant to be prepared for the coming market session and one of the criteria that must be met is trade set up considerations. Liquidity is very important, although the emini index futures market seldom has issues with liquidity during regular market session. However, the index futures are accessible twenty-four a day and liquidity is a concern in the after hours market. If a trader holds a position into the after hours market, unloading these contracts once the daily market has closed can become difficult. Liquidity should be considered if after market hours are chosen by the market participant to hold positions.

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Another important consideration is volatility. Depending on the chosen time frame, volatility or price movement is important before acting on a set up. Futures traders live for volatile markets. Enough market volatility is needed to make a profit, usually two to three times the trader’s initial risk.

Whether trading a pullback or entering a fast moving upward breakout, the trader needs to be aware of the dominant direction the market is moving. All financial markets move in three direction: up, down or sideways with the index futures markets being no different. Overall, markets usually trend down or up twenty percent of the time give or take a few percentage points and move sideways the remaining time. However, the day trading participant pays attention to the overall trend make makes his living trading entering both long and short positions within the prevailing trend.

Most players have trading systems that keep them in the market continually. But if you consider the sideways market as a condition of the overall market, then you probably need a trading system that keeps you out of the market at least seventy percent of the time. The person that is always holding a position in the market is going to spend a great deal of time in a sideways market which translates into many losing trades and many transactions cost, which makes your broker very happy. If this is the case, you should look at tweaking your trading system to avoid sideways markets. Sideways markets are very common during the New York lunch hours when floor traders break for lunch.

Set ups are criteria that must be met, according to your trading methodology, before ever executing and entering a position, either long or short. When this set up criteria is met, overall improvement of the trade becoming profitable are enhanced. Most index futures trading participants make a profit because the market moves a sufficient amount from where they entered the market. Although set ups are considered a criteria for a potential trade entry, the are better used as an event that must occur before the trader even considers opening a position.

Timing the market is also a very important consideration when utilizing trade set ups. Once the trader chosen the time frame in which to trade and understands the general market direction, he must wait until the actual move begins. If your trading systems alerts you to a possible trade set up, odds are the system will alert you before the move actually happens. Seasoned traders will use experience and market knowledge to keep from entering a position on the alert while inexperienced traders will enter once the alert is recognized. Experience brings patience and the experienced trader will only enter once the market move has begun. Improve your odds of success by confirming the market direction you are expecting before executing a trade.

Trading software is very important and almost all trading software will come packed with many different indicators and oscillators built into the package. Unfortunately, these oscillators and indicators give the inexperienced participant a false since of security. They will spend a few hours learning about individual indicators and oscillators and usually find these over-optimized system only lead to disaster. Too many indicators cause information over-load while trading systems that utilize one or two indicators such as moving averages or areas of support and resistance are much better. Simple systems using few indicators are the systems most often used by veteran traders.

Building a system that is tested and proven is how veteran traders become successful trading index futures. Focusing on how to locate trade setups and timing market entry are just one the keys to market success. I later articles, we will discuss different trade set ups and how they can be used to improve trade execution in both trade entry and trade exit. However, it should be noted, most newly minted traders focus too much on trade entry and less on exiting trades. Knowing when to sell, it has been argued with great success, is one of the most important factors in protecting trading capital and living to trade again. Trading systems that alert the trader to both entry and exit strategies that are simplistic in mechanics are by far the best emini trading systems


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