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06-24-2007, 02:34 PM   #1

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Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

This thread and succeeding threads will discribe my use of market statistics as an intraday trading tool. I wanted to write this down some where for my own edification and perhaps introduce some new ideas that have not been expressed before. Perhaps some of these thoughts may be of use to those of you who are mainly interested in price action, and what market statistics implies about it.

We are all aware that price action is all about probabilities. One can ask the question, what is the probablility that at any moment in time, prices will move higher rather than lower. To answer this question requires a knowledge of the probability distribution of prices or volume. The shape of the distribution, and where present price is in the distribution function, suggests in which direction to trade. If price is in a low probablility region, enter a trade in the direction of higher probability. If price is presently in a high probability region, don't trade.

Sounds simple, but it's fraught with difficulties. Look at figure 1. This is a 2 minute candlestick chart for the E-mini Russell 2000 index futures for June 22, 2007. The volume distribution function is drawn on the left along the price axis with bars extending out to the right. The length of the bar is determined by how much volume was traded at that price. The longer the bar, the more volume traded at that price.
Looks a lot like a Market Profile. In fact Market Profile is a subset of this more general probability distribution function.
Several things to note about it as follows:
1)The distribution of volume is roughly symmetric about the peak volume price occurring at 840.20 (indicated by the red line in the center) with some smaller peaks occurring both above the peak(at 842.30 and 843.60) and below the peak (at 837.20 and 836.60)
2)The distribution shows very low trading volume, in the high price area and low price area.

Figure 1

I point out this symmetry in the distribution mainly because it is unusual. It doesn't occur very often. More often than not, the peak volume price does not occur in the center of the distribution.

I've also shaded in light blue, the region outside what is called the value area for you Market Profile fans. The green region is the value area, the area where 70% of the volume has traded. I suspect that 70% was chosen as the value area because it is close to 1 standard deviation of a normal distribution ( 68.3%). The normal distribution is symmetric about the peak volume price. There have been lots of prognostications about how to trade when price moves back and forth across the value area, especially value areas generated the previous day. For a more or less complete list of these trade setups see the following sticky thread or this site

Simply entering a long where the volume distribution is low (below 836.60) and exiting the trade when price moves back into the high volume area (near the peak volume price) doesn't hack it, the reason being, that what looks like a low volume area now, could become a high volume area later on in the day. In actual practice, one never knows what the distribution will look like later on in the day.

Take a look at figure 2, which shows the same 2 minute chart of the Russell at 12:16 EST, 106 minutes after the open. The peak volume is at 842.30, and the last bar has closed in a low volume area at 839.90. The distribution looks pretty much symmetric. What do you do? You pull the trigger and go long. Would this have been a good entry? Apparently not. Price action drops the market like a stone as shown in figure 3. By 12:34, price has dropped to 835.80. You exit for a loss of 4.1 pts (\$410).

Figure 2

Figure 3

So what happened?
What happened was, the distribution function decided to expand. It would evenutally expand so much, that the peak volume price would eventualy move down to 840.20 (figure 1). In fact, you should NOT have taken the trade described above, for reasons which will be mentioned in a future thread, when we introduce the concept of the volume weighted average price, the VWAP in part II.

JERRY
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Last edited by jperl; 08-30-2007 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Added images for seeing charts better

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06-24-2007, 03:05 PM   #2

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Excellent intro. Looking forward to the next post on how VWAP filter out this type of entry. I myself am a big user of volume by price so this should be interesting.
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06-24-2007, 03:54 PM   #3

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Yes, I definitely look forward to the next installments

06-25-2007, 02:10 AM   #4

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Interesting, yes. Seems to me the answer to why a market breaks out of an intraday range lies in the action on higher time frames. Look forward to seeing your analysis.

06-25-2007, 03:18 AM   #5

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Yes, this is a market in balance and it is an attempted 'coil break' away from value. There is a lot more to this set-up though than the distribution -- you had a large, unfilled opening gap yet the put-call ratio did not surge (put-calls generally take off on a big opening gap down) -- you had very negative breadth indicating widespread weakness, volume had been low relative to previous day indicating lack of strong institutional selling --- but then it picked up sharply as price dropped down outside of the 'accepted range' -- lower prices began attracting MORE selling, the opposite of a market in balance --- this is a 'go-with' to the downside.

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06-25-2007, 06:03 PM   #6

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Quote:
 Originally Posted by waveslider » Interesting, yes. Seems to me the answer to why a market breaks out of an intraday range lies in the action on higher time frames. Look forward to seeing your analysis.
Want to explain about action on higher time frames waveslider?

06-26-2007, 02:50 AM   #7

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

Dogpile started into it with examining breadth. Declining issues heavily were outweighing advancing in both price and volume.

I keep a screen up with these two ratios illustrated as a histogram. It's a good clue of direction.

As far as higher time frames go, I use price channels and another simple method.

If the market is trending (making new lows or highs, not expanding-ranging patterns) and it remains in the favorable 1/2 of the trend, then I expect the trend is still intact.

That is one way I bias trades. I use a timeframe about 10x as large as the chart I enter on. So I use a 90 tick chart, look for trend on 900 tick chart.

In this case, the congestion you noted on the chart above was occurring in the lower 1/2 of the impulse move down. It was also occurring below the 1/2 mark of the counter-trend move higher.

Nothing high tech here, I'm just keeping it simple. Sorry this is getting off topic from market profile. My favorite parts of MP are the ability to see a range easily (like we're in now), and the VPOC - which I see as being very powerful.

ws

06-26-2007, 02:52 AM   #8

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Re: Trading With Market Statistics I. Volume Histogram

I'd love to hear more about how you use VWAP to bias trades Jerry

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