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Dogpile

Trading the Nasdaq-100 (NQ) Futures

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ok fellas, its us against the machines (progam trading institutions). let's work together. this thread is for discussing the technical structure of the NQ futures and strategies for profitable trading in this contract.

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ok fellas, its us against the machines (progam trading institutions). let's work together. this thread is for discussing the technical structure of the NQ futures and strategies for profitable trading in this contract.

 

This future has been always a great question for me, I understand it has quite nice volume, but doesnt have that much range...

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Nasdaq is a game of stop-gunning and shakeouts. This is good news for short-term traders. My strategy is to patiently wait for the shakeout and then go the other way.

 

A few guidelines I use:

 

1. Look for a reversal in the 10am - 11am timeframe if the first move of the day is 'away' from the previous days value area. There is very often a shakeout move that looks violent but is often a good counter-trend trade. It will often look like a trend day but the odds are to fade the shakeout and think about trading back towards 'value' -- think Dalton -- you are getting asymmetric location when you fade a morning 'price spike'... even trend days will often have a monster counter-move shakeout which you can catch for a few points. you are not investing with the closing price in mind -- you are just playing for a flush in your direction.

 

2. Look for ABC pattern to set up... this is often another shakeout play as a lower low or higher high looks scary but is usually just another counter-trend set-up.

 

3. You don't need to try to pick tops and bottoms. 7-10 point swings are common -- just try to catch the middle part of the move.

 

4. Look for NQ to touch its previous days POC -- it is a volatile contract that will touch its previous days POC 75%+ of the time. NQ loves to hunt down the previous days POC -- often even when it seems totally unreasonable. In general, its a good idea to look to trade in the direction consistent with NQ touching its previous days POC (though there are clear exceptions).

 

5. Don't overtrade this contract. There is all the liquidity you need. You just need to pull a few points out a day to make a living. Make 3-6 points per day with good size and you will rule the world. Some days, the thing is just nasty. Avoid it for a while. For example -- today -- NQ gapped down TOWARDS thursdays POC at 1954.50 (you prefer the first move to start AWAY from the previous POC). When it gaps and then carries into it, the market is basically back in balance and might just chew everyone up for a while. This is what happened. I may still try a trade in it but I will use smaller size.

 

Comments and other observations. Please join me. You are not 'giving away secrets'... we are all peons in a world of immense institutions. their algorithms couldn't care any less about our scalping strategies.

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Glad to see this thread.

 

I trade the NQ largely because I've found that it's amenable to predictive analysis. It's price action produce market profiles that fit into vey nice little jigsaw puzzle peices. And so, for example, I felt that it was reasonable to assume that today's price action would be bounded by the red horizontal lines on the accompanying chart. Thereafter, intraday analysis gave direction and quite a few entries and exits targets.

 

I also like the fact that the NQ seems to be less "nosiy" than some of the other e-minis. Take the ER. It has about the same daily volume as the NQ but far more ticks (trades) per day. This suggests that there are more small lot ER trades which tend to produce more whipsaw action at pivot highs and lows. Trading is tough enough as it is and I prefer not to have to deal with this noise.

1-NQmp.thumb.png.796413d389796f122eca0d3d52c1623f.png

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<<It's price action produced market profiles that fit into vey nice little jibsaw puzzle peices. >>

 

well said. when you get a chance, would enjoy seeing something you saw in todays technical structure.

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here is a look at thursday... a beautiful day for NQ traders:

 

(I generally skip opening 30-minutes -- just watch)

 

1. play for a 10-11am reversal if 1st push is away from previous day value... (note there was also a little abc down).

 

2. ABC up forms into previous day 'last hour high'... this high forms while STILL in the 10-11am reversal timeframe. fade it for a flush down.

 

3. note how NQ hunts down and touches previous day POC wayyyy up at 67.50. there was a long play here off a mid-day coil breakout. a little tricky since no good ABC down to fade but there is a good tendency to go touch previous day POC.

 

4. after touching the POC, the market is extended and reached that congestion zone (the POC) for some resistance. again, fade this giant ABC up for a flush down...

 

http://bp1.blogger.com/_5h-SWVGx6Ms/RnyVgfVSL3I/AAAAAAAAATs/XV-9fqufXOY/s1600-h/NQ+June+21+2007.bmp

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Here's a quick Q...why do you think the NQ doesn't get as much love as the YM? Tick value seems really nice for the risk...really its similar to the YM. Just curious :)

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YM is a well-structured contract -- the issue is sometimes the range seems to just die for a while.... lately though, YM has opened up nicely. I can understand why YM is popular. personally, I don't understand why NQ isn't more popular relative to ER2. as stated above, ER2 can be extremely noisy around swing highs and lows. I find ER2 to be pretty frustrating -- you have to use wider stops.

 

say an upswing begins across all indices.... for whatever reason, NQ often ticks up with the other contracts and then out of nowhere really kicks in with big-time acceleration. it will just burst 2-4 points in a few seconds. nevertheless, if you are on the wrong side of a surge, you will get filled on your stop at whatever price you put in. I find NQ to be excellent for 'stop-market' orders.

 

the nice thing with NQ is the way it can really stretch out --- it can move far away from 'value' because its so volatile but it still has a very strong tendency to mean-revert back towards value. I find the YM to be a little less mean-reverting simply because it is less volatile. very often, at the end of a downswing -- I will see YM (and ES) make a 'higher low' while NQ makes a lower low (ABC) --this is NQ hunting down the stops below the last swing low. as far as I am concerned, this is a good thing. more 'stretch' means further to go when it mean-reverts.

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ok, let's looks at another ABC. I think this demonstrates why market profile 'value' concept is so useful as a filter for trading.

 

on Friday, look how this is a tough set-up. It looks like a nice corrective ABC down off Thursdays late afternoon 'lower high'. Moreover, this ABC down formed a swing low during the standard shakeout/reversal time of 10-11am. The problem with the set-up is that the first move of the day was not 'away' from previous day value. Instead, there is a pretty big gap down 'towards' value and then it trades further down to 54.50 area, which was the P O C (point of control) for Thursday.

 

I decided to take the trade for a long but I used smaller size because of marginal 'trade location'. It wasn't trading much ABOVE previous day P O C, so location wasn't horrible --- but it wasn't trading 'away' from previous day P O C so trade location was marginal at best. It started my way but didn't go far enough to fill me for a profit and so I insted stopped out for a small loss. In retrospect, I made a mistake -- I think I got carried away because the 10-11am reversal had worked basically every day this week. (of course, had this trade worked for a few points and filled my limit order to sell, I would be patting myself on the back for putting something on when I saw a good pattern -- despite marginal location). (Monday thru Thursday all showed nice tradeable swings off of a 10-11am swing low).

 

So it goes with trading... use smaller size when its not a realllly choice set-up.

 

btw, note that the upswing petered out at the previous days 'last hour low' -- just an interesting sidenote to the structure of the day....

 

http://bp2.blogger.com/_5h-SWVGx6Ms/Rn0-3fVSL5I/AAAAAAAAAT8/qnPB4kgyYGQ/s1600-h/NQ+June+22+2007.bmp

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Another ABC pattern...

 

this was another ABC pattern.... note that you don't know how far the B to C leg of ABC will go up.... you have to remain open to the possibility that it COULD rocket higher... you can't just short every ABC... in this case though, look how the ABC up found resistance at the 15-min 20ema amid a very bearish day... when it starts down off this, I think its worth a shot. Not at full size but ABC up is just a great pattern if you think you have a good reason that trade location is also good. Not a pristine set-up but worth reviewing I think:

 

http://bp1.blogger.com/_5h-SWVGx6Ms/Rn1CdPVSL6I/AAAAAAAAAUE/hZmQS-gEh78/s1600-h/NQ+June+22+2007.bmp

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Here's a quick Q...why do you think the NQ doesn't get as much love as the YM? Tick value seems really nice for the risk...really its similar to the YM. Just curious :)

 

There's a lot more volume on NQ than YM. If you multiply the tick value by the daily ATR the NQ is the cheapest of all mini US stock index futures to trade. It doesn't get debated much on this forum (until now) but does on other forums.

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There's a lot more volume on NQ than YM. If you multiply the tick value by the daily ATR the NQ is the cheapest of all mini US stock index futures to trade. It doesn't get debated much on this forum (until now) but does on other forums.

 

I will look closer to NQ this week, sounds interesting this aspects on this future... I want to find the way to be able to trade 100 contracts confortably on a given future (ES would do it but I am not good at it )... I dont know if NQ would make it... someone here trades 100 contracts on NQ ? thanks Walter.

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I will look closer to NQ this week, sounds interesting this aspects on this future... I want to find the way to be able to trade 100 contracts confortably on a given future (ES would do it but I am not good at it )... I dont know if NQ would make it... someone here trades 100 contracts on NQ ? thanks Walter.

 

Walter - when I traded the NQ, I traded 50 a clip with no problem. I would not think 100 would be an issue either. Of course, those numbers are not a problem on the ES as well.

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Walter - when I traded the NQ, I traded 50 a clip with no problem. I would not think 100 would be an issue either. Of course, those numbers are not a problem on the ES as well.

 

yhea, you Brown made my mouth water with your ES trading man... I envy you...;) jejeje.... ES was a project for me, but never made it... not easy to trade, now volume there its really nice... cheers Walter.

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If you're accustomed to trading the YM, but would like to use more SIZE, then use the NQ instead, since the tick value and range is pretty much the same.

 

NQ has more volume and depth than the YM, IMHO.

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Discussion of todays action in NQ:

 

NQ opened Mondays session 'in balance' --- near 1948.00 POC from friday... then did an instant flush down below Fridays low to 34.25 (-13.75 from POC) to wash out weak holders before launching higher. I was looking for a reversal below fridays low for a long but it was a quick-spike-whipsaw which led to tougher trade location for a long as it pushed back into the choppy range from Friday. NQ found a little resistance near 'last hour high' at 1952.00, forming a bull flag that led to a 2nd push up reaching 56.50.

 

NQ then began to trade down before pushing a 3rd time up into the lunch hour timeframe. Volume and breadth during this entire move were mediocre.

 

On the final push up, a price/momentum divergence formed on both the 15-min and 1600-tick timeframes -- my primary pattern focus timeframe. See attached chart which shows this divergence (price new high, oscillator lower high). It is not uncommon for a 15-min divergence like this to mark the high or low for the day.

 

http://bp0.blogger.com/_5h-SWVGx6Ms/RoB6ZPVSL7I/AAAAAAAAAUM/KymwidlRWgk/s1600-h/NQ+June+25+2007.bmp

 

NQ chopped slowly lower in somewhat bizarre action for NQ (it tends to move around quickly). The days POC formed here at 1953.25 -- the market appeared to have found balance.

 

Not long after this, we had a break away from balance as volume picked up sharply. This pattern had general feel of a head & shoulders topping formation on YM and ES (NQ not so much) but the markets drifted down slowly for the first leg creating difficult location to take a short. I would be happy to hear how others may have entered a short here. To tell the truth, I was thinking about taking a long on YM but it just fell and fell and never really came close to triggering me in with parabolic break to the upside.

 

By the close, we still have an afternoon 'trending profile' to the downside on accelerated volume -- but the market close of 40.75 is 12.50 points below the daily POC. This creates an interesting situation for tomorrow. We have ABC pattern up after a very strong momentum push down. This is an excellent short set-up. At the same time, there is a strong tendency to go touch 1953.25 tomorrow.

 

I will not be surprised if NQ touches 53.25 tomorrow and I will not be surprised if NQ completes its ABC-up and then makes a low below todays low tomorrow. Stay flexible and take whatever it is that sets up.

 

http://bp2.blogger.com/_5h-SWVGx6Ms/RoB9-vVSL8I/AAAAAAAAAUU/B3OnDja7V48/s1600-h/NQ+1600tick+Chart+Jun+25+2007.bmp

 

 

comments on todays markets appreciated.

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I thought I would post the TS price distirubtion chart that I am currently using to determine upward support/resistance/price targets as the NQ proceeds to higher ground. The chart depicts the price distributions that developed between June 27th and July 16th 2001. The blue line is the 2009.75 high that was achieved last Friday, the magenta lines are what I consider to be general resistance/target levels based on the way I eyeball the charts (they are judgemental but have worked exceedingly well for me in the past) and the cyan lines are virgin P-O-Cs/targets.

 

When the 2110.5 level is broken I will have to refer to the price distribution charts from April 18th to May 16th, 2001 for additional support/resistance/targets. To the best of my knowledge TS does not price hisotrical NQ data prior to March, 2001. I suppose I could review pre-March, 2001 NDX.X charts to give me a general idea about what I might expect but this could get complicated. If anyone has any thoughts for a work-around it would be appreciated.

5aa70de5df823_NQMP6-72001.thumb.jpg.cfd06f40cbe5e944494e3c9126bfeb60.jpg

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NQ has not had a lot of good set-ups lately - probably due to lack of good volume. hopefully, it picks up soon.

 

I like trading NQ futures in the morning session (generally counter-trend) and YM futures in the afternoon (with the trend).

 

here is what I have been seeing lately:

 

see NQ Structure and NQ Structure Part 2 Videos

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OYnIZ6mUUE

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h5Zj4R4bY4

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NQ has not had a lot of good set-ups lately - probably due to lack of good volume. hopefully, it picks up soon.

 

Define "good volume" and range.

 

Since the NQ has over twice the volume of the YM (214,563 vs. 103,409 for Monday 9 Jul 07), and made new contract highs on holiday trading volume Friday, I'm not sure as to your criteria here.

 

(Nice videos, BTW - you might want to get a "Directors" account at Youtube so you won't have to chop up your thoughts to squeeze them in, since "Directors" can post longer form videos there.)

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