Friday, October 12, 2007

Futures Day Trading - Patterns in The S&P 500 and E-mini Futures Contracts- PART 1

Identifying patterns that repeat in the futures market, then jumping on them, is what it's all about. These patterns can be rather complex, requiring an accumulated library of observations. The best way to do it is through your own intuition. There's no better computer trading program than your own trained mind.

When do we start talking about the S&P 500 futures contract patterns that repeat over and over throughout the day? Right now! Theres so many. Just to give you an example of what Im talking about, from June to December 2005, I filled up about 55 typewritten pages with 240 different examples describing the general futures patterns I saw. And Im still adding to them. I then read them into a tape recorder and often listen to the tapes to reinforce these observations.

Its so easy to forget what weve seen. Going through a futures bull market" lasting 5 days can easily erase ideas we learned about the last mini-bear market the week before. The idea is to sit in front of the screen and watch the market unfold. You need to be constantly scanning the various charts, one-minute, five minute, sixty minute and daily bars to look for these patterns and set ups. Your mouse should always be moving and clicking. Take visual snapshots every five minutes. Scan your instruments and environment, just as a pilot does in an airplane .

These futures price patterns can sometimes each take two paragraphs to describe. They can involve COMBINATIONS of price formations, volatility, dullness, spikes, erosion, persistent strength, tick patterns, premium patterns, relationships to other markets, wave structure, volume, time counts and other subtle combinations. They all add up to that magic signal inside your head that the market is about to make a worthwhile turn. One or two indications dont mean much. In addition, they must be in context to the futures market position. Dont get caught swinging from one or two tree branches.

For example, let's say the market goes dull and quiet. This can be very bullish at a bottom. Or it can be very bearish at a top. Or it can mean nothing if the market is in a middle range like when the traders go to lunch between 12-1PM east coast time. Proper context is the key when interpreting these signals into meaningful pattern combinations.

These signals are decoded using "fuzzy logic" - your brain. Digital software can't compete! There's no way to program these complex patterns with a computer or neural net. Ive tried it and have come up with some effective systems, but I've always done better using the human mind for integration.

Part Two of Three Parts - Next!

There is substantial risk of loss trading futures and options and may not be suitable for all types of investors. Only risk capital should be used.

Thomas Cathey directs the managed futures division of Thomas Capital Management, LLC. Get FREE, his complete 44+ lesson, "Thomas Commodity Trading Course" and weekly TimeLine newletter by visiting: The course is brand new and fun reading... a "street-wise" trading e-course. Visit the main Thomas Capital Management trading website at:

Stocks Double All The Time

Did you know that $1000 Invested one time, if it returns 100% a year would be worth over $1,000,000 in 10 years? Here is how it breaks down

Start $1,000

End of Year 1 $2,000

End of Year 2 $4,000

End of Year 3 $8,000

End of Year 4 $16,000

End of Year 5 $32,000

End of Year 6 $64,000

End of Year 7 $128,000

End of Year 8 $256,000

End of Year 9 $512,000

End of Year 10 $1,024,000

That is doubling your money every year.

Of course that scenario doesn't include taxes etc.. However if you had a 401K you wouldn't get taxed on it.

Maybe you have seen that before but that shows that the person with a Long term strategy can make a great deal of money from not a big investment. 100% a year isn't a lot when we are talking about HYIP investments but how many of those are going to last 10 years as well? NONE

Did you know a good percentage of Stocks double each year? I just did some quick research on this with the newspaper. I opened up the Stock Market section for the Nasdaq/AMEX. I decided to check the 52 week high and 52 week low for some stocks. What I was searching for is how many stocks under a certain letter were at least double from its 52 week low. In other words for a stock like "Hansen" (I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY DO OR ANY INFO ON THEM THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE) This company (Hansen) had a 52 week HIGH of $44.25 and 52 week Low of $8.51 and was trading above $44. So from the low of $8.51 to the high that is over 5x increase. Point being their are a LOT of stocks that move up 100% in a year, Hansen moved up 400%+!

I did research on a few different letters. (I only looked at letters that had a small # of companies just to show you the research. I didn't want to do like the letter "S" which would have hundreds of companies)

I did the letters "H", "J", "O", and "XYZ". In my paper the letter "H" had 33 companies listed for the Nasdaq/Amex of those 33 companies 16 of them had a 52 week hi/low difference of at least 90%. 17 of the companies did not.

The letter "J" had 9 companies that had a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better, and 5 companies that did not. The letter "O" had 27 companies that had a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better and only 15 companies that didn't. The letters "XYZ" had 17 companies with a 52 week hi/low of better than 90% and 6 that did not.

So of those 6 letters listed above companies under those letters had companies with a 52 week hi/low of 90% or better 69 times and not 43 times.

My point of this is MANY stocks each year double in value no matter what the overall stock market does. All you need is to find 1 a year that can double. That could go from .50 cents to $1. Or $5 to $10 or $20 to $40. You ONLY need 1 stock!

One stock I mentioned on our Alley Cat Trading Newsletter went from .26 cents back in late November to almost $1 in early January. That more than doubled in less than 2 months!The stock was CYGX. I am sure there are many stock trading newsletters online and off. Do some research on them and the companies they recommend. Remember you only need 1 good stock a year. You could very well have a situation like with CYGX where it doubled in a very short time You take your profits and go hunting for the next stock. You don't always have to be in a trade. If that trade took you 2 months you are 10 months ahead of schedule take your time to find the next stock that could turn. Maybe that stock ends up taking 14 months to double.

Copyright 2006 Steve Hoven

Steve Hoven has had years of experience trading. check out his free newsletter at

Surviving A Hard Market

Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines deja vu as - something overly or unpleasantly familiar. Anyone that has been in the staffing business since the late 1980s and early 1990s knows exactly what this means when referencing worker's compensation. Prior to the early 1980s no one concerned themselves with the cost of worker's compensation nor did they talk about the roller coaster effect of premiums.

There were no terms such as soft market or hard market. But in the mid to late 1980s workers compensation insurance costs started spiraling upward. The upward swing saw many companies lose their business and forced others to turn to self-insurance, retention plans or other means of alternative insurance. Everyone knew that the state fund or assigned risk pool was a proverbial kiss of death for a staffing firm. Then in the mid 90s, without much notice, the market began to soften. Companies who had once fled the insurance market for other insuring vehicles found that the cost of workers compensation through conventional means was much more attractive from a cash flow perspective. In fact, staffing firms were being solicited by many carriers and enjoyed the benefit of a small pricing war. Premiums that were far below prior years losses were being quoted to companies. Modifiers were being ignored or negotiated down and premium credits became the norm as opposed to the exception. Little concern was shown for a companys risk management program. It was a real feeding frenzy by carriers.

The reasoning behind this soft market was that companies had identified the problems associated with injuries and resolved them. Losses were trending down nationally and there were those that said that the market would never go hard again. Carriers paid little attention to the insureds attitude toward safety and loss control when considering a quote for insurance. It is true that there are reasons that can explain the soft market, but the ones mentioned here are not the real reasons. In order to survive a hard market one must know why it occurs. By knowing what drives a market soft or hard, a company can position themselves to experience minimal impact and survive.

First lets look at the actions taken by companies when insurance costs started to spiral. Most companies began looking for ways to lower their premiums and in the early 90s, found that if they would retain a level of their losses, carriers were willing to give better pricing. The more retention taken the better the pricing offered. But this would mean that the insured would need to improve their safety and loss control program to ensure that deductibles they had to pay (retention levels) were kept to a minimum. Much attention was given to the implementation of comprehensive procedures to identify potential employees that might be apt to be injured or to file a fraudulent claim. More safety training was provided to employees. Drug screening became very popular and most companies hired or designated risk managers, qualified or not. A new process of qualifying clients became popular and a team effort for increasing safety and reducing losses was developed between staffing firms and their clients. All of these actions resulted in a significant reduction in loss ratios (losses divided by premium) that opened the eyes of a few carriers. At this time most carriers were reluctant to write workers compensation insurance for staffing firms because they did not believe that the industry could control the worker or the work environment and historical data confirmed this. Remember, this was a period in time that most people thought of staffing firms as secretarial pools or rent a drunk. And with average loss ratios of 150% or greater, payouts for losses were far exceeding premiums collected. So who can blame carriers for not wanting to accept this type of insured? With the advent of all of the intensive risk management being implemented coupled with several months of success resulting in loss ratios of 35% or less, and the retention of some of the losses, the prospect of being profitable by insuring staffing firms surfaced and some carriers decided to take the chance.

But it wasnt just the good risk management procedures that provided the incentive to insure a known high-risk industry. If you look at the graph of the stock market over the past ten years, you will quickly realize that there is a direct correlation between it and the insurance market. Heres why. Insurance companies collect premium from clients but they do not pay claims right away and when they do pay the claims, it is usually over a period of time. This allows them the opportunity to invest the money and earn a return. When the markets are doing well and returns are great, carriers are more interested in the amount of volume they have as opposed to the quality of the insured. An example of this is that in one recent year the insurance industry reported four billion dollars in losses. (This sounds like a lot but is a relatively small amount.) That same year they reported thirty-four billion dollars of investment income. With a thirty billion dollar net, it is easy to see why they would want the premium dollars regardless of the risk. The fact is that the pendulum swung so far in the other direction that in many cases a company could get a guaranteed cost policy for a price less than that of the retention programs. This would prove to be short-lived and the pendulum returned at a very swift rate when the interest rates began to fall and the stock market began its downward trend.

Another factor that must be considered is the number of catastrophes that occur in a given year. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, drought, fire and tornados can have an impact on all types of insurance premiums. Few insurance companies limit themselves to one type of coverage such as workers compensation. They usually have a variety of lines of coverage. If carriers are hit hard from the above mentioned catastrophes or if they lose millions in lawsuits from employment related issues such as discrimination, it will impact all premium costs. In the mid-nineties, catastrophic losses were minimal. If a carrier suffers losses to the degree that they are forced to shut down, there will be a rippling effect on all insurers. An example of this is the failure of Universal Re. When they were forced to shut down due to poor underwriting procedures, almost immediately prices increased across the country, from five to twenty percent as other re-insurers scrambled to protect themselves from a similar fate. Many front line carriers either failed or saw a significant decrease in their financial position.

In 1998, some insurance experts began to warn of the upcoming hard market. But the economy was booming, prices were still low and these warnings fell on deaf ears. These experts realized that it was unlikely that investments could sustain their high returns. It was also evident that companies were becoming complacent with their risk management procedures. This coupled with the likelihood of a catastrophic year gave reason to warn companies of the impending hard market. And as these experts predicted, the hard market returned.

For some it is too late to salvage their businesses because the insurance companies had turned their heads to the staffing industry and the high cost of workers compensation in the state fund or assigned risk pool eliminated all profits. Some have just closed their doors while others have surrendered their businesses to larger firms for far less than the actual value. And many more will follow before this hard market is over.

Now that you know some of the reasons behind the fluctuating market, what can you do to survive and avoid becoming another casualty? First and foremost you must develop a mindset of long term planning as opposed to insurance carrier hopping. Insurance carriers are looking for companies that want to establish long-term relationships as opposed to those that jump ship every year. This type of relationship affords the carrier the opportunity to better understand the insureds needs and to benefit from averaging. Every company has the potential to have a bad year. This bad year can be softened if it is averaged in with a few good years. When you develop a relationship with a carrier and stay with them over a period of time, both will benefit. You must remember that price is not important; it is cost that counts. A low upfront premium could ultimately cost you thousands more if the company provides poor service. This could include poor claims handling or inadequate coverage due to hidden exclusions. Regardless of who is to blame, a year of high losses will negatively impact your ability to secure affordable insurance. If this is your current situation then do something about it now!

Second, consider some level of retention when possible. By accepting responsibility for the first level of claims dollar you have an incentive to reduce or eliminate a large portion of these claims. It is also important to remember that for every dollar the carrier pays you pay $1.50 to $2.00. If you pay the first dollar then you can save 50-100% on that portion of the claim. Make sure that your contract does not allow the carrier to up charge you for those deductibles. Retention levels come in a variety of amounts and as they get larger you must be aware that the carrier will require that you post collateral in the form of a letter of credit or cash. This can have a devastating impact on cash flow and growth. The most common retention levels are $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $250,000 and for the larger companies $500,000 to $1million. Captive and Rent-a-Captive programs can be very favorable because they allow you to have better communication with your servicing providers and usually provide you with a return of a portion of your premiums after a low loss year. Many of these programs will also provide you with investment income dollars that normally go to the carrier. But beware. It is important that you have a thorough understanding of how these programs work before making the move. These types of programs are most assuredly designed for those with long-term plans for their business and a serious attitude toward controlling losses. If the program you are considering does not have this mode of operation, then avoid them. Captive-type programs may require a larger amount of upfront cash, but the long-term gain will greatly reduce the cost of insurance. Because they are less cash flow sensitive on the front end it is important to review your financial position prior to entering this type of program.

When deciding on a program it is sometimes best to secure the services of an impartial third party consultant to review your Insurance Desirability before making your decision. The advantage is that the consultant will not influence your decision based on the amount of commission to be earned as might occur with a broker, agent or other direct writer. One company that recently took this approach paid a small fee to have a consultant review their brokers proposal. After careful analysis, the consultant, working with the broker, was able to identify areas that would better suit the insured. The result of the review was that the company reduced their renewal premium by 48%. The consultants fee was 1%. That is a net savings of 47%. This may not happen in your case but it wouldnt have to be that good to be worth talking about.

Finally and most importantly, step back and take another look at your risk management program. Careful analysis will most likely reveal areas that have fallen off due to lack of attention. Situations change and you may need to add or take away certain parts of your program to make it better serve your companys needs. Sometimes you must weigh the cost of a safety process against the end result. If the cost exceeds the benefit then you may decide you dont want to implement this particular process. Look for opportunities to make risk management easier for your staff to implement and remember that they follow your example. If you dont stand firm with your program you cannot expect your staff to be any different. Provide them with the necessary tools for effective risk management and hold them accountable if they fail to use them. Make sure that if a carrier considering a quote for your company decides to visit your facilities that there is solid proof that you are a good risk. Dont expect them to believe you just because you have a risk management book and a few forms. They have fallen for this in the past but wont fall victim to this action again. Prove it without a doubt by making risk management an everyday part of your operation. The result will be fewer dollars spent on losses and bigger savings on renewing policies.

If you follow these simple instructions and monitor the factors such as the stock market and catastrophic events, you will position yourself to survive in a hard market and thrive in a soft market.

The principals of have a combined 50 plus years of experience in risk management, sales training, insurance, and information technology. Since 1997, JPA dba ArcAetos has been a consulting firm dedicated to educating companies on proper risk management techniques and assisting them in avoiding unjust premium charges by their workers' compensation carriers.

Forex Trading - A Simple 4 Point Way To Making Big Profits

I read a lot about how difficult forex trading is, but making money from Forex trading is essentially simple if you keep in mind the following 4 points.

I have tried to illustrate this live and showed 3 trading opportunities and all made great profits and had low risk.

Lets look at this simple way to make profits more closely:

1. You Are responsible

If you think you can buy an e-book and make yourself rich by paying $100 think again.

Most of the advice sold on the net is not worth the paper its written on. If you want to buy a system keep in mind the following:

1. Make sure the vendor trades it and has made real money and the track record is NOT just a simulation.

2. If you do buy a system make sure you know how and why the logic works:


If you dont know why it works you will not have the discipline to follow it and discipline is essential when trading.

If you dont have discipline to apply it you dont have a method in the first place.

2. A simple method

If you follow a system or build your own keep it simple.

Simple systems work best and are far better than complicated ones.


Because they are less likely to break in the face of ever changing brutal market conditions.

How simple?

We use support resistance and just 3 indicators:

Stochastics, Bollinger bands and RSI.

The best methodology to use is to utilize breakouts and sing trade within the trend.

Note: Never day trade this is a great way to lose your money quickly as you have no valid data to work with.

Finally, if you use a system like the above - always trade on confirmation from your charts to get into your position so price momentum is on your side:

Dont guess or try and predict!

This is a mistake made by many novice traders.

3. Money management

Trading using critical support and resistance means that stops are easy to place and risk can be kept low. 4. Targets

Trade with a target where you want to take profit.

Resist the temptation to trail stops to quickly that will simply see you knocked out the trade by volatility.

Once you have reached you target you can liquidate, or trail your stop then but not before.

Dont make money management complicated or try and lock in profits to quickly or have stops to close this is a major reason traders lose.

This sounds to simple!

Yes it is simple - but it works.

Many traders think the more effort they put in the more they will get out of trading, but there is no correlation between the effort you make and profits you achieve.

Work smart not hard.

Trading is essentially simple and relies on a logical robust method you understand.

You will then have the confidence to apply it with discipline.

Many people try and beat the market or think they can win all the time and buy bottoms and sell tops You cant!

The aim of forex trading is simply to make above average profits and if you keep it simple you will.

If you try and be to clever, or get to complicated in your approach you will lose.


On all aspects of becoming a profitable trader including features, downloads and some great FREE Trading PDF's visit our website at

How To Become A Stock Broker

Stockbrokers can aim to trade on the New York Stock Exchange, which is the largest stock exchange in the world, the American Stock Exchange, which specializes in exchange-traded funds, along with small to mid-size stocks, or the NASDAQ, which is the "over the counter" stock exchange.

The average stock broker salary may be in excess of $175,000 for retail stock brokers and about double that figure for institutional stock brokers, while the average investment banker may take home about $850,000 in pay and bonuses.

Traits of successful stock brokers

To convince clients to trust you with their investment, you need self confidence, selling skills and the capacity to take repeated rejection. Stock brokers must have integrity, together with competence and professionalism, in order to excel.

Employers prefer to hire mature people with good interpersonal skills, who have the capacity to work independently. Successful people from other professions, who wish to make a career change, are also welcomed by employers. Employers may like to do a credit check to ensure that applicants have a clean record and a good credit history.

Essential qualifications and licenses

There is no stock broker requirement for any specialized qualification, though many stock brokers have a college degree. A college degree in business, economics or finance can be useful, and it may be necessary to have one, if you are interested in joining one of the larger brokerage firms.

Usually, people dont become stock brokers immediately after they graduate. To become a stock broker, you need to get on the job career training with a stock broker firm and obtain a license, after passing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination. Before you can sit for this examination you have to undergo on-the-job stock broker training with a brokerage for at least four months.

After completing the General Securities Registered Representative Examination, you may also be required to take the Uniform Securities Agents State Law Examination in many states.

Unlike other careers, online career training or free career training for stock brokers cannot replace this mandatory period of working with a brokerage house and grants for career are not available for this practical training.

The Series 7 Stock Broker exam, which is administrated by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), provides individuals with the qualifications needed to trade in various types of corporate securities, with the exception of commodities and futures.

Posting their profile on a stock broker listing on the Internet can help brokers to gain visibility through search engines such as Google and Yahoo and you will get more business. These listings can help clients to make a stock broker comparison, before they decide to give their business to a particular broker.

Stock broking is an amazing profession and those who persist in their efforts to succeed, can look forward to success beyond their wildest imagination.

Ayna Miah knows the stock brokerage industry secrets both inside and out. Now he wants to share his profitable knowledge with you.Discover the insider tips, techniques and secrets that will turn you into a Successful Stock Broker and even if you have no experience whatsoever.