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Why are the Best Trading Opportunities Scary?

Posted by Mark Meadows, TopstepTrader on February 14, 2019

Twice this week, I’ve been noticeably “scared” to enter a trade.

The first time was Monday, when I noticed an opportunity while watching the Market Forecast with TopstepTrader’s Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland. As he does every day at 8:15 AM CT live on TopstepTrader's Facebook page, John brought up the Crude Oil chart. It showed Crude was selling off hard to $51.26, slightly below a double swing low at $51.33 from January 17 and January 28. It was a clear opportunity.

But I missed it.

As the chart above shows, the price even came back to test that level two hours later. You’d think that this would be a great opportunity, but instead it just confirmed my thoughts that the market was “heavy.” The market looked heavy. It looked like the support was going to give.

It didn’t, and with the benefit of hindsight, we see that prices rallied that day $1.50 and have been rallying ever since. Opportunity missed again.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Forex, Futures, Emotions

Equity Bull vs Bear Debate: The Weekly Review

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 08, 2019

There were some big moves in equity markets this week. The run higher that started right before the New Year finally hit a snag. And now the chart looks like it might be creating a lower high — at least that's what our Market Analyst Mark Meadows has to say. That's not good for equity bulls. 

But not so fast, says Senior Performance Coach John Hoagland. He thinks that there are some areas of repair lower in the charts, but that the path of least resistance is higher. Here's the debate. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Weekly Review

The Weekly Review: Powell Forces Bears into Hibernation

Posted by TopstepTrader on February 01, 2019

The Federal Reserve meeting proved to be the event of the week. By not only reiterating their cautious approach, but also walking back quantitative tightening, the Fed put a bid under markets. Whether this is enough juice to get equity markets moving to new all-time highs is an issue for debate. 

In this week's Weekly Review, Mark takes issue with the idea that the Fed has to support equity markets, while Dan continues to drink the Kool-Aid and call for more accommodation. Check out their reactions to how futures markets moved this week. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Weekly Review

This is the Equity Curve of a Trader with $27,000 in Profits Over 46 Trading Days

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 28, 2019

2019 has seen a couple new funded traders get off to red-hot starts. We talked a couple weeks ago about how Gabriel F. in Spain added $26,000 in profits in 33 trading days

But it's not just Gabriel that has been able to add big profits to his trading account recently. Bill M. in Illinois gained nearly $27,000 in profits in his Funded Account® over 46 trading days. And their two trading styles could not be less alike, proving that you can make money in a multitude of different ways. 

Whereas Gabriel sticks with Crude Oil and equity futures, Bill trades anything and everything. He's held positions in currencies (Australian Dollar, British Pound), metals (Copper, Gold), energies (Crude Oil, Natural Gas), agriculture products (Live Cattle), financials (Ultra Bond) and equities (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Nikkei). 

Also different: their reward-to-risk ratios. Gabriel had a perfect 2:1 reward-to-risk ratio; Bill's average winning trade is actually less than his average losing trade (+$471.82 vs -$571.65). To stay profitable, Bill has nearly 70% winning trades and 57% winning days. And, critically, he never loses too much on any one day — his largest winning day is $4,776 vs. a largest losing day of $1,550. 

Here's a closer look at Bill's equity curve, which is a beautiful lower left to upper right pattern. 

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Success Stories, Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures, Risk Management

The Weekly Preview: Fed and Jobs Take Center Stage

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 28, 2019

This is going to be an action-packed week in futures and forex markets thanks to some major macroeconomic events: Wednesday's Federal Reserve announcement and Friday's Non-Farms Payrolls and Unemployment Reports. 

Mark, who believes that the bottom in equity futures and the risk-off trade is not yet in, debates with Dan, who believes it is, about how these events might drive the next big move in markets. Here's how they're approaching the week. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Trading Lessons, Futures

What it Takes to be a Profitable Trader

Posted by TopstepTrader on January 27, 2019


In 2018, TopstepTrader funded more than 1,020 futures trading accounts with our capital. Behind all of those accounts was one risk manager: Mick Ieronimo. Mick saw the behaviors and trades that powered successful traders, as well as those behaviors that were common among unsuccessful traders.

In this must listen-to episode of Limit Up!, Mick discusses all of these things and what he has learned as a trader, both independently and with 'Market Wizard' Linda Raschke, and risk manager with TopstepTrader. 

Limit Up! is also available on iTunesGoogle Play or Spotify, where you can subscribe to get fresh episodes each week delivered to your inbox. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Limit Up!, Forex, Futures, Mick Ieronimo

This is the Worst Thing You can do while Trading in Heightened Volatility

Posted by TopstepTrader on December 05, 2018

This is an incredible trading environment. Yesterday's moves in U.S. equity, interest rate and forex markets offered tremendous opportunities. This is a time when traders have to adjust their strategy, says Peter Davies of Jigsaw Trading. 

Peter recently sat down with Topstep's Eddie Horn to talk about how to trade volatility — from someone who has been involved in markets from before the 1999 tech boom and bust. Peter offers tactical advice for traders, including what the absolute worst adjustment you can make in heightened volatility is and how you can improve your performance each and every day. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Limit Up!, Forex, Peter Davies, Futures

3 Things I Did to Pass Step 1 and Step 2 of the Trading Combine® in 15 days

Posted by Jason Love, Oil Trading Group on November 06, 2018

Hello, my name is Jason Love, and I am the Founder and Lead Trader for the Oil Trading Group.

As a way of quick background, I have been affiliated with TopstepTrader in one capacity or another since 2012. I have been a funded trader, educator and webinar presenter. I strongly recommend TopstepTrader to all the traders with whom I come in to contact. Even if the trader has no intention of becoming a funded trader, I advise them to take (and pass) a Trading Combine® prior to risking their own funds.

The reason for this is quite simple: if you can pass a Trading Combine using TopstepTrader’s parameters, then you will be in a better position to handle your live trading account and, ultimately, in a better position to make money trading futures.

That’s why, from time-to-time, I will also enter a Trading Combine and trade it live in front of my trading room audience. The purpose is to demonstrate live what we talk about all the time: the fact that the number one job of a trader is to preserve capital. Making money is secondary to preserving capital.

Here are three things I did to pass my latest Trading Combine in 15 days.

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Futures

Trade Better: How to Adjust to Volatility and Avoid Frustration

Posted by TopstepTrader on November 04, 2018

Trading can be frustrating. Perhaps never more so than when you think you are seeing the market clearly and yet, you can't seem to take advantage. 

That was the topic of a post on Topstep's private Facebook community, where Lee A. said:

"I'm again having the comical problem of being 100% correct in directional moves, yet getting stopped out or filling entries that go nowhere. And just found myself upside down once again today and had to cut a trade at a big loss. Can anyone share some wisdom?"

The post hit a nerve within the community, particularly given the recent volatility that has some traders wondering how to adjust their styles in a new environment. So, Performance Coach Dan Hodgman and our Content Manager Mark Meadows got on Facebook Live to talk through their recommendations for adjustments traders should make to continue to make money trading futures. Enjoy. 

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

Success Story: How One Funded Trader Made a $7,000 Withdrawal in October

Posted by TopstepTrader on November 03, 2018

Why have we been saying that markets right now are full of opportunities? Because volatility plus risk management can equal big profits. Take just one example, Jacob B. in Utah, who started in his TopstepTrader Funded Account® on October 1 and amassed a healthy amount of profits and a $7,000 withdrawal check by the end of the month. 

What can you learn from how Jacob managed his account and took advantage of what the market gave him? 

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Futures

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