Name: Just call me Steve
Location: Denver, CO, formerly New York, NY and Stamford, CT
Years Trading: 13 total, 9 professionally
Work History: 2 years sell-side (name redacted investment bank) Risk Arbitrage (equities) analyst, 1 year sell-side FX analyst (name redacted investment bank), 3.5 years buy side (name redacted hedge fund) trader/analyst global macro and credit, 4 years Commodity Trading Advisor, remainder proprietary. Work roles have required me to take and pass the following: Series 3 (National Commodity Futures), 30 (NFA Branch Manager), 34 (Retail Off-Exchange Forex), 7 (General Securities Representative), and 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law) FINRA examinations
Focus: FX (medium to short term, this blog's initial but evolving focus), Energy Futures (short term) and Equities (long term)
Style: Fundamental backdrop using technicials (volume accumulation and raw price action) as “staging” and perfecting timing. Markets are largely forward-looking and when they're not, the only advantage is speed, which is a discipline in which I don't participate. Systematic to the point of forecasting movements on breaks and determining price value based on volumes.
Risk Philosophy: High reward to risk keeps the doctor away. Position sizing conservative. Keeps sanity in check and everyone happy. Typically look for a 3 to 1 reward to risk minimum. Higher the better.
I'm a trader who likes to write. A person with a job. Not much more to it than that. I don't like making things seem any different than what they are. I have a family, like most of you reading this, and hope that some of this can benefit you in any way. Despite the work experience, it means little in terms of the quality brought to the table. Every day poses a new challenge. It can be grueling work due to the repetitive nature. I am not some kind of oracle, nor ever claim to be. There is always more to learn, and that's largely part of the fun in doing any of this at all.
This blog has been my personal thought repository for all things trading since its inception. In that time, I have introduced a number of concepts including a wide array of gap-based, measured movement, and volume profile-based principles. Here, I seek inner market mechanics while using only prices and volumes themselves and offer some of the deepest explanations of such herein.
A word of warning: many paid trading educators now use such concepts and charge quite the excess of funds to “teach” what is essentially open material that started and is continuously provided on ParaCurve. It is one of the reasons I started branding the material in 2015 and stamping the name on what has been continuously rehashed over the years. Use caution with others.
I, like most of you, struggled with executing on common explanations for a range of market movements made popular through books, TV, the internet, etc. I hope you find value in my own interpretations of what I've seen over the years and if not, that's fine too. Trading knowledge and execution are two completely different things. All the education in the world serves little value if not put to use.
This blog started approximately nine years ago after a hiatus from the corporate world. I left a job at a hedge fund and went solo. The market was heading into a recession and things were just simply starting to get ugly in terms of growth. I always wanted to work for myself and partnered up with some close friends in order to make this happen.
Writing started when I found myself having gaps through the course of my day. I focused strictly on foreign exchange, and with little operational work to keep me busy, started cruising the internet and seeking ways to vent my findings.
In this search I came across a slew of eager traders clamoring over techniques and strategies that simply made zero sense to me. In an effort to simplify things, I drew one line on my charts, posted them, and said “if / when price gets here, it's going to turn”. These lines were nothing more than areas of strong historical support or resistance, e.g. high volume node ledges, or areas of exhaustion.
The more charts I posted the more questions people reading them had, so I began a series of other posts dedicated strictly to explaining various technical market movements. This led to many other things that I continue to write about today, including psychological aspects, standard price patterns that usually go under mainstream radar, alternative uses to profile, and behavioral trading.
I love the markets and I'm a complete addict in every sense, but I use my sensibilities when it comes to putting on exposure. While I started off very heavy-centric in foreign exchange, I now primarily focus on futures markets.
Who Reads Paracurve?
We get all walks of life. Our main demographic is individual traders over the age of 35, followed by individual traders under the age of 35, then professionals. Paracurve gets regular visits from the employees of banks, hedge funds, prop trading firms and other financial institutions. Because of this depth of readership, I make it a priority to put the concepts discussed here in an easy to understand format without watering them down to an ultra-simplistic view of price behaviors or the markets themselves.
Premise for ParaCurve – The Blind Doesn't Always Have to Lead the Blind
I realized a long time ago that there are several very, very alarming things in the educational segment of the trading business. Plagiarism of this site's content gave me a major wake-up call:
Most educational materials geared towards traders are written by others whose primary income is derived from teaching, not trading, or they are simply sponsored by a 3rd party (brokers, usually) whose goal is crank out content to help churn business.
As a result of the above, the quality of the material is subpar, rehashed from books, and most importantly, a very serious gap in application of the actual strategies exists. Having had my materials rehashed and sold to the public, I can safely say that it is amazing how quickly these educators turn around and republish without testing any methods themselves.
Because of the lack of application, what you end up with is “book definition” plastered all over the internet and elsewhere, and these definitions are oftentimes counter to the manner in which the markets actually operate.
Having used the strategies explained herein and working professionally in this business for so many years, I only publish content that I know can be digested and properly implemented by our readers. I make application a primary focus in writing these days because simply, reading just about anything on this or any other site is useless if you can't apply it in a successful manner.
If you would like to help me out, sharing these articles and raising awareness is simply the best way. This site is still in a somewhat dormant state and so any extra recognition is greatly appreciated.
Things I constantly stress:
Trusting intuition 100%
Laziness / sloppy trading avoidance through deep analysis and executing trades at high-probability areas
Strict risk management because it's simply required for an equity curve built to last (longevity is the name of the game)
Avoidance of the opinions of others….if you don't understand it, you shouldn't be trading it
Patience in all efforts; those that push the pedal to the floor usually end up wrapped around a telephone pole
Advice for those starting out:
Learn the basics, and then learn everything else. Know your market in and out.
“Trained Eye” support and resistance (very different from the basic, book definition) and how it works with existing order flows. The ability to calculate informed price projections.
You are trading a forward-looking market, one which is typically slow-to-learn and reacts to the expectation and realization of economic data, rumors and geopolitical events. When something hits the wires, you should know what it means.
All major asset classes interplay to a certain degree. Know the major relationships and how one will affect the other in various circumstances.
Do it one, fine, but don't do it again. Take screenshots and mark them up with all relevant elements as to why the trade / setup worked or failed
Stay on top:
The drivers of this market are shifting constantly. Those that are on the other side of your transaction are usually well aware of what's causing it on a daily basis: you should be in the same boat.
There is a wide range of posts on this site that cover a massive range of topics, but even in three years I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface. Keep reading, exploring, and know quality content when you see it. Just keep one thing in mind when you're reading other sites:
The retail segment is statistically proven to be the least informed participants in this market. Get your information from where it counts. You are likely to gain 100X value in reading a scholarly paper on microstructure compared to a retail broker's explanation of how a MACD works. Trust me.
Take your time, and when you think you have learned it all, you are probably 10% to the finish line. Keep going, and keep your risk to nil while you do so.
I used to post trades but….
The more popular this site got, the more laziness it attracted. Some readers were staring to view me as some form of free service, hounding me daily about what to do here, there and everywhere: it had to stop. I appreciate every visit to this site very much, but I like anyone else, do not want to be responsible for the outcome of others when I am simply not present to assist. For anyone to truly move forward and excel at what they do, the thinking should start and stop in their own brains. This stands true for everything. Since then I have added a great deal of information to this site that outlines a huge number of tenets required, in my opinion, for any self-sustaining trader.
I don't / haven't read many “how to” books on trading, nor do I recommend them much if you are learning. Forced strategies usually lead to forced losses. Just the basics, and take the rest in pieces.
The following books cover the processes of some top traders, and insinuate an independent mindset, which is truly most relevant. The don't get into nitty gritty strategy but rather open the gates to much, much more.
The Alchemy of Finance – George Soros
Market Wizards – Jack D. Schwager
The New Market Wizards – Jack D. Schwager
Trend Following – Michael Covel