Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

October 2nd, 2015

AS I delve more into daily Forex trading versus the light speed 5 minute trading world, I came across a unique problem. When does a daily candle (or bar) start?

Let’s regress a bit for those readers just starting out in Forex and totally confused as to why the start time of a daily candle matters. Lets look at two traders : Joe and Sandy. Joe is just starting out and heard about a great new Forex trader , Sandy, that has some training opened. Sandy trades on a daily chart and occasionally looks at a 4 hour chart.  Joe listens to the training, studies hard and executes a few trades on his own.  He looses a ton of pips and does terrible. When he comes back and compares them to Sandy’s, Joe finds that Sandy did great.  His techniques are perfect, but the trades are different.

Sandy’s broker charts use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), also known as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Joe lives in Chicago and his broker uses Metatrader. His time is set to the GMT –  3 hours (New York Stock Close). Joe’s charts look slightly off; his opens, closes, highs,lows do not look exactly like Sandy’s.  So when he does his calculations on when to buy and sell, they are way off. What’s going on?

The time that is utilized to create the charts is typically controlled by the broker and the platform. At the time of this writing, I’m using Metatrader 4.  The Metatrader that I use is on my desktop and connects to my broker’s computer. This computer, called the Metatrader Server, is set by my broker. In my case, to the GMT –  3 mentioned above. Metatrader 4 doesn’t allow the user to change this time. As a result, the daily bars that I see might be different than someone else’s daily bars.

There are a number of potential solutions to the problem.

The first would be to find a new broker that based their Metatrader 4 on GMT or the time frame desired. Many of the brokers say they do but they might base it on GMT –  3 or some such time shift. It pays to ask your broker at what time the daily chart starts in relation to 0:00 GMT. Keep in mind that the chart on Metatrader will always start at 0:00 . However, this is in respect to the start of the day, not GMT. Days always start at 0. If a broker’s server starts their day at the appropriate time, there are no changes that need to be done.

The second method is to use a third party add-on to your platform (i.e. Metatrader). Doing a quick google search on “adjusting time on <your platform>” will help you locate what , if any, add-ons are available. Here’s a great thread on ForexFactory that discusses Metatrader time change. The disadvantage is that they are pretty ugly to use.

Finally, there might be a different platform that can be utilized with your broker that will provide offsets or use different time zones. Sometimes your broker will support Metatrader but offer other platforms. For example, FXCM currently supports Metatrader but offers their own “Trading Station” platform. Their own platform allows setting of the time to GMT or a number of other common times.

Keep in mind to make lots of pips, when dealing with daily charts, that both you and the methodology you’re using truly know what time it is.

(With apologies to a great old song by Chicago)



Time is the Answer

August 26th, 2015

So what’s the question?

It’s been a while since posting here and as what I think to be a typical person I had gotten side tracked. But doing other things for a while, no matter how long has a tendency to add to clarity at times.

What time frame is best to trade?

The question turns out to be one that I asked myself when I first started trading Forex. I decided at the time to make money the fast way –  use the 5 minute or 15 minute charts. Then I did quite a bit of training (Peter Bain’s course was a tremendous introduction) and I was off to the races!

The rest of the story is that I was able to keep my head above water (barely). It was more depressing than it was helpful. Keeping a positive attitude for a long period of time without the benefit of mass profitability is rather difficult. So gradually I went back to other things, other databases and my hobbies.

I didn’t want Forex to master me and the challenge was there. So every so often I would check a simple chart with a simple moving average and look for support and resistance. Since I wasn’t checking the charts very often, I wanted to get a feel for the market that I missed.  So I increased to time frames to 4 hours, daily and weekly.  Sometimes even monthly.  That seemed to show me the overall direction if there was one.  It showed me the times where the market was bouncing within a range. I began to predict where the market would head and many times it worked.

Then the light bulb went off. I changed my trading time frame to the daily chart, slapped a moving average that the daily charts seemed to follow and Voila! it worked!

So now I trade with the Daily charts, sometimes the four hour. I check the weekly charts for some major support and resistance. I mark the weekly support and resistance and go back to daily. It seems to be working quite well. That, and a technique that I learned from the wonderful Mr. Ponsi seems to have me relaxed and somewhat in the green.

Oh wait. I have to go. Another email about a million dollars in 30 days.  Sounds like that one just might work. (sarcasm off)


Pick a card, pick any card..

January 11th, 2012

Remember the card trick where someone is asked to pick a card, it’s placed back into the deck and the magician finds it even after a good shuffle.

Well, Forex trading is a lot like that for many. There are a number of techniques in the trading deck.  There’s techniques that are automated and will make you a millionaire for only $79 (they ARE tempting, aren’t they?).  And then there’s the books, lectures, webinars, webpages, seminars, and classes to name just a few. Then there’s the sites that evaluate those for you.

So let’s do a little magic here. Pick a technique, any technique. Ok, now give it a try.  Place it back in the deck of other tried techniques/robots.  Can you find the profitable ones?  Most likely, unless you’re a seasoned Forex trader, you wont have much luck.  Why not?  Where’s the magic when you need it?

I lied. There is no magic involved. There’s many techniques that will make a very good income for anyone in Forex.  Matter of fact, there’s many that will make a good income on equities, options and commodities.  There’s a few secrets that many of the successful players know.  And they’re not hard.

So if they’re not hard, why do so many people loose so much money in Forex, time after time until they wind up old and grey living in a cave somewhere eating moss for nutrition? 

One answer is that some people just give up way too soon. If a trade is unsuccessful, an unsuspecting new trader tries maybe a few more times and moves on.  What if there were 100 more Forex trades taken with this same technique?  Would 95 of them be successful?  What if only 70 of them were successful and those didn’t occur until after loosing the next 20 trades in a row?

Which brings us to another answer that is apparent for successful traders but boring for many. How can you find out if this will happen with that latest, greatest technique?  Wait for it…’s really boring….you’ll have to really push yourself to do it….here it comes….drum roll….testing.  Yep, testing. Some of you might think, “Oh, that sounds like fun”. Well, talk to me after 6 hours of testing when the bar charts start looking like real flaming candles. And it takes quite a bit of testing folks.  100’s, 1000’s of trades.   Talk about boring….

And those are just two items that successful traders are very aware of.  If you are in the bunch that is thinking “that’s obvious” right now, great.  Do you do it?  If you test and hang in there, cool.   If not, do the obvious first and try testing, do your homework and see if the technique works.

So how do I test, how do I know something works, what if I’m bad at math, what time zone am I in…..  Ok, that last one we wont be covering any time soon.  But the rest of them we’ll take a shot at in upcoming blogs. So just hang in here with me and we’ll go over some items to help turn your losses into those boring winning trades.

Another apology is in order.  I’ve been trading and learning quite a bit about the profession over the year and I’m going to share it coming up in these blogs.  So stay tuned and the blog will be updated on a monthly basis. Promise.


Track Your Goals

December 30th, 2010

Last time I talked about how I got started and what I found to be useful.  I found that one of the key elements to successful Forex trading is to treat it as a business.  Throughout my training I heard this time and time again.  Even though I had run a successful pharmacy retail business for many years, I couldn’t quite understand what was meant by this. 

After thinking about it for a bit and occurred to me that any successful business tracks their expenses and their profitability.  Likewise with Forex.  I started tracking how much I was spending on training, Expert Advisors and various tools.  I looked at my accounts and realized there wasn’t much profit there (actually, there was a loss!).  So I became determined to slow down and take things one at a time.

While I developed my own methodologies, I would test the various EAs for a minimum of 2 months to determine if they were profitable.  Each month I would take a look at the profit/loss from each of the EAs.  I found two major EAs that seemed to be consistently profitable.  I placed these two EAs into my real account and started to track them.


I was determined to minimize losses and track the profitability (or lack thereof) as often as possible. When it comes to real money, I didn’t want to find out a week later that something was going wrong with the EAs. Every day at approximately the same time, I would enter the balance of my account into a spreadsheet.  Then I would have the spreadsheet calculate how I was doing.  I then added a more general, overall sheet so that I could project what effect the current return would have on my account long term.  Every month I could add the month’s ending balance to this sheet and determine if I was on track or not.  It also allowed me to project where I would be at the end of a few years.  I then added a few graphs since I tend to be more of a visual person. It has now become a habit and I can tell each day if the EAs are still performing or if the particular currency environment is incompatible and I should pull the plug. I call this Excel workbook GoalTracker.


The same could be done for methodologies. There are just as many methodologies out there as there are EAs.  It could be a full time job just exploring them all.  I found that out the hard way as well.  GoalTracker to the rescue here as well. I take a given methodology from someone I trust (see the blog on Ed Ponsi for example) and use it consistently for 30-60 days.  I start a new GoalTracker and evaluate the profitability. I then note any tweaks I might apply to make it my own and evaluate these as well. 


GoalTracker has helped me quite a bit.  It has kept me thinking and treating my trading as a business.  By using it at the same time each day, it has taught me patience and given me the flexibility to see trends in my trading that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.


I would like to share that with anyone out there that might be interested. There is no charge for this version and it is the version that I am currently using. The only thing I ask is that you let others know about this blog and let me know if you have anything you would like to see added to GoalTracker.

If you’re interested, drop me a line directly to [email protected] 


I wouldnt change a thing

August 15th, 2010

It’s been a long time since I have written on his blog mostly because I’ve taken some time to hone my skills as a Forex trader.  That got me thinking of where I started.


As I mentioned earlier it has been quite some time since I started my experience with Forex trading. Many people wonder where to start and are typically overwhelmed by the number of techniques and expert advisors available.  I took a look back over the past few months that where I started, what I’ve learned and what I would change. If I had to do over again I wouldn’t change the methods that I utilized to get myself up to speed in this dynamic environment.


I thought I would share with those people that are still hanging on to this blog exactly where I started and what I’ve learned.  One of the best introductions to works then I can recommend you to ForexMentor.  Not only does ForexMentor teach you what everyone needs to know to get started but also takes you down a path that creates a solid foundation for future learning.  I found this course to be very valuable.  I took in many years ago however it helped me develop a framework which I fill in with other courses and books.  The course is very comprehensive it starts with the basics and gets into very specific formations not only does it cover make the trend lines and that’s for managing levels but it also covers entries, exits and money management.

I’d love to continue with more information however it’s beginning to sound like a sales presentation more than just a recommendation.  I would like to avoid that.


Over the years I’ve purchased many books as well.  One of the best books I have purchased is entitled Forex Patterns and Probabilities by Ed Ponsi.  In this book Mr. Ponsi’s talks the reader through some very good technical methodologies as well as introductions to fundamentals.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  It’s like having a successful Forex trader speaking to you directly.  I have always appreciated the style of writing and Mr. Ponsi does a good job of using it effectively.  Once you have a general understanding of the Forex market a few technical indicators this is an excellent book to assist in developing your own techniques.  And as I have stated before, developing your own techniques, good money management, and patients are the cornerstones of a successful Forex trader.


Over the past six months ending utilizing a tool that I have created to determine the effectiveness of various techniques.  I call it GoalTracker.  I’m going to be putting a few finishing touches on it and then releasing it to my readers.  That’s what we’ll focus on next time.


Until next time…  May all your trades be successful




Patience, Patience

September 3rd, 2009

The words keep going in my head while I’m trading.  With the limited time to trade that I have, I open a chart and really want to dive right into a trade.  Majority of the time, when I ignore that voice in my head telling me to wait, the trade goes against me. Why?


Let the trades come to you.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  I know with the courses I’ve taken it’s one of the most repeated phrases (there are others I’ll talk about later as well).  Yet the excitement of the market just draws me.  I want to make my money…NOW!!  Instead, I wind up giving it to someone else who probably listened to those wise words.

There’s probably a few hundred good plans out there and more that are not so good. It’s easy for me to think that after 3–4 years of part time floundering in the Forex market that the trade I’m about to make should go exactly as I thought. Of course time was not taken to appropriately gauge the market, see if the market is giving me the correct signals…matter or fact, in a rush it seems I lost sight of my methodology! 

So there’s the lesson I’ve learned in these slower summer months.  Thanks for everyone’s patience in my updates over the last few months.  Those that are still on board here have probably realized how important patience is.  And for those that are still having trades go against them, loosing more than gaining, a bit of rock solid advice: Pick a good system, study it, learn it, study it, watch the charts and wait. It will come to you.

Thanks for your patience. I’ve learned the importance and I hope others do as well.

Coming up I’ll be commenting on some courses that have been extremely helpful to me.  Courses from real people that are making real money.  More on that in a while. In the meantime, patience.

Time Flies when you’re…

May 4th, 2009

An extremely busy month in my Forex world.  I’ve been getting the usual emails promising me great returns with the latest Forex Buster EA (hopefully there isn’t one named that – I just made it up so please don’t sue) and successfully ignoring them.

Then I hear all the news about how the trading rules are changing for us here in the states come May 15th.   If you haven’t heard, check it out with your Forex broker. 

Basically, no more hedging.

And orders are First In, First Out (FIFO).  If you open multiple orders, the first one you open is the first one you have to close.   So now there is a rush to find non-US Forex brokers. 

I’ve meanwhile spent my time studying support and resistance even further. Matter of fact, I am so convinced this could be the answer for me, I’ve created an EA to help me trade while I’m away.   I’m not promoting it, so this isnt one of those get rich quick schemes.  Matter of fact, it’s not for sale. 

Here’s the big secret: 

  • Take a 1 hour chart and draw support and resistance
  • Watch price – it will either bounce or break

Seems to happen every time.  

There is a bit more to it than that however, and I’m still working on the concept in a demo account.  So if anyone has any further ideas along this line, let me know. I’m a bit slower in permitting the comments to be seen – because as we all know, Time flies when you’re making money in Forex.

Meanwhile, thanks to a forum called Bizzy’s Forum, I seem to be doing pretty good in the real cash account.  One of the lessons learned has been patience.

Although people looking for quick answers, wont find them here, it is hoped that the folks that have learned patience will.  And for the first group mentioned, as tough as it seems, an increasing bank account requires plenty of patience.

Time flies when you enjoy what you’re doing…and that’s a key.

My Junk drawer

April 7th, 2009

I think everyone has one. It’s the top dresser drawer for me. It’s got that neat clear key chain from a Wired show that lights up, a small remote control car, my (unsorted) collection of state quarters, all the wheat pennies I’ve obtained in the last few years, all sorts of stuff that was really cool at the time.  I had to save it somewhere.  When I need it, I’ll know where it is.

Turns out that because there is so much stuff in the drawer, it’s hard to locate things.  I’ve already realized I shouldn’t have placed those sharp objects in there. So every once in a while I clean it and today’s the day. Typically it gets messy about every year or so.  Not this time.

In one of the Forex courses that I took when I started, it was mentioned from a veteran trader that often times a novice can be deduced by the number of indicators and lines on the charts.   If there’s a lot of things going on the chart, it most likely is a novice at the chart.  At the time, I could intellectually understand the comment. As days went on, I started learning more and more and my charts reflected it. 

Just like cleaning the drawer, I cleaned up my charts.  I’ve started with a clean screen.  Well, almost.  On one of my 24 inch LCDs, I have 4 charts – daily, 4 hour, 1 hour and 5 minute.  Seeing all time frames has really helped put things into perspective.  Starting with the daily chart, I have the nearest support/resistance lines. On the four hour I place the nearest support/resistance lines and add the daily support/resistance lines. Likewise on the 1 hour.   The 1 hour also has a modified MACD indicator.  The 5 minute only has it’s own S/R lines. 

I was told that candles are not as meaningful on the 5 minute chart. So to distract me from looking at the candles there, I just plot the closing price as a line graph.

After all this, I can look at my charts and fairly quickly determine when I should make a trade.  Actually I found that if I look at the charts from across the room, the trend is very apparent. Squinting seems to work as well.

This has also helped me focus on price and not try to go after that holy grail that everyone is selling for one day only (today). My trades are becoming better and my stress level is lowering.

It feels really good to have a clean drawer and a clean chart. They’re going to stay that way. Really.  I mean it this time.


It’s easier to see a trade potential on a clean chart



April Fool

April 1st, 2009

I just checked my April fools email and noticed all the messages about the latest, greatest, automated, Super-Duper Robots that will make you millions.  At first I thought it was humorous until I realized these folks have the marketing down to a science.

I’ve bought my share. The best money I spent was not on Robots but on books.  Or instruction cds. Anything to learn. The super-duper robots just rust away now in some directory somewhere.

I wondered who the April Fool will be this year.  As tempting as it is, not me.  But it really looks promising, doesn’t it?

Exactly, well sorta

March 31st, 2009

When I first started in Forex, I took an excellent course, aspects of which are  only now starting to sink in.  The course started with support, resistance and trends.   I studied those very diligently and soon was drawing great lines over all my charts.   I wasn’t familiar with many of the indicators at that point. Well honestly stated, I wasn’t familiar with ANY indicators at that point. 

The end result was a chart with many lines. And, as I’m sure many traders out there are all too well aware, it’s really hard to see the chart with all those lines.  In addition, I saw new ways of looking at the charts, most of which were not correct.  

I continued to ask questions about the values of support and resistance.  Was that EURUSD resistance at 1.335 or 1.336?  What about the other time frames? Do I plot those as well?  Where should I buy now that I have all these lines and the trend is going up? Wait, the trend went down!

And so on.

Recently I noticed that support and resistance, while very critical to my current method of trading, was not an exact science.  Sure, everyone can give out those levels. And they’re all probably right.  But it wasn’t exact. They dont match up.  

I revisted one of the begining courses I took and heard something new: “Dont expect the lines to be exact”.  I had never really heard/paid attention  to that before.  So I took a very dramatic step: I emptied my charts of all indicators!  Wow, just candles.  I took a look at the different time frames of one currency pair.  I started plotting on each time frame what I thought was support and resistance. I limited it to one support line and one resistance line per time frame.  All of a sudden, my trading improved. 

Don’t expect technical analysis to be too exact