How to Read the Reports
We prepare the futures report for publication by 4:15 pm ET and in practice we aim for 4 pm. If you do not receive the futures report by 4:15 pm, it’s because our power has done out or we have a major technical problem. We have failed to publish the futures report on time fewer than ten times since 1994.
We prepare the spot report for publication by 5:15 pm ET.
We get our data from eSignal and Reuters. Both data vendors combine information from multiple sources, including your broker, to come up with a composite for Open, High, Low, and Close. Your data can easily be different from our data because your broker may not have seen a specific high or low. We can’t do anything about this discrepancy problem. We often place a stop or target at the exact high or low or a few points away and our stop or target gets hit while yours do not. If this happens too often, you can analyze the discrepancy for directional bias and you might alter you stop and target. Or you might consider changing brokers.
Note that Reuters tends to use spot prices from the professional market (big banks) while eSignal is using prices from retail brokers. In other words, we sometimes have discrepancies between our two data vendors. One will say the high was one number and the other vendor will put the high at some other level. This can occur only in spot, by the way. In futures, the exchange determines the official Open, High, Low and Close. At the end of the day, both vendors have identical prices for futures, which is one reason we prefer to trade in futures—nice, hard data. We do not try to reconcile the two data-bases. It is too time-consuming.
Therefore, please do not question our data. Yes, we do sometimes make typing mistakes and we can easily have a true error, and we appreciate Readers pointing that out to us. But please do it in the spirit of assisting us in being as accurate as possible and not with the implication that we jigger the data to suit our P&L. We are as honest as the day is long.
Defining “Open” and “Close”
The reports show the closing price in both futures and spot. In futures, the closing price is the official CME “settlement” price. Sometimes we don’t get a true settlement price until a half hour or more after the market has closed, which is too long a delay for us and so we use the “close” as reported by eSignal. We offer trading recommendations where the entry is
a specific price level (shown in bold and italic) or
Obviously you cannot enter at the close since it has already passed. When we show the re-entry as the close, it means enter at the next available opening price. The next day we will report that opening price (from eSignal). In futures, everyone will always have the same opening price. As noted above, the opening price in spot that we get from eSignal may differ from your opening price from your broker.
We use the 4 pm ET price as our “close.” We aim to print the prices at exactly 4 pm or within the first minute after 4 pm (1600 in military/European nomenclature). We selected 4 pm as the close because that gives us one hour to prepare the report for publication at 5 pm and then you have one hour to examine the charts and decide how to proceed for the “true” opening at 6 pm.
eSignal defines the opening price in spot as the price of the first trade at 6 pm ET, which is (roughly) the opening in New Zealand. If you get the spot report at 5 pm, as scheduled, that means you have one hour to make your order entries. But you should not wait until 6 pm if you are following our recommendations in full or are quite fast in modifying our recommendations —you should place orders immediately upon receiving the report because the market can move quite a lot in the two hours between 4 pm, when we take the prices we use as the “close,” and the “official” 6 pm open.
Discrepancies between Close and Open
The period from 4 to 6 pm is usually pretty quiet and the 6 pm open is little changed from the 4 pm close. But that is not always the case. When big news comes out late in the day or the market is on fire, it can move quite a lot between 4 and 6 pm. It can also move quite a lot from the Friday close at 4 pm and the Sunday night open at 6 pm. In fact, in the past year or two, the Asian markets are active on Saturday and earlier on Sunday, although eSignal continues to use the 6 pm price as the Monday open.
When there is a big discrepancy between the close and the open, our protocol is to enter and apply stops/targets to the open unless it’s 50 points or more away from the close. When the open is 50 points or more away from the close, we apply proportionality, i.e., take the number of points in the stop and target and apply them to the new open.
For example: the close is 1.6300 in sterling. Our recommended re-entry is to go long at 1.6300 with a stop at 1.6245 or 55 points under entry. But the actual open is 1.6240, putting the stop higher than the open, which is unworkable. So you would apply the 55 points to the actual new open entry, 1.6240 – 55 = 1.6185.
This case could have a good outcome or a bad one. We want to get long sterling but it’s falling. Entry at the new level can mean that we are buying low, or it can mean we have the direction wrong. Be sure to understand Footnote Rule 4, which says we will reverse direction if the price varies by 80 points from the stop, i.e., 1.6185 – 80 = 1.6105.
How to Read the Report
Swing Direction refers to whether we are buying or selling.
Current Position refers to any position we still have that was carried over from the day before. Long means we have bought it. Short means we have sold it. Square means we have no position. Square is also called “flat.” Bold, italic means the position is new.
Stop is the recommended level to exit the current position. The full term is “stop-loss” or S/L. The number of points of the stop from the current close is shown in gray. If the stop box is empty, we have no position.
When the stop is the same as the close, it means we recommend exiting at the open either to take an extraordinary profit or to avoid further losses.
Profit target is the recommended exit from a current position. Some readers use the abbreviation P/T for this number. The number of points from the close is shown underneath in gray. If the box is empty, we have no position.
Entry price is the price at which we entered the position and the date of entry is shown next to it. You can check the entry price by referring to the notes in the Commentary Box and by referring to the recommended entry the day before.
MTM means “mark-to-market.” If you do not know this term, learn it. It measures the profit or loss from entry to today’s close. If the MTM is a high number that makes you uncomfortable, you are free to exit at the next opportunity.
Note that when we have carried over a position from the day before, the stop and target will be new stops and targets and you need to cancel the stop and target that you entered the day before. If you don’t cancel the stop and target, you will get an accounting mess and have a squabble with your broker.
New entry is the recommended level at which to put on a new position. As noted above, this is usually the close. The stop and target are the associated exit levels to prevent a loss getting bigger or to take profit.
Text Box: This box contains notes on the report, including the URL for the contingency trades (“Footnote Rules”). The footnote rules add 30-40% to the bottom line and are successful more often than they cause losses by a ratio of 20 to 1.
The next section records what happened to our recommendations from the day before. This report is not proofread by a second party before it is published because time is short, only one hour between market close and report publication. We make mistakes. Subscribers are the proofreaders and we count on you to flag errors when we make them. We cheerfully correct all errors in the next day’s report and in the track record.
You can check the text box report against the track record which appears as page 2 of every report. We work quite hard to ensure that the track record is accurate. When we make mistakes, please send us an email as soon as possible and we will make corrections.
Any additional orders, including reversal orders, are given at the bottom. Do not overlook these! They represent nuanced ideas about what can happen that are not covered by the footnote rules.