How To Make Your First Trade

After all the research you’ve been doing, now you’re ready to make your first trade!  Whether you choose to do it live or in simulation, you can use this step by step tutorial on the zero line cross trading system as a guide for your first trade. For your reference, the market used for this tutorial is the YM Futures Market.  We’ll also be using the Interactive Broker, which requires that you use the Trader Workstation software (TWS). You will also need the Sierra Chart charting software. While you can use this tutorial for a different trading system or a different market, you will have to make some adjustments. Read on to learn how to make your first trade.

  1. Open the Trader Workstation software and log on to your trading account with your IB username and password.  The main trading window will appear.  Make sure that the YM futures market is visible and that your market data connection is displayed in green, indicating that it is active and healthy.
  2. Open the Sierra Chart charting software. You should be logged in automatically. Once you’re in the system, the software will connect you to the TWS’s market data feed.  You will see the main charting window, though there won’t be any charts displayed.  If any problems occur during the process, a log window will appear explaining the problem.
  3. Open the YM Futures Market intraday chart and put in the following settings:
    a. 1 minute timeframe
    b. 50 bar CCI
    c. 34 bar exponential moving average
  4. Keep your eye on the market and wait for the entry requirements of your trading system to be met.  For a zero line cross trade, the CCI must cross the zero line while the market is active, and the price should close on the moving average’s correct side.  
  5. As soon as your trading system meets the entry requirements, you can now enter your trade using Trader Workstation or your order entry software of choice.  For the zero line cross trade, trades are entered with a limit order to make sure that your entry receives the best possible price.  However, the order type you use should be specific to your trading system.
  6. Once your trade has been entered, make sure that you place your stop loss orders.  Your trading software can do this automatically, but you may enter your stop loss order manually as well.  For most trading systems, your stop loss order must be a stop order, and your target order must be a limit order.  Using these order types lets your target order be met quickly while ensuring that your stop loss order gets filled if needed.
  7. While your trade is active, watch the market and wait for stop loss orders to be filled or for your target to be reached.  Depending on the trading system, the waiting time could take a couple of minutes to hours before you can exit the trade. 
  8. You can exit your trade as soon as your stop loss orders are filled.  Most trading systems usually come with a specific exit signal to let you know when you should exit your trade. 


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