Trader Profile: Judy "buffy" MacKeigan
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The following is an interview of buffy done by Ensign Software for Trading Tips Newsletter #22:

ES: You go by Buffy in the Paltalk chat rooms. How did you come to choose a nickname of Buffy?

JM: It is one of my kitty cats names - the other is Biffy. I forgot all about the vampire slayer when I chose it. Many still remember me as Unicorn.

ES: I understand you are a day trader, but tell us more about your trading style.

JM: I love day trading because it can really be whatever I want it to be - many trades or a few trades depending on how focused I am. I learned a long time ago don't trade when you are not "in the mood". So I trade when I feel like it, and when I am not trading, I totally enjoy being in the Paltalk room typing comments, posting charts and answering questions.

My style is very short term. I use constant tick charts of 30, 50, 75, 150 and 300. I run pretty tight stops as I do not like to give much back or ride out the retracements. I would rather reenter the trade when the trend continues. So, I will have 3 trades in a trend where a trend trader might only have one. My goal each day is to end up plus for the day including broker fees. The rest seems to take care of itself.

ES: How often do you meet your daily goal?

JM: Before I learned not to trade unless wanted to, I might of missed my goal 5 times a month - now very seldom. I still go over my trades at the end of the day and make sure I am following my rules. I think this is very important to do to grow as a trader. Even if a trade loses it is a winner if you followed your rules. I also feel it is important to have your own system. It might be bits and pieces of all the systems you are exposed to but it is yours, with your rules that fit your personality and your trading style. If you are not trading something you are totally comfortable with, it usually will not work out well. Everyone keeps looking for the Holy Grail - I really feel it is yourself

ES: What do you trade?

JM: I trade the NQ futures. Before trading this, I was a stock day trader and that was usually in heavy volume Nasdaq stocks. So I felt more familiar with the NQ than the ES. I really enjoy the switch to the e-mini as I am not looking at stock charts all night. Feel I can take time off anytime and not have to watch the market for a few days to figure out where it is. And I can do what I really love which is hang out in the E-mini Traders Anonymous chat room and have great discussions on trading and help other traders learn to fish.

ES: What kind of setup does one need to be a day trader like you?

JM: I have two computers. One is a 450 MHz Pentium II with 3 monitors running Ensign Windows and trading platform. The other computer is a 500 MHz Pentium III with two monitors that is used for Paltalk, E-mail, and web chores. Seems to work out well for me.

ES: Which data feed do you use, and how do you like it?

JM: I use eSignal with the Ensign Windows software for charting. I find this combination very reliable. Ensign Windows charting is very powerful and with the latest revisions much easier to use. The indicators on indicators and the simulated real time symbol DEMO are two of my favorite features.

I never knew the value of constant tick charts were until I started using Ensign Windows. The minute charts can hide so much - tests of swing highs/lows, flags, etc - I seriously doubt I will ever go back to trading minute charts. I do watch them though to answer questions another trader in the room might have who doesn't have tick charts available to them.

ES: Part of your trading system is covered in the next article in this newsletter, but would you share more of your rules with us?

JM: I do not chase a trade - if I miss it I miss it - there will be another train leaving the station. Also if I miss it it usually means I am not focused enough, so just as well. I decrease position size if I have two losing trades in a row. Although it hasn't happened in quite a while, I used to watch myself for revenge trading: The "I'll get this back" trading. When I was learning, and still had a trading simulator, I used to allow myself only 3 losing trades before I had to go back to the simulator.

As I mentioned already, I only trade when I feel like it and when the odds are in my favor. When I suspect chop, I sit on my hands or take a break. The moving averages being flat, especially the 50 and 200 EMA, and the price trapped between the 50 and 200 EMA on the 75 tick chart are two clues I use to indicate a chop zone. It is time to just watch until the market has direction again. In the Paltalk chat room, we always know what reports are coming out and I am never in the market when they do.

ES: How important is good health to trading success?

JM: I think that is very important Howard. Just like it is to do your best at a regular job you need to be mentally alert to beat the market chess game. If I am not having a "sharp" day then I tend to do a longer time frame and have fewer trades.

ES: What protection do you have in place to keep from having big loss days?

JM: I hate losing money so hardly ever have more than 3-4 pts at risk myself. A big loss day hasn't happened is quite a while. I always use stops even if scalping and plan on exiting at market. Then the stop will be further away and canceled when I am flat. Back when I started I would get all upset if I had a day cost me $300. It is just me and my way.

ES: Do you use an Order Entry form for on-line execution or a broker?

JM: I use PFGbest. I tried others, but the PFGbest platform seems to be the least likely to cause errors for me. When I was a beginner that was important. They were also more than willing to answer beginner questions when I called. I thank Teresa Lo and Mike Bruns from for teaching me how to do this. No one can teach diabolical thinking better than Teresa Lo. Received many words of encouragement from others also.

ES: How long have you been trading?

JM: I dabbled in stocks from 1994 on, and was lucky with a few like LU, PIXR and CWTR. Due to Ed, my guy, being very ill I did not trade much in 1998. He passed away in June of that year. I decided I did not want to go to work for others and did love the challenge of the market. Pit Bull book confirmed this - read it in one sitting. So that fall bought lots of books and started day trading stocks the end of 1998 until last fall.

At that time, Silicon Investor had a great thread called "TA for the Beginners". I learned a lot about TA from the great posters there so willing to share their knowledge - Richard Estes, Bob, Sean, Claud, Andy and many others. Just about a year ago I bumped into Teresa Lo on Silicon Investor and she listened to my complaints about the market and no life looking at all those charts and she suggested I try futures. With the holidays coming, I started under her in January this year. Took many of her Master Trader Classes along with Mike Bruns classes. Started with PFGBest simulator in May and real account in June. I have not had a losing month, but was very quick to go back to the simulator if the day was not going well

ES: You have given readers lots of things to consider doing. What should they not do?

JM: Do not trade until you have your own system with your own rules. Even if it is the same as someone else's you still need to make sure you totally understand it. Set an amount as the max you can lose in a day. Do not increase position size if you are down on the day. Review your trades often - make sure you are following your rules even if the trade is a loser it is a winner if you did so. If things aren't gong right don't push it - not to trade is still a trading decision. You do not always have to be in the market. Talk to other traders about what you might be doing wrong. Some did this with me when I was doing stocks. I learned so much from them.

ES: Am I hearing a strong pitch for being disciplined in one's approach to trading?

JM: Yes, you are. That I feel is the only way you will find the holy grail is yourself, not a system or an indicator. I love the paltalk room. Many come and ask me what was wrong with taking this trade? Or ask questions to learn. I hate seeing other people lose money too - that is why the motto of the E-mini room is we will try to teach you to fish.

ES: There are many competing charting programs available to choose from. Which do you have experience with and would recommend?

JM: I have experience with Qcharts, TC2000 for end of day, IQCharts, and QPlus for scanning. Last April even playing techie did not work to keep Qcharts up and running. That is when I found eSignal, but their charting software at the time was not even close to what I was used to with Qcharts. I went searching and found Ensign Windows. The combination of Ensign Windows and the eSignal Internet feed has proved to be great for day trading the e-minis. Ensign's capability of running the simulated RT symbol DEMO has just been an added bonus. Being able to practice my signals with my system when market is down cut down on the confidence curve.

This template (see the next article) is a system I used to use with stocks but have modified a bit for the e-minis. It is much easier with all the indicators in one window than before when using other software. The market is like a 3 dimensional chess game. You need to watch a time frame higher and one time frame lower than the one you are trading. Ensign's response to questions, their great classes every Wednesday, and Howard's willingness to work with traders to make it truly a trader's charting program sure makes it the best IMHO (in my humble opinion).

ES: Do you have anything else you would like to pass on?

JM: I would have to say my list of importance is:
1. The challenge of the game.
2. Helping others learn to fish. I love to teach others trading.
3. Then would come the money angle.

Guess that is my attitude toward Duplicate Bridge - try to win this hand - the score takes care of itself.

Details of buffy's trading methods are posted on the B-line pages