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What time frames do you trade and why?

Please share your opinion and experience with the time frames you are using to trade and why.

Since every trader has their own approach when it comes to observing the market through technical analysis and charting, please feel free to share anything that you think matters

I’m testing this out for myself, I typically trade 30 min after US open, and I’m trying to see what other times are good for me. I do not like the crazy fast pace market and I trade ES for perspective.

I’m looking to see if I can work with 6PM EST to 10PM EST, I lately we have had some good movement in those times but I need to really analyze it and see. I do not think UK open 3am EST will be good for me I need sleep and not ready to really change my schedule.

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I trade 610 tick candles on the ES and NQ, with 30-minute profiles for perspective. I use the first 20 minutes of the day session as the opening range; I trade each 30-minute auction with a 1-min opening range. I have daily pivots on the chart along with modified the VWAP and Ichimoku levels. I’m basically looking for 20-tick scalps on the NQ (adjusting for volatility), looking at the ES for correlations. This set up allows me to catch bounces off of levels, to catch reversals and pullbacks, to jump on trends–if I execute well :wink:

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My primary chart is 30 seconds. The higher reference timeframes I use are the 30m or 1H (whichever is clearer), and the daily. I always mark the hourly and daily key horizontal levels regardless.

I’m looking for as many trade opportunities per day for practise. The 30 second chart gives me enough time for technical analysis while still offering moves that are large enough to trade. I find trend lines are easy to spot on a 30s candlestick chart and match up well with order flow.

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I started out using tick charts because that was what I saw on a YouTube video. I watched people trading stocks using time frames and a few futures traders using tick charts, so I start with tick charts, not really knowing why. I began playing around with ticks and varied the number depending on the time of day, to be able to see price action. Pre-market I would do 200-250 ticks and use 1500-2000 when the market was open. If the candles were moving too slow, I just decreased the tick number. And if it moved too fast, I increased the number. I know one YouTuber who uses a 500 tick chart when the market is open. Personally, that moves too fast for my brain.

More recently I switched to time duration so I could see volume clearer in the chart. I’m still experimenting a bit and haven’t really narrowed down what I like. My main chart is pretty quick, ranging from 33 to 60 seconds. I usually have a 5 min window open but I’m not really effective at using it. I think part of the problem is that it’s in a tab behind my quicker chart. Maybe I need to explore the option of a 1 min with visible 5 and 10 min charts? I think looking at different options for setting up my charting configuration on the screen could help too. Thus far having volume information seems helpful, I’m clear why yet, but it feels like it does. It’s also fascinating when a big buyer comes in and the volume jumps significantly.

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I like to look at the 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 minutes. For trading i use the 1 minutes timeframe but confirmed by the other timeframes. To increase the probability of a succesfull trade i try to trade when all the timeframes are on one line just like roof tiles. My aim is to get a trade which i right way in profit.

Within the day trend you have legs with the same formation. For me it is also important to look the volatility of the candle itself, lenght of the wigs ect., How much during a leg will retrace take place from point 5, 10 or 15 minutes ago. Then you can measure your risk. This gives you not a guarantee but you have a benchmark how many ticks the correction will be. Drawing support, resistant, high/low of the day/yesterday/this week give me a signal where we stand.

I am still in the proces of learning all about tick charts, order flow and the value of open interest. For me i need to inform myself better which market participant are trading. How to find out if we are having new participants for a new contract or is it a closing buy/sell of the contract. For trading only order flow it is nice to know, i think. I have no clue about this issue and if its possible to know this information. Maybe i am wrong about this. Learning by doing every day.

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Hi everone!

Yesterday’s webinar was great, thanks for all the info.

I use a combination of time charts (1hr, 15min, 5min) and also tick charts (2000tick, 1000tick, and 750tick).

I use the tick charts to filter out low volume periods of the market and also identify points of entry and exit. I use my tick charts in conjunction with the cluster charts to see buying and selling pressure.

Here’s a video of how mine are set up.

There is a substantial risk of loss in futures trading. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The figures here represent an opinion. The placement of contingent orders by you or broker, or trading advisor, such as a “stop-loss” or “stop-limit” order, will not necessarily limit your losses to the intended amounts, since market conditions may make it impossible to execute such orders. Please conduct your own due diligence if Futures are an appropriate instrument for you.


I trade the 5 min chart only, as of now. Trading smaller time frames will generate more trade signals and give more occurrences. This is important to allow your trading edge (if you have one) to play out in the law of large numbers. This can also help with trying to eliminate losing years. You will still have losing streaks, however, over a whole year your edge should play out if you trade 250 plus trades in a year based on a systematic approach. It’s always a good idea not to vary from your strategy to get more precise data sets.

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Even though there was only a couple of responses, this is interesting! I had no idea people traded with so much variety on time frame and tick rate. While I know we should all work for us, it’s interesting looking at areas to explore.

@Ben_Meredith I dig your order flow stuff using a cluster chart and am going to check out the videos. This is the first I’m hearing of that style of trading and it seems fascinating, I’m def interested in learning. Thanks for making the time to put those vids together.

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@colosean absolutely! Thanks for checking them out.

I’ve added the DOM chart and will post on that soon. Some pretty good things about liquidity and also iceberg orders.

What do you typically trade?


Ben - I’ve started out scalping 1-2 contracts on the ES using a short time frame chart, but now I’m trying to explore other areas. I’d like to learn more about reading the market based on order flow and stay in trades longer, with more confidence (if that’s possible). This is why Matt’s seminar and this topic is interesting. I’m looking for a way to be more strategy-oriented in my trades.


@colosean that’s great to hear! Thank you. Good to know the content is relevant and I’ll be posting more shortly.

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