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Advanced: ETF arbitrage notes

SMALL STOPS like this are vital:

Combined with bigger wins:


updated 1/4/2019



+ just because inverse ETFs 'look cheap' on a big up day does not mean you should try & dip-buy them

+ for Every inverse ETF/ TVIX trade attempt, also hedge with TQQQ arb position initially, then scale in/out

+ if your trading day starts off in the red by 10:30, stop trading; it doesn't turn around

+ set a max stop loss daily limit, eg $300-$500 max

+ buy what is in the green % change from open, do not buy red % selling ETFs/stocks

strategy I'm testing: "overnight TVIX/TQQQ arbitrage play":
I buy 50 shares each of TVIX & TQQQ right before the 4pm close, to hold overnight.
They gap about the same, in opposite directions each morning.
On the next day, set initial stops .50 cents under opening low for each.
Scale into the winner by doubling position size every point, using 1-point trailing stop.




+ if you're up $500-$700 or more on the day, tighten up trailing stops on all open positions.
Do not let a $1000 day turn into a $300 day by forgetting to tighten up all trailing stops.
+ test intraday swings, no midday overtrading (TVIX)
+ do not scale in if 2nd entry is near ATR (AAL)
+ sell bounces into .9 before whole number resistance (RSLS)

Position Sizing:

+ decision: 1st size small vs large?  2nd size same, or larger/smaller?
+ tighten in trailing stop once 2nd position added; decision: should it be breakeven or tight?  if both entries hit prior to 10am, use breakeven for intraday swing approach; if one or both fill after 10am, use tight
+ always use position sizing for gap runners & 2-day highs; seldom/never for inside range or pivots
+ check: do not enter 2nd trade if near ATR


Successes I've Made, to Follow

  • trail tight stops once it's ran strong 9:30 - 9:50
  • cancel/close any morning ORB trades that don't fill by 10:15
  • no new directional trades after 2pm (scale-ins only)
  • use whole number s/r levels
  • use mid-dime entries eg 46.35 vs 46.3
  • no chasing, no jumping in too fast either
  • look at color of SPY & your ticker: only buy when both green (red spy for inverse etfs)

Mistakes I've Made, to Avoid

#1 Mistake = overtrading bounce attempts (LABD)

FIXES: 3 strikes rule, progressive downsizing, no new bounce trading after 10:30am;
"4:1 Ratio" 2-day high breakout & gap continuation vs bounces rule

#2 Mistake = failing to focus on Simple Intraday swingtrades (LABU)

FIXES: ID 2-3 candidates premarket; enter initial trade orders by 9:30;
no overnight holds to fix;
LIMIT 7 trades per day if your P&L is red at the end of your first 7; no new trades 10:30am - 3pm; scale-ins & tightening stops only; end of day new swing entries ok

+ TVIX 11/9 don't turn a big win into small win by overtrading 10:30-3:30.  Just check it once 11-12noon to tighten trailing stop, then one last time 3:30-4pm


  • Enter .30 - .50 above current high of day 9:30 – 10am
  • 50 shares for bounces/inside days; 100 shares for 2-day highs & minor gap continuations
  • Initial stop = .30 - .50 under low of day for gap/2dh entries only; for lower-odds bounce/inside range charts move stop to breakeven asap; max .40 initial stop
  • Trail close stop on ½ position as it reaches whole numbers and 11am-noon, use breakeven stop on remaining shares
  • Trail close stop after 3pm
  • Maximum 3 tries per ticker; do not overtrade
  • (Optional) add more shares .30 above whole number resistance to scale in
  • If you scale in later in the day, tighten in trailing stop to breakeven; scale in/add on no later than 1pmET
  • no entries after wide range days; remember wide/flat alternating rule
  • downsize bounce attempts after initial stops; only upsize once profitable; 3 tries max; do not overtrade; stick to 3 strikes per ticker rule
  • LIMIT 7 trades per day unless up > $200 or more minimum; no trading after 10:30am
  • 20% bounce attempts maximum, 80% 2-day high rule; 4:1 ratio breakouts vs bounces ; max 2 bounce attempts total per day
  • MAIN goal is 2-day high intraday swing long trades = foundation (LABU vs LABD)
  • overnight holds for those closing near high of day only