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Don Dawson

Don has been trading the futures markets for 20 years.  His perseverance through the ups and downs of trading, openness to experience of others, balanced tolerance for risk and patience to wait for his setups are a few of his strengths as a trader. 

Don obtained his series 3 license in 1990.  Soon afterwards he registered as a Commodity Trading Advisor with the National Futures Association and formed his company Majestic Futures. He has been a guest speaker on Technical Analysis at Johns Hopkins University and a guest speaker on Business of Trading Radio Show  in Washington, DC.

He continues to actively trade his personal account on a daily basis when not teaching for Online Trading Academy.  His teaching method has been referred to as "down to earth".  He understands the students need for a structured environment in the early stages of their trading education.  He uses humor to convey information in an accessible way.  He is excited about sharing his passion for trading with others.  A quote he likes is "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle".  He is now looking for a balance in life between trading and teaching others what he has learned from 20 years of trading.  He acknowledges that the best teacher is a student – always in learning mode and wanting to learn more by teaching.  He looks forward to working with each of you in one of his E-Mini Futures classes. He is also writing articles for Online Trading Academy's free newsletter "Lessons From the Pros" and hopes student's find this a valuable resource.


Learn Hog Seasonal Spread by Don Dawson

One of my favorite styles of trading the Futures markets is the Intra-Commodity Spread. For this trade, we are going to be simultaneously buying and selling contracts of the same Commodity in different months. Once we have established this position, we will monitor the net difference between the two contract months. This is known as the Spread. We will be looking at the June11/February11 Lean Hog Spread... READ MORE


Learning from Consistently Profitable Traders by Don Dawson

Novice traders usually come into Futures trading thinking that they need some elaborate trading system or automated software to tell them when to buy or sell to become a successful trader. Soon after that, they feel like there is a hidden secret that only a select group of traders know about... READ MORE


Divergence at Turning Points by Don Dawson

Many of us are already using support/resistance levels to locate possible turning points in the markets. We can identify these by looking at multiple time frame charts. Depending on your style of trading (investor, swing trader, day trader, etc), you could use two larger time frame charts to identify trends and support/resistance levels. For a day trader this could be perhaps a daily and a 30-minute chart... READ MORE


The Other Big Guy on the Commodity Markets by Don Dawson

Trading Commodity Futures used to be on pure Supply and Demand in the true sense before Index Funds came along. For instance, there were consistent seasonal patterns that occurred year after year in the grain markets. In spring, the grains were planted and prices were generally higher during this time of year. During the winter months, much of the grains in the elevators were consumed by livestock (as much as 80% of Corn grown in the United States is used to feed livestock) in feedlots due to the lack of grass available to them... READ MORE


Equity Trailing Stop - When Do I Stop Trading for the Day? by Don Dawson

Many times I hear traders say they just want to make a certain amount of money per day trading, perhaps they are happy with $200, $500 etc. For most of them, I find out they are coming into trading from a career where they received a regular paycheck for some pre-set amount. Unfortunately, trading does not offer any guaranteed income levels. Most traders with this pre-defined profit target find themselves behind in trading on a regular basis and are putting excess pressure on themselves... READ MORE


Rollover Days - Are We All on the Same Page? by Don Dawson

All Futures contracts have expiration days where the contract literally stops trading. The Exchanges where the contracts trade are responsible for assigning positions to be delivered against for the commercial traders. Therefore, they would prefer to have as many speculators out of that contract before it expires as possible. This will help eliminate too many errors and possible delays in the delivery process for the commercial traders. To accomplish this task, they created a procedure called rollover day... READ MORE


Chart Term Misconception & What Price Closes a Gap by Don Dawson

Having been around the trading arena for many years, I have seen many changes to the world of trading. One of them has been how many new technical indicators and chart patterns have been introduced. When I started trading, we probably had 4-5 technical indicators, and perhaps 10-12 reliable chart patterns... READ MORE


Notes for a Novice Trader by Don Dawson

Before I started writing this article today, I decided to take my motorcycle out to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, then a short ride to the mountains. While riding and enjoying the beautiful scenery, I noticed three other motorcycles coming up behind me at a fairly quick clip. Since I was in no hurry, I waved them on past me to allow them to ride as they wished... READ MORE


Spread Trading Q & A by Don Dawson

Spread trading is one of the topics we discuss in the Commodity Futures class. This style of trading is very good for smaller account size traders after they figure out how to trade these. The capital required to trade these Spreads is a fraction of an outright Futures contract. Figure 1 shows a comparison of an outright Corn contract to a Corn Spread... READ MORE


Futures Charting - Adjusted or Un-Adjusted Charting Style? by Don Dawson

While instructing the Commodity classes, I get the question of "Which style of chart is best to use?" on a frequent basis. The answer, believe it or not, is both are good charts, but how you use the chart is what determines which one you should use. Let's get started explaining just what these adjusted and un-adjusted charts are, which style to use that best fits your trading, the symbols used in TradeStation to identify these charts, and of course review some charts of these two styles... READ MORE


Tracking Traders in the Market by Don Dawson

The origination of this report is the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a government regulatory agency that regulates the Futures industry. Since 1962, the Commitment of Traders Report (COT) has been available for review. The frequency of release dates has changed considerably to make the reports timely. From once a month to every two weeks and now weekly, we have access to this information. You can receive a weekly email reminding you that the report has been released and then retrieve the information for no charge, below is that link... READ MORE


Inter-Commodity Spreads for Future Traders by Don Dawson

This week Don writes about Inter-Commodity Spreads. In recent articles, he discussed the Intra-Commodity Spreads and now would like you to see how to use this other type of Spread. These Spreads are very popular and are used by professional traders on a daily basis. Inter-Commodity Spread trading offers a trader an opportunity to trade two related, but different markets simultaneously. He will show you how to calculate the Spread differences and offers you the information needed to calculate the margin to trade these vehicles... READ MORE


The Double Edged Sword by Don Dawson

Anybody who trades Commodities will tell you there is risk involved. Like many stories about the Commodities markets, these risks are sometimes exaggerated. Many traders lose in the Commodity markets because they do not have an understanding of the margin and leverage involved with this asset class. For this very reason, Don spends a lot of time in class helping people to understand this risk associated with trading Commodity Futures... READ MORE


Meeting the Commodity Family by Don Dawson

One of the most frequently asked questions in the Commodity class is, "What is a Commodity?" This is a fair question, considering most investors are familiar with stocks and options. Don takes a look at the Commodity market asset class to see if we can remove some of the mystery and help answer that question in a little more detail... READ MORE


Traditional Charting of Commodity Spread Charts by Don Dawson

The frequency of Online Trading Academy's Commodities Futures classes is on the increase. Investors and traders alike are looking for alternative asset classes to diversify their portfolios. In class, we discuss various ways of trading the Commodity markets and one of them is Spread trading. This style of trading requires less capital and usually has reduced risk associated with it compared to outright Futures positions... READ MORE


Spread Trading - A Versatile Tool by Don Dawson 

The Commodity markets offer such a diverse way of actually trading them. As a trader, we can either be net long or short a Futures contract, we could buy or sell an Option on the Futures contract, or we could place a Spread trade. This week Don shows you how understanding Spreads in the Futures markets can give you a heads up as to when a market is about to top or bottom. He will also show you what to look for in a Spread that could be the early stages of a major Bull market… READ MORE


Commodity ETFs - Alternative Investing by Don Dawson

Trading Commodity Futures can be intimidating for some. With the limit moves, leverage, fixed contract size and having to open a separate trading account, this style of trading is not something you may want to do. Does this mean you should not understand how Commodities trade and what their trends are? Absolutely not, these markets can provide some great returns. This week Don discusses some of the different options you have to trade the Commodity markets without trading the derivatives themselves… READ MORE


Understanding Limit Moves in Futures by Don Dawson

Commodity Futures and Equities have many differences. This week Don addresses a situation in the Futures markets that does not appear in the Equities markets. These situations are referred to as Limit Moves. A Limit Move in the Futures markets can be a windfall or devastation for a trader depending on which side of the market they are on. We will examine some of the markets that still have these Limits and then discuss some ways to avoid being run over by these Limit Moves… READ MORE


Settlement Price? But the Market Has Not Closed by Don Dawson

The Commodity Futures markets are ever-changing. While electronic trading has opened up the borders to international trading and the ease of order entry, it has also made for some interesting changes that we as traders need to stay abreast of. This week Don addresses one of these changes and how to possibly deal with it. He'll examine some ways to set your charts to view certain Commodities for the correct session (open, settle and close)… READ MORE


Knowing Yourself and Revenge Trading by Don Dawson

I would like to go a little deeper into knowing one's self and recognizing signs of revenge trading. By knowing our strengths and weaknesses, we can anticipate how we may act when a circumstance arises while we are trading. Even if we have a perfect trading plan that under most conditions we follow, we still need to know how we personally will react to different events in our lives and how that affects our trading mentally... READ MORE


Time for a Checkup? by Don Dawson

With this decreased volatility comes questions and possibly self doubt about our trading strategies. Is it time for a trading plan checkup? We have all heard that once we develop our trading plan that we should stick to it regardless of what happens, right? There is sort of a catch twenty-two here, and the answer is a definite "yes, but." ... READ MORE


Does Size Matter? by Don Dawson

One of the big attractions to Futures trading for many people is the low start-up cost involved with funding their accounts to day trade. Unlike Equities, where you have to come up with about $30K to open a day trading account, you can open a Futures account with about $5K and control Futures contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many Futures brokers will let you day trade with margins, good faith money you deposit per contract to trade, for as little as $500. This also attracts people to these markets thinking that it will be easy to turn their small accounts into very large accounts almost overnight. They look at the day trading margin of $500 per contract and figure out the maximum number of contracts they can trade with their $5K account; almost immediately they are over-leveraged and lose all or in some cases more than their initial $5K deposit. Very few people survive when they start with this type of account and these dreams... READ MORE