Trade Forex With A Directional Strategy
once a marketplace available only to governments, central banks,
commercial and investment banks and other institutional investors like hedge funds.
Today, however, there are many venues where just about anyone can trade
currencies. These include currency futures, options on futures, PHLX-listed foreign currency options and the largely unregulated over-the-counter (OTC)
forex market. Once the forex trader has decided which venue(s) and
instrument(s) he or she will trade, it's time to develop a
well-conceived trading strategy before putting any trading capital at
risk. Successful traders must also predetermine their exit strategies and other risk-management
tactics to be used should a trade go against them. Here we look at how
to develop a trading strategy for the currency markets based on
directional trading.(To review some of the concepts in this piece,
check out Basic Concepts For The Forex Market and Common Questions About Currency Trading.)|
Develop a Trading Strategy
One way to organize the multitude of potential strategies is to group them into directional and non-directional approaches. Directional trading strategies take net long or short positions in a market, as opposed to nondirectional (market-neutral)
strategies. Most investors are familiar with the directional approach;
for example, millions of people participate in some form of retirement
program, which is basically a long-term portfolio of equity
and/or debt securities held long by the investor. Net long strategies
are profitable in rising markets, while net short investors should
profit in falling markets. Directional strategies can be loosely
grouped into the following subcategories:
This list is not all-inclusive, as there are many other approaches to trading forex. (For more, read Trading Double Tops And Double Bottoms and Identifying Trending & Range-Bound Currencies.)
systems create signals for traders to initiate positions once a
specific price move has occurred. These systems are based on the technical
premise that once a trend has been established, it is more likely to
continue rather than reverse. (Read more about trends in the forex
market in Trading Trend Or Range?)
Moving-Average (MA) Crossover
The moving average (MA) crossover
trading system is one of the most common directional systems in use
today. This system uses two MAs. Buy signals are generated when the
shorter-term, faster-moving MA crosses over the longer average. This
indicates that the near-term price action is accelerating to the
These systems are susceptible to false signals, or "whipsaws". As such, traders should experiment with different time periods and conduct other backtesting before trading.
This crossover system posted a buy signal when the
five-day crossed over the 20-day to the upside in March 2008, on the
left side of the chart. The position is closed once either a downside
crossover occurs (as posted in May, right side of chart), or the trade
reaches a predetermined price objective.
systems are extremely easy to develop. They are basically a set of
predefined trading rules based on the simple premise that a price move
to a new high or low is an indication of a continuing trend. Therefore,
the system triggers an action to open a position in the direction of
the new high/low.
For example, a breakout system may state that the trader should close all shorts and open a long position
if the day's closing price exceeds the high price for the past X days.
Part two of the same breakout system will state that the trader must
close longs and open a short position if the day's close is below the X
day's low print.
The secret is to determine how long of a period you'd like to trade.
Shorter time periods (faster systems) will detect trending markets
faster than slower systems. The drawback is that more whipsaws will
occur with faster systems.
thorough discussion of every pattern used by forex traders is obviously
beyond the scope of this article. As such, we will look at a few
popular continuation patterns used by traders. (For more on charts patterns, read Price Patterns - Part 1.)
can signal trend reversals, but most often they are continuation
patterns (meaning that the resolution of the triangle will result in
the resumption of the prior trend). There are several different types
of triangles, each possessing its own unique characteristics and
Traders should open positions once
the price action breaks out beyond the converging boundaries of the
triangle. In this case, the trader will buy the British pound once the
price breaks out above the upper boundary near 1.99.
One way to
forecast the extent of the resulting move is to measure the distance of
the triangle base and add that distance to the level where the breakout
occurred (~.04 to ~.05 + 1.99 = 2.04)
are continuation or consolidation patterns that usually display a
period of back and forth action sloped against the primary trend. Pennants have shown to be extremely reliable. They almost always consolidate the prevailing trend and very rarely signifying a trend reversal.
As with triangles, traders should open positions upon a breach of the
boundary. Like other continuation patterns, flags often occur near the
midpoint of a primary move.
are a number of ways traders can reduce risk and avoid the catastrophic
losses that will wipe out trading capital. Traders can set arbitrary
points at which they must exit losing positions. They can also place
stop orders. Another popular way to trade is to design mechanical
trading systems or so-called black-box systems that use an overriding preprogrammed logic to make all trading decisions.
are several perceived benefits to using mechanical trading systems. One
is that the core danger emotions of fear and greed are eliminated from
the bulk of your trading. These systems help traders avoid common
mistakes such as excessive trading and closing positions prematurely.
Another benefit is consistency. All signals are followed because the
market conditions required to trigger a signal are detected by the
system. Mechanical systems naturally force traders to control losses,
since a reversal will arbitrarily trigger a new signal, reversing or
closing the open position. (Read more about the effects of excessive
trading on your portfolio in Tips For Avoiding Excessive Trading.)
systems are only as good as the input data and backtesting conducted
before beginning the trading campaign. The simple reality is that there
is no perfect way to simulate real market conditions. Eventually, the
trader must enter the markets and put real money at risk. You can paper-trade and backtest all you want, but the true test is when you go live.
must always review and evaluate the efficacy of their strategies.
Market conditions are constantly changing, and traders must adapt their
systems to whatever market conditions they find themselves in.
| Category: Forex for Beginners | Added by: forex-market (2009-05-20)