Medium Term - Why Medium Term?
Retail traders just starting out in the forex market are often unprepared for what lies ahead and, as such, end up undergoing the same life cycle: first they dive in head first - usually losing their first account - and then they either give up, or they take a step back and do a little more research and open a demo account to practice. Those who do this will often eventually open another live account, and experience a little more success - breaking even or turning a profit. To help avoid the losses from hastily diving into forex trading, this article will introduce you to a framework for a medium-term forex trading system to get you started on the right foot, help you save money and ultimately become a profitable retail forex trader.
Why Medium Term?
So, why are we focusing on medium-term forex trading? Why not long-term or short-term strategies? To answer that question, let's take a look at the following comparison table:
|Type of Trader||Definition||Good Points||Bad Points|
|Short-Term (Scalper)||A trader who looks to open and close a trade within minutes, often taking advantage of small price movements with a large amount of leverage.||Quick realization of profits or losses due to the rapid-fire nature of this type of trading.||Large capital and/or risk requirements due to the large amount of leverage needed to profit from such small movements.|
|Medium-Term||A trader typically looking to hold positions for one or more days, often taking advantage of opportunistic technical situations.||Lowest capital requirements of the three because leverage is necessary only to boost profits.||Fewer opportunities because these types of trades are more difficult to find and execute.|
|Long-Term||A trader looking to hold positions for months or years, often basing decisions on long-term fundamental factors.||More reliable long-run profits because this depends on reliable fundamental factors.||Large capital requirements to cover volatile movements against any open position.|
Now, you will notice that both short-term and long-term traders require a large amount of capital - the first type needs it to generate enough leverage, and the second relies on it to cover volatility. Although these two types of traders exist in the marketplace, they are often high-net-worth individuals or larger funds. For these reasons, retail traders are most likely to succeed using a medium-term strategy.
The Basic Framework
The framework of the strategy covered in this section will focus on one central concept: trading with the odds. To do this, we will look at a variety of techniques in multiple time frames to determine whether a given trade is worth taking. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a mechanical/automatic trading system; rather, it is a system by which you will receive technical input and make a decision based upon it. The key is finding situations where all (or most) of the technical signals point in the same direction. These high-probability trading situations will, in turn, generally be profitable.
Chart Creation and Markup
Selecting a Trading Program
We will be using a free program called MetaTrader to illustrate this trading strategy; however, many other similar programs can also be used that will yield the same results. There are two basic things the trading program must have:
- the ability to display three different time frames simultaneously
- the ability to plot technical indicators, such as moving averages (EMA and SMA), relative strength index (RSI), stochastics and moving average convergence divergence (MACD)
Setting up the Indicators
Now we will look at how to set up this strategy in your chosen trading program. We will also define a collection of technical indicators with rules associated with them. These technical indicators are used as a filter for your trades.
If you choose to use more indicators than shown here, you will create a more reliable system that will generate fewer trading opportunities. Conversely, if you choose to use fewer indicators than shown here, you will create a less-reliable system that will generate more trading opportunities. Here are the settings that we will use for this article:
- Minute-by-minute candlestick chart
- RSI (15)
- stochastics (15,3,3)
- MACD (Default)
- Hourly candlestick chart
- EMA (100)
- EMA (10)
- EMA (5)
- MACD (Default)
- Daily candlestick chart
- SMA (100)
Adding in Other Studies
Now you will want to incorporate the use of some of the more subjective studies, such as:
- significant trendlines that you see in any of the time frames
- Fibonacci retracements, arcs or fans that you see in the hourly or daily charts
- support or resistance that you see in any of the time frames
- pivot points calculated from the previous day to the hourly and minutely charts
- chart patterns that you see in any of the time frames
In the end, your screen should look something like this:
Finding Entry and Exit Points
The key to finding entry points is to look for times in which all of the indicators point in the same direction. Moreover, the signals of each time frame should support the timing and direction of the trade. There are a few particular instances that you should look for:
- Bullish candlestick engulfings or other formations
- Trendline/channel breakouts upwards
- Positive divergences in RSI, stochastics and MACD
- Moving average crossovers (shorter crossing over longer)
- Strong, close support and weak, distant resistance
- Bearish candlestick engulfings or other formations
- Trendline/channel breakouts downwards
- Negative divergences in RSI, stochastics and MACD
- Moving average crossovers (shorter crossing under longer)
- Strong, close resistance and weak, distant support
It is a good idea to place exit points (both stop losses and take profits) before even placing the trade. These points should be placed at key levels and modified only if there is a change in the premise for your trade (oftentimes as a result of fundamentals coming into play). You can place these exit points at key levels, including:
- Just before areas of strong support or resistance
- At key Fibonacci levels (retracements, fans or arcs)
- Just inside of key trendlines or channels
Let's take a look at a couple of examples of individual charts using a combination of indicators to locate specific entry and exit points. Again, make sure any trades that you intend to place are supported in all three time frames.
Here you can see that a number of indicators are pointing in the same direction. There is a bearish head-and-shoulders pattern, a MACD, Fibonacci resistance and bearish EMA crossover (five- and 10-day). We also see that a Fibonacci support provides a nice exit point. This trade is good for 50 pips, and takes place over less than two days.
Here we can see many indicators that point to a long position. We have a bullish engulfing, a Fibonacci support and a 100-day SMA support. Again, we see a Fibonacci resistance level that provides an excellent exit point. This trade is good for almost 200 pips in only a few weeks. Note that we could break this trade into smaller trades on the hourly chart.
Money Management and Risk
Money management is key to success in any marketplace but particularly for the forex market, which is one of the most volatile markets to trade. Many times fundamental factors can send currency rates swinging in one direction only to whipsaw into another in mere minutes. So, it is important to limit your downside by always utilizing stop-loss points and trading only when good opportunities arise. (For more on money management in trading, see Losing To Win.)
Here are a few specific ways in which you can limit risk:
- Increase the amount of indicators that you are using. This will result in a harsher filter through which your trades are screened. Note that this will result in fewer opportunities.
- Place stop-loss points at the closest resistance levels. Note that this may result in forfeited gains.
- Use trailing stop losses to lock in profits and limit losses when you trade turns favorable. Note, however, that this may also result in forfeited gains.
Anyone can make money in the forex market, but it requires patience and a well-defined strategy. This article is a framework from which you can build your own unique, profitable trading system using indicators with which you feel comfortable.
InvestingWhile stocks have rallied since the economic recovery in 2009, many active portfolio managers have struggled to deliver investor returns in excess.
Chart AdvisorWeekly technical summary of the major U.S. indexes.
EconomicsAfter the Paris attacks investors are focusing on central bank policy and its potential for divergence: tightened by the Fed while the ECB pursues easing.
Chart AdvisorThe stocks are all moving different types of patterns. A breakout could signal a major price move in the trending direction, or it could reverse the trend.
Chart AdvisorThere has been lots of hype around the IPO market lately. We'll take a look at whether now is the time to buy.
Stock AnalysisLearn the biggest potential risks that may affect the price of Pfizer's stock, complete with a fundamental analysis and review of other external factors.
Stock AnalysisWal-Mart is the largest company in the world, with a sterling track-record of profits and dividends. So why has its stock fallen sharply in 2015?
Investing NewsThe force is strong with Disney stock, as it continues to make gains going into the launch of EP7. But is this pricey stock a good buy at these levels?
InvestingIf you are a foodie then explore one of these destinations in 2016.
Investing NewsSpace enthusiasts are in for an exciting time as Silicon Valley startups take on the lucrative but expensive final frontier.
A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, ...
Currency is a generally accepted form of money, including coins ...
Making an investment to reduce the risk of adverse price movements ...
The use of an additional indicator or indicators to substantiate ...
Securities analysis that uses subjective judgment based on nonquantifiable ...
The rate of return on a real estate investment property based ...
Hedge funds can trade penny stocks. In fact, hedge funds can trade in just about any type of security, including medium- ... Read Full Answer >>
The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
Mutual funds in India work in much the same way as mutual funds in the United States. Like their American counterparts, Indian ... Read Full Answer >>
Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
While the specific dormancy and escheatment rules for stock accounts vary by state, all states provide for the escheatment ... Read Full Answer >>
Mutual fund investors have numerous items to consider when selecting a fund, including investment style, sector focus, operating ... Read Full Answer >>