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Anything jump out at you in particular? If so, what might one conclude?

 

What I notice is ONE cycle of R2R before we have increasing non-dominant (black) volume, then a return to increasing red. Because we had just one R2R volume cycle I would conclude that we did not drop to a lower fractal?

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:confused::confused:

 

If the price pane were blanked out in this example, should we still know we have a traverse rather than a tape?

 

Neoxx used the phrase "in this example" in his question. You didn't notice the highlighted orange section within the portion of his post I quoted? Since Neoxx chose to discuss this example instead of all examples, he has provided boundaries for his question.

 

Your post applied my answer (to his question) outside those boundaries. In other words, my answer does not apply to all examples - only this one.

 

:confused::confused:

 

With no reference to price, the attached examples would seem legitimate alternatives.

 

Everything is not always what it appears to be (at first glance).

 

I encourage everyone to look at what appear to be "legitimate alternatives" in this case, and by doing so, test said conclusions against known circumstances in an effort to determine whether or not the statement represents a valid conclusion.

 

You arrived at a specific conclusion. That being, the attachments you posted represent "legitimate alternatives" to what I have stated. I encourage everyone to compare these "legitimate alternatives" against known areas of the market where one knows what the market has provided. In other words, one needs to compare and contrast the "legitimate alternatives" against an area of the market where the same thing occurs and determine if the conclusion of "legitimate alternatives" represents a valid viewpoint or wishful thinking.

 

- Spydertrader

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Attached is yet another example of the same principles at work - placing the end of traverse level B2B gaussians (medium level thickness) at any point in time prior to 13:30 would not result in correct identification of the traverse.

 

Again the P2 (of the blue channel/traverse/container) is on a VE of the next faster fractal. Where is the FTT (on the next faster fractal) that the tenet demands?

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One can go no further then post #4 of this thread : http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/f34/price-volume-relationship-6320.html#post70030 and simply look at the picture attached there. For convinience I am posting the picture again.

 

And if you don't look simply at it you see that there is not an FTT shown at the P2. I don't know if that was deliberate or sloppy drawing.

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What I notice...

 

By quoting Neoxx and highlighting certain areas of the quote, when I used the phrase "anything jump out at you?" I was referring to the orange highlighted section of Neoxx's question in that Neoxx chose to request an answer for this specific example only, and not, all examples.

 

- Spydertrader

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Again the P2 (of the blue channel/traverse/container) is on a VE of the next faster fractal. Where is the FTT (on the next faster fractal) that the tenet demands?

It is right where the medium B2B gaussians end. Apologies for missing the black skinny trendlines.

4_29_2009.thumb.png.248e0a5ad38d73da359f0c7d84ad538e.png

Edited by romanus

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And if you don't look simply at it you see that there is not an FTT shown at the P2. I don't know if that was deliberate or sloppy drawing.

1. All trends ( skinny, medium or thick lines in the picture) end with an FTT.

2. Where skinny trend ends the market arrives at a Point (1, 2 or 3) of a Traverse.

3. The skinny trend ends with FTT.

 

1 + 2 + 3 => A Point (1, 2 or 3) of a traverse ( medium thickness lines) represents an FTT of 'something' of the next smaller fractal (skinny lines).

 

P.S. The thickness refers to both trendlines and gaussians. 'Something' may look like a traverse, however, if it is not (a traverse, based on gaussians), then it must follow that correct annotation of that 'something' must be done with skinny trendlines and gaussians.

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It is right where the medium B2B gaussians end. Apologies for missing the black skinny trendlines.

 

Could you annotate the P2 (of the blue or black channel) and the associated FTT (on the next faster fractal) on your chart, I still can't see it.

 

(From your post above it seems that your P2 is not where the LTL is drawn.)

 

Does anyone else know what I'm asking and why?

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As we all know neither romanus nor PointOne are slouches but the example P1 selected to disprove romanus' contention is in error, IMO. This is not to say that either trader is right or wrong. It would help if P1 found a better example to support his notion.

 

lj

 

In what way is the example I posted "in error"? The example clearly shows a P2 on a VE of the next faster fractal. No FTT in sight, on the 5 minute resolution.

 

If it's a tenet that there is an FTT of something at points 1, 2 and 3 then I'd expect to see an FTT at every P2. I don't.

 

We've all seen bounces of VEs that BO of the RTL. Then, when we have P3, we draw the LTL through this VE and call it P2.

 

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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In what way is the example I posted "in error"? The example clearly shows a P2 on a VE of the next faster fractal. No FTT in sight, on the 5 minute resolution.

 

If it's a tenet that there is an FTT of something at points 1, 2 and 3 then I'd expect to see an FTT at every P2. I don't.

 

We've all seen bounces of VEs that BO of the RTL. Then, when we have P3, we draw the LTL through this VE and call it P2.

 

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

 

The 'P2' to which you are referring is not a P2 of a 5 min ES traverse as you can verify for yourself by annotating the channels from the prior day. I believe I am correct in saying that when romanus refers to a 'traverse' he is referring to a 5 min ES traverse, what Neoxx has called a 'standard traverse'. Anything faster is a tape or a fat tape or a fasterfractal traverse or a subfractal traverse or a goat or whatever.

 

I know exactly what you are referring to with the "VE" (and "LTL") bounces and BO's but what is being said here, and I believe correctly, is that such bounces and BO's, while tradable, are not bounces and BO's of 5 min ES traverses.

 

lj

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Could you annotate the P2 (of the blue or black channel) and the associated FTT (on the next faster fractal) on your chart, I still can't see it.

Blue trendlines represent a 5 min ES level Traverse with Point Three at 14:20. Olive and black trendlines represent tapes (which have tapes inside it). The blue Point Two at 10:45 is derived from looking at Price only. If 10:45 was also the end of medium level B2B, then the entire 10:45 to 13:25 lateral would have been \R of medium thickness which would cause 13:30 to be the completion and the end of the 5 min ES level sequence. That in turn would mean that a new sequence would begin from that point forward for a down 5 min ES level Traverse. As you can see it didn't happen. Which means something prevents 10:45 from being the end of medium level B2B. That something is the lack of FTT at that point. 10:45 is a VE of the olive tape and 13:30 is an FTT of the black tape, with black tape derived from olive by fanning.

 

Again, the above is based on defining the 'TAPE' and 'TRAVERSE' on both trendlines and gaussians, and not just by looking at price alone.

 

(From your post above it seems that your P2 is not where the LTL is drawn.)

You are absolutely correct. P2 is where gaussians say it is.

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So how do you decide where to place your LTL if it is not through P2?
The LTL is still where the price says it is, however the gaussians determine when all sequences reached their completion and where the current trend ends and new begins on the same fractal.

 

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The 'P2' to which you are referring is not a P2 of a 5 min ES traverse as you can verify for yourself by annotating the channels from the prior day. I believe I am correct in saying that when romanus refers to a 'traverse' he is referring to a 5 min ES traverse, what Neoxx has called a 'standard traverse'. Anything faster is a tape or a fat tape or a fasterfractal traverse or a subfractal traverse or a goat or whatever.

 

I know exactly what you are referring to with the "VE" (and "LTL") bounces and BO's but what is being said here, and I believe correctly, is that such bounces and BO's, while tradable, are not bounces and BO's of 5 min ES traverses.

 

lj

Here's another one, in case you were ever wondering (like me :)) what the hell was built that day.:doh:

5aa70f029f935_4_23_2009(5Min).thumb.png.2802c1cdb61cf09687dda2522fcfabb8.png

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The LTL is still where the price says it is, however the gaussians determine when all sequences reached their completion and where the current trend ends and new begins on the same fractal.

 

"Learn to understand what your Gaussians are telling you. By doing so, you'll automatically understand which fractal provided the signal you see, and more importantly, whether or not that particular fractal has completed its sequences."

 

So we agree where P2 is located. Good. It's on a VE.

 

Your tenet states that there is an FTT of something at every point 1, 2 and 3. I dispute that there is always an FTT at P2s. Your example shows a P2 on a VE. A VE cannot be an FTT, by definition.

 

Your tenet, if true, applies on all fractals. But your fanned black traverse has its P2 on the VE of the faster tapes. Where is the FTT of the tape forming the black traverse P2?

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...

Your tenet states that there is an FTT of something at every point 1, 2 and 3. I dispute that there is always an FTT at P2s. Your example shows a P2 on a VE. A VE cannot be an FTT, by definition.

 

The example shows point 2 of the tape on the VE of the tape. (Black trendlines do not represent a 5 min ES level traverse).

 

...

Your tenet, if true, applies on all fractals. But your fanned black traverse has its P2 on the VE of the faster tapes. Where is the FTT of the tape forming the black traverse P2?

 

Black trendlines do not represent a 5 min ES level traverse. They represent a tape. A tape which ends with an FTT at 13:30.

 

...

Your tenet, if true, applies on all fractals.

Yes it does. Tapes, however, being the smallest unit in terms of fractals may represent a challenge as their point 2 must be an FTT of something finer than a tape, which is not always identifiable on a 5 min chart. Luckily, in our example, dashed teal trendlines exist. See attached.

4_29.thumb.png.015e897d8d9d5923ded84eb2ca056240.png

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I, for one, would be very disappointed if this thread became embroiled in debate, discussion and verbal sparring, for which the other contemporary thread may serve a better arena.

 

We're grateful to have Spyder back, as what may be a 'last gasp' effort to bring everyone up to speed, and, at least in my opinion, the onus should be on promoting maximum utility.

 

I sincerely hope this thread does not become derailed, teeter on the brink, and plummet into the precipice.

Edited by Neoxx

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Neoxx used the phrase "in this example" in his question. You didn't notice the highlighted orange section within the portion of his post I quoted? Since Neoxx chose to discuss this example instead of all examples, he has provided boundaries for his question.

 

Your post applied my answer (to his question) outside those boundaries. In other words, my answer does not apply to all examples - only this one.

 

You arrived at a specific conclusion. That being, the attachments you posted represent "legitimate alternatives" to what I have stated. I encourage everyone to compare these "legitimate alternatives" against known areas of the market where one knows what the market has provided. In other words, one needs to compare and contrast the "legitimate alternatives" against an area of the market where the same thing occurs and determine if the conclusion of "legitimate alternatives" represents a valid viewpoint or wishful thinking.

 

- Spydertrader

Was applying it outside the "boundaries" a reference to the question being only about it being a traverse?

 

Was your answer to Neoxx with or without the gaussians already drawn in, as in that specific example?

 

I walked through the alternatives. Any comments or other things that should have been taken into consideration?

 

Thanks - EZ

http://www.traderslaboratory.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=12317&stc=1&d=1248074111

5aa70f02b47ab_dkmpossibilities.png.9e1b8416b90d57973e6a4c81e4a5d498.png

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Luckily, in our example, dashed teal trendlines exist. See attached.

 

OK cool there is an FTT there at P2, in the most accelerated tape. Apologies for not seeing it sooner, serves me right for just eyeballing somebody else's chart.

 

The tenet holds for now. I'll look out for examples to post where there is no discernible FTT at the P2 of a traverse or channel. (As you point out, discerning the FTTs in tapes at their P2s is unlikely on a 5 minute chart alone.)

 

Does anyone else have anything to add?

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I, for one, would be very disappointed if this thread became embroiled in debate, discussion and verbal sparring, for which the other contemporary thread may serve a better arena.

 

Sorry Neoxx, I thought I had discovered something about P2s and wanted to share this by testing romanus's assertion, nay tenet. It was a useful discussion for me at least. I shall keep my own counsel from now on.

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Sorry Neoxx, I thought I had discovered something about P2s and wanted to share this by testing romanus's assertion, nay tenet. It was a useful discussion for me at least. I shall keep my own counsel from now on.

 

Spyder is a valuable - but finite - resource, and this thread represents a unique opportunity for a lot of people, from those barely out of the starting blocks, to others (myself included) who may have stumbled at certain steps on the path to differentiation.

 

In the brief life of this thread, Spyder has already crystallized a number of important points, clarified certain others, and provided an accessible and up-to-date roadmap for continued progress.

 

I meant nothing personal, and hope I haven't deterred you from continuing to actively participate in this thread.

 

I simply meant it's in our collective best interests to foster an atmosphere conducive to clarity, candour and Spyder's continued input.

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Was applying it outside the "boundaries" a reference to the question being only about it being a traverse?

 

No.

 

Neoxx asked about this specific example. He wanted to know, (paraphrased), "Whether or not one would still know a traverses existed if a trader had no access to the Price pane." Applying my answer to all Traverses (and not just this specific example) represents an action 'outside the boundaries of the question.'

 

Was your answer to Neoxx with or without the gaussians already drawn in, as in that specific example?

 

The Gaussians existed (were already drawn on the chart snip), prior to, Neoxx posting his question.

 

I walked through the alternatives. Any comments or other things that should have been taken into consideration?

 

The entire point of these discussions represents my attempt to motivate people to learn the process of differentiation. As we noticed recently while observing the discussions between romanus and PointOne, people 'see' things differently (please note: I did not use the terms, 'correctly' or 'incorrectly'). People also interpret words and phrases differently based on their own internal 'filters' which resulted from various life experiences. As such, learning the process of differentiation represents the best way for someone to know the intended meaning of words and phrases equals what the presenter intended, and more importantly, that the recipient understood as accurate and precise.

 

For example,

 

"The YM leads the ES." represents a true and accurate statement. However, "The YM Leads the ES at points of change," represents, not only a true and accruate statement, but one which is more precise.

 

I once made the error of adding a different qualifier to the original assertion. My mental filters decided I had heard the words, "The YM leads the ES all the time," when nobody had inferred nor implied such a thing. Only when I differentiated all possible meanings of the original phrase did I arrive at the correct interpretation.

 

To that end, I started this thread.

 

- Spydertrader

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Spyder, could you post a few charts with examples of tapes on them, that look like traverses (akin to the recent chart of dkm) and some charts with examles of traverses, that look like those tapes. If you omit Gaussians annotations that would be tremendously conducive for understanding of the fractal jumping. I hope I don't ask too much here, but I guess that would be really helpful.

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Spyder is a valuable - but finite - resource, and this thread represents a unique opportunity for a lot of people, from those barely out of the starting blocks, to others (myself included) who may have stumbled at certain steps on the path to differentiation.

 

In the brief life of this thread, Spyder has already crystallized a number of important points, clarified certain others, and provided an accessible and up-to-date roadmap for continued progress.

 

I meant nothing personal, and hope I haven't deterred you from continuing to actively participate in this thread.

 

I simply meant it's in our collective best interests to foster an atmosphere conducive to clarity, candour and Spyder's continued input.

 

It is great to have an active discussion of the method again. It is entirely possible to have a sharp, clear discussion without resorting to things 'pissy and snippy', such as condescension, ad hominems, misrepresentations, etc. It is most frequently the arrogance of ignorance which gives rise to such manoeuvers and as true discussants of the method we are above all that.

 

Romanus' outpourings of the last few days have been very helpful to me (thank you romanus) and I hope everyone else as well. IMO, one creates an appropriate ego by putting it on the line and and building it anew when necessary. This should not be a big deal for anyone, although it does take a little practice to get used to doing it. The reward is new knowledge. Multiple moments of 'doh' will inevitably lead to a fabled 'aha'. If you experience a few 'haha's' at your own expense on the way to the 'aha', that makes it even better.

 

lj

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No.

 

Neoxx asked about this specific example. He wanted to know, (paraphrased), "Whether or not one would still know a traverses existed if a trader had no access to the Price pane." Applying my answer to all Traverses (and not just this specific example) represents an action 'outside the boundaries of the question.'

 

The Gaussians existed (were already drawn on the chart snip), prior to, Neoxx posting his question.

So in Neoxx's example with price blocked out and with the gaussians drawn in we should know it was a traverse. On other examples, (of traverses) it might not be so clear.

 

The entire point of these discussions represents my attempt to motivate people to learn the process of differentiation. As we noticed recently while observing the discussions between romanus and PointOne, people 'see' things differently (please note: I did not use the terms, 'correctly' or 'incorrectly'). People also interpret words and phrases differently based on their own internal 'filters' which resulted from various life experiences. As such, learning the process of differentiation represents the best way for someone to know the intended meaning of words and phrases equals what the presenter intended, and more importantly, that the recipient understood as accurate and precise.

 

Walking through the other examples was an attempt at differentiation of volume sequences, or reading volume by walking through the other viewpoints. There may be something glaring that's missing (in my analysis of these alternatives) that someone else might see that would help move the process forward. Of course it's always nice to have a standard to compare to.

 

Thanks for clarifying. - EZ

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    • good news!! It seems you can make good money at forex Why Do Many Forex Traders Lose Money? Here is the Number 1 Mistake David Rodriguez 11-14 minutes We look through 43 million real trades to measure trader performance Majority of trades are successful and yet traders are losing Reward to Risk ratios play a vital role in capital preservation Why do major currency moves bring increased trader losses? To find out, the DailyFX research team has looked through over 40 million real trades placed via a major FX broker's trading platforms. In this article, we look at the biggest mistake that forex traders make, and a way to trade appropriately. Why Does the Average Forex Trader Lose Money? The average forex trader loses money, which is in itself a very discouraging fact. But why? Put simply, human psychology makes trading difficult. We looked at over 43 million real trades placed on a major FX broker's trading servers from Q2, 2014 – Q1, 2015 and came to some very interesting conclusions. The first is encouraging: traders make money most of the time as over 50% of trades are closed out at a gain. Percent of All Trades Closed Out at a Gain and Loss per Currency Pair   Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart shows results of over 43 million trades conducted by these traders worldwide from Q2, 2014 through Q1, 2015 across the 15 most popular currency pairs. The blue bar shows the percentage of trades that ended with a profit for the trader. Red shows the percentage of trades that ended in loss. For example, the Euro saw an impressive 61% of all trades closed out at a gain. And indeed every single one of these instruments saw the majority of traders turned a profit more than 50 percent of the time. If traders were right more than half of the time, why did most lose money? Average Profit/Loss per Winning and Losing Trades per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart says it all. In blue, it shows the average number of pips traders earned on profitable trades. In red, it shows the average number of pips lost in losing trades. We can now clearly see why traders lose money despite being right more than half the time. They lose more money on their losing trades than they make on their winning trades. Let’s use EUR/USD as an example. We see that EUR/USD trades were closed out at a profit 61% of the time, but the average losing trade was worth 83 pips while the average winner was only 48 pips. Traders were correct more than half the time, but they lost over 70% more on their losing trades as they won on winning trades. The track record for the volatile GBP/USD pair was even worse. Traders captured profits on 59% of all GBP/USD trades. Yet they overall lost money as they turned an average 43 pip profit on each winner and lost 83 pips on losing trades. What gives? Identifying that there is a problem is important in itself, but we’ll need to understand the reasons behind it in order to look for a solution. Cut Losses, Let Profits Run – Why is this So Difficult to Do? In our study we saw that traders were very good at identifying profitable trading opportunities--closing trades out at a profit over 50 percent of the time. They utlimately lost, however, as the average loss far outweighed the gain. Open nearly any book on trading and the advice is the same: cut your losses early and let your profits run. When your trade goes against you, close it out. Take the small loss and then try again later, if appropriate. It is better to take a small loss early than a big loss later. If a trade is in your favor, let it run. It is often tempting to close out at a small gain in order to protect profits, but oftentimes we see that patience can result in greater gains. But if the solution is so simple, why is the issue so common? The simple answer: human nature. In fact this is not at all limited to trading. To further illustrate the point we draw on significant findings in psychology. A Simple Wager – Understanding Human Behavior Towards Winning and Losing What if I offered you a simple wager on a coin flip? You have two choices. Choice A means you have a 50% chance of winning 1000 dollars and 50% chance of winning nothing. Choice B is a flat 450 point gain. Which would you choose?         Expected Return Gains Choice A 50% chance to Win 1000 50% chance to Win 0 Expect to win $500 over time   Choice B Win 450   Win $450 Over time it makes sense to take Choice A—the expected gain of $500 is greater than the fixed $450. Yet many studies have shown that most people will consistently choose Choice B. Let’s flip the wager and run it again.         Expected Return Losses Choice A 50% chance to Lose 1000 50% chance to Lose 0 Expect to lose $500 over time   Choice B Lose 450   Lose $450 In this case we can expect to lose less money via Choice B, but in fact studies have shown that the majority of people will pick choice A every single time. Here we see the issue. Most people avoid risk when it comes to taking profits but then actively seek it if it means avoiding a loss. Why? Losses Hurt Psychologically far more than Gains Give Pleasure – Prospect Theory Nobel prize-winning clinical psychologist Daniel Kahneman based on his research on decision making. His work wasn’t on trading per se but clear implications for trade management and is quite relevant to FX trading. His study on Prospect Theory attempted to model and predict choices people would make between scenarios involving known risks and rewards. The findings showed something remarkably simple yet profound: most people took more pain from losses than pleasure from gains. It feels “good enough” to make $450 versus $500, but accepting a $500 loss hurts too much and many are willing to gamble that the trade turns around. This doesn’t make any sense from a trading perspective—500 dollars lost are equivalent to 500 dollars gained; one is not worth more than the other. Why should we then act so differently? Prospect Theory: Losses Typically Hurt Far More than Gains Give Pleasure Taking a purely rational approach to markets means treating a 50 point gain as morally equivalent to a 50 point loss. Unfortunately our data on real trader behavior suggests that the majority can’t do this. We need to think more systematically to improve our chances at success. Avoid the Common Pitfall Avoiding the loss-making problem described above is very simple in theory: gain more in each winning trade than you give back in each losing trade. But how might we do it concretely? When trading, always follow one simple rule: always seek a bigger reward than the loss you are risking. This is a valuable piece of advice that can be found in almost every trading book. Typically, this is called a “reward/risk ratio”. If you risk losing the same number of pips as you hope to gain, then your reward/risk ratio is 1-to-1 (also written 1:1). If you target a profit of 80 pips with a risk of 40 pips, then you have a 2:1 reward/risk ratio. If you follow this simple rule, you can be right on the direction of only half of your trades and still make money because you will earn more profits on your winning trades than losses on your losing trades. What ratio should you use? It depends on the type of trade you are making. We recommend to always use a minimum 1:1 ratio. That way, if you are right only half the time, you will at least break even. Certain strategies and trading techniques tend to produce high winning percentages as we saw with real trader data. If this is the case, it is possible to use a lower reward/risk ratio—such as between 1:1 and 2:1. For lower probability trading, a higher reward/risk ratio is recommended, such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1. Remember, the higher the reward/risk ratio you choose, the less often you need to correctly predict market direction in order to make money trading. We will discuss different trading techniques in further detail in subsequent installments of this series. Stick to Your Plan: Use Stops and Limits Once you have a trading plan that uses a proper reward/risk ratio, the next challenge is to stick to the plan. Remember, it is natural for humans to want to hold on to losses and take profits early, but it makes for bad trading. We must overcome this natural tendency and remove our emotions from trading. The best way to do this is to set up your trade with Stop-Loss and Limit orders from the beginning. This will allow you to use the proper reward/risk ratio (1:1 or higher) from the outset, and to stick to it. Once you set them, don’t touch them (One exception: you can move your stop in your favor to lock in profits as the market moves in your favor). Managing your risk in this way is a part of what many traders call “money management”. Many of the most successful forex traders are right about the market’s direction less than half the time. Since they practice good money management, they cut their losses quickly and let their profits run, so they are still profitable in their overall trading. Does Using 1:1 Reward to Risk Really Work? Our data certainly suggest it does. We use our data on our top 15 currency pairs to determine which trader accounts closed their Average Gain at least as large as their Average Loss—or a minimum Reward:Risk of 1:1. Were traders ultimately profitable if they stuck to this rule? Past performance is not indicative of future results, but the results certainly support it. Our data shows that 53 percent of all accounts which operated on at least a 1:1 Reward to Risk ratio turned a net-profit in our 12-month sample period. Those under 1:1? A mere 17 percent. Traders who adhered to this rule were 3 times more likely to turn a profit over the course of these 12 months—a substantial difference. Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Game Plan: What Strategy Can I Use? Trade forex with stops and limits set to a risk/reward ratio of 1:1 or higher Whenever you place a trade, make sure that you use a stop-loss order. Always make sure that your profit target is at least as far away from your entry price as your stop-loss is. You can certainly set your price target higher, and probably should aim for at least 1:1 regardless of strategy, potentially 2:1 or more in certain circumstances. Then you can choose the market direction correctly only half the time and still make money in your account. The actual distance you place your stops and limits will depend on the conditions in the market at the time, such as volatility, currency pair, and where you see support and resistance. You can apply the same reward/risk ratio to any trade. If you have a stop level 40 pips away from entry, you should have a profit target 40 pips or more away. If you have a stop level 500 pips away, your profit target should be at least 500 pips away. We will use this as a basis for further study on real trader behavior as we look to uncover the traits of successful traders. *Data is drawn from FXCM Inc. accounts excluding Eligible Contract Participants, Clearing Accounts, Hong Kong, and Japan subsidiaries from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Interested in developing your own strategy? On page 2 of our Building Confidence in Trading Guide, we help you identify your trading style and create your own trading plan. Why Do Many Forex Traders Lose Money? Here is the Number 1 Mistake David Rodriguez 11-14 minutes We look through 43 million real trades to measure trader performance Majority of trades are successful and yet traders are losing Reward to Risk ratios play a vital role in capital preservation Why do major currency moves bring increased trader losses? To find out, the DailyFX research team has looked through over 40 million real trades placed via a major FX broker's trading platforms. In this article, we look at the biggest mistake that forex traders make, and a way to trade appropriately. Why Does the Average Forex Trader Lose Money? The average forex trader loses money, which is in itself a very discouraging fact. But why? Put simply, human psychology makes trading difficult. We looked at over 43 million real trades placed on a major FX broker's trading servers from Q2, 2014 – Q1, 2015 and came to some very interesting conclusions. The first is encouraging: traders make money most of the time as over 50% of trades are closed out at a gain. Percent of All Trades Closed Out at a Gain and Loss per Currency Pair     Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart shows results of over 43 million trades conducted by these traders worldwide from Q2, 2014 through Q1, 2015 across the 15 most popular currency pairs. The blue bar shows the percentage of trades that ended with a profit for the trader. Red shows the percentage of trades that ended in loss. For example, the Euro saw an impressive 61% of all trades closed out at a gain. And indeed every single one of these instruments saw the majority of traders turned a profit more than 50 percent of the time. If traders were right more than half of the time, why did most lose money? Average Profit/Loss per Winning and Losing Trades per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart says it all. In blue, it shows the average number of pips traders earned on profitable trades. In red, it shows the average number of pips lost in losing trades. We can now clearly see why traders lose money despite being right more than half the time. They lose more money on their losing trades than they make on their winning trades. Let’s use EUR/USD as an example. We see that EUR/USD trades were closed out at a profit 61% of the time, but the average losing trade was worth 83 pips while the average winner was only 48 pips. Traders were correct more than half the time, but they lost over 70% more on their losing trades as they won on winning trades. The track record for the volatile GBP/USD pair was even worse. Traders captured profits on 59% of all GBP/USD trades. Yet they overall lost money as they turned an average 43 pip profit on each winner and lost 83 pips on losing trades. What gives? Identifying that there is a problem is important in itself, but we’ll need to understand the reasons behind it in order to look for a solution. Cut Losses, Let Profits Run – Why is this So Difficult to Do? In our study we saw that traders were very good at identifying profitable trading opportunities--closing trades out at a profit over 50 percent of the time. They utlimately lost, however, as the average loss far outweighed the gain. Open nearly any book on trading and the advice is the same: cut your losses early and let your profits run. When your trade goes against you, close it out. Take the small loss and then try again later, if appropriate. It is better to take a small loss early than a big loss later. If a trade is in your favor, let it run. It is often tempting to close out at a small gain in order to protect profits, but oftentimes we see that patience can result in greater gains. But if the solution is so simple, why is the issue so common? The simple answer: human nature. In fact this is not at all limited to trading. To further illustrate the point we draw on significant findings in psychology. A Simple Wager – Understanding Human Behavior Towards Winning and Losing What if I offered you a simple wager on a coin flip? You have two choices. Choice A means you have a 50% chance of winning 1000 dollars and 50% chance of winning nothing. Choice B is a flat 450 point gain. Which would you choose?         Expected Return Gains Choice A 50% chance to Win 1000 50% chance to Win 0 Expect to win $500 over time   Choice B Win 450   Win $450 Over time it makes sense to take Choice A—the expected gain of $500 is greater than the fixed $450. Yet many studies have shown that most people will consistently choose Choice B. Let’s flip the wager and run it again.         Expected Return Losses Choice A 50% chance to Lose 1000 50% chance to Lose 0 Expect to lose $500 over time   Choice B Lose 450   Lose $450 In this case we can expect to lose less money via Choice B, but in fact studies have shown that the majority of people will pick choice A every single time. Here we see the issue. Most people avoid risk when it comes to taking profits but then actively seek it if it means avoiding a loss. Why? Losses Hurt Psychologically far more than Gains Give Pleasure – Prospect Theory Nobel prize-winning clinical psychologist Daniel Kahneman based on his research on decision making. His work wasn’t on trading per se but clear implications for trade management and is quite relevant to FX trading. His study on Prospect Theory attempted to model and predict choices people would make between scenarios involving known risks and rewards. The findings showed something remarkably simple yet profound: most people took more pain from losses than pleasure from gains. It feels “good enough” to make $450 versus $500, but accepting a $500 loss hurts too much and many are willing to gamble that the trade turns around. This doesn’t make any sense from a trading perspective—500 dollars lost are equivalent to 500 dollars gained; one is not worth more than the other. Why should we then act so differently? Prospect Theory: Losses Typically Hurt Far More than Gains Give Pleasure Taking a purely rational approach to markets means treating a 50 point gain as morally equivalent to a 50 point loss. Unfortunately our data on real trader behavior suggests that the majority can’t do this. We need to think more systematically to improve our chances at success. Avoid the Common Pitfall Avoiding the loss-making problem described above is very simple in theory: gain more in each winning trade than you give back in each losing trade. But how might we do it concretely? When trading, always follow one simple rule: always seek a bigger reward than the loss you are risking. This is a valuable piece of advice that can be found in almost every trading book. Typically, this is called a “reward/risk ratio”. If you risk losing the same number of pips as you hope to gain, then your reward/risk ratio is 1-to-1 (also written 1:1). If you target a profit of 80 pips with a risk of 40 pips, then you have a 2:1 reward/risk ratio. If you follow this simple rule, you can be right on the direction of only half of your trades and still make money because you will earn more profits on your winning trades than losses on your losing trades. What ratio should you use? It depends on the type of trade you are making. We recommend to always use a minimum 1:1 ratio. That way, if you are right only half the time, you will at least break even. Certain strategies and trading techniques tend to produce high winning percentages as we saw with real trader data. If this is the case, it is possible to use a lower reward/risk ratio—such as between 1:1 and 2:1. For lower probability trading, a higher reward/risk ratio is recommended, such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1. Remember, the higher the reward/risk ratio you choose, the less often you need to correctly predict market direction in order to make money trading. We will discuss different trading techniques in further detail in subsequent installments of this series. Stick to Your Plan: Use Stops and Limits Once you have a trading plan that uses a proper reward/risk ratio, the next challenge is to stick to the plan. Remember, it is natural for humans to want to hold on to losses and take profits early, but it makes for bad trading. We must overcome this natural tendency and remove our emotions from trading. The best way to do this is to set up your trade with Stop-Loss and Limit orders from the beginning. This will allow you to use the proper reward/risk ratio (1:1 or higher) from the outset, and to stick to it. Once you set them, don’t touch them (One exception: you can move your stop in your favor to lock in profits as the market moves in your favor). Managing your risk in this way is a part of what many traders call “money management”. Many of the most successful forex traders are right about the market’s direction less than half the time. Since they practice good money management, they cut their losses quickly and let their profits run, so they are still profitable in their overall trading. Does Using 1:1 Reward to Risk Really Work? Our data certainly suggest it does. We use our data on our top 15 currency pairs to determine which trader accounts closed their Average Gain at least as large as their Average Loss—or a minimum Reward:Risk of 1:1. Were traders ultimately profitable if they stuck to this rule? Past performance is not indicative of future results, but the results certainly support it. Our data shows that 53 percent of all accounts which operated on at least a 1:1 Reward to Risk ratio turned a net-profit in our 12-month sample period. Those under 1:1? A mere 17 percent. Traders who adhered to this rule were 3 times more likely to turn a profit over the course of these 12 months—a substantial difference. Why Do Many Forex Traders Lose Money? Here is the Number 1 Mistake David Rodriguez 11-14 minutes We look through 43 million real trades to measure trader performance Majority of trades are successful and yet traders are losing Reward to Risk ratios play a vital role in capital preservation Why do major currency moves bring increased trader losses? To find out, the DailyFX research team has looked through over 40 million real trades placed via a major FX broker's trading platforms. In this article, we look at the biggest mistake that forex traders make, and a way to trade appropriately. Why Does the Average Forex Trader Lose Money? The average forex trader loses money, which is in itself a very discouraging fact. But why? Put simply, human psychology makes trading difficult. We looked at over 43 million real trades placed on a major FX broker's trading servers from Q2, 2014 – Q1, 2015 and came to some very interesting conclusions. The first is encouraging: traders make money most of the time as over 50% of trades are closed out at a gain. Percent of All Trades Closed Out at a Gain and Loss per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart shows results of over 43 million trades conducted by these traders worldwide from Q2, 2014 through Q1, 2015 across the 15 most popular currency pairs. The blue bar shows the percentage of trades that ended with a profit for the trader. Red shows the percentage of trades that ended in loss. For example, the Euro saw an impressive 61% of all trades closed out at a gain. And indeed every single one of these instruments saw the majority of traders turned a profit more than 50 percent of the time. If traders were right more than half of the time, why did most lose money? Average Profit/Loss per Winning and Losing Trades per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart says it all. In blue, it shows the average number of pips traders earned on profitable trades. In red, it shows the average number of pips lost in losing trades. We can now clearly see why traders lose money despite being right more than half the time. They lose more money on their losing trades than they make on their winning trades. Let’s use EUR/USD as an example. We see that EUR/USD trades were closed out at a profit 61% of the time, but the average losing trade was worth 83 pips while the average winner was only 48 pips. Traders were correct more than half the time, but they lost over 70% more on their losing trades as they won on winning trades. The track record for the volatile GBP/USD pair was even worse. Traders captured profits on 59% of all GBP/USD trades. Yet they overall lost money as they turned an average 43 pip profit on each winner and lost 83 pips on losing trades. What gives? Identifying that there is a problem is important in itself, but we’ll need to understand the reasons behind it in order to look for a solution. Cut Losses, Let Profits Run – Why is this So Difficult to Do? In our study we saw that traders were very good at identifying profitable trading opportunities--closing trades out at a profit over 50 percent of the time. They utlimately lost, however, as the average loss far outweighed the gain. Open nearly any book on trading and the advice is the same: cut your losses early and let your profits run. When your trade goes against you, close it out. Take the small loss and then try again later, if appropriate. It is better to take a small loss early than a big loss later. If a trade is in your favor, let it run. It is often tempting to close out at a small gain in order to protect profits, but oftentimes we see that patience can result in greater gains. But if the solution is so simple, why is the issue so common? The simple answer: human nature. In fact this is not at all limited to trading. To further illustrate the point we draw on significant findings in psychology. A Simple Wager – Understanding Human Behavior Towards Winning and Losing What if I offered you a simple wager on a coin flip? You have two choices. Choice A means you have a 50% chance of winning 1000 dollars and 50% chance of winning nothing. Choice B is a flat 450 point gain. Which would you choose?         Expected Return Gains Choice A 50% chance to Win 1000 50% chance to Win 0 Expect to win $500 over time   Choice B Win 450   Win $450 Over time it makes sense to take Choice A—the expected gain of $500 is greater than the fixed $450. Yet many studies have shown that most people will consistently choose Choice B. Let’s flip the wager and run it again.         Expected Return Losses Choice A 50% chance to Lose 1000 50% chance to Lose 0 Expect to lose $500 over time   Choice B Lose 450   Lose $450 In this case we can expect to lose less money via Choice B, but in fact studies have shown that the majority of people will pick choice A every single time. Here we see the issue. Most people avoid risk when it comes to taking profits but then actively seek it if it means avoiding a loss. Why? Losses Hurt Psychologically far more than Gains Give Pleasure – Prospect Theory Nobel prize-winning clinical psychologist Daniel Kahneman based on his research on decision making. His work wasn’t on trading per se but clear implications for trade management and is quite relevant to FX trading. His study on Prospect Theory attempted to model and predict choices people would make between scenarios involving known risks and rewards. The findings showed something remarkably simple yet profound: most people took more pain from losses than pleasure from gains. It feels “good enough” to make $450 versus $500, but accepting a $500 loss hurts too much and many are willing to gamble that the trade turns around. This doesn’t make any sense from a trading perspective—500 dollars lost are equivalent to 500 dollars gained; one is not worth more than the other. Why should we then act so differently? Prospect Theory: Losses Typically Hurt Far More than Gains Give Pleasure Taking a purely rational approach to markets means treating a 50 point gain as morally equivalent to a 50 point loss. Unfortunately our data on real trader behavior suggests that the majority can’t do this. We need to think more systematically to improve our chances at success. Avoid the Common Pitfall Avoiding the loss-making problem described above is very simple in theory: gain more in each winning trade than you give back in each losing trade. But how might we do it concretely? When trading, always follow one simple rule: always seek a bigger reward than the loss you are risking. This is a valuable piece of advice that can be found in almost every trading book. Typically, this is called a “reward/risk ratio”. If you risk losing the same number of pips as you hope to gain, then your reward/risk ratio is 1-to-1 (also written 1:1). If you target a profit of 80 pips with a risk of 40 pips, then you have a 2:1 reward/risk ratio. If you follow this simple rule, you can be right on the direction of only half of your trades and still make money because you will earn more profits on your winning trades than losses on your losing trades. What ratio should you use? It depends on the type of trade you are making. We recommend to always use a minimum 1:1 ratio. That way, if you are right only half the time, you will at least break even. Certain strategies and trading techniques tend to produce high winning percentages as we saw with real trader data. If this is the case, it is possible to use a lower reward/risk ratio—such as between 1:1 and 2:1. For lower probability trading, a higher reward/risk ratio is recommended, such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1. Remember, the higher the reward/risk ratio you choose, the less often you need to correctly predict market direction in order to make money trading. We will discuss different trading techniques in further detail in subsequent installments of this series. Stick to Your Plan: Use Stops and Limits Once you have a trading plan that uses a proper reward/risk ratio, the next challenge is to stick to the plan. Remember, it is natural for humans to want to hold on to losses and take profits early, but it makes for bad trading. We must overcome this natural tendency and remove our emotions from trading. The best way to do this is to set up your trade with Stop-Loss and Limit orders from the beginning. This will allow you to use the proper reward/risk ratio (1:1 or higher) from the outset, and to stick to it. Once you set them, don’t touch them (One exception: you can move your stop in your favor to lock in profits as the market moves in your favor). Managing your risk in this way is a part of what many traders call “money management”. Many of the most successful forex traders are right about the market’s direction less than half the time. Since they practice good money management, they cut their losses quickly and let their profits run, so they are still profitable in their overall trading. Does Using 1:1 Reward to Risk Really Work? Our data certainly suggest it does. We use our data on our top 15 currency pairs to determine which trader accounts closed their Average Gain at least as large as their Average Loss—or a minimum Reward:Risk of 1:1. Were traders ultimately profitable if they stuck to this rule? Past performance is not indicative of future results, but the results certainly support it. Our data shows that 53 percent of all accounts which operated on at least a 1:1 Reward to Risk ratio turned a net-profit in our 12-month sample period. Those under 1:1? A mere 17 percent. Traders who adhered to this rule were 3 times more likely to turn a profit over the course of these 12 months—a substantial difference. Why Do Many Forex Traders Lose Money? Here is the Number 1 Mistake David Rodriguez 11-14 minutes We look through 43 million real trades to measure trader performance Majority of trades are successful and yet traders are losing Reward to Risk ratios play a vital role in capital preservation Why do major currency moves bring increased trader losses? To find out, the DailyFX research team has looked through over 40 million real trades placed via a major FX broker's trading platforms. In this article, we look at the biggest mistake that forex traders make, and a way to trade appropriately. Why Does the Average Forex Trader Lose Money? The average forex trader loses money, which is in itself a very discouraging fact. But why? Put simply, human psychology makes trading difficult. We looked at over 43 million real trades placed on a major FX broker's trading servers from Q2, 2014 – Q1, 2015 and came to some very interesting conclusions. The first is encouraging: traders make money most of the time as over 50% of trades are closed out at a gain. Percent of All Trades Closed Out at a Gain and Loss per Currency Pair   Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart shows results of over 43 million trades conducted by these traders worldwide from Q2, 2014 through Q1, 2015 across the 15 most popular currency pairs. The blue bar shows the percentage of trades that ended with a profit for the trader. Red shows the percentage of trades that ended in loss. For example, the Euro saw an impressive 61% of all trades closed out at a gain. And indeed every single one of these instruments saw the majority of traders turned a profit more than 50 percent of the time. If traders were right more than half of the time, why did most lose money? Average Profit/Loss per Winning and Losing Trades per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart says it all. In blue, it shows the average number of pips traders earned on profitable trades. In red, it shows the average number of pips lost in losing trades. We can now clearly see why traders lose money despite being right more than half the time. They lose more money on their losing trades than they make on their winning trades. Let’s use EUR/USD as an example. We see that EUR/USD trades were closed out at a profit 61% of the time, but the average losing trade was worth 83 pips while the average winner was only 48 pips. Traders were correct more than half the time, but they lost over 70% more on their losing trades as they won on winning trades. The track record for the volatile GBP/USD pair was even worse. Traders captured profits on 59% of all GBP/USD trades. Yet they overall lost money as they turned an average 43 pip profit on each winner and lost 83 pips on losing trades. What gives? Identifying that there is a problem is important in itself, but we’ll need to understand the reasons behind it in order to look for a solution. Cut Losses, Let Profits Run – Why is this So Difficult to Do? In our study we saw that traders were very good at identifying profitable trading opportunities--closing trades out at a profit over 50 percent of the time. They utlimately lost, however, as the average loss far outweighed the gain. Open nearly any book on trading and the advice is the same: cut your losses early and let your profits run. When your trade goes against you, close it out. Take the small loss and then try again later, if appropriate. It is better to take a small loss early than a big loss later. If a trade is in your favor, let it run. It is often tempting to close out at a small gain in order to protect profits, but oftentimes we see that patience can result in greater gains. But if the solution is so simple, why is the issue so common? The simple answer: human nature. In fact this is not at all limited to trading. To further illustrate the point we draw on significant findings in psychology. A Simple Wager – Understanding Human Behavior Towards Winning and Losing What if I offered you a simple wager on a coin flip? You have two choices. Choice A means you have a 50% chance of winning 1000 dollars and 50% chance of winning nothing. Choice B is a flat 450 point gain. Which would you choose?         Expected Return Gains Choice A 50% chance to Win 1000 50% chance to Win 0 Expect to win $500 over time   Choice B Win 450   Win $450 Over time it makes sense to take Choice A—the expected gain of $500 is greater than the fixed $450. Yet many studies have shown that most people will consistently choose Choice B. Let’s flip the wager and run it again.         Expected Return Losses Choice A 50% chance to Lose 1000 50% chance to Lose 0 Expect to lose $500 over time   Choice B Lose 450   Lose $450 In this case we can expect to lose less money via Choice B, but in fact studies have shown that the majority of people will pick choice A every single time. Here we see the issue. Most people avoid risk when it comes to taking profits but then actively seek it if it means avoiding a loss. Why? Losses Hurt Psychologically far more than Gains Give Pleasure – Prospect Theory Nobel prize-winning clinical psychologist Daniel Kahneman based on his research on decision making. His work wasn’t on trading per se but clear implications for trade management and is quite relevant to FX trading. His study on Prospect Theory attempted to model and predict choices people would make between scenarios involving known risks and rewards. The findings showed something remarkably simple yet profound: most people took more pain from losses than pleasure from gains. It feels “good enough” to make $450 versus $500, but accepting a $500 loss hurts too much and many are willing to gamble that the trade turns around. This doesn’t make any sense from a trading perspective—500 dollars lost are equivalent to 500 dollars gained; one is not worth more than the other. Why should we then act so differently? Prospect Theory: Losses Typically Hurt Far More than Gains Give Pleasure Taking a purely rational approach to markets means treating a 50 point gain as morally equivalent to a 50 point loss. Unfortunately our data on real trader behavior suggests that the majority can’t do this. We need to think more systematically to improve our chances at success. Avoid the Common Pitfall Avoiding the loss-making problem described above is very simple in theory: gain more in each winning trade than you give back in each losing trade. But how might we do it concretely? When trading, always follow one simple rule: always seek a bigger reward than the loss you are risking. This is a valuable piece of advice that can be found in almost every trading book. Typically, this is called a “reward/risk ratio”. If you risk losing the same number of pips as you hope to gain, then your reward/risk ratio is 1-to-1 (also written 1:1). If you target a profit of 80 pips with a risk of 40 pips, then you have a 2:1 reward/risk ratio. If you follow this simple rule, you can be right on the direction of only half of your trades and still make money because you will earn more profits on your winning trades than losses on your losing trades. What ratio should you use? It depends on the type of trade you are making. We recommend to always use a minimum 1:1 ratio. That way, if you are right only half the time, you will at least break even. Certain strategies and trading techniques tend to produce high winning percentages as we saw with real trader data. If this is the case, it is possible to use a lower reward/risk ratio—such as between 1:1 and 2:1. For lower probability trading, a higher reward/risk ratio is recommended, such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1. Remember, the higher the reward/risk ratio you choose, the less often you need to correctly predict market direction in order to make money trading. We will discuss different trading techniques in further detail in subsequent installments of this series. Stick to Your Plan: Use Stops and Limits Once you have a trading plan that uses a proper reward/risk ratio, the next challenge is to stick to the plan. Remember, it is natural for humans to want to hold on to losses and take profits early, but it makes for bad trading. We must overcome this natural tendency and remove our emotions from trading. The best way to do this is to set up your trade with Stop-Loss and Limit orders from the beginning. This will allow you to use the proper reward/risk ratio (1:1 or higher) from the outset, and to stick to it. Once you set them, don’t touch them (One exception: you can move your stop in your favor to lock in profits as the market moves in your favor). Managing your risk in this way is a part of what many traders call “money management”. Many of the most successful forex traders are right about the market’s direction less than half the time. Since they practice good money management, they cut their losses quickly and let their profits run, so they are still profitable in their overall trading. Does Using 1:1 Reward to Risk Really Work? Our data certainly suggest it does. We use our data on our top 15 currency pairs to determine which trader accounts closed their Average Gain at least as large as their Average Loss—or a minimum Reward:Risk of 1:1. Were traders ultimately profitable if they stuck to this rule? Past performance is not indicative of future results, but the results certainly support it. Our data shows that 53 percent of all accounts which operated on at least a 1:1 Reward to Risk ratio turned a net-profit in our 12-month sample period. Those under 1:1? A mere 17 percent. Traders who adhered to this rule were 3 times more likely to turn a profit over the course of these 12 months—a substantial difference. Why Do Many Forex Traders Lose Money? Here is the Number 1 Mistake David Rodriguez 11-14 minutes We look through 43 million real trades to measure trader performance Majority of trades are successful and yet traders are losing Reward to Risk ratios play a vital role in capital preservation Why do major currency moves bring increased trader losses? To find out, the DailyFX research team has looked through over 40 million real trades placed via a major FX broker's trading platforms. In this article, we look at the biggest mistake that forex traders make, and a way to trade appropriately. Why Does the Average Forex Trader Lose Money? The average forex trader loses money, which is in itself a very discouraging fact. But why? Put simply, human psychology makes trading difficult. We looked at over 43 million real trades placed on a major FX broker's trading servers from Q2, 2014 – Q1, 2015 and came to some very interesting conclusions. The first is encouraging: traders make money most of the time as over 50% of trades are closed out at a gain. Percent of All Trades Closed Out at a Gain and Loss per Currency Pair   Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart shows results of over 43 million trades conducted by these traders worldwide from Q2, 2014 through Q1, 2015 across the 15 most popular currency pairs. The blue bar shows the percentage of trades that ended with a profit for the trader. Red shows the percentage of trades that ended in loss. For example, the Euro saw an impressive 61% of all trades closed out at a gain. And indeed every single one of these instruments saw the majority of traders turned a profit more than 50 percent of the time. If traders were right more than half of the time, why did most lose money? Average Profit/Loss per Winning and Losing Trades per Currency Pair Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. The above chart says it all. In blue, it shows the average number of pips traders earned on profitable trades. In red, it shows the average number of pips lost in losing trades. We can now clearly see why traders lose money despite being right more than half the time. They lose more money on their losing trades than they make on their winning trades. Let’s use EUR/USD as an example. We see that EUR/USD trades were closed out at a profit 61% of the time, but the average losing trade was worth 83 pips while the average winner was only 48 pips. Traders were correct more than half the time, but they lost over 70% more on their losing trades as they won on winning trades. The track record for the volatile GBP/USD pair was even worse. Traders captured profits on 59% of all GBP/USD trades. Yet they overall lost money as they turned an average 43 pip profit on each winner and lost 83 pips on losing trades. What gives? Identifying that there is a problem is important in itself, but we’ll need to understand the reasons behind it in order to look for a solution. Cut Losses, Let Profits Run – Why is this So Difficult to Do? In our study we saw that traders were very good at identifying profitable trading opportunities--closing trades out at a profit over 50 percent of the time. They utlimately lost, however, as the average loss far outweighed the gain. Open nearly any book on trading and the advice is the same: cut your losses early and let your profits run. When your trade goes against you, close it out. Take the small loss and then try again later, if appropriate. It is better to take a small loss early than a big loss later. If a trade is in your favor, let it run. It is often tempting to close out at a small gain in order to protect profits, but oftentimes we see that patience can result in greater gains. But if the solution is so simple, why is the issue so common? The simple answer: human nature. In fact this is not at all limited to trading. To further illustrate the point we draw on significant findings in psychology. A Simple Wager – Understanding Human Behavior Towards Winning and Losing What if I offered you a simple wager on a coin flip? You have two choices. Choice A means you have a 50% chance of winning 1000 dollars and 50% chance of winning nothing. Choice B is a flat 450 point gain. Which would you choose?         Expected Return Gains Choice A 50% chance to Win 1000 50% chance to Win 0 Expect to win $500 over time   Choice B Win 450   Win $450 Over time it makes sense to take Choice A—the expected gain of $500 is greater than the fixed $450. Yet many studies have shown that most people will consistently choose Choice B. Let’s flip the wager and run it again.         Expected Return Losses Choice A 50% chance to Lose 1000 50% chance to Lose 0 Expect to lose $500 over time   Choice B Lose 450   Lose $450 In this case we can expect to lose less money via Choice B, but in fact studies have shown that the majority of people will pick choice A every single time. Here we see the issue. Most people avoid risk when it comes to taking profits but then actively seek it if it means avoiding a loss. Why? Losses Hurt Psychologically far more than Gains Give Pleasure – Prospect Theory Nobel prize-winning clinical psychologist Daniel Kahneman based on his research on decision making. His work wasn’t on trading per se but clear implications for trade management and is quite relevant to FX trading. His study on Prospect Theory attempted to model and predict choices people would make between scenarios involving known risks and rewards. The findings showed something remarkably simple yet profound: most people took more pain from losses than pleasure from gains. It feels “good enough” to make $450 versus $500, but accepting a $500 loss hurts too much and many are willing to gamble that the trade turns around. This doesn’t make any sense from a trading perspective—500 dollars lost are equivalent to 500 dollars gained; one is not worth more than the other. Why should we then act so differently? Prospect Theory: Losses Typically Hurt Far More than Gains Give Pleasure Taking a purely rational approach to markets means treating a 50 point gain as morally equivalent to a 50 point loss. Unfortunately our data on real trader behavior suggests that the majority can’t do this. We need to think more systematically to improve our chances at success. Avoid the Common Pitfall Avoiding the loss-making problem described above is very simple in theory: gain more in each winning trade than you give back in each losing trade. But how might we do it concretely? When trading, always follow one simple rule: always seek a bigger reward than the loss you are risking. This is a valuable piece of advice that can be found in almost every trading book. Typically, this is called a “reward/risk ratio”. If you risk losing the same number of pips as you hope to gain, then your reward/risk ratio is 1-to-1 (also written 1:1). If you target a profit of 80 pips with a risk of 40 pips, then you have a 2:1 reward/risk ratio. If you follow this simple rule, you can be right on the direction of only half of your trades and still make money because you will earn more profits on your winning trades than losses on your losing trades. What ratio should you use? It depends on the type of trade you are making. We recommend to always use a minimum 1:1 ratio. That way, if you are right only half the time, you will at least break even. Certain strategies and trading techniques tend to produce high winning percentages as we saw with real trader data. If this is the case, it is possible to use a lower reward/risk ratio—such as between 1:1 and 2:1. For lower probability trading, a higher reward/risk ratio is recommended, such as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1. Remember, the higher the reward/risk ratio you choose, the less often you need to correctly predict market direction in order to make money trading. We will discuss different trading techniques in further detail in subsequent installments of this series. Stick to Your Plan: Use Stops and Limits Once you have a trading plan that uses a proper reward/risk ratio, the next challenge is to stick to the plan. Remember, it is natural for humans to want to hold on to losses and take profits early, but it makes for bad trading. We must overcome this natural tendency and remove our emotions from trading. The best way to do this is to set up your trade with Stop-Loss and Limit orders from the beginning. This will allow you to use the proper reward/risk ratio (1:1 or higher) from the outset, and to stick to it. Once you set them, don’t touch them (One exception: you can move your stop in your favor to lock in profits as the market moves in your favor). Managing your risk in this way is a part of what many traders call “money management”. Many of the most successful forex traders are right about the market’s direction less than half the time. Since they practice good money management, they cut their losses quickly and let their profits run, so they are still profitable in their overall trading. Does Using 1:1 Reward to Risk Really Work? Our data certainly suggest it does. We use our data on our top 15 currency pairs to determine which trader accounts closed their Average Gain at least as large as their Average Loss—or a minimum Reward:Risk of 1:1. Were traders ultimately profitable if they stuck to this rule? Past performance is not indicative of future results, but the results certainly support it. Our data shows that 53 percent of all accounts which operated on at least a 1:1 Reward to Risk ratio turned a net-profit in our 12-month sample period. Those under 1:1? A mere 17 percent. Traders who adhered to this rule were 3 times more likely to turn a profit over the course of these 12 months—a substantial difference. dont forget- like subscribe Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Game Plan: What Strategy Can I Use? Trade forex with stops and limits set to a risk/reward ratio of 1:1 or higher Whenever you place a trade, make sure that you use a stop-loss order. Always make sure that your profit target is at least as far away from your entry price as your stop-loss is. You can certainly set your price target higher, and probably should aim for at least 1:1 regardless of strategy, potentially 2:1 or more in certain circumstances. Then you can choose the market direction correctly only half the time and still make money in your account. The actual distance you place your stops and limits will depend on the conditions in the market at the time, such as volatility, currency pair, and where you see support and resistance. You can apply the same reward/risk ratio to any trade. If you have a stop level 40 pips away from entry, you should have a profit target 40 pips or more away. If you have a stop level 500 pips away, your profit target should be at least 500 pips away. We will use this as a basis for further study on real trader behavior as we look to uncover the traits of successful traders. *Data is drawn from FXCM Inc. accounts excluding Eligible Contract Participants, Clearing Accounts, Hong Kong, and Japan subsidiaries from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Interested in developing your own strategy? On page 2 of our Building Confidence in Trading Guide, we help you identify your trading style and create your own trading plan. View the next articles in the Traits of Successful Series: Trading Leverage - A Real Look at How Traders May Use it Effectively Do the Hours I Trade Matter? Yes - Quite a Bit Analysis prepared and written by David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist for DailyFX.com Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Game Plan: What Strategy Can I Use? Trade forex with stops and limits set to a risk/reward ratio of 1:1 or higher Whenever you place a trade, make sure that you use a stop-loss order. Always make sure that your profit target is at least as far away from your entry price as your stop-loss is. You can certainly set your price target higher, and probably should aim for at least 1:1 regardless of strategy, potentially 2:1 or more in certain circumstances. Then you can choose the market direction correctly only half the time and still make money in your account. The actual distance you place your stops and limits will depend on the conditions in the market at the time, such as volatility, currency pair, and where you see support and resistance. You can apply the same reward/risk ratio to any trade. If you have a stop level 40 pips away from entry, you should have a profit target 40 pips or more away. If you have a stop level 500 pips away, your profit target should be at least 500 pips away. We will use this as a basis for further study on real trader behavior as we look to uncover the traits of successful traders. *Data is drawn from FXCM Inc. accounts excluding Eligible Contract Participants, Clearing Accounts, Hong Kong, and Japan subsidiaries from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Interested in developing your own strategy? On page 2 of our Building Confidence in Trading Guide, we help you identify your trading style and create your own trading plan. View the next articles in the Traits of Successful Series: Trading Leverage - A Real Look at How Traders May Use it Effectively Do the Hours I Trade Matter? Yes - Quite a Bit Analysis prepared and written by David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist for DailyFX.com   Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Game Plan: What Strategy Can I Use? Trade forex with stops and limits set to a risk/reward ratio of 1:1 or higher Whenever you place a trade, make sure that you use a stop-loss order. Always make sure that your profit target is at least as far away from your entry price as your stop-loss is. You can certainly set your price target higher, and probably should aim for at least 1:1 regardless of strategy, potentially 2:1 or more in certain circumstances. Then you can choose the market direction correctly only half the time and still make money in your account. The actual distance you place your stops and limits will depend on the conditions in the market at the time, such as volatility, currency pair, and where you see support and resistance. You can apply the same reward/risk ratio to any trade. If you have a stop level 40 pips away from entry, you should have a profit target 40 pips or more away. If you have a stop level 500 pips away, your profit target should be at least 500 pips away. We will use this as a basis for further study on real trader behavior as we look to uncover the traits of successful traders. *Data is drawn from FXCM Inc. accounts excluding Eligible Contract Participants, Clearing Accounts, Hong Kong, and Japan subsidiaries from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Interested in developing your own strategy? On page 2 of our Building Confidence in Trading Guide, we help you identify your trading style and create your own trading plan. View the next articles in the Traits of Successful Series: Trading Leverage - A Real Look at How Traders May Use it Effectively Do the Hours I Trade Matter? Yes - Quite a Bit Analysis prepared and written by David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist for DailyFX.com   Data source: Derived from data from a major FX broker* across 15 most traded currency pairs from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Game Plan: What Strategy Can I Use? Trade forex with stops and limits set to a risk/reward ratio of 1:1 or higher Whenever you place a trade, make sure that you use a stop-loss order. Always make sure that your profit target is at least as far away from your entry price as your stop-loss is. You can certainly set your price target higher, and probably should aim for at least 1:1 regardless of strategy, potentially 2:1 or more in certain circumstances. Then you can choose the market direction correctly only half the time and still make money in your account. The actual distance you place your stops and limits will depend on the conditions in the market at the time, such as volatility, currency pair, and where you see support and resistance. You can apply the same reward/risk ratio to any trade. If you have a stop level 40 pips away from entry, you should have a profit target 40 pips or more away. If you have a stop level 500 pips away, your profit target should be at least 500 pips away. We will use this as a basis for further study on real trader behavior as we look to uncover the traits of successful traders. *Data is drawn from FXCM Inc. accounts excluding Eligible Contract Participants, Clearing Accounts, Hong Kong, and Japan subsidiaries from 3/1/2014 to 3/31/2015. Interested in developing your own strategy? On page 2 of our Building Confidence in Trading Guide, we help you identify your trading style and create your own trading plan. View the next articles in the Traits of Successful Series: Trading Leverage - A Real Look at How Traders May Use it Effectively Do the Hours I Trade Matter? Yes - Quite a Bit Analysis prepared and written by David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist for DailyFX.com     View the next articles in the Traits of Successful Series: Trading Leverage - A Real Look at How Traders May Use it Effectively Do the Hours I Trade Matter? Yes - Quite a Bit Analysis prepared and written by David Rodriguez, Quantitative Strategist for DailyFX.com
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