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ForexTraderX

Watch A Typical Day Of A Real Day Trader

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on the previous trade, I made about 0.45%...the CAD/JPY long. And although I made something on the long EUR/USD as well, i'm not counting it because should the stop get hit, the trade will be a BE. on the CAD/JPY, a stop hitting will still result in about 0.45% profit.

 

Including the EUR/USD long trade, i'm now up a bit for the week, about 0.10%-0.15%, and have a paper profit of about 0.70%. So, including paper profit, i'm up over 3/4 percent.

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Question for you?

 

From a previous post it looks like you are using the OANDA trading platform. I have a demo account with OANDA but I am used to an entirely different type of platform that I use with Infinity Futures. I think Trade Station has a similar type of set up. I'm not sure what to call it but it is a ladder type of trading platform that seems to be much more user friendly as far as placing orders quickly and modifying orders and stops etc.

 

Executing and modifying orders with OANDA is like pulling teeth.

 

Am I missing something or is that just the way it is with OANDA?

 

Looking forward to following along and learning from you. Thanks.

 

P.S.

 

Have my alarm set for 2AM. Will try to join you.

 

.Eh... oanda does just kind of suck for entering orders. it's still significantly better than MT4 IMO, but, ya... it's no tradestation or ninjatrader or currnex platform (thoug i've never personally traded on a currenx platform, from what i've seen it's nice)

 

Since I don't move my orders around much in spot, I don't mind it. But if your looking to do some quick scalping and such... well, I don't think retail forex is good for that at any rate. probably better off trading futures or an ETF or something like that.

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Well, this usually doesn't work out that a mistake is a good thing, but as I was looking back, I realized I meant to cancel all my open orders, including that EUR/USD that triggered.

 

Well, I forgot to cancel it, and it ended up working out in my favor (so far anyway), but this should have been cancelled. Oh well, I'll take the free ride at a chance to make profits. But, typically, this would have been a cancelled trade. Due to this fact, i've now moved stops up to BE on it, at 1.2340

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Right now, I have only half of the eur/usd long trade on, with stops at BE (1.2340), and half the CAD/JPY long trade on, with stops at BE (78.53)

 

I have one order to go long at 78.20, with a 38 pip stop, and a 40 pip 1st target, 105 pip 2nd target.

 

Everything else is cancelled.

 

I will do a full analysis again today between now and the europe session... probably get most of it done before toyko opens.

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btw... if i was looking to get in again on the CAD/JPY...i'd put an order long somewhere between 78.70 and 78.60, with a stop around 78.45, and I'd make it risk free around 78.90.

 

Just my thoughts, not something I will do, since I'm already in the trade long and don't wish to get longer at the moment.

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Well, today, i'm looking to get short the EUR/GBP around the 0.7918-0.7935 price... with a stop around 0.7955, and a target around 0.7880. However, this trade will be light on risk, and i'll probably look to move stops to break even around 20 pips.

 

I like the price action from yesterday, however, we have broken a downward trendline, and I see more upward potential before resuming a downward grind.

 

Will go over news and market happenings to determine if i should cancel this order...but for today, this is the one new trade I see.

 

If i see no headlines or news events that warrent cancelling the order, I'll leave it there, and if it's stopped out, I may look at 1 hr candles to possibly get back in on a bearish 1hr candle.

 

Otherwise... that order will sit there around 0.7920 and possibly trigger, and maybe even target.

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Well, since the BOE Governer has now publicly stated that cuttring rates may be counter productive, and also that weaker economic news in general out the the EZ is hurting things, plus bond yields in the problematic nations have not yet broken an uptrend, dispite the strong rhetoric last week from Draghi.

 

seems everything bad will hurt the EZ more than the other surrounding nations, but the non-EZ CB's are getting more hawkish. At least the UK is... so for today with this being the driving sentiment issues, I'll be happy to keep that short order on the EUR/GBP.

 

As far as the CAD/JPY trade... the BOJ just announced it wouldn't increase stimulus for now, and the C/J had a kneejerk reaction down about 15-20 pips, only to pick right back up in a matter of minutes, and is now trading above the pre-announcement levels.

 

If a more hawkish CB in japan can't hurt my long C/J trade...well, then I'm happy to hold it for the targets that are set.

 

THere is some big news coming out for CAD and USD particularly the trade balance for both, and unemployment claims. Seems CAD is expecting a slightly larger negative trade balance. If it comes in smaller than expected, this is good as it'll show the U.S. "recovery "is moving along (since 65% of exports go to the U.S.).

 

possibly the most telling report of the U.S. economic trade health besides the u.s. trade report itself (also coming out... but positive CAD will likely bode well for USD.)

 

At any rate, seems i'm on the correct side of sentiment for now..,. and unless the numbers are suprisingly negative, my current trade should work out, and if the EUR/GBP trigger, well, the more the merrier.

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Well, that should be it for the long CAD/JPY trade...based on the recent price action over the last couple hours, I'd expect it to break out now... but we'll see.

 

Be nice to get a nice profit.

 

Yeeep... so far, so good. Looks like this one will hit the next target.

 

When news comes out, and you get a strong reversal candle on it... it's usually a really good sign that things are going to move in the direction of the reversal. And we have a nice 1hr pinbar about 3 hours ago that closed just around 78.87ish.

 

Combine that with the slightly bullish daily candle from the day before, as well as higher highs and higher lows on an intraday chart, as well as impulse moves up, and slower retracement moves down, and multiple tests of this 79.00 level...

 

well, that's about everything one can ask for when looking to get long.

 

Still doesn't mean it's a guarantee of course! Just means the odds are heavily in ones favor by most measures, and I sure as heck wouldn't want to be holding short right now

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the last half of the EUR/USD long trade stopped out at BE. now just holding the CAD/JPY.

 

I thought it was looking great to move up... but now, I couldn't say either way. No matter... took half off for a profit, and what remains in play will either target, or stop at BE.

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Well... not sure yet how todays news reports will develop of course, and there are a few things coming out that could influence the US equity markets today... but all things considered, the "Easy Money" for this week to the long side is likely priced in already.

 

we've moved up now for 4 consecutive days...today will be the 5th day, and it looks like the NQ and ES futures are coming into some significant resistance...with the NQ futures really looking like they are slowing down. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see us test a lower low than we made yesterday in the NQ, if not all equity markets.

 

Anyway, time will tell, but I made a post over the weekened saying long on the US Equity makets would be the easiest play of the week... and now, i'm saying the easy part is done. For myself, i'm flat and looking for some potential pairs trades when the market opens today...but nothing really directional, unless it's to the downside and disappointing news results support it.

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as I look at the charts a bit more... I'm seeing some potential short targets in the S&P futures (sept contract...the nearest one).

 

I'm actually short right here, at 1400.25... and targeting 1396.00, stop at 1404.25.

 

 

we could get as low as 1393, 1387, or 1385 today...maybe lower, but those are the numbers i'm looking at.

 

So far, up 6 ticks. lets see what happens

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as I look at the charts a bit more... I'm seeing some potential short targets in the S&P futures (sept contract...the nearest one).

 

I'm actually short right here, at 1400.25... and targeting 1396.00, stop at 1404.25.

 

 

we could get as low as 1393, 1387, or 1385 today...maybe lower, but those are the numbers i'm looking at.

 

So far, up 6 ticks. lets see what happens

 

Well, that was fast. could hardly post this up before it drops 2 points.

 

anyway, stops now at 1400.00, so +1 tick.

 

target still 1396. If we can get to 1397, i'll lock in 1 point.

 

risk free trade at any rate

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Up $120 on the CL (big crude contract).

 

Oh...and just targeted on the short ES trade... up $212.50 on that one.

 

Closed 6A out at BE... don't like my entry price, would rather have a higher short, if at all.

 

still holding the QM short (mini crude) from 93.625

Edited by ForexTraderX

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if anyone is interested, hit me up on skype... screen name: forextraderx

 

i've got a little chat room with a couple folks who may show up. figure it's a nice way to talk shop while the markets are moving.

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Just closed the QM short out for a tick loss... checked my notes, and realized that we have some big news coming out here in about an hour... I do NOT want to be holding this trade through the news, since I didn't get in at an ideal entry.

 

So, closed up and completely flat now...however, will look to get short the ES around 1400, and crude anything above 94.00, if we can get back to either.

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So far, up $345 for the day, minus about $20 in comissions, give or take.

 

every trade profitable, forex and futures, except the 1 tick loss on the mini crude short, and the BE trade on the 6A futures (aud/usd futures)

 

Not a bad day so far... maybe a little stat arb, and a possible directional (short) opportunity will show up in crude, or better still, the equity futures markets.

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well, feel free to drop me a line on skype folks... so far, only had 3 people contact me since starting this thread, and one other person post up on the main thread here.

 

I really only care to do this if there is some interaction. ask questions, or spit some ideas of your own out. lets discuss or debate theory, whatever. It's more fun that way. Really! (at least I hope so!)

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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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