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TheNegotiator

Performance and Focus

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With one of the reasons Db started his Trading By Price/Trading in 90 Minutes in mind, I thought I'd start a thread to talk about focus and concentration. See the thing is in any performance endeavor, if you can't focus properly on what you are doing whether you have the best plan in the world or no plan at all, you aren't going to be able to execute it very well. Perhaps in trading and to a greater extent in day trading, there is a need to be able to concentrate for long periods potentially. The obvious way around this is the idea that you trade the first 90 odd minutes of a session. That way you will likely capture a portion of the day in which the market moves. On the other hand, it doesn't always work like that. It's important to recognize and account for the fact that the market does not care what your timeframe is and it is you who are artificially applying the window to it in order that you might be able to function better within that time.

 

Earlier in my career, I tended to do long sessions and be able to concentrate. However, they were draining at times and I found even then that the best days were ones which were done and dusted a couple of hours into the session. More and more I will try to trade in the first couple and last hour of the primary session and tend to other work in the meantime. But what I'm interested in discussing here for the benefit of others who perhaps haven't quite figured it out for themselves yet, is the way in which everyone prepares their mind for the day in order that they are on point.

 

For me, it is a combination of factors:-

 

1) Having tended to or allocating time for concerns outside of direct trading.

 

2) Being prepared for what to expect from the day. Knowing what eco releases are due etc. and technical levels as well as running through some possible scenarios in my mind to give me a better handle on things when they do start to happen.

 

3) Making sure I'm free from distractions such as work interruptions or family stuff for example.

 

4) Making sure I'm in the best physical condition I can be. So I shouldn't be tired or desperately hungry for example, although eating then trading also doesn't tend to work for me. Clearly being unwell is not especially supportive of a clear and focused mind either.

 

5) Finally, some kind of psyching myself up can help. Personally I like listening to certain music and that helps to centre me somewhat.

 

I can't think of anything else in particular right now myself, but I'm sure that others have very specific ways they get ready mentally for the trading day and I'm sure that others would love to hear about it!

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I figured out that sleeping in front of your screen due to exhaustion does not increase my trading performance.

Being well prepared is definitely a plus, even if you are day-trading. Studying charts and planning trades helped me for sure.

Free your mind and relax after trading...find some other things to do after you set your tp and sl...less stress=better decisions

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Free your mind and relax after trading...find some other things to do after you set your tp and sl...less stress=better decisions

 

How do you go about doing this then? Placing a high level of importance on meditation (or at the very least something where you can properly take your mind off everything) and physical exercise is what I find helps me personally.

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I think the pre plan and post day review is important for most people...and too often neglected.

Once it then becomes second nature then you can look at a chart and just 'know' how things might/might not react, and what you have done wrong......but this is what takes a lot of experience and habitual reinforcement from a good strategy and repetition.

 

For most people I think in order to maintain concentration you need to understand when you dont need to maintain concentration.

 

(if you are a mean reverter, why trade and watch when its trending, if you are trend follower why trade when its range bound. - set the levels)

 

This is where the preparation of levels is important - when do you need to focus, when do you need to slack off.

When it becomes tiring is when you are watching, waiting, and hoping.

 

I also think as part of this, a review at the end of the day is important especially when starting.....this is when you need to be honest with yourself.....hard to do sometimes, and very much a smack in the back of the head, usually when you least want it, but most need it.

 

This way you can concentrate for what seems like a long time, but are in fact only concentrating for small zones....the rest of the time can be spent reading, listening etc.

(Golf analogy - golf is a game of 72 x 30 second intervals of concentration totaling 36mins - but it takes 4 hours to play. The work to be able to switch on is done in the preparation and practice)

 

Plus there is nothing wrong with a "26min power nap" if you need to refocus.

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For most people I think in order to maintain concentration you need to understand when you dont need to maintain concentration

 

Very much so. Given this, you need to have a plan to tell you what you're looking for and learn what that looks like in real-time so that your attention is piqued when required. Think back to when you started and I'm sure even a short space of time concentrating was tiring.

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Very much so. Given this, you need to have a plan to tell you what you're looking for and learn what that looks like in real-time so that your attention is piqued when required. Think back to when you started and I'm sure even a short space of time concentrating was tiring.

 

I was lucky - i started trading on a floor, and you had the added advantage of hearing when things became interesting.....and i can tell you, I slept on the floor, and then upstairs at the desk - one eye always open, learning to switch off and on. then i discovered tetris and other distractions (thank god for the pause button)

 

now I think if sitting by yourself you need to set your levels, have a plan of attack and go with it.....there is nothing wrong with wanting to go long all day, and never getting the opportunity to as it falls all day and you dont loose money as you never get a good chance to enter. Too often we think we need to make $x per day, what is wrong with making $5X per week when the opportunity arises, it might not happen until Wed afternoon.

 

The plan - the plan - the plan. If you have done any plan you know what to look for that will alert you to things in real time.

It might be as simple as a MA cross over to say right now I want to buy support on any pullback, or given xyz, I might need to chase it because this is the 3rd time its tried for a breakup and there is unlikely to be a pullback.....then after that.....it will probably run up, pullback, -- do i add, move my stop, panic out, reset.....this is what each person has to work out themselves.....

I might be bullish on the MA cross for the next ten days, my friend (imaginary) sitting next to me might be bearish for the next 10 mins, but we are now both alerted to something that has piqued our interest.

 

(I know my big weakness is being impulsive, so just because I get an alert does not mean I should act on it. Some days my impulsiveness works, other days it hurts. this fits with my plan that if I enter impulsively, i had better be quick to exit at a small loss, or small profit.....this then gives me time to slow down and assess properly - an itchy trigger finger pays the broker but it keeps me alerted as well - a small price to pay. However if everything lines up and the entry is clean, smooth, planned, then I dont want any impulsive exits......stick to plan.....)

 

EDIT - I attached a trade that happened as I was writing this - I had been a bit bearish all day in the EURUSD, but not running anything, just sell and buy....

BUT I only needed to be alerted when it rallied back through the MA.....

then when i see it fall, in a simple three wave down and start to rally quickly, from a higher low...remembering that the EURUSD has a bullish bias - I can go long.

Potential upside might be back above 1.3100, downside 8-10 ticks.

Now I will let it ride for abit - I might exit IF it fails to accelerate up which I would expect it to.....however it is also nearly 4pm and it could just as easily be done for the day.

5aa71142a3967_eurusdexample.thumb.jpg.96658ef6618d96b0c6876b29527e874c.jpg

Edited by SIUYA

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I think that one issue people can have is they get sucked into concentrating and then trading by price movement. Price movement outside of a plan ≠ great chance to trade. All price movement ≠ good. So focusing on just the plan but assessing the context of what the market is doing when you're not in trade mode is the way to go imho.

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I think that one issue people can have is they get sucked into concentrating and then trading by price movement. Price movement outside of a plan ≠ great chance to trade. All price movement ≠ good. So focusing on just the plan but assessing the context of what the market is doing when you're not in trade mode is the way to go imho.

 

That depends on the "plan". Or what one is calling ''the plan". If the plan is to go long if price is going "up", or short if price is going "down", it is not likely that one is going to be placing that down payment on that Jag at any point in the foreseeable future.

 

Given the number of threads that have addressed this plan business just over the past few weeks, I can't help but feel that we're beating a dead horse. Just about everyone seems to acknowledge the fact that a plan is (a) necessary and (b) desirable, but few (i.e., practically nobody) wants to actually develop one, or at least one which goes beyond wishful thinking. But how does A persuade B to develop a plan when B doesn't really want to? Does A wait for B to run out of money and turn to the development of a plan out of desperation? Or does A wait for B to come to the realization on his own, eventually, that a plan is necessary? (Given the fact that traders can go on for 15 years or more without making any money, this could be a long wait.) And why should A care one way or the other?

 

A student will learn what he needs to learn when he reaches a point where he sees the need to learn it, whether it's the formula for determining the area of a circle (like when he has to lay down a pad for a hot tub) or how to drive a stick shift or how to mix concrete or how to develop a trading plan. I find it supremely ironic that people begin trading to make money yet do those very things which will prevent them from making the money that they allegedly began trading to make.

 

One cannot save people from themselves. But this doesn't stop the good-hearted from trying.

 

Db

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That depends on the "plan". Or what one is calling ''the plan". If the plan is to go long if price is going "up", or short if price is going "down", it is not likely that one is going to be placing that down payment on that Jag at any point in the foreseeable future.

 

Given the number of threads that have addressed this plan business just over the past few weeks, I can't help but feel that we're beating a dead horse. Just about everyone seems to acknowledge the fact that a plan is (a) necessary and (b) desirable, but few (i.e., practically nobody) wants to actually develop one, or at least one which goes beyond wishful thinking. But how does A persuade B to develop a plan when B doesn't really want to? Does A wait for B to run out of money and turn to the development of a plan out of desperation? Or does A wait for B to come to the realization on his own, eventually, that a plan is necessary? (Given the fact that traders can go on for 15 years or more without making any money, this could be a long wait.) And why should A care one way or the other?

 

A student will learn what he needs to learn when he reaches a point where he sees the need to learn it, whether it's the formula for determining the area of a circle (like when he has to lay down a pad for a hot tub) or how to drive a stick shift or how to mix concrete or how to develop a trading plan. I find it supremely ironic that people begin trading to make money yet do those very things which will prevent them from making the money that they allegedly began trading to make.

 

One cannot save people from themselves. But this doesn't stop the good-hearted from trying.

 

Db

 

Well Db, whilst the plan is critical it wasn't my intention to start another thread solely devoted to plans. I suppose if you take a broader view of a plan (which I believe you really should, but many don't) rather than covering trading only, then including all the aspects I mention which help me to focus makes sense and I guess this thread is all about plans! Omg. :doh: lol.

 

Anyway, when it comes to people not taking the time to actually do a proper plan (and to plan how to actually follow the plan), I'm sure you know Db that there are many reasons why people don't do it. There are those who say they get it but really do not. So the value they place on it is vastly diminished compared to what it should be. There are those who really don't get it and think a plan is dumb and pointless. They just can't see how it's helpful for whatever reason.

 

Either way, in talking about it in various different ways - and really there are only so many core topics in trading which are important however you spin it - another person might just have that lightbulb moment. People are can view the same idea so differently that all it takes is someone to present it in a way that penetrates their core. You might say to someone "you should plan because of A, B, C" with really good logic and yet the person does not heed that wisdom. Then I or someone else says to the person "you should plan because of X, Y, Z" which in essence is exactly the same thing and the person gets it. Or maybe if we fill the interweb with enough sound knowledge again and again, something will just eventually click. Of course there are those who will not ever get it, but then if they don't try...

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People are can view the same idea so differently that all it takes is someone to present it in a way that penetrates their core. You might say to someone "you should plan because of A, B, C" with really good logic and yet the person does not heed that wisdom. Then I or someone else says to the person "you should plan because of X, Y, Z" which in essence is exactly the same thing and the person gets it. Or maybe if we fill the interweb with enough sound knowledge again and again, something will just eventually click. Of course there are those who will not ever get it, but then if they don't try...

 

sounds like a conversation between my partner and I......:haha: The one where you loose focus after a few minutes

 

(Aside - my trade did not work out, I exited at a three tick loss - not a bad result in my book, whereas someone might have been happy to take 10-15 out of it in a variety of forms, or a partial profit etc....I am greedy, I want more than a Jag, and will be likely to go at it again...but thats only because of the voices in my head...;))

Edited by SIUYA

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At least you're honest with yourself. I love these guys that post losing trade after losing trade then at the end of the day post something like Well, I met my profit target for the day so I guess I'll wrap it up and go dust the Bentley. Or whatever. :confused:

 

I guess they met their profit target in some other timeframe. In some other market. In some parallel universe.

 

Not to go off-topic or anything.:)

 

Db

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At least you're honest with yourself. I love these guys that post losing trade after losing trade then at the end of the day post something like Well, I met my profit target for the day so I guess I'll wrap it up and go dust the Bentley. Or whatever. :confused:

 

I guess they met their profit target in some other timeframe. In some other market. In some parallel universe.

 

Not to go off-topic or anything.:)

 

Db

 

in my universe the only thing i am dishonest about is the 5 mars bar wrappers on the desk ---- I swear i only had one.

 

I should have stuck with the theme --- I sold at the top and shorted there, made 20 ticks, screwed the girl, made love to the dog and was given an award for bravery.....unfortunately my universe is a little more dull drab and full of little losses, nervous times and waiting around - much like a dentists surgery.

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But getting back to the subject of the thread, trading gets to be pretty routine after a while. There are ways of jazzing it up, but whether or not one does so depends on what he wants out of trading. I begin the day by waking up, which becomes increasingly more difficult as the night lasts longer and longer (I pity the traders in California, much less Hawaii). Once my eyes are able to focus, I bring up the chart and see what's happened overnight. If as today I find that we're back in the same trading range we were in the day before, my hopes are not high. Be that as it may, I find the boundaries of the range and do nothing until we reach one or the other, having worked out in advance what I will do if and when price reaches one of those boundaries and either reverses or breaks out.

 

Inbetweentimes, I read.

 

Db

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…seems we’re discussing two different subjects

1 OP started regarding ways to sustain ‘focus’ when it’s needed

and then it veered off onto

2 ways of minimizing need for ‘focusing’ /and duration of time(s) in 'focus'

 

To me, the two topics do not seem to be related sufficiently to discuss well in the one single topic

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If one minimizes the times and places where focus is mostly likely to be needed, then it's easier to maintain focus at those times and in those places rather than squander the effort at those times and in those places where focus is least likely to be needed.

 

Though perhaps Neg had something else in mind.

 

Db

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…seems we’re discussing two different subjects

1 OP started regarding ways to sustain ‘focus’ when it’s needed

and then it veered off onto

2 ways of minimizing need for ‘focusing’ /and duration of time(s) in 'focus'

 

To me, the two topics do not seem to be related sufficiently to discuss well in the one single topic

 

I would think they are directly related......

if you cannot focus for long periods of time (the sustaining part), then an obvious solution is to work out how to best focus attention when it is most needed, and switch off the rest.

If you cannot focus for even short periods of time, then you would either need a different strategy or career.

Solutions to maximise focus might be things such as - closed dark room, music, caffeine, planned day, exercises...etc, but thinking outside the box (of the original question) by asking why the need for intense focus for long periods of time, and hence actually becomes a solution in of itself is related.....unless of course you have a compulsion for more threads :)

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How do you go about doing this then? Placing a high level of importance on meditation (or at the very least something where you can properly take your mind off everything) and physical exercise is what I find helps me personally.

 

If it is daytime I spend time in the front yard garden, if it is night time I just get some pop-corn and watch the tv series I like, if it is weekend I go the beaches or waterfalls around the province...these really help me to forget about things...

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If one minimizes the times and places where focus is mostly likely to be needed, then it's easier to maintain focus at those times and in those places rather than squander the effort at those times and in those places where focus is least likely to be needed
I would think they are directly related......

if you cannot focus for long periods of time (the sustaining part), then an obvious solution is to work out how to best focus attention when it is most needed, and switch off the rest.

If you cannot focus for even short periods of time, then you would either need a different strategy or career.

... but thinking outside the box (of the original question) by asking why the need for intense focus for long periods of time, and hence actually becomes a solution in of itself is related.....unless of course you have a compulsion for more threads

Of course they are directly related… especially at the level where each individual must find sustainable consistency for self.

But find ways to need focus less often will not resolve, or even improve, the need to able to focus as often as needed on demand. Was hoping we could take it a couple clicks deeper into developing staying power… instead of “a more polite ET” level of content…

DB, if you look back through your posts of last few months in ‘performance’ related topics, much of your content is about willingness to do the work. There are example posts right here in this thread (… and it’s all quality content, btw…).

Willingness to do the work (and commitment and determination, etc etc etc) are all definitely a part of it. But a big factor in declines in "willingness to do the work" (and commitment and determination, etc etc) may lie in how someone works with focus fatigue and develops resilience / rapid recovery!

 

Maybe it does involve a “compulsion for more threads” ;) I know I’m talking to a very tiny niche - so tiny the site owner probably wishes no one would even add more threads about it. Vendors, etc. who ‘enroll’ commitment / offer a path to success, could far better describe than I the very small percentage of ‘traffic’, even repeat traffic, that stays with it and develops the necessary skills, experience, and strengths (high performance level focus, etc.) needed. So even though “they are directly related”, a couple of “work smarter” posts and we’re all done, may suffice for the middle 4 deviations.

But it doesn’t help at all – for those who are willing to work!

If he’s willing to work, you don’t tell a football corner to find ways to not cover so often. You want him keeping his “focus” high every dam play… all session long. You hope he's doing everything he can to train resilience in 'focus' and you do what you can to help.

 

…will rephrase and reiterate my initial post.

 

…seems we’re discussing two different aspects

1 OP started regarding ways to sustain ‘focus’ when it’s needed

and then it veered off onto

2 ways of minimizing need for ‘focusing’ /and duration of time(s) in 'focus'

 

To me, the two aspects do not seem to be related sufficiently to discuss well together in the one single topic

 

Anyone have some meat re 1 ? thx.

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DB, if you look back through your posts of last few months in ‘performance’ related topics, much of your content is about willingness to do the work. There are example posts right here in this thread (… and it’s all quality content, btw…).

Willingness to do the work (and commitment and determination, etc etc etc) are all definitely a part of it. But a big factor in declines in "willingness to do the work" (and commitment and determination, etc etc) may lie in how someone works with focus fatigue and develops resilience / rapid recovery!

 

OTOH, concerning oneself with a "decline" in the aforesaid willingness presupposes a pre-existing willingness. IOW, if the beginner isn't even willing to step up to the plate, there's nothing to decline.

 

Show me somebody who is at least willing to begin*. Then we can start talking about focus and how to sustain it. Otherwise, it's just vendor-pundits talking to themselves.

 

Db

 

*I've got two so far. Not bad out of 78,000.

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Well l I guess then you have many more factors at play....

1...do you need to focus and concentrate all the time? - this is where the discussion veered to.....as discussions tend to do.

 

2...if you need to sustain focus over time - and if you cant then what are some techniques to help improve this.

2a....if you dont then how can you best swtich on an off the focus ---- this in itself can help maintain sufficient focus over time when needed.

 

3...how much does desire and motivation play in this respect, and if its not there in the first place, or it declines over time - then maybe this is the real issue, as opposed to maintaining focus......a factor many should consider if they wish to take a more holistic approach to any questions raised.

 

4...maybe its a simple 99% hard work 1% inspiration conundrum and some people are just prepared to put in the work.

 

...................

It terms of suggestions of how to sustain focus...some simple suggestions that I am sure you can google anywhere....

stay healthy, exercise, eat well

do mental mind concentration exercises and practice

engage the subject and practice, practice practice.

train yourself to spend longer times building up the focus and concentration skills.

--- whoops same problem people might have in terms of real motivation and desire.

 

what about taking small breaks, naps

breaking up the time

having something to periodically distract you....might work

meditation

------ all defeat the purpose of sustained focus maybe.?

 

A lot of thinks boil down to the same thing - motivation and work ethic IMHO.

Alternatively if you have this - then maybe you still dont need to concentrate for sustained periods of time, and you can work smarter rather than harder......sustained focus on one thing might be what holds (the trader or the football player back - partially why I gave the golfing analogy)

 

they all boil down to willingness to work/change/improve etc.....if you assume that is already there, then maybe the focus should be on - will extra sustained focus improve my performance, or will i just spend a lot of time and effort for little improvement.

 

''''''''''''''''''

here was a handy hint i quickly googled

"Are there places and situations in your life where you may be bored, disinterested and alike? If you wish to become more focused, I recommend you try this exercise. Write down when your focus is off. Keep a record of the times you were able to sustain focus and times when you couldn't. You'll start to see a pattern. The pattern/s is situational. By isolating and becoming aware of the times you loose focus, you'll be better able to develop strategies for focusing. "

 

if you have not done this before asking a question - maybe that is the issue?

 

Trading is definitely a job of thought and not labour - you might get RSI from pushing the button, but it still takes a lot of what many would consider unproductive time - but thats part of it.....it sure beats 8 hours of focus and concentration in a truck, a coal mine or with other heavy machinery - where usually safety measures are in place for those slips in concentration.......maybe there is an answer ---- droopy eyelids, a stray mouse click to an unathorised website - --- focus alert, cattle prod and electric shock to chair......pavlovs dog solution.

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Many aspiring traders fail to become consistently profitable because they put too much time into trying to get rich from forex trading and not enough time into the actual process of trading. The paradox of this behavior lies in the fact that the more you concentrate on how much money you want to make in the forex market, the less money you are likely to make. Becoming a consistently profitable forex trader is the result of discipline, passion, and a willingness to recognize and conquer your own personal mental faults.

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      MACRO EVENTS & NEWS OF 24th April 2018.



      FX News Today

      European Outlook: Asian markets moved mostly higher overnight, following on from a positive session on Wall Street and amid ongoing USD strength with a weaker Yen underpinning a 0.75% rise in the Nikkei. The Hang Seng is up 0.94%, the CSI 300 rallied 1.75% amid speculation that the government is considering easing some policies put in to limit the credit boom. The absence of any negative news on the trade front seems to have given stock markets some breathing space and U.S. futures are also up in tandem with U.K. futures. Oil prices are also up and the front end Nymex future is trading at USD 69.14 per barrel. For now though bonds are getting a boost and stock markets are also higher, with most European futures posting gains in tandem with U.S. futures and after a positive session in Asia. Today’s calendar focuses on confidence data out of France, Germany and the U.K.. The U.K. also has public finance data and Germany auctions 2-year Schatz notes.

      FX Update: The dollar posted fresh highs against the euro and yen, and many other currencies after a bout of demand in Asia, which extending a broad rally the greenback has been seeing against for over a week now. The narrow trade-weighted USD index (DXY) posted its highest level since the first week of January, at 91.07. EURUSD logged a 10-week low at 1.2184, though euro demand has subsequently fuelled a rebound to the 1.2220 area. USDJPY lifted for a sixth consecutive session, making a 10-week high at 108.87. EURJPY is also firmer, though has so far remained below the two-month high it saw last week. The gains in USDJPY have been concomitant with the U.S. T-note yield nearing the 3.0% level, which has been generating headlines, which comes with the BoJ continuing to peg JGB 10-year yields near 0.0%. The Nikkei 225 closed 0.86% for the better, more than reversing the moderate loss seen yesterday. North Korea’s Kim said that he would be willing to accept IAEA inspections of nuclear facilities.

      Charts of the Day



      Main Macro Events Today
        German IFO – The German Ifo business confidence indicator, due Tuesday, comes in a new format this month, which includes the services sector now. For the new indicator a dip is expected to 102.8 from 103.2, and a decline in the expectations reading to 99.5 from 100.1 in the previous month. However, after the better than expected PMI readings there is a bias to the upside to the numbers. In any case, we don’t expect the April round of survey indicators to really change the outlook for the ECB, which is seen on hold this week, with officials seeing scope to leave the final decision on the future of the QE program open until July, when the risks to the global outlook may have become a bit clearer and the decision is becoming urgent. UK Public Borrowing – Expectations – at 1.6B pounds from -0.272B pounds last month. US Consumer confidence – likely declined to 126.0 in April, from March’s 127.7. US New home sales – expected to rise to 0.630 mln in April from 0.618 mln in February. Support & Resistance Levels



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      Andria Pichidi
      Market Analyst
      HotForex


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      ...
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