A trend is defined as the general direction of price movements. An uptrend exists when prices continuously achieve higher highs, or as they’re alternatively referred to as “Higher Tops” and higher lows (bottoms). A downtrend is present when prices slope downwards as a result of a series of lower highs and lower lows. The main objective of trend trading is to enter as close as possible to the formation of a new trend and stay with it until it breaks down.
A range is created when price continuously bounces for a period of time between an upper level and a lower level. Range trading takes place when price is trading in a sideways or horizontal channel that is capped by a ceiling or resistance and a floor or support.
Currency pairs tend to oscillate regularly between being range-bound or trending. With the former, traders usually adopt a simple “buy low, sell high” approach, whereas with the latter they attempt to trade with the trend. Detecting whether the market is range-bound or trending is not so easy and can be costly if determined incorrectly. One of the most popular methods of determining the state of the market is to use the Fibonacci Retracement levels.
If price is in either an buying (ascending) or selling (descending) channel and then it begins to pull-back by a portion of its original move, then this is known as a Fibonacci Retracement. Quite often as it reverses direction, price eventually finds support (buying channel) or resistance (selling channel) at key Fibonacci levels before it continues in the original direction. These levels can be identified by drawing a line between lowest and highest points of the original movement and then dividing the vertical distance by the key Fibonacci ratios of 38.2%, 50%, 61.8%.
For example, consider a significant rally to the upside that then starts to reverse. If price then passes through all 3 commonly used Fibonacci levels i.e. 38.2%, 50%, & 61.8%, this is a very strong indication that a trend is not forming because support was not found as any of these levels.
This type of action is normally indicative that the buyers are not in control of the marketplace. This relatively equal distribution of power between the buying and selling forces produces increased chances that price will remain in a range-bound market environment until conditions alter.
In contrast, trends exist when there is an uneven distribution of buyers and sellers that forces the market to either new highs or lows. For instance, the market again rallies to the upside but this time finds a new resistance at the 50% Fibonacci level. This action indicates that the sellers have gained control of the marketplace and, as such, an ensuing downtrend is very probable.
As trend trading generates far more losing trades than winning ones, typically around 60% of the trades end at a loss, it requires rigorous risk control.
Most Money Management strategies recommend that traders should not risk more than 2.5% of their total capital account on any given trade. If traders do use high leverage, then they leave their accounts vulnerable. However, traders must mentally steel themselves to the fact that employing very tight stops can often result in 10 or even 20 consecutive stop-outs before they succeed in achieving a winning trade with strong momentum and directionality.
True range traders do not care about direction. The fundamental assumption about this type of trading is that price will always return to its original starting value no matter how far it travels. This is sometimes referred to as “mean reversion theory”, which means price tend to revert to the mean, even after they had travelled a substantial distance up or down the chart.
For example, imagine that EURUSD is trading at 1.4000. Classic range traders may then opt to short the pair and then every 50 pips higher should the market move in the opposite direction to their preferred one. These traders will then plan to close their trades at a profit every time price moves 25 pips below the levels of activation. However, to perform this strategy successfully requires traders to have very deep pockets. One method around this problem is to use less leverage by utilizing mini or micro Forex accounts.
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