Welcome to the third and final part of this chapter.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
Thank you all for the 100s of comments and upvotes - maybe this post will take us above 1,000 for this topic!
Keep any feedback or questions coming in the replies below.
Before you read this note, please start with Part I and then Part II so it hangs together and makes sense.
Squeezes and other risksWe are going to cover three common risks that traders face: events; squeezes, asymmetric bets.
EventsEconomic releases can cause large short-term volatility. The most famous is Non Farm Payrolls, which is the most widely watched measure of US employment levels and affects the price of many instruments.On an NFP announcement currencies like EURUSD might jump (or drop) 100 pips no problem.
This is fine and there are trading strategies that one may employ around this but the key thing is to be aware of these releases.You can find economic calendars all over the internet - including on this site - and you need only check if there are any major releases each day or week.
For example, if you are trading off some intraday chart and scalping a few pips here and there it would be highly sensible to go into a known data release flat as it is pure coin-toss and not the reason for your trading. It only takes five minutes each day to plan for the day ahead so do not get caught out by this. Many retail traders get stopped out on such events when price volatility is at its peak.
SqueezesShort squeezes bring a lot of danger and perhaps some opportunity.
The story of VW and Porsche is the best short squeeze ever. Throughout these articles we've used FX examples wherever possible but in this one instance the concept (which is also highly relevant in FX) is best illustrated with an historical lesson from a different asset class.
A short squeeze is when a participant ends up in a short position they are forced to cover. Especially when the rest of the market knows that this participant can be bullied into stopping out at terrible levels, provided the market can briefly drive the price into their pain zone.
There's a reason for the car, don't worry
Hedge funds had been shorting VW stock. However the amount of VW stock available to buy in the open market was actually quite limited. The local government owned a chunk and Porsche itself had bought and locked away around 30%. Neither of these would sell to the hedge-funds so a good amount of the stock was un-buyable at any price.
If you sell or short a stock you must be prepared to buy it back to go flat at some point.
To cut a long story short, Porsche bought a lot of call options on VW stock. These options gave them the right to purchase VW stock from banks at slightly above market price.
Eventually the banks who had sold these options realised there was no VW stock to go out and buy since the German government wouldn’t sell its allocation and Porsche wouldn’t either. If Porsche called in the options the banks were in trouble.
Porsche called in the options which forced the shorts to buy stock - at whatever price they could get it.
The price squeezed higher as those that were short got massively squeezed and stopped out. For one brief moment in 2008, VW was the world’s most valuable company. Shorts were burned hard.
Porsche apparently made $11.5 billion on the trade. The BBC described Porsche as “a hedge fund with a carmaker attached.”
If this all seems exotic then know that the same thing happens in FX all the time. If everyone in the market is talking about a key level in EURUSD being 1.2050 then you can bet the market will try to push through 1.2050 just to take out any short stops at that level. Whether it then rallies higher or fails and trades back lower is a different matter entirely.
This brings us on to the matter of crowded trades. We will look at positioning in more detail in the next section. Crowded trades are dangerous for PNL. If everyone believes EURUSD is going down and has already sold EURUSD then you run the risk of a short squeeze.
For additional selling to take place you need a very good reason for people to add to their position whereas a move in the other direction could force mass buying to cover their shorts.
A trading mentor when I worked at the investment bank once advised me:
Always think about which move would cause the maximum people the maximum pain. That move is precisely what you should be watching out for at all times.
Asymmetric lossesAlso known as picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. This risk has caught out many a retail trader. Sometimes it is referred to as a "negative skew" strategy.
Ideally what you are looking for is asymmetric risk trade set-ups: that is where the downside is clearly defined and smaller than the upside. What you want to avoid is the opposite.
A famous example of this going wrong was the Swiss National Bank de-peg in 2012.
The Swiss National Bank had said they would defend the price of EURCHF so that it did not go below 1.2. Many people believed it could never go below 1.2 due to this. Many retail traders therefore opted for a strategy that some describe as ‘picking up pennies in front of a steam-roller’.
They would would buy EURCHF above the peg level and hope for a tiny rally of several pips before selling them back and keep doing this repeatedly. Often they were highly leveraged at 100:1 so that they could amplify the profit of the tiny 5-10 pip rally.
Then this happened.
Something that changed FX markets forever
The SNB suddenly did the unthinkable. They stopped defending the price. CHF jumped and so EURCHF (the number of CHF per 1 EUR) dropped to new lows very fast. Clearly, this trade had horrific risk : reward asymmetry: you risked 30% to make 0.05%.
Other strategies like naively selling options have the same result. You win a small amount of money each day and then spectacularly blow up at some point down the line.
Market positioningWe have talked about short squeezes. But how do you know what the market position is? And should you care?
Let’s start with the first. You should definitely care.
Let’s imagine the entire market is exceptionally long EURUSD and positioning reaches extreme levels. This makes EURUSD very vulnerable.
To keep the price going higher EURUSD needs to attract fresh buy orders. If everyone is already long and has no room to add, what can incentivise people to keep buying? The news flow might be good. They may believe EURUSD goes higher. But they have already bought and have their maximum position on.
On the flip side, if there’s an unexpected event and EURUSD gaps lower you will have the entire market trying to exit the position at the same time. Like a herd of cows running through a single doorway. Messy.
We are going to look at this in more detail in a later chapter, where we discuss ‘carry’ trades. For now this TRYJPY chart might provide some idea of what a rush to the exits of a crowded position looks like.
A carry trade position clear-out in action
Knowing if the market is currently at extreme levels of long or short can therefore be helpful.
The CFTC makes available a weekly report, which details the overall positions of speculative traders “Non Commercial Traders” in some of the major futures products. This includes futures tied to deliverable FX pairs such as EURUSD as well as products such as gold. The report is called “CFTC Commitments of Traders” ("COT").
This is a great benchmark. It is far more representative of the overall market than the proprietary ones offered by retail brokers as it covers a far larger cross-section of the institutional market.
Generally market participants will not pay a lot of attention to commercial hedgers, which are also detailed in the report. This data is worth tracking but these folks are simply hedging real-world transactions rather than speculating so their activity is far less revealing and far more noisy.
You can find the data online for free and download it directly here.
Raw format is kinda hard to work with
However, many websites will chart this for you free of charge and you may find it more convenient to look at it that way. Just google “CFTC positioning charts”.
But you can easily get visualisations
You can visually spot extreme positioning. It is extremely powerful.
Bear in mind the reports come out Friday afternoon US time and the report is a snapshot up to the prior Tuesday. That means it is a lagged report - by the time it is released it is a few days out of date. For longer term trades where you hold positions for weeks this is of course still pretty helpful information.
As well as the absolute level (is the speculative market net long or short) you can also use this to pick up on changes in positioning.
For example if bad news comes out how much does the net short increase? If good news comes out, the market may remain net short but how much did they buy back?
A lot of traders ask themselves “Does the market have this trade on?” The positioning data is a good method for answering this. It provides a good finger on the pulse of the wider market sentiment and activity.
For example you might say: “There was lots of noise about the good employment numbers in the US. However, there wasn’t actually a lot of position change on the back of it. Maybe everyone who wants to buy already has. What would happen now if bad news came out?”
In general traders will be wary of entering a crowded position because it will be hard to attract additional buyers or sellers and there could be an aggressive exit.
If you want to enter a trade that is showing extreme levels of positioning you must think carefully about this dynamic.
Bet correlationRetail traders often drastically underestimate how correlated their bets are.
Through bitter experience, I have learned that a mistake in position correlation is the root of some of the most serious problems in trading. If you have eight highly correlated positions, then you are really trading one position that is eight times as large.
Bruce Kovner of hedge fund, Caxton Associates
For example, if you are trading a bunch of pairs against the USD you will end up with a simply huge USD exposure. A single USD-trigger can ruin all your bets. Your ideal scenario — and it isn’t always possible — would be to have a highly diversified portfolio of bets that do not move in tandem.
Look at this chart. Inverted USD index (DXY) is green. AUDUSD is orange. EURUSD is blue.
Chart from TradingView
So the whole thing is just one big USD trade! If you are long AUDUSD, long EURUSD, and short DXY you have three anti USD bets that are all likely to work or fail together.
The more diversified your portfolio of bets are, the more risk you can take on each.
There’s a really good video, explaining the benefits of diversification from Ray Dalio.
A systematic fund with access to an investable universe of 10,000 instruments has more opportunity to make a better risk-adjusted return than a trader who only focuses on three symbols. Diversification really is the closest thing to a free lunch in finance.
But let’s be pragmatic and realistic. Human retail traders don’t have capacity to run even one hundred bets at a time. More realistic would be an average of 2-3 trades on simultaneously. So what can be done?
The key thing is to start thinking about a portfolio of bets and what each new trade offers to your existing portfolio of risk. Will it diversify or amplify a current exposure?
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limitsOne common mistake is to get bored and restless and put on crap trades. This just means trades in which you have low conviction.
It is perfectly fine not to trade. If you feel like you do not understand the market at a particular point, simply choose not to trade.
Flat is a position.
Do not waste your bullets on rubbish trades. Only enter a trade when you have carefully considered it from all angles and feel good about the risk. This will make it far easier to hold onto the trade if it moves against you at any point. You actually believe in it.
Equally, you need to set monthly limits. A standard limit might be a 10% account balance stop per month. At that point you close all your positions immediately and stop trading till next month.
Be strict with yourself and walk away
Let’s assume you started the year with $100k and made 5% in January so enter Feb with $105k balance. Your stop is therefore 10% of $105k or $10.5k . If your account balance dips to $94.5k ($105k-$10.5k) then you stop yourself out and don’t resume trading till March the first.
Having monthly calendar breaks is nice for another reason. Say you made a load of money in January. You don’t want to start February feeling you are up 5% or it is too tempting to avoid trading all month and protect the existing win. Each month and each year should feel like a clean slate and an independent period.
Everyone has trading slumps. It is perfectly normal. It will definitely happen to you at some stage. The trick is to take a break and refocus. Conserve your capital by not trading a lot whilst you are on a losing streak. This period will be much harder for you emotionally and you’ll end up making suboptimal decisions. An enforced break will help you see the bigger picture.
Put in place a process before you start trading and then it’ll be easy to follow and will feel much less emotional. Remember: the market doesn’t care if you win or lose, it is nothing personal.
When your head has cooled and you feel calm you return the next month and begin the task of building back your account balance.
That's a wrap on risk managementThanks for taking time to read this three-part chapter on risk management. I hope you enjoyed it. Do comment in the replies if you have any questions or feedback.
Remember: the most important part of trading is not making money. It is not losing money. Always start with that principle. I hope these three notes have provided some food for thought on how you might approach risk management and are of practical use to you when trading. Avoiding mistakes is not a sexy tagline but it is an effective and reliable way to improve results.
Next up I will be writing about an exciting topic I think many traders should look at rather differently: news trading. Please follow on here to receive notifications and the broad outline is below.
News Trading Part I
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Part   submitted by whatthefx to Forex [link] [comments]
Not much in terms of adjustments to add from previous post. I'm going to implement all risk adjustments at the weekend. In the meantime I've used some manual hedging to prevent from over exposure.
In this post I'll talk more about the ideal trades I am looking for. The mistakes people make at these areas, and how to build forward looking trade plans so you are less likely to find yourself caught in one of these market traps. I do consider these to be traps. I think price routinely moves in ways that induce market participants to take losing positions. I think this is done in algorithmic fashion and this means it leaves clues in forms of recurring ways laying traps.
This is just an opinion. I don't know.
First we will examine the classic structure of a trend. All examples will use a downtrend.
Basic Recurring Trend Structure:
Basic Trend Structure
Most of you will have seen this before, and probably recognise it as Elliot Wave theory (EWT). Whether or not you think EWT is valid or not, there are some things I think all of us can agree on. That is for the market to be in a downtrend, it has to keep making new lows. If it doesn't, it's not in a downtrend anymore. You'll also probably agree there are retraces in moves. That not often are new lows consistently made without any retrace. In a broad sense, this is all EWT is describing, which makes it noteworthy in good trending conditions.
Here are the points where most mistakes are made by traders in EWT cycles.
Trend Best/Worst Entries
All areas marked off in orange are places where it's easy to make mistakes.
Looking closer, this is what the more detailed price action on these sorts of moves tend to look like on lower timeframes.
Detailed Best/Worst Entries
Brown boxes are where buying mistakes are made. Purple circles are where selling mistakes are made.
We'll look a bit closer at what the specific mistakes are usually based on (conventional technical analysis theories) soon. First here is an example of this on a real AUDUSD chart.
AUDUSD Example Chart
This is a 45 minute chart, so the swings are not as detailed as the ones I've drawn (mine are more like 15 min), but you should be able to see how this concept can be transferred over onto a real chart. All of us who have been trading for a while know there are times we have made these mistakes. Everyone has ended up selling the bottom pip, or getting stopped out right before it reversed. Many of these times (in a trending market) fit into these areas.
This is not just curve fitting. Using rules to help to describe these conditions to pick the best trades and trading against the trades strategy providers offer, I picked up these trades. This was not perfect, what I'm doing needs a lot of work.
Here we can see a couple few of the mistakes. The green lines are profits and orange lines are losses. Here shorting these mistakes has done quite well on the spike out low. It's hard to see, but it also got a lot of good buys at the low. There are some losses at the high, but there is a far larger position accumulated around the mistake level.
See previous analysis on these trades in  
A big trend leg followed this build up of positions and hit take profits where stops were set under the low. This is where people start to sell, but this is also usually a mistake to sell immediately after this breakout.
The types of mistakes made are due to a handful of concepts. Here I've numbered them.
Rules/Rational people have in mind making these mistakes.
1 - Breakout/new high relative to recent leg / stops above previous high on sell/ previous low on buy.
2 - Single candle price action mistake.
3 - Breakout trading rushing in / stops go under recent supports/ over recent resistance.
4 - Break and retest.
5 - Deep correction.
Everything listed above has the potential to be very useful and valid in a technical analysis based strategy. However, in some contexts they are literally the very worst thing you can do. That's the thing about trading, you can do the same thing at different times and get wildly different results. What I'm trying to do here is not find people who lose every trade (I want them to win overall, actually. So I can keep copying them). I just want to work out ways to bet against mistakes they are likely to make. I think people will make these mistakes more reliably than an automated system will pick up trades.
I should add that most of these areas the mistakes happen at will be hit with a lot of velocity. This I think is what triggers the mistakes from so many impulsive traders. The market will amble along in a slow non-threatening / uninteresting sort of way, then suddenly all in a rush make these moves that imply something BIG is happening in a certain direction, when actually it's just about to move against these very positions if you take them. Velocity is one of my key filters.
Let's talk about the end of the two leg correction, this is one of the places I think most of the money is made and lost. At this point in an EWT cycle, the market is gearing up to enter it's strongest move. The best move to trade, and the smart market is going to need to get people on the wrong side. This is usually achieved with three things. One, the market makes it's first false reversal from a 50% retrace, and then moves with a lot of velocity into the 61.8% fib (briefly described in ). Then there's a second false breakout with price trading a little over the 61.8%, followed by a price crash into new lows.
The interesting thing about this move is if you speak to anyone with any sort of interest in EWT, they will tell you this move often completes with a news spike. There is positive news, the market moves quickly in the direction it "should" and then quickly makes a rapid reversal. Sometimes the move on the news makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever fundamentally. but does strike these areas.
Here is the Brexit chart.
Brexit trend continuation from 61.8% spike out pattern
Let's go further back.
Scotland Vote High
Here is where GBP made it's high point. This was after the fantastic fundamental news (apparently) that Scotland was staying in the UK. Price shot up, then began to heavily downtrend. I've marked in the start to the previous swing with a line, if you check these fibs you'll see it fits with the mistake. We are now in the part of cycle where GBP is aggressive pulling away from the range where the false reversals happened. This is punishing those who bought in this range, and we should expect to see it end in a violent spike down. Remember the people who thought buying Sterling after Brexit was free money? Nah uh.
This happens a lot. When it happens I see people trying to explain it with all sorts of theories. Usually involving the saying "priced in already". People often refer to these in aloof and vague ways, as if there was no way we could have ever known, and it's certainly not worth trying to forecast these sorts of things ... but next time you see this, have a quick check and see if we happened to be in a correction that spiked out a 50% high and reversed around 61.8%. It is wiser to look at what happened than take wild guesses as to why. I am not saying that it always it, nor am I saying it works like magic. I'm just saying it can be quantified. When someone says, "Well you see it was not what was said, or the number, but what was inferred ...", really means nothing. It's an opinion. We're better to look for things we can test, in my view at least.
So, let me talk you through the mental mindset of people when they're making these mistakes. I'm going to use this big Sterling chart, so this will also be a bit of a price forecast.
Mistakes Thinking Patterns.
1 - Price has been going up strongly, it's retraced and there is a single candle PA buy signal. Sets people up to take a horrible trade.
2 - Price has been falling hard and made yet another breakout, it's an easy sell ...
3 - This has fell too far, it's a reversal now. Look how strong it is.
4 - This is a strong breakout and this must be the start of a bigger move.
5 - Wow, it's broke the lows and look how hard it's falling, big sell time.
I think we will see stage 5 complete around 1.190. I think we may be due a fast move into this. Maybe in the coming week or two. It would be typical of the spike nature of end of this sort of move that this will be a single candle of over 150 pips that fills this. Being and holding GBPUSD shorts targeting 1.196 seems a great idea to me.
These five mistakes, made at these handful of areas are the ones I wanting to trade against, and if you'd like to be a profitable trader, are the places you should be looking for entries.
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