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Hi guys,submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert.
I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning.
When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts
Why it mattersThe first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.”
You have to keep it before you grow it.
Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around.
The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices.
Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizingThe first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose.
Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market.
A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples.
So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000.
We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be?
We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator".
So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital.
You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk.
Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later.
The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work.
As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you.
Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints.
For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly:
To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you.
Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown.
It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance.
Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k.
Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money.
Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
Kelly CriterionIf you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number?
The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round.
This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet.
Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin.
Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips.
Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds.
Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this:
Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio
If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically.
If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss.
So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%.
Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit!
With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not.
Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account.
Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see.
This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders.
Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How to use stop losses sensiblyStop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them.
A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter.
The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’.
This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK.
Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty.
You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter.
Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not.
Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates
There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”.
It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong.
Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear levelWhere you leave your stop loss is key.
Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible.
If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop
You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200.
The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up.
Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD.
If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend.
So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level.
There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high.
Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part IIEDIT: part II here
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Coming up in part IIISqueezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
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.
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FOREX StrategiesWhat are FOREX Strategies?
You may have noticed that most of people confuse the terminology and refer to FOREX Strategies in the wrong way. There are methodologies, systems, strategies, and techniques. The most effective methodology is Price Language (Trend Tracking). Combined with a correct reading of mass psychology presented by the charts.
We know that in the Stock Markets there are thousands of strategies. FOREX, like the rest of the markets, presents you with the opportunity to apply similar strategies to win consistently. Taking advantage of repetitive psychological patterns.
First, the Price Language methodology has created great fortunes in FOREX, and the next fortune may be yours. But this methodology must be implemented within a framework of advanced concepts of Markets. Without forgetting the basics. And working hard day by day.
Second, a strategy is a set of parameters and techniques that together give you the advantage to act in any situation. Thus for example in war, generals have attack strategies and counterattack strategies.
FOREX strategies alike are entry strategies and exit strategies. All beginners should know these FOREX strategies for beginners. That way you will get a general idea of the game and understand that trading is a war against the Market and its Specialists. Only applying FOREX strategies revealed by the same Specialists and using their own techniques,
... you can survive in this war.
Do not fall into the trap of the many "systems" and "methods" that are offered on the internet about operating in the FOREX Market. They just don't work in the long run. They are strategies based on indicators for the most part. Using rigid parameters. That if they can work and give profitability during a certain period of time, they will always reach a breaking point when the market changes its dynamics.
Instead, take advantage of your precious time and learn the Language of Price or Price Action.
The Language methodology will allow you to adapt to each new phase of the Market. If you combine this knowledge with the appropriate psychological concepts, you can live comfortably from speculation in FOREX.
Forex Trading Strategies Reddit - Basic FOREX StrategiesYou have two basic FOREX strategies, one entry, and one exit. Both follow a general strategy that helps you capitalize on the collective behaviors of the Market. That is, of the total of participating speculators.
This behavior causes the formation of cycles that repeat over and over again. Driven by the basic emotions (uncertainty, greed, and panic) of the speculators involved that can be taken advantage of with the aforementioned FOREX strategies. Specialists identify these emotions in the order flow and capitalize on these events every hour, every day, and every month.
Basic FOREX Strategies - The Price Cycle
These repetitive cycles consist of 4 phases:
The two trends can be easily identified by their notorious breakdown. And the two areas of uncertainty (accumulation and distribution), due to their notorious range trajectories.
This general behavior determines the core of our FOREX strategies.
You buy when the price of a pair has broken and has come out of one of its congestion formations (accumulation or distribution). You implement one of the Forex strategies, in this case, the entry one.
The multi-time technique will help you find the point of least risk when entering your initial buy or sell order. In the same way and using the same strategy but this time to close your position, the multiple timing technique will also show you how to close your operation obtaining the highest possible profit.
The most consistent way to extract profits in the market is by trading the start of trends within a cycle . Once confirmed by their respective breaks from the areas of uncertainty. This is the mother of all FOREX strategies . And in a market that operates 24 hours, we have more frequent cycles and therefore more opportunities.
Forex Trading Strategies Reddit - Advanced Forex StrategiesThere are many advanced FOREX strategies that are generally used by professional speculators working for large financial firms.
Among these firms are banks, Investment Fund managers and Hedge Fund managers. The latter is an investment modality similar to Investment Funds, with the difference that Hedge Funds use more complex investment strategies. Its operations are more oriented to aggressive speculations in the short and medium-term.
Among the most common strategies is hedging (hedging), carry trade, automated systems based on quantum mathematics. And a large number of combinations between the different option strategies.
The Carry TradeThe central idea of Carry Trade is to buy a pair in which the base currency has a considerably higher interest rate than the quoted currency. To earn the difference in rates regardless of whether the price of the pair rises or falls.
Suppose we buy a $ 100,000 lot of AUDJPY, which according to the rates on the chart would turn out to be the ideal instrument in this example to use the Forex carry trade strategy.
As our capital is in US dollars we have to assume for our example, the following quotes necessary to perform the place calculations:
AUD / JPY = 80.00 USD / JPY = 85.00
What happens internally in your broker is this.
The great advantage of carry trade FOREX strategies is that this percentage profit is applied to the $ 100,000 of the standard lot; the broker transfers all of the profit to you, even if you only contributed $ 1,000. On the other hand, if you carry out the inverse of this operation, this benefit of the Forex carry trade becomes a cost (swap), and you assume it completely.
Remember that FOREX carry trade strategies are recommended for pairs with considerable interest rate differences, such as the one we have just seen in our example.
These FOREX strategies should also not be used in isolation. The idea is that through technical analysis you identify when would be the ideal time to enter the market using your carry trade Forex strategy and multiply your profits considerably.
What FOREX Strategies Do Hedge Funds Use?The FOREX strategies used by large fund managers do not constitute an advantage in terms of percentage results for them, nor do they constitute a competitive disadvantage for you.
The vast majority of them fail because of their big egos. In fact, there was a firm made up of great financial geniuses, including 2 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics, who developed a strategy based on quantum mathematical calculations.
With an initial base capital of about 3 billion dollars, and after 3 successful years obtaining annual returns of over 40%, the firm Long-Term Capital Management, begins its fourth year with losses. To counteract these losses the geniuses decide to multiply the initial capital several times, while the losses continued.
The year closed with the bankruptcy of the fund, and with a total accumulated loss of 1 trillion dollars, due to the great leverage used. And all for not admitting that the FOREX Strategies of Long Term Capital Management were not in line with the dynamics of the Market.
There are an overwhelming number of opportunities in the stock markets to make money interpreting the Language of Price.
You don't need to use complex "advanced" strategies that have been created to handle hundreds or billions of dollars.
The reasons for using these FOREX strategies are very different from what a "retail trader" pursues with his small speculation business.
As you can see, you should not worry about wanting to integrate any of these advanced strategies into your arsenal. They are only beneficial for managing hundreds or billions of dollars, where the return parameters are very different when you handle small amounts of capital.
Do not worry about collecting hundreds of free FOREX strategies that circulate on the internet, that great accumulation of mediocre information will only serve to confuse you and waste your valuable time.
Spend that time learning Price Action,
… And you will always be one step behind the Specialists, identifying each new Market condition, and anticipating the vast majority of reversals of all prices.
Ironically, the most successful fund managers indicate that their most profitable trades are those based on the basic trend-following strategies of the Price Language. The same ones that you will learn in this Free Course.
Dedicate yourself to perfecting them and believe me you won't need anything else. As long as you have good risk management, taking into consideration the following points ...
Styles of Investments in FOREXThe Investment FOREX long term is not recommended for small investors like you and me. If we take into account the term investing literally as large investors do who buy a financial product today to sell it years later.
We both have a better niche in the short and medium-term.
You may have noticed that the big multi-year trends in the Forex Market do exist. But minor swings within a big trend are usually very wide.
These minor movements allow us to easily double and triple the annual return of the big general trend, motivating most traders to speculate in the short and medium-term.
These minor oscillations or trends that occur within the large multi-year trends owe their occurrence mainly to two reasons.
First, the FOREX Market presents 3 sessions a day each in different cities of the world with different time zones (Asia, Europe, and America). This causes more frequent trend changes than in the rest of the stock markets.
Second, the purpose for which it was created also plays a role. The modern Foreign Exchange Market, since its inception in 1972, was conceived by the global financial system as a tool for speculation. To obtain benefits in the short and medium-term (from several days to 1 year).
These two points are basically the reasons why we observe the immense speed with which the FOREX market changes trends.
For example, for those who live in America, in the early morning (Europe) the EURUSD pair may be on the rise, in the morning or afternoon (America) it may be down, and then finally at night (Asia) it may return to the rise.
Define your Own Style for your FOREX InvestmentsOne of the first decisions you will have to make is to choose your style as a trader or investor.
There are 4 types of well-defined styles.
Most professional traders tend to have multiple styles, although they always identify with one primary style for their FOREX investments. Study the characteristics of the 4 main styles to make your investments in FOREX :
1. Long Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per month to their investments in Forex. The period of an open position ranges from 1 year to 5 years.
2. Medium Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per week to their investments in Forex. The period of an open position ranges from 1 month to 1 year.
3. Short Term: recommended for anyone who is going to enter the market for the first time, or who already has a certain time operating in the long and medium-term, showing constant profits, and who can dedicate a minimum of one hour per day to your investments in FOREX. The period of an open position ranges from 1 day to 1 month.
4. Intraday : recommended only for people with a fairly solid earnings record in the short term, and with a capital greater than $ 50,000. As we have noted, this option constitutes a full-time job.
People who start investing in FOREX , should start executing short-term (weeks) and medium-term (months) transactions only, and not pay attention to intraday oscillations (day trading).
If you are interested in being an intraday speculator, I recommend that you first exhaust at least a year doing operations in the short and medium-term to assimilate the correct strategies and to develop the necessary mentality to carry out this work.
The second option would be to participate in some kind of intensive training.
I remind you that self-educating is almost impossible in speculation. You are likely to accumulate a lot of knowledge by reading books and attending courses. But you will probably never learn to make money with all the incomplete "systems" circulating on the internet.
Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for Your StyleMany people who are new to FOREX investments make the mistake of combining these styles, which is a key to failure.
I recommend that if you are not getting the results you expected by adopting one of these styles, do not try to change it. The problem sure is not in the style, but in your strategies or in your psychology.
A successful investor is able to make a profit in any longer trading time than he is used to. I explain. If you are already a profitable operator in the short term, it is very likely that you will also be profitable in the medium and long term,
… As long as you can interpret the Language of Price or Price Action.
In the opposite case, the same would not happen. If you were a medium-term trader, you would need time to adjust to the intraday. The reality is that long, medium and short term traders have very similar personalities. The intraday trader is completely different.
The Myth of the Intraday in Investments in FOREXIf you are already successful in the short, medium and long term, you will notice that the sacrifice and the hours necessary in front of the computer to operate intraday is much greater. The intraday style will be useful to increase your account if it is less than USD $ 100,000 in a very short time in exchange for 8 to 12 hours a day of hard work but ...
You must first develop the necessary skills to operate the intraday.
The ideal is to combine all the styles to get more out of the Market and carry out more effective transactions and have a diversification in your investments in FOREX.
There are intraday traders that are very successful, but the reality is that there are very few in the world that make a profit year after year. If you want to become an intraday, you just have to prepare yourself properly through intensive training.
Otherwise, I recommend that you don't even think about educating yourself to adopt the intraday style. It is not necessary to go against a probability of failure greater than 99%. Unless
... your ego is greater than your common sense.
The main reason why this style of investments in FOREX is not recommended for the vast majority of us "retail investors" (the official term "retail traders"), is the high operational cost.
The real commissions in this market range between $ 2.0 and $ 2.50 for each lot of 100,000 virtual units. This means that a complete operation (opening and closing) is approximately $ 5.00, for each standard lot traded ($ 100,000 virtual).
Another fundamental reason is the advent of robotic traders (HFT = High-Frequency Trading), which tend to manipulate the market in the shorter intraday swings. Please do not confuse HFTs with automated systems that we find daily on the internet, and that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars and often for free on FOREX forums / groups.
These HFTs to which I refer, they are effective. They cost millions of dollars and have been developed by the large Wall Street financial firms to manage their investments in FOREX.
The reality of the intraday trader is that you execute orders for large lots at the same time, to profit from the smallest movements in the market. It is an activity based on reflexes. The slightest oversight or distraction can turn into a catastrophe for your FOREX investments.
I recommend that you start investing in FOREX using slow time periods such as H4 or Daily. For some reason, all Goldman Sachs intraday FOREX investments are made with algorithms.
Finally…To choose your style as a trader and manage your investments in FOREX, first determine what your degree of experience is, analyze the points mentioned below and the rest you will discover when you execute your first operations.
The points that will affect your decision are:
And I hope you are one of those who get up over and over again. The next lesson will boost your confidence when you discover the main reason that moves currencies ...
Fundamental Analysis in Forex Trading RedditThe fundamental analysis in Forex is used mostly by long-term investors. Players as we saw in the styles of operators, start a negotiation today, to close it years later.
I always emphasize the importance that the mass media give to this type of analysis to distract the great mass of participants.
It is all part of a great mass psychological manipulation. For centuries the ignorance of the masses has been organized before the great movements begin.
The important news are the macroeconomic reports published by the Central Banks and other government agencies destined for this work. All reports are made up. 99% of them are corrected months later.
These events are tools to justify fundamental analysis and price cleaning movements. Any silly headline does the job. With this, it is possible to absorb most of the existing liquidity, before the new trend phase is projected.
Reaction!Except in rare situations, the result of an economic report of the fundamental analysis is generally already assimilated in the graph. In most cases, there are financial institutions that already have access to this information and are organizing and carrying out their operations in advance.
The phrase buy the rumor and sell the news is a very old adage on Wall Street. And its meaning contains what we have just explained. For the investor who can interpret the Language of Price, fundamental analysis is of little importance. Well, in general, their disclosure does not indicate that you have to take any action in your open trades , as long as your entry strategy provides you with a good support cushion.
This reality of fundamental analysis causes a lot of confusion for investors who lack in-depth knowledge of the forex market.
Macroeconomic DataThe data published in these events is irrelevant. Both for speculators and for the people in general. They are false. They lack reliability.
The price can go up or down with the same result of the data. The main ones are:
- Interest Rates - GDP (gross domestic product) - CPI (inflation) - ISM (manufacturing index) - NFP (payroll) - Double Deficits (deficit = fiscal + balance of payments)
If you are initiated, I recommend you avoid operating near these events. It is only a matter of having the time pending. Use the economic calendar for Fundamental Analysis of Forex Factory.
There is a probabilistic advantage in operating these fundamental analysis events. But it takes preparation, experience, and practice. They represent a way of diversifying in the general operation of a speculator.
The Uncertainty of Fundamental AnalysisOn many occasions after the disclosure of an economic report, the price movement of the currency pair that is going to be affected tends to move in the opposite direction to the logic of the report.
I show you an example of a fundamental analysis report. Imagine that the EUR / USD pair is trading at 1.2500, and the FED (US Federal Reserve) issues a statement announcing that it has just raised inter-bank interest rates from 0.25 points to 0.75 points. Very positive news for the US dollar that logically implies an appreciation of the currency and consequently an instantaneous collapse of the EUR / USD pair (up the dollar and down the euro)
However, minutes after the release of said fundamental analysis report, the pair after effectively collapsing to 1.2400, returns and returns to its levels prior to the report (1.2500). This situation is very common , but it is not so easy to identify it when it is occurring, but after the damage is done.
Traps like these devour the accounts of beginners who approach the market with little experience, with weak strategies, and especially with very little experience.
That is why I reiterate that you forget the fundamental analysis for now. Just keep in mind when operating, that there is no publication scheduled nearby. Just check the economic calendar for the day and forget about the numbers. Let the economists mess around with the data.
FOREX Market CorrelationThe Forex market correlation exists between pairs with similar "base" currencies and not always under the same circumstances. The correlation in the Forex market that is most followed and that has the greatest impact on fundamental analysis is that of the US dollar (USD).
The USD is the most traded monetary unit with a volume greater than 80% with respect to the rest of the currencies. This fact determines why their correlation is the most important, the most followed, and perhaps the only one worth following in the fundamental macro analysis.
The 7 major pairs are usually in sync . These 7 pairs all include the USD and present a fundamental analysis correlation almost 75% of the time. Influencing the rest of the currency pairs.
Advantages of the FOREX Market CorrelationIn the fundamental analysis the most basic FOREX correlation is the following. When the USD appreciates, the USD / CAD, USD / CHF, and USD / JPY pairs tend to go up in price. This indicates that the Canadian dollar (CAD), the Swiss franc (CHF), and the Japanese yen (JPY) are losing value against the USD.
We must bear in mind that this correlation does not occur 100% of the time. In fact, the JPY generally tends to move in the opposite direction , since in recent decades this currency has been used as a source of financing to invest in other financial instruments.
On the other side is the FOREX market correlation that generates a movement almost in unison in the other 4 major pairs EUR / USD, GBP / USD, AUD / USD, and NZD / USD. These tend to fall in price, homologous the appreciation of the USD. But not always.
In this case the fundamental analysis correlation works most of the time, between 65 and 85% of the time. Small differences are noted in the extent that each of these pairs experiences.
There is also a correlation in the secondary FOREX market, where the pairs of all currencies that do not include the USD participate, but I recommend you not to waste time on them for now. There are more important things about the Language of Price to know first.
FOREX Commodity CorrelationIn this part I will explain to you in a basic way the Correlation Commodities - FOREX of the fundamental analysis.
There are three currencies that have a direct correlation with commodities. They are usually called: "COMDOLLS" which is short for "Commodities Dollars" (Commodities Dollars), since all three obey the dollar denomination. These are:
- The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) - The Australian Dollar (AUD) - The Canadian Dollar (CAD)
These three currencies make up the group of the 8 largest together with the euro, the pound, the yen, the franc and the US dollar. Together, they merge to produce the major pairs traded in the FOREX Foreign Exchange Market.
The FOREX Commodity Correlation has an affinity in most cases greater than 75%. And each of them has its different raw material of correlation. You will notice that the NZD and the AUD are two currencies that act practically in unison. Both present minimal discrepancies in their fluctuations in the short, medium and long term.
This is mainly because their economies are very similar and their economic and fiscal policies are too. Their main production items also show great similarities, despite the fact that the Australian economy is much larger than the New Zealand economy.
The raw materials that follow the movement of the AUD are mainly gold and copper. If you put the history of these three quotes during the last decade of the year 2,000 together on the same chart, you will notice a very similar upward movement between the three quotes. Pure correlation of fundamental analysis.
This strong correlation with commodities in the metals area for the AUD has provided Australia with an economic advantage enviable over the other major powers that have seen their currencies devalue sharply against the AUD. At the same time, they experience a constant decrease in the purchasing power of their citizens.
The NZD maintains a correlation with raw materials related to agriculture and livestock, mainly including milk and its derivatives. It is one of the countries that dominates the world export of these economic items, and also has important exports of metals , although in smaller quantities than Australia.
Finally, you have a correlation with raw materials in the energy area. For historical reasons the CAD, which is not the largest oil producer in the world, but an important supplier to the largest consumer that is the US, has seen its currency oscillate in line with oil prices.
To make long-term investments in the Foreign Exchange Market, it is necessary to take into consideration at least one Commodity Correlation - FOREX in your fundamental analysis.
Forex Technical Analysis RedditThe technical analysis is the methodology that interprets the movements of the price. Specialists look for liquidity to fund their business. The repetition of the strategies used by the specialists in their work generate repetitive patterns.
If you were an analyst, you would develop the visual ability to identify such patterns on a graph. If you were a programmer you would quantify them mathematically using complex formulas.
And if you could learn to interpret the Language of Price, you would have the ability to anticipate 90% of all movements that occur on a chart. And in this business, anticipating is what will make you money.
Market prices are reflected and framed on a horizontal time axis and a vertical price axis. Prices go up or down according to the aggressiveness of the participating operators. In an efficient or balanced market these oscillations should be imperceptible.
But in reality this is not the case, since the Market works thanks to the digital printing of hundreds of billions of units of paper money systematically distributed by the Central Banks through the banking system. These resources serve as a tool to manipulate 100% of the movements that occur in the FOREX Market.
Are you looking for Technical Indicators? All technical indicators were created from the 70's. How do you think that for more than 200 years the speculators of the past accumulated great wealth?
With the Language of Price. The best timing is given by the price itself. Indicator-generated entry signals usually occur at the wrong time.
The basis of technical analysis is human psychology. Unfortunately, human beings are not perfect and are loaded with emotions that dominate their behavior in similar situations, creating repetitive and highly predictable behavior when it occurs in masses.
The study of technical analysis through indicators and subjective training, originates and shapes the collective thinking on which all the traps that specialists execute every day to maintain their business are designed. If the majority won, the Market would cease to exist.
Although you already know that the patterns are not generated by the masses , but the repetitive behavior of the Specialists in the face of the action response of the masses. It is very easy for speculaists, because they can see everyone's orders in their books.
And they also exert a great influence on the decisions of the masses through the mass media. It is what I call the war between the Egg and the Stone , if you hit me you win and if I hit you also you win.
The Deception of Modern Technical AnalysisThrough the centuries thousands of people have been able to extract great benefits from the financial markets by applying the basic strategies of technical analysis and the psychology of the Price Language.
More than 200 years ago when the markets began to operate officially, fundamental analysis predominated, which was only used by large financial institutions. As this analysis tool began to become popular, these institutions began to apply the strategies of technical analysis.
In recent decades and with the massification of internet technology, technical analysis has begun to be handled by anyone who has a computer with internet access. The same financial institutions, which have been present for more than a century and as a result of this overcrowding , establish a strategy to confuse and misinform about the true strategies of technical analysis.
This has been accomplished in the following manner. Currently there are hundreds, if not thousands of technical indicators that have been developed by so-called "gurus" of technical analysis and that sell their magic indicators packed in a "system" or "method" that usually cost thousands of dollars, or simply with the publication of a book with which they generate large profits. Double benefit.
The aim is to confuse the initiates in speculation and create the collective mentality that will originate the same behaviors over and over again. About 95% of these new entrants completely lose all the capital they invest in their early stages as investors.
Leaving them with a negative experience and creating the idea and the image that financial markets are an exclusive area for geniuses with high academic levels and that only they can produce returns in the markets year after year.
The initiate, having lost all his original capital, turns to these “gurus” for help and teachings. You spend more capital on the products they offer you and the cycle repeats itself . Obviously, the vast majority do not relapse and completely forget to re-engage in the stock markets.
I hope you have not been a victim of this drama.
Now I will show you the simplicity of a FOREX technical analysis , without the need to resort to any indicator as a tool to determine an effective entry or exit strategy when planning your operations.
The Price CyclePreviously you studied in the FOREX strategies lesson, that the typical price cycle when it is reflected in a graph, presents four very specific phases and very easy to identify if you perform a technical analysis with common sense . These are:
You will be surprised by the simplicity with which thousands of people around the world and over the centuries have accumulated large sums of money by drawing a few simple lines and applying responsible risk management with their capital.
How to Identify Trends?Being able to determine the trend phases within the price cycle is the essence of technical analysis since it is these two phases that provide you with the probabilistic advantage you need to operate in the markets and obtain constant returns.
In the most plain and simple language, in the world of technical analysis, there are only two types of formations: trends and ranges.
The trends, in turn, can be bullish if they go up, or bearish if they go down. The ranges, on the other hand, can be accumulation if they are at the beginning of the cycle, or distribution if they are in the high part of the cycle. As I had indicated in the topic of FOREX strategies when describing the price cycle.
This sounds more like a play on words, but I will show you the practical definition to simplify your life and then you will apply these definitions on the graph so that everything makes more sense to you.
Some key points from the graph:
The Common Sense, The Less Common of SensesThe central idea of technical analysis consists in determining the price situation of a market, that is, in which phase of the pattern of its cycle it is currently conjugated with the collective thinking of the masses and the possible traps that the market would have prepared to remove. the capital at stake by the public.
To carry out a precise technical analysis, you will use the support and resistance lines, which can be static (horizontal) or dynamic (projecting an angle with respect to the horizontal axis).
Your common sense prevails here.
If you show a 10-year-old a chart, they will be able to tell you if the price is going up or down. You will most likely have no idea how to draw the lines, but you will be able to establish the general trend. Simply using your common sense.
By introducing indicators and other gadgets , the simplicity and effectiveness of the technical analysis created by your common sense evaporates.
The following graph conceptually shows you all the possible situations in which you could draw these lines to carry out your technical analysis of the place. You can clearly observe a downtrend delimited by its dynamic trend line and an uptrend on the right side with its respective dynamic delimitation.
Forex Charts AnalysisI want to remind you that the formations or patterns that develop on the charts (triangles, wedges, pennants, boxes, etc.) only work to execute trades that have initially been confirmed by the static support and resistance lines and to read the collective thinking of the masses.
Chart formations work, but you must know the Language of Price to determine when the Specialists will exploit a chartist figure, or when they will allow it to run. In fact, you will learn with the Language that you can operate a chart figure in any direction.
Much of the "mentalization" that the masses receive is to believe that the figures are made to be respected. Which is an inefficient way of working. Simply because you could wait days or months for a perfect chart figure to occur in order to perform a reliable trade. When in fact there are dozens every day.
Japanese CandlesOf all the tools you have to carry out technical analysis, perhaps the best known and most popular is the Japanese technique of candles (candlesticks).
Candles are mainly used to identify reversal points on the chart without resorting to confirmation of horizontal trend lines and only using a previous bar or candle breaks.
Its correct use is subject to a multi-time analysis (multiple temporalities) and a general evaluation of the context proposed by the market in general at the time of each scenario.
Later I will show you all the important details to take into account so that you use Japanese candles in a simple and very effective way.
Do not forget ... Trading in your beginnings based on formations (chartism) and candlestick patterns conjugated with hundreds of tools and technical indicators, constitutes the perfect path to your failure. Before using any strategy or technique I recommend you focus on learning the Price Language, which includes 3 basic things:
Specialists make money every day at the expense of the collective behavior caused by the use of these strategies and techniques. With which you will only manage to lose your capital and your time by putting the cart in front of the horse.
People who do the opposite, at best become,
... Philosophers of Speculation, or indocile Robot Assistants or Expert Advisors.
To make money in any market condition, range or trend, you must use the technical analysis based on the Price Language and combine it with a correct psychological reading of the price. This knowledge can only be acquired through proper education and lots of supervised practice. Like any other career in life.
I hope you've found this guide helpful!
Firstly, thanks for the overwhelming comments and feedback. Genuinely really appreciated. I am pleased 500+ of you find it useful.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
If you didn't read the first post you can do so here: risk management part I. You'll need to do so in order to make sense of the topic.
As ever please comment/reply below with questions or feedback and I'll do my best to get back to you.
Letting stops breatheWe talked earlier about giving a position enough room to breathe so it is not stopped out in day-to-day noise.
Let’s consider the chart below and imagine you had a trailing stop. It would be super painful to miss out on the wider move just because you left a stop that was too tight.
Imagine being long and stopped out on a meaningless retracement ... ouch!
One simple technique is simply to look at your chosen chart - let’s say daily bars. And then look at previous trends and use the measuring tool. Those generally look something like this and then you just click and drag to measure.
For example if we wanted to bet on a downtrend on the chart above we might look at the biggest retracement on the previous uptrend. That max drawdown was about 100 pips or just under 1%. So you’d want your stop to be able to withstand at least that.
If market conditions have changed - for example if CVIX has risen - and daily ranges are now higher you should incorporate that. If you know a big event is coming up you might think about that, too. The human brain is a remarkable tool and the power of the eye-ball method is not to be dismissed. This is how most discretionary traders do it.
There are also more analytical approaches.
Some look at the Average True Range (ATR). This attempts to capture the volatility of a pair, typically averaged over a number of sessions. It looks at three separate measures and takes the largest reading. Think of this as a moving average of how much a pair moves.
For example, below shows the daily move in EURUSD was around 60 pips before spiking to 140 pips in March. Conditions were clearly far more volatile in March. Accordingly, you would need to leave your stop further away in March and take a correspondingly smaller position size.
ATR is available on pretty much all charting systems
Professional traders tend to use standard deviation as a measure of volatility instead of ATR. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Averages are useful but can be misleading when regimes switch (see above chart).
Once you have chosen a measure of volatility, stop distance can then be back-tested and optimised. For example does 2x ATR work best or 5x ATR for a given style and time horizon?
Discretionary traders may still eye-ball the ATR or standard deviation to get a feeling for how it has changed over time and what ‘normal’ feels like for a chosen study period - daily, weekly, monthly etc.
Reasons to change a stopAs a general rule you should be disciplined and not change your stops. Remember - losers average losers. This is really hard at first and we’re going to look at that in more detail later.
There are some good reasons to modify stops but they are rare.
One reason is if another risk management process demands you stop trading and close positions. We’ll look at this later. In that case just close out your positions at market and take the loss/gains as they are.
Another is event risk. If you have some big upcoming data like Non Farm Payrolls that you know can move the market +/- 150 pips and you have no edge going into the release then many traders will take off or scale down their positions. They’ll go back into the positions when the data is out and the market has quietened down after fifteen minutes or so. This is a matter of some debate - many traders consider it a coin toss and argue you win some and lose some and it all averages out.
Trailing stops can also be used to ‘lock in’ profits. We looked at those before. As the trade moves in your favour (say up if you are long) the stop loss ratchets with it. This means you may well end up ‘stopping out’ at a profit - as per the below example.
The mighty trailing stop loss order
It is perfectly reasonable to have your stop loss move in the direction of PNL. This is not exposing you to more risk than you originally were comfortable with. It is taking less and less risk as the trade moves in your favour. Trend-followers in particular love trailing stops.
One final question traders ask is what they should do if they get stopped out but still like the trade. Should they try the same trade again a day later for the same reasons? Nope. Look for a different trade rather than getting emotionally wed to the original idea.
Let’s say a particular stock looked cheap based on valuation metrics yesterday, you bought, it went down and you got stopped out. Well, it is going to look even better on those same metrics today. Maybe the market just doesn’t respect value at the moment and is driven by momentum. Wait it out.
Otherwise, why even have a stop in the first place?
Entering and exiting winning positionsTake profits are the opposite of stop losses. They are also resting orders, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price.
Imagine I’m long EURUSD at 1.1250. If it hits a previous high of 1.1400 (150 pips higher) I will leave a sell order to take profit and close the position.
The rookie mistake on take profits is to take profit too early. One should start from the assumption that you will win on no more than half of your trades. Therefore you will need to ensure that you win more on the ones that work than you lose on those that don’t.
Sad to say but incredibly common: retail traders often take profits way too early
This is going to be the exact opposite of what your emotions want you to do. We are going to look at that in the Psychology of Trading chapter.
Remember: let winners run. Just like stops you need to know in advance the level where you will close out at a profit. Then let the trade happen. Don’t override yourself and let emotions force you to take a small profit. A classic mistake to avoid.
The trader puts on a trade and it almost stops out before rebounding. As soon as it is slightly in the money they spook and cut out, instead of letting it run to their original take profit. Do not do this.
Entering positions with limit ordersThat covers exiting a position but how about getting into one?
Take profits can also be left speculatively to enter a position. Sometimes referred to as “bids” (buy orders) or “offers” (sell orders). Imagine the price is 1.1250 and the recent low is 1.1205.
You might wish to leave a bid around 1.2010 to enter a long position, if the market reaches that price. This way you don’t need to sit at the computer and wait.
Again, typically traders will use tech analysis to identify attractive levels. Again - other traders will cluster with your orders. Just like the stop loss we need to bake that in.
So this time if we know everyone is going to buy around the recent low of 1.1205 we might leave the take profit bit a little bit above there at 1.1210 to ensure it gets done. Sure it costs 5 more pips but how mad would you be if the low was 1.1207 and then it rallied a hundred points and you didn’t have the trade on?!
There are two more methods that traders often use for entering a position.
Scaling in is one such technique. Let’s imagine that you think we are in a long-term bulltrend for AUDUSD but experiencing a brief retracement. You want to take a total position of 500,000 AUD and don’t have a strong view on the current price action.
You might therefore leave a series of five bids of 100,000. As the price moves lower each one gets hit. The nice thing about scaling in is it reduces pressure on you to pick the perfect level. Of course the risk is that not all your orders get hit before the price moves higher and you have to trade at-market.
Pyramiding is the second technique. Pyramiding is for take profits what a trailing stop loss is to regular stops. It is especially common for momentum traders.
Pyramiding into a position means buying more as it goes in your favour
Again let’s imagine we’re bullish AUDUSD and want to take a position of 500,000 AUD.
Here we add 100,000 when our first signal is reached. Then we add subsequent clips of 100,000 when the trade moves in our favour. We are waiting for confirmation that the move is correct.
Obviously this is quite nice as we humans love trading when it goes in our direction. However, the drawback is obvious: we haven’t had the full amount of risk on from the start of the trend.
You can see the attractions and drawbacks of both approaches. It is best to experiment and choose techniques that work for your own personal psychology as these will be the easiest for you to stick with and build a disciplined process around.
Risk:reward and win ratiosBe extremely skeptical of people who claim to win on 80% of trades. Most traders will win on roughly 50% of trades and lose on 50% of trades. This is why risk management is so important!
Once you start keeping a trading journal you’ll be able to see how the win/loss ratio looks for you. Until then, assume you’re typical and that every other trade will lose money.
If that is the case then you need to be sure you make more on the wins than you lose on the losses. You can see the effect of this below.
A combination of win % and risk:reward ratio determine if you are profitable
A typical rule of thumb is that a ratio of 1:3 works well for most traders.
That is, if you are prepared to risk 100 pips on your stop you should be setting a take profit at a level that would return you 300 pips.
One needn’t be religious about these numbers - 11 pips and 28 pips would be perfectly fine - but they are a guideline.
Again - you should still use technical analysis to find meaningful chart levels for both the stop and take profit. Don’t just blindly take your stop distance and do 3x the pips on the other side as your take profit. Use the ratio to set approximate targets and then look for a relevant resistance or support level in that kind of region.
Risk-adjusted returnsNot all returns are equal. Suppose you are examining the track record of two traders. Now, both have produced a return of 14% over the year. Not bad!
The first trader, however, made hundreds of small bets throughout the year and his cumulative PNL looked like the left image below.
The second trader made just one bet — he sold CADJPY at the start of the year — and his PNL looked like the right image below with lots of large drawdowns and volatility.
Would you rather have the first trading record or the second?
If you were investing money and betting on who would do well next year which would you choose? Of course all sensible people would choose the first trader. Yet if you look only at returns one cannot distinguish between the two. Both are up 14% at that point in time. This is where the Sharpe ratio helps .
A high Sharpe ratio indicates that a portfolio has better risk-adjusted performance. One cannot sensibly compare returns without considering the risk taken to earn that return.
If I can earn 80% of the return of another investor at only 50% of the risk then a rational investor should simply leverage me at 2x and enjoy 160% of the return at the same level of risk.
This is very important in the context of Execution Advisor algorithms (EAs) that are popular in the retail community. You must evaluate historic performance by its risk-adjusted return — not just the nominal return. Incidentally look at the Sharpe ratio of ones that have been live for a year or more ...
Otherwise an EA developer could produce two EAs: the first simply buys at 1000:1 leverage on January 1st ; and the second sells in the same manner. At the end of the year, one of them will be discarded and the other will look incredible. Its risk-adjusted return, however, would be abysmal and the odds of repeated success are similarly poor.
Sharpe ratioThe Sharpe ratio works like this:
You don’t really need to know how to calculate Sharpe ratios. Good trading software will do this for you. It will either be available in the system by default or you can add a plug-in.
VARVAR is another useful measure to help with drawdowns. It stands for Value at Risk. Normally people will use 99% VAR (conservative) or 95% VAR (aggressive). Let’s say you’re long EURUSD and using 95% VAR. The system will look at the historic movement of EURUSD. It might spit out a number of -1.2%.
A 5% VAR of -1.2% tells you you should expect to lose 1.2% on 5% of days, whilst 95% of days should be better than that
This means it is expected that on 5 days out of 100 (hence the 95%) the portfolio will lose 1.2% or more. This can help you manage your capital by taking appropriately sized positions. Typically you would look at VAR across your portfolio of trades rather than trade by trade.
Sharpe ratios and VAR don’t give you the whole picture, though. Legendary fund manager, Howard Marks of Oaktree, notes that, while tools like VAR and Sharpe ratios are helpful and absolutely necessary, the best investors will also overlay their own judgment.
Investors can calculate risk metrics like VaR and Sharpe ratios (we use them at Oaktree; they’re the best tools we have), but they shouldn’t put too much faith in them. The bottom line for me is that risk management should be the responsibility of every participant in the investment process, applying experience, judgment and knowledge of the underlying investments.Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
What he’s saying is don’t misplace your common sense. Do use these tools as they are helpful. However, you cannot fully rely on them. Both assume a normal distribution of returns. Whereas in real life you get “black swans” - events that should supposedly happen only once every thousand years but which actually seem to happen fairly often.
These outlier events are often referred to as “tail risk”. Don’t make the mistake of saying “well, the model said…” - overlay what the model is telling you with your own common sense and good judgment.
Coming up in part IIIAvailable here
Squeezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
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.
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.
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