Trading Strategy

Making trading decisions and developing a sound and effective trading strategy is an important foundation of trading. Before developing a trading strategy, a trader should have a working knowledge of technical analysis as well as knowledge of some of the more popular technical studies.

Sample Strategy 1 – Simple Moving Average
Successful trading is often described as optimizing your risk with respect to your reward, or upside. Any trading strategy should have a disciplined method of limiting risk while making the most out of favorable market moves. We will illustrate one decision making model which uses a Simple Moving Average (”SMA”) technical study, based on a 12-period SMA, where each period is 15 minutes. This is one example of a trading decision making strategy, and we encourage any trader to research other strategies as thoroughly as possible.

We will use a simple algorithm: when the price of the currency crosses above the 12-period SMA, it will be taken as a signal to buy at the market. When the currency price crosses below the 12-period SMA, it will be a signal to “Stop and Reverse” (”SAR”). In other words, a long position will be liquidated and a short position will be established, both with market orders. Thus this system will keep the traders “always in” the market – he will always have either a long or short position after the first signal

This is a simple example of technical analysis applied to trading. Many strategies used by professional traders make use of moving averages along with other indicators or “filters”. Note that the moving average method has an element of risk control built in: a long position will be stopped out fairly quickly in a falling market because the price will drop below the SMA, generating a stop-and-reverse signal. The same holds true for a sell signal in a rising market.

Sample Strategy 2 – Support and Resistance Levels
One use of technical analysis, apart from technical studies, is in deriving “support” and “resistance” levels. The concept here is that the market will tend to trade above its support levels and trade below its resistance levels. If a support or resistance level is broken, the market is then expected to follow through in that direction. These levels are determined by analyzing the chart and assessing where the market has encountered unbroken support or resistance in the past.

Determining Position Size
Before beginning any trading program, an assessment should be made of the maximum account loss that is likely to occur over time, per lot . For example, assume you have determined that your worse case loss on any trade is 30 pips. That translates into approximately $300 per $100,000 position size. Further assume that the $100,000 position size is equal to one lot. Five consecutive losing trades would result in a loss of $1,500 (5 x $300); a difficult period but not to be unexpected over the long run. For a $10,000 account trading one lot, this translates into a 15% loss. Therefore, even though it may be possible to trade 5 lots or more with a $10,000 account, this analysis suggests that the resulting “drawdown” would be too great (75% or more of the account value would be wiped out).

Any trader should have a sense of this maximum loss per lot, and then determine the amount he wishes to trade for a given account size that will yield tolerable drawdown.