Captain_Walker
Education

What is the job of a trend-following trader?

FX:GBPJPY   British Pound / Japanese Yen
The chart is not going to tell anyone whether to go long or short. I cut deeper than that. This post is about what I see as the job of a trader, who wants to be consistently profitable over a long time using trend following strategies.
The following therefore excludes systems that tend to have fixed targets, such as harmonic trading and exploiting levels of support and resistance . Trend-followers usually do not have fixed targets as they do not know how far a trend would go before changing.

My job as a trend-following trader is to do the following:
  • Estimate probability of direction of future price movement based on a sound system of analysis.
  • Engage losses but make them controlled and reasonable within a sound methodology.
  • Exploit probability of price movement in a favoured direction by trailing the trend.
  • Have realistic expectations of gain in any single trade relative to the Average True Range (or other suitably reliable measure of volatility ).

For trading situations where the Average True Range is high, stop-losses need to be acceptable and broad. Sometimes 2 x Average True Range is used as a rule of thumb. However, human judgement has to prevail. On occasions some instruments have a pattern of spiking deeply down or up, and recovering. For those a stop-loss of 3 x Average True Range may be better to avoid being stopped out. If 3 x Average True Range or even 2 x Average True Range is unacceptable as a loss I do not enter the trade. Too often new traders are spiked out and left behind.

Average True Range varies by time frame and naturally so does visual appreciation of volatility .

Make volatility your friend - and treat her with respect. Develop 'nerves of steel'.
Achieving the impossible means practising at the impossible.
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