Saturday, March 14, 2009

Forex Tips

Why do hundreds of thousands online traders and investors trade the forex market every day, and how do they make money doing it?
This two-part report clearly and simply details essential tips on how to avoid typical pitfalls and start making more money in your forex trading.
Trade pairs, not currencies - Like any relationship, you have to know both sides. Success or failure in forex trading depends upon being right about both currencies and how they impact one another, not just one.
Knowledge is Power - When starting out trading forex online, it is essential that you understand the basics of this market if you want to make the most of your investments. The main forex influencer is global news and events. For example, say an ECB statement is released on European interest rates which typically will cause a flurry of activity. Most newcomers react violently to news like this and close their positions and subsequently miss out on some of the best trading opportunities by waiting until the market calms down. The potential in the forex market is in the volatility, not in its tranquility.
Unambitious trading - Many new traders will place very tight orders in order to take very small profits. This is not a sustainable approach because although you may be profitable in the short run (if you are lucky), you risk losing in the longer term as you have to recover the difference between the bid and the ask price before you can make any profit and this is much more difficult when you make small trades than when you make larger ones.
Over-cautious trading - Like the trader who tries to take small incremental profits all the time, the trader who places tight stop losses with a retail forex broker is doomed. As we stated above, you have to give your position a fair chance to demonstrate its ability to produce. If you don't place reasonable stop losses that allow your trade to do so, you will always end up undercutting yourself and losing a small piece of your deposit with every trade.
Independence - If you are new to forex, you will either decide to trade your own money or to have a broker trade it for you. So far, so good. But your risk of losing increases exponentially if you either of these two things:Interfere with what your broker is doing on your behalf (as his strategy might require a long gestation period);Seek advice from too many sources - multiple input will only result in multiple losses. Take a position, ride with it and then analyse the outcome - by yourself, for yourself.
Tiny margins - Margin trading is one of the biggest advantages in trading forex as it allows you to trade amounts far larger than the total of your deposits. However, it can also be dangerous to novice traders as it can appeal to the greed factor that destroys many forex traders. The best guideline is to increase your leverage in line with your experience and success.
No strategy - The aim of making money is not a trading strategy. A strategy is your map for how you plan to make money. Your strategy details the approach you are going to take, which currencies you are going to trade and how you will manage your risk. Without a strategy, you may become one of the 90% of new traders that lose their money.
Trading Off-Peak Hours - Professional FX traders, option traders, and hedge funds posses a huge advantage over small retail traders during off-peak hours (between 2200 CET and 1000 CET) as they can hedge their positions and move them around when there is far small trade volume is going through (meaning their risk is smaller). The best advice for trading during off peak hours is simple - don't.
The only way is up/down - When the market is on its way up, the market is on its way up. When the market is going down, the market is going down. That's it. There are many systems which analyse past trends, but none that can accurately predict the future. But if you acknowledge to yourself that all that is happening at any time is that the market is simply moving, you'll be amazed at how hard it is to blame anyone else.
Trade on the news - Most of the really big market moves occur around news time. Trading volume is high and the moves are significant; this means there is no better time to trade than when news is released. This is when the big players adjust their positions and prices change resulting in a serious currency flow.
Exiting Trades - If you place a trade and it's not working out for you, get out. Don't compound your mistake by staying in and hoping for a reversal. If you're in a winning trade, don't talk yourself out of the position because you're bored or want to relieve stress; stress is a natural part of trading; get used to it.
Don't trade too short-term - If you are aiming to make less than 20 points profit, don't undertake the trade. The spread you are trading on will make the odds against you far too high.
Don't be smart - The most successful traders I know keep their trading simple. They don't analyse all day or research historical trends and track web logs and their results are excellent.
Tops and Bottoms - There are no real "bargains" in trading foreign exchange. Trade in the direction the price is going in and you're results will be almost guaranteed to improve.
Ignoring the technicals- Understanding whether the market is over-extended long or short is a key indicator of price action. Spikes occur in the market when it is moving all one way.
Emotional Trading - Without that all-important strategy, you're trades essentially are thoughts only and thoughts are emotions and a very poor foundation for trading. When most of us are upset and emotional, we don't tend to make the wisest decisions. Don't let your emotions sway you.
Confidence - Confidence comes from successful trading. If you lose money early in your trading career it's very difficult to regain it; the trick is not to go off half-cocked; learn the business before you trade. Remember, knowledge is power.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Forex: Don't Sweat the Risk

Jim Martens, EWI's Senior Currency Strategist, regularly posts his thoughts on the business of forex trading in the "Market Insight" section of his intensive Currency Specialty Service. Here is an adaptation of Jim's latest "Insight."

Market Insight, February 22, 2009
By Jim Martens

Don't know about you, but for me, being away from the markets for a few days is rarely relaxing. The entire time I’m wondering what prices are doing; is my outlook on the euro-dollar exchange rate, for example, proving correct or incorrect?

What mainly concerns me is how much work I may have to do when I return. If the EUR/USD and other forecasts prove correct, I can jump right back in; if not, I may have to play a lot of “catch up.” But my concern is usually not about the risk associated with the forecast. Let me explain.

In my daily commentary, I have frequently spelled out my lack of concern regarding market risk – which is, that as someone who analyses and forecasts currencies each day, I have already accepted that risk. If prices violate a “critical” level that I've identified for my Currency Specialty Service subscribers, by the very nature of Elliott wave analysis the associated loss was already known in advance and considered reasonable relative to the potential profit. If my “critical” price point was not broken, then my outlook still stands – so, again, where is the worry?

What helped me to adopt this approach to risk is a book I read early in my study of markets and trading. For the life of me, I can't remember the author's name or the title – BUT I do remember two main points the book stressed:

One: To succeed as a trader, you must understand at least the basics of the markets you trade. In one example the author described an analyst who suggested that coffee futures had gapped its limit because it was winter – he saw snow falling outside his New York office – and so a freeze must have damaged the coffee crop. The problem was that it was summer in the coffee-growing areas. Fundamental analysts' sole focus is on events related to the markets, but even a technical analyst must understand his or her market's basics: what, where and how.

Two: Once you reach an opinion on the market, the risk must be reasonable relative to the potential reward. A disciplined trader should stay with their opinion until either a) it was proven incorrect, or b) the market offered new evidence sufficient to over-ride the original opinion. Bottom line, once committed stay committed – until the market tells you it's time to un-commit. Emotion should have no part in this process.

The book gave sailing as the metaphor for the ideal trading scenario. Once you complete your analysis, identify the opportunity and place the orders – "board" your "sailboat" and sail along the coast. Every few days you could "pull into port, restock supplies," update your data and see which of your orders have been executed. Back at the "boat," you update the charts, make any adjustments to existing orders and enter new ones, as needed. Then you "shove off" your fictional boat until the next "port" – and repeat the same sequence.

This approach, as well as taking time away from the market, removes the temptation to change your opinions with every tick. It reminds me of the days before the internet and real-time quotes were available to everyone. Back then, the lack of instant information made it easier to stick with your analysis and ride out the short-term swings. Maybe I should work just one day a week and sail the rest… How does that sound to you?

Choose One Currency: Importance of Focus In Forex Trading

Many beginner forex traders start out making a common mistake. They will begin trading one currency but within a month and sometimes much less, will have traded almost all the major currencies. If you take a peek at some of the forex chat forums on the Internet, you will see enthusiastic newbie traders making the same mistake. They will ask questions, discuss and trade the yen, the pound, the euro, the Swiss franc and go back and forth between them all.Why do they do this and why is it foolish?Let’s see. If you ask them why they do this, they will probably reply that either they saw an opportunity for a profitable trade on their charts that was too good to pass up or that they were just increasing their chances of success by spreading their bets. Fair enough, that seems like a perfectly fine answer.Imagine this however: You are a pretty strong guy and you think you can handle yourself in a street fight. Then you are thrown into a ring with a guy who’s been training boxing for years. The outcome of this fight? Well, there really is no fight – you will get slaughtered.Forex trading is the same. To be a success, you must always be looking at ways to swing the odds in your favour. The fundamentals that influence the yen are totally different to that of the Swiss franc or that of the Australian dollar. If you are trading them all, while it may appear the same, its not. Just like the fight against the boxer, you are up against highly paid institutional traders and currency analysts - experts in a particular currency.When a news announcement breaks, without thinking they know and incorporate its effect on a particular currency and its relationship to other currencies, the interest rates, bonds and gold market. The Australian dollar is a commodity price driven currency; the Swiss franc will do well when global security is a problem; the yen is a currency reflecting a nation with a huge export surplus and so on. All these currencies have different characters, moods and personas. They are influenced by different and conflicting information that you need to be aware of.To increase your chances of success in trading, it is much better to master one chosen currency. This will help you build focus and trading discipline. Sticking to trading one currency will eliminate the need to have to focus on numerous sets of information. However, the most important thing: with time, as you understand your chosen currency and its character traits inside out, you will gain conscious confidence in your trading – something invaluable in this game.If you are switching back and forth from trading one currency to another, understand that no one currency is easier or better to trade than another. There are no guarantees that you will make more money trading one particular currency over another. If you were doing poorly trading one currency and decided to switch to another thinking this might improve your chances, think why should it?It is much smarter to stay focused, learn the particularities of your currency inside out and in the process develop trading discipline. Over the long run, you will have swung the odds of success in your favour.

All About Forex

In order to succeed successfully in forex trading you need to know what the purpose of trading forex is. Forex trading as you know is the trading of online currency and the key to success is to buy low and sell high just as with any other market. You task as a forex trader is to try to determine the trend of the particular currency you are looking to either buy or sell and to utilise the forex trading strategies to ensure that a profit is made.

Now that you know the purpose of forex trading the next step in knowing all about forex is to understand the codes, definitions and numbers used when trading. All currencies used in forex trading are assigned a three letter code. An example of this is the US dollar which is USD or the Euro EUR. Online currency trading is done in combinations that are known as a cross and these are represented by 6 letter words with the more expensive currency coming first. An example of this is GBPUSD which will show you how many US Dollar you will need to pay for one British pound. These rates are shown as five digit numbers for example GPBUSD = 1.6262 which means that 1 British pound is worth 1.6262 US dollars. When the rate changes the change will be displayed in bold, eg GPBUSD = 1.6264 which will mean that the rate has moved by 2 points. Knowing this is the key to successful forex trading and your key to profit.

When you enter the forex trading market you will enter as a buyer or a seller of a particular currency. If you are a seller you price is known as the ASK price and the buyers price is known as the BID. You can only buy currency from a seller with an asking price the same as the BID price.

These are the main beginner’s points to note when it comes to forex trading and knowing what the purpose of trading forex is and knowing all about forex before you enter into the market can make a big difference when it comes to your profits.