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Trading 101

Trading 101: Trend Analysis with Basic Charting Tools

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In our previous post dealing with swing trading we laid off the basics off trends in financial markets, and now we are going one step further. Getting to know the simplest charting tools will help you in analyzing trends, refining entries and exits, and building more sophisticated strategies. What’s more, these easy-to-use tools will be helpful not just in trading, but in your long-term investment decisions as well.

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For those who hear the terms “charting” and “charting tools” first, charting is the name of the analysis of price charts which contain the price history of financial assets, while charting tools are various drawings like trend-lines, chart patterns, support and resistance levels, and other visuals that traders use for their decisions.

We will get to all the different chart types (and later the hundreds of indicators that are out there), but for now, this is more than enough to progress. In fact, as you will see, keeping your analysis simple should be one of your most important long-term goals as a trader.

The Role of Charting Tools and Indicators

Before we get into the tools themselves, it’s crucial to note that charting tools and most trading indicators have one very important thing in common; they don’t add additional information to the price (and volume) data that’s already available on a basic price chart. This means that they are not some sort of magical forecasting methods. That said, by visualizing the data in different ways, they can uncover hidden, or hard to understand tendencies in the price history of an asset, making them very useful in practice.

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OK, but why do traders need that information? Well, the basic premise of technical analysis is that by studying the price history of an asset, we can predict the probability of the direction of future price movements.

The word probability is very important here because, without it, it’s easy to misunderstand technical analysis and charting tools. The key is that these methods don’t predict the future (because that’s not possible), but they help you in taking the position with the highest probability. Indicators will also be of great help in this process, providing simple and convenient ways of discovering ongoing trends, cycles, and waves in the price action.

The Structure of Trends

As we have seen previously, prices move in advancing and declining waves (or swings) that are separated by swing highs and swing lows. The most basic tools of trend analysis are trend lines, which simply connect these swing highs and swing lows. On the chart below, you can see that these trend-lines give traders a good idea of the”angle” of a certain price movement.

Rising and falling trend-lines in the EUR/USD currency pair

The trend-lines connecting swing lows and swing highs usually form a trend-channel that defines the movement of an asset for the period of the trend.  Because trends can be broken down into smaller waves on shorter time-frames, there are most of the times several “active” trends in motion for every asset. You can see those different trends (the lower time-frame trends drawn with red) on the chart below:

Rising and falling trend-lines on different time-frames

For our example, we deliberately chose trends that are not perfect (notice the small deviations from the trend-lines), as trend-lines are rarely precise enough to base exact trading decisions on them; they are more for roughly estimating the angle of the trend and the end of the price waves.

Cycles and Trend-Lines

You might ask the question that how it’s possible to spot a meaningful swing low or swing high on a given time-frame. The answer lies in cycles, which we indicated on the next chart. The swings on a time-frame tend to be roughly similar in length, giving you a good estimate for the length of the coming cycles. Using this, when a trend is established (after you identify a higher high and a higher low, or a lower high and a lower low), you simply project the length of the first wave (Cycle 1 on the chart) to get the possible points for the next swing lows (the vertical purple lines on the chart).

Cycles and swing lows in a rising trend

Again, these tools are not 100% precise, but they can help you immensely in your timing decisions. The major swing lows in our example were roughly around the projected cycle lows, and they were confirmed by the break of the lower time-frame trend lines. This is how a larger time-frame trend develops from shorter time-frame trends and major swings. In a rising trend, swing lows are more important, but the same logic can be applied for swing highs as well.

Trend-Line Signals

Trend-lines provide great value in several swing trading and other types of strategies as secondary signals. Secondary trading signals are signals that are less reliable but often come earlier, than primary signals, such as higher highs or higher lows. If the price reaches a trend-line it often means that the lower time-frame trend is close to its end, while a trend-line break is often a sign of the weakening the prevailing trend. These might provide the perfect opportunities for profit taking, switching to a more aggressive stop-loss level, or conversely, re-entering into a full position.

Let’s look at this in practice on the next chart:

Secondary trend-line signals in a rising trend

For this example let’s assume that you are already bought the asset in question, so we can fully understand the role of secondary signals. As soon as we established the trend-lines by identifying the higher high and the higher low, we can start using those for trading.

As you can see, this trend gave 3 clear profit taking points when the price touched the upper trend-line and two re-entry points when the price touched the lower boundary and broke above the declining shorter-term trend-line. It also gave an early warning to exit the whole trade before the price finally broke below a major swing low, providing a swing trading exit. This last signal is a good example when a trend-line break can serve as a primary signal—a clear break of a long-term trend often proves to be the end of a move or at least the start of a major correction.

Parabolic Trends

Some of you might already know about trends that are not exactly like the ones we discussed so far. Trends in financial markets can’t always be described by straight lines. Why? There could be several reasons for that—the cause of the trend might not be stable, the trend might attract more and more traders causing an acceleration in the trend, or conversely, a negative trend might cause a quickly spreading panic among the holders of the asset, leading to a swift collapse.

Whatever is the reason, these so-called parabolic trends are great opportunities for traders. As the moves accelerate, profits can pile up quickly if you are positioned correctly. That said, identifying these trends is not always easy, and the jump in volatility usually causes troubles for beginners, especially if they try to trade against these powerful moves.  For those reasons, we will dedicate a whole post for these trends; until then here is a recent example of a parabolic move:

A recent parabolic short-term advance in gold

What’s next?

Now that we introduced trends, the most important analysis tools for traders, in our next posts on we will take a look at some other crucial elements of charting, which complement and refine your trend analysis. Support and resistance levels, chart patterns, and special candlesticks will be on the menu.

Previous article: Trading vs. Investing

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 257 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. sambkf

    May 4, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you for the great visual example of trend lines.

  2. dgimness

    June 11, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Good article Mate!

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Trading 101

Managing the Safety of Your Cryptocurrency

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The fact that Coinbase and other companies have made it possible for nearly anyone to invest in cryptocurrencies is almost unilaterally a good thing, but it has led to many people buying cryptocurrencies without understanding the ecosystem. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are only seen as risky investments because of their future worth, when there is also the risk of theft in the present.

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Many investors focus their time on the idea of maximizing the returns on their investments, but protection against downside is equally important. We’ve all heard the oft-cited thought experiment where when you lose 50% of your investment, you now need 100% returns to get back to even. Avoiding negative returns is an equal priority to achieving high ones.

There are some steps a newbie cryptocurrency investor can take to make sure they are as protected as they can be. From wallets to basic security and diversification, the points below are a few quick changes you can make that will maximize your security.

The Basics

The two most basic steps are not keeping your money in an exchange wallet, and using a 2-factor authentication application. Many people new to the ecosystem will go with the path of least resistance, and that results in only having a password protecting their assets.

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Exchanges are considered to be secure, but there have been many breaches in the past, so it is not impossible your funds could be compromised in the future. In the case of a hack, hopefully your exchange would cover you, but the best thing you can do is move your funds into an offline wallet (e.g. desktop, mobile, or hardware). By splitting your money off from the giant “honeypot” that exchanges serve as, the incentive for hackers is greatly reduced.

Additionally, by enabling 2-factor authentication and using an application, you mitigate for the risk that your password or phone number are compromised. This may sound crazy, but it is possible for a SIM card to get hijacked and a hacker to use your phone number to gain access to your funds. Authly and Google Authenticator make it possible to prevent that from happening.

Wallet Management

Once you have made sure your money is on a wallet, there are still risks you need to understand. At this point, the biggest risk is that you might forget the passcode or PIN to your wallet. Or you could lose the device with the private keys on it. Both of these situations can be handled easily by taking careful note of your memetic passcode and backing up your wallets onto a second device.

It might help to back up a bit for a second. Your private key is what verifies your ownership of a public key, which can be thought of as being similar to a bank account. When you moved your coins into an offline wallet, you “took ownership” of your private keys. This is an essential part of forming a decentralized network, because if you hadn’t done that, all the keys would still be managed by a centralized source. Another way to look at it as if you are making sure no one else knows your ATM code.

Something fewer people in the ecosystem realize is they are not assigned a single set of keys, but actually many pairs. These pairs of keys are generated from a “seed root”, which is a 16 word sequence of seemingly random words (see this list for more about this). By having this seed root, you are can prove you are the rightful owner of the cryptocurrency in question. It is considered to be the password of passwords, and should be guarded as such.

Knowing all of this, the best way for you to carry on with your security is to write down your 16-word seed root, file it away in a separate area from your wallet, and then back up the data onto an offline hard drive that can be recovered in the case of emergency. All of this may sound like a paranoid hassle now, but the small time investment will make the difference.

Protect Your Crypto

By learning to manage your money well, you will be able to increase the protection of your cryptocurrency. The final thing you should consider is spreading out your funds between several different wallets. There is always the risk that a company gets compromised, and by diversifying where you hold your securities, you can reduce the effect this may have.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Trading 101

Trading 101: Managing Trading Emotions And The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

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Fear of missing out

At any given moment of the day, there are thousands of markets waiting for you. All those charts are moving 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, and every tick means that you could make money.

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Dealing with missed trades can be a major challenge for traders. Thinking of all of the money that never made its way to your trading account is tough, and it often leads traders to make some of the worst mistakes in the market.

Things FOMO traders say…

“I knew it!” – This usually comes from a trader who were following his planned set-up but ended up not taking the trade

“I could have made so much money today.” – Everyone would be a millionaire in hindsight.

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“I waited so long for this trade.” – A trader with a trigger-happy finger who is stalking a market as it is setting up for a good trade.

“It still has room to go…” – A trader who gets in late after first being too scared to enter.

“I have a feeling…” – A trader who is not following a plan with strict rules and criteria for entry.

“I’ll just enter with a small position.” – A trader who is justifying breaking his rules.

Reasons for FOMO trading

The problem with trading is that it can often be perceived as an activity with no clear beginning or end. Basically, a trader is always in the middle of his game – a game that never stops. And when there is no beginning or end to it, you could – in theory – always enter a new trade that has the potential to make you money.

We could for example compare this to gambling at a casino. When people sit down to play blackjack, everyone understands when the game begins and when it ends. After the game is over, you can’t change anything anymore. You have either lost or you have won.

In trading, however, the game never really ends. Even after you have closed a trade, you can always get back in. Every tick in the market is a potential opportunity for you to make more profit. When we are thinking like this, missing a trade feels like leaving money on the table!

Entering early in fear of missing out

This is one of the most common situations among FOMO traders. They see a set-up falling into place in front of them, and then decide to enter their order early since the price is already moving with such strong momentum. They get worried that the price will continue to surge without them.

The problem with this is that you enter your order before the set-up satisfies all your trading rules, meaning your risk management and your planned risk:reward ratio will be completely off. What often happens later is that the price turns before it reaches your planned entry point, and you end up sitting in a losing trade that never even met your entry criteria in the first place.

Price moved too fast and you missed your entry

It happens that you have a near-perfect set-up with only one minor criteria on your trading plan not being satisfied. You then see price move strongly in the direction that you expected, while you are still sitting on the sidelines.

This is obviously painful, and it is exactly in situations like this that traders tend to commit FOMO trading like chasing the price or enter their next trade too early as in the previous example.

Instead, be patient and move when the time is right

This is the correct way to approach trading and the only way to fight FOMO. In order to do this successfully, you must have a trading plan and a checklist with all your entry criteria written down. Many active traders like to have this physically printed out on a piece of paper so that they always see it before entering a new trade.

When you have your trading rules written down, experience shows that violating them becomes much more difficult, and you will end up as a much happier and more successful trader!

Featured image from Pixabay.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsFredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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Trading 101

Trading 101: How to Choose the Right Chart Type

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Chart types

Chart reading and pattern trading is something we have talked a lot about in this section in the past. Still, a question many new traders may have is perhaps what type of chart is the best to use in their daily trading. Do some charts work better with technical analysis than others?

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Japanese candlestick charts

The Japanese candlestick chart is probably the most common chart type to use among those who have at least some experience with trading (not investing).

Japanese candlesticksJapanese candlestick charts were, as the name implies, developed by the Japanese back in the 18th century for trading with rice futures. Today, this chart type has gained recognition among traders around the world for all the data that it represents in a visual and easily understandable way.

 

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The way the candlesticks work is that each bar in the chart represents four pieces of price information for the chosen timeframe: opening price, closing price, highest price, and lowest price.

CandlesticksRed (bearish) candles means that the closing price is lower than the opening price, and green (bullish) candles candles means that the closing price is higher than the opening price.

The lines above and below the “body” of the candles are called wicks. Generally, candles with long wicks signals indecision by the market, and candles with longer body’s signals more decisive movements by the market.

OHLC/bar charts

OHLC is short for open, high, low, close, and consists of vertical bars with horizontal lines sticking out on the sides. They represent the same information as Japanese candlesticks, but in a slightly different way.

OHLC chart

The straight vertical lines in this chart type represents the distance between lowest and highest price during the chosen timeframe. Again, a green line means that the closing price was higher than the opening price, and red lines vice versa. Opening (left side) and closing prices (right side) are indicated by the short horizontal lines sticking out on the sides.

Line charts

A line chart is the simplest of all types of charts, and is often preferred by long-term investors, financial media outlets, and people who have little to no experience with trading and investing.

Line chart

Line charts are usually not used by traders because they only represent a small piece of the available price data, namely the closing prices for each time period that we have set the chart to. In other words, we will not find out anything about opening prices, highs and lows within each time period when looking at a line chart.

Despite this, there are cases where even advanced traders choose to use line charts because they can provide more clarity to the market. For example, certain chart patterns such as the ABC (aka. 123) pattern stands out much more clearly when using a line chart. If you try it out, you may also find that other well-known patterns like the head & shoulder stand out very clearly on line charts.

Renko charts

Lastly, we’ll go over the least common of these chart types: the renko chart. As with the classic Japanese candlestick chart, this chart type was also developed by the Japanese.

Renko chart

Renko charts are designed to filter out smaller price movements in order to focus on the bigger picture in the market. The first thing to understand about this chart is that each “box” or candle represents a certain price movement rather than a time period, as for other chart types.

When the trader sets up the chart, he can define how large of a price movement each box in the chart should represent, and the chart will print new boxes, either red or green, as the price moves beyond the chosen parameters. This means that when prices consolidate and move only sideways, no new boxes will be printed on the chart.

The main use for renko charts is in identifying important support and resistance zones when you need to filter out all other less important things in the market. It can also be an effective tool for spotting trends and reversals in the market, but usually in combination with Japanese candlestick charts to ensure you are not missing out on important price information.

Japanese candlesticks best for all-round use

In summary, use line charts whenever you need a clearer view of the price action and to “unclutter” the charts. For most other uses, Japanese candlesticks will give you the best and most accurate representation of the price. Other chart types should be used only if you have specific trading strategies that require the use of those chart types.

Featured image from Pixabay.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.3 stars on average, based on 32 rated postsFredrik Vold is an entrepreneur, financial writer, and technical analysis enthusiast. He has been working and traveling in Asia for several years, and is currently based out of Beijing, China. He closely follows stocks, forex and cryptocurrencies, and is always looking for the next great alternative investment opportunity.




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