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Trading 101

Trading 101: Trend Following Trading – A Strategy Revealed

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Trend following trading is a concept we have covered previously here on Hacked, and even revealed specific trend following strategies you can use. In this article, I will go through some more specifics on how you can profit from trends with the help of technical indicators.

My first introduction to trend trading was through Michael Covel’s book Trend Following. Although Covel is a strong proponent for longer term trend following, the same principles can be applied to shorter term trading as well. The book is a great introduction to a whole new philosophy of trading and investing where you learn to be humble, put your ego aside, and follow the underlying currents of the almighty market.

As a purely technical trading strategy, trend following does not take into account fundamentals, or news that might impact the price, nor does it seek to predict where the price is going. Instead, trend following traders simply react to what is happening with the only variable they care about – price. In fact, trend followers may actually be wise to stay away from the market during major news events, and instead enter again after the new trend has established itself.

Wave Theory

Trends always move in waves, which is something many shorter term trend traders are trying to take advantage of. Just as Elliot Wave Theory attempts to do, if you can find a way to identify these waves, buying near the dip of the wave and selling near the top, you can potentially earn lots of money.

The same concept can also be explained as buying in an area of value on the chart, as shown with red circles on the chart below.

In this specific example, you can see that the MA20 line is acting as a support line for the price. Buying in an area of value simply means buying at a point along the trend where you are near the dip of the trend wave, instead of at the top of the wave. Following this principle dramatically increases your chances of success in trend following trading.

The MA-CCI Strategy

This is exactly what the strategy I am going to show you attempts to do with the help of technical indicators. I have named it the MA-CCI Strategy, and this is a strategy that I myself have traded profitably in the past. As you may have guessed, this strategy uses a combination of two technical indicators, the Moving Average indicator and the Commodity Channel Index, to generate buy or sell signals.

What you need to do:

  • Choose the instrument you want to trade and select the timeframe you trade on. I usually trade on the 4H for forex and 1H for stocks, but the strategy can really be applied to any timeframe.
  • Use a candlestick chart.
  • Apply the 20 and 40 Simple Moving Average (SMA) indicator to the chart
  • Apply the Commodity Channel Index indicator (CCI) to the chart, with the ‘Length’ setting set to 5.

Strategy conditions for buy (long entry):

  1. Both 20 and 40 SMA is sloping upwards
  2. 20 SMA is above 40 SMA
  3. CCI < -100
  4. The low of the candlestick touches or goes below 20 SMA
  5. The close of the candlestick is above 40 SMA.
  • BUY TRIGGER: Buy when price is 1 pip above prior candlestick high.
  • INITIAL STOP-LOSS: 1 pip below prior candlestick low
  • TRAILING STOP: 1.5 Average True Range (ATR)*

*You can experiment with different parameters for your ATR trailing stop, but I like to use 1.5. 1 or 2 ATR may also work well for you. The period setting should be set to 14. TradingView has a built-in indicator called ’Average True Range Trailing Stops’, which can be helpful for this.

Staying true to the trend following mindset, I always hold the trade until I get stopped out by the trailing stop, simply because I have no idea when the trend is going to end. I therefore choose to hold on to the trade until the market tells me that the trend has ended, as per my pre-determined definition (1.5 ATR).

Here is an example of a trade in Palladium / US Dollar (XPDUSD) that I just spotted with this strategy. The green vertical line is my buy and the red vertical line is my sell.

As you can see, we had a situation where price was below the 20 SMA while the CCI indicator was below -100. I then waited for the price to break above the high of the previous candle before I placed my buy order. That was a nice 5.50% gain in 4 trading days.

Do visual back-testing

Instead of buying expensive software or hiring a coder to run back-tests for you, I recommend going over the charts of the instruments you trade frequently and see for yourself if this set-up works for you or not. The MA-CCI setup is easy to spot in most instruments, and you can quickly get a feel for whether this strategy is something you want try for yourself.

One final piece of advice for any kind of trend following strategy is to seek to avoid range-bound markets, and instead always look out for markets that are clearly trending, for example following major news announcements or other stories that can be expected to impact prices over a longer period of time.

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 37 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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Dji127

    July 18, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Thank you for posting this! I am struggling to find suitable methods to pick my trades and find myself randomly entering the market only to have price do the complete opposite to what I had expected. Perhaps I will have some luck with this.

    Thanks again

    • Dag Fredrik Vold

      July 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Hi! Great to hear you liked it. Let me know how it worked out for you.

  2. misson1682

    July 18, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Very very interesting.
    Thank you very much to share this.
    I have a 2 questions :
    1. Time frame :
    There is really no impact on results? Cause I see really different entry point depends on time frame?
    I mean, logically the more the timeframe is, the more it will show LT direction no?

    2. what you call range-bound markets ?

    Thank you again for your post.
    Regards.

    • Dag Fredrik Vold

      July 19, 2017 at 1:49 am

      Hi,
      Glad to hear you liked it!

      1. I recommend choose one timeframe and stick with that timeframe. You will get different entries and exits, but you also have to remember that trends are different on different
      timeframes. There can be many shorter-term trends inside one long-term trend!

      2. Do a visual check of the chart. If price is trending per your definition it should be trading above your chosen moving averages, and sloping from the lower left corner to the upper right corner of your screen. If it is ranging then price keeps staying around the moving averages.

  3. [email protected]

    July 21, 2017 at 11:09 am

    can you explain can I use CCI instead of RSI? Both are indicators for overbuying or overselling conditions, but CCI is not available in most of the cryptocurrency tools.

    • Fredrik Vold

      February 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      RSI and CCI are slightly different. I haven’t tested with the RSI, but feel free to apply it to your chart and do some visual back-testing.

  4. Tommy328i

    September 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Hello, this is very useful, thanks. Going back on my charts I can see that this strategy would have worked many times over. Have you written an article on how to spot the best strategy conditions to sell? I would be really interested to know if you can apply the same but in reverse.Thanks

    • Fredrik Vold

      February 4, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Tommy, I know that some traders are indeed using the inverse of this strategy for shorting. I haven’t tested it myself, but I believe it would work just as well.

  5. JReal

    February 22, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Thank you for the insight. I was trying to back view some of the activity of Ripple (XRP)/ USD on Trading view using 4 hour chart. It seemed to work well; although, there seemed to be more opportunities for smaller trades in the lower timeframe because of pricing activity. I was wondering if you had any tips for using this method with crypto and in short time frames, say an hour? thanks in advance. Cheers.

    • Fredrik Vold

      February 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Hey JReal, I have only traded it in forex on the 4H for myself, but I believe it has potential in other markets and timeframes as well. Definitely best to use on something that as a tendency to trend more, whatever that may be…

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Trading 101

Trading 101: 4 Reliable Chart Patterns in Crypto Trading

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Graph

In our previous piece on chart patterns, we pointed out that the way to use patterns is to judge probabilities that a certain move will happen rather than to view them as some holy grail in the market (which unfortunately doesn’t exist to my knowledge).

Although they aren’t holy grails, chart patterns are some of the best tools we can use to trade the markets with a surprising degree of accuracy. For example, some estimate that a well-known pattern like the head & shoulders have an accuracy of more than 80% when it is complete. Very few indicators can match that!

In this article, we’ll go over the 4 best chart patterns to use in crypto trading, teach you how to spot them in the charts, and show you how to trade them.

1. Head & shoulders pattern

Since I already singled out the head & shoulders as the most accurate pattern, let’s start with this classic chart pattern that most people have heard about and probably have an idea what should look like.

head and shoulders

The head & shoulders pattern generally signals a reversal in the market, as it is essentially a failed attempt of a trend to move higher. As we know, an uptrend is defined as a series of higher highs and higher lows, but in the case of the head & shoulder, the last trend wave fails at making a higher high and higher low, and a new downtrend is initiated. The opposite pattern, known as an inverse head & shoulder, signals a shift from a downtrend to an uptrend.

Since the head & shoulder is so well-known by now, and the logic is based on simple trend trading, it is often considered to be the most reliable pattern in trading. It can often be easier to spot on a line chart as it can help you filter out all the clutter otherwise found on candlestick charts.

2. Bull flag

This is a continuation pattern and is also considered one of the most reliable bullish patterns we have. Sometimes also called a pennant or a wedge, these names all essentially refer to the same thing.

Bull flag

The bull flag is formed when price enters a consolidation phase following a strong uptrend. What really happens when price is consolidating is that the market is gathering momentum for the next burst up. It is a natural part of a trend where those who have been with the trend from the beginning are taking the opportunity to realize some of their profits, while new traders are entering the market and positioning themselves for the next run-up in prices.

3. Cup and handle

First introduced in William O’Neil’s book How to Make Money in Stocks, the cup and handle pattern is a bullish chart pattern that is very well-known in the stock market, but also appears to work well in other markets.

According to O’Neil, the pattern should span a period of 1 to 6 months in the stock market. In crypto, where everything moves faster, this period can safely be cut in half. For the pattern to be more reliable, we would ideally want to see a significant rise in trading volume near the end of the handle as price begins to rise. A buy order should be entered as price breaks above the high made by the right side of the cup.

The logic behind the pattern is the same as for the head & shoulder and trend waves: the cup represents the bottom in the market and the handle creates a higher low, which by definition means that an uptrend has started.

4. Rectangle

The rectangle is a similar pattern to the bull flag and trading channels, where price appears to be “stuck” between two imaginary lines on the chart. The more touches we have between these outer lines and the price, the more reliable the pattern is considered to be.

The rectangle is a trend continuation pattern, and often becomes a waiting game for traders since it is difficult to tell exactly when the price will break out of the pattern. However, the pattern is fairly reliable at predicting the direction price will break out in. The rectangle can be either bullish or bearish, depending on the direction of the preceding trend.

The pattern can be traded either by placing an order when price is close to the lower end of the rectangle with a stop just below the lower line and then waiting for price to break out. Alternatively, you can place a buy order just above the upper end of the rectangle in hopes of catching the trade as the price breaks out. The danger with the last option is that fake-outs where price spikes up just to fall back down do occur quite frequently. As always in trading, taking a slightly more conservative approach may serve you well over the long-term.

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 37 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

Lessons from The Turtle Traders

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turtle traders

For those of you who haven’t heard about the so-called turtle traders before, I’ll give you a brief recap here: “The turtles” were a group of laymen traders who were chosen more or less randomly to be coached by two of the pioneers in trend-following trading; Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt.

While Dennis, who had already made more than $100 million in the markets, were convinced that anyone could learn to trade, Eckhardt argued that Dennis was a gifted trader and that it would be extremely difficult for someone else to replicate his success. Unable to come to an agreement, the two men figured that the only way to settle the dispute would be to conduct an experiment where they would teach ordinary people their own trading system, and then measure the results.

As the story goes, the turtles became hugely successful, and Dennis was proven right.

Their story became known to world mainly through Michael Covel’s books Trend Following and The Complete Turtle Trader, where he shared some previously unknown details about the very simple trading strategies and methods used by “the turtles.”

Although the turtle experiment took place back in the early 1980s, the lessons learned from the experiment are as valid in today’s crypto market as they were in the commodities market Eckhardt and Dennis were trading in back then. In this post, I therefore wanted to share some of methods used by the turtles that can hopefully help you improve your own trading performance as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the methods the turtles used, I recommend reading Covel’s book to get the full story.

ATR as stop-loss

Using the Average True Range (ATR) indicator as a trailing stop-loss is something I learned from Covel’s book about trend following and that I’ve used successfully over the years, as I wrote about in another post about a trend following trading strategy.

Generally, the idea of using trailing stops in trading is that it allows you to ride the trend for longer, without taking on unnecessary risk. It is also in the very essence of trend following trading that traders should not try to predict where a trend will start or stop, but instead simply react to what the price is telling them. In this context, if the price breaks through the ATR line you have drawn up on the chart, it is telling you that the trend has ended and it is time to get out of the trade.

The ATR is calculated based on the volatility of the asset, which means that perfectly normal market movements will be classified as noise, and only extraordinary movements to either side will lead to price breaking through the ATR line.

TradingView has a very useful built-in indicator for using the ATR as a trailing stop called “ATR Stops.”

Maximum 2% risk on each trade

Since the turtles used the ATR as their stop-loss, the risk in terms of pips on each trade would naturally vary depending on the asset they traded. However, by adjusting their position size, they still managed to keep their risk at no more than 2% of their trading account on any one trade.

Pyramiding

Pyramiding is the concept of adding to a winning trade as time passes. This is pretty much the opposite of conventional value-based investing wisdom, where it is usually preached to buy low and sell high. The turtle traders, on the other hand, were not afraid to buy high and sell when things were moving against them (buy high, sell low).

The turtle traders usually didn’t move in with the full position size that their risk management allowed on the first order, but would instead spread out their orders and buy more as the trade moved in their favor. For example, they would enter an order with a position size that kept their risk at 0.5% of their capital as a trend started to form, and then enter new orders as the trend continued until they reached the 2% risk that their system allowed for.

This protected their downside if the trade moved against them from the start while at the same time enabled them to ride the trends until the end.

Reduce risk during losing streaks

The turtles were very aware of the emotional drawdown that follows a loss in the market, and they understood that because of this, losses tend to follow each other and create losing streaks from which traders sometimes never recover.

Because of this, Dennis and Eckhardt introduced a rule saying that if an account is down by 10%, the trader must adjust his risk as if he has lost 20%. With a smaller trading account left, the trader would then be forced to reduce his risk on each trade in order to stay within the maximum 2% risk allowed on each trade.

Not only did this save the turtle traders’ trading capital, but it saved their emotional capital as well.

Keep it simple

Lastly, it is important to remember that the exact trading system the turtles used was relatively simple and straightforward. Trend following trading is often like this, and it has been proven over and over again that simple and robust systems beats complicated strategies. As Richard Dennis was quoted as saying in the Market Wizards book:

“I always say that you could publish my trading rules in the newspaper and no one will follow them. The key is consistency and discipline. Almost anybody can make up a list of rules that are 80% as good as what we taught our people. What they couldn’t do is give them the confidence to stick with those rules even when things are going bad.”

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 37 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: Determining and Trading Trend Strength

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Trend-following trading remains the most popular approach to trading in the retail segment, both in crypto and other markets. However, before taking positions in the direction of a trend, it is crucial to determine if the trend is gaining or losing strength. As trend traders, we need to make sure we are only taking trades in trends that are building up, and not those that are fading.

While we have covered the basics of trend-following trading in the past, and also revealed several trend-following strategies, we will here focus on how you can determine if a trend is worth trading, using both systematic and discretionary tools.

Trend waves and pullbacks

Studying trend waves and pullbacks during a trend forms the basis of a discretionary approach to determining trend strength.

In a trending market, small pullbacks signal strength in the trend. If each pullback is getting increasingly smaller as the trend continues, we can say that the trend is picking up momentum. Another thing we often see in strong bullish trends in that the pullback is not really a pullback, but rather a sideways consolidation of the price. This indicates that bulls are strongly in control of the market, buying up even the smallest dip in prices.

On the other hand, as pullbacks get larger and occur more frequently, we can take it as a sign that the trend is losing momentum and the price may reverse into the opposite direction soon.

Moving Averages

Moving Averages are probably some of the best-known tools for trend traders, and for good reason. They are incredibly simple to use, and can provide powerful signals in almost all markets.

The most common way to determine trend strength with Moving Averages is to apply two Moving Average lines to the chart; one slower and one faster. For example, combining the 20 and 50 period Moving Averages is a common strategy among swing traders in both forex, stocks, and crypto (the lower the period setting of the Moving Average is, the faster it reacts to changes in the price).

In a strong uptrend, we should have the faster moving average staying consistently above the slower Moving Average. If the distance between the two moving average lines grows, it means that the trend is gaining momentum, and if the distance between them shrinks, the trend is losing momentum.

If the two lines cross over each other, this is often taken as a sign that the trend is about to reverse. Many successful trend-following strategies follow the simple logic of buying an asset when the faster Moving Average crosses over the slower one, and selling an asset when the slower Moving Average crosses over the faster one.

Price rejection

What we call rejection of higher or lower prices in technical analysis is most easily spotted using traditional candlestick charts and looking for long wicks sticking out either above or below the “body” of the candles, as in the screenshot below.

Price rejection

In this chart, we can clearly see that we had a strong bullish trend and that the price attempted to extent the trend further, but repeatedly got rejected by the market. After four attempts at going higher, this market lost all bullishness and went into an extended downtrend.

Relative Strength Index (RSI)

As the name implies, RSI is an indicator that measures strength. In just the same way as we define an uptrend in price as a series of higher lows and higher highs, the RSI line should also make higher lows and higher highs when the market is trending up. In non-trending (range-bound) markets, the RSI generally moves sideways and stays between readings of 30 and 70.

As trends come to an end, we sometimes see divergences between the trend of the RSI and the price itself. For example, price may be making a new higher high, while the RSI line fails at making a new high, or even makes a new lower high, as we have two examples of in the screenshot below:

RSI divergence

Average Directional Index (ADX)

This is the classic trend indicator that many traders still use. The indicator consists of a red line and a green line and it basically says that a green line above a red line means we are in an uptrend. In the opposite case, a red line above a green line would mean that we are in a downtrend. If the two lines are close together it means that the market is not clearly trending, but rather stuck in a range.

Trend-following strategies sometimes make use of the ADX indicator in combination with Moving Averages to find strong price trends to ride. The ADX could then help determine the strength of the trend while for example cross-overs of two Moving Averages could serve as entry and exit points.

Which one should you use?

Perhaps unfortunately, which specific indicator to use in your trend-following trading really comes down to personal preferences. There is no right or wrong indicator to use, nor is there any right or wrong way to combine indicators and create your own trading strategy.

That said, most traders try to avoid combining indicators that are measuring the same thing. For example, ADX, Moving Averages and MACD are all considered trend indicators, while RSI and Stochastic are considered momentum indicators. In other words, you could combine Moving Averages and RSI, but should avoid combining Moving Averages and ADX with each other.

Experimentation is also fine, but instead of trying to learn how to use lots of different indicators, a better strategy is generally to use a few and become an expert at them. They are all powerful in their own way, it just comes down to the trader to master them.

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 37 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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