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This article is going to be a little longer than usual, as I endeavor to make a balanced view about exactly why price action is preferred in the marketplace.

If you’re keen to expand your mind, deepen your knowledge, or simply learn something new about the financial markets, then please read on.

Throughout the centuries, traders around the world have tried to find every method possible to exploit the market for profits. The search for a trading edge has led to countless hours of research, hard work, and dedication. More recently, programming has become the rage as hedge funds, institutions, and large traders seek to find the optimal way to extract profits from the market.

While the internet is rife with methods, formulas, and patterns that claim to bring in profits, through my years of trading, I’ve found that trading strategies fall into these 3 simple categories.

Most Trading Strategies Fall into 3 Categories

 

1. Trend-following

Many beginners make the mistake of asking these 2 questions: “When should I buy? When should I sell?”

Beneath these two questions, are actually several important questions to ask before deciding when to buy and sell. You see, trend-following is the act of buying in an uptrend, and selling in a downtrend. It sounds simple, but several questions come to mind when a trader attempts to follow a trend:

  • Has the trend started? When did it start?
  • When will the trend end?
  • Where should I get in on the trend?
  • Is it a volatile trend, or a gentle trend?
  • Is it a strong trend, or a weak trend?

All of this has to be taken into account as the market unfolds before a trader’s eyes. The confluence of answers to these questions would allow a price action trader to buy or to sell. While it is impossible to predict what would happen, the better a trader can answer the above questions, the better he or she is positioned to make some money.

Why is price action preferred by professional traders?

Price action involves reading clean price charts, and understanding the motivation of buyers and sellers when taking trades. With proper training, a trader can answer all the above questions, and make the most efficient trade during a trending market situation.

Traders have to process large quantities of information at a go. Making the price chart as clean as possible allows the trader to clearly see what is happening, and simplifies his analysis. For example, in the above chart, buyers are committed during the most recent 10 bars, and a reasonable trade would be to buy on a pullback to the EMA or trendline.

 

2. Mean-reversion

Mean-reversion is simply doing the opposite of a trend-follower. In essence, a mean-reversion trader would be asking the following questions:

  • Has the trend ended?
  • Where might the trend end?
  • Are the traders taking profits, or are they initiating new positions?
  • What price levels are mean-reversion traders looking at?

Based on my experience, beginners should not look to be mean-reversion traders until they are profitable trend-followers. It is much harder than it looks when taking a trade in the opposite direction of the trend.

In my trading foundation workshops, I emphasize time and again that a trade setup must occur in the opposite direction before taking a reversal trade. In fact, instead of going against the trend, I would much prefer that the trend has already changed direction, and then I hop on to that new trend for a lower-risk trade.

Price action traders consider many more options and ask more questions than indicator-based or value-based traders.

The financial marketplace is filled with professional traders seeking to make a quick buck out of unsuspecting, ill-disciplined, or even lazy traders. It is just like in the Olympics; at the highest level of sporting excellence, sportsmen that miscalculate their aim or fail to squeeze out that last ounce of energy could miss finishing in the top 3.

In a bull market, going against the trend is much harder than you think. That is why price action is so important; it helps you decipher when the trend is going to end, and whether it is wise to enter or not.

 

3. Spread-Betting (Betting during volatility)

Spread-betting is used by institutional traders and proprietary funds to make short-term bets during times of volatility. The software and execution technology required is often expensive, and is not suitable for a retail trader. The strategy is complex, because bets are placed on both sides during a volatile event, and it requires strict discipline when trading. I won’t go into great detail on how this is done, but you can read up about it.

 

Why Then, is Price Action Preferred by Professional Traders?

 

1. CLARITY

Price action trading is trading with clean charts. The only information you need is the current price, and these are displayed using candlestick charts. In the charts below, we see that the blank chart is far clearer and easier to read than the complicated one with many indicators.

 

2. SPEED

When trading intra-day, traders need to quickly make a decision when the price action unfolds before them. While checklists and criteria do help, having a solid price action foundation would allow the trader to make a decision quickly. How would you make a trading decision, if you had to look at 12 screens at once?

Image Source: LifeHacker.com

In contrast, I can make my trades on a single laptop computer, or even on my mobile devices. Something like this is more than sufficient:

Image Source: MyCompas.com

 

3. UNIVERSALITY

Perhaps the biggest reason why price action is preferred, is that price action is universal. You can trade commodities, currencies, stocks, bonds, ETFs, REITs, futures on just about anything, and even options, because every product has a price chart. You can be just as sure that Coffee Futures have the same price action mechanics as Apple stock, and you wouldn’t have a problem transiting between products.

Trading is very much like selecting from a diverse menu in a fancy restaurant; while there are many products to trade, many traders settle on trading a few products and get proficient at them.

Price action works on just about anything with a price chart and a liquid secondary marketplace.
Image Source: TheActuary.com

 

How Can I Get Started On Price Action Trading?

For a start, I recommend using the old-school way by getting your hands on a few solid price action books. Many of these are available in public libraries, and if you have some spare cash, you can consider buying them on amazon.

Next, is to practice! While reading books and watching others trade is a great way to learn, nothing beats learning to trade by actually making trades yourself.

If you currently use many indicators and are not profitable, perhaps the question to ask yourself is whether you would like to understand what is behind the price chart and the indicators. It is not enough to use a formula, because market conditions change over time.

Here’s to wishing you all the best on your trading journey, and I hope this article has expanded your mind just a little more!

The world of finance and investing is filled with opinions, news, jargon, and sometimes pure nonsense. It is only the people who actually make trades, who will be able to tell the truth from the lies.

After all, an opinion has no consequence. People can quip about what they think is true, if there is no money on the table. However, when you’re trading with your own money, you’re forced to confront the reality of things. I, for one, am no stranger to taking risks, but I only take calculated risks with a high payoff. That is what trading is all about.

Without further ado, here are 3 dangerous myths that could be wrecking havoc on your trading account:

 

MYTH #1: TRADING WITH LEVERAGE INCREASES YOUR RISK
(Reality: Trading with leverage reduces capital required, but risk can be kept the same.)

Let’s tackle the myth first; the media handles the idea of leverage very poorly, because it often sensationalizes the trader who over-leverages and blows everything.

The idea is simple: I have $100, and I leverage so that I can trade $500 or $1000 of stock/forex. I make one bad trade, and I’m wiped out.

This is true for the person without proper risk-management. After all, the temptation of leverage is to dump all your money into one trade, max out the leverage, and hopefully you make 500% on one trade and can call it a day. The truth is, these lucky trades do happen in reality. Eventually, the trader with his newfound wealth (and greed), piles his money into another trade, and loses everything.

Leverage kills the person who abuses it. It’s like fire; it can cook food for people, or it can kill people.

 

Leverage, in practice, actually keeps you disciplined. In forex trading, maximizing leverage is actually a wise way to start trading. When you leverage, you are actually committing less margin to a trade, and you can get comfortable with trading by committing as little margin as possible. Here’s what I mean:

For example, suppose you have a stop loss of -$10 and a target profit of +$30, and you make a trade of unknown size X.

1:100 leverage – Margin committed for X lots = $102.50 (I’m making this up)

1:500 leverage – Margin committed for X lots = $20.50 (five times smaller)

In the case of higher leverage, you stay comfortable because even though the stop loss is -$10, you see that the margin committed on your account is only $20.50. This allows you to not have to see the wild fluctuations in margin requirement, and keep you trading small and trading often.

There are several benefits to leverage that most people don’t know about.

Also, trading with higher leverage allows you to take multiple positions with little capital. This is great for beginning traders who want to experiment and take multiple trades with a small account. With as little as $500, you can take 3-5 forex positions with leverage, risking anywhere from $5 to $20 or so for each trade. This is a great way to start for aspiring forex traders.

 

MYTH #2: BROKERS ARE OUT TO HIT YOUR STOP LOSSES
(Reality: You get stopped out because of the market, not because of the broker.)

Many people who have been trading for some time get convinced that the broker wants them to be stopped out of their positions. I’ve heard of this and seen it happen; the trade hits your stop loss, then immediately goes in your favour and flies in the direction you want, and then you beat yourself up and say “I was supposed to make $XYZ on this trade but I got stopped out because of the stupid broker!”

The truth is, the broker has better things to do than to keep hunting the stoploss on your account.

At least, this is for brokers who want to remain in business over the long-term. How do brokers make money? They make money if you keep trading. Why would any broker want you to stop trading? They would actually want you to be profitable, because for every trade you make, they get a small cut from the spread (also known as the bid-ask spread). Essentially, they want you to love trading and trade so much and so often that they get large revenues from spreads.

Why in the world would the broker want to stop you out? The reason why we get stopped out, is because we are bad traders.

Professionals are buying or selling exactly where your stop loss is placed, because they know that the average investor would place their stop loss there.

The solution to not getting stopped out, is to first acknowledge that trading involves some positions getting stopped out. Being right 40-50% of the time is already sufficient for you to be profitable, so don’t be surprised if half your positions get stopped out.

One example is a sideways market. Beginners love to enter on sideways markets because it presents many signals in both directions. However, professionals are buying and selling at the extremes of the sideways markets, causing beginners to get stopped out repeatedly, while professionals make money repeatedly. Remember that there is another trader on the other side who is filling your order; if you are losing money, it is because someone else is taking money from your account, and putting it in their account.

MYTH #3: FOREX IS MORE RISKY THAN STOCKS
(Reality: Risk is independent on the product, and forex actually requires less capital.)

In a previous blog post, I mentioned this: If you have $500 to invest, it actually makes more sense to trade forex.

In the Forex market, you can ‘get a feel of the game’ by risking a few dollars per trade. By trading the smallest lot size (0.01 lots), you can learn to make a few dollars here, lose a few dollars there, and rack up trading experience and learn to trade ‘live’ without incurring hefty losses. By learning to make many decisions and experiencing all the different conditions of the market, you would become seasoned enough to trade a bigger size, and fine-tune your own trading strategy to become profitable in the long-run.

Many traders discover they have certain characteristics about themselves that hinder success. In trading a ‘live’ account with a small sum of money, they are putting in some skin in the game, and getting used to the ups and downs of their account. The best part about forex is that there are no commission charges, making the ‘tuition’ fees a lot less than trading in stocks.

I’ve spoken about this at length in my previous blog posts. Besides the lower cost of trading forex, you actually lower your risk by getting better at trading. After all, the biggest risk is yourself. If you’ve got skin in the game, made a few hundred trades with real money, and got yourself a strategy that you can rely on, you are actually a lot less a risk to yourself.

24/7 market; choose when you want to trade.

The great thing about Forex is that you can decide when to trade based on your schedule. That helps people who have punishing schedules: trading in the middle of the night, or during lunch, on a daily basis, works out to a trading schedule that accommodates your lifestyle needs.

Stocks have bigger gaps between bars than Forex does.

Furthermore, with regards to stocks, stocks tend to see bigger gaps between days. Here’s what I mean:

forexForex pairs/currency futures tend to have less gaps between bars; bars close and open at roughly the same price. Here, the chart of NZDUSD (daily).

stockMost stocks have gaps between the candlesticks/bars. Notice how there are many ‘holes’ between bars for First Majestic Silver Corp (NYSE).

Gaps make the analysis a little more complex, because you have to take into account the size of the gap along with the actual candlestick printed on the chart. Forex allows you to employ technical analysis more simply, and learn how to read price action without the distraction of having to figure out what the gap means. Of course, this isn’t a problem among more liquid stocks like the SPY, C, MCD, FB and other “famous” counters.

WHAT’S THE REAL RISK?

The real risk in trading lies with the trader. The moment you stop improving, stop learning, stop growing, or stop challenging yourself, you’ll start to see your profits suffer. I encourage all of you aspiring traders to seek the truth, and rely less on opinions in your trading journey. After all, you can only find out the truth when you’ve got some money on the table, and actually start to make trades.

Have you ever wondered how professional traders see the market differently?

How do they continue to make exceptional returns day after day, while 90% of retail traders lose money on a daily basis?

Here are my top 10 trading rules I developed, after over 10,000 hours of trading professionally, and I hope that this will help you take your trading to the next level.

Good luck! 😀

Professional trading 4

1. Always be disciplined

  • Follow your plan and rules
  • Do not be swayed by your emtions to act otherwise
  • Do not create excuses to break the rules – this time is NOT different

2. Plan the trade, trade the plan

  • Always cut your losses according to plan
  • Always cut your profits run according to plan
  • Separate your planning from your execution

3. Expect losses

  • Losses are part of trading – accept them. This will reduce emotional resistance when the time comes to do so.
  • Do not take a trade unless you are willing to accept the risk (possibility of loss) that accompanies the trade
  • Accept that you willlose money on some trades
  • Take your losses easily when they come
  • Do not be stubborn and bend your rules

4. Manage your emotions

  • When i doubt or unsure, get out!
  • Always analyze objectively
  • Clear all positions to have a neutral frame of mind
  • Do not act based on greed or fear

5. Focus on trading well

  • The goal of a trader is to make the best trades
  • Money will naturally follow
  • If you focus on money, emotions will get in the way and you will not be able to make the best trades

6. Do not overtrade

  • Be patient. Do not rush into a trade.
  • Do not trade when there are no good setups
  • Do not try to be in the market all the time
  • It is better to miss a boat, than to leave on one full of holes
  • One good trades is better than three bad trades
  • “There is a time to go long, a time to go short,and a time to go fishing.” – Jesse Livermore

7. Trade what you see, not what you think

  • Don’t concern yourself with why things are happening
  • Observe what is happening, and act on it
  • Ignore the noise – tips, rumours, news, speculations, etc
  • Anticipate the future, but trade in the present
  • Markets are never wrong, opinions are

8. The trend is your friend

  • Don’t enter just because it looks “overbought” or “oversold”
  • Don’t try to catch a falling knife
  • The easiest money is made trading with the trend
  • Make sure you have an edge before you enter the market
  • Put as many factors in your favour as possible

9. Do not repeat your mistakes

  • Keep good records of your trades and thought process
  • Analyze your mistakes, then move on
  • Do not make the same mistake again
  • Continuously improve yourself

10. Have realistic expectations

  • Do not try to make stellar returns overnight
  • Aim for small consistent returns over a period of time
  • Do not expect to become an expert overnight
  • Trading takes time to build experience

Download free e-book: The 7 Best-Kept Secrets of Professional Traders

For more tips on how to take your trades to the next level, download a free copy of “The 7 Best-Kept Secrets of Professional Traders”.
https://synapsetrading.com/resources/the-7-best-kept-secrets-of-professional-traders/

 

Email from a new student: 

I recently received a heart-warming letter from one of my new students, and I thought I’ll share it here. He will be one of the lucky 10 attending the March intake of the Synapse Program, and he has already started reaping the immediate benefits of the private discussion forum, even before attending the full program!

To all current students, I have recently created a new “Trading FAQ” section in the forum, and I will be answering all these questions and more in this new section, so that all new and in-coming students can benefit from it. 

Do join us here soon!

To many, the holy grail of trading is deemed to be the ultimate solution to all their trading problems, the magic bullet that will allow them to profit without effort, the secret trading method or tool that will allow them to predict the market and win on every trade. However, far from being the solution, this mentality often acts as a stumbling block to all traders, if not a brick wall.

Many people hop from tip to tip, from guru to guru, from one software to another, attending every seminar and learning from every guru, but they will never be contented, and they will never become good traders, because they are too busy finding the holy grail to put their knowledge into practice. So what is the holy grail?

 

 

To them, the answer is always so near, yet always slightly out of reach. Every time they see a new method, they think “this must be it, this must be the missing ingredient.” They test it out for a few days, realise that it’s not perfect, then skip off to find the next new toy. Many don’t realise that no method is 100%.

Many people also mistake sophistication for perfection, opting to fork out money for automated systems that will print money for them as they sleep at night. However, when the system stops printing money, as all do eventually, they are once again off to find the next holy grail.

It took me 7 years to realise it, and I have been through at least 200 books and tried almost every method or tool available, and I finally realised that to find the holy grail, one has to look within. So if you want to start learning the skills to make consistent money on your own, you need to first get rid of this stumbling block.

If you want to learn to trade, it make sense to learn from someone who is trading in the current markets. Not someone who was successful trading 20 years ago and now teaches for a living. Will their strategies that worked 20 years ago still be relevant now? It is unlikely in this current dynamic market.

Many people in trading start off with the wrong ideas, and after sacrificing a lot of time and spending a lot of money, they wonder why they still cannot get the results they desire. Others think that hard work can solve everything, and given enough time, they will naturally pick up the skills themselves. Not many succeed in re-inventing the wheel. As a world-class tennis coach used to say, “Practise makes perfect, so make sure you are not practising the wrong thing.”

“It’s not the method or system, it’s the trader.”