By admin | January 26, 2009 - 10:55 am - Posted in Articles

Some investors love the stock market. They live and breathe equities: the excitement, the passion, the devastation of loss, the victory. Some like the options and futures markets, feeling it takes more skill than equities. And, there are some that prefer the global aspects of the FOREX.

But no matter what you prefer, you come across again and again the problem of whether you should trade with the trend, or trade for range. The impact of which method is chosen affects your chance of success, and, the reason we’re all here, your wallet (or purse as the case may be).

But those dealing in the FOREX have a unique advantage in that the market responds well to both styles of trading. So, what exactly is trading trend and range? Let’s take a look.

Following the crowd

Put simply, a trend is the direction a market, or the price of a single asset, takes. Trends vary from short, to long, to longer and to even longer or shorter.

There are trend identifiers that can tell you which way the wind is blowing. The simplest, and probably the best, method is to look at the higher lows in an uptrend and the lower highs when the market or asset is in a downtrend. There are other methods of course. For example, some investors like to define a trend as “a deviation from a range as indicated by the Bollinger Band.” What’s a Bollinger Band, you ask? It’s a band plotted two standard deviations away from a simple moving average.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter how you define it or look at it because the goal is the same: to make money by buying in on a trend early and holding on until the trend gives out and starts slowing. Most traders use tight stop trade orders (an order to buy or sell a security when its price surpasses a certain point), to limit their risk.

This method of trend trading can have huge payoffs. Leverage in the FOREX, because of its size and 24 hour trading, is typically 100:1, meaning that you only need to put down $1 of margin to get $100 worth of currency control. Given that the stock market is 2:1 and the futures market which is usually 25:1, you can see why you can make a huge amount of money with trend trading in the FOREX.

The Long Term

But trend trading isn’t for everybody. It takes discipline, with many traders meeting 20 or even 30 stop calls before they can catch a trend. If you get emotional about it and try to fight the market, you could lose your shirt.

That’s where range trading comes in. The range trader doesn’t care about direction. He trades knowing that no matter where the currency goes, it will come back to where it started. Range trading is based on the theory that prices will trade at the same levels many times, and the range trader will be there to gather up those profits from the oscillations in price.

But range trading isn’t free and clear either. A range trader will have to have a lot of money they are willing to risk to put the practice into play successfully. But, with more money (in the case of the FOREX, more leverage), there’s more chance of the trader’s enemy (i.e. emotion) coming into play. Positions can go against you many times in a row before you get a profit, and many traders just don’t have the stomach to watch their hard earned cash dwindling while they hang on to the idea of profits in the future. Also, if you’re not careful, with more than a few losses in a row you could trigger a margin call before you’ve had a chance for the currency to produce profits for you.

But, don’t despair. Many FOREX dealers have come up with a solution: they allow you to trade in mini-lots. By trading in mini-lots you can withstand many more drawdowns before triggering a stop order. This allows you to withstand more losses in a row before a margin call is issued.

One or the Other

Regardless of which method the trader chooses, the FOREX market is ready and able for both. As long as the trader remains disciplined and realizes that there will be some losses no matter what they do, they will improve their chances of fattening their bank accounts.

Kevin Davis has been investing online for 10 years and just recently started looking into expanding his investments into the FOREX market. To learn more about Kevin, visit his blog at

This entry was posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 10:55 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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