Forex Resources for Daily Monitoring

Monday, September 29, 2008
Even the best Forex traders need to regularly refresh their knowledge and gain new information that is related to the currency trading. There are on-line Forex resources that provide information, news, books, communities, tools and other important advantages to the traders for free. Here is the list of the most useful Forex resources that are worth to be visited daily by every trader:

Bloomberg.com — business and currency news that create the fundamental background for the Forex market. I prefer to browse these news everyday before making any trading decisions.

Forexfactory.com — apart from the usual Forex tools, there are forums that are actually visited by many new and professional traders that share their experience with different trading systems, Forex brokers, expert advisors, etc.

Forex-tsd.com — a large Forex community focusing mainly on the technical tools for trading — such as expert advisors and indicators for various platforms (usually, MetaTrader 4).

Earnforex.com — a lot of useful and free information for all Forex traders, including books, brokers’ descriptions, reviews, articles and other goodies with the new updates almost everyday.

Talkgold Forex Forum — a very popular forum in the past, it still remains a place where many «old school» Forex traders share their knowledge and discuss Forex related issues.

Those are the resources that I visit everyday. If you know some other popular and useful sites for the Forex traders, you can mention them in the comments to this post.

The Less Known Evil of the Leverage

Thursday, September 25, 2008
Trading with leverage is extremely popular among the Forex traders. High leverage is considered dangerous because of the risks associated with the fast moving money and poor money management tactics practiced by the majority of the traders. Besides the well known danger of multiplying your losses, there is another evil hiding behind the leverage, which can wipe your trading account easily.

High leverage is advertised by many brokers. Some traders believe that the higher their leverage is the faster they will become rich and the Forex brokers that offer ridiculously high leverage are even praised. But in fact, there is a very practical and mercantile reason for the Forex brokers to offer high leverage — higher earnings.

The higher is the leverage the more money is paid by the trader to the broker in the form of the rates spread. The value of the pip that trader wins, loses or pays as a spread depends on the leverage. With 1:100 leverage a 2 pips spread for the 1 standard lot of the USD based currency pair is worth $20. That’s not a big amount if you have $100,000 account, but if your total trading account is just $2,000? That’s 1% lost despite the fact if you win or lose this position. With 1:10 leverage that spread would worth you only $2. Without leverage the spread payment to your broker would be as low as 20 cents.

Remember that the leverage comes with a price, which is quite high and which is often overlooked by the traders. If you want to learn trading profitably on a real account, try to the leverage as low as possible. Switch to the higher leverage only if you really know what you are doing. Don’t try to become rich quick with the help of the leverage. It won’t allow you.

Variety of Forex Scams

Monday, September 22, 2008
Apart from being potentially profitable, Forex market becomes more dangerous nowadays. There many scams in the Forex industry and they vary in types and scales. If you want to start trading Forex you should know a lot about such scams to avoid losing your hard-earned money. And if you are the experienced Forex trader you’ve probably already got hurt from some Forex scam and if not — you should also know about Forex scams to avoid them in the future.
  • Forex broker scam. It was very popular several years ago, but its popularity seems to fade now. Usually it’s just some set-up Forex broker site that promises the good trading conditions and offers some basic «bucket-shop» trading simulation to attract large customer base and run away with their money. Just do your research on a broker before depositing money and you’ll be safe from such scams.
  • Forex strategies selling. There are hundreds «successful» Forex trading strategies selling on the Internet. Many traders tend to believe that they can spend $300 on such a strategy and become rich with it. In reality the best thing that money can buy is education. Sold strategies are usually nothing but crap. Not only they won’t make you rich, they will probably make you lose your account margin.
  • Forex e-books selling. Overrated and hyped e-books with a lot of marketing and a little use (if at all) are the actual problem of many industries. Forex e-books selling for ridiculously high prices and promising to tell you «the best kept secrets of the millionaire traders» are nothing but wasted money. You’d better lose that money in Forex trading, trying to find your own strategy and getting some real practice.
  • Scam Forex managed accounts. Some people like the idea of Forex, but don’t like to trade on this market, they prefer to invest in it. That’s where managed accounts come to play. It’s a good idea to have some company or a private trade to trade for you and earn a share of profit. But unfortunately there also scam players here. They will just take your money and disappear. Some scam managers will probably even pretend that they are really trading and will show you some profit, hoping that you’ll deposit more. Don’t fall for such scams, thoroughly research your manager or better invest in some reputable managing company.

What's Your Forex Trader's Personality?

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Knowing your trader’s personality is very important if you want to maintain a healthy, pleasant and, most importantly, profitable lifestyle while working on Forex. People are different and what’s good for one can be bad for other. Some trading methods and techniques will work for the certain kind of traders, but they will fail when you try to use them.

The most notable difference between various trading styles is the frequency of trading. Traders that like action and often «want to do something» perform better when they open several positions per day. Those who don’t like the chaos of the daily trading and like to think a lot before doing something will enjoy the profit from a scarcer trading. There are 4 distinct types of the trader’s personalities by the trading frequency:
  1. Position trader — mostly fundamental analysis driven positions that are opened very rarely — only few per month, often just about 10-20 positions per year. This style doesn’t require constant market monitoring and is recommended for the busy people.
  2. Swing trader — trades more often than the position trader, holding his orders open for the days and weeks. Targets and stops are lower than those with the position trading, but there are many trades per year. This is not a day trading, but it’s neither a long-term trading.
  3. Day trader — one of the most popular types of traders. They trade every day, opening several positions and holding them for a few hours to a day. This style requires a lot of market monitoring and will probably fit only full-time Forex traders.
  4. Scalper — this is the most risky and dangerous trading style. Scalping involves holding a position open just for a few seconds or minutes to gain the small profit from each position. There are dozens of trades each day with the scalping. Almost all brokers prohibit scalping. Another problem with scalping is that the major part of the scalper’s profit is eaten by the broker’s spread.
There some other parameters that can be different for various traders, but the main trading style is the basic difference and the trader that is good with the position trading shouldn’t go for the day trading to remain successful. Try to find out your style as soon as possible and stick with it.

Drawdowns and Money Management

Monday, September 15, 2008
No matter how good your Forex trading strategy is, you will lose some of your positions. There is no such thing as a 100% sure win in trading, so eventually you’ll encounter some loss. This is where the money management kicks in and helps you to limit your drawdowns in order to save your trading account from the complete wipe-out.

The problem with the drawdowns is that if you lose 10% of your account you need to recover 11% of what remains to return to the breakeven point. Losing 20% will require 25% gain over the remaining balance to recover. As you see, if you trade with the percentage risks, recovering from losses is much harder if you lose more. Trading with a little risk ratio is a good idea to prevent such problem from occurring. If you trade long enough you’ll encounter the streaks of losing trades — with 10 losing positions in a row and 10% risk ratio you’ll lose more than 60% of your initial balance. But if you trade risking only 3% of your current balance you’ll end up with 26.3% total loss. You don’t need to be a genius to see that it’s a lot easier to recover after the 26% loss than from 60% loss.

Of course, trading with small amounts of your account doesn’t look very promising, because you decrease your potential profit. But believe me, if you somehow lose 70% of your account — and that’s not a hard thing to do if you risk a big part of your capital with each trade — you’ll have to more than double your leftovers to reach the breakeven point. Remember, that all professional Forex traders (and even professional poker players) always risk only a small fraction of their capital with each trade.

Switching to Your Own Forex Trading System

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Before you switch to your own Forex trading system or the one that you’ve bought from someone else, I’d suggest you organizing the process in such way that you’ll be able to keep up with your strategy and track your success honestly. Developing a trading system is a hard process, but keeping to it without falling to emotional trading is even harder. Here is a list of the steps I recommend doing when you find your system:
  1. If your strategy uses technical indicators directly or there are indicators that can help you spot entry/exit points exist, write them down and add them to the chart. Avoid adding indicators that are not used by your system.
  2. Write down and open in your trading platform the timeframes on which your system is tested. Don’t try trading on the timeframes that don’t work with it.
  3. Define your entry and exit conditions — whether they depend on indicators or something else, those should be definable conditions. Avoid using something else except your system’s guidelines in your trading.
  4. Before each trade, calculate the position size depending on the risk that is tolerable with your strategy. This will help you with money management and will save you from overtrading or gambling.
  5. Follow your strategy writing down all your profits and losses. Be honest with yourself. If you avert from your initial strategy, try to record that too.
  6. Keep to your system without changing it for a significant amount of time. Try to see its weak and strong sides when you have enough statistics on your hands.
Over three years that I’ve spent trading Forex I developed many trading strategies. The majority of them were crap, but many of the strategies were unjustly abandoned by me, because I’ve failed to use them correctly — continuously modifying the system, «cheating» myself and forgetting to record statistics killed more than one successful strategies.

Using Support and Resistance in Forex

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Support and resistance is the one of the most popular and widely used methods of technical analysis in Forex. It’s simple, easy to understand and doesn’t even require any additional analytical tools except the bare chart of the currency pair. Support and resistance levels form when the price action creates the distinct peaks and plateaus on the chart. Support level acts as a barrier for the rate that falls, while the resistance is the level that prevents rate from growing farther. Buying when the resistance is broken and selling when the support level is broken is an easy Forex technique that made thousands of traders rich. If you plan to trade using support and resistance, don’t forget these important facts:
  1. When the support level is broken it becomes a resistance level, the vice versa is also correct.
  2. Breaking the support and resistance levels isn’t an exact math. False breakouts are possible.
  3. Real breakouts are usually marked with a bar closed below/above the support/resistance level.
  4. Check your charts on the different (larger) timeframes. Some important support and resistance levels can only be seen on the long-term charts.
  5. If the rate bounces off the support or resistance that level becomes stronger. The stronger support and resistance level is the more profit can be gained when it’s broken.
Concluding all that was said above I should also warn you that using support and resistance in your daily trading will become profitable over the time as this method requires a lot of real experience and becomes more powerful with each trading success or failure.