Going long, Going short, Order types, and Calculating Profit & Loss
• Buying and selling
The basic idea of trading the markets is to buy low and sell high or sell high and buy low. I know that probably sounds a little weird to you because you are probably thinking “how can I sell something that I don’t own?” Well, in the Forex market when you sell a currency pair you are actually buying the quote currency (the second currency in the pair) and selling the base currency (the first currency in the pair).
In the case of a non-Forex example though, selling short seems a little confusing, like if you were to sell a stock or commodity. The basic idea here is that your broker lends you the stock or commodity to sell and then you must buy it back later to close the transaction. Essentially, since there is no physical delivery it is possible to sell a security with your broker since you will ‘give’ it back to them at a later date, hopefully at a lower price.
• Long vs. Short
Another great thing about the Forex market is that you have more of a potential to profit in both rising and falling markets due to the fact that there is no market bias like the bullish bias of stocks. Anyone who has traded for a while knows that the fastest money is made in falling markets, so if you learn to trade both bull and bear markets you will have plenty of opportunities to profit.
LONG – When we go long it means we are buying the market and so we want the market to rise so that we can then sell back our position at a higher price than we bought for. This means we are buying the first currency in the pair and selling the second. So, if we buy the EURUSD and the euro strengthens relative to the U.S. dollar, we will be in a profitable trade.
SHORT – When we go short it means we are selling the market and so we want the market to fall so that we can then buy back our position at a lower price than we sold it for. This means we are selling the first currency in the pair and buying the second. So, if we sell the GBPUSD and the British pound weakens relative to the U.S. dollar, we will be in a profitable trade.
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• Order types
Now it’s time to cover order types. When you execute a trade in the Forex market it is called an ‘order’, there are different order types and they can vary between brokers. All brokers provide some basic order types, there are other ‘special’ order types that are not offered by all brokers though, and we will cover them all below:
Market order – A market order is an order that is placed ‘at the market’ and it’s executed instantly at the best available price.
Limit Entry order – A limit entry order is placed to either buy below the current market price or sell above the current market price. This is a bit tricky to understand at first so let me explain:
If the EURUSD is currently trading at 1.3200 and you want to go sell the market if it reaches 1.3250, you can place a limit sell order and then when / if the market touches 1.3250 it will fill you short. Thus, the limit sell order is placed ABOVE current market price. If you want to buy the EURUSD at 1.3050 and the market is trading at 1.3100, you would place your limit buy order at 1.3050 and then if the market hits that level it will fill you long. Thus the limit buy order is placed BELOW current market price.
Stop Entry order – A stop-entry order is placed to buy above the current market price or sell below it. For example, if you want to trade long but you want to enter on a breakout of a resistance area, you would place your buy stop just above the resistance and you would get filled as price moves up into your stop entry order. The opposite holds true for a sell-stop entry if you want to sell the market.
Stop Loss order – A stop-loss order is an order that is connected to a trade for the purpose of preventing further losses if the price moves beyond a level that you specify. The stop-loss is perhaps the most important order in Forex trading since it gives you the ability to control your risk and limit losses. This order remains in effect until the position is liquidated or you modify or cancel the stop-loss order.
Trailing Stop – The trailing stop-loss order is an order that is connected to a trade like the standard stop-loss, but a trailing stop-loss moves or ‘trails’ the current market price as your trade moves in your favor. You can typically set your trailing stop-loss to trail at a certain distance from current market price, it will not start moving until or unless the price moves greater than the distance you specify. For example, if you set a 50 pip trailing stop on the EURUSD, the stop will not move up until your position is in your favor by 51 pips, and then the stop will only move again if the market moves 51 pips above where your trailing stop is, so this way you can lock in profit as the market moves in your favor while still giving the trade room to grow and breath. Trailing stops are best used in strong trending markets.
Good till Cancelled order (GTC) – A good till cancelled order is exactly what it says…good until you cancel it. If you place a GTC order it will not expire until you manually cancel it. Be careful with these because you don’t want to set a GTC and then forget about it only to have the market fill you a month later in a potentially unfavorable position.
Good for the Day order (GFD) – A good for day order remains active in the market until the end of the trading day, in Forex the trading day ends at 5:00pm EST or New York time. The exact time a GFD expires might vary from broker to broker, so always check with your broker.
One Cancels the Other order (OCO) – A one cancels the other order is essentially two sets of orders; it can consist of two entry orders, two stop loss orders, or two entry and two stop-loss orders. Essentially, when one order is executed the other is cancelled. So, if you want to buy OR sell the EURUSD because you are anticipating a breakout from consolidation but you don’t know which way the market will break, you can place a buy entry and stop-loss above the consolidation and a sell entry with stop-loss below the consolidation. If the buy entry gets filled for example, the sell entry and its connected stop loss will both be cancelled instantly. A very handy order to use when you are not sure which direction the market will move but are anticipating a large move.
One Triggers the Other order (OTO) – This order is the opposite of an OCO order, because instead of cancelling an order upon filling one, it will trigger another order upon filling one.
• Lot size / Contract size
In Forex, positions are quoted in terms of ‘lots’. The common nomenclature is ‘standard lot’, ‘mini lot’, ‘micro lot’, and ‘nano lot’; we can see examples of each of these in the chart below and the number of units they each represent:
• How to calculate pip value
You probably already know that currencies are measured in pips, and one pip is the smallest increment of price movement that a currency can move. To make money from these small increments of price movement, you need to trade larger amounts of a particular currency in order to see any significant gain (or loss). This is where leverage comes into play; if you don’t understand leverage totally please go read Part 1 of the course where we discuss it.
So we need to know now how lot size affects the value of one pip. Let’s work through a couple examples:
We will assume we are using standard lots, which control 100,000 units per lot. Let’s see how this affects pip value.
1) EUR/JPY at an exchange rate of 100.50 (.01 / 100.50) x 100,000 = $9.95 per pip
2) USD/CHF at an exchange rate of 0.9190 (.0001 / .9190) x 100,000 = $10.88 per pip
In currency pairs where the U.S. dollar is the quote currency, one standard lot will always equal $10 per pip, one mini-lot will equal $1 per pip, one micro-lost will equal .10 cents per pip, and a nano-lot is one penny per pip.
• How to calculate profit and loss
Now, let’s move on to calculating profit and loss:
Let’s use a pair without the U.S. dollar as the quote currency since these are the trickier ones:
1) The rate for the USD/CHF is currently quoted at 0.9191 / 0.9195. Let’s say we are looking to sell the USD/CHF, this means we will be working with the ‘bid’ price of 0.9191, or the rate at which the market is prepared to buy from you.
2) You then sell 1 standard lot (100,000 units) at 0.9191
3) A couple of days later the price moves to 0.9091 / 0.9095 and you decide to take your profit of 96 pips, but what dollar amount is that??
4) The new quote price for the USD/CHF is 0.9091 / 0.9095. Since you are now closing the trade you are working with the ‘ask’ price since you are going to buy the currency pair to offset the sell order you previously initiated. So, since the ‘ask’ price is now 0.9095, this is the price the market is willing to sell the currency pair to you, or the price that you can buy it back at (since you initially sold it).
5) The difference between the price you sold at (0.9191) and the price you want to buy back at (0.9095) is 0.0096, or 96 pips.
6) Using the formula from above, we now have (.0001 / 0.9095) x 100,000 = $10.99 per pip x 96 pips = $1055.04
For currency pairs where the U.S. dollar is the quote currency, calculating profit or loss is pretty simple really. You simply take the number of pips you gained or lost and multiple that by the dollar per pip you are trading, here’s an example:
Let’s say you trade the EURUSD and you buy it at 1.3200 but the price moves down and hits your stop at 1.3100….you just lost 100 pips.
If you are trading 1 standard lot you would have lost $1,000 because 1 standard lot of pairs with the U.S. dollars as the quote currency = $10 per pip, and $10 per pip x 100 pips = $1,000
If you had traded 1 mini-lot you would have lost $100 since 1 mini-lot of USD quote pairs is equal to $1 per pip and $1 x 100 pips = $100
What is Professional Forex Trading?
What is Professional Forex Trading?
• What is a professional Forex trader?
A professional Forex trader is someone who uses price movement in the Foreign exchange currency market to make profit. The aim of any Forex trader is to win as many trades as possible and also to maximize those winning trades. A professional Forex chart technician uses price charts to analyze and trade the market. By trading with an EDGE in the market, professional traders can put the odds in their favor to successfully trade price movement from point A to point B.
Caution: Forex trading is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme and it is more difficult to make money in Forex than what most popular Forex system-selling websites would have you believe. To trade profitably we must not only have winning trades, but we must also cut our losing trades short so that our winners out-pace our losers. You see, losing is an enviable part of trading the Forex markets, and you must learn to lose properly by taking small losses relative to your winners. This means you must A L W A Y S trade with a stop loss on E V E R Y trade you take and make sure the dollar amount you have at risk is an amount you are 100% comfortable with losing.
Professional Forex price-chart traders have a winning edge which is developed via Technical Analysis (more on this in Part 4). There are also Fundamental Analysis traders and traders who use a combination of both analysis techniques; we will discuss all of these later.
A professional Forex trader understands that reading a price chart is both art and skill, and as such, they do not try to mechanize or automate the process of trading as each moment in the market is unique, so it takes a flexible and dynamic trading strategy to trade the markets with a high-probability edge.
• How do pro traders trade the Forex markets?
There are many different trading strategies and systems that pro traders use to trade the markets with, but generally speaking, professional traders do not use overly-complicated trading methods and rely mainly on the raw price data of the market to make their analysis and predictions. To be comprehensive, I wanted to give you guys a brief overview of all the primary different styles and ways people trade the Forex market:
Automated / Robot Trading: Software-based trading systems, also known as forex trading robots, are created by converting a set of trading rules into code that a computer can make use of. The computer will then run this code via trading software that scans the markets for trades that meet the requirements of the trading rules contained in the code. The trades are then executed automatically via the trader’s broker.
Discretionary Trading: Discretionary Forex trading depends on a trader’s ‘gut’ trading feel or discretionary trading skill to analyze and trade the markets. Discretionary trading allows for a more flexible approach than automated trading but it does take a certain amount of time to develop your discretionary trading skill. Most professional Forex traders are discretionary traders because they understand the market is a dynamic and constantly flowing entity that is best traded by the human mind.
Technical Trading: Technical trading, or technical analysis, involved analysis of a market’s price chart for making one’s trading decisions. Technical analysis traders use price patterns or ‘technical signals’ to trade the market with an edge. The common belief amongst technical analysis traders is that all economic variables are represented by and factored into the price movement on a price chart.
Fundamental Trading: Fundamental trading, or news trading, is a trading technique wherein traders rely heavily on market news to make their trading analysis and predictions. Fundamental news does ‘drive’ price movement, but often times the market will react differently than what a particular news release would imply due to the fact that market participants often buy on expectations of future events and sell once the reality of said future event occurs. This is another main reason many pro traders rely more heavily on technical analysis than fundamental analysis, although many do use a combination of the two.
Day Trading: Traders who day-trade the Forex market are in and out of the market within one day. This means they typically buy and sell currencies over a very short period of time and they may enter and exit numerous trades in one day.
Scalping: Scalping is similar to day-trading but it relies on more frequent and shorter-term trades than even day-trading does. It is a trading style that refers to jumping in and out of the market many times a day to ‘scalp’ a few pips here and a few pips there, generally with little regard for placing logical stop-losses. Scalping is generally not recommended by experienced / pro traders because it is essentially just gambling.
Swing Trading / Position Trading: This style of trading involves taking a short to mid-term view on the market and traders who swing trade will be in a trade anywhere from a few hours to several days or weeks. Swing or position traders are generally looking to trade with the near-term daily chart momentum and typically enter anywhere from 2 to 10 trades per month, on average.
Range Trading: Range trading involves trading a market that is consolidating between obvious support and resistance levels. By watching for trading signals near the support and resistance boundaries of the trading range, traders have a high-probability entry scenario with obvious risk and reward placement.
Trend Trading: Trend traders are traders who wait for the market to trend and then take advantage of this high-probability movement by looking for entries within the trend. An uptrend is considered to be in place when a market is making higher highs and higher lows, and a downtrend is in place when a market is making lower highs and lower lows. By looking for entries within a trending market, traders have the best chance at making a large profit on their risk. Traders who continually try to trade against the trend by trying to pick the top and bottom of the market, generally lose money quite quickly. Professional Fx tradersare largely trend-traders.
Counter-trend Trading: Trends do indeed end, and if you are a savvy and skilled trader you can successful trade a counter-trend move, but this should not be tried until trend-trading has been mastered as counter-trend trading is inherently more risky than trend-trading and there can be many false tops or bottoms in a trend before the real one emerges.
Carry Trading: Carry trading, or simply ‘the carry trade’ as it is called, is the strategy of simply buying a high interest-rate currency against a low interest-rate currency and holding the position for what is usually a long period of time. Forex brokers will pay traders the interest rate difference, or ‘swap’, between the two currencies for each day the position is held. The trick here is that higher-yielding currencies are susceptible to large sell-offs if the market loses risk appetite since these currencies are generally considered riskier than safe-haven currencies like the U.S. dollar or Japanese yen, so it’s a good idea to trail your stop loss up to lock in profit as the carry trade moves in your favor.
• Professional Forex traders vs. amateur Forex traders
Professional Forex trading might seem like something of an elusive or difficult goal for those of you struggling to trade profitably or just beginning to trade. But, there are a few key differences between pro traders and amateur traders that you should be aware of to help you improve your trading or get started on the right track if you are a newbie:
• The important role of Banks in Forex trading
Banks play a very important role in FOREX trading. In fact, most of the market plays against larger banks, hedge funds and big-money players. Commercial banks (such as Deutsche Bank and Barclays) provide liquidity to the Forex market due to the trading volume they handle every day. Some of this trading represents foreign currency conversions on behalf of customers’ needs while some is carried out by the banks’ proprietary trading desk for speculative purpose. The bottom line is that we retail Forex traders are small-change compared to the bigger players like commercial banks, hedge funds, and other big players. We can profit from the moves these big players cause in the market by finding our own edge in the market and trading it with discipline.
What is Fundamental Analysis?
What is Fundamental Analysis?
• Fundamental Analysis
Fundamental analysis is the study of how global economic news and other news events affect financial markets. Fundamental analysis encompasses any news event, social force, economic announcement, Federal policy change, company earnings and news, and perhaps the most important piece of Fundamental data applicable to the Forex market, which is a country’s interest rates and interest rate policy.
The idea behind fundamental analysis is that if a country’s current or future economic picture is strong, their currency should strengthen. A strong economy attracts foreign investment and businesses, and this means foreigners must purchase a country’s currency to invest or start a business there. So, essentially, it all boils down to supply and demand; a country with a strong and growing economy will experience stronger demand for their currency, which will work to lessen supply and drive up the value of the currency.
For example, if the Australian economy is gaining strength, the Australian dollar will increase in value relative to other currencies. One main reason a country’s currency becomes more valuable as its economy grows and strengthens is because a country will typically raise interest rates to control growth and inflation. Higher interest rates are attractive to foreign investors and as a result they will need to buy Aussie dollars in order to invest in Australia, this of course will drive up the demand and price of the currency and lessen the supply of it.
• Major economic events in Forex
Now, let’s quickly go over some of the most important economic events that drive Forex price movement. This is just to familiarize you with some more of the jargon that you will likely come across on your Forex journey, you don’t need to worry too much about these economic events besides being aware of the times they are released each month, which can be found each day in my Forex trade setups commentary.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The GDP report is one of the most important of all economic indicators. It is the biggest measure of the overall state of the economy. The GDP number is released at 8:30 am EST on the last day of each quarter and it reflects the previous quarter’s activity. The GDP is the aggregate (total) monetary value of all the goods and services produced by the entire economy during the quarter being measured; this does not include international activity however. The growth rate of GDP is the important number to look for.
Trade balance is a measure of the difference between imports and exports of tangible goods and services. The level of a country’s trade balance and changes in exports vs. imports is widely followed and an important indicator of a country’s overall economic strength. It’s better to have more exports than imports, as exports help grow a country’s economy and reflect the overall health of its manufacturing sector.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
The CPI report is the most widely used measure of inflation. This report is released at 8:30 am EST around the 15th of each month and it reflects the previous month’s data. CPI measures the change in the cost of a bundle of consumer goods and services from month to month.
The Producer Price Index (PPI)
Along with the CPI, the PPI is one of the two most important measures of inflation. This report is released at 8:30 am EST during the second full week of each month and it reflects the previous month’s data. The producer price index measures the price of goods at the wholesale level. So to contrast with CPI, the PPI measures how much producers are receiving for the goods while CPI measures the cost paid by consumers for goods.
The most important employment announcement occurs on the first Friday of every month at 8:30 am EST. This announcement includes the unemployment rate; which is the percentage of the work force that is unemployed, the number of new jobs created, the average hours worked per week, and average hourly earnings. This report often results in significant market movement. You will often hear traders and analysts talking about “NFP”, this means Non-Farm Employment report, and it is perhaps the one report each month that has the greatest power to move the markets.
Durable Goods Orders
The durable goods orders report gives a measurement of how much people are spending on longer-term purchases, these are defined as products that are expected to last more than three years. The report is released at 8:30 am EST around the 26th of each month and is believed to provide some insight into the future of the manufacturing industry.
Retail Sales Index
The Retail Sales Index measures goods sold within the retail industry, from large chains to smaller local stores, it takes a sampling of a set of retail stores across the country. The Retail Sales Index is released at 8:30 am EST around the 12th of the month; it reflects data from the previous month. This report is often revised fairly significantly after the final numbers come out.
Housing data includes the number of new homes that a country began building that month as well as existing home sales. Residential construction activity is a major cause of economic stimulus for a country and so it’s widely followed by Forex participants. Existing home sales are a good measure of economic strength of a country as well; low existing home sales and low new home starts are typically a sign of a sluggish or weak economy.
Interest rates are the main driver in Forex markets; all of the above mentioned economic indicators are closely watched by the Federal Open Market Committee in order to gauge the overall health of the economy. The Fed can use the tools at its disposable to lower, raise, or leave interest rates unchanged, depending on the evidence it has gathered on the health of the economy. So while interest rates are the main driver of Forex price action, all of the above economic indicators are also very important.
• Technical Analysis VS. Fundamental Analysis
Technical analysis and Fundamental analysis are the two main schools of thought in trading and investing in financial markets. Technical analysts look at the price movement of a market and use this information to make predictions about its future price direction. Fundamental analysts look at economic news, also known as fundamentals. Now, since nearly any global news event can have an impact on world financial markets, technically any news event can be economic news. This is an important point that I want to make which many fundamental analysts seem to ignore…
One of the main reasons why I and all of my members prefer to trade primarily with technical analysis is because there are literally millions of different variables in the world that can affect financial markets at any one time. Now, Forex is more affected by macro events like a country’s interest rate policy or GDP numbers, but other major news events like wars or natural disasters can also cause the Forex market to move. Thus, since I and many others believe that all of these world events are factored into price and readily visible by analyzing it, there is simply no reason to try and follow all the economic news events that occur each day, in order to trade the markets.
One of the main arguments that I have read that fundamental analysts have against technical analysts is that past price data cannot predict or help predict future price movement, and instead you must use future or impending news (fundamentals) to predict the price movement of a market. So, I thought it would be a good idea to give my response to these two arguments against technical analysis:
1) If fundamental analysts want to try and tell me that past price data is not important, then I would like them to explain to me why horizontal levels of support and resistance are clearly significant. I would also like to ask them how myself and many other price action traders can successfully trade the markets by learning to trade off of a handful of simple yet powerfully predictive price action signals:
Looking at the daily spot Gold chart above, we can clearly see that support and resistance levels are important to watch. Any Fundamental analyst, who wants to say that charts don’t matter, is simply wrong, and you will come to this conclusion on your own when you spend more time studying some price charts.
2) The next argument that Fundamental analysts use is that you can more accurately predict a market’s price movement by analyze impending forex news events. Well, anyone who has traded for any length of time knows that markets often and usually react opposite to what an impending news event implies. Are there times when the market moves in the direction implied by a news event? Yes, absolutely, but is it something you can build a trading strategy and trading plan around? No.
The reason is that markets operate on expectations of the future. This is actually an accepted fact of trading and investing, so it’s a little strange to me that some people still ignore technical analysis or don’t primarily focus on it when analyzing and trading the markets. Let me explain: if Non-farm payrolls is coming out (the most important economic report each month, released in the U.S.) and the market is expecting 100,000 more jobs added last month, the market will likely already have moved in anticipation of this number. So, if the actual number is 100,000 even, the market will probably move lower, instead of higher…since there were not MORE added jobs than expected. So, while 100,000 new jobs might be a good number, the fact that the actual report did not exceed expectations is bad for traders and investors (can you see how this junk gets confusing now? I almost confused myself writing this…).
AND NOW FOR MY FINAL POINT: Since all of the preceding expectations of a news release have already been carried out and are visible on the price chart, why not just analyze and learn to trade off the price action on the price chart?? What a novel idea! You see, even after the news is released we can still use technical analysis to trade the price movement, so really technical analysis is the clearest, most practical, and most useful way to analyze and trade the markets. Am I saying there is no room for Fundamental analysis in a Forex trader’s tool box? Absolutely not. But, what I am saying is that it should be viewed and used as a compliment to technical analysis and it should be used sparingly, when in doubt consult the charts and read the price action, only use Fundamentals to support your Technical view or out of pure curiosity, never rely solely on Fundamentals to predict or trade the markets.