Archive for the ‘price action’ Category

Day Trading: It’s the Price Action

Countless numbers of day traders spend their time and money searching for that magic indicator that will unlock the secret of trading profits. To be sure, I have seen aspiring traders purchase trading program after trading program in search of the new indicator that will send their their trading profits soaring. Unfortunately, no such indicator exist and it is unlikely that a magical indicator will be developed that can revolutionize profits for the e-mini day trader.

On the other hand, thousands of e-mini day traders successfully trade every day without any wondrous and magical indicator. Of course, it would be much more convenient to have an indicator that unlocks the secrets of e-mini trading. To date though, we are far from developing any such trading tool. So that leaves us with the trading tools we have at hand, and there certainly is no shortage of indicators for the e-mini trader to utilize. The question remains, though, which indicators are the best ones to utilize?

While some indicators claim to be leading indicators, that is to say that they have a predictive quality in their results, the evidence suggests that this predictive quality is sketchy, at best. Most indicators are lagging indicators and indicate the status of current trends based upon recent history. As any good trader knows, recent history can be helpful, but the market contains a random element that can easily deviate from past history. We are left with indicators that give us, at best, an educated guess as to the path the market price action will take in the near term future. In short, short-term trading can be a rather inexact science, at best.

One important aspect of trading is often overlooked by traders who depend solely upon indicators and oscillators to time their trades. In my world, price action is the driving force in my trade selection. While I do employ oscillators and indicators, their purpose is primarily to confirm potential trades I spot by observing price action. I pay careful attention to support and resistance, volume, and price movement in choosing my trades. Obviously taking trades into known resistance or support it is risky business, at best. Unfortunately, strict oscillator and indicator traders do not have a handle on where or support and resistance may lie and often blindly take indicator or oscillator indicated trades into these danger zones.

Further, price movement and price analysis can give a trader a unique view in which the market functions. Specifically, I analyze each bar and note whether the bars make higher highs and higher lows. Conversely, I am also interested in the opposite price action, and that is whether the bars are making lower highs and lower lows. Each of these price formations can be indicative of potential market moves in their respective directions. From there, I can have a good look at my oscillators and indicators to determine the strength and velocity of these potential moves and decide whether or not the trade is a high probability or low probability trade.

Price action, along with support and resistance and volume, are often overlooked in trade selection. But learning to actually read price action will give any trader a much better understanding of what is actually happening in the market and provide the trader with insight into high probability trades and conversely, help him or her avoid low probability trades. Very few traders are excited about entering low probability trades and seek to avoid them at all costs. It is my contention that ignoring price action and relying strictly upon oscillators and indicators will often lead traders into low probability trades.

A second common mistake made by oscillator traders is the failure to recognize the trend in the market. Regardless of whether the oscillator or indicator being used indicates a nice trade, if it is against the trend you will often find yourself on the losing side of the trade. From a statistical standpoint, a trend is likely to resume (after a short retracement) 80% of the time. Obviously, trading with the trend is a habit all traders should cultivate. The only way to truly ascertain whether or not the market is trending is by observing the price action and subsequent retracements.

In summary, we have stressed the importance of observing price action and the benefits price action has to offer traders. Trends, retracements, and then market noise can all be identified very easily by observing price action. We have also noted that strict oscillator trading can often lead a trader into low probability trades, which should be avoided. Watch the price action and you’re trading will improve immeasurably.

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