Lessons from the Pros

Featured Article

Charting and the Trading Environment

Have you ever just jumped into a trade without understanding the trading environment, meaning whether the market was trending, range bound or close to a major turning point (higher time frame supply or demand) only to have the trade stop out? Of course you have…we’ve all experienced that disappointment in our journey of discovery through this world of market speculation.

To prevent this from happening too often, traders must develop a systematic approach that takes into account the environmental condition on every trade. The objective is to guide a trader into a better decision making process.

Trading Risk, Reward and Probability

Free Trading WorkshopThe three main factors one must focus on as a trader are risk, reward and probability. In my experience as a trading instructor, the one factor that most traders struggle with is gaining a clear understanding of what determines the probability on a trade. In other words, based on the current market conditions, what are the odds the trade will work? Figuring out the risk on a trade seems to be the easiest part of the equation, while profit projections (reward) are another tough one and a topic for another article.

Let’s review two specific trade examples that transpired in the last few days from my early morning spotlight sessions with mastermind students. In these two setups, charting the trading environment gave us different readings on the probability scale. This additional perspective allowed us to determine probability of the trade working out in our favor and to make better decisions in the examples that follow.

British Pound Trade Example

In the first scenario, we identified a buy area (demand zone) in the British Pound futures contract. The zone from a pattern perspective- looked good, but that’s only one piece of our trading process. The second piece is determining whether the Pound was near a larger time frame turning point or range-bound. As seen from the daily chart below, the trading environment at the time was a sideways pattern. This is a lower probability environment as the forces of supply and demand are more or less in equilibrium.

Candlestick chart showing the British Pound in a range bound pattern

I know some are thinking that the Pound has been trending lower; however, when the momentum slows (as is the case in this trade example) this could portend a change in trend. Traders never know the trend has changed until after the fact, however. Looking a bit closer at the buy zone in the chart below, it can be seen that indeed price did pause at that level for several hours before buyers gave way to the sellers and stopped out. Looking at the current trading environment on the daily time frame could have given a trader pause to take this trade.

120 minute candlestick chart of the British Pound

Australian Dollar Trade Example

In the second scenario, we spotted a structurally sound (good looking pattern) supply in the Australian Dollar Futures contract, similar to the prior example. The main difference from our  British Pound example was that the AD (Aussie Dollar futures) had been rallying into a major turning point, as seen on the daily chart below.

480 minute candlestick chart of the Australian Dollar

In other words, this type of trading environment gives a much higher chance that the trade could turn out as the trader expected. This is mainly due to the fact that buyers thin out (demand decreases) as price moves higher in any market. Granted, there are never any guarantees in trading, but by using OTA’s supply and demand strategy and looking at the trading environment on the chart, the risk was reduced and this particular trade worked out pretty well for those traders that executed properly.

240 minute candlestick chart of the Australian Dollar

In closing, markets are in a perpetual state of change and traders must always monitor and adapt to those changes. To this end, this tracking of the trading environment using charts should be an integral part of the process. I hope this helps in that regard.

Until next time, I hope everyone has a great trading week.


DISCLAIMER This newsletter is written for educational purposes only. By no means do any of its contents recommend, advocate or urge the buying, selling or holding of any financial instrument whatsoever. Trading and Investing involves high levels of risk. The author expresses personal opinions and will not assume any responsibility whatsoever for the actions of the reader. The author may or may not have positions in Financial Instruments discussed in this newsletter. Future results can be dramatically different from the opinions expressed herein. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Reprints allowed for private reading only, for all else, please obtain permission.

Join over 170,000 Lessons from the Pros readers. Get new articles delivered to your inbox weekly.