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FOREX TRADING

LEARN EASY STEP BY STEP WAY TO MAKE MONEY IN ONLINE FOREX TRADING

WHAT IS FOREX TRADING?

Forex or Foreign Exchange is the simultaneous buying of one currency and the selling of another. Currencies are traded in pairs.

The Forex Market, also referred to as the "Forex" or "FX " , has more buyers and sellers and daily volume ($2 trillion a day) than any other market in the world and takes place in major financial institutions across the globe. The forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week.

In the forex market, currencies are always priced in pairs and all trades result in the simultaneous buying of one currency and selling of another. The objective of currency trading is to buy the currency that increases in value relative to the one you sold. If you have bought a currency and the price appeciates in value, then you must sell the currency back in order to lock in the profit.

WHY TRADE FOREIGN CURRENCIES?

There are many benefits and advantages to trading Forex. Here are just a few reasons why so many people are choosing this market:

  • No commissions: No clearing fees, no exchange fees, no government fees, no brokerage fees. Brokers are compensated for their services through something called the bid-ask spread.
  • No middlemen. Spot currency trading eliminates the middlemen, and allows you to trade directly with the market responsible for the pricing on a particular currency pair.
  • No fixed lot size. In the futures markets, lot or contract sizes are determined by the exchanges. A standard-size contract for silver futures is 5000 ounces. In spot Forex, you determine your own lot size. This allows traders to participate with accounts as small as $250 (although we explain later why a $250 account is a bad idea).
  • Low transaction costs. The retail transaction cost (the bid/ask spread) is typically less than 0.1 percent under normal market conditions. At larger dealers, the spread could be as low as .07 percent. Of course this depends on your leverage and all will be explained later.
  • A 24-hour market. There is no waiting for the opening bell - from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon EST, the Forex market never sleeps. This is awesome for those who want to trade on a part-time basis, because you can choose when you want to trade--morning, noon or night.
  • No one can corner the market. The foreign exchange market is so huge and has so many participants that no single entity (not even a central bank) can control the market price for an extended period of time.
  • Leverage. In Forex trading, a small margin deposit can control a much larger total contract value. Leverage gives the trader the ability to make nice profits, and at the same time keep risk capital to a minimum. For example, Forex brokers offer 200 to 1 leverage, which means that a $50 dollar margin deposit would enable a trader to buy or sell $10,000 worth of currencies. Similarly, with $500 dollars, one could trade with $100,000 dollars and so on. But leverage is a double-edged sword. Without proper risk management, this high degree of leverage can lead to large losses as well as gains.
  • High Liquidity. Because the Forex Market is so enormous, it is also extremely liquid. This means that under normal market conditions, with a click of a mouse you can instantaneously buy and sell at will. You are never "stuck" in a trade. You can even set your online trading platform to automatically close your position at your desired profit level (a limit order), and/or close a trade if a trade is going against you (a stop loss order).
  • Free Demo Accounts, News, Charts, and Analysis. Most online Forex brokers offer 'demo' accounts to practice trading, along with breaking Forex news and charting services. All free! These are very valuable resources for “poor” and SMART traders who would like to hone their trading skills with 'play' money before opening a live trading account and risking real money.
  • “Mini” and “Micro” Trading: You would think that getting started as a currency trader would cost a ton of money. The fact is, compared to trading stocks, options or futures, it doesn't. Online Forex brokers offer "mini" and “micro” trading accounts, some with a minimum account deposit of $300 or less. Now we're not saying you should open an account with the bare minimum but it does makes Forex much more accessible to the average (poorer) individual who doesn't have a lot of start-up trading capital.

WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO START TRADING FOREX?

A computer with a high-speed Internet connection and all the information on this site is all that is needed to begin trading currencies.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO TRADE FOREX?

An online currency trading (a “micro account”) may be opened for with a couple hundred bucks. Micro accounts and its bigger cousin, the mini account, are both good ways to get your feet wet without drowning. For a micro account, we'd recommend at least $100 to start. For a mini account, we’d recommend at least $1000 to start. For a standar account we'd recommend at least $10000. Anyway, the recommended starting amount depends on your forex trading system.



QUOTING CONVENTIONS

Currencies are quoted in pairs. The first listed currency is known as the base currency and the second is called the counter or quote currency.

Currencies are quoted using five significant numbers, with the last place holder called a point or a pip.
For example a EUR/USD quote: 1.2760/1.1765

Like all financial products, forex quotes include a "bid" and "ask" or a "sell" and a "buy" price. By quoting both the bid and ask in real time, brokers ensure that traders always receive a fair price on all transactions. As in any traded instrument, there is an immediate cost in establishing a position. This cost will vary between the different brokers and is called "spread".

For example, USD/JPY may bid at 131.40 and ask at 131.45, this five-pip spread defines the trader's cost, which can be recovered with a favourable currency move in the market.

MARGIN AND LEVERAGE

The margin is a performance bond, or good faith deposit, to ensure against the total loss of your account. Trade stations have margin management capabilities. In the event that funds in the account fall below margin requeriments, the broker's dealing desk will close all open positions. This prevents clients accounts from falling into negative balance, even in a highly volatile, fast moving market.

The new NFA rule requires a minimum 1% margin at all time to maintain an open trade (note this may change from time to time so although we use 1% as the example at some stage in the future the margin may be different. However using similar caculations one can easily calculate the new margins). Some deal stations automatically calculate thi according to the formula and hence the margin requirements are continually varying.

Example:

EUR/USD
Rate: 1.2326/1.2331
Account type: 100.000/lot account
1% leverage: 100.000x0.07 (1%)=1000 units

When you are long (buy) EUR/USD, the margin required is:
1.2331 (EUR/USD) x 1000 (units of a base currency EUR) = USD1233 for each lot.

Some brokers require $1.300 per lot in margin for EUR based pairs. In general, a margin of $1.300 allows you to control a $100.000 spot currency position. This is an efficient use of trading capital as the leverage in futures and stock markets is much less.

FOREX MARKET AND LOCATIONS

The forex market is a seamless 24 hour market and is open 5 days a week. Forex market opens on Sunday 5 pm EST (10:00 pm GMT), closes on Friday 5 pm EST (10:00 pm GMT)

As a trader, this allows you to react to favourable/unfavourable news by trading immediately.

The trading of forex takes place all over the world and is not located in any one central location. Deals are done between a variety of traders, from banks to managed funds to individual traders.

SIZE OF FOREX MARKET

Forex trades approximately $4 trillion a day and is by far the most liquid market in the world. It takes the NY Stock Exchange 3 months to trade the same USD value as the forex trades each and every day making it the largest and most liquid market in the world. This market can absorb trading volume and transaction sizes that dwarf the capacity of any other market. If you compare this to the USD30 billion per day futures market, it becomes clear that the futures markets provide only limited liquidity. The forex market is always liquid, meaning positions can be liquidated and stop orders executed without slippage.



BASIC ORDER TYPES

There are some basic order types that all brokers provide and some others that sound weird. The basic ones are:

  • Market order: A market order is an order to buy or sell at the current market price. For example, EUR/USD is currently trading at 1.2140. If you wanted to buy at this exact price, you would click buy and your trading platform would instantly execute a buy order at that exact price.
  • Limit order: A limit order is an order placed to buy or sell at a certain price. The order essentially contains two variables, price and duration. For example, EUR/USD is currently trading at 1.2050. You want to go long if the price reaches 1.2070. You can either sit in front of your monitor and wait for it to hit 1.2070 where you would then click a buy market order. Or you can set a buy limit order at 1.2070, then walk away from your computer and attend your ballroom dancing class. If the price goes up to 1.2070, your trading platform will automatically execute a buy order at that exact price. You specify the price at which you wish to buy/sell a certain currency pair and also specify how long you want the order to remain active (GTC or GFD).
  • Stop-loss order: A stop-loss order is a limit order linked to an open trade for the purpose of preventing additional losses if price goes against you. A stop-loss order remains in effect until the position is liquidated or you cancel the stop-loss order. For example, you went long (buy) EUR/USD at 1.2230. To limit your maximum loss, you set a stop-loss order at 1.2200. This means if you were dead wrong and EUR/USD drops to 1.2200 instead of moving up, your trading platform would automatically execute a sell order at 1.2200 and close out your position for a 30 pip loss (eww!). Stop-losses are extremely useful if you don't want to sit in front of your monitor all day worried that you will lose all your money. You can simply set a stop-loss order on any open positions so you won't miss your basket weaving class.

OTHER ORDER TYPES

  • GTC (Good ‘til canceled): A GTC order remains active in the market until you decide to cancel it. Your broker will not cancel the order at any time, therefore it's your responsibility to remember that you have the order scheduled.
  • GFD (Good for the day): A GFD order remains active in the market until the end of the trading day. Because foreign exchange is a 24-hour market, this usually means 5pm EST since that that's U.S. markets close, but I’d recommend you double check with your broker.
  • OCO (Order cancels other): An OCO order is a mixture of two limit and/or stop-loss orders. Two orders with price and duration variables are placed above and below the current price. When one of the orders are executed the other order is canceled. Example: The price of EUR/USD is 1.2040. You want to either buy at 1.2095 over the resistance level in anticipation of a breakout or initiate a selling position if the price falls below 1.1985. The understanding is that if 1.2095 is reached, you will buy order will be triggered and the 1.1985 sell order will be automatically canceled.

Always check with your broker for specific order information and to see if any rollover fees will be applied if a position is held longer than one day. Keeping your ordering rules simple is the best strategy.

The basic order types (market, stop loss, and limit) are usually all that most traders ever need. Unless you are a veteran trader (yeah right), don’t get fancy and design a system of trading requiring a large number of orders sandwiched in the market at all times – stick with the basic stuff first.


Ask: Price at which broker/dealer is willing to sell. Same as "Offer".

Bid: Price at which broker/dealer is willing to buy.

Bid/Ask Spread (or "Spread"): The distance, usually in pips, between the Bid and Ask price. A tighter spread is better for the trader.

Cost of Carry (also "Interest" or "Premium"): The cost, often quoted in terms of dollars or pips per day, of holding an open position.

Currency Futures: Futures contracts traded on an exchange, most typically the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ("CME"). Always quoted in terms of the currency value with respect to the US Dollar. Parameters of the futures contract are standardized by the exchange.

Drawdown: The magnitude of a decline in account value, either in percentage or dollar terms, as measured from peak to subsequent trough. For example, if a trader's account increased in value from $10,000 to $20,000, then dropped to $15,000, then increased again to $25,000, that trader would have had a maximum drawdown of $5,000 (incurred when the account declined from $20,000 to $15,000) even though that trader's account was never in a loss position from inception.

Fundamental Analysis: Macro or strategic assessments of where a currency should be trading based on any criteria but the price action itself. These criteria often include the economic condition of the country that the currency represents, monetary policy, and other "fundamental" elements.

Leverage: The amount, expressed as a multiple, by which the notional amount traded exceeds the margin required to trade. For example, if the notional amount traded (also referred to as "lot size" or "contract value") is $100,000 dollars and the required margin is $2,000, the trader can trade with 50 times leverage ($100,000/$2,000).

Limit: An order to buy at a specified price when the market moves down to that price, or to sell at a specified price when the market moves up to that price.

Liquidity: A function of volume and activity in a market. It is the efficiency and cost effectiveness with which positions can be traded and orders executed. A more liquid market will provide more frequent price quotes at a smaller bid/ask spread.

Margin: The amount of funds required in a clients account in order to open a position or to maintain an open position. For example, 1% margin means that $1,000 of funds on deposit are required for a $100,000 position.

Margin Call: A requirement by the broker to deposit more funds in order to maintain an open position. Sometimes a "margin call" means that the position which does not have sufficient funds on deposit will simply be closed out by the broker. This procedure allows the client to avoid further losses or a debit account balance.

Market Order: An order to buy at the current Ask price.

Offer: Price at which broker/dealer is willing to sell. Same as "Ask".

Pip: The smallest price increment in a currency. Often referred to as "ticks" in the futures markets. For example, in EURUSD, a move from .9015 to .9016 is one pip. In USDJPY, a move from 128.51 to 128.52 is one pip.

Premium (also "Interest" or "Cost of Carry"): The cost, often quoted in terms of dollars or pips per day, of holding an open position.

Spot Foreign Exchange: Often referred to as the "interbank" market. Refers to currencies traded between two counterparties, often major banks. Spot Foreign Exchange is generally traded on margin and is the primary market that this website is focused on. Generally more liquid and widely traded than currency futures, particularly by institutions and professional money managers.

Stop: An order to buy at the market only when the market moves up to a specific price, or to sell at the market only when the market moves down to a specific price.

Technical Analysis: Analysis applied to the price action of the market to develop trading decisions, irrespective of fundamental factors.





Types of Forex Charts


Let’s take a look at the three most popular types of charts:
Line chart
Bar chart
Candlestick chart


Line Charts


A simple line chart draws a line from one closing price to the next closing price. When strung together with a line, we can see the general price movement of a currency pair over a period of time. 


Here is an example of a line chart for EUR/USD: 






Bar Charts 


A bar chart also shows closing prices, while simultaneously showing opening prices, as well as the highs and lows. The bottom of the vertical bar indicates the lowest traded price for that time period, while the top of the bar indicates the highest price paid. So, the vertical bar indicates the currency pair’s trading range as a whole. The horizontal hash on the left side of the bar is the opening price, and the right-side horizontal hash is the closing price. 


Here is an example of a bar chart for EUR/USD:






NOTE: Throughout our lessons, you will see the word “bar” in reference to a single piece of data on a chart. A bar is simply one segment of time, whether it is one day, one week, or one hour. When you see the word ‘bar’ going forward, be sure to understand what time frame it is referencing. 


Bar charts are also called “OHLC” charts, because they indicate the Open, the High, the Low, and the Close for that particular currency. Here’s an example of a price bar: 






Open: The little horizontal line on the left is the opening price
High: The top of the vertical line defines the highest price of the time period
Low: The bottom of the vertical line defines the lowest price of the time period
Close: The little horizontal line on the right is the closing price 










Candlestick Charts 


Candlestick charts show the same information as a bar chart, but in a prettier, graphic format. 


Candlestick bars still indicate the high-to-low range with a vertical line.  However, in candlestick charting, the larger block in the middle indicates the range between the opening and closing prices. Traditionally, if the block in the middle is filled or colored in, then the currency closed lower than it opened. 


In the following example, the ‘filled color’ is black. For our ‘filled’ blocks, the top of the block is the opening price, and the bottom of the block is the closing price. If the closing price is higher than the opening price, then the block in the middle will be “white” or hollow or unfilled.  






We don’t like to use the traditional black and white candlesticks. We feel it’s easier to look at a chart that’s colored. A color television is much better than a black and white television, so why not in candlestick charts?  


We simply substituted green instead of white, and red instead of black. This means that if the price closed higher than it opened, the candlestick would be green. If the price closed lower than it opened, the candlestick would be red. In our later lessons, you will see how using green and red candles will allow you to “see” things on the charts much faster, such as uptrend/downtrends and possible reversal points. 


For now, just remember that we use red and green candlesticks instead of black and white and we will be using these colors from now on. 


Check out these candlesticks…BabyPips.com style! Awww yeeaaah! You know you like that!










Here is an example of a candlestick chart for EUR/USD. Isn’t it pretty? 










The purpose of candlestick charting is strictly to serve as a visual aid, since the exact same information appears on an OHLC bar chart. The advantages of candlestick charting are: 
Candlesticks are easy to interpret, and are a good place for a beginner to start figuring out chart analysis. 
Candlesticks are easy to use. Your eyes adapt almost immediately to the information in the bar notation. 
Candlesticks and candlestick patterns have cool names such as the shooting star, which helps you to remember what the pattern means. 
Candlesticks are good at identifying marketing turning points – reversals from an uptrend to a downtrend or a downtrend to an uptrend. You will learn more about this later.  










Summary of Analysis & Charts 


Types of Trading:


·         There are 2 types of analysis: Fundamental and Technical


·         Fundamental analysis is the analysis of a market through the strength of its economy.  (i.e. the dollar gets stronger because the US economy is getting stronger)


·         Technical analysis is the analysis of price movements.  Technical analysis = charts.


·         Technical analysis also helps us identify trends which can help us find profitable trading opportunities.


·         To become a successful trader, you must always incorporate both types of analysis.






Types of Charts:
There are three types of charts: 
Line charts
Bar charts
Candlestick charts
We will be using candlesticks from now on 




Basic Candlestick Patterns


Spinning Tops


Candlesticks with a long upper shadow, long lower shadow and small real bodies are called spinning tops. The color of the real body is not very important. 


The pattern indicates the indecision between the buyers and sellers 






The small real body (whether hollow or filled) shows little movement from open to close, and the shadows indicate that both buyers and sellers were fighting but nobody could gain the upper hand. 


Even though the session opened and closed with little change, prices moved significantly higher and lower in the meantime. Neither buyers nor sellers could gain the upper hand, and the result was a standoff.  


If a spinning top forms during an uptrend, this usually means there aren’t many buyers left and a possible reversal in direction could occur.  


If a spinning top forms during a downtrend, this usually means there aren’t many sellers left and a possible reversal in direction could occur.  


Marubozu


Sounds like some kind of voodoo magic huh? "I will cast the evil spell of the Marubozu on you!" Fortunately, that's not what it means. Marubozu means there are no shadows from the bodies. Depending on whether the candlestick’s body is filled or hollow, the high and low are the same as it’s open or close. If you look at the picture below, there are two types of Marubozus. 






A White Marubozu contains a long white body with no shadows. The open price equals the low price and the close price equals the high price. This is a very bullish candle as it shows that buyers were in control the whole entire session. It usually becomes the first part of a bullish continuation or a bullish reversal pattern.


A Black Marubozu contains a long black body with no shadows. The open equals the high and the close equals the low. This is a very bearish candle as it shows that sellers controlled the price action the whole entire session. It usually implies bearish continuation or bearish reversal.






Doji


Doji candlesticks have the same open and close price or at least their bodies are extremely short. The doji should have a very small body that appears as a thin line. 


Doji suggest indecision or a struggle for turf positioning between buyers and sellers. Prices move above and below the open price during the session, but close at or very near the open price. 


Neither buyers nor sellers were able to gain control and the result was essentially a draw. 


There are four special types of Doji lines. The length of the upper and lower shadows can vary and the resulting candlestick looks like a cross, inverted cross or plus sign. The word "Doji" refers to both the singular and plural form.






When a doji forms on your chart, pay special attention to the preceding candlesticks. 


If a doji forms after a series of candlesticks with long hollow bodies (like white marubozus), the doji signals that the buyers are becoming exhausted and weakening. In order for price to continue rising, more buyers are needed but there aren’t anymore! Sellers are licking their chops and are looking to come in and drive the price back down.  






Keep in mind that even after a doji forms, this doesn’t mean to automatically short. Confirmation is still needed. Wait for a bearish candlestick to close below the long white candlestick’s open. 


If a doji forms after a series of candlesticks with long filled bodies (like black marubozus), the doji signals that sellers are becoming exhausted and weakening. In order for price to continue falling, more sellers are needed but sellers are all tapped out! Buyers are foaming in the mouth for a chance to get in cheap. 






While the decline is sputtering due to lack of new sellers, further buying strength is required to confirm any reversal. Look for a white candlestick to close above the long black candlestick’s open.




Reversal Patterns


Prior Trend


For a pattern to qualify as a reversal pattern, there should be a prior trend to reverse. Bullish reversals require a preceding downtrend and bearish reversals require a prior uptrend. The direction of the trend can be determined using trend lines, moving averages, or other aspects of technical analysis.


Hammer and Hanging Man 


The hammer and hanging man look exactly alike but have totally different meaning depending on past price action. Both have cute little bodies (black or white), long lower shadows and short or absent upper shadows. 


The hammer is a bullish reversal pattern that forms during a downtrend. It is named because the market is hammering out a bottom. 


When price is falling, hammers signal that the bottom is near and price will start rising again. The long lower shadow indicates that sellers pushed prices lower, but buyers were able to overcome this selling pressure and closed near the open. 


Word to the wise… just because you see a hammer form in a downtrend doesn’t mean you automatically place a buy order!  More bullish confirmation is needed before it’s safe to pull the trigger. A good confirmation example would be to wait for a white candlestick to close above the open of the candlestick on the left side of the hammer. 


Recognition Criteria:
The long shadow is about two or three times of the real body.
Little or no upper shadow.
The real body is at the upper end of the trading range.
The color of the real body is not important.


The hanging man is a bearish reversal pattern that can also mark a top or strong resistance level. When price is rising, the formation of a hanging man indicates that sellers are beginning to outnumber buyers. The long lower shadow shows that sellers pushed prices lower during the session. Buyers were able to push the price back up some but only near the open. This should set off alarms since this tells us that there are no buyers left to provide the necessary momentum to keep raising the price. .


Recognition Criteria:
A long lower shadow which is about two or three times of the real body.
Little or no upper shadow.
The real body is at the upper end of the trading range.
The color of the body is not important, though a black body is more bearish than a white body.




Inverted Hammer and Shooting Star


The inverted hammer and shooting star also look identical. The only difference between them is whether you’re in a downtrend or uptrend. Both candlesticks have petite little bodies (filled or hollow), long upper shadows and small or absent lower shadows. 




The inverted hammer occurs when price has been falling suggests the possibility of a reversal. Its long upper shadow shows that buyers tried to bid the price higher. However, sellers saw what the buyers were doing, said “oh hell no” and attempted to push the price back down. Fortunately, the buyers had eaten enough of their Wheaties for breakfast and still managed to close the session near the open. Since the sellers weren’t able to close the price any lower, this is a good indication that everybody who wants to sell has already sold. And if there’s no more sellers, who is left? Buyers. 


The shooting star is a bearish reversal pattern that looks identical to the inverted hammer but occurs when price has been rising. Its shape indicates that the price opened at its low, rallied, but pulled back to the bottom. This means that buyers attempted to push the price up, but sellers came in and overpowered them. A definite bearish sign since there are no more buyers left because they’ve all been murdered.




Summary of Candlesticks


Candlesticks are formed using the open, high, low and close.  
If the close is above the open, then a hollow candlestick (usually displayed as white) is drawn. 
If the close is below the open, then a filled candlestick (usually displayed as black) is drawn. 
The hollow or filled section of the candlestick is called the “real body” or body. 
The thin lines poking above and below the body display the high/low range and are called shadows.
The top of the upper shadow is the “high”.
The bottom of the lower shadow is the “low”.


Long bodies indicate strong buying or selling. The longer the body is, the more intense the buying or selling pressure. 


Short bodies imply very little buying or selling activity. In street forex lingo, bulls mean buyers and bears mean sellers.


Upper shadows signify the session high. 


Lower shadows signify the session low.


Candlesticks with a long upper shadow, long lower shadow and small real bodies are called spinning tops. The pattern indicates the indecision between the buyers and sellers 










Marubozu means there are no shadows from the bodies. Depending on whether the candlestick’s body is filled or hollow, the high and low are the same as it’s open or close.


Doji candlesticks have the same open and close price or at least their bodies are extremely short. 


The hammer is a bullish reversal pattern that forms during a downtrend. It is named because the market is hammering out a bottom.


The hanging man is a bearish reversal pattern that can also mark a top or strong resistance level. 


The inverted hammer occurs when price has been falling suggests the possibility of a reversal. 


The shooting star is a bearish reversal pattern that looks identical to the inverted hammer but occurs when price has been rising. 




Trend Lines


Trend lines are probably the most common form of technical analysis used today. They are probably one of the most underutilized as well.


If drawn correctly, they can be as accurate as any other method. Unfortunately, most traders don't draw them correctly or they try to make the line fit the market instead of the other way around.


In their most basic form, an uptrend line is drawn along the bottom of easily identifiable support areas (valleys). In a downtrend, the trend line is drawn along the top of easily identifiable resistance areas (peaks).










Channels


If we take this trend line theory one step further and draw a parallel line at the same angle of the uptrend or downtrend, we will have created a channel. 


To create an up (ascending) channel, simply draw a parallel line at the same angle as an uptrend line and then move that line to position where it touches the most recent peak. This should be done at the same time you create the trend line.


To create a down (descending) channel, simple draw a parallel line at the same angle as the downtrend line and then move that line to a position where it touches the most recent valley. This should be done at the same time you created the trend line. 


When prices hit the bottom trend line this may be used as a buying area. When prices hit the upper trend line this may be used as a selling area. 






Summary of Support and Resistance


When the market moves up and then pulls back, the highest point reached before it pulled back is now resistance.


As the market continues up again, the lowest point reached before it started back is now support. 


In their most basic form, an uptrend line is drawn along the bottom of easily identifiable support areas (valleys). In a downtrend, the trend line is drawn along the top of easily identifiable resistance areas (peaks).


To create an up (ascending) channel, simply draw a parallel line at the same angle as an uptrend line and then move that line to position where it touches the most recent peak.


To create a down (descending) channel, simple draw a parallel line at the same angle as the downtrend line and then move that line to a position where it touches the most recent valley.




Fibonacci Retracement


In an uptrend, the general idea is to go long the market on a retracement to a Fibonacci support level. In order to find the retracement levels, you would click on a significant Swing Low and drag the cursor to the most recent Swing High. This will display each of the Retracement Levels showing both the ratio and corresponding price level. Let’s take a look at some examples of markets in an uptrend. 


Watch how to draw Fibonacci retracement levels on a chart 


This is an hourly chart of USD/JPY. Here we plotted the Fibonacci Retracement Levels by clicking on the Swing Low at 110.78 on 07/12/05 and dragging the cursor to the Swing High at 112.27 on 07/13/05. You can see the levels plotted by the software. The Retracement Levels were 111.92 (0.236), 111.70 (0.382), 111.52 (0.500), and 111.35 (0.618). Now the expectation is that if USD/JPY retraces from this high, it will find support at one of the Fibonacci Levels because traders will be placing buy orders at these levels as the market pulls back. 


Now let’s look at what actually happened after the Swing High occurred. The market pulled back right through the 0.236 level and continued the next day piercing the 0.382 level but never actually closing below it.  Later on that day, the market resumed its upward move. Clearly buying at the 0.382 level would have been a good short term trade. 






Now let’s see how we would use Fibonacci Retracement Levels during a downtrend. This is an hourly chart for EUR/USD. As you can see, we found our Swing High at 1.3278 on 02/28/05 and our Swing Low at 1.3169 a couple hours later. The Retracement Levels were 1.3236 (0.618), 1.3224 (0.500), 1.3211 (0.382), and 1.3195 (.236). The expectation for a downtrend is if it retraces from this low, it will encounter resistance at one of the Fibonacci Levels because traders will be placing sell orders at these levels as the market attempts to rally.






Let’s check out what happened next. Now isn’t that a thing of beauty! The market did try to rally but it barely past the 0.500 level spiking to a high 1.3227 and it actually closed below it. After that bar, you can see that the rally reversed and the downward move continued. You would have made some nice dough selling at the 0.382 level. 






Here’s another example. This is an hourly chart for GBP/USD. We had a Swing High of 1.7438 on 07/26/05 and a Swing Low of 1.7336 the next day. So our Retracement Levels are: 1.7399 (0.618), 1.7387 (0.500), 1.7375 (0.382), and 1.7360 (0.236). Looking at the chart, the market looks like it tried to break the 0.500 level on several occasions, but try as it may, it failed. So would putting a sell order at the 0.500 level be a good trade?






If you did, you would have lost some serious cheddar! Take a look at what happened. The Swing Low looked to be the bottom for this downtrend as the market rallied above the Swing High point.






You can see from these examples the market usually finds at least temporary support (during an uptrend) or resistance (during a downtrend) at the Fibonacci Retracements Levels. It’s apparent that there a few problems to deal with here. There’s no way of knowing which level will provide support. The 0.236 seems to provide the weakest support/resistance, while the other levels provide support/resistance at about the same frequency. Even though the charts above show the market usually only retracing to the 0.382 level, it doesn’t mean the price will hit that level every time and reverse. Sometimes it’ll hit the 0.500 and reverse, other times it’ll hit the 0.618 and reverse, and other times the price will totally ignore Mr. Fibonacci and blow past all the levels like similar to the way Allen Iverson blows past his defenders with his nasty first step. Remember, the market will not always resume its uptrend after finding temporary support, but instead continue to decline below the last Swing Low. Same thing for a downtrend. The market may instead decide to continue above the last Swing High. 


The placement of stops is a challenge. It’s probably best to place stops below the last Swing Low (on an uptrend) or above the Swing High (on a downtrend), but this requires taking a high level of risk in proportion to the likely profit potential in the trade. This is called reward-to-risk ratio. In a later lesson, you will learn more money management and risk control and how you would only take trades with certain reward-to-risk ratios.


Another problem is determining which Swing Low and Swing High points to start from to create the Fibonacci Retracement Levels. People look at charts differently and so will have their own version of where the Swing High and Swing Low points should be. The point is, there is no one right way to do it, but the bad thing is sometimes it becomes a guessing game.


Fibonacci Extension


The next use of Fibonacci you will be applying is that of targets. Let’s start with an example in an uptrend. 


In an uptrend, the general idea is to take profits on a long trade at a Fibonacci Price Extension Level. You determine the Fibonacci extension levels by using three mouse clicks. First, click on a significant Swing Low, then drag your cursor and click on the most recent Swing High. Finally, drag your cursor back down and click on the retracement Swing Low. This will display each of the Price Extension Levels showing both the ratio and corresponding price levels.






On this 1-hour USD/CHF chart, we plotted the Fibonacci extension levels by clicking on the Swing Low at 1.2447 on 08/14/05 and dragged the cursor to the Swing High at 1.2593 on 08/15/05 and then down to the retracement Swing Low of 1.2541 on 08/15/05. The following Fibonacci extension levels created are 1.2597 (0.382), 1.2631 (0.618), 1.2687 (1.000), 1.2743 (1.382), 1.2760 (1.500), and 1.2777 (1.618). 




Now let’s look at what actually happened after the retracement Swing Low occurred. 
The market rallied to the 0.500 level
fell back to the retracement Swing Low
then rallied back up to the 0.500 level
fell back slightly
rallied to the 0.618 level
fell back to the 0.382 level which acted as support
then rallied all the way to the 1.382 level
consolidated a bit
then rallied to the 1.500 level




You can see from these examples that the market often finds at least temporary resistance at the Fibonacci extension levels - not always, but often. As in the examples of the retracement levels, it should be apparent that there are a few problems to deal with here as well. First, there is no way of knowing which level will provide resistance. The 0.500 level was a good level to cover any long trades in the above example since the market retraced back to its original level, but if you didn’t get back in the trade, you would have left a lot of profits on the table. 


Another problem is determining which Swing Low to start from in creating the Fibonacci Extension Levels. One way is from the last Swing Low as we did in the examples; another is from the lowest Swing Low of the past 30 bars. Again, the point is that there is no one right way to do it, and consequently it becomes a guessing game.


Alright, let’s see how Fibonacci extension levels can be used during a downtrend. In a downtrend, the general idea is to take profits on a short trade at a Fibonacci price extension level since the market often finds at least temporary support at these levels. 


On this 1-hour EUR/USD chart, we plotted the Fibonacci extension levels by clicking on the Swing High at 1.21377 on 07/15/05 and dragged the cursor to the Swing Low at 1.2021 on 08/15/15 and then down to the retracement High of 1.2085. The following Fibonacci extension levels created are 1.2041 (0.382), 1.2027 (0.500), 1.2013 (0.618), 1.1969 (1.000), 1.1925 (1.382), 1.1911 (1.500), and 1.1897 (1.618). 






Now let’s look at what actually happened after the retracement Swing Low occurred. 
The market fell down almost to the 0.382 level which for right now is acting as a support level
The market then traded sideways between the retracement Swing High level and 0.382 level
Finally, the market broke through the 0.382 and rested on the 0.500 level
Then it broke the 0.500 level and fell all the way down to the 1.000 level




Alone, Fibonacci levels will not make you rich. However, Fibonacci levels are definitely useful as part of an effective trading method that includes other analysis and techniques. You see, the key to an effective trading system is to integrate a few indicators (not too many) that are applied in a way that is not obvious to most observers. 


All successful traders know it’s how you use and integrate the indicators (including Fibonacci) that makes the difference. The lesson learned here is that Fibonacci Levels can be a useful tool, but never enter or exit a trade based on Fibonacci Levels alone.
Price Smoothies


A moving average is simply a way to smooth out price action over time.  By “moving average”, we mean that you are taking the average closing price of a currency for the last ‘X’ number of periods. 




Like every indicator, a moving average indicator is used to help us forecast future prices.  By looking at the slope of the moving average, you can make general predictions as to where the price will go.   


As we said, moving averages smooth out price action. There are different types of moving averages, and each of them has their own level of “smoothness”.  Generally, the smoother the moving average, the slower it is to react to the price movement.  The choppier the moving average, the quicker it is to react to the price movement.






We’ll explain the pros and cons of each type a little later, but for now let’s look at the different types of moving averages and how they are calculated. 




Simple Moving Average


Simple Moving Average (SMA)


A simple moving average is the simplest type of moving average (DUH!).  Basically, a simple moving average is calculated by adding up the last “X” period’s closing prices and then dividing that number by X.  Confused???  Allow me to clarify. 


 If you plotted a 5 period simple moving average on a 1 hour chart, you would add up the closing prices for the last 5 hours, and then divide that number by 5.  Voila!  You have your simple moving average.


If you were to plot a 5 period simple moving average on a 10 minute chart, you would add up the closing prices of the last 50 minutes and then divide that number by 5.  


If you were to plot a 5 period simple moving average on a 30 minute chart, you would add up the closing prices of the last 150 minutes and then divide that number by 5. 


If you were to plot the 5 period simple moving average on the a 4 hr. chart………………..OK OK, I think you get the picture!  Let’s move on.


Most charting packages will do all the calculations for you.  The reason we just bored you (yawn!) with how to calculate a simple moving average is because it is important that you understand how the moving averages are calculated. If you understand how each moving average is calculated, you can make your own decision as to which type is better for you.  


Just like any indicator out there, moving averages operate with a delay.  Because you are taking the averages of the price, you are really only seeing a “forecast” of the future price and not a concrete view of the future. Disclaimer: Moving averages will not turn you into Ms. Cleo the psychic! 




Here is an example of how moving averages smooth out the price action.  


On the previous chart, you can see 3 different SMAs. As you can see, the longer the SMA period is, the more it lags behind the price. Notice how the 62 SMA is farther away from the current price than the 30 and 5 SMA.  This is because with the 62 SMA, you are adding up the closing prices of the last 62 periods and dividing it by 62. The higher the number period you use, the slower it is to react to the price movement.


The SMA’s in this chart show you the overall sentiment of the market at this point in time.  Instead of just looking at the current price of the market, the moving averages give us a broader view, and we can now make a general prediction of its future price.




Exponential Moving Average


Exponential Moving Average (EMA)


Although the simple moving average is a great tool, there is one major flaw associated with it.  Simple moving averages are very susceptible to spikes.  Let me show you an example of what I mean:


Let’s say we plot a 5 period SMA on the daily chart of the EUR/USD and the closing prices for the last 5 days are as follows:


Day 1: 1.2345
Day 2: 1.2350
Day 3: 1.2360
Day 4: 1.2365
Day 5: 1.2370


The simple moving average would be calculated as
(1.2345+1.2350+1.2360+1.2365+1.2370)/5= 1.2358


Simple enough right?


Well what if Day 2’s price was 1.2300?  The result of the simple moving average would be a lot lower and it would give you the notion that the price was actually going down, when in reality, Day 2 could have just been a one time event (maybe interest rates decreasing).




The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes the simple moving average might be too simple.  If only there was a way that you could filter out these spikes so that you wouldn’t get the wrong idea.  Hmmmm…I wonder….Wait a minute……Yep, there is a way!   


 It’s called the Exponential Moving Average!


Exponential moving averages (EMA) give more weight to the most recent periods.  In our example above, the EMA would put more weight on Days 3-5, which means that the spike on Day 2 would be of lesser value and wouldn’t affect the moving average as much.  What this does is it puts more emphasis on what traders are doing NOW.  






When trading, it is far more important to see what traders are doing now rather than what they did last week or last month.


SMA vs. EMA


Which is better:  Simple or Exponential?


First, let’s start with an exponential moving average. When you want a moving average that will respond to the price action rather quickly, then a short period EMA is the best way to go.  These can help you catch trends very early, which will result in higher profit. In fact, the earlier you catch a trend, the longer you can ride it and rake in those profits!  


The downside to the choppy moving average is that you might get faked out.  Because the moving average responds so quickly to the price, you might think a trend is forming when in actuality; it could just be a price spike. 


With a simple moving average, the opposite is true. When you want a moving average that is smoother and slower to respond to price action, then a longer period SMA is the best way to go.   


Although it is slow to respond to the price action, it will save you from many fake outs.  The downside is that it might delay you too long, and you might miss out on a good trade.




So which one is better? It’s really up to you to decide.  Many traders plot several different moving averages to give them both sides of the story. They might use a longer period simple moving average to find out what the overall trend is, and then use a shorter period exponential moving average to find a good time to enter a trade. 


In fact, many trading systems are built around what is called “Moving Average Crossovers”.  Later in this course, we will give you an example of how you can use moving averages as part of your trading system. 






Time for recess! Go find a chart and start playing with some moving averages. Try out different types and look at different periods. In time, you will find out which moving averages work best for you. Class dismissed! 






Summary
A moving average is a way to smooth out price action. 
There are many types of moving averages. The 2 most common types are: Simple Moving Average and Exponential Moving Average.
Simple moving averages are the simplest form of moving averages, but they are susceptible to spikes. 
Exponential moving averages put more weight to recent prices and therefore show us what traders are doing now. 
It is much more important to know what traders are doing now than to see what they did last week or last month. 
Simple moving averages are smoother than Exponential moving averages. 
Longer period moving averages are smoother than shorter period moving averages. 
Choppy moving averages are quicker to respond to price action and can catch trends early.  However, because of their quick reaction, they are susceptible to spikes and can fake you out. 
Smooth moving averages are slower to respond to price action but will save you from spikes and fake outs. However, because of their slow reaction, they can delay you from taking a trade and may cause you to miss some good opportunities. 
The best way to use moving averages is to plot different types on a chart so that you can see both long term movement and short term movement.  


MACD is an acronym for Moving Average Convergence Divergence.   This tool is used to identify moving averages that are indicating a new trend, whether it’s bullish or bearish.  After all, our #1 priority in trading is being able to find a trend, because that is where the most money is made.  






With an MACD chart, you will usually see three numbers that are used for its settings. 
The first is the number of periods that is used to calculate the faster moving average.
The second is the number of periods that are used in the slower moving average.
And the third is the number of bars that is used to calculate the moving average of the difference between the faster and slower moving averages. 


For example, if you were to see “12,26,9” as the MACD parameters (which is usually the default setting for most charting packages), this is how you would interpret it: 
The 12 represents the previous 12 bars of the faster moving average.
The 26 represents the previous 26 bars of the slower moving average.
The 9 represents the previous 9 bars of the difference between the two moving averages.  This is plotted by vertical lines called a histogram (The blue lines in the chart above).  


There is a common misconception when it comes to the lines of the MACD.  The two lines that are drawn are NOT moving 

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