Only trade when price reaches the extremes of the range

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Range Trading Explained

About the Author: Andreas Thalassinos (BSc, MSc, MSTA, CFTe, MFTA), Head of Education at FXTM. Highly respected FX educator and Certified Technical Analyst and an authority in algorithmic trading.

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Traders who are just beginning to get a handle on how the markets move, focus on the range pattern; one of the most popular price patterns in technical analysis. In a range, the price bounces from a lower horizontal line (support) and rebounds back down from an upper horizontal line (resistance). This creates a sideways or “trend-less” price movement, which is very appealing even for advanced traders, because when a trader looks at the range in hindsight or on paper, it looks like a very easy way to make money.

As long as this sideways price movement stays consistent, traders might potentially increase their profits by going long around the support area and short around the resistance area.

An experienced trader knows it’s not enough to trade only when prices reach support and resistance lines, most of the time additional confirmation is needed. In this situation, reversal candlestick patterns can be very effective to help confirm movements, and it’s something advanced traders will pay close attention to.

Here are some examples.

The Hammer

As a very popular bullish reversal candlestick, the hammer consists of a small body in two colours (black or white), and a lower shadow that’s 2-3 times bigger than the body. The upper shadow is tiny or non-existent.

A hammer near the support line will signal a buy alert – a buy signal is triggered once the price exceeds the high of the candlestick. A protective stop-loss can be placed under the support line and similarly, a take profit order can be placed at the resistance level.

The Shooting Star

The shooting star is, in fact, an inverted hammer found near the top of the range by the resistance line. It’s a small body (black or white) with an upper shadow that’s 2-3 times the length of the body and has a lower shadow that’s tiny, or non-existent.

Much like the hammer signals a buy alert, the shooting star signals a sell alert if it’s detected near the resistance.

As soon as prices fall below the low of the candlestick, a sell signal is triggered. If the market moves in the opposite direction, a protective stop-loss can be placed above the resistance to protect capital.

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The Bullish Harami

This pattern is made up of a long body of any colour, immediately followed by a small body of any colour. This second body needs to be small enough to be enclosed within the range of the longer, previous, body.

This Harami pattern is bullish if it’s found near the lower part of the range, and if the price exceeds the high of the longer body, a buy signal is triggered. It would be wise to place a stop- loss below the support line, and take profit in the upper side of the range in order to protect your profits.

The Bearish Harami

If this same pattern is found near the resistance line, then it’s called a bearish Harami and signals a sell alert. Similarly, if the price were to fall below the low of the longer body, then a sell signal is triggered.

A protective stop loss can be placed near the upper area of the range, while the take profit levels should be found near the lower end of the range.

Filtered Patterns

Overbought and oversold extremes can be identified using traditional indicators (Stochastics, for example) in an effort to improve the reliability of the candlestick patterns within a given range.

Stochastics, and other bounded indicators, oscillate between 0 and 100 levels. If it goes below 20, it’s a typical sign of an oversold market and if it’s above 80, it’s a sign that the market is overbought.

Since reversal patterns are considered only when the market is overbought or oversold, these bounded indicators help to improve the pattern’s predictability. For example, if one of the above-mentioned patterns is detected near the upper part of the range and the Stochastic indicator (specifically, %D) is above 80, the pattern becomes a more reliable prediction. Likewise, if a reversal pattern shows up closer to the support line, and the Stochastic indicator (%D) is already below 20, it is also considered a trustworthy signal.

It is important to note that reversal patterns should be ignored if they appear on either end of the two horizontal lines, while the Stochastic indicators are above 20 and below 80, as they are not dependable.

Whether you are a novice or an experienced trader, range trading can be a very useful method of analysis. With that said, even when price action makes a trade look profitable within the upper and lower boundaries of a range, traders should be cautious.

Range trading still maintains a level of risk because price is always unpredictable. It can go beyond the confines of the range at any given time and in any direction.

Using filters, like traditional bounded indicators, can enhance the reliability of reversal patterns in a given range. A common example of this, is combining the reversal candlestick patterns with Oscillators, when the market is overbought or oversold. If they’re not confirmed by the Oscillator, identified reversals should not be taken seriously.

Disclaimer: This written/visual material is comprised of personal opinions and ideas. The content should not be construed as containing any type of investment advice and/or a solicitation for any transactions. It does not imply an obligation to purchase investment services, nor does it guarantee or predict future performance. FXTM, its affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees do not guarantee the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness of any information or data made available and assume no liability for any loss arising from any investment based on the same.

Risk Warning: There is a high level of risk involved with trading leveraged products such as forex and CFDs. You should not risk more than you can afford to lose, it is possible that you may lose more than your initial investment. You should not trade unless you fully understand the true extent of your exposure to the risk of loss. When trading, you must always take into consideration your level of experience. If the risks involved seem unclear to you, please seek independent financial advice.

Extreme TMA System

Hello everyone. My name is Alfredo. You can call me Al.

At the request of many of you, I am starting today what I hope will become a thriving laboratory of ideas that will make each of us, each day, a little better trader than we were. Firstly, I must say that I have never done something like this and I will rely on the help and contribution of you to make it a success.

The history of a trader, like my own, is a tough road full of failure, despair and loneliness, as well as fulfillment, excitement and triumph. It is a hard road full of obstacles and temptations to lead you astray from the path and in the end, only a determined few will succeed in conquering the many mines and potholes in the way and acquiring the discipline and knowledge necessary to succeed.

As I look back now, I believe the difficult years were necessary to forge the discipline and determination necessary to succeed. Yes, there are some traders that have never experienced the bad times, but they are few and far between. For the rest of us the way is hard but full of promise and a daily constant battle to control one’s ego and remember the lessons learned. After 30 years, I can say I have learned a bit, but there is more to learn every day. The finish line is never reached and that is the wonder and thrill of this profession.

Up front I ask for your help and contribution. Let us be constructive and share our knowledge. If we do, this will have been worth while.

The market is cyclical and like a pendulum, is a never ending sequence of extremes. It forever tries to reach the mean but never succeeds, constantly overshooting its mark, reversing and trying it again but always failing to reach balance. This system attempts to capture those extremes. It is a compendium of my understanding of the market, brought to its simplest expression.

The principles are not complicated. The main indicator, the TMA shows us the average of the path that the price action in the market is following. As such, it is a backward looking indicator and attempts to determine the future from the recent history. It corrects itself by repainting itself. It has two outer bands that show us the outer boundaries of price movement that we are searching for. Our second indicator, the ExtremeTMA info panel shows the TMA slope angles of all time frames. It determines in which direction a trade must be placed.

MTF TMA: Included in the template are 7 TMA indicators. The M1 TMA (Aqua), M5 (Gold) and M15 (White) are used for scalping. The H1 (DarkOrange), H4 (Magenta), the D1 (Aqua), the W1 (Green) and MN (Sienna) are used for normal trading. Higher TF TMAs are only visible in lower TF charts. For Example: If you set the chart to H4, you will only see the H4, D1, W1 and MN TMAs. You can change the time frames in which the different TMAs are visible in the Visibility tab of each FastLineTMA indicator.

I recommend the use of the H4 TMA for opening trades and the D1 and W1 TMAs for trend direction.

Having several TMAs on one chart is extremely helpful for determining longer time frame trends and combined, they have high predictive value of future market moves.

Stop Loss Use: There are various options in this department and I won�t recommend any particular one. A natural level to place your SL would be above a previous high for a short and below a previous low for a long. I myself use only an emergency SL very far away from the PA (100 Pips).

Entry Rules (For H4 Trading):

1- Determine the H4, D1 and W1 TMA slopes by using the TMA Info Panel indicator values:

Ranging TMA (Slope between -0.30 to 0.30): Trades can be placed in both directions.
Buy Only TMA (Slope higher than 0.30): Place ONLY BUY trades.
Sell Only TMA (Slope lower than -0.30): Place ONLY SELL trades.
H4, D1, W1 slope values must be either Ranging or higher for Buys or Ranging or lower for Sells.

2- Wait for price to climb above the top band of the H4 TMA, before placing a SELL trade or below the bottom band of the H4 TMA, before placing a Buy trade.

3- The Trigger: After rules 1 and 2 are complied with, then Buy when price breaks the High of the previous H4 candle or Sell when price breaks the Low of the previous H4 candle.

Even though not explicitly mentioned in the rules, it is always a good idea to sell from under tested resistance and buy from above tested support. This is always a good rule to follow. It will prevent getting into a trade too early and will increase your percentage of winners. Valid support and resistance areas are: 50 or 200 MAs, TMA centerlines, daily, weekly and monthly pivot lines, etc.

Safest Exit: Close the trade when price reaches the H4 TMA center line.

Standard Exit: Close the trade when price reaches the opposite H4 TMA band or set a tight trailing stop (10 pips) until stopped out.

SuperTrend: Slopes lower than -0.60 or higher than 0.60 are usually very persistent and can continue for a long time. You may want to hold your open trade when in a SuperTrend.

That�s it ! The system is simple in concept and easy to trade. I recommend that you handle it with care. Use demo accounts or small lots until it shows itself to be consistently profitable and you acquire confidence in it. A trading system will only work consistently if you truly believe in it. As we move forward, I�m sure we will improve it and make it ever more reliable.

Good luck and welcome to our New Adventure !

Hall of Fame: The following members have collaborated or have made a positive impact on making this system a better one. The underlined names have made extraordinary contributions:

Crodzilla , shahrooz67, Paradox, lologo, NanningBob, Zznbrm, X-Man, Favorite, EasyRyder, mladen, Argonod, Olarion1975, Ever E. Man, Faxxion, flaw, Riddermark, slowpokeyjoe, beto21 cwb, Trainman, Baluda, bassramy.

(7-18-2020) Update: During the many months of development of the Extreme TMA system a lot of evolution took place. Indicators that we started with were later substituted with others we developed especially for the system. The rules changed also several times. When you begin reading the thread, there will be posts that refer to items that are no longer relevant. Just skip those and keep reading. There is a lot of information that will help you in your everyday trading. It certainly helped me a lot to listen to what these many intelligent members brought to the table. As you progress through the many pages, it will all make sense and you will be witness to the making of a system, that today is still a critical part of my trading methodology.


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Let’s consider the following statement. If it’s true that the market can only go up or down over the long-term, then using the most basic 1:1 risk/reward ratio, there should be at least 50% winners, shouldn’t there? Well, there isn’t. This article debates in favour of the notion that a trader is their own worst enemy, and that human error is at the root of most problems. In short, the main reason why Forex traders lose money is no rocket science. It’s the traders themselves.

Financial trading, including the currency markets, requires long and detailed planning on multiple levels. Trading cannot commence without a trader’s understanding of the market basics, and an ongoing analysis of the ever changing market environment. For those interested in investing and trading, read through the suggestions below and you will learn how to avoid losing money in Forex trading.


Overtrading – either trading too big or too often – is the most common reason why Forex traders fail. Overtrading might be caused by unrealistically high profit goals, market addiction, or insufficient capitalisation. We will skip unrealistic expectations for now, as that concept will be covered later in the article.

Insufficient capitalisation

Most traders know that it takes money to make a return on their investment. One of Forex’s biggest advantages is the availability of highly leveraged accounts. This means that traders with limited starting capital can still achieve substantial profits (or indeed losses) by speculating on the price of financial assets.

Whether a substantial investment base is achieved through the means of high leverage or high initial investment is practically irrelevant, provided that a solid risk management strategy is in place. The key here is to ensure that the investment base is sufficient. Having a sufficient amount of money in a trading account improves a trader’s chances of long-term profitability significantly – and also lowers the psychological pressure that comes with trading.

As a result, traders risk smaller portions of the total investment per trade, while still accumulating reasonable profits. So, how much capital is enough? Here it is important to learn how to stop losing money in Forex trading due to improper account management. The minimum Forex trading volume any broker can offer is 0.01 lot.

This is also known as a micro lot and is equivalent to 1,000 units of the base currency that is being traded. Of course, a small trade size is not the only way to limit your risk. Beginners and experienced traders alike need to think carefully about the placement of stop-losses. As a general rule of thumb, beginner traders should risk no more than 1% of their capital per trade. For novice traders, trading with more capital than this increases the chances of making substantial losses.

Carefully balancing leverage whilst trading lower volumes is a good way to ensure that an account has enough capital for the long-term. For example, to place one micro lot trade for the USD/EUR currency pair, risking no more than 1% of total capital, would only require a $250 investment on an account with 1:400 leverage. However, trading with higher leverage also increases the amount of capital that can be lost within a trade. In this example, overtrading an account with 1:400 leverage by one micro lot quadruples potential losses, compared to the same trade being placed on an account with 1:100 leverage.

Trading Addiction

Trading addiction is another reason why Forex traders tend to lose money. They do something institutional traders never do: chase the price. Forex trading can bring a lot of excitement. With short-term trading intervals, and volatile currency pairs, the market can be fast paced and cause an influx of adrenaline. It can also cause a huge amount of stress if the market moves in an unanticipated direction.

To avoid this scenario, traders need to enter the markets with a clear exit strategy if things aren’t going their way. Chasing the price – which is effectively opening and closing trades with no plan – is the opposite of this approach, and can be more accurately described as gambling, rather than trading. Unlike what some traders would like to believe, they have no control or influence over the market at all. On certain occasions, there will be limits to how much can be drawn from the market.

When these situations arise, smart traders will recognise that some moves are not worth taking, and that the risks associated with a particular trade are too high. This is the time to exit trading for the day and keep the account balance intact. The market will still be here tomorrow, and new trading opportunities may arise.

The sooner a trader starts seeing patience as a strength rather than a weakness, the closer they are to realising a higher percentage of winning trades. As paradoxical as it may seem, refusing to enter the market can sometimes be the best way to be profitable as a Forex trader.

If you feel confident that you can avoid trading addiction when trading, why not open a Forex trading account with Admiral Markets? Traders who choose Admiral Markets can trade with an award-winning, fully regulated broker that provides access to over 40 CFDs on currency pairs, tight spreads, fast deposits & withdrawals, and so much more! Click the banner below to start trading Forex today!

Not Adapting to the Market Conditions

Assuming that one proven trading strategy is going to be enough to produce endless winning trades is another reason why Forex traders lose money. Markets are not static. If they were, trading them would have been impossible. Because the markets are ever-changing, a trader has to develop an ability to track down these changes and adapt to any situation that may occur.

The good news is that these market changes present not only new risks, but also new trading opportunities. A skilful trader values changes, instead of fearing them. Among other things, a trader needs to familiarise themselves with tracking average volatility following financial news releases, and being able to distinguish a trending market from a ranging market.

Market volatility can have a major impact on trading performance. Traders should know that market volatility can spread across hours, days, months, and even years. Many trading strategies can be considered volatility dependent, with many producing less effective results in periods of unpredictability. So a trader must always make sure that the strategy they use is consistent with the volatility that exists in the present market conditions.

Financial news releases are also important to keep track of, even if a selected strategy is not based on fundamentals. Monetary policy decisions, such as a change in interest rates, or even surprising economic data concerning unemployment or consumer confidence can shift market sentiment within the trading community.

As the market reacts to these events, there’s an inevitable impact on supply and demand for respective currencies. Lastly, the inability to distinguish trending markets from ranging markets, often results in traders applying the wrong trading tools at the wrong time.

Poor Risk Management

Improper risk management is a major reason why Forex traders tend to lose money quickly. It’s not by chance that trading platforms are equipped with automatic take-profit and stop-loss mechanisms. Mastering them will significantly improve a trader’s chances for success. Traders not only need to know that these mechanisms exist, but also how to implement them properly in accordance with the market volatility levels predicted for the period, and for the duration of a trade.

Keep in mind that a ‘stop-loss to low’ could liquidate what could have otherwise been a profitable position. At the same time, a ‘take-profit to high’ might not be reached due to a lack of volatility. Paying attention to risk/reward ratios is also an important part of good risk management.

What is the Risk Return Ratio?

The Risk/Reward Ratio (or Risk Return Ratio/ RR) is simply a set measurement to help traders plan how much profit will be made should a trade progress as anticipated, or how much will be lost in case it doesn’t. Consider this example. If your ‘take-profit’ is set at 100 pips and your stop-loss is at 50 pips, the risk/reward ratio is 2:1. This also means that you will break-even at least every one out of three trades, providing that they are profitable. Traders should always check these two variables in tandem to ensure they fit with profit goals.

The best way to avoid risks completely in Forex trading is to use a risk-free demo trading account. With a demo account you can trade without putting your capital at risk, while still using the latest real-time trading information and analysis. It’s the best place for traders to learn how to trade, and for advanced traders to practice their new strategies. To open your FREE demo trading account, click the banner below!

Not Having or Not Following a Trading Plan

How else do Forex traders lose money? Well, a poor attitude and a failure to prepare for current market conditions certainly plays a part. It’s highly recommended to treat financial trading as a form of business, simply because it is. Any serious business project needs a business plan. Similarly, a serious trader needs to invest time and effort into developing a thorough trading strategy. As a bare minimum, a trading plan needs to consider optimum entry and exit points for trades, risk/reward ratios, along with money management rules.

Unrealistic Expectations

There are two kinds of traders that come to the Forex market. The first are renegades from the stock market and other financial markets. They move to Forex in search of better trading conditions, or just to diversify their investments. The second are first-time retail traders that have never traded in any financial markets before. Quite understandably, the first group tends to experience far more success in Forex trading because of their past experiences.

They know the answers to the questions posed by novices, such as ‘why do Forex traders fail?’ and ‘why do all traders fail?’. Experienced traders usually have realistic expectations when it comes to profits. This mindset means that they refrain from chasing the price and bending the trading rules of their particular strategy – both of which are rarely advantageous. Having realistic expectations also relieves some of the psychological pressure that comes with trading. Some inexperienced traders can get lost in their emotions during a losing trade, which leads to a spiral of poor decisions.

It’s important for first-time traders to remember that Forex is not a means to get rich quickly. As with any business or professional career, there will be good periods, and there will be bad periods, along with risk and loss. By minimising the market exposure per trade, a trader can have peace of mind that one losing trade should not compromise their overall performance over the long-term.

Make sure to understand that patience and consistency are your best allies. Traders don’t need to make a small fortune with one or two big trades. This simply reinforces bad trading habits, and can lead to substantial losses over time. Achieving positive compound results with smaller trades over many months and years is the best option.

In Summary

There we have it, the main reasons why Forex traders fail and lose money, along with the steps traders need to take in order to prevent them from occurring. Studying hard, researching and adapting to the markets, preparing thorough trading plans, and, ultimately, managing capital correctly can lead to profitability. Follow these steps and your chances for consistent success in trading will improve dramatically!

Furthemore, to increase those chances even further, you should consider upgrading your MetaTrader trading platform with the ultimate enhancement – MetaTrader Supreme Edition! This free plugin offered by Admiral Markets enables you to boost your trading experience by adding excellent features such as the regular technical analysis updates provided by Trading Central, global opinion widgets, FREE real-time news, and so much more!

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About Admiral Markets
Admiral Markets is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8,000 financial instruments via the world’s most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today!

This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.

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