Sure there's the old watch for support and resistance at levels that end in .00 or .50, and of course there's the old adage that markets spend 70 to 80% of the time going sideways, and we all know lose your opinion not your money which is my personal favorite. But what do these really mean and how do we implement them to our advantage?
Let's take on the adage than markets spend a more time going sideways than up or down. I have a friend in Australia who trades lower time frames than I do. And often we are on opposite sides of the market, yet end up both being successful at the end of the day. The way to take advantage of the markets taking advantage of novice traders is to play both sides of the markets. More specifically target buy signals following slightly higher lows, and sell signals following slightly lower highs, regardless of what you believe the overall trend to be. This simple strategy should be a tenet in your Forex education. Markets moving sideways far more than not also means that despite what many people believe, markets move slower, not faster, than most people think.
#1 Markets generally move slower than the majority of people think
What this means is just because you have identified a market's direction does not mean you need to run right in and take a position. When you put on a trade understand that price can roll back against you on its slow path and then you need to be patient. It's more common for the monthly, weekly and daily trends to be in flux than it is for them to be lined up and pulling in one direction. Because slow price movement means lots of back and forth price action it's very important that you have a reliable, scalable method to measure price direction. If you have that, then it should work on every time frame equally, and lend deductive reasoning to your trading method rather than the more speculative inductive reasoning. This will also be helpful in identifying shorter-term directional shifts in line with the higher time frame price patterns, which leads us to our second tip.
#2 The short-term trend is more important than the majority of people think
The vast majority of the day-to-day players in the financial markets are short-term traders who make their forex trading decisions on intraday time frames. What this means is a large percentage of the volume we see in financial markets today is much more interested in price action over the next hour, not the next week. Higher time frame traders such as institutional traders, commercial players, and end users are still instrumental in establishing and maintaining the primary price pattern, but short-term traders contribute the bulk of the volume. What this means is day to day momentum traders can create micro moves, or retracements that end up stopping out traders who have tried to minimize their risk by placing their stop orders too close. You have to be aware of these intraday trends so that you recognize that they are very common and should not alarm you when they take price against your position. Despite the large trending moves over the last 10 years price movement is still more tempered than most beginners think. Short-term trend shifts in both directions, which create jagged trading ranges are still the norm and not the exception. These trading ranges are always built from a succession of short-term trends, and you must have a way to measure those trends when they change.
Our third tip is a fascinating one because it's such a teaser.
#3) The best trading tactics are generally too simple for the majority to comprehend.
Anyone who has ever seen a long-term trend line break accompanied by a momentum indicator cross below (or above) it's overbought (or oversold line) on a weekly or monthly chart knows about the rule: go with the flow. It's just too simple to fathom that all you have to do it be in the right place at the right time and put a trade, or investment on, and just leave it alone, and you can enjoy success. It goes against everything we've been taught since childhood regarding hard work, thrift, etc. We are not programmed to think it can be that easy. Go with the flow must be a law of the universe, right next to ask and you shall receive, and must be included in any serious Forex training.
Jay Norris is Best Selling Author of 'Mastering the Currency Market' and Chief Strategist of IBTRADE.