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Archive for November, 2010

How To Make Money On The Forex Market: 5 Golden Rules

Just as there are rules and guidelines for forex trading strategies when you are learning how to make money on the forex market, there are also tricks for dealing with personal factors and habits that undermine our success. Here are 5 golden rules for handling ourselves so that we can move smoothly from hesitant beginner to successful forex trader.

1. Keep Cool

Successful traders do not let their trading depend on their emotions or their emotions depend on their trading. They do not risk more because they are feeling lucky, they do not hesitate when the signs are right, or pull out of a trade too soon out of fear. Equally, they are unlikely to celebrate a gain, nor will they sulk, shout or kick the dog when they lose.

A person who is ruled by their emotions will not make it as a forex market trader. Self discipline can be learned but make sure that you have fully mastered your emotions on a demo account before you think of going live. If you are still taking unplanned risks you are not ready for real trading.

2. Think For Yourself

Different traders have different techniques. This means it there is limited value in getting advice from anybody else. In fact, unless you know that the person follows your system and techniques, their advice is probably worthless to you.

Do not copy somebody else’s system just because they seem to be making money with it. Do your own research and check everything that you are told. Even then, consider carefully before abandoning the system that you have chosen before. There may be factors that you have not taken into account. Something that works for somebody else will not necessarily work for you.

3. Keep Records

Keep a spreadsheet detailing every trade so that you can see patterns in your own results. You do not necessarily need to use it to change anything, but refer to it often to remind yourself of the many small trades that add up to success or failure.

What should you record? At a minimum, the currency pair, your position and the opening and closing prices. However, these bare facts will be much more informative if you can also add why you took the position. Did it fit the criteria of your system? What made you think that the trend would go your way? When you look back you will have a much better view of why your trading history is going well or not so well.

4. If In Doubt, Stay Out

Do not open a trade if you are hesitant or unsure about it, provided of course that you have a reason other than fear for your hesitation. A trade can only go one way or the other, so if it is not completely right, it is wrong. Wait. There will be plenty of better opportunities.

5. Limit Your Trades

Do not be drawn into thinking that you must never miss an opportunity. You do not have to be on top of a lot of different currency pairs and jump into every market regardless of what else you may be doing.

Limit the number of open trades that you have. It is not a good idea to have more than two open positions at the same time, and unless your first trade in the forex market is profitable you should not even consider opening a second.

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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 Introduction, Strategy No Comments

Is Your Forex Broker Working For You?

People new to foreign exchange trading may be surprised to find that their forex broker may operate in some surprising ways. In fact, some companies offering forex trading services are not brokers in the traditional sense at all.

Traditionally a broker would work for you as a client, placing your buy and sell orders for you through their dealing desk and charging commission (for stock exchange transactions) or making their money from the spread (the difference between bid and ask prices) for forex trading. At one time orders would be placed by telephone. Now they are placed online, with you in full control of your account.

But standard forex accounts require significant investment. Typically the minimum deposit is anything from $10,000 to $50,000. Now that forex trading can be done from home, there are many new services springing up with lower deposit requirements, offering forex mini accounts. But their business model is not necessarily the same as traditional brokers, and this can have implications for you.

So these days, there are other types of companies that operate in different ways in order to provide services to the smaller investor. Most of these do not have dealing desks of their own.

Forex NDD (No Dealing Desk)

Brokers without a dealing desk communicate with external liquidity providers to provide prices and match clients’ trades. Because there is a range of liquidity providers, the real spread tends to be small but the broker may increase the spread to give themselves a reasonable profit margin.

Forex ECN (Electronic Communications Network)

ECN brokers provide a marketplace where many market users including banks, market makers and regular traders can see to have their trades filled. Trades will be entered in the name of your ECN provider for anonymity. Spread is generally small but the ECN will often charge a matching fee per trade.

Forex Market Makers

When you have an account with a market maker, your trades are not being matched by external providers but by the market maker themselves. This means that they take the opposite position and offer their prices to you, although of course these prices relate to the current price in the market. They will then offset their risk by taking an equivalent position to yours in an ECN or other environment.

Since they are not actually placing your order in the market, market makers are not brokers in the true sense of the word although most traders use the term forex broker loosely and include them. Others consider that the difference between market makers and bucket shops is not clear and prefer to avoid them.

Forex Bucket Shops

Bucket shops work a little like market makers but they do not offset their risk and may have very little connection to the real spot forex market. When you deal with a bucket shop you could be said to be betting against them. They oppose your trade and they profit by your loss. Like commercial bet takers, if you are successful they tend not to want your business and will probably close your account, returning your funds to you.

Bucket shops are illegal in some jurisdictions, and even if they are legal in your country, they are best avoided, certainly for beginners. A bucket shop is working against you, not for you, and is not a forex broker at all.

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Saturday, November 27th, 2010 Brokers, Strategy No Comments

3 Currency Trading Tips To Help You Make Money

There is a lot of money to be made in foreign exchange trading. Here are currency trading tips to help you maximize your profits.

1. Use weekly charts as well as daily charts

Checking back over the week’s price movements for your chosen currency pair will give you a better perspective on both short and long term trends in the market. It is easy to become blinkered in spot forex trading especially if your method concentrates on day trading. Weekly charts allow you to take a step back.

Sometimes the new perspective that you gain in this way will help you see what went right or wrong with your trading and why. This can help you to refine your systems to make them more profitable. However, do not make changes in a good system every time something goes wrong. There is a need for balance here.

2. Do not trade too much

It is tempting to jump into the market and open a trade whenever you think you spot an opportunity, when really you should have held back. It is often true that the fewer trades you make, the more money you will make. This seems counterintuitive because we tend to think that we need to make a lot of trades to build up big profits. But opening a trade at the wrong moment leads to losses, so in fact the opposite is often true.

You need to be comfortable with risk in order to engage in forex trading. Most traders even enjoy the risk. So it can be difficult to hold back from something that looks like a big opportunity. Remember this is investment, not gambling. You must choose your trades carefully. Taking chances in the hope of making a big killing is likely to lead to your account balance taking a hammering.

If you have a profitable forex trading system that does not often offer the opportunity to trade so it is not making you much money, do not be tempted to widen the criteria so that it lets you trade more often. This will almost certainly turn your profitable system into an unprofitable one.

Instead there are two things you can do. First you can increase the amount of each trade. This increases your risk and is probably not a good idea unless you are very sure of your system. Second you can try to find a different system that is equally profitable that you can operate alongside the first. This is the better option for most people but make sure that you test your new system thoroughly before adopting it.

3. Set realistic targets

When you are thinking about how much money you hope to make with currency trading, it is important to be realistic and accept that sometimes you will lose. You should only be trading with money that you can afford to lose and do not expect to double your money over and over in a short time.

Unfortunately many advertisements lead you to have very high expectations. You may see an ad that suggests you can double your money in 7 days, for example. This does not mean you are certain to double your money, and it definitely does not mean that you can do it every 7 days with no setbacks. Doubling your money in a short time is possible but doing it over and over without losses is not realistic. Expect to take at least one step back for every two steps forward and have reasonable targets by comparing with what you might make if you invested in stocks or bonds.

Before starting forex trading for real, be sure you are armed with sound strategies that you have tested for yourself. Weigh up all of your options and remember that you are entering a risky business. Keep these currency trading tips in mind and give yourself the best chance of succeeding as a forex trader.

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 Introduction, Strategy No Comments

How (Not) To Lose Money With FX Currency Trading

Forex or FX currency trading is a risky business. Many people go into it with high hopes of getting rich and quickly find that it is easier to lose money in the foreign exchange markets than to make it. Even if you are ideally financed and have the best system, robot or plan, you may discover the sad fact that the one thing holding many traders back from success is themselves.

So in this article we look at some of the major pitfalls of forex trading and how to avoid them.

1. System hopping

One surefire way to lose money with forex trading is trying a system for a few days and giving up on it because it made a loss or two. Before you even start using a system you should be as sure as a person can be that it is going to be profitable. You have to accept losses and stick with it.

Remember that if you bail out every time that you are losing, you never give your systems a chance to put you back into profit. You will lose your shirt for sure if you hop from one system to another without giving anything a chance to work.

2. Dwelling on ‘what might have been’

One of the worst temptations of trading is being drawn into wasting time and energy on thinking about how much we could have made if only we had acted differently. Often a situation will arise that does not quite meet the requirements of your system. You wait, and perhaps it turns out that you could have made a lot of money if only you had acted.

But thinking this way is dangerous. Another time the same situation will turn against you. We tend to remember all of the lost chances to win and forget that by keeping to the plan, we also miss a lot of losing situations.

3. Impatience

You will lose money if you do not have the patience to wait for the right trading opportunity. A short run of losses can make us feel desperate for a successful trade, but we must still wait for the right market signals. Do not be led into acting too soon by excitement or the fear of missing an opportunity.

4. Hesitation

On the other hand, it is also important not to hesitate too long. When the right moment comes along, act with conviction. Have your plan written down and keep it in front of you at all times so that you know exactly when the signs are right for your trade. Do not wait until you see a trend forming to start thinking about your position size, leverage or stop loss. Everything should be in place so that you can take advantage of a genuine opportunity.

5. Letting emotions drive your trading

We all know the danger of letting our emotions lead us in any trading situation, at least in theory. In practice it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between fear and caution, or between profit maximizing strategies and greed. Having a written plan will help again here, as will training with a demo account where emotions will not be nearly so strong.

Some people find that they cannot make money with a demo account because they are getting into experimental trades, telling themselves that it does not matter because it is not real money. If they do then start trading with a real account they are completely unprepared for the emotional punch of real time trading and have not learned any discipline to help them handle it.

So whether you are trading in demo mode or for real, take it seriously. Be sure to avoid these traps if you want to make money with FX currency trading.

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Saturday, November 20th, 2010 Strategy No Comments