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FX Technical Analysis: What Is An MACD Indicator

The MACD indicator is one of the most useful tools of FX technical analysis but it is not usually well understood. This is a pity because many traders could probably use it more effectively if they understood it better.

The letters of its name stand for Moving Average Convergence Divergence. It is true that the name sounds rather complicated and unfortunately this is often enough to put people off from wanting to know more. So they only use the very simplest applications without understanding the power of the tool itself.

Like most forex tools, this indicator is used to show us when a new trend is forming, so that we can get in on it and make money. The MACD does this by plotting the relationship between two moving averages.

Settings

The settings are usually expressed as three numbers. Commonly you might see 12,26,9.

Traders using FX technical analysis often make the mistake of thinking that the first number on the MACD indicator (12 in this example) relates to the faster moving average line, the second number (26) relates to the slower moving average line and the third number (9) relates to the histogram at the bottom of the chart. That is not quite correct.

In fact the first two numbers (12 and 26) indicate the number of periods used to calculate two moving averages. The faster moving average line, which is often green on the chart, measures the moving average of the difference between the 12 period and the 26 period moving averages.

The slower moving average line is often red on the chart. This line plots the average of the last 9 (or whatever is the third number) periods of the faster moving average line. It usually shows smoother curves because its effect is to smooth out the fast moving average line.

Divergence And Convergence

The histogram that measures convergence and divergence is the series of blocks stretching above and below an axis near the bottom of the chart. This simply records the difference between the faster and slower moving averages.

As the two moving averages separate from each other (diverge), the blocks of the histogram will become longer. As they get closer (converge), the blocks become shorter. If the two lines cross, the blocks of the histogram will switch from stretching above the line to dropping below it or vice versa.

So the histogram measures the convergence and divergence of the two moving averages. And that is why this tool for FX technical analysis is called a Moving Average Convergence Divergence or MACD indicator.

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Saturday, July 4th, 2009 Strategy No Comments

Stochastic Indicator: What Is It And How Do I Use It?

The stochastic indicator is an oscillator that enables you to see at a glance the momentum of the market. Momentum is the pressure or weight behind the current trend. It is based on the idea that while prices are rising, the closing price will tend to be higher than it would be if the market was stable. Equally, when prices are falling, the closing price will tend to be low. From this assumption the oscillator measures when a trend is considered to have reached its limit and is about to turn.

The actual calculations are complex but fortunately you do not need to do them because most trading software will do this automatically for you. This means that you should be able to access the indicator plotted on a chart in your forex brokerage account.

The stochastic indicator will give you two lines that usually run fairly close together:

- the line called %K gives a comparison of the last closing price to previous closing prices.

- the line called %D smooths out the %K line and can be used as a signal line.

So what does the stochastic indicator actually tell you, and how can you use it to make money?

Using it is quite simple. It gives a signal that a market is overbought or oversold. In other words, it will tell you when a trend should be about to reverse, according to the basis of their calculations.

If both lines are high, this is a signal that the market is overbought. If you are trading forex on the basis of this indicator you would put in an order to sell.

Conversely if both lines are low, they are telling you that the market is oversold and you could put in an order to buy.

Keep in mind that you should not trade on the basis of one indicator alone, but always seek confirmation from at least one other.

You will normally have horizontal lines on your charts marking the high and low points for you so that you can see at a glance when to act. In many cases you can alter the position of these lines to suit your trading style. The most common settings are 70, 75 or 80 for the high line and 30, 25 or 20 for the low line.

If your settings are closer (70 and 30) you will want the stochastic lines to stay above or below your trigger lines for a longer time before you trade. If your settings are at 80 and 20, any movement above them would be a strong signal. Check this out with your own backtests to decide when you would be comfortable putting in an order.

Many currency traders also regard the relative positions of the two stochastic indicator lines as a signal for forex trading. They would buy when %K crosses %D line from below going upwards, or from above going downwards.

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Friday, July 3rd, 2009 Strategy No Comments

Forex Trading Made E-Z Review

This Forex Trading Made E-Z review will examine the system for trading on the foreign exchange currency markets developed by George C Smith. When you order Forex Trading Made E-Z you get an ebook and 12 training videos setting out the system in step by step form.

The basic structure is that you have the ebook which you can download instantly when you place your order (any time of the day or night). Inside the ebook you have the links to each video at the point where you need it. So you will see a written explanation of a chart or a technique, and there will be a link right there to a video that you can access on the internet showing you the actual action.

Strengths

The ebook is 84 pages but there are plenty of charts so there is not a huge ton of text to read and remember. This is basically one system and George Smith tells you how he trades using candlestick charts and latitude lines with the aim of increasing his bank by 5% each day.

5% each day may not sound much until you do the math. It comes out to mean that if you had no losing days, you would double your money every 17 days. In 90 days you could grow $100 to over $7,300. Of course losing days are a fact of life and if you don’t accept that you will be tempted to take stupid risks, so it is better not to expect anything like that speed of growth. George Smith’s point here really is that you should not be trying to make more than 5% a day.

The combination of ebook and videos is excellent. Most people’s best way of learning to do something practical is to follow along with somebody else showing them, and online videos are perfect for that. But it’s also good to have something you can print out on paper and refer back to quickly when you just need to check something.

Experienced forex traders will probably skim through the first few chapters of the ebook quickly and go ahead and try the system right away. Beginners should take it step by step and watch all of the videos.

One of the strongest points of Forex Trading Made E-Z is that it explains everything for the complete beginner, in the shortest and simplest way. There is no fluff about the history of forex trading or the relative merits of different currency pairs. It explains what you need to know to start making money and that’s all.

At the same time, there is a link in the introductory section to another ebook that you can download for free that will explain the theory in greater detail for those who want it.

Weaknesses

If there is one weakness it may be that complete beginners will be tempted to rush through the ebook without watching the videos. Some people who do this may be scared off by looking at the charts and techniques in later chapters which could seem complicated if they did not take time to understand what was going on in the earlier steps.

However, the bottom line is that to be successful with forex trading you do need to be happy looking at charts and figures and dealing with money. If the sight of a candlestick chart makes you run for the hills, you probably should not venture into the live markets at all.

On the other hand, if the first time you see a candlestick chart you are eager to find out what it means and discover patterns in the blocks of color, you could be well suited to forex trading even if you are a complete beginner right now. You will enjoy getting to grips with the system laid out in Forez Made E-Z.

Just be sure to go right back to the start, watch each video as you come to it and try out every tactic step by step. George Smith is not a big fan of demo accounts but if you are just starting out with forex trading I believe you should use a demo account for this system in the very beginning just so you understand exactly how each technique works. This saves you losing money just because you misunderstood something or applied one idea the wrong way around.

Support

To receive support you must opt in to the updates notification list when you are ordering the system. Then you will have the possibility of contacting George Smith personally if you need any help or clarification.

You will receive updates with new ideas, explanations and even links to new videos from time to time. So definitely don’t miss your chance to sign up for the updates list when you get Forex Trading Made E-Z.

George seems to be a friendly guy who will help you out if he can. Keep in mind though that you are not dealing with a huge company here. He is just one retired guy with limited time who is not going to be online 24/7. Allow a few days to hear back from him.

The Bottom Line

Gives you one clear system in double delivery through ebook and videos. Great for beginners who are wondering where to start among all the conflicting ideas about forex on the internet. More experienced traders can pick up new ideas.

Forex Trading Made E-Z review verdict: 5 stars.

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Thursday, June 25th, 2009 fx trading software No Comments

Foreign Exchange Brokers: What To Look For

Foreign exchange brokers that cater to the retail investor are springing up all of the time all over the world. What should you look for in selecting a forex broker and how can you be sure you are getting the best?

Everybody starts out currency trading with hopes of having big returns and some of the publicity that you will see will make this sound almost inevitable. In fact of course currency trading is full of risk and many people get their fingers burnt. You could easily lose your startup funds, especially if you start trading for real too soon.

Be sure that you are signing up with a broker who states the risks clearly. When you are starting out you should probably look for a company that will protect you from margin calls by automatically closing your trades if your funds become exhausted. Of course this is a bad situation that you will hope to avoid but it is better than finding you are committed to paying more than you had in the account.

Forex traders often work with 100, 200 or even 400 times leverage. This means that the funds in your account can control 100-400 times their own value. With $100 of the funds in your account you can trade lots of $10,000. So if something goes wrong and the price moves unexpectedly against you, you could be down by more than $100. You can put your own stop losses into place but it is useful to have a broker who will do this in case you forget one time.

Of course you also want to make sure that the brokerage company is honest and will not disappear with your money. If they have been around for a while or form part of a large, reputable company that is a good sign. Another valuable point to consider is whether they are members of any regulatory bodies. This may give you protection if the company goes out of business.

Foreign exchange brokers will offer you various services including charts and technical analysis through their software platform. It is important to know what charts you are likely to need not only for your current system but for other ways that you may want to trade in the future. Compare the charts provided by the different brokers. Think about how you would want to use and combine them and make sure that your chosen broker offers what you need.

You will also want to be sure about the reliability of the software. If it goes offline you could lose the chance to control a trade. Try to find feedback on forex forums or the company’s own forum if there is one, to check how satisfied users are with the reliability of the software platform and also the support provided. Forex is a 24 hour market during the business week and you should be able to get support 24 hours too.

Spread is something that most traders look at when selecting a brokerage account. This is the difference between the bid and ask prices and it is how forex brokers make their money. You may be tempted to go with a company because they offer a low spread but remember that it may not be permanent and probably does not apply to all currency pairs. Spread should not be your only or even your main consideration when considering foreign exchange brokers.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Brokers No Comments

Forex Trading Education: 5 Tips For Keeping To Your System

One of the most important things you can learn in any forex trading education is how to keep to your chosen system or systems in a consistent way.

Hopping from one thing to another will kill any chance you have of making profits, but we are all tempted from time to time. If you find it hard to keep to one trading system, here are some techniques that may help you to learn to be consistent.

1. Consider carefully before you decide to follow any system. One successful businessman has said that the secret of his success was thorough research before a decision, and then sticking to it like iron. You need to be sure that your system is profitable … not necessarily the very best. And you need to be comfortable with all the actions that it will require you to take, whether things are going well or badly.

2. If you have problems with self discipline in other areas of your life, use those to train yourself in the skill before you start live trading. Do not pick the thing that you have most trouble with, but something that you could fairly easily master. It might be getting up at the same time every day,

3. Allow yourself a small ‘fun’ budget or have a separate mini account for trades that look so tempting that you cannot pass them up even though they do not fit your criteria. You will almost certainly lose this money over a period of time, so be sure you can afford it. If not, avoid the temptation and track these trades on paper instead or use a demo account. Be sure to track them all because we have a tendency to remember the few that would have profited us and forget the majority that would have lost.

4. Do not discuss your trades or your system with anybody else. It is fine to ask around on forums before you have decided on your system, but do not be drawn into debate about the merits of a system after you start using it. You will quickly be swamped by negativity from people who want to believe that their own system is better. Equally, do not discuss it with non trading friends or family members. They will often be negative simply because they do not understand.

5. Do not drink alcohol while you are trading. In fact, it is better not to even look at the markets when you have had a few beers. If you see a tempting trade that breaks your normal rules it will be much harder to resist when you are under the influence of alcohol.

So even though we all love the idea of working from home in our pajamas with a beer at one elbow and the cookie jar at the other, reality is that relaxing to this extent does not combine with successful forex trading. A mind that is even slightly fuzzed by alcohol will not be able to keep to a consistent trading plan.

An automated forex robot can help you out here. You can set it up to trade automatically for you, if you are not yet able to act consistently while you pursue your forex trading education.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 Introduction No Comments