Avoiding Slippage in Forex

«My Forex broker cheated me. I put in an order at one price and it got filled at another, and now I’m in a losing trade. That’s why I’m losing.»

How often have you heard that story, or been tempted to tell it yourself? One of the many risks of trading Forex is something called slippage. No, it’s not your broker cheating you (well, that’s up for debate, but seriously, don’t make excuses for your lost trades). It’s something you need to be aware of and compensate for during your trades.

What is slippage in Forex? Slippage is when you place an order at a quoted price, and your order gets filled at a different (worse) price than the one you were quoted. Slippage can be minor enough not to impact your trade outcome at all, or it can be major enough to stop you out the moment you’ve entered the trade! You can lose a lot of money through slippage, so it’s something to be wary of and to avoid if at all possible.

Why is there slippage in Forex? Slippage tends to result during times of great volatility, and also in response to fundamental events like reports being filed, etc. Slippage almost always happens when the market opens each weekend on Sunday nights! If you stay in a trade over a weekend, be very wary. Sunday nights are unpredictable—in general this is not a good day to trade.

If you do place a Forex trade which you’re going to hold over the weekend, or set up for a trade on the weekend which might get triggered when the market opens again, compensate for that potential slippage. Place entries a little farther out than you usually would (testing will help you choose a good amount of buffer to leave). You may also want to move your stops out a little farther than usual too if you are already in a trade.

Do some Forex brokers deliberately make money through slippage? Probably, but slippage is a fact of life, even with good Forex brokers. It’s best to learn to deal with it than to complain and blame someone else for your failure. There are bad brokers out there though, so if you’re concerned you might have one, look up their ratings and find out about other traders’ experiences.

On a related note, you can set up most broker platforms to show you the spread. This should help you to understand spread and slippage better and thus make better trading decisions. Spread widens and shrinks in different market conditions—during volatile ones it tends to widen (which is how slippage usually occurs). By setting your charts to show this spread, you’ll be able to visually see the days of the week and the times at which the spreads widen the most. Then you can compensate in the future by following the previous suggestions to avoid slippage in Forex outright or work around it.

Understanding Fibonacci


Understanding Fibonacci
Learn to apply Fibonacci ratios to calculate price targets in stocks 
October 06, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

The Fibonacci ratio can be an invaluable tool for calculating price retracements and projections in your analysis and trading. This excerpt from The Best Technical Indicators for Successful Trading explains the origins of the Fibonacci sequence and how you can apply it to the markets.
You can read the entire Fibonacci section -- plus 7 more lessons on how to use technical indicators to improve your trading for FREE -- see below.
Leonardo Fibonacci da Pisa was a thirteenth-century mathematician who posed a question: How many pairs of rabbits placed in an enclosed area can be produced in a single year from one pair of rabbits, if each gives birth to a new pair each month starting with the second month? The answer: 144.

The genius of this simple little question is not found in the answer, but in the pattern of numbers that leads to the answer: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and 144. This sequence of numbers represents the propagation of rabbits during the 12-month period and is referred to as the Fibonacci sequence.



The ratio between consecutive numbers in this set approaches the popular .618 and 1.618, the Fibonacci ratio and its inverse. (Relating non-consecutive numbers in the set yields other popular ratios - .146, .236, .382, .618, 1.000, 1.618, 2.618, 4.236, 6.854....)



...In addition to recognizing that the stock market undulates in repetitive patterns, R. N. Elliott also realized the importance of the Fibonacci ratio. In Elliott's final book, Nature's Law, he specifically referred to the Fibonacci sequence as the mathematical basis for the Wave Principle. Thanks to his discoveries, we use the Fibonacci ratio in calculating wave retracements and projections today.

How to Identify Fibonacci Retracements
The primary Fibonacci ratios that I use in identifying wave retracements are .236, .382, .500, .618 and .786. Some of you might say that .500 and .786 are not Fibonacci ratios; well, it's all in the math. If you divide the second month of Leonardo's rabbit example by the third month, the answer is .500, 1 divided by 2; .786 is simply the square root of .618.

There are many different Fibonacci ratios used to determine retracement levels. The most common are .382 and .618. However, .472, .764 and .707 are also popular choices. The decision to use a certain level is a personal choice. What you continue to use will be determined by the markets.

...It's worth noting that Fibonacci retracements can be used on any time frame to identify potential reversal points. An important aspect to remember is that a Fibonacci retracement of a previous wave on a weekly chart is more significant than what you would find on a 60-minute chart.
See charts that show the application of Fibonacci ratios, plus 7 other lessons on technical indicators, by accessing your free report now.

Learn the Best Technical Indicators for Successful Trading

In this free report, you will learn the tools of the trade directly from the analysts at Elliott Wave International. Using both video lessons and reports, they teach you how to incorporate technical indicators into your analysis to improve your trading decisions.

You will learn:
  • How to employ Fibonacci ratios to calculate possible turning points.
  • How to interpret technical indicators such as Moving Average Convergence/Divergence -- MACD.
  • How to exploit trendlines to uncover trading opportunities when stock charting.
  • Technical patterns that can alert you to major moves, and how to know if it�s a legitimate pattern.
And more -- 8 lessons in all!

Get your Technical Indicators report now>>
Forex World Class Trading Stars is a new Forex Trading course all about to be released shortly. I know people are talking about this course . People are speculating all kinds of things about this Forex Trading course.Well, not many people know what this course is all about. I'll tell a few things right now like the course is a DVD based course & includes 5 forex trading systems. Now these systems

What to Include in a Forex Backtest Spreadsheet

One critical step on your Forex journey is going to be backtesting. Once you find a system or method which you like, you are going to need to run through historical data and see how your method would have performed on real trades over the past few weeks, months or years (depending on the timeframe you’re planning to trade). It is recommended you do at least a couple hundred of backtest trades for any given system to establish a really good idea of how the Forex system will perform in those market conditions. Market conditions do change, so a backtest still doesn’t give you all the information you need, but it can sure give you a good lead in to your demo testing. If you record a lot of important information you can also learn specific things that work and don’t work and how you can refine your system to statistically improve your profits.

On a Forex backtest spreadsheet you will want about six columns. The first will state whether each trade was a buy or a sell. The second column should list the date, and the third column the reason for the trade. The fourth and fifth columns should be the entry and exit prices respectively. The last column will be the sum of pips you gained or lost from each trade. The column where you list the reason you entered the trade can be a good place to take specific notes along with the triggers which caused you to enter. Those notes will come in handy later, so be detailed, especially on trades you lose. Later you can look back and find patterns which will help you to refine and eliminate losses.

Write your Forex trading rules at the top of your spreadsheet. They will help you focus and also remind you of what your rules were on this backtest when you look back on it later. If you make changes as you go to your system, note those changes and the historical dates on which you implemented them.

Some statistics to calculate from your data, which will be useful to you, include net pips from your entire Forex backtest, along with the values of your average win and average loss. You’ll want to tally how many wins and losses you have, and what your win percentage and win to loss ratio is. Remember that the spread will cost you some profit on every trade, and breakeven trades are technically at a very small loss as a result. You can calculate an adjusted net which takes these losses into account. Take note of your biggest losing streak, and how many losses in a row you endured. Also find out your average net winning trades per month, week, day, or whatever is an appropriate unit of time for you to overview your trading. Another good quotient to add up is your net profit divided by your maximum loss. This will tell you how many of your largest losses you could endure before blowing all your profits.

Forex backtesting can be pretty overwhelming at first, but eventually you’ll get used to it and get into a rhythm. And it can be incredibly rewarding—it can make the difference between whether you blow your account in real life or become a profitable trader.

Forex Profit Accelerator Trade Alert Software Review

Forex Profit Accelerator Trade Alert Software - Nice long name..isn't it? Along with having a longish kind of name, it is also a long course since FPA includes 4 trading strategies.Now, you must be aware that Forex Profit Accelerator is a course from Bill Poulos who is a veteran trade.Here is what the course includes - Close to 7 CD-ROM video tutorials - These videos will explain all the trading
For a lot of us (especially in the US), the best times to trade Forex fall at the worst times of day—either during work hours or while we’re asleep at night. Fortunately for those who trade the dailies in the US, the start of the new candle tends to happen in the afternoon, but that often means that trades will span overnight on this and other timeframes. What do you do if your trading schedule is this inconvenient? Suggestions online usually range from “quit your job” to “move to Europe.” This is hardly feasible for most of us. Most of us are going to be faced with examining an option which is more viable but still challenging: trading Forex at night.

For many people, trading overnight is just a given since position traders who trade longer term charts like weeklies are going to be in trades for many days on end. These timeframes move slowly though and are easier to keep an eye on during the daytime than other trades on faster timeframes. What if you trade the dailies or hourly charts? You could be stuck making critical trading decisions in the dead of night.

Unfortunately many FX traders arrive at the solution, “I’ll just not sleep.” This is the road to disaster though. You cannot function without sleep. You need sleep to be healthy and also to keep your mind sharp and fresh. Trading on a sleep deficit is like trading inebriated. It’s just a really bad idea; it’ll destroy your health and your finances. So you have to sleep. How do you balance sleep with currency trading at night?

The trick is to set up alerts in such a manner that you can maximize your rest, minimize the complexity of your decision-making process, and maximize your returns. You want to only have your alerts wake you up at critical junctures, and you want those junctures to be clear cut. Making difficult, complex decisions in the dead of night will rob you of sleep and also harm your judgment, resulting in losses. The alerts should wake you up in order to make simple, straightforward decisions.

One technique you can use to trade during the night is to set alerts at pivot zones. Different techniques will be appropriate for different Forex systems, but if for example you exit trades partially based on support and resistance, then you will want to identify important pivot areas and set alerts in those areas. Choose a sound to signal when a trade is moving toward profit and another sound to signal when it is moving away. That way if you hear the “good” sound in your sleep you can roll over and go back to sleep (or get up and trail your stop). If you hear the “bad” sound you can get up and choose whether to exit. By letting the sound itself give you information, you can optimize your sleep. Also make sure to have the alert beep at you more than once so you don’t miss it in your sleep the first time.

Trading the foreign exchange market at night is one of the most challenging real life integrations you can do, but with some tweaking you should be able to make it work for you. You don’t have to move to another country or quit your job to trade during the day if you can learn how to trade at night and get adequate sleep!

Trading in Real Life: Why You Need to Demo Test

Have you backtested a fantastic system over hundreds or even thousands of trades, and achieved a high win percentage and otherwise excellent statistics? If so, you may be tempted to go live. Some traders struggle to bring themselves to actually take their Forex systems live, but for others it is impatience and not trepidation which is the enemy. If you are thinking of taking this great system which you’ve backtested live without demo testing, think again. Backtesting and trading in real life are completely different, and you may have quite a bit of work ahead of you to achieve the same kind of results in real time as you did backtesting.

The first thing a lot of us discover while demo testing is that we completely forgot that in real life we do stuff like work, eat, and sleep. Something which worked fine in backtesting may be impossible to fit into our real life schedules, or take some very serious workarounds. You may need to learn to trade using a cell phone if you are at work during trading hours for example. Or what if your Forex trades tend to fall in the dead of night? You’ll need to trade in your sleep, and that means setting a lot of price alerts. Those alerts will have to wake you up at useful times though, and even figuring that out can be like designing an entirely new system. The wrong system of alerts can cause you to lose the same trades you’d have won while demo testing!

Another difference you’ll discover quickly is the role which time plays in your trading psychology. When you move the Forex charts forward a candle at a time and make trading decisions in a few seconds or minutes while backtesting, you don’t have a lot of time to second guess yourself. The same trades though, spread out over a time period of hours, days, or even weeks, can cause a lot of traders to experience a wide range of conflicting emotions. Many times we ask ourselves “What decision would I have made backtesting?” only to discover that we don’t know anymore! It takes a lot of practice to find out how timing is impacting your trading. You may find you need to trade on a different timeframe, or just get a grip on your emotions.

While all this may again sound simple in theory, most traders discover Forex demo testing presents a lot of unexpected situations which need resolution before they can go live. We highly recommend that you demo test until you are profitable for at least 2-4 consecutive months before you go live with your system. There is no reason for you to lose a dime in this business unnecessarily since you can demo test for as long as it takes for you to master your trading, completely free! Your drawdown live should reflect your backtesting figures, but it won’t unless you invest some time and effort demo testing and finding out how to integrate trading into your real life first.

Good Forex Trades Need Great Context

On your path to becoming a profitable trader, you will test many different methods for entering and exiting trades. At some point you may find a method which works pretty well for you and which you feel comfortable using. You may take a lot of great trades using this method, only to find that one day your method just stops working. What happened? Did your system break? Will you have to start all over?

Sometimes the answer to questions like this is simpler than you might expect. A lot of traders pay attention to entry triggers like moving average crossovers, price action patterns, and other indicators lining up on their charts, but don’t pay as much attention to what the market is doing on a given day. The market does slowly transform, and like any other living system it will evolve with time. Some things about Forex will never likely change, but others are sure to do so. The “mood” of the market can change considerably as the years go by, and a system which worked great in one context may fail in another—or simply need an adjustment to keep working.

If you are in a situation like this and your system has abruptly “failed,” you may want to ask yourself if this is what has happened to you. Has the economic climate changed substantially since you were last profitable? If so, then perhaps the context around your trades has stopped being quite as optimal as it once was. You may have been placing trades in an excellent context before without even knowing it or attempting it by complete coincidence. And now that the context isn’t as great, your trades aren’t working out.

Here are some questions to consider. Ask yourself, “Am I trading against the trend?” This can often work against you. “Am I trading in a choppy market?” Choppiness kills a lot of traders. If there are a lot of fake outs, sometimes you need to take a break and wait for the market to even out a bit before you come back in. “But I’ll have to wait forever,” you might say. If this is the case, then look at more currency pairs. If you only trade a couple of pairs, and great setups are coming half as often in the current market climate, then think about looking at twice as many pairs each day. This phase of the market, like all others, will pass. It doesn’t mean your system is broken, it just means that right now it’s a little harder to make it work than usual. All traders face this sometimes. Once in a while you may indeed find you need to go back to the drawing board, but more often than not it’s a waste of time to start all over. If what you have makes sense and it works often enough, than you probably should just adapt to the market conditions and stick with what you’ve got.

Develop a technique to find the best setups in the best locations. Great Forex traders point out that finding excellent setups is like using a rifle, not a shotgun. They’re right—good trades don’t take good setups, they take great setups.

The Single Most Reliable Indicator


The Single Most Reliable Indicator

In this video excerpt, Elliott Wave Financial Forecast Editor
Steve Hochberg explains one of the most important things to keep in mind when
assessing a market, "Extreme opinions, shared widely, constitute the single
most reliable indicator of an impending change of direction for a market." Enjoy
your video excerpt.

To find out more about the Wave Principle, be sure to watch the Club EWI video
series: Learn the Why, What and How of Elliott Wave Analysis. This 3-video series
is a great way to get started with the Wave Principle. You can watch these
videos free with a Club EWI Membership
.



Watch the Club EWI video series: Learn the Why, What and How of Elliott
Wave Analysis
. This 3-video series is a great way to get started with the Wave Principle. You can get these videos free with a Club EWI Membership.

Watch your free video now>>

Credit Crisis in Europe

Credit Crisis in Europe: How the Stability of an Entire Region is Teetering on the Edge of a Major Collapse
 
By EWI's European Financial Forecast editor Brian Whitmer (excerpt)
Panic Now and Avoid the Rush -- July 30, 2010

The market's collective sigh of relief is also reflected in authorities' stress testing of 91 European banks. In case you missed last Friday's results, their message is clear: relax. 

The Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) gave passing grades to nearly every bank on its list. The group, for example, passed both Irish banks and all four UK banks that it evaluated. The CEBS gave clean bills of health to all four Portuguese banks, all five Italian banks, and five out of six Greek banks that it analyzed. 

Even with share prices that sit 29%-66% beneath their 2009 countertrend highs, the CEBS says that the Bank of Ireland, Piraeus Bank, Banco Popolare, and Banco Santander are all in good shape. In fact, just seven of the 91 banks failed to make the grade. Five were in Spain, one in Greece, and one, Germany's Hypo Real Estate, is entirely owned by the German government anyway. Everyone else -- 84 institutions in all -- are supposed to be strong enough to withstand another economic shock.


It's not so much the stellar results that expose the optimism of a Primary degree rally, but rather the Banking Committee's stress tests themselves. They are notable primarily because they failed to test for any real stress in the first place. As the chart shows, the Committee's "adverse scenario" regarding economic performance assumed a mere 3% deviation from the European Commission's GDP forecast. 

Another test looked at banks' resilience to a sovereign risk shock, yet the analysis merely used conditions similar to those of May 2010. In other words, just like the UK budget office, the CEBS is utilizing a woefully diluted version of the economic deterioration that is about to grip the continent.
______________________________
FREE REPORT: Discover what Europe's debt crisis means for the future of the continent and your investments. Get your FREE 6-page report filled with unique analysis on Europe, the PIIGS and the sovereign debt crisis. EWI's European Financial Forecast editor Brian Whitmer gives you the context for what's happening in Europe and gets you up to speed on the reality of the situation. Download your free report now.

How to Find and "Hook" Potential Trade Setups

Here's anothr free lesson on how deploy the Elliott Wave Princple in your trading plan...

 Happy Trading!!


How to Find and "Hook" Potential Trade Setups   

A Free Lesson on How to Combine Technical Indicators with Elliott Wave Analysis
July 11, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

Trading using technical indicators -- such as the MACD, for example, Moving Average Convergence-Divergence -- can do one of two things: help you or hinder you. 

Using them as a forecasting method alone can be about as predictable as flipping a coin. But when you combine them with other forms of technical analysis (i.e. the Wave Principle), the same MACD can be your new best friend. 

Technical indicators are meant to do exactly what the name implies: "indicate" that a buy or sell signal may be in place. (Don't confuse "indicate" with "guarantee": They are not called "technical guarantors" for a reason.) 

Elliott Wave International's Futures Junctures editor Jeffrey Kennedy shows you how he uses technical indicators to his advantage in his FREE eBook, The Commodity Trader's Classroom:
"Rather than using technical indicators as a means to gauge momentum or pick tops and bottoms, I use them to identify potential trade setups."
Jeffrey goes on to describe his favorite indicator, the MACD:
"Out of the hundreds of technical indicators I have worked with over the years, my favorite study is the MACD [which] uses two exponential moving averages (12-period and 26-period). The difference between these two moving averages is the MACD line. The trigger or Signal line is a 9-period exponential moving average of the MACD line."
Figure 10-1 gives you an example of the MACD indicator in Coffee futures. 

Coffee - December Contract Daily Data

One of the signals of a potential trade setup that the MACD often introduces is what Jeffrey refers to as the Hook. Here's another quote from the free eBook:
"A Hook occurs when the MACD line penetrates, or attempts to penetrate, the Signal line and then reverses at the last moment. In addition to identifying potential trade setups, you can also use Hooks as confirmation. Rather than entering a position on a cross-over between the MACD line and Signal line, wait for a Hook to occur to provide confirmation that a trend change has indeed occurred. Doing so increases your confidence in the signal, because now you have two pieces of information in agreement."
Figure 10-4 gives you an example of the Hook at work in live cattle futures. 

Live Cattle - December Contract Daily Data

"A Hook should really just be a big red flag, saying that the larger trend may be ready to resume. It’s not a trading system that I follow blindly. All I'm looking for is a heads-up that the larger trend is possibly resuming." 

Learn more about other technical indicators that you can use to your advantage, as well as the other important lessons in the FREE 32-page eBook, The Commodity Trader's Cl
With QE3 back on the table I thought this would be a nice refresher...


A Four-Chart Lesson in Spotting Trade Setups

A Four-Chart Lesson in Spotting Trade Setups

June 29, 2011


By Elliott Wave International


You can find low-risk, high-probability trading opportunities by trading with the trend. The trick is to find the end of market corrections, so you can position yourself for the next move in the direction of the trend. 


This excerpt from Jeffrey Kennedy's free 47-page eBook How to Spot Trading Opportunities explains where to find bullish and bearish trade setups in your charts and how to zero-in on these opportunities. If this lesson interests you, the full 47-page eBook is free through July 6.  

 


On the left-hand side of the illustration below, there are two bullish trade setups. As traders, we want to wait for the wave (2) correction to be complete so we can catch the move up in wave (3) – this is the trade. What we are trying to do in this bullish trade setup is anticipate the potential for profits on the buy-side as prices move up in wave (3). Another bullish trade setup is at the end of wave (4).



As traders, we are looking to buy the pullback and position ourselves within the direction of the larger up-trend. Remember, three-wave moves are corrections, which means that they are countertrend structures. On the other hand, five-wave moves define the larger trend. As traders, we want to determine what the trend is and trade in the direction of the trend. Our buying opportunity to rejoin the trend is whenever the trend pauses and forms a correction.


Now, let’s look at the right-hand side of the illustration where we see two bearish setups. When a five-wave move is complete, it is retraced in three waves as a correction. The end of the five-wave move presents the first trading opportunity that we can take advantage of the short side (or the sell side) as the wave (A) down begins.


Notice the second bearish trade setup gives us another shorting opportunity as wave (B) tops.

So, within the classic wave pattern of five waves up and three waves down, we have four high-probability trading opportunities in which we are either positioning ourselves in the direction of the trend or identifying termination points of a trend. I want to share with you some tricks I have picked up over the years about how to analyze corrective waves and their termination points. The single most important thing I’ve learned from analyzing corrections is that corrective or countertrend price action is usually contained by parallel lines.




As shown above, draw the parallel lines by beginning at the origin of wave A and going to the extreme of wave B. You draw a parallel of that line off the extreme of wave A. So basically you have a small, slightly angled downward price channel. This will show you the containment region for wave C. It also shows you an area toward the bottom of the lower trend line where you can expect a reversal in price.




Here is another example. Again, you draw the parallel lines off the origin of wave A, the extreme of wave A and the extreme of wave B.

Toward the upper end of the upper trend line, you will usually see a reversal in price.




This example shows how countertrend price action is contained by parallel lines in the British pound, 60-minute, all sessions. Why is it important to know parallel lines contain the corrective or countertrend price action? Number one, it will increase your confidence that you are indeed labeling a countertrend move properly. Number two, it identifies areas where you will likely see prices reverse. For example, we see this reversal up near the top.


Improve Your Success with 14 Actionable Lessons in Trading This brief trading lesson is just a small example of the opportunities you can find once you learn to identify key market patterns. Learn more in your free 47-page eBook, How to Spot Trading Opportunities. This valuable eBook is regularly $79, but you can get it free through July 6. Download your free copy of How to Spot Trading Opportunities now.

What Will Happen to the Stock Market When QE2 Ends?

What Will Happen to the Stock Market When QE2 Ends?

Club EWI's free "Independent Investor eBook, 2011 Edition" offers you an unorthodox view of the Fed's quantitative easing program  

June 28, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

The second round of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program, better known as QE2, will expire this week.

The QE2 policy was officially announced on November 4, 2010, and has been widely credited with subsequent stock market gains. And now, according to rumors, the end of this "experimental" program will kill the stock rally -- with potential impact across all markets.
Let's think about that.

For starters, there is little "experimental" about QE2. As EWI's November 2010 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast pointed out to subscribers, "In Japan, the very same remedy the U.S. is applying today -- rate cuts followed by quantitative easing -- finds its stock market still down more than 75% from its December 1989 peak."

Also, this chart, from EWI president Robert Prechter's January 2011 Elliott Wave Theorist, shows "the effect" the first round of quantitative easing (QE1) had on the market:

Stocks Crashed Right Through QE1

But investors have short memories. And even many of those who remember how powerless the Fed was during the 2007-2009 crash are convinced that "it's different this time."

What do the facts and the evidence say? Read the expanded, 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook

From the very first pages, the charts and graphs will show you that the Fed’s QE programs are far less powerful than is commonly presumed.

All you need to read this important 118-page eBook online now is to create a free Club EWI profile. Here's what else you'll learn:
  • Why QE2 was a major tactical error
  • Why interest rates don't drive stock prices.
  • Why rising oil prices are not bearish for stocks.                      
  • Why earnings don't drive stock prices.
  • What inflation has to do with the prices of gold and silver
  • Why the problem with the Fed is its very existence.
  • Why central banks don't control the markets.
  • MUCH MORE
Keep reading this free report now -- all you need is a free Club EWI membership.

Can the Fed and Economists Forecast the Future? See This Startling Chart.
Elliott Wave Financial Forecast Editors Kendall and Hochberg on economists, the Fed and forecasting
June 27, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

Business Talk Radio host Gabriel Wisdom recently spoke with Pete Kendall, Co-Editor of EWI's Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. Their discussion included a crucial but rarely asked question about economists and the Federal Reserve. Here's the relevant excerpt: 
Gabriel Wisdom: "Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says the economy is slowing but there's faster growth ahead. Is he wrong?"
Pete Kendall: "Economists are extrapolationists. They tend to look at what's happening in the economy and extrapolate that forward. So here we have a situation where not just Bernanke but economists in general are looking at... what they call the 'soft patch' and somehow contorting that into growth later in the year.  
Pete's startling reply flatly contradicts conventional wisdom. Most people believe that the Fed really is able to anticipate the economic future. After all, they're the most "qualified." But what do the facts say? 

Pete's Elliott Wave Financial Forecast Co-Editor Steve Hochberg recently included this eye-opening chart (from Societe Generale Equity Research) in his new subscriber-exclusive video, "Buy and Hold, or Sell and Fold: Where Are The Markets Headed in 2011?"

Analysts Lag Reality. From 'Buy and Hold, or Sell and Fold: Where Are the Markets Headed in 2011?'

The red line in the chart is the S&P earnings, and the black line shows economists' forecasts relative to those earnings. Here's what James Montier, head of equity research for Societe Generale, said about it:
"The chart makes it transparently obvious that analysts lag reality. They only change their minds when there is irrefutable proof they were wrong, and then only change their minds very slowly." (emphasis added)
That comment is spot-on. In 2002-2003, as you can see, earnings turned up despite economists' forecasts for earning declines. It took them a while to "turn the ship around" and play catch-up with the trend. 

Yet in 2007-2008, earnings turned down -- despite the forecast by economists for continued increases. The devastating truth is that earnings did more than fall in the first quarter of 2008: they had their first negative quarter in the history of the S&P. As Steve said in his subscriber video, "Economists were wrong to a record degree" -- and investors felt the pain.
So what's the point? Economists do extrapolate the trend. That approach works fine, until it doesn't­ -- and you're on the hook.

Elliott wave analysis never extrapolates trends -- it anticipates them. The Wave Principle recognizes that markets must rise and fall -- and that they unfold according to changes in investor psychology, in a way that is patterned and recognizable.
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Most people believe that the Fed really is able to anticipate the economic future. Now you know the facts. Uncover other important myths and misconceptions about the economy and the markets by reading Market Myths Exposed.

EWI's free Market Myths Exposed 33-page eBook takes the 10 most dangerous investment myths head on and exposes the truth about each in a way every investor can understand. Download your free copy now.

Learn to Spot High-Confidence Trading Opportunities

Dear Trader,


What if you could look at a chart and see the potential trading opportunities?


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Created from the $129 two-volume set of the same name, this valuable eBook is offered free until July 6.


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How to Set Protective Stops Using the Wave Principle

How to Set Protective Stops Using the Wave Principle
The 3 simple rules of Elliott wave analysis can help traders manage risk, ride market trends and spot price reversals  

June 20, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

The 3 simple rules of Elliott wave analysis can help traders manage risk, ride market trends and spot price reversals.

EWI's Chief Commodities Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy values the Wave Principle not only as an analytical tool, but also as a real-time trading tool. In this excerpt from Jeffrey's free Best of Trader's Classroom eBook, he shows you how the Wave Principle's built-in rules can help you set your protective stops when trading.



Over the years that I've worked with Elliott wave analysis, I've learned that you can glean much of the information you require as a trader - such as where to place protective or trailing stops - from the three cardinal rules of the Wave Principle:

1. Wave two can never retrace more than 100% of wave one.
2. Wave four may never end in the price territory of wave one.
3. Wave three may never be the shortest impulse wave of waves one, three and five.

Let's begin with rule No. 1: Wave two will never retrace more than 100% of wave one. In Figure 4-1, we have a five wave advance followed by a three-wave decline, which we will call waves (1) and (2). An important thing to remember about second waves is that they usually retrace more than half of wave one, most often making a .618 Fibonacci retracement of wave one. So in anticipation of a third-wave rally - which is where prices normally travel the farthest in the shortest amount of time - you should look to buy at or near the .618 retracement of wave one.


Where to place the stop: Once a long position is initiated, a protective stop can be placed one tick below the origin of wave (1). If wave two retraces more than 100% of wave one, the move can no longer be labeled wave two.

Now let's examine rule No. 2: Wave four will never end in the price territory of wave one. This rule is useful because it can help you set protective stops in anticipation of catching a fifth-wave move to new highs. The most common Fibonacci retracement for fourth waves is .382 retracement of wave three.


Where to place the stop: As shown in Figure 4-2, the protective stop should go one tick below the extreme of wave (1). Something is wrong with the wave count if what you have labeled as wave four heads into the price territory of wave one.  

And, finally, rule No. 3: Wave three will never be the shortest impulse wave of waves one, three and five. Typically, wave three is the wave that travels the farthest in an impulse wave or five-wave move, but not always. In certain situations (such as within a Diagonal Triangle), wave one travels farther than wave three.


Where to place the stop: When this happens, you consider a short position with a protective stop one tick above the point where wave (5) becomes longer than wave (3) (see Figure 4-3). 

Why? If you have labeled price action correctly, wave five will not surpass wave three in length; when wave three is already shorter than wave one, it cannot also be shorter than wave five. So if wave five does cover more distance in terms of price than wave three - thus breaking Elliott's third cardinal rule - then it's time to re-think your wave count.

The Best of Trader's Classroom presents the 14 most critical lessons that every trader should know. You can download the entire 45-page eBook with a free Club EWI Membership. Download the free Best of Trader's Classroom now.

OPEN YOUR EYES AND YOUR MIND

People say trading is hard and I agree. Its hard because we dont have the answer. There is no spoon. There is no answer. What we have is our mind and our eyes. I havent heard of any blind traders yet.

In order to be profitable in forex you must train your mind. It seems the more indicators you use the harder it is to trade. Keep it simple and remember the principal of trading. BUY WHEN THE PRICE IS GOING UP AND SELL WHEN THE PRICE IS GOING DOWN.

Can anyone tell me when the price is going up or down in this chart???

Think Lower Trade Deficit is Bullish for the Stock Market?

Think Lower Trade Deficit Is Bullish For the Stock Market? Now See This Chart
U.S. trade gap narrowed in April, and many will see that as a bullish sign
June 10, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

"The Dow rose nearly 1 percent Thursday... Investors were encouraged by a report that the United States trade deficit had narrowed, one positive point in a recent string of weak economic data." (June 9, 2011, Reuters)
Before you join the crowd in thinking that shrinking trade gap is bullish for stocks, read this excerpt from the 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook.
*****
Over the past 30 years, hundreds of articles -- you can find them on the web -- have featured comments from economists about the worrisome nature of the U.S. trade deficit. It seems to be a reasonable thing to worry about. But has it been correct to assume throughout this time that an expanding trade deficit impacts the economy negatively? Figure 8 answers this question in the negative. 

Trader Deficit Has Not Been Bearish 

In fact, had these economists reversed their statements and expressed relief whenever the trade deficit began to expand and concern whenever it began to shrink, they would have accurately negotiated the ups and downs of the stock market and the economy over the past 35 years. The relationship, if there is one, is precisely the opposite of the one they believe is there. Over the span of these data, there in fact has been a positive -- not negative -- correlation between the stock market and the trade deficit.

It is no good saying, “Well, it will bring on a problem eventually.” Anyone who can see the relationship shown in the data would be far more successful saying that once the trade deficit starts shrinking, it will bring on a problem. Whether or not you assume that these data indicate a causal relationship between economic health and the trade deficit, it is clear that the “reasonable” assumption upon which most economists have relied throughout this time is 100% wrong.

Around 1998, articles began quoting a minority of economists who -- probably after looking at a graph such as Figure 8 -- started arguing the opposite claim. Fitting all our examples so far, they were easily able to reverse the exogenous-cause argument and have it still sound sensible. It goes like this: In the past 30 years, when the U.S. economy has expanded, consumers have used their money and debt to purchase goods from overseas in greater quantity than foreigners were purchasing goods from U.S. producers. Prosperity brings more spending, and recession brings less. So a rising U.S. economy coincides with a rising trade deficit, and vice versa. Sounds reasonable!

But once again there is a subtle problem. If you examine the graph closely, you will see that peaks in the trade deficit preceded recessions in every case, sometimes by years, so one cannot blame recessions for a decline in the deficit. Something is still wrong with the conventional style of reasoning. 
*****

Read the expanded, 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook. All you need is to create a free Club EWI profile. Here's what else you'll learn:
  • Why QE2 was a major tactical error
  • Why interest rates don't drive stock prices.
  • Why rising oil prices are not bearish for stocks.            
  • Why earnings don't drive stock prices.
  • What inflation has to do with the prices of gold and silver
  • Why central banks don't control the markets.
  • Much more -- 51 pages in all
Keep reading the free Independent Investor eBook now -- all you need is a free Club EWI membership.

The Trend Is Your Friend: How Moving Averages Can Improve Your Market Analysis

June 06, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

Many traders and investors use technical indicators to support their analysis. One of the most popular and reliable also happens to be an indicator that has been around for years and years -- moving averages.

A moving average is simply the average value of data over a specific time period. Analysts use it to figure out whether the price of a stock or a commodity is trending up or down. It effectively "smooths out" the daily fluctuations to provide a more objective way to view a market.

Although simple to construct, moving averages are dynamic tools, because you can choose which data points and time periods to use to build them. For instance, you can choose to use the open, high, low, close or midpoint of a trading range and then study that moving average over a time period, from tick data to monthly price data or longer.

Moving Averages can help you identify the trend in a market, which is important since we all know that the trend is your friend. Yet certain moving averages can serve as support or resistance, and also alert you to trading opportunities.

This excerpt from EWI Senior Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy's free eBook, How You Can Find High-Probability Trading Opportunities Using Moving Averages, shows how a popular moving average setting identified trading opportunities in the stock of Johnson & Johnson.  

A popular moving average setting that many people work with is the 13- and the 26-period moving averages in tandem. The figure below shows a crossover system, using a 13-week and a 26-week simple moving average of the close on a 2004 stock chart of Johnson & Johnson. Obviously, the number 26 is two times 13.
 
During this four-year period, the range in this stock was a little over $20.00, which is not much price appreciation. This dual moving average system worked well in a relatively bad market by identifying a number of buyside and sellside trading opportunities.

Learn to apply Moving Averages to your trading and investing by downloading Jeffrey Kennedy's free 10-page eBook. Here's what you'll learn:
  • How to apply the three most popular moving average techniques.
  • How to decide which moving average parameters are best for the markets and time frames you trade.
  • How to avoid several common but dangerous myths about moving averages.

What Does a Fractal Look Like?

What Does a Fractal Look Like?
And What Does It Have to Do with the Stock Market?
May 26, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

If the word 'fractal' comes up at all in conversation, that conversation is probably being held in a mathematics department. However, anyone who is interested in the Wave Principle and how it applies to the stock market may have stumbled across the phrase "robust fractal."

If you want to know more about what it means in that context, here's an excerpt from Elliott Wave International's primer on fractals that explains the connection.
* * * * *
Excerpted from The Human Social Experience Forms a Fractal
by Robert R. Prechter

In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott discovered that aggregate stock market prices trend and reverse in recognizable patterns. In a series of books and articles published from 1938 to 1946, he described the stock market as a fractal. A fractal is an object that is similarly shaped at different scales.

Although Elliott came to his conclusions fifty years before the new science of fractals blossomed, he took a step that current observers of natural processes have yet to take. He explained not only that the progress of the market was fractal in nature but discovered and described the component patterns. The patterns that Elliott discerned are repetitive in form but not necessarily in time or amplitude. Elliott isolated and defined a number of patterns, or "waves," that recur in market price data. He named and illustrated the patterns.

He then described how they link together to form larger versions of themselves, how they in turn link to form the same patterns at the next larger size, and so on, producing a structured progression. He called this phenomenon The Wave Principle….

The Stock Market as a Robust Fractal

A classic example of a self-identical fractal is nested squares. One square is surrounded by eight squares of the same size, which forms a larger square, which is surrounded by eight squares of that larger size, and so on.

A classic example of an indefinite fractal is the line that delineates a seacoast. When viewed from space, a seacoast has a certain irregularity of contour. If we were to drop to ten miles above the earth, we would see only a portion of the seacoast, but the irregularity of contour of that portion would resemble that of the whole. From a hundred feet up in a balloon, the same thing would be true.

Photo of Madeira coastline, near Sao Jorge, by Plane Person (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Scientists today recognize financial markets' price records as fractals, but they presume them to be of the indefinite variety. Elliott undertook a meticulous investigation of financial market behavior and found something different. He described the record of stock market prices as a specifically patterned fractal yet with variations in its quantitative expression.

I call this type of fractal, which has properties of both self-identical and indefinite fractals, a robust fractal. Robust fractals permeate life forms. Trees, for example, are branching robust fractals, as are animals, circulatory systems, bronchial systems and nervous systems. The stock market record belongs in the category of life forms since it is a product of human social interaction.

How Is the Stock Market Patterned?
Idealized Wave Development and Subdivisions
Figure 1 shows Elliott's idea of how the stock market is patterned. If you study this depiction, you will see that each component, or "wave," within the overall structure subdivides in a specific way by one simple rule: If the wave is heading in the same direction as the wave of one larger degree, then it subdivides into five waves.

If the wave is heading in the opposite direction as the wave of one larger degree, then it subdivides into three waves (or a variation). These are called motive and corrective waves, respectively. Each of these waves adheres to specific traits and tendencies of construction, as described in Elliott Wave Principle (1978).

Waves subdivide this way down to the smallest observable scale, and the entire process continues to develop larger and larger waves as time progresses. Each wave's degree may be identified numerically by relative size on a sort of social Richter scale. 

Want to Know More About Fractals and the Stock Market? Then read the whole special report, called "The Human Social Experience Forms a Fractal." It's free of charge, so long as you are a member of Club EWI, which gives you access to many free reports that explain Elliott wave analysis and the Wave Principle.

How to Put the Wave Principle to Work

In the video below, EWI Senior Commodity Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy walks you
through a basic checklist of how to put the Wave Principle to work. This clip
was taken from The Wave Principle Applied webinar, originally recorded for Futures
Junctures
subscribers.


Would you like to learn more about trading with the Wave Principle? Get 45
pages of FREE practical lessons in Elliott Wave International's Best of Trader's
Classroom eBook
.
Taken from Jeffrey Kennedy's renowned Trader's Classroom series, this
FREE 45-page collection offers 14 actionable lessons that will help you determine
entry points, stop levels and price targets for the markets you trade.
Download The Best of Trader's Classroom now
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