Most day traders, on the other hand, make a much smaller amount per profitable trade. Draw Key Support and Resistance Levels.
What You Get
Although the chart above has no bullish or bearish momentum, it can still generate lucrative swing trades. In fact, ranges such as the one above can often produce some of the best trades. This is mostly due to the way that support and resistance levels stand out from the surrounding price action. Steps 1 and 2 showed you how to identify key support and resistance levels using the daily time frame.
This tells you whether the market is in an uptrend, a downtrend or range-bound. My two favorite candlestick patterns are the pin bar and engulfing bar. You can learn more about both of these signals in this post.
The goal is to use this pin bar signal to buy the market. By doing this, we can profit as the market swings upward and continues the current rally. On the flip side, if the market is in a downtrend, you want to watch for sell signals from resistance. The idea is to catch as much of it as possible, but waiting for confirming price action is crucial. When looking for setups, be sure to scan your charts.
Scanning for setups is more of a qualitative process. Most traders feel like they need to find a setup each time they sit down in front of their computer. This is called searching for setups. The first rule is to define a profit target and a stop loss level. Many traders make the mistake of only identifying a target and forget about their stop loss. In order to calculate your risk as explained in the next step, you must have a stop loss level defined.
The second rule is to identify both of these levels before risking capital. This is the only time you have a completely neutral bias. As soon as you have money at risk, that neutral stance goes out the window. It then becomes far too easy to place your exit points at levels that benefit your trade, rather than basing them on what the market is telling you. Remember that the goal is to catch the majority of the swing.
Once they are on your chart, use them to your advantage. That involves watching for entries as well as determining exit points. See this lesson to find out how I set and manage stop loss orders.
Before I discuss how to identify stop loss levels and profit targets, I want to share two important concepts. The first is R-multiples. This is a way to calculate your risk using a single number. A favorable risk to reward ratio is one where the payoff is at least twice the potential loss.
Written as an R-multiple, that would be 2R or greater. You can learn about both of these concepts in greater detail in this post. When calculating the risk of any trade, the first thing you want to do is determine where you should place the stop loss. For a pin bar, the best location is above or below the tail. The same goes for a bullish or bearish engulfing pattern.
This is where those key levels come into play once more. Remember that when swing trading the goal is to catch the swings that occur between support and resistance levels. So if the market is trending higher and a bullish pin bar forms at support, ask yourself the following question. The answer will not only tell you where to place your target, but will also determine whether a favorable risk to reward ratio is possible.
There is no right or wrong answer here. After more than a decade of trading, I found swing trades to be the most profitable. Before I experimented with everything from one-minute scalping strategies to trading Monday gaps. Finding a profitable style has more to do with your personality and preferences than you may know. Most Forex swing trades last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
This means holding positions overnight and sometimes over the weekend. There are, of course, a few ways to manage the risks that accompany a longer holding period. One way is to simply close your position before the weekend if you know there is a chance for volatility such as a government election. Swing trading Forex is what allowed me to start Daily Price Action in On average, I spend no more than 30 or 40 minutes reviewing my charts each day.
Spending more time than this is unnecessary and would expose me to the risk of overtrading. Because swing trading Forex works best on the higher time frames , opportunities are limited.
You may only get five to ten setups each month. For instance, my minimum risk to reward ratio is 3R. In fact, a slower paced style like swing trading gives you more time to make decisions which leads to less stress and anxiety.
Having the ability to trade Forex around my work schedule was a huge advantage. This is the kind of freedom swing trading can offer. There is nothing fast or action-packed about swing trading. Most day traders, on the other hand, make a much smaller amount per profitable trade. They make up for it in volume, but the return per execution is relatively small. Most swings last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. As such, swing traders will find that holding positions overnight is a common occurrence.
I have held several positions for over a month. Longer-term trades such as this require patience. It may take several days, weeks, and sometimes months before you know if your analysis was correct. That said, trailing your stop loss to lock in some profit along the way does help to relieve most of that pressure.
Drawdown is something all traders have to deal with regardless of how they approach the markets. However, drawdown can last longer for a swing trader. It allows for a less stressful trading environment while still producing incredible returns.
Having accurate levels is perhaps the most important factor. In my experience, the daily time frame provides the best signals. Check with your broker to be sure. The best way to remove emotions from trading and ensure a rational approach to the markets is to identify exit points in advance. Above all, stay patient. Remember that it only takes one good swing trade each month to make considerable returns.
It contains the 6-step process I use. Hi Roy, it is by far the best approach for a less stressful trading experience. Just my opinion, of course. Good way of teaching. I would like to make an investment with you if you would like to do it for both of our benefits ensuring slow and steady profits.
Another helpful article and more confirmation that I am in the right place with Daily Price Action. Swing trading very much fits around my lifestyle, although this week was the first week I had held a trade for more than a day, which had me checking my charts more often than is healthy! I much prefer the pace of swing trading the daily charts and the time you get to analyse trades before pulling the trigger. Great to hear, Dan. The extra time to evaluate setups along with market conditions is one of my favorite aspects of swing trading.
Hi Justin, you are there at it again, what a wonderful expository post. I will start the practice right away because it suits my personality.
Thank you Justin for your wonderful clear and concise presentation on swing trading. Not only did I think it was an easy read: Feel free to reach out with any questions as you transition back to the trading lifestyle. The pattern can offer a precise entry given the fact that the neckline is generally based on several highs or lows. This fact alone takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining when the pattern has confirmed. Another huge benefit, like the other two technical formations below, is that we have a measured objective from which to identify a possible target.
In order to be considered valid, the two shoulders of the pattern must overlap at some point. Notice how no part of the first shoulder in the illustration above overlaps the second shoulder.
This disqualifies the price structure from being traded as a head and shoulders pattern. In other words, they simply measure out the distance in pips and then set a pending order to book profits at that level. While that may occasionally work out in your favor, a much better approach is to determine whether or not that objective lines up with a pre-existing key level. Last but not least, the head and shoulders is best traded on the 4-hour chart or higher. However, I have found that the best price structures tend to form on the daily time frame.
A formation on the 1-hour chart or lower should always be ignored, regardless of how well-defined the structure may be. Unlike the head and shoulders we just discussed, the wedge is most often viewed as a continuation pattern. This means that once broken, price tends to move in the direction of the preceding trend. Only once support or resistance is broken should you begin to identify possible targets. By , I had not only become proficient in trading them, but I had also developed the intuition necessary to identify the most profitable formations — something that can only be had after years of practice.
While you can trade these on the 4-hour time frame, in my experience the most lucrative trade setups form on the daily time frame. Wedges tend to play out relatively quickly compared to something like the head and shoulders pattern. However, they also allow for an advantageous risk to reward ratio , especially the larger structures that form on the daily chart.
This combination allows you to secure a nice profit in a relatively short period of time. The first and perhaps most prevalent is trying to force support and resistance levels to fit. As I always say, if a level is not extremely obvious, it should be ignored. The second mistake I see among traders is attempting to trade a wedge on a lower time frame. Last but not least is the issue of timing.
As you may well know, timing is a key factor if you wish to succeed in the world of Forex. And when it comes to wedge patterns, timing is everything. This retest offers the perfect opportunity for an entry, however it does take patience to achieve. Be careful of entering on the first closed candle outside of the pattern as you will likely get a retrace of some sort. The bull or bear flag is another name for a channel. So as you might expect, it is most often traded as a continuation pattern.
Like the head and shoulders, flags often form after an extended move up or down and represent a period of consolidation. I feel confident in saying that you could literally trade nothing but bull and bear flags and make very good money in the Forex market.
This, of course, assumes that you have become a proficient price action trader. There are a few reasons, but mostly due to the fact that these formations occur quite often. This is true even if you are trading the higher time frames. That said, you only need one profitable trade each month to make good money as a Forex trader.
The measured objective in this case often allows for several hundred pips on most currency pairs. Combine that with a precise entry and a well-placed stop loss that is 50 to pips away, and you have a recipe for a profit potential of 3R or better just about every time.
Like the other patterns above, there are a few things you should watch out for when trading this formation. The first is perhaps the most obvious — never cut off the highs or lows in order to make the channel fit. Calculating the measured objective also tends to give traders fits. Doing so will only slow the learning process and also send you chasing trades in every which direction.
Becoming a successful trader is about finding an approach to the markets that fits your style, defining your trading plan and then refining those rules as you gain experience. So if you enjoy trading technical patterns, as I do, be sure to give some consideration to the three we just covered; they truly are all you need to become consistently profitable.