Sometimes a market breaks out of a range, moving below the support or above the resistance to start a trend. How does this happen? When support breaks down and a market moves to new lows, buyers begin to hold off. This is because buyers are constantly noticing cheaper prices being established and want to wait for a bottom to be reached. At the same time, there will be traders who are selling in panic or simply being forced out of their positions or building short positions because they believe it can go lower.
The trend continues until the selling is depleted and belief starts to return to buyers when it is established that the prices will not decline further. Trend-following strategies encourage traders to buy the market once it has broken through resistance and sell a market once they have fallen through support.
In addition, trends can be dramatic and prolonged, too. Because of the magnitude of moves involved, this type of system has the potential to be the most successful Forex trading strategy. Trend-following systems use indicators to inform traders when a new trend may have begun, but there’s no sure-fire way to know of course.
Here’s the good news: If the indicator can establish a time when there’s an improved chance that a trend has begun, you are tilting the odds in your favour. The indication that a trend might be forming is called a breakout. A breakout is when the price moves beyond the highest high or the lowest low for a specified number of days.
For example, a 20-day breakout to the upside is when the price goes above the highest high of the last 20 days. Trend-following systems require a particular mindset, because of the long duration – during which time profits can disappear as the market swings. These trades can be more psychologically demanding. When markets are volatile, trends will tend to be more disguised and price swings will be greater. Therefore, a trend-following system is the best trading strategy for Forex markets that are quiet and trending.
A good example of a simple trend-following strategy is a Donchian Trend system. Donchian channels were invented by futures trader Richard Donchian, and is an indicator of trends being established. The Donchian channel parameters can be tweaked as you see fit, but for this example, we will look at a 20-day breakout. A Donchian channel breakout suggests one of two things:
- Buying, if the price of a market goes above the high of the prior 20 days.
- Selling, if the price goes below the low of the prior 20 days.
Below is a daily chart of EURJPY showing the Admiral Donchian indicator set to 20 bars.
Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 4, EURJPY, Daily chart (between 18 September 2018 to 31 May 2020). Accessed: 31 May 2020 at 1:45 pm BST – Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results or future performance.
You can get the Donchian Channel indicator completely FREE in the Admiral Markets Supreme Edition package. It’s called Admiral Donchian. To upgrade your MetaTrader platform to the Supreme Edition simply click on the banner below:
There is an additional rule for trading when the market state is more favourable to the system. This rule is designed to filter out breakouts that go against the long-term trend. In short, you look at the 25-day moving average (MA) and the 300-day moving average. The direction of the shorter moving average determines the direction that is permitted. This rule states that you can only go:
- Short, if the 25-day moving average is lower than the 300-day moving average.
- Long, if the 25-day moving average is higher than the 300-day moving average.
Trades are exited in a similar way to entry, but only using a 10-day breakout. This means that if you open a long position and the market goes below the low of the prior 10 days, you might want to sell to exit the trade and vice versa.