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Friday, September 21, 2007

There are so many different trading systems you could use to trade the forex market, some better suited to certain people than others. For example some people may find it easier to comprehend and take into account fundamental factors as opposed to looking at a screen covered in technical indicators, and vice-versa.
The first logical step in determining what type of trading system would best suit you is actually being aware and understand the widely known methods of analysis used in trading the currency market. Once you are aware of the tools that are available, you can generally tell what type of analysis suits you. For example some of the main technical analysis methods which are popular include:
Pivot points
Chart patterns
Fibonacci retracements
Candlestick patterns
And some fundamental factors which are widely used include analyzing:
Interest rates
Trade balances
Unemployment rates
Gross domestic product (GDP)
You may now actually be able to develop your own system by combining certain methods of analysis together, giving you a method which you are comfortable with. On the other hand you may decide that you would like to trade someone else’s system, either way, that brings us to the next step which is determining the profitability of a trading system.
Determining Profitability
Most people would think that back testing is the best way to determine a systems profitability. However back testing doesn’t always give you a true idea of how profitable a system is. The reason for this is because when you’re back testing your system on historical charts, you are only seeing the obvious setups which have occurred, and not always seeing the ones that are less obvious. These less obvious ones sometimes can produce losses, which is why back testing isn’t always the best method to implement.
A better method of determining profitability is by trading your system in real-time with a demo account. This would give you a true understanding of what your system is capable of. This would also allow you to familiarize yourself with your trading platform at the same time. When determining profitability you must look at it in terms of expectancy and opportunity.
Expectancy & Opportunity
These two factors together will be able to tell you what you could expect to make over a period of time. Expectancy is calculated with the following formula:
(Probability of winning × average win) – (Probability of losing × average loss)
This will give you a figure which is the average amount you can expect to make per trade. This shouldn’t be a negative amount, if it is you should look at some other method of trading since you cannot make money on a system that produces a negative expectancy. Obviously the higher this figure is the better. Now to the opportunity factor.
The opportunity factor is how often you are able to trade using your system. By multiplying your expectancy figure with your opportunity factor it will tell you how much you could expect to make over a period of time. The more opportunity you have to trade, the more money you should expect to make. This now brings us to the last component of a trading system, money management.
Money Management
Without proper money management you will end up as a statistic. In other words one of those 90%+ of traders who loose their money. Money management tells you how much of your account balance to risk per trade. The whole point of money management is to ensure your survival over the long term, and to preserve your capital.
The most common form of money management is the percent risk model which tells you not to risk more than x percent of your account balance on any one trade. A range between 1-3% is generally an accepted amount which has been a reliable percentage to use in order to make money in the long term.
By taking into consideration the above factors you will be able to determine if a trading system best suits you, and with some simple mathematical calculations you will be able to determine its profitability


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