lundi 5 octobre 2009

G-7 Comments Set Australian Dollar High

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The Australian dollar posted today its first gains after a rather bearish trend last week as the Group of 7 did not confirm speculations which suggested it would stress on the importance of a strong U.S. dollar to stabilize the world economy, favoring again high-yielding currencies.

Now,the Australian dollar has been one of the best performing currencies this year as risk appetite surged with the first signs of economic improvement in multiple parts of the world. This Monday, after a rather risk averse past week prior to the Group of 7 meeting, the Aussie managed to climb as both international and domestic factors provided support for the South Pacific currency to revert its previous losing trend. The G-7 did not give as much importance to a strong dollar as analysts expected, bringing risk appetite back to markets also adding to optimistic news in Australia, as services industry shrank less than expected in the past month.

The Aussie definitely remains as one of the best bets in currency markets for this week, according to specialists. A favorable domestic scenario combined with the G-7 meeting outcome only adds to the already optimism situation in Australia which is expecting interest rates to be raised before the end of year, attracting overseas investors to purchase Aussie priced assets.

AUD/USD traded at 0.8749 as of 12:06 GMT from an opening rate of 0.8670 yesterday. AUD/JPY also climbed, touching 78.65 from 77.53.

If you want to comment on the Australian dollar’s recent action or have any questions regarding this currency, please, feel free to reply below.
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Dollar Loses Slightly on G-7

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The dollar started this week losing versus the euro and the pound after speculations that Group of 7 central bankers would provide statements supporting the dollar were not confirmed, erasing last week gains and setting the dollar to a bearish scenario again.
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mercredi 22 juillet 2009

Automatic Forex

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Real Money Doubling Forex Robot Fap Turbo - Sells Like Candy! Fapturbo Is The Only Automated Forex Income Solution That Doubles Real Monetary Deposits In Under 30 Days. No Backtest Tricks. The Best Converting And Best Performing Forex Product On The Planet, Period. No Wonder It Sells Like Candy.
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Forex MegaDroid Robot. Automatic, 100% Hands-Free Forex Robot Uses Rcpta Technology And Breaks All Records. Amazing Conversion Rate Due To Great Reviews And Marketing/Product Originality. Last Robot We Launched Achieved 31% Conversion Rate! Very Low Refunds, Very High Payout!
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Forex Automoney - 100% Automatic Forex Trading Signals. Make Money Like Professionals Do! Use 100% Automatic Signals.
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mardi 21 juillet 2009

MetaTrader Hosting

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Host your MetaTrader EA (Expert Advisor) on a Forex VPS (Virtual Private Server) from only $35 per month!
"What is a Virtual Private Server or VPS?"
A VPS is basically another computer running on a hosted server. You interact with it in the same way you would with a normal Windows®-based desktop on your PC or laptop. The only difference is, you don't need to keep your computer running at home 24/7, and you don't need to rely on your internet or power connection in order for the VPS to keep running. That is taken care of by the VPS host.
All you need to do is open an account, log in to your VPS, and set up your EA like you normally would on your home computer. You can also set up any other trading platform on your VPS. Then, disconnect and go about your normal day, safe in the knowledge that you can turn off your home computer without missing a trade!
Forex VPS supports both Windows®, MAC and Linux operating systems.
Your VPS
This is what you will see when you log in to your VPS:
Click to Enlarge
You don't have to leave your computer running 24/7
You don't have to rely on your internet or power connection
You can run as many platforms and EA's as you wish
You can access any trading platform from any computer anywhere in the world
MetaTrader Pre-installed - MetaTrader 4 comes pre-installed on all hosting plans
Compatible With Any Broker - You can download and install any trading platform from any broker to your VPS
Automatic Restart - If the server is rebooted, you can set up your trading platform to automatically restart
Supports Multiple Operating Systems - Forex VPS supports both Windows®, MAC and Linux.
24/7 Access - Log in to your VPS at any time
Guarantee - Every plan comes with a 30 Day, money-back guarantee
Choose From 3 ForexVPS Hosting Plans
Starter Desktop - Suitable for 3-4 MetaTrader platforms**
Professional Desktop - Suitable for 6-8 MetaTrader platforms**
Ultimate Desktop - Suitable for 12-16 MetaTrader platforms**
**Based on one EA per platform using 128MB RAM. Depending on your EA, you could run more or less MetaTrader terminals than indicated above.
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Best Broker Ratings

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Forex Signals

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Daily Forex Charts
Neal Hughes provides daily forex charts in audio/video format covering 13 currency pairs identifying many trading opportunities for you to base your trades on. He will only send you what he believes to be the best trading opportunities for that day. Two week trial available.

ZuluTrade provides autotrading of third-party signal providers into client accounts. You choose the systems you want to trade with verified track records and let ZuluTrade do the rest! Click here for performance records.
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Forex Broker List

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Forex ECN-type Brokers (No Dealing Desk)
MB Trading -
Dukascopy -
Interactive Brokers -

MT4-to-ECN bridges available here
No Dealing Desk Brokers


Forex Market Makers
FX Solutions -
GFT Forex -
Oanda -

MetaTrader Programming: Do you need an EA or indicator programmed for MetaTrader?LatitudeFX -
MB Trading -
Alpari - -
Interbank FX -
Mig Investments -
ODL Securities -
TradeView Forex -
Velocity4x -
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Forex Broker Guide

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The following is a list of questions you may like to consider before opening an account. You can use this checklist to narrow down your selection of companies that fit your requirements. You may also wish to refer to the forex broker ratings page on this site to read about traders unique experiences with particular brokers.
The following links will also give you some background information on U.S. FCM's (Futures Commission Merchants).
Selected Financial Data for FCM's
NFA Background Affiliation Status
1. Word of Mouth
What do other traders say about the broker?
What is their customer service like?
2. Customer Protection
Is the broker regulated?
What regulatory organisation are they registered with and what protections does it afford you?
Are client funds insured against fraud?
Are client funds insured against bankruptcy?
3. Execution
What business model do they operate? i.e. Are they a Market Maker, ECN or no-dealing desk broker?
How fast is their order execution?
Are orders manually or automatically executed?
What is the maximum trade size before you have to request a quote?
Are all clients trades offset?
4. Spread
How tight is the spread?
Is it fixed or variable?
5. Slippage
How much slippage can be expected in normal and fast moving markets?
6. Margin
What is the margin requirement? e.g. 0.25% margin = max 400:1 leverage ), 0.5% margin = max 200:1 leverage, 1% margin = max 100:1 leverage, 2% margin = max 50:1 leverage, etc.
Does the margin requirement change for different currency pairs or days of the week?
At what point will the broker issue a margin call?
Is it the same for standard and mini accounts?
7. Commissions
Do they charge commissions? (Most market makers' commissions are built into the spread)
8. Rollover Policy

Is there a minimum margin requirement in order to earn rollover interest?
What are the swap rates like for going long or short in a particular currency pair?
Are there any other conditions for earning rollover interest?
9. Trading Platform
How intuitive and functional is it to use?
Are there many disconnections during trading hours?
How reliable is it during fast moving markets and news announcements?
How many different currency pairs can you trade?
Do they offer an Application Programming Interface (API) to allow you to automate your trading system?
Does it offer any other special features? (e.g. One click dealing, trading from the chart, trailing stops, mobile trading etc.)
10. Trading Account
What is the minimum balance required to open an account?
What is the minimum trade size?
Can you adjust the standard lot size traded?

Can you earn interest on the unused margin balance in your account?

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Forex Economic Calendar

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Fibonacci Calculator

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Forex Market Monitor

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Pip Calculator

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Pip Value Calculator

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Links Forex Websites

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Forex Magazines & Publications

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Forex scam

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A forex (or foreign exchange) scam is any trading scheme used to defraud traders by convincing them that they can expect to gain a high profit by trading in the foreign exchange market. Currency trading "has become the fraud du jour" as of early 2008, according to Michael Dunn of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. [1] But "the market has long been plagued by swindlers preying on the gullible," according to the New York Times [2]. "The average individual foreign-exchange-trading victim loses about $15,000, according to CFTC records" according to The Wall Street Journal. [3] The North American Securities Administrators Association says that "off-exchange forex trading by retail investors is at best extremely risky, and at worst, outright fraud." [4]
“In a typical case, investors may be promised tens of thousands of dollars in profits in just a few weeks or months, with an initial investment of only $5,000. Often, the investor’s money is never actually placed in the market through a legitimate dealer, but simply diverted – stolen – for the personal benefit of the con artists.”[5]
In August, 2008 the CFTC set up a special task force to deal with growing foreign exchange fraud.”[6]
The forex market is a zero-sum game[7] , meaning that whatever one trader gains, another loses, except that brokerage commissions and other transaction costs are subtracted from the results of all traders, technically making forex a "negative-sum" game.
These scams might include churning of customer accounts for the purpose of generating commissions, selling software that is supposed to guide the customer to large profits, [8] improperly managed "managed accounts", [9] false advertising, [10] Ponzi schemes and outright fraud. [4] [11] It also refers to any retail forex broker who indicates that trading foreign exchange is a low risk, high profit investment. [12]
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which loosely regulates the foreign exchange market in the United States, has noted an increase in the amount of unscrupulous activity in the non-bank foreign exchange industry.[13]
An official of the National Futures Association was quoted [14] as saying, "Retail forex trading has increased dramatically over the past few years. Unfortunately, the amount of forex fraud has also increased dramatically..." Between 2001 and 2006 the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has prosecuted more than 80 cases involving the defrauding of more than 23,000 customers who lost $350 million. From 2001 to 2007, about 26,000 people lost $460 million in forex frauds. [1] CNN quoted Godfried De Vidts, President of the Financial Markets Association, a European body, as saying, "Banks have a duty to protect their customers and they should make sure customers understand what they are doing. Now if people go online, on non-bank portals, how is this control being done?"
1 Not beating the market
2 The use of high leverage
3 Convicted scammers
4 Under criminal investigation
5 References
6 See also

Not beating the market
The foreign exchange market is a zero sum game[7] in which there are many experienced well-capitalized professional traders (e.g. working for banks) who can devote their attention full time to trading. An inexperienced retail trader will have a significant information disadvantage compared to these traders.
Although it is possible for a few experts to successfully arbitrage the market for an unusually large return, this does not mean that a larger number could earn the same returns even given the same tools, techniques and data sources. This is because the arbitrages are essentially drawn from a pool of finite size; although information about how to capture arbitrages is a nonrival good, the arbritrages themselves are a rival good. (To draw an analogy, the total amount of buried treasure on an island is the same, regardless of how many treasure hunters have bought copies of the treasure map.)
Retail traders are - almost by definition - undercapitalized. Thus they are subject to the problem of gambler's ruin. In a fair game (one with no information advantages) between two players that continues until one trader goes bankrupt, the player with the lower amount of capital has a higher probability of going bankrupt first. Since the retail speculator is effectively playing against the market as a whole - which has nearly infinite capital - he will almost certainly go bankrupt.
The retail trader always pays the bid/ask spread which makes his odds of winning less than those of a fair game. Additional costs may include margin interest, or if a spot position is kept open for more than one day the trade may be "resettled" each day, each time costing the full bid/ask spread.
According to the Wall Street Journal (Currency Markets Draw Speculation, Fraud July 26, 2005) "Even people running the trading shops warn clients against trying to time the market. 'If 15% of day traders are profitable,' says Drew Niv, chief executive of FXCM, 'I'd be surprised.' "[15]
Paul Belogour, the Managing Director of a Boston based retail forex trader, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying, "Trading foreign exchange is an excellent way for investors to find out how tough the markets really are. But I say to customers: if this is money you have worked hard for – that you cannot afford to lose – never, never invest in foreign exchange." [16]

The use of high leverage
By offering high leverage, the market maker encourages traders to trade extremely large positions. This increases the trading volume cleared by the market maker and increases his profits, but increases the risk that the trader will receive a margin call. While professional currency dealers (banks, hedge funds) never use more than 10:1 leverage, retail clients are generally offered leverage between 50:1 and 200:1[2].
A self-regulating body for the foreign exchange market, the National Futures Association, warns traders in a forex training presentation of the risk in trading currency. “As stated at the beginning of this program, off-exchange foreign currency trading carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all customers. The only funds that should ever be used to speculate in foreign currency trading, or any type of highly speculative investment, are funds that represent risk capital; in other words, funds you can afford to lose without affecting your financial situation.“ [17]

Convicted scammers
Russell Cline
Russell Erxleben
Richard Matthews, Jr.
Joel N. Ward

Under criminal investigation
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Trading in the Retail Off-Exchange

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Foreign Currency Trading

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Foreign Currency Trading

UPDATE: On May 22, 2008, the Congress passed H.R. 6124, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (also known as “the Farm Bill”) which contains several amendments to the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). In particular, Title XIII of the Farm Bill (1) clarifies that the CFTC’s anti-fraud authority applies to certain retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions, (2) creates a new registration category for retail foreign exchange dealers, (3) requires registration for those who solicit orders, exercise discretionary trading authority and operate pools with respect to retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions, and (4) imposes minimum capital requirements for futures commission merchants and retail foreign exchange dealers that act as counterparties to such transactions. Parts of the legislation, particularly those confirming the Commission’s anti-fraud authority, were effective upon passage. Other parts of the legislation, such as those requiring the registration of parties engaged in these transactions and minimum capital requirements, will only be effective upon the Commission’s issuance of final regulations. Any such changes to the information below will be accomplished through notice and comment rulemaking and will be made available in the Federal Register section of
A complete description of the amendments to the CEA effected by Title XIII of the Farm Bill can be found in the Joint Statement of Managers, pp. 291-299, which can be accessed through the House Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill Homepage. Interested parties should monitor the Commission’s website as well as the National Futures Association’s website, for developments.
The CFTC has witnessed increasing numbers, and a growing complexity, of financial investment opportunities in recent years, including a sharp rise in foreign currency (forex) trading scams.
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) made clear that the CFTC has jurisdiction and authority to investigate and take legal action to close down a wide assortment of unregulated firms offering or selling foreign currency futures and options contracts to the general public. The CFTC also has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute foreign currency fraud occuring in its registered firms and their affiliates. The CFTC issued an advisory in 2001 that discussed these CFMA amendments to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), 7 USC 1, et seq.
The Division of Trading and Markets (now Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight, or DCIO) issued an advisory in 2002 concerning foreign currency trading by retail customers (PDF). The advisory affirms that off-exchange trading of foreign currency futures and options contracts with retail customers by a counterparty that is not a regulated financial entity as set forth in the CFMA is unlawful. The advisory further states that, if there is a lawful counterparty to the transaction, such as a person registered as a futures commission merchant, the persons acting as intermediaries to such a transaction, that is, in the manner of an introducing broker, commodity trading advisor or commodity pool operator, would not need to register under the CEA if that is their only involvement in futures or option transactions.
DCIO issued an additional advisory in 2007 concerning foreign currency trading by retail customers (PDF). The DCIO Advisory addresses the following issues: (1) registration requirements for associated persons of firms registered as introducing brokers (IBs), commodity trading advisors, and commodity pool operators that are involved in forex transactions; (2) the permissibility of certain unregistered affiliates of a futures commission merchant (FCM) to act as proper counterparties in forex transactions; (3) claims that forex customer funds are segregated; (4) introducing entities acting as FCMs; (5) the applicability of the IB guarantee agreement to forex transactions and prohibiting guaranteed IBs from introducing forex transactions to an FCM that is not its guarantor FCM; (6) prohibiting forex account statements of an FCM’s unregistered affiliate from being included in the FCM’s account statements to its customers; and (7) prohibiting retail customers from acting as counterparties to each other in forex transactions.
Fraud Advisory from the CFTC: Foreign Currency (Forex) Fraud CFTC Brochure on Forex Fraud (PDF)CFTC Brochure on Forex Fraud (HTML)Foreign Exchange Currency Fraud: CFTC/NASAA Investor Alert
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Programming in Algorithmic Language MQL4

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Some Basic Concepts

Thus, the subject of our interest is a program written in MQL4. Before we start a detailed presentation of the rules of writing programs, it is necessary to describe the basic concepts that characterize a program and its interrelations with information environment. The MetaTrader 4 Client Terminal is known to work online. The situation on financial markets changes continuously, this affects symbol charts in the client terminal. Ticks provide the client terminal with information about price changes on the market.

The Notion of Tick

Tick is an event that is characterized by a new price of the symbol at some instant.

Ticks are delivered to every client terminal by a server installed in a dealing center. As appropriate to the current market situation, ticks may be received more or less frequently, but each of them brings a new quote - the cost of one currency expressed in terms of another currency.

An application operating with the client terminal may work within a long period of time, for example, several days or weeks. Each application is executed according to the rules set for programs of a certain type. For example, an Expert Advisor (EA) does not work continuously all the time. An Expert Advisor is usually launched at the moment when a new tick comes. For this reason, we don't characterize tick as just a new quote, but as an event to be processed by the client terminal.

The duration of Expert Advisor's operation depends on what program code is included in it. Normal EAs complete one information-processing cycle during some tenths or hundredths of a second. Within this time, the EA can have processed some parameters, make a trading decision, provide the trader with some useful information, etc. Having finished this part of its work, the EA goes to waiting mode until a new tick comes. This new tick launches the Expert Advisor again, the program makes its appropriate operations again and returns to the waiting mode. The detailed description of how the appearance of a new tick influences program operation follows below.

The Notion of Control

Speaking about the code execution flow in a program, as well as its interaction with the client terminal, we will use the term of 'control'.

Control is a process of carrying out of actions preset by the program algorithm and the client terminal features. Control can be transferred within the program from one code line to another one, as well as from the program to the client terminal.

Control is transferred in a way similar to that of giving someone the floor to speak at a meeting. Like speakers address a meeting and then give the floor to others, the client terminal and the program transfer control to each other. At that, the client terminal dominates. Its status is higher than that of the program, like the authority of the chairman of a meeting is larger than those of an ordinary speaker.

Before the program is launched, the control is under the supervision of the client terminal. When a new tick is received, the client terminal transfers the control to the program. The program code starts to be executed at this moment.

The client terminal, after it has transferred the control to the program, does not stop its operation. It continues working with maximum performance during the entire period of time it is launched on PC. The program can only start operating at the moment when the client terminal has transferred control to it (like the chairman of a meeting controls the meeting all the time it is going on, whereas the current speaker takes the word for only a limited period of time).

After it has completed its operation, the program returns control to the client terminal and cannot be launched by its own. However, when the control has already been transferred to the program, it returns control to the client terminal by itself. In other words, the client terminal cannot return control from the program by itself. Dynamic actions of the user (for example, forced termination of the program) are an exemption.

When discussing the matters of performance and internal structures of programs, we are mostly interested in the part of control that is transferred within a program. Let's refer to Fig. 2 that shows the general nature of transferring control to, from and within a program. Circles shown in the figure characterize some small, logically completed fragments of a program, whereas the arrows between the circles show how control is transferred from one fragment to another.

Fig. 2. Transferring control in a program

A program that has accepted control from the client terminal (the executing program) starts to make some actions according to its inherent algorithm. The program contains program lines; general order of program execution consists in sequential transfer of control from one line to another in the top-down direction. What and according to what rules can be written in these lines will be considered below in all details.

Here, it is only important to emphasize that every logically completed fragment is executed - for example, some mathematical calculations are made, a message is displayed on the screen, a trade order is formed, etc. Until the current fragment of the program is executed, it retains the control. After it has been fully completed, the control is transferred to another fragment. Thus, control within a program is transferred from one logically completed fragment to another as they are executed. As soon as the last fragment is executed, the program will transfer (return) control to the client terminal.

The Notion of Comment

A program consists in two types of records: those making the program itself and those being explanatory texts to the program code.

Comment is an optional and nonexecutable part of a program.

So, comment is an optional part of a program. It means that a ready program will work according to its code irrespective of whether there are comments in it or not. However, comments facilitate understanding of the program code very much. There are one-line and multi-line comments. A one-line comment is any sequence of characters following double slash (//). The sign of a one-line comment is ended by line feed. A multi-line comment starts with the characters of /* and is ended by */ (see Fig. 3).

Full Guide mql4
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INTRODUCTION - Technical Analysis

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Should I buy today? What will prices be tomorrow, next week, or next year? Wouldn't investing be easy if we knew the answers to these seemingly simple questions? Alas, if you are reading this book in the hope that technical analysis has the answers to these questions, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you early--it doesn't. However, if you are reading this book with the hope that technical analysis will improve your investing, I have good news--it will!

Some history

The term "technical analysis" is a complicated sounding name for a very basic approach to investing. Simply put, technical analysis is the study of prices, with charts being the primary tool.

The roots of modern-day technical analysis stem from the Dow Theory, developed around 1900 by Charles Dow. Stemming either directly or indirectly from the Dow Theory, these roots include such principles as the trending nature of prices, prices discounting all known information, confirmation and divergence, volume mirroring changes in price, and support/resistance. And of course, the widely followed Dow Jones Industrial Average is a direct offspring of the Dow Theory.

Charles Dow's contribution to modern-day technical analysis cannot be understated. His focus on the basics of security price movement gave rise to a completely new method of analyzing the markets.

The human element

The price of a security represents a consensus. It is the price at which one person agrees to buy and another agrees to sell. The price at which an investor is willing to buy or sell depends primarily on his expectations. If he expects the security's price to rise, he will buy it; if the investor expects the price to fall, he will sell it. These simple statements are the cause of a major challenge in forecasting security prices, because they refer to human expectations. As we all know firsthand, humans are not easily quantifiable nor predictable. This fact alone will keep any mechanical trading system from working consistently.

Because humans are involved, I am sure that much of the world's investment decisions are based on irrelevant criteria. Our relationships with our family, our neighbors, our employer, the traffic, our income, and our previous success and failures, all influence our confidence, expectations, and decisions.

Security prices are determined by money managers and home managers, students and strikers, doctors and dog catchers, lawyers and landscapers, and the wealthy and the wanting. This breadth of market participants guarantees an element of unpredictability and excitement.

Fundamental analysis

If we were all totally logical and could separate our emotions from our investment decisions, then, fundamental analysis the determination of price based on future earnings, would work magnificently. And since we would all have the same completely logical expectations, prices would only change when quarterly reports or relevant news was released. Investors would seek "overlooked" fundamental data in an effort to find undervalued securities.

The hotly debated "efficient market theory" states that security prices represent everything that is known about the security at a given moment. This theory concludes that it is impossible to forecast prices, since prices already reflect everything that is currently known about the security.

The future can be found in the past

If prices are based on investor expectations, then knowing what a security should sell for (i.e., fundamental analysis) becomes less important than knowing what other investors expect it to sell for. That's not to say that knowing what a security should sell for isn't important--it is. But there is usually a fairly strong consensus of a stock's future earnings that the average investor cannot disprove.

"I believe the future is only the past again, entered through another gate."
---Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, 1893

Technical analysis is the process of analyzing a security's historical prices in an effort to determine probable future prices. This is done by comparing current price action (i.e., current expectations) with comparable historical price action to predict a reasonable outcome. The devout technician might define this process as the fact that history repeats itself while others would suffice to say that we should learn from the past.

The roulette wheel

In my experience, only a minority of technicians can consistently and accurately determine future prices. However, even if you are unable to accurately forecast prices, technical analysis can be used to consistently reduce your risks and improve your profits.

The best analogy I can find on how technical analysis can improve your investing is a roulette wheel. I use this analogy with reservation, as gamblers have very little control when compared to investors (although considering the actions of many investors, gambling may be a very appropriate analogy).

"There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate: when he can't afford it, and when he can."
---Mark Twain, 1897

A casino makes money on a roulette wheel, not by knowing what number will come up next, but by slightly improving their odds with the addition of a "0" and "00."

Similarly, when an investor purchases a security, he doesn't know that its price will rise. But if he buys a stock when it is in a rising trend, after a minor sell off, and when interest rates are falling, he will have improved his odds of making a profit. That's not gambling--it's intelligence. Yet many investors buy securities without attempting to control the odds.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to know what a security's price will be in the future to make money. Your goal should simply be to improve the odds of making profitable trades. Even if your analysis is as simple as determining the long-, intermediate-, and short-term trends of the security, you will have gained an edge that you would not have without technical analysis.

Consider the chart of Merck in Figure 1 where the trend is obviously down and there is no sign of a reversal. While the company may have great earnings prospects and fundamentals, it just doesn't make sense to buy the security until there is some technical evidence in the price that this trend is changing.

Figure 1

Automated trading

If we accept the fact that human emotions and expectations play a role in security pricing, we should also admit that our emotions play a role in our decision making. Many investors try to remove their emotions from their investing by using computers to make decisions for them. The concept of a "HAL," the intelligent computer in the movie 2001, is appealing.

Mechanical trading systems can help us remove our emotions from our decisions. Computer testing is also useful to determine what has happened historically under various conditions and to help us optimize our trading techniques. Yet since we are analyzing a less than logical subject (human emotions and expectations), we must be careful that our mechanical systems don't mislead us into thinking that we are analyzing a logical entity.

That is not to say that computers aren't wonderful technical analysis tools--they are indispensable. In my totally biased opinion, technical analysis software has done more to level the playing field for the average investor than any other non-regulatory event. But as a provider of technical analysis tools, I caution you not to let the software lull you into believing markets are as logical and predictable as the computer you use to analyze them.
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Technical Analysis

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Guide to Technical Analysis - by Incredible Charts
Technical Analysis from A to Z - by MarketScreen
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School of Pipsology

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Forex education is crucial for beginners.’s School of Pipsology is designed to help you acquire the skills, knowledge, and abilities to become a successful trader in the foreign exchange market. Our definition of a successful trader is having the ability to do three things:
Make pips
Keep pips
If you can repeatedly do these three things, then you're on your way! But it's no cakewalk.
Remember when you attended grade school? No? Well, according to our memories, here's how it worked.
You start schooling at the age of five and enter Kindergarten. The next year you enter 1st Grade. If you pass, the next year you enter 2nd Grade, and so on, all the way up to the 12th Grade. Depending on what grade you're in, you'd attend one of three schools:
Elementary school (Kindergarten - 5th grade)
Middle school (6th grade - 8th grade)
High school (9th grade - 12th grade)
This is how our lessons are broken apart, so you can relive the past and also be able to learn and study forex trading techniques at your own pace – but our high school goes beyond the 12th grade!
But there's more!
Learning doesn't end in high school!
If you've done well throughout grade school, you get a full scholarship to our college! All expenses paid and we won't even require you to fill out any applications or write essays. What a deal!
Our curriculum here at the School of Pipsology will make a bold attempt to cover all aspects of forex trading. You will learn how to identify trading opportunities, how to time the market (aka smart guessing), and when to take profits or close a trade.
But that's not all folks.
You will also learn how to predict the future and never have a losing trade.
Yeah right. In your dreams pal.
But there is plenty more to learn and you'll just have to see for yourself!

School of Pipsology Curriculum:
Forex Basics
Types of charts
1st Grade
Japanese Candlesticks
2nd Grade
Support and Resistance, Trend Lines, and Channels
3rd Grade
4th Grade
Moving Averages
5th Grade
Common Chart IndicatorsBollinger Bands, MACD, Stochastics, RSI, and Parabolic SAR
6th Grade
Oscillators and Momentum Indicators
7th Grade
Important Chart Patterns
8th Grade
Forex Pivot Points
9th Grade
Multiple time frames
10th Grade
Elliott Wave Theory
11th Grade
Create Your Own Trading System
12th Grade
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Support and Resistance

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Support and resistance represent key junctures where the forces of supply and demand meet. In the financial markets, prices are driven by excessive supply (down) and demand (up). Supply is synonymous with bearish, bears and selling. Demand is synonymous with bullish, bulls and buying. These terms are used interchangeably throughout this and other articles. As demand increases, prices advance and as supply increases, prices decline. When supply and demand are equal, prices move sideways as bulls and bears slug it out for control.

What Is Support?
Support is the price level at which demand is thought to be strong enough to prevent the price from declining further. The logic dictates that as the price declines towards support and gets cheaper, buyers become more inclined to buy and sellers become less inclined to sell. By the time the price reaches the support level, it is believed that demand will overcome supply and prevent the price from falling below support.

Support does not always hold and a break below support signals that the bears have won out over the bulls. A decline below support indicates a new willingness to sell and/or a lack of incentive to buy. Support breaks and new lows signal that sellers have reduced their expectations and are willing sell at even lower prices. In addition, buyers could not be coerced into buying until prices declined below support or below the previous low. Once support is broken, another support level will have to be established at a lower level.

Where Is Support Established?
Support levels are usually below the current price, but it is not uncommon for a security to trade at or near support. Technical analysis is not an exact science and it is sometimes difficult to set exact support levels. In addition, price movements can be volatile and dip below support briefly. Sometimes it does not seem logical to consider a support level broken if the price closes 1/8 below the established support level. For this reason, some traders and investors establish support zones.

What Is Resistance?
Resistance is the price level at which selling is thought to be strong enough to prevent the price from rising further. The logic dictates that as the price advances towards resistance, sellers become more inclined to sell and buyers become less inclined to buy. By the time the price reaches the resistance level, it is believed that supply will overcome demand and prevent the price from rising above resistance.

Resistance does not always hold and a break above resistance signals that the bulls have won out over the bears. A break above resistance shows a new willingness to buy and/or a lack of incentive to sell. Resistance breaks and new highs indicate buyers have increased their expectations and are willing to buy at even higher prices. In addition, sellers could not be coerced into selling until prices rose above resistance or above the previous high. Once resistance is broken, another resistance level will have to be established at a higher level.

Where Is Resistance Established?
Resistance levels are usually above the current price, but it is not uncommon for a security to trade at or near resistance. In addition, price movements can be volatile and rise above resistance briefly. Sometimes it does not seem logical to consider a resistance level broken if the price closes 1/8 above the established resistance level. For this reason, some traders and investors establish resistance zones.

Methods to Establish Support and Resistance?
Support and resistance are like mirror images and have many common characteristics.

Highs and Lows
Support can be established with the previous reaction lows. Resistance can be established by using the previous reaction highs.

The above chart for Halliburton (HAL) shows a large trading range between Dec-99 and Mar-00. Support was established with the October low around 33. In December, the stock returned to support in the mid-thirties and formed a low around 34. Finally, in February the stock again returned to the support scene and formed a low around 33 1/2.

After each bounce off support, the stock traded all the way up to resistance. Resistance was first established by the September support break at 42.5. After a support level is broken, it can turn into a resistance level. From the October lows, the stock advanced to the new support-turned-resistance level around 42.5. When the stock failed to advance past 42.5, the resistance level was confirmed. The stock subsequently traded up to 42.5 two more times after that and failed to surpass resistance both times.

Support Equals Resistance
Another principle of technical analysis stipulates that support can turn into resistance and visa versa. Once the price breaks below a support level, the broken support level can turn into resistance. The break of support signals that the forces of supply have overcome the forces of demand. Therefore, if the price returns to this level, there is likely to be an increase in supply, and hence resistance.

The other turn of the coin is resistance turning into support. As the price advances above resistance, it signals changes in supply and demand. The breakout above resistance proves that the forces of demand have overwhelmed the forces of supply. If the price returns to this level, there is likely to be an increase in demand and support will be found.

In this example of the NASDAQ 100 Index ($NDX), the stock broke resistance at 935 in May-97 and traded just above this resistance level for over a month. The ability to remain above resistance established 935 as a new support level. The stock subsequently rose to 1150, but then fell back to test support at 935. After the second test of support at 935, this level is well established.

From the PeopleSoft (PSFT) example, we can see that support can turn into resistance and then back into support. PeopleSoft found support at 18 from Oct-98 to Jan-99 (green oval), but broke below support in Mar-99 as the bears overpowered the bulls. When the stock rebounded (red oval), there was still overhead supply at 18 and resistance was met from Jun-99 to Oct-99.

Where does this overhead supply come from? Demand was obviously increasing around 18 from Oct-98 to Mar-99 (green oval). Therefore, there were a lot of buyers in the stock around 18. When the price declined past 18 and to around 14, many of these buyers were probably still holding the stock. This left a supply overhang (commonly known as resistance) around 18. When the stock rebounded to 18, many of the green-oval-buyers (who bought around 18) probably took the opportunity to sell. When this supply was exhausted, the demand was able to overpower supply and advance above resistance at 18.

Trading Range
Trading ranges can play an important role in determining support and resistance as turning points or as continuation patterns. A trading range is a period of time when prices move within a relatively tight range. This signals that the forces of supply and demand are evenly balanced. When the price breaks out of the trading range, above or below, it signals that a winner has emerged. A break above is a victory for the bulls (demand) and a break below is a victory for the bears (supply).

After an extended advance from 27 to 64, WorldCom (WCOM) entered into a trading range between 55 and 63 for about 5 months. There was a false breakout in mid-June when the stock briefly poked its head above 62 (red oval). This did not last long and a gap down a few days later nullified the breakout (black arrow). The stock then proceeded to break support at 55 in Aug-99 and trade as low as 50. Here is another example of support turned resistance as the stock bounced off 55 two more times before heading lower. While this does not always happen, a return to the new resistance level offers a second chance for longs to get out and shorts to enter the fray.

In Nov/Dec-99, Lucent Technologies (LU) formed a trading range that resembled a head and shoulders pattern (red oval). When the stock broke support at 60, there was little or no time to exit. Even though the there is a long black candlestick indicating an open at 59, the stock fell so fast that it was impossible to exit above 44. In hindsight, the support line could have been drawn as an upward sloping neckline (blue line), and the support break would have come at 61. This is only 1 point higher and a trader would have had to take action immediately to avoid a sharp fall. However, the lows match up rather nicely on the neckline, and it is something to consider when drawing support lines.

After Lucent declined, a trading range was established between 40.5 and 47.5 for almost two months (green oval). The resistance level of the trading range was well marked by three reaction peaks at 47.5. The support level was not as clearly marked, but appeared to be between 40 and 41. Some buying interest began to become evident around 44 in mid- to late-February. Notice the array of candlesticks with long lower shadows, or hammers, as they are known. The stock then proceeded to form two up gaps on 24-Feb and 25-Feb, and finally closed above resistance at 48. This was a clear indication of demand winning out over supply. There were still two more opportunities (days) to get in on the action. On the third day after the breakout, the stock gapped up and moved above 56.

Support and Resistance Zones
Because technical analysis is not an exact science, it is useful to create support and resistance zones. This is contrary to the strategy mapped out for Lucent Technologies (LU), but it is sometimes the case. Each security has its own characteristics, and analysis should reflect the intricacies of the security. Sometimes, exact support and resistance levels are best, and, sometimes, zones work better. Generally, the tighter the range, the more exact the level. If the trading range spans less than 2 months and the price range is relatively tight, then more exact support and resistance levels are best suited. If a trading range spans many months and the price range is relatively large, then it is best to use support and resistance zones. These are only meant as general guidelines, and each trading range should be judged on its own merits.

Returning to the analysis of Halliburton (HAL), we can see that the November high of the trading range (33 to 44) extended more than 20% past the low, making the range quite large relative to the price. Because the September support break forms our first resistance level, we are ready to set up a resistance zone after the November high is formed, probably around early December. At this point though, we are still unsure if a large trading range will develop. The subsequent low in December, which was just higher than the October low, offers evidence that a trading range is forming, and we are ready to set the support zone. As long as the stock trades within the boundaries set by the support and resistance zone, we will consider the trading range to be valid. Support may be looked upon as an opportunity to buy, and resistance as an opportunity to sell.

Identification of key support and resistance levels is an essential ingredient to successful technical analysis. Even though it is sometimes difficult to establish exact support and resistance levels, being aware of their existence and location can greatly enhance analysis and forecasting abilities. If a security is approaching an important support level, it can serve as an alert to be extra vigilant in looking for signs of increased buying pressure and a potential reversal. If a security is approaching a resistance level, it can act as an alert to look for signs of increased selling pressure and potential reversal. If a support or resistance level is broken, it signals that the relationship between supply and demand has changed. A resistance breakout signals that demand (bulls) has gained the upper hand and a support break signals that supply (bears) has won the battle.


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What Are Charts?

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A price chart is a sequence of prices plotted over a specific time frame. In statistical terms, charts are referred to as time series plots.

On the chart, the y-axis (vertical axis) represents the price scale and the x-axis (horizontal axis) represents the time scale. Prices are plotted from left to right across the x-axis with the most recent plot being the furthest right. The price plot for IBM extends from January 1, 1999 to March 13, 2000.

Technicians, technical analysts and chartists use charts to analyze a wide array of securities and forecast future price movements. The word "securities" refers to any tradable financial instrument or quantifiable index such as stocks, bonds, commodities, futures or market indices. Any security with price data over a period of time can be used to form a chart for analysis.

While technical analysts use charts almost exclusively, the use of charts is not limited to just technical analysis. Because charts provide an easy-to-read graphical representation of a security's price movement over a specific period of time, they can also be of great benefit to fundamental analysts. A graphical historical record makes it easy to spot the effect of key events on a security's price, its performance over a period of time and whether it's trading near its highs, near its lows, or in between.

How to Pick a Time Frame
The time frame used for forming a chart depends on the compression of the data: intraday, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual data. The less compressed the data is, the more detail is displayed.

Daily data is made up of intraday data that has been compressed to show each day as a single data point, or period. Weekly data is made up of daily data that has been compressed to show each week as a single data point. The difference in detail can be seen with the daily and weekly chart comparison above. 100 data points (or periods) on the daily chart is equal to the last 5 months of the weekly chart, which is shown by the data marked in the rectangle. The more the data is compressed, the longer the time frame possible for displaying the data. If the chart can display 100 data points, a weekly chart will hold 100 weeks (almost 2 years). A daily chart that displays 100 days would represent about 5 months. There are about 20 trading days in a month and about 252 trading days in a year. The choice of data compression and time frame depends on the data available and your trading or investing style.

Traders usually concentrate on charts made up of daily and intraday data to forecast short-term price movements. The shorter the time frame and the less compressed the data is, the more detail that is available. While long on detail, short-term charts can be volatile and contain a lot of noise. Large sudden price movements, wide high-low ranges and price gaps can affect volatility, which can distort the overall picture.
Investors usually focus on weekly and monthly charts to spot long-term trends and forecast long-term price movements. Because long-term charts (typically 1-4 years) cover a longer time frame with compressed data, price movements do not appear as extreme and there is often less noise.
Others might use a combination of long-term and short-term charts. Long-term charts are good for analyzing the large picture to get a broad perspective of the historical price action. Once the general picture is analyzed, a daily chart can be used to zoom in on the last few months.
How Are Charts Formed?
We will be explaining the construction of line, bar, candlestick and point & figure charts. Although there are other methods available, these are 4 of the most popular methods for displaying price data.

Line Chart

Some investors and traders consider the closing level to be more important than the open, high or low. By paying attention to only the close, intraday swings can be ignored. Line charts are also used when open, high and low data points are not available. Sometimes only closing data are available for certain indices, thinly traded stocks and intraday prices.

Bar Chart
Perhaps the most popular charting method is the bar chart. The high, low and close are required to form the price plot for each period of a bar chart. The high and low are represented by the top and bottom of the vertical bar and the close is the short horizontal line crossing the vertical bar. On a daily chart, each bar represents the high, low and close for a particular day. Weekly charts would have a bar for each week based on Friday's close and the high and low for that week.

Bar charts can also be displayed using the open, high, low and close. The only difference is the addition of the open price, which is displayed as a short horizontal line extending to the left of the bar. Whether or not a bar chart includes the open depends on the data available.

Bar charts can be effective for displaying a large amount of data. Using candlesticks, 200 data points can take up a lot of room and look cluttered. Line charts show less clutter, but do not offer as much detail (no high-low range). The individual bars that make up the bar chart are relatively skinny, which allows users the ability to fit more bars before the chart gets cluttered. If you are not interested in the opening price, bar charts are an ideal method for analyzing the close relative to the high and low. In addition, bar charts that include the open will tend to get cluttered quicker. If you are interested in the opening price, candlestick charts probably offer a better alternative.

Candlestick Chart
Originating in Japan over 300 years ago, candlestick charts have become quite popular in recent years. For a candlestick chart, the open, high, low and close are all required. A daily candlestick is based on the open price, the intraday high and low, and the close. A weekly candlestick is based on Monday's open, the weekly high-low range and Friday's close.

Many traders and investors believe that candlestick charts are easy to read, especially the relationship between the open and the close. White (clear) candlesticks form when the close is higher than the open and black (solid) candlesticks form when the close is lower than the open. The white and black portion formed from the open and close is called the body (white body or black body). The lines above and below are called shadows and represent the high and low.

Point & Figure Chart
The charting methods shown above, all, plot one data point for each period of time. No matter how much price movement, each day or week represented is one point, bar, or candlestick along the time scale. Even if the price is unchanged from day to day or week to week, a dot, bar, or candlestick is plotted to mark the price action. Contrary to this methodology, point & figure Charts are based solely on price movement, and do not take time into consideration. There is an x-axis but it does not extend evenly across the chart.

The beauty of point & figure charts is their simplicity. Little or no price movement is deemed irrelevant and therefore not duplicated on the chart. Only price movements that exceed specified levels are recorded. This focus on price movement makes it easier to identify support and resistance levels, bullish breakouts and bearish breakdowns. This P&F article has a more detailed explanation of point & figure charts.

Price Scaling
There are two methods for displaying the price scale along the y-axis: arithmetic and logarithmic. An arithmetic scale displays 10 points (or dollars) as the same vertical distance no matter what the price level. Each unit of measure is the same throughout the entire scale. If a stock advances from 10 to 80 over a 6-month period, the move from 10 to 20 will appear to be the same distance as the move from 70 to 80. Even though this move is the same in absolute terms, it is not the same in percentage terms.

A logarithmic scale measures price movements in percentage terms. An advance from 10 to 20 would represent an increase of 100%. An advance from 20 to 40 would also be 100%, as would an advance from 40 to 80. All three of these advances would appear as the same vertical distance on a logarithmic scale. Most charting programs refer to the logarithmic scale as a semi-log scale, because the time axis is still displayed arithmetically.

The chart above uses the 4th-Quarter performance of VeriSign to illustrate the difference in scaling. On the semi-log scale, the distance between 50 and 100 is the same as the distance between 100 and 200. However, on the arithmetic scale, the distance between 100 and 200 is significantly greater than the distance between 50 and 100.

Key points on the benefits of arithmetic and semi-log scales:

Arithmetic scales are useful when the price range is confined within a relatively tight range.
Arithmetic scales are useful for short-term charts and trading. Price movements (particularly for stocks) are shown in absolute dollar terms and reflect movements dollar for dollar.
Semi-log scales are useful when the price has moved significantly, be it over a short or extended time frame
Trend lines tend to match lows better on semi-log scales.
Semi-log scales are useful for long-term charts to gauge the percentage movements over a long period of time. Large movements are put into perspective.
Stocks and many other securities are judged in relative terms through the use of ratios such as PE, Price/Revenues and Price/Book. With this in mind, it also makes sense to analyze price movements in percentage terms.
Even though many different charting techniques are available, one method is not necessarily better than the other. The data may be the same, but each method will provide its own unique interpretation, with its own benefits and drawbacks. A breakout on the point & figure chart may not occur in unison with a breakout in a candlestick chart. Signals that are available on candlestick charts may not appear on bar charts. How the security's price is displayed, be it a bar chart or candlestick chart, with an arithmetic scale or semi-log scale, is not the most important aspect. After all, the data is the same and price action is price action. When all is said and done, it is the analysis of the price action that separates successful technicians from not-so-successful technicians. The choice of which charting method to use will depend on personal preferences and trading or investing styles. Once you have chosen a particular charting methodology, it is probably best to stick with it and learn how best to read the signals. Switching back and forth may cause confusion and undermine the focus of your analysis. Faulty analysis is rarely caused by the chart. Before blaming your charting method for missing a signal, first look at your analysis.

The keys to successful chart analysis are dedication, focus, and consistency:

Dedication: Learn the basics of chart analysis, apply your knowledge on a regular basis, and continue your development.
Focus: Limit the number of charts, indicators and methods you use. Learn how to use them, and learn how to use them well.
Consistency: Maintain your charts on a regular basis and study them often (daily if possible
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How to Use Elliott Wave Analysis to Boost Your Forex Trading

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Tips From a Pro: How To Trade Forex With Elliott Wave

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A FREE Report and FREE Video Lesson from EWI’s Chief Currency Strategist
Not since the U.S. Dollar Index (a measure of the dollar's strength against a basket of six other currencies) was created in 1973 has the greenback been as weak as it was back in April and July of 2008. That's when the euro-dollar exchange rate hit the $1.60 mark.
At that time, it seemed that the days of the dollar as the world's reserve currency were numbered. But – to the surprise of many forex traders – since then, the USD has enjoyed a truly remarkable recovery. On October 21, the EURUSD hit a fresh low of near $1.30, clinching a staggering 30-cent gain by the dollar in a matter of just three months.
Once again, the dollar has proved its role as a "safe haven" currency, and once again it's the center of the global financial community's attention. It will likely stay in the spotlight for a while. And that could be good for the forex market.
Currency trading is already the largest and most liquid market on the planet, with the daily volume being 10 times larger than the combined daily turnover on all of the world's stock exchanges. You may have heard that Elliott wave analysis is something many forex traders use. It's true; wave analysis is not a crystal ball, but it helps you accomplish three crucial goals: identify the trend, stay with it, and know when the trend is likely over.
We at Elliott Wave International have many resources that can help you to learn Elliott – but nothing helps you learn faster than watching a good teacher. Check out these two FREE resources:
FREE Video Lesson: How To Trade Forex With Elliott WaveIn early November 2007, EWI's Senior Currency Strategist Jim Martens taught a live 3-hour course on trading with Elliott in Denver, CO. What you are about to see is a condensed, 20-plus-minute version of Jim's course, the highlights of his best insights. Here's what you'll learn:
At its core, Elliott wave analysis is simple. Watch Jim explain why.
What Elliott waves are best for trading forex?
How do I identify trade setups?
At what point in a wave pattern do I enter a trade?
Your FREE Report: Discovering How To Use the Elliott Wave Principle Dig in and learn with this informative beginners piece on the basics of the Elliott Wave Principle. It will introduce you to the basic Elliott wave pattern and how to identify key trends and turns in the markets, plus much more.
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Forex Tutorial

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Forex Tutorial - by RealTime Forex
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Identifying Trending & Range-Bound Currencies

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The overall forex market generally trends more than the overall stock market. Why? The equity market, which is really a market of many individual stocks, is governed by the micro dynamics of particular companies. The forex market, on the other hand, is driven by macroeconomic trends that can sometimes take years to play out. These trends best manifest themselves through the major pairs and the commodity block currencies. Here we take a look at these trends, examining where and why they occur. Then we also look at what types of pairs offer the best opportunities for range-bound trading.

The Majors

There are only four major currency pairs in forex, which makes it a quite easy to follow the market. They are:

EUR/USD - euro / U.S. dollar
USD/JPY - U.S. dollar / Japanese yen
GBP/USD - British pound / U.S. dollar
USD/CHF - U.S. dollar / Swiss franc
It is understandable why the United States, the European Union and Japan would have the most active and liquid currencies in the world, but why the United Kingdom? After all, as of 2005, India has a larger GDP ($3.3 trillion vs. $1.7 trillion for the U.K.), while Russia's GDP ($1.4 trillion) and Brazil's GDP ($1.5 trillion) almost match U.K.'s total economic production. The explanation, which applies to much of the forex market, is tradition. The U.K. was the first economy in the world to develop sophisticated capital markets and at one time it was the British pound, not the U.S. dollar, that served as the world's reserve currency. Because of this legacy and because of London's primacy as the center of global forex dealing, the pound is still considered one of the major currencies of the world.

The Swiss franc, on the other hand, takes its place amongst the four majors because of Switzerland's famed neutrality and fiscal prudence. At one time the Swiss franc was 40% backed by gold, but to many traders in the forex market it is still known as "liquid gold". In times of turmoil or economic stagflation, traders turn to the Swiss franc as a safe-haven currency.

The largest major pair - in fact the single most liquid financial instrument in the world - is the EUR/USD. This pair trades almost $1 trillion per day of notional value from Tokyo to London to New York 24 hours a day, five days a week. The two currencies represent the two largest economic entities in the world: the U.S. with an annual GDP of $11 trillion and the Eurozone with a GDP of about $10.5 trillion.

Although U.S. economic growth has been far better than that of the Eurozone (3.1% vs.1.6%), the Eurozone economy generates net trade surpluses while the U.S. runs chronic trade deficits. The superior balance-sheet position of the Eurozone and the sheer size of the Eurozone economy has made the euro an attractive alternative reserve currency to the dollar. As such, many central banks including Russia, Brazil and South Korea have diversified some of their reserves into euro. Clearly this diversification process has taken time as do many of the events or shifts that affect the forex market. That is why one of the key attributes of successful trend trading in forex is a longer-term outlook.

Observing the Significance of the Long Term
To see the importance of this longer-term outlook, take a look at Figure 1 and Figure 2, which both use a three-simple-moving-average (three-SMA) filter.

Figure 1 - Charts the EUR/USD exchange rate from Mar 1 to May 15, 2005. Note recent price action suggests choppiness and a possible start of a downtrend as all three simple moving averages line up under one another.

Figure 2 - Charts the EUR/USD exchange rate from Aug 2002 to Jun 2005. Every bar corresponds to one week rather than one day (as in Figure 1). And in this longer-term chart, a completely different view emerges - the uptrend remains intact with every down move doing nothing more than providing the starting point for new highs.

The three-SMA filter is a good way to gauge the strength of trend. The basic premise of this filter is that if the short-term trend (seven-day SMA) and the intermediate-term trend (20-day SMA) and the long-term trend (65-day SMA) are all aligned in one direction, then the trend is strong.

Some traders may wonder why we use the 65 SMA. The truthful answer is that we picked up this idea from John Carter, a futures trader and educator, as these were the values he used. But the importance of the three-SMA filter not does lie in the specific SMA values, but rather in the interplay of the short-, intermediate- and long-term price trends provided by the SMAs. As long you use reasonable proxies for each of these trends, the three-SMA filter will provide valuable analysis.

Looking at the EUR/USD from two time perspectives, we can see how different the trend signals can be. Figure 1 displays the daily price action for the months of March, April and May 2005, which shows choppy movement with a clear bearish bias. Figure 2, however, charts the weekly data for all of 2003, 2004 and 2005, and paints a very different picture. According to Figure 2, EUR/USD remains in a clear uptrend despite some very sharp corrections along the way.

Warren Buffett, the famous investor who is well known for making long-term trend trades, has been heavily criticized for holding onto his massive long EUR/USD position which has suffered some losses along the way. By looking at the formation on Figure 2, however, it becomes much clearer why Buffet may have the last laugh.

Commodity Block Currencies
The three most liquid commodity currencies in forex markets are USD/CAD, AUD/USD and NZD/USD. The Canadian dollar is affectionately known as the "loonie", the Australian dollar as the "Aussie" and the New Zealand Dollar as the "kiwi". These three nations are tremendous exporters of commodities and often trend very strongly in concert with the demand for each their primary export commodity.

For instance, take a look at Figure 3, which shows the relationship between the Canadian dollar and prices of crude oil. Canada is the largest exporter of oil to U.S. and almost 10% of Canada's GDP comprises the energy exploration sector. The USD/CAD trades inversely, so Canadian dollar strength creates a downtrend in the pair.

Figure 3 - This chart displays the relationship between the loonie and price of crude oil. The Canadian economy is a very rich source of oil reserves. The chart shows that as the price of oil increases, it becomes less expensive for a person holding the Canadian dollar to purchase U.S.dollars.

Although Australia does not have many oil reserves, the country is a very rich source of precious metals and is the second-largest exporter of gold in the world. In Figure 4 we can see the relationship between the Australian dollar and gold.

Figure 4 - This chart looks at the relationship between the Aussie and gold prices (in U.S. dollars). Note how a rally in gold from Dec 2002 to Nov 2004 coincided with a very strong uptrend in the Australian dollar.
Crosses Are Best for Range

In contrast to the majors and commodity block currencies, both of which offer traders the strongest and longest trending opportunities, currency crosses present the best range-bound trades. In forex, crosses are defined as currency pairs that do not have the USD as part of the pairing. The EUR/CHF is one such cross, and it has been known to be perhaps the best range-bound pair to trade. One of the reasons is of course that there is very little difference between the growth rates of Switzerland and the European Union. Both regions run current-account surpluses and adhere to fiscally conservative policies.

One strategy for range traders is to determine the parameters of the range for the pair, divide these parameters by a median line and simply buy below the median and sell above it. The parameters of the range is determined by the high and low between which the prices fluctuate over a give period. For example in EUR/CHF, range traders could, for the period between May 2004 to Apr 2005, establish 1.5550 as the top and 1.5050 as the bottom of the range with 1.5300 median line demarcating the buy and sell zones. (See Figure 5 below).

Figure 5 - This charts the EUR/CHF (from May 2004 to Apr 2005), with 1.5550 as the top and 1.5050 as the bottom of the range, and 1.5300 as the median line. One range-trading strategy involves selling above the median and buying below the median.

Remember range traders are agnostic about direction. They simply want to sell relatively overbought conditions and buy relatively oversold conditions.

Cross currencies are so attractive for the range-bound strategy because they represent currency pairs from culturally and economically similar countries; imbalances between these currencies therefore often return to equilibrium. It is hard to fathom, for instance, that Switzerland would go into a depression while the rest of Europe merrily expands. The same sort of tendency toward equilibrium, however, cannot be said for stocks of similar nature. It is quite easy to imagine how, say, General Motors could file for bankruptcy even while Ford and Chrysler continue to do business. Because currencies represent macroeconomic forces they are not as susceptible to risks that occur on the micro level - as individual company stocks are. Currencies are therefore much safer to range trade.

Nevertheless, risk is present in all speculation, and traders should never range trade any pair without a stop loss. A reasonable strategy is to employ a stop at half the amplitude of the total range. In the case of the EUR/CHF range we defined in Figure 5, the stop would be at 250 pips above the high and 250 below the low. In other words if this pair reached 1.5800 or 1.4800, the trader should stop him- or herself out of the trade because the range would most likely have been broken.

Interest Rates - the Final Piece of the Puzzle
While EUR/CHF has a relatively tight range of 500 pips over the year shown in Figure 5, a pair like GBP/JPY has a far larger range at 1800 pips, which is shown in Figure 6. Interest rates are the reason there's a difference.

The interest rate differential between two countries affects the trading range of their currency pairs. For the period represented in Figure 5, Switzerland has an interest rate of 75 basis points (bps) and Eurozone rates are 200 bps, creating a differential of only 125 bps. However, for the period represented in Figure 6, however, the interest rates in the U.K are at 475 bps while in Japan - which is gripped by deflation - rates are 0 bps, making a whopping 475 bps differential between the two countries. The rule of thumb in forex is the larger the interest rate differential, the more volatile the pair.

Figure 6 - This charts the GBP/JPY (from Dec 2003 to Nov 2004). Notice the range in this pair is almost 1800 pips!

To further demonstrate the relationship between trading ranges and interest rates, the following is a table of various crosses, their interest rate differentials and the maximum pip movement from high to low over the period from May 2004 to May 2005.

Currency Pair Central Bank Rates (in basis points) Interest Rate Spread (in basis points) 12-Month TradingRange (in pips)
AUD/JPY AUD - 550 / JPY - 0 550 1000
GBP/JPY GBP - 475 / JPY - 0 475 1600
GBP/CHF GBP - 475 / CHF - 75 400 1950
EUR/GBP EUR - 200 / GBP - 475 275 550
EUR/JPY EUR - 200 / JPY - 0 200 1150
EUR/CHF EUR - 200 / CHF - 75 125 603
CHF/JPY CHF - 75 / JPY - 0 75 650

While the relationship is not perfect, it is certainly substantial. Note how pairs with wider interest rate spreads typically trade in larger ranges. Therefore, when contemplating range trading strategies in forex, traders must be keenly aware of rate differentials and adjust for volatility accordingly. Failure to take interest rate differential into account could turn potentially profitable range ideas into losing propositions.

The forex market is incredibly flexible, accommodating both trend and range traders, but as with success in any enterprise, proper knowledge is key.
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Pivot Point Trading

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You are going to love this lesson. Using pivot points as a trading strategy has been around for a long time and was originally used by floor traders. This was a nice simple way for floor traders to have some idea of where the market was heading during the course of the day with only a few simple calculations.

The pivot point is the level at which the market direction changes for the day. Using some simple arithmetic and the previous days high, low and close, a series of points are derived. These points can be critical support and resistance levels. The pivot level, support and resistance levels calculated from that are collectively known as pivot levels.

Every day the market you are following has an open, high, low and a close for the day (some markets like forex are 24 hours but generally use 5pm EST as the open and close). This information basically contains all the data you need to use pivot points.

The reason pivot points are so popular is that they are predictive as opposed to lagging. You use the information of the previous day to calculate potential turning points for the day you are about to trade (present day).

Because so many traders follow pivot points you will often find that the market reacts at these levels. This gives you an opportunity to trade.

If you would rather work the pivot points out by yourself, the formula I use is below:

Resistance 3 = High + 2*(Pivot - Low)
Resistance 2 = Pivot + (R1 - S1)
Resistance 1 = 2 * Pivot - Low
Pivot Point = ( High + Close + Low )/3
Support 1 = 2 * Pivot - High
Support 2 = Pivot - (R1 - S1)
Support 3 = Low - 2*(High - Pivot) As you can see from the above formula, just by having the previous days high, low and close you eventually finish up with 7 points, 3 resistance levels, 3 support levels and the actual pivot point.

If the market opens above the pivot point then the bias for the day is long trades. If the market opens below the pivot point then the bias for the day is for short trades.

The three most important pivot points are R1, S1 and the actual pivot point.

The general idea behind trading pivot points are to look for a reversal or break of R1 or S1. By the time the market reaches R2,R3 or S2,S3 the market will already be overbought or oversold and these levels should be used for exits rather than entries.

A perfect set would be for the market to open above the pivot level and then stall slightly at R1 then go on to R2. You would enter on a break of R1 with a target of R2 and if the market was really strong close half at R2 and target R3 with the remainder of your position.

Unfortunately life is not that simple and we have to deal with each trading day the best way we can. I have picked a day at random from last week and what follows are some ideas on how you could have traded that day using pivot points.

On the 12th August 04 the Euro/Dollar (EUR/USD) had the following:
High - 1.2297
Low - 1.2213
Close - 1.2249

This gave us:

Resistance 3 = 1.2377
Resistance 2 = 1.2337
Resistance 1 = 1.2293
Pivot Point = 1.2253
Support 1 = 1.2209
Support 2 = 1.2169
Support 3 = 1.2125

Have a look at the 5 minute chart below

The green line is the pivot point. The blue lines are resistance levels R1,R2 and R3. The red lines are support levels S1,S2 and S3.

There are loads of ways to trade this day using pivot points but I shall walk you through a few of them and discuss why some are good in certain situations and why some are bad.

The Breakout Trade

At the beginning of the day we were below the pivot point, so our bias is for short trades. A channel formed so you would be looking for a break out of the channel, preferably to the downside. In this type of trade you would have your sell entry order just below the lower channel line with a stop order just above the upper channel line and a target of S1. The problem on this day was that, S1 was very close to the breakout level and there was just not enough meat in the trade (13 pips). This is a good entry technique for you. Just because it was not suitable this day, does not mean it will not be suitable the next day.

The Pullback Trade

This is one of my favorite set ups. The market passes through S1 and then pulls back. An entry order is placed below support, which in this case was the most recent low before the pullback. A stop is then placed above the pullback (the most recent high - peak) and a target set for S2. The problem again, on this day was that the target of S2 was to close, and the market never took out the previous support, which tells us that, the market sentiment is beginning to change.

Breakout of Resistance

As the day progressed, the market started heading back up to S1 and formed a channel (congestion area). This is another good set up for a trade. An entry order is placed just above the upper channel line, with a stop just below the lower channel line and the first target would be the pivot line. If you where trading more than one position, then you would close out half your position as the market approaches the pivot line, tighten your stop and then watch market action at that level. As it happened, the market never stopped and your second target then became R1. This was also easily achieved and I would have closed out the rest of the position at that level.


As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of ways to trade with pivot points. A more advanced method is to use the cross of two moving averages as a confirmation of a breakout. You can even use combinations of indicators to help you make a decision. It might be the cross of two averages and also MACD must be in buy mode. Mess around with a few of your favorite indicators but remember the signal is a break of a level and the indicators are just confirmation.

We haven't even got into patterns around pivot levels or failures but that is not the point of this lesson. I just want to introduce another possible way for you to trade.
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The Elliott Wave Principle

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In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott, a corporate accountant by profession, studied price movements in the financial markets and observed that certain patterns repeat themselves. He offered proof of his discovery by making astonishingly accurate stock market forecasts. What appears random and unrelated, Elliott said, will actually trace out a recognizable pattern once you learn what to look for. Elliott called his discovery "The Elliott Wave Principle," and its implications were huge. He had identified the common link that drives the trends in human affairs, from financial markets to fashion, from politics to popular culture.

Robert Prechter, Jr., president of Elliott Wave International, resurrected the Wave Principle from near obscurity in 1976 when he discovered the complete body of R.N. Elliott's work in the New York Library. Robert Prechter, Jr. and A.J. Frost published Elliott Wave Principle in 1978. The book received enthusiastic reviews and became a Wall Street bestseller. In Elliott Wave Principle, Prechter and Frost's forecast called for a roaring bull market in the 1980s, to be followed by a record bear market. Needless to say, knowledge of the Wave Principle among private and professional investors grew dramatically in the 1980s.

When investors and traders first discover the Elliott Wave Principle, there are several reactions:

Disbelief – that markets are patterned and largely predictable by technical analysis alone
Joyous “irrational exuberance” – at having found a “crystal ball” to foretell the future
And finally the correct, and useful response – “Wow, here is a valuable new tool I should learn to use.”
Just like any system or structure found in nature, the closer you look at wave patterns, the more structured complexity you see. It is structured, because nature’s patterns build on themselves, creating similar forms at progressively larger sizes. You can see these fractal patterns in botany, geography, physiology, and the things humans create, like roads, residential subdivisions… and – as recent discoveries have confirmed – in market prices.

Natural systems, including Elliott wave patterns in market charts, “grow” through time, and their forms are defined by interruptions to that growth.

Here's what is meant by that. When your hands formed in the womb, they first looked like round paddles growing equally in all directions. Then, in the places between your fingers, cells ceased growing or died, and growth was directed to the five digits. This structured progress and regress is essential to all forms of growth. That this “punctuated growth” appears in market data is only natural – as Robert Prechter, Jr., the world's foremost Elliott wave expert and president of Elliott Wave International, says, “Everything that thrives must have setbacks.”

The first step in Elliott wave analysis is identifying patterns in market prices. At their core, wave patterns are simple; there are only two of them: “impulse waves,” and “corrective waves.”

Impulse waves are composed of five sub-waves and move in the same direction as the trend of the next larger size (labeled as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Impulse waves are called so because they powerfully impel the market.

A corrective wave follows, composed of three sub-waves, and it moves against the trend of the next larger size (labeled as a, b, c). Corrective waves accomplish only a partial retracement, or "correction," of the progress achieved by any preceding impulse wave.

As the figure to the right shows, one complete Elliott wave consists of eight waves and two phases: five-wave impulse phase, whose sub-waves are denoted by numbers, and the three-wave corrective phase, whose sub-waves are denoted by letters.

What R.N. Elliott set out to describe using the Elliott Wave Principle was how the market actually behaves. There are a number of specific variations on the underlying theme, which Elliott meticulously described and illustrated. He also noted the important fact that each pattern has identifiable requirements as well as tendencies. From these observations, he was able to formulate numerous rules and guidelines for proper wave identification. A thorough knowledge of such details is necessary to understand what the markets can do, and at least as important, what it does not do.

You have only just begun to learn the power and complexity of the Elliott Wave Principle. So, don't let your Elliott wave education end here. Join Elliott Wave International's free Club EWI and access the Basic Tutorial: 10 lessons on The Elliott Wave Principle and learn how to use this valuable tool in your own trading and investing.
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