Trend trading is one of the most reliable and simple forex trading strategies. As the name suggests, this type of strategy involves trading in the direction of the current price trend. In order to do so effectively, traders must first identify the overarching trend direction, duration, and strength. All of these factors will tell them how strong the current trend is and when the market may be primed for reversal. In a trend trading strategy, the trader doesn’t need to know the exact direction or timing of the reversal; they simply need to know when to exit their current position to lock in profits and limit losses.
Even when a market is trending, there are bound to be small price fluctuations that go against the prevailing trend direction. For this reason, trend trading favors a long-term approach known as position trading. When investing in the direction of a strong trend, a trader should be prepared to withstand small losses with the knowledge that their profits will ultimately surpass losses as long as the overarching trend is sustained. For obvious reasons, trend traders favor trending markets or those that swing between overbought and oversold thresholds with relative predictability.
To determine the direction and strength of the current trend, traders often rely on simple moving averages and exponential moving averages such as the moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) and average directional index (ADX). All moving averages are lagging indicators that use past price movement to lend context to current market conditions. In addition to providing insight into the current trend direction and strength, moving averages can also be used to gauge support and resistance levels. When price fails to reach anticipated support and resistance levels, or when a long-term moving average crosses over a short-term moving average, it’s thought to signal a reversal. Rather than anticipating the direction of the reversal and entering into a new position, trend traders will use these signals to exit their current position. Once the new trend has manifested, the trader will once again trade in the direction of the current trend.
Price momentum will often change before a price change occurs, so momentum indicators, such as the stochastic oscillator and relative strength index (RSI), can also be used to help identify exit points. These indicators help traders identify when price is approaching overbought or oversold levels and provide insight into when a change will occur.
Pros and Cons
Trend trading doesn’t require traders to know what will happen next—only to understand what is happening right now. As such, it tends to be a more reliable and consistent strategy. To trade effectively, however, it’s important to confirm the direction and strength of a new trend before entering into a position. Although you may not be the first one to enter the trade, being patient will ultimately shield you from unnecessary risk.