CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. The vast majority of retail client accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76.09% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

The vast majority of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.
76.09% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Trailing stop – what you need to know

In FX trading, traders use a variety of tools and strategies to manage risk and maximize profits. One such tool is the trailing stop. A trailing stop is a type of order that allows traders to set a stop-loss level at a certain distance away from the current market price. The stop-loss level then follows the market price as it moves in the trader’s favor, but remains fixed if the market price moves against the trader.

Trailing stops can be an effective way to manage risk in trading, as they allow traders to limit their losses while also giving them the potential to capture larger gains. This is particularly useful in fast-moving markets, where prices can change rapidly and unpredictably.

The standard trailing stop is a fixed distance away from the current market price. For example, a trader might set a standard trailing stop at 20 pips below the current market price. If the market price moves in the trader’s favor by 20 pips, the stop-loss level will move 20 pips below the new market price. However, if the market price moves against the trader by 20 pips, the stop-loss level will remain fixed.

To use a trailing stop in forex trading, traders first need to open a position in the market. They can then set a trailing stop by specifying the distance from the current market price at which they want the stop-loss level to be placed. Once the trailing stop is set, the stop-loss level will move as the market price moves in the trader’s favor, but will remain fixed if the market price moves against the trader.

Trailing stops can be a powerful tool in forex trading, but it is important for traders to use them correctly. Setting a trailing stop too close to the current market price can result in the stop-loss level being triggered too early, while setting it too far away can result in larger losses if the market moves against the trader.

Probably the most common indicator for Trailing stops is the ATR.

Using the ATR indicator in conjunction with a trailing stop can be an effective way to manage risk in forex trading. The ATR (Average True Range) indicator measures the volatility of the market and can be used to determine how far away the trailing stop should be set.

Here is an example of how a trader might use the ATR indicator to set a trailing stop:

Let’s say a trader wants to buy EUR/USD at a price of 1.2000. The trader believes that the market will move in their favor, but wants to limit their potential losses if the market moves against them.

The trader decides to use a trailing stop with an ATR-based distance. They first look at the ATR indicator to determine the average daily range of the market. Let’s say the ATR value is currently 0.0080.

The trader then decides to set the trailing stop at 2 times the ATR value. This means the trailing stop will be set at 0.0160 (2 x 0.0080) below the current market price of 1.2000.

If the market moves in the trader’s favor and the price of EUR/USD increases to 1.2050, the trailing stop will move up to 1.2034 (1.2050 – 0.0160). This means that if the market suddenly reverses and drops below 1.2034, the trader’s position will be automatically closed out, limiting their potential losses.

However, if the market continues to move in the trader’s favor and reaches a price of 1.2100, the trailing stop will move up to 1.2084 (1.2100 – 0.0160). This means that if the market suddenly reverses and drops below 1.2084, the trader will still lock in a profit, as their position will be automatically closed out at this level. Keep in mind that in high volatility times, the stop might slip and activate on the first available price. Therefore, always take into account that stop loss is not guaranteed and might slip and activate on another level based on the current market conditions.

Using a trailing stop with an ATR-based distance allows traders to take into account the volatility of the market and adjust their stop-loss level accordingly. This can help traders to manage their risk more effectively and potentially increase their profits over time.

In which market conditions the trailing stop is most or less efficient?

Trailing stops can be useful in a variety of market conditions, but they are particularly effective in fast-moving markets where prices can change rapidly and unpredictably. Here are some examples of market conditions where trailing stops can be especially effective:

Trending Markets – In trending markets, where prices are consistently moving in one direction, a trailing stop can help traders to stay in the trade for longer and capture more profits. For example, if a trader buys a currency pair that is in an uptrend, they can use a trailing stop to follow the trend and lock in profits as the market moves higher.

Volatile Markets – In volatile markets, where prices are fluctuating rapidly, a trailing stop can help traders to manage their risk more effectively. By adjusting the stop-loss level based on the volatility of the market, traders can limit their potential losses while also giving themselves room to capture larger gains. For example, if a currency pair is experiencing high volatility due to an economic announcement or news event, a trailing stop can help traders to stay in the trade while also protecting their downside.

Breakout Markets – In breakout markets, where prices are breaking through key levels of support or resistance, a trailing stop can help traders to capitalize on the momentum of the market. By setting the trailing stop just below the breakout level, traders can lock in profits if the market continues to move in their favor, while also limiting their potential losses if the market suddenly reverses.

There are some situations where Trailing Stops may be less efficient or even counterproductive. Here are some examples of market conditions where trailing stops may be less effective:

Range-bound Markets – In range-bound markets, where prices are moving within a relatively narrow range, trailing stops may be less efficient as they can be triggered prematurely, resulting in missed opportunities. In these conditions, traders may prefer to use other risk management strategies such as setting static stop-loss levels or taking profits at key levels of support or resistance.

Whipsaw Markets – In whipsaw markets, where prices are changing direction frequently and unpredictably, trailing stops may be less efficient as they can be triggered too frequently, resulting in a series of small losses. In these conditions, traders may prefer to use other risk management strategies such as reducing position size or avoiding trading altogether until the market stabilizes.

Low Volatility Markets – In low volatility markets, where prices are moving slowly and predictably, trailing stops may be less efficient as they may be too far away from the market price to be useful. In these conditions, traders may prefer to use other risk management strategies such as setting static stop-loss levels or taking profits at predetermined levels.

Trailing stops can be used effectively in a variety of trading strategies, including:

  1. ScalpingScalping is a high-frequency trading strategy that involves taking small profits from multiple trades throughout the day. In this strategy, trailing stops can be useful for locking in profits and minimizing losses quickly. Traders may use tight trailing stops that are close to the market price to minimize risk, but they must be careful not to set them too tight, as this can result in frequent stop-loss triggers.
  1. Day TradingDay trading involves opening and closing trades within a single trading day. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to capture profits while also limiting risk. Traders may use wider trailing stops to give their trades more room to move, but they must be mindful of market conditions and adjust their stops accordingly.
  1. Intraday Trading – Intraday trading involves holding trades for a few hours or less. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to follow the market trend and capture profits while also minimizing losses. Traders may use tighter or wider trailing stops depending on their risk management style and the volatility of the market.
  1. Swing TradingSwing trading involves holding positions for several days to several weeks to capture larger market moves. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to lock in profits while also giving the trade enough room to move.
  1. Position TradingPosition trading involves holding positions for several weeks to several months to capture long-term trends. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to capture profits while also minimizing losses, as traders may want to hold their positions for a longer period of time.
  1. Trend FollowingTrend following involves following the direction of the market trend and opening positions accordingly. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to follow the trend and capture profits while also limiting risk.
  1. Breakout TradingBreakout trading involves opening positions when the market breaks through key levels of support or resistance. In this strategy, trailing stops can be used to capture profits while also minimizing losses if the breakout fails.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of trailing stops can also depend on the trader’s individual trading style and risk tolerance. Some traders may prefer to use tight trailing stops to limit their risk, while others may prefer to use wider stops to give their trades more room to breathe.

* The information provided here has been prepared by Eightcap’s team of analysts. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. Any opinions made may be personal to the author and do not reflect the opinions of Eightcap.
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