If the price later reaches or surpasses your specified price, this will open your long position. An entry stop order can also be used if you want to trade a downside breakout. Place a stop-sell order a few pips below the support level so that when the price reaches your specified price or goes below it, your short position will be opened. Stop orders are used to limit your losses.
Everyone has losses from time to time, but what really affects the bottom line is the size of your losses and how you manage them. Before you even enter a trade, you should already have an idea of where you want to exit your position should the market turn against it. One of the most effective ways of limiting your losses is through a pre-determined stop order, which is commonly referred to as a stop-loss.
In order to avoid the possibility of chalking up uncontrolled losses, you can place a stop-sell order at a certain price so that your position will automatically be closed out when that price is reached. A short position will have a stop-buy order instead. Stop orders can be used to protect profits.
Once your trade becomes profitable, you may shift your stop-loss order in the profitable direction to protect some of your profit. For a long position that has become very profitable, you may move your stop-sell order from the loss to the profit zone to safeguard against the chance of realizing a loss in case your trade does not reach your specified profit objective, and the market turns against your trade.
Similarly, for a short position that has become very profitable, you may move your stop-buy order from loss to the profit zone in order to protect your gain. A limit order is placed when you are only willing to enter a new position or to exit a current position at a specific price or better. The order will only be filled if the market trades at that price or better.
A limit-buy order is an instruction to buy the currency pair at the market price once the market reaches your specified price or lower; that price must be lower than the current market price. A limit-sell order is an instruction to sell the currency pair at the market price once the market reaches your specified price or higher; that price must be higher than the current market price. Limit orders are commonly used to enter a market when you fade breakouts. You fade a breakout when you don't expect the currency price to break successfully past a resistance or a support level.
In other words, you expect that the currency price will bounce off the resistance to go lower or bounce off the support to go higher. To take advantage of this theory, you can place a limit-sell order a few pips below that resistance level so that your short order will be filled when the market moves up to that specified price or higher. Besides using the limit order to go short near a resistance, you can also use this order to go long near a support level.
In this case, you can place a limit-buy order a few pips above that support level so that your long order will be filled when the market moves down to that specified price or lower. Limit orders are used to set your profit objective. Before placing your trade, you should already have an idea of where you want to take profits should the trade go your way.
A limit order allows you to exit the market at your pre-set profit objective. If you long a currency pair, you will use the limit-sell order to place your profit objective. If you go short, the limit-buy order should be used to place your profit objective.
Note that these orders will only accept prices in the profitable zone. Having a firm understanding of the different types of orders will enable you to use the right tools to achieve your intentions — how you want to enter the market trade or fade , and how you are going to exit the market profit and loss. While there may be other types of orders — market, stop and limit orders are the most common. Be comfortable using them because improper execution of orders can cost you money.
Securities and Exchange Commission. Accessed June 6, Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses. Table of Contents Expand. Table of Contents. Remember the cardinal rule of setting a stop-loss is to place your stop-loss order at a point where your trade idea will be invalidated.
This is a long-term trade as he is a swing trader who only goes for trade setups that offer a minimum of risk-reward ratio. The current setup has the potential to net pips for Tom, but he will have to risk 50 pips according to his trading plan, which he is comfortable with given that his trade setup would be invalidated if the trade moves against him by 46 pips as there is a strong support level at 45 pips.
There are a number of ways you can track volatility in order to place your stop-loss order at a safe distance with the most popular ones involving the use of Bollinger bands and the average true range ATR indicator. Setting your stop-loss using Bollinger bands is quite simple and effective when your trade setups involve a trading range where the price is mostly stuck within the Bollinger bands.
This means that you are taking short trades when the price hits the upper band and taking short trades when the price hits the lower band. In this scenario, you simply set your stop-loss order a small distance from the point at which you took your trade whether it is a long or short trade. This method allows you to place your stop-loss order based on the trade setup instead of a fixed percentage. Another common way to set your stop-loss based on price volatility is to use the average true range ATR indicator to determine the right stop-loss distance for your trade.
Given that the ATR measures the average distance that a currency pair moves in a particular time period, it is a good idea to use it when determining your stop-loss distance. You can use the ATR indicator on any chart with time frames ranging from as low as 5 minutes to as high as the daily and weekly charts for swing and position traders.
The key to using the ATR indicator to calculate your stop-loss distance is to determine the mean ATR value over your chosen period and then place your stop-loss order in accordance with the ATR value. One of the best ways to set your stop-loss order is to use established support and resistance levels as strategic stop-loss levels given that if price breaks above a resistance or support level, then your trade idea will have been invalidated.
Using previous support and resistance levels is a brilliant way to ensure that you exit a trade quickly once it is invalidated. However, you should not place your stop-loss orders very close to your chosen support level as in many cases the price may spike below the support level before reversing and moving in your chosen direction.
The chart below shows an example of such stop-loss and take-profit levels set just below the support and resistance lines respectively. Support and resistance levels also offer excellent trade entry setups, especially when they are respected as you can simply place your stop-loss order slightly below the resistance level. Furthermore, you can use the same principle to set stop-loss orders for breakout trades that arise when the existing support and resistance levels are broken.
Placing a stop-loss order based on specific time limits is a good method to get you out of trades that are not going anywhere, yet they are keeping your trading capital locked. Some traders also prefer to be out of the markets at specific times such as over the weekend, which means that they typically close their trades on Friday evening.
Some intraday traders have a rule of not holding trades overnight as this gives the trade time to go against them, in which case they typically set their trades to expire by end of the day. Other traders may use stop-loss orders based on times when they can actively trade the markets, ensuring they have no running trades when they are not active in the markets. This method is popular among short-term traders who avoid holding trades overnight, as well as swing traders who may exit their positions as the weekend approaches, just as they may avoid entering into new trades on Friday afternoon or early Monday morning.
Avoid using very tight stop-loss orders unless the trade setup warrants such a move. Many traders commit this mistake by sticking to a set number of pips risk for every trade, yet there are no two trade setups that are exactly the same. Always be flexible when it comes to the number of pips you risk with the main goal beings to place your stop-loss at a distance where your trade idea will be invalidated if the stop-loss order was triggered.
The opposite of very tight stop-loss orders is very wide stop-loss orders, which either increase your chances of making huge losses by being overly exposed to the markets or cause you to trade very small positions. Follow the above guidelines to ensure that you place your stop-loss orders at the right distance, neither too wide nor too short.
Never place your stop-loss orders exactly on a resistance or support line as price tends to whipsaw around such areas as the bulls and the bears fight for control. Always leave a safe distance between a support or resistance level and your stop-loss order. You can do this by treating these levels as a zone instead of a single line.
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