Steps to Executing a FOREX Trade

Reality Check

Close your eyes; meditate on something else a few seconds. Then look at the chart one last time. Did you miss something? Did you see something that is not there? Was wishful thinking involved? If it checks out, go ahead and open the order palette and fill it in according to your analysis.

I also use a pre-trade checklist, which takes a last look at a number of other factors to make sure I am in line with my profile and process. For now you want to just make sure you have the right pair, the right quantity, and are hitting the right buy or sell button.

Enter the Trade

I use the dagger entry principle to enter markets.
See The Propagation Trade Setup, for details. Once my trade is confirmed (or often with the buy or sell order) I also enter a stop-loss (S/L) and take-profit (T/P).

Tip: The only time I change either my S/L or T/P is when pending news relevant to a currency in that pair is imminent. If my S/L is a long ways away, I may move it in closer. If my T/P is close, I may go ahead and take the profit.

Monitor the Trade

What I am mostly looking for here is a price point at which I can raise my S/L to break even or close. Then, I sit on my hands. Once a stop has been placed I never move it back down or back up except as noted earlier. Instead of watching over the trade -- I made my decision and now I must live with it -- I spend my time looking for more candidate trades.

Tip: "Sit on your hands, Dad, sit on your hands" -- Charles B. Goodman.

In The Proactive Trader, I demonstrate the line technique, which makes sitting on your hands easier to do. Surprisingly, I have found it to be one of the most difficult techniques for many of my students.

Exit the Trade

No matter what your trading method -- when prices move significantly in your direction, move your S/L to a breakeven price or close to it.

Either the stop-loss (S/L) or take-profit (T/P) is elected.

If your S/L is not hit, you are simply waiting for prices to move in your direction enough to move the stop-loss to breakeven. A successful trade should be thought of as two steps, breaking even and then making money from the T/P. In between, there is not much to do but wait. Use your time to explore other candidates.

Tip: Breaking even counts in the winning column of your ledger; ties here go to the runner. You have at least lived to see another trade -- and gained more time to learn the markets.
By Michael Duane Archer
Michael Duane Archer has been an active futures and FOREX trader for more than 35 years. He has worked in various advisory capacities, notably as a commodity trading advisor, registered SEC investment advisor, and branch manager for Heinold of Hawaii. He currently trades FOREX and futures and is involved in several technical analysis research projects.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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