Six Trading Questions Answered

By | August 2, 2015

Here’s another batch of Q&A I hope you’ll find useful:


1. What’s the difference between a discretionary trader (as I consider myself) and a pure trend follower ?

Simply put, and as the name implies, as a discretionary trader I’m not rigidly following the rules of a trading model which can either be built from scratch or bought from someone else. An example of a rigid entry criteria: the classic Donchian rule of always going long when the price reaches a four week high or going short when it reaches a four week low. Because trend followers have strict and quantifiable criteria for entering or exiting trades, they usually incorporate them into a fully automated system, being thus able to analyze and trade a large number of financial instruments. For example, Salem Abraham’s portfolio contains 59 markets.

2. As far as I understood you always set “stop loss” when trading, but do you always set “take profit” when you enter a trade?

I rarely set a ‘take profit’ because I don’t believe you can predict where the market is going. I prefer to let the price action guide me.

3. You mentioned that you trade on 15 minutes and 1 hour time frame. Do you take into account daily (or weekly) chart when entering a trade?

I usually look at weekly charts during weekends and at daily ones at the end of the trading day (when New York closes).

4. Do you follow the rule “never trade against the trend”? 

It depends on how you look at it. For instance, when you  ‘buy the dip’ in a pair that’s in an uptrend on the daily time frame, you’re actually trading against the trend on shorter time frames (like 1h or 4h). So just to answer your question, no, I don’t follow that rule.

5. You mentioned that you never put more than 0.5% at risk. In this case what is the realistic profit per month? 5% per month sounds realistic? Some people are trying to convince me that it is possible to make a profit of 1% a day but I simply could not believe it.

I would say that 5% per month (not every month from now into perpetuity though) is realistic, with the proviso that it’s on the upper limit of the ‘realistic interval’. Normally, when you increase the risk per trade, you not only increase the profit potential, but also the depth of a drawdown. Quick example: after five consecutive losses at 0.5% per trade you’ll be down close to 2.5% but nearly 10% at 2% risk per trade.

Just saying that 1% a day is possible is wrong on at least a couple of levels. Firstly, 1% every day ? For how many consecutive days ? Until you’re richer than Warren Buffett ? :) Secondly, what about the risks involved ? How much is it possible to lose while striving to gain 1% daily ? In my experience, those who espouse the 1% daily profits nonsense are either clueless beginners or shady vendors of trading services.

6. When you want to check trading strategy, how many trades you take in your statistics (10, 100 or more?).

As a general rule of thumb, the more trades you consider, the better and more statistically sound your analysis will be. Don’t forget that not just the number of trades is important, but also that they are spread over a period of time long enough to cover different market environments (high/low volatility, trending/range).