Struggling to Identify the Direction of the Market

By Gunawan Wibisono

If you know the pitfalls of trading, you can easily avoid them. Small mistakes are inevitable, such as entering the wrong stock symbol or incorrectly setting a buy level. But these are forgivable, and, with luck, even profitable. What you have to avoid, however, are the mistakes due to bad judgment rather than simple errors. These are the "deadly" mistakes which ruin entire trading careers instead of just one or two trades. To avoid these pitfalls, you have to watch yourself closely and stay diligent.

Think of trading mistakes like driving a car on icy roads: if you know that driving on ice is dangerous, you can avoid traveling in a sleet storm. But if you don't know about the dangers of ice, you might drive as if there were no threat, only realizing your mistake once you're already off the road.

One of the first mistakes new traders make is sinking plenty of wasted effort and time into envisioning legit trends. Traders can use really difficult formulas, indictors, and systems to spot possible trends. They will finish up plotting so many signals on a single screen that they cannot even see the costs any more. The difficulty is that they lose sight of easy choices about when to buy and when to sell.

The mistake here is trying to understand too much at once. Some people think that the more complicated their system is, the better it will be at "predicting" trends. This is almost always an illusion. Depending too much on complicated systems makes you completely lose sight of the basic principle of trading: buy when the market is going up and sell when it's going down. Since you want to buy and sell early in a trend, the most important thing to discover is when a trend begins. Complicated indicators only obscure this information.

Do not forget to keep it simplistic : one of the most simple paths to identify a trend is by using trendlines. Trendlines are easy techniques to tell you when you're seeing an uptrend ( when costs make a collection of higher highs and higher lows ) and downtrends ( when costs show lower highs and lower lows ). Trendlines show you the lower boundaries of an uptrend or the higher boundaries of a downtrend and, most significantly, will help you see when a trend starts to modify.

Once you get comfortable plotting trendlines, you can use them to decide when to start taking action. Only after using these early indicators should you start using more specific strategies to determine your exact buy or sell point. Moving averages, turtle trading, and the Relative Strength Index (RSI) are some examples of more complex indicators and systems that are available. But only use them after you've determined if the market is trending or not.

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