This article is part of our guide on how to use scalping techniques to trade forex. If you haven’t already we recommend you read the first part of our series on forex scalping.
Scalping a strongly trending market is very different from scalping a quiet, tame market where price action is confined in a small range and is going nowhere. In a ranging market scalpers will buy or sell, and wait until the price comes back to where it left, and keep gathering small profits until the prevailing range pattern is eliminated. When trading a trending market, however, we must be careful to ensure that our orders follow the established trend. Counter-trend scalping is also possible, but since the preferred strategy of most successful traders is trend following, we’ll concentrate our attention on using fibonacci extensions in a trend following method in this article.
High volatility requires a strict approach to realizing both losses and profits. A scalper who is trading in a tame, range-bound market can be a bit more relaxed and arbitrary about his risk controls (they must still be applied with discipline, but not in the robotic manner which must be applied in trending markets), because the market is not expected to make sharp movements due to fewer market participants and a smaller amount of liquidity (not to mention that there is no news catalyst for strong price movements.) But a trend scalper must deal with such conditions at all times.
Trend Following Method
In this section we’ll discuss the use of the Fibonacci extension levels for the determination of trade direction while scalping trending markets. Scalping in trends can be difficult, because of the size of the sudden fluctuations, and the lack of clarity (at least in the short term) with respect to the eventual destination of the price. The Fibonacci extension levels are very useful in analyzing trends in all cases, and scalping is no exception to the rule.
Our aim in using this indicator is identifying levels where the price may rebound. For drawing the extension, we’ll identify the beginning and end of the price movement which we expect to be extended, so to speak, in order that a new trend is created. In the 5-minute chart of the USDCHF pair, we have identified a sudden and sharp movement beginning at around 4 am on 23rd July, and decided to draw its extension after the first red bar where its momentum is temporarily checked. Upon drawing the extension in the indicated area, we notice the 61.8, 100, and 161.8 extensions of the first movement.
Careful examination of the chart above shows us not only that the price rebounded several times at the extension levels of the indicator, but also that these levels served as strong attractors pulling the price towards themselves. The 100 percent extension level, for instance, provided a support which prevented the price from “falling through” twice, as observed. And the other two levels similarly created performance bars for the trend which, once broken, created further momentum for the trend.
Trading against a trend is dangerous, and the risk of sudden reversals is no less dangerous for scalpers. As such we need a tool which will help us identify the general direction of the trend, so that even if we suffer some losses, eventually our gains will justify our trading activity. The Fibonacci extension level is a great tool for this purpose since it allows us to guess with a reasonable degree of accuracy the main momentum of the price action. In the above example, we’d be scalping the market by buying at the red arrows shown on the chart. If the price returned to the resistance or support levels indicated by the extension level, we’d stop trading for a while and await the market action to present some clarity (is the trend reversing?). But as long as the trend is intact our strategy would involve scalping between the extension levels to accumulate profits.
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