In Part 1, we pointed out that one might regard forex as being somewhat simple: you just need to know which pair to trade, when to get in, and when to get out. (An exception to this is with carry trading, where you also need to pay attention to a few other factors). Of course, all of the challenge is in those three little decisions. Here we discuss some of the major signals for knowing when to exit a trade.
For starters, the basic set of tools is almost identical to the entry signals. With entry, you look for a trend and jump in just before it starts. With exits, you simply look for the end of a trend or the beginning of a new one, and jump out before it’s too late.
The big difference is that you are not usually looking for a new trend. By the time you can identify that a new trend has begun and is measurably significant, it’s already too late-you’re losing money. Instead, you should exit the market as soon as it is clear that the trend you bought on has ended.
So you could start with crossovers in the moving average. If you used that to identify an uptrend, now you’re looking for a reversal with crossover from above. But hopefully you won’t get that far. Instead, you should watch the percentage of change in the short term moving average. If the short term average remains unchanged over a period of time, the trend has probably ended.
Of course, this means that the average directional index (ADX) or moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) both become more significant for you. Look for stabilization or stagnation in these indicators as a signal for the end of a trend. Some of the most helpful forex exit signals are the momentum indicators such as TRIX, smoothed rate of change, or relative strength.
It is also easy to draw a trend line based on Fibonacci pivot points. When prices begin to fall below the original trend line and you see a new pattern of pivot points, the trend has ended. Look for resistance or support that offers any type of pattern. You can also rely on exponential moving average (200 EMA). The problem here is that it is often hard to know if you are dealing with a new trend or just with retracement. This is where price candles can be helpful in some cases. Since the end of a trend is often more analytically complex than the beginning, knowing your analysis well is very important.
News shocks are generally a bad way to make exit decisions, since your response will be too late, anyway. However, if you do have reason to suspect an event and you are more accurate than the market, this might be useful. Generally, your stop loss order will kick in before you can.
And this is where the most important exit signal comes in. You should always have stop-losses in place for every trade you make. Quite simply, you’ve found an exit signal when your stop-loss kicks in and ends the trade for you!
This also relates to the biggest value in automated systems: rely on your software to free you from a position before you lose too much. You can set this up in complex ways to help you even with profitable trades. If more traders relied on their own analysis to get them into the market and software as one of several signals to get them out, they would significantly improve their profits.