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Monday, 27 March 2017

Trading Plan: From Formulation to Implementation

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Lets say you have been working on a trading plan and you finally have a workable one put together. The next step is to put your market strategy to a test on historical data to see how it would perform under certain conditions. The aim is to ensure that your strategy can perform profitably so you can go ahead and use it on a live market. This article will take you through the steps from formulating your plan you implementing it live.

Formulating the plan

First up is actually getting the plan put together and ensure that it is workable and doesn't take over your entire life. So, you will want to look into a few things such as;

  • Your trading goal
This will set out a SMART goal that you wish to accomplish from trading. SMART is an acronym for the guideline of setting goals. Your goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound. Your goal will be the steering for your strategy.
  • Timeframes you want to trade
It will be extremely time consuming and somewhat chaotic if you attempt to trade on all timeframes. As such it is advisable to use at most 3 time frames when trading. One high time frame such as daily or weekly to indicate you the overall trend, One lower one such as 30 mins to give you and entry signal and the other one will be your main timeframe such as the one hour time frame. depending on your strategy you can use just one timeframe.
  • Trading Strategy
Your strategy will involve your trading instruments whether currencies only or currencies and commodities or whatever you choose to trade. It will also outline your entry and exit rules, your pre and post-market routines, what you will do during volatile economic events and also what your trading week will be. It will also involve your money management rules and risk management.
  • Behavioural Rules

Your behavioural rules will include certain controls that limit your emotional trading, revenge trading and anything that will take you away from following your strategy.

How to test the strategy

Testing a strategy might take some work and time if you attempt to do it manually. There are softwares available that can help in testing your strategy on historical data. The testing technique is called Backtesting. It is accomplished by reconstructing, with historical data, trades that would have occurred in the past using rules defined by a given strategy. The result offers statistics that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of the strategy. Using this data, traders can optimize and improve their strategies, find any technical or theoretical flaws, and gain confidence in their strategy before applying it to the real markets. The underlying theory is that any strategy that worked well in the past is likely to work well in the future, and conversely, any strategy that performed poorly in the past is likely to perform poorly in the future.

Read more on Backtesting

Is the Strategy successful

A strategy is considered successful when is at or above a 75% success rate. This can be determined when you backtest your strategy. After testing the strategy and seeing its success rate if it doesn't meet the benchmark then you should look at the test results and see what tweaks can be made to get it to higher success levels. Once a high success rate is achieved then you can go ahead can implement it on the live market.

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Market Influencers and their Impact Part 2

The other major currency up for discussion is the British Pound. The currency is the strongest in the world based on trading prices although USD is the most widely used. It is stronger than the Euro and the USD which makes it something to look at during your trading. The London trading session overlaps the New York session by approximately four hours. Within this time period there is normally a huge amount of volatility which is welcomed by many traders but can blow away others. Below we will focus on some of the key economic events that might trigger the Pound to behave erratically. Keep in mind that the following events are only a few that happens and as such you should always check your economic calendar before trading. A good one can be found at

Bank of England

Mark Carney the current and 120th Governor of the Bank of England is a Canadian with huge powers over monetary policies as he is also the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee. He has a major role in guiding national economic and monetary policy and is therefore one of the most important public officials in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Carney is the UK's equivalent to the USA's Janet Yellen which his speeches are watched carefully by traders over  the world as they carry much weight on the GBP. His speeches can cause almost immediate reactions and send the currency either spiraling out of control or climbing way out expected range.

Manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index

If a country doesn't produce then it is dependent on imports which drives the currency down and inflation up. Manufacturing is a key indicator to the health of a country's economy. UK is a major manufacturing country and each months the previous month's data is released. The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) measures the activity level of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the sector; below 50 indicates contraction. Traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, which can be a leading indicator of overall economic performance.

A higher than expected reading should be taken as positive/bullish for the GBP, while a lower than expected reading should be taken as negative/bearish for the GBP.

Prime Minister

Theresa Mary May is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party, having served as both since July 2016. She has been the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead since 1997. She assumed office on 13 July 2016, following the resignation of David Cameron. She is the first female prime minister since Margaret Thatcher.

Similarly to the president of the USA, the Prime Minister of the UK has a great influence over the direction of the Pound Sterling. Her speeches normally have traders listening keenly to her addresses and any inclination of something that might be taken as a negative impact on the economy will send the pound down while anything positive will send it up.

Gross Domestic Product

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy. It is the broadest measure of economic activity and the primary indicator of the economy's health.

A higher than expected reading should be taken as positive/bullish for the GBP, while a lower than expected reading should be taken as negative/bearish for the GBP.

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Market Influencers and their Impact Part 1

The market is impacted by multiple influences on a day to day basis. These influences either have a negative or positive impact on the currencies that are traded which will determine what happens to your account balance. This is why it is always advisable to check an economic calendar each day before you start trading. There may be high impact events happening throughout the day or week that will definitely give a different perspective when you start trading. In this weeks blog we will look at the USA and some of its market affecting events. is used as an economic calendar source. You can check it out too. Keep in mind that the items below are only a few of the events that affects the market. There a lot more events either of the same impact level or lower.


First up is the POTUS himself, whoever it is that is in office has the power to cause huge market swings in an instant. This happens when the president makes public speeches or sign some agreement with a foreign nation. The president will speak on anything from nation building steps to policy development and when he does the public listens and responds. If the president's address is seen as good by the market then it responds accordingly and most likely the USD will gain, fast and huge, against all other currencies. Conversely if the president's address forecast gloom the greenback will fall against its counterparts.

As for trading when the president will speak, it is a high risk moment and most decide to close all trades at such points in time as they aren't sure which impact it will have on the market. Generally after the president's impact is felt by the currency, the market normally calms down and gets back into rhythm. It's best practice to not trade this event as it can wipe out your account if it goes against you. If you trade it always ensure you have proper risk management in place.


The Federal Reserve also called the Feds (Not the FBI) control interest rate hikes. The current Chairperson for the Fed is Jannet Yellen(February 2014 - February 2018) and as such makes her have more influence over the USD than any other person including the the president. Whenever she speaks the world listens and responds accordingly.

Her comments normally cause short term spikes with positive or negative effect in the market. She has an important address coming up this month(March) where she will address interest rates. Keep an eye out for this while you trade. All of her speeches are broadcasted for the world to see so when the market responds so will your account balance.


NFP or non-farm payroll is stats on the earnings of the population that is not in the farming sector. This helps to tell the health of the economy and the working class. It measures the change in the number of people employed during the previous month, excluding the farming industry. Job creation is the foremost indicator of consumer spending, which accounts for the majority of economic activity.Better than expected numbers means that people are earning more while the opposite means earnings are down.
This event is an extremely high impact one as seen from previous market impact. When the number come out higher than expected it normally gives the greenback a boost and market sentiments increase with the dollar trending up against its counterparts. When it comes lower than expected the market responds accordingly and trends down. Be careful when trading while this event is occurring. Ensure that risk management is considered or stay away from trading for that time if you are unsure what will happen.

Oil Reserve

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) and Brent Oil as well as world oil prices is normally affected by this event. The USA stockpile's oil in their inventory and a particular amount is expected, normally recorded in millions of barrels. If the US stockpile is higher than expected then oil prices drop globally. This event is just one indicator of world oil prices but it is a huge determinant for WTI and Brent oil that is being traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

This indicator also affects the USD whenever it happens as higher than expected oil reserve cause a drop for the USD against its currency counterparts while lower than expected may see a rise in the USD as people try to buy more oil. Oil is traded in USD and as markets buy more oil then more USD is needed in the market place so the demand increase and so does its value.


The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) (also known as the ISM Services PMI) report on Business, a composite index is calculated as an indicator of the overall economic condition for the non-manufacturing sector. The NMI is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes for four of the indicators with equal weights: Business Activity (seasonally adjusted), New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted) and Supplier Deliveries. 

A reading above 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates the non-manufacturing sector is generally contracting. The Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questions asked of more than 370 purchasing and supply executives in over 62 different industries representing nine divisions from the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories. Membership of the Business Survey Committee is diversified by SIC category and is based on each industry contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

A higher than expected reading should be taken as positive/bullish for the USD, while a lower than expected reading should be taken as negative/bearish for the USD.

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