4.30.2009

Forex Trading - Bollinger Bands

Bollinger Bands are a tool of technical analysis which was invented by John Bollinger in the 1980s. Having evolved from the concept of trading bands, Bollinger Bands are an indicator that allows users to compare volatility and relative price levels over a period time. Basically, this tool provides a relative definition of high and low. By definition prices are high at the upper band and low at the lower band. This definition can aid in rigorous pattern recognition and is useful in comparing price action to the action of indicators to arrive at systematic trading decisions. When the market is calm, the Bollinger Band lines get closer together and when the market was changing Bollinger Band line expand. The indicator consists of three bands designed to encompass the majority of a security's price action:

1. A simple moving average in the middle
2. An upper band (SMA plus 2 standard deviations)
3. A lower band (SMA minus 2 standard deviations)



Standard deviation is a statistical unit of measure that provides a good assessment of a price plot's volatility. Using the standard deviation ensures that the bands will react quickly to price movements and reflect periods of high and low volatility. Sharp price increases (or decreases), and hence volatility, will lead to a widening of the bands.

For easier understanding, see the following chart: when the price was calm, Bollinger Band lines were close to one another, but when the price jumped up, Bollinger Band lines are spread. The same would happen if the price fell.



Calculation

Upper = Average + 2*SD = X + 2*σ
Middle = Average = X
Lower = Average - 2*SD = X - 2*σ

Bollinger Bounce

The first thing you should know about Bollinger Band is that prices strive to return to the center of the Bollinger Bands. On the following chart you can see that the price has returned back towards the middle of Bollinger Bands.



What you just saw was a classic Bollinger Bounce. The reason why this “bounce” occurs is that Bollinger Band lines act like a level of support and resistance. The larger time period that you observe in the graph (H1, H4, D1), the stronger the Bollinger Bands get. Most traders developed systems that rely on the “jumps”. This strategy is best used when the market is in the range (ranging market) and while there is no clear trend.

Bollinger Squeeze

When the Bollinger Band lines get close together, it usually means that a break out will appear. If the candlesticks start to break out above the upper Bollinger Band line it is customary that the upward trend will continue, same thing is true for the downward trend.



If you look at the chart above you can see the Bollinger Band lines shrinking. Price is just beginning to penetrate upper Bollinger Bands lines and continues to go up. This is the way a typical Bollinger Squeeze works. This strategy is designed to catch a trend as soon as possible. This situation does not happen every day, but you can probably encounter it several times a week if you observe a 15 minute chart.

Interpretation

The use of Bollinger Bands varies wildly among traders. Some traders buy when price touches the lower Bollinger Band and exit when price touches the moving average in the center of the bands. Other traders buy when price breaks above the upper Bollinger Band or sell when price falls below the lower Bollinger Band.
When the bands lie close together a period of low volatility in stock price is indicated. When they are far apart a period of high volatility in price is indicated. When the bands have only a slight slope and lie approximately parallel for an extended time the price of a stock will be found to oscillate up and down between the bands as though in a channel.

As always, traders are inclined to use Bollinger Bands with other indicators to see if there is confirmation. In particular, the use of an oscillator like Bollinger Bands will often be coupled with a non-oscillator indicator like chart patterns or a trend line. If these indicators confirm the recommendation of the Bollinger Bands, the trader will have greater evidence that what the Bands forecast is correct.

Conclusion

Even though Bollinger Bands can help generate buy and sell signals, they are not designed to determine the future direction of a currency. The Bollinger Bands were designed to augment other analysis techniques and indicators. By themselves, Bollinger Bands serve two primary functions:

- To identify periods of high and low volatility
- To identify periods when prices are at extreme, and possibly unsustainable, levels

As stated above, currencies can fluctuate between periods of high volatility and low volatility. Being able to identify a period of low volatility can serve as an alert to monitor the price action of a currency. Other aspects of technical analysis, such as momentum, moving averages and retracements, can then be employed to help determine the direction of the potential breakout.

Remember that buy and sell signals are not given when prices reach the upper or lower Bollinger Bands. Such levels merely indicate that prices are high or low on a relative basis. A currency can become overbought or oversold for an extended period of time. Knowing whether or not prices are high or low on a relative basis can enhance our interpretation of other indicators, and it can assist with timing issues in trading.
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What is Forex?

If you would go out on a dinner with your friends or family and you mentioned that you were trading on the Forex market most of them wouldn’t know what you were talking about. The worst thing is that most of the Forex traders that join the Forex market don’t know what they are doing. Understanding what Forex is, is the first good step to your success at Forex trading.


The foreign exchange market (Currency, Forex, or FX) is where currency trading takes place. It is where banks and other official institutions facilitate the buying and selling of foreign currencies. Forex transactions typically involve one party purchasing a quantity of one currency in exchange for paying a quantity of another. The foreign exchange market that we see today started evolving during the 1970s when world over countries gradually switched to floating exchange rate from their erstwhile exchange rate regime, which remained fixed as per the Bretton Woods system till 1971.

Today, the Forex market is one of the largest and most liquid financial markets in the world, and includes trading between large banks, central banks, currency speculators, corporations, governments, and other institutions. The average daily volume in the global foreign exchange and related markets is continuously growing. Traditional daily turnover was reported to be over US$3.2 trillion in April 2007 by the Bank for International Settlements. Since then, the market has continued to grow. According to Euromoney's annual Forex Poll, volumes grew a further 41% between 2007 and 2008.

Forex Turnover

Forex Turnover
Main foreign exchange market turnover, 1988 - 2007, measured in billions of USD.
The purpose of Forex market is to facilitate trade and investment. The need for a foreign exchange market arises because of the presence of multifarious international currencies such as US Dollar, Pound Sterling, Yen, etc., and the need for trading in such currencies. Since you aren’t buying anything physical this kind of trading can be confusing. When buying a currency think of it as buying a part in that particular country’s economy because the currency rate reflects the economical situation of the country when compared to others.

Currencies

Currencies
List of most popular currencies on the Forex market

Forex used to be a closed market because only the “big boys” because you needed between 10 and 50 million $ to open an account. But today, with the development of internet, online Forex brokers have the possibility to offer their services to “little” traders. All you need to start is a computer, fast internet connection and information which you can find on this page also.

This enormous market is like the dangerous sea where you can meet lots of sharks and dangerous waters but at the same time it is the only one where two weeks of trading can hypothetically bring you $1,000,000 out of $1,000 of initial investment.

This is certainly hypothetically because a lot of newbie traders deal with their trades as gambling, that surely bring them to having nothing in the end. You should always keep the phrase "be careful!" in your mind. This market would give you its profit possibilities only if you learn the basic things hard and make lots of demo trading.

The statistics is that as much as 95% of traders come to losing their money at Forex, 5% have profit and less than 1% of traders make large fortune at Forex. You shouldn't produce, sell or advertise anything trading at Forex. Your assets are your knowledge, experience and a small amount of cash.

This market is a platform for banks, transnational corporations and individual traders to change the currencies they possess into other ones. This is the spot Forex market. At this market you can trade with up to 1:400 leverage which means that you'll get $400 on your account for each dollar invested. So, you can trade with the $400,000 sum having invested $1,000 onto your account.

Forex is unique among other world markets because in any time of day and night, somewhere in the world, a financial centre is open for business, banks and corporations exchange currency all the time, with a little lower frequency during the weekend.

Why to trade on Forex?

1. There is no commission fee for trading at Forex.
2. There is no intermediary, you can trade directly at Forex.
3. Forex is open 24-hours a day.
4. Nobody can influence the market for a longer period.
5. High liquidity.
6. Free demo accounts, analysis and charts.
7. Small accounts that allow everyone to try out his luck.

Hope this has answered a lot of questions you were asking yourself about Forex and that you can now start trading. Also make sure that you check out other articles on this blog which can help you earn your fortune.

Good luck to everyone!