3 Simple Trade Filters That Can Improve Your Strategy

07/28/2014 9:00 am EST

Focus: FOREX

Rob Pasche of DailyFX.com shares several ideas to help traders improve their strategies, whether they trade trends, ranges, or something entirely different.

Filtering a Trend Trading Strategy

We’ve all heard the saying, “the trend is your friend” or “trade the path of least resistance.” These phrases are used by traders that want to trade in the same direction as the overall trend. But what if we have a difficult time locating the trend? What do we do if we are uncertain about our direction bias?

An excellent tool to add to a trend-based strategy is the 200-period Simple Moving Average. By averaging the closing price over the last 200 bars, we can see if the current price action is above or below the average.

Learn Forex: The 200-Period Simple Moving Average

Created using Marketscope 2.0 charting package
Click to Enlarge

Anytime we see price above the 200-period moving average line, we should look for buying opportunities. Anytime we see price below the moving average line, we should look for selling opportunities. This ensures we are trading in the same direction as the prevailing trend.

We can also take note of the strength of an existing trend by how far price has moved away from the 200-period MA. The further the price is away from the average, the stronger the trend. This can be seen in the chart above. A strong downtrend followed by a more tame uptrend.

Filtering a Range Trading Strategy

With the current drop in forex volatility, many traders have migrated over to using range-bound strategies. A range strategy attempts to buy low and sell high when price is moving primarily sideways. The only problem is that sometimes market dynamics can change, turning ranging pairs into pairs that may begin trending.

To mitigate range trading during these transition times, we can use a technical indicator called the Average Directional Index, or (ADX). The ADX is not a direction filter. It is a filter that tells us if a currency pair is currently in a trend our not. The higher the ADX, the stronger the trend is either up or down. The lower the ADX, the more the currency pair has been moving sideways.

The chart below shows a period of time where price was trending and later changed to ranging. The key level for ADX is 25. Whenever the ADX is below 25, we should focus on trading range bound strategies. Any reading above 25 is not as suitable for range trading, and could actually be suitable for trend trading if ADX moves high enough.

Learn Forex: Range Bound When ADX Is Under 25

By eliminating our range trades when ADX is above 25, we have a better chance at turning a profit.
Click to Enlarge

Filtering Any Other Strategy

The final filter on my list is the versatile Speculative Sentiment Index, or SSI. The SSI tells us a ratio of buyers and sellers of each major pair. We want to use the SSI by looking for trading opportunities opposite of the retail trading crowd. So when most people are buying, we should mostly be looking to sell, and vice versa.

Learn Forex: Chart Displaying Inverse Relationship Between Price of USD/CAD and SSI

Copied from My Favorite Trader Tool, How to Use the SSI
Click to Enlarge

By Rob Pasche, Trading Instructor, DailyFX.com

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