By Sean Hyman
When I’m teaching my courses each day, I get this question quite often. So I thought I’d share it here with you too! How in the world do you know how to spot the long term trend? Well it’s really simple.
First, you should pull up a daily chart that goes back in time at least a year (even more time is even better). Then place a 200 Simple Moving Average (SMA) on the chart. That’s the line that I’ve got the arrows pointing to on the chart below. The SMA can be found under the “Studies” or Indicators” section of most any charting package.
Let the 200 Day SMA be Your Guide
One of the most widely used indicators in the world is the 200 SMA. I even catch purely fundamental traders putting it on their charts. Why? Because everyone needs to be able to tell which way the long term trend is headed, even pure fundamentalists.
I’ve charted the EUR/USD pair on the daily chart going back several years in time.
The 200 SMA Smoothes out the Trend and Points the Way to Trade
Towards the left of the chart we can see that the “average” price moves upward over time. So while the price may be jagged and spiky at times, they moving average smoothes all of this out so that we can tell if the price is headed up overall or downward overall. To the left of the chart, the price continues to climb higher, so it’s in an uptrend at that point. However, on the latter part of the chart (right side), then trend turns downward and the longer term trend is then downward. You want to define the trend’s direction and trade with it because that’s where the higher probability trades lie. Low probability trades would be shorting an uptrend or buying a pair in a downtrend. You will notice that the price tends to trade at or above the 200 SMA in an uptrend and in a downtrend the price dips below the 200 SMA and holds at or below it.
How to know when a New Longer-Term Trend is likely Beginning!
Therefore, we’re alerted to a “new long term trend” emerging when the price makes this shift. We can see that in August of 2008 when the price fell below the 200 SMA. At that point, the long term uptrend ceased and the “new” downtrend emerged. Then in May of 2009, the uptrend re-emerged for the EUR/USD. As long as the pair can hold above this 200 SMA, then it’s still in its longer term uptrend. Once the pair drops back below the SMA and holds below it, we know that the uptrend has likely ended. So let the 200 Daily SMA on the daily chart be your guide as to whether you should be looking for “long” (buying) entry opportunities or whether you should be looking for “shorting” (selling) opportunities for your entries into a trend. Using this as your guide will enhance your trading performance. No matter how much you get tempted…don’t trade against this trend, but stick with it. Oh sure, you can take profits if you wish, once it trades way away from the 200 SMA…just don’t counter trend trade against it. Be patient and wait for a re-entry back into the trend once the pair retraces back towards its 200 SMA once again!
Click on the chart to enlarge it