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Trading Tips - WHEN TO BUY OR SELL

Determine Whether You Should Be a Buyer or Seller

 During my 22-year trading career in Stocks, Futures and Commodities, I have come across many methods and techniques. Most at first glance appear intriguing, but soon expose it becomes evident that all those pretty lines do nothing more than decorate your screen and put a drain on your trading account.

Fortunately, when you have been at it as long as I have, you are bound to come across a few good ideas that actually translate into profits.

In this article, I am going to share with you one simple technique that I have found to be value for the purpose of deciding whether to be bullish or bearish (or neither) most freely traded markets. This simple method is not meant to be used alone, but in conjunction with a timing method for actual entry. In other words, you would use this method to first your trend bias (bullish, bearish, neutral), and then you would use whatever method you have found useful for deciding when to buy or sell.

With my own trading and that of my trading clients, we use turn dates called FDates (for Future Dates) along with a simple chart pattern for our Buy and Sell setups.  But we need to first decide whether we want to trade Buy setups or Sell setups, and this is based on our trend bias. So let me now share one method for doing this.


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Using a WEEKLY price chart, where each price bar represents a week of trading, you want to apply a simple MACD indicator. Along with the Oscillator and Signal lines that you normally get with MACD, having the Histogram on it is very helpful also. The standard setting of 28, 12, 9 will suffice.

The line we want to pay attention to is the Oscillator line, which is the line that is usually above the Signal line when they are both moving up, and is below the Signal line when they are both moving down. You want to note if the Oscillator line is moving down or moving up. If it is moving sideways, then no trend bias is generated.

Suppose that the line is moving up. This is the first indication that our bias may be to be bullish. To confirm this, we also want to note whether the last SWING is a top or bottom. If it was a bottom, our trend bias is BULLISH and we then only want to trade Buy setups on the daily chart when we get them. But if the last SWING is a top, we remain neutral as our trend bias, looking for trades elsewhere.

A SWING, for those who may not know this term, refers to confirmed top or bottom. For a Swing Top, you have a price bar with a higher-high than the previous bar high, followed by a price bar that is not higher than this bar, but makes a lower-low. This lower-low can come as soon as the next price bar, or later. When it does, that higher-high bar is called a confirmed Swing Top. The reverse is true for Swing Bottoms, where you start with a lower-low bar, eventually followed by a higher-high bar.

Here is an example of having a bearish trend bias. You note on the MACD that the Oscillator line is moving downwards. If you also note that the last confirmed swing was a top, you have a bearish trend bias and should look for only selling opportunities on the daily chart.

I have used this simple method for some time with very good results. Of course, it is important to have a good timing method for your actual Buy and Sell setups. Without that, this method would have limited value.

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