By Elliott Wave International
If you trade with Elliott wave analysis, your trading decisions are all about the difference between where the market is vs. where it will be. According to Jeffrey Kennedy, editor of our Elliott Wave Junctures service, risk management skills are vital to being a successful technical trader.
Here’s what Jeff had to say in a recent interview:
Risk management is all about consistency. It is all about longevity. It is like going back to the story about the tortoise and the hare. You want slow or small consistent profits…
Being an analyst and trader involves two totally separate skill sets. As an analyst, you are a master of observation. You are focusing on what could happen. As a trader, your primary focus is on what is happening. Regardless of whether you think the market’s about to top, if the trend is up, as a trader, you’ve got to play it. Divergence is a great example of what I am referring to.
As an analyst, if I am looking at a momentum tool, and I see divergence, well, that is suggestive of market weakness. As a trader I have to focus on what is happening, not what could happen.
If I see the daily trend is up, I have to buy the market. How do I resign myself to the fact that I have divergence, which means a decrease in momentum, a possible weakness, and a possible trend change? I have to focus on what is happening as a trader and the trend is up. How do I reconcile that?
This is where risk management comes into play. For example, you are allowed to play the buy side to the tune of $100,000. If you are seeing divergence begin to enter the market, you may say to yourself, "I have to trade the trend, and the trend is up, but because of this divergence, I am not going to go all in." … [and] you have to have a very tight stop on the position.
… That is how risk management comes into play, and how you focus on what is happening and reconcile what is happening as a trader. But you also have to take into consideration what could happen when you are wearing your analytical hat and see that potential for divergence because there are markets I have seen where the divergence continues for six months. Analysts trade what could happen, whereas traders trade what is happening.
Effective risk management is indispensable to successful trading. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how accurately you spot divergence or label your waves if you risk too much on your trades.
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This article was syndicated by Elliott Wave International and was originally published under the headline Risk Management for Technical Traders [Interview Excerpt]. EWI is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts led by Chartered Market Technician Robert Prechter provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.