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Momentum trading: top tips and indicators

Understanding and trading the dynamics of market momentum can be a daunting task, however, by employing specific strategies, traders can increase their chances of success. One such strategy is momentum trading, which capitalizes on the momentum of price trends in various assets. Let’s delve into the world of momentum trading and how traders use this approach to identify and leverage profitable opportunities. We will explore key concepts, indicators, and practical examples, shedding light on this popular trading strategy. 

What is Momentum Trading?

At its most simplistic core, price momentum is the notion that price trends continue more often than they reverse, so following the trend will be, statistically, a smarter choice. Most traders will agree that momentum trading and trend trading are safer approaches, but, in reality, the markets are unpredictable, and no fixed forecasting methodology can be right every time. Keep that in mind when testing momentum trading and let that knowledge influence your trading budget accordingly.

Notably, while momentum trading is commonly associated with stock trading, it is also popularly used to trade other asset classes.

The momentum trading indicator

To see the momentum indicator in action, register your email address to get immediate access to the Exness Terminal. Use the available demo account to get familiar with the momentum trading indicator risk-free. On the Exness Trading Terminal, at the top left, you can find a drop-down menu with over 100 top-rated indicators. Search “Momentum” and select from the list to lay the momentum indicator below the chart. It’s that easy. So what does the momentum indicator show?

The momentum indicator measures the rate of change in a stock's price. Typically, the momentum of a stock's trend slows before it changes direction. If the momentum indicator crosses the zero line, momentum traders consider this a possible entry or exit signal.

In line with the momentum trading strategy, traders entering a position when the momentum indicator crosses above the zero line might hold the position as long as the indicator stays above. When the momentum indicator crosses below the zero line, momentum traders take that as an indication that momentum is falling and the current trend is coming to an end. If the momentum indicator stays above 0, then a trader typically holds the order open, but when the indicator crosses 0 once again, a trader will consider an immediate exit.

Top tip: It all sounds easy, but keep in mind, not all crossover points are reliable entry or exit signals. This is because the momentum indicator can generate numerous signals as it crosses above and below the zero line.

To help reduce the number of entry and exit signals, consider using additional conditions as a filter. Such filters include applying price patterns or examining the overall trend of the broader stock market. Momentum trading is deeply rooted in technical analysis. Spotting a trend on a chart displaying strong momentum is not so easy using the naked eye, although some traders with 3 to 5 years of trading experience sometimes can. For momentum traders in need of help, indicators are the obvious choice, and there are 3 indicators that momentum traders commonly rely on.

Top 3 momentum trading indicators

Most traders overlay indicators for a more precise analysis, and 3 indicators are by far the most commonly used by momentum traders.

Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The RSI is a popular indicator with momentum traders. RSI measures the speed and change of price movements. On your Exness Trading Terminal, click the indicators button at the top left then search “RSI” and select  Relative Strength Index. On the bottom of the chart, you’ll see a range chart starting at 0 and rising to 100. RSI strategy suggests any asset with a reading above 70 indicates an overbought situation, which is said to result in a slowing of momentum and even a reversal.

Likewise, readings below 30 indicate an oversold status, which can precede the end of a bearish momentum.

Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)

The MACD indicator is also helpful when analyzing momentum. The MACD consists of two lines: the MACD line and the signal line. When the MACD line crosses above the signal line, it generates a bullish signal indicating a potential momentum shift. Conversely, when the MACD line crosses below the signal line, it generates a bearish signal indicating momentum change. The distance between the MACD line and the signal line also reflects the strength of the momentum. Traders often use MACD in conjunction with other indicators to make informed trading decisions.

Stochastic Oscillator

The Stochastic Oscillator measures the momentum of price by comparing the current closing price to its price range over a specific period. This indicator generates values between 0 and 100, with readings above 80 considered overbought and readings below 20 considered oversold.

Trading tips for momentum traders

There is no foolproof method of trading, but momentum trading or trend trading is considered to be a more reliable approach than waiting for reversals and trading the swings. Traders should also consider analyzing and comparing market sectors and individual stocks to identify potential opportunities when momentum trading. For example, if big tech stocks are performing well, lesser-known tech companies may display bullish reactions as interest saturates the sector.

If the indicators, sector sentiment, chart patterns, financial news, and fundamentals confirm momentum, it’s time to enter the market. Exit points are not so easy. Momentum traders have dozens of theories when it comes to plotting exit points, but a good rule of thumb is not to let emotion, sentiment, or greed influence your decision.

If the asset displays periodic volatility, then consider setting Stop Loss and Take Profit not far from the asset price range. If you’re planning to keep an order open for over a week, look back on the range over the last month. Keep your expectations realistic, and be stringent about loss limits. It’s better to take a small loss and have equity for the next trade.

Lastly, some of the most drastic reversals occur without any indication or warning from the charts. If you miss out on some of these dynamic price actions, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t let losses influence your next trade. Approach every new trade and every new day with a calm analytic mind and perform due diligence without bias.

Momentum Trading FAQs:

Here are a few frequently asked questions about momentum trading. 


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