Moving Averages do Work ! : My November Currency Trader Magazine Article

As you know during this year I have become a very regular contributor to Currency Trader Magazine, one of the most well-known and accessible publications dealing with forex trading on the internet. Definitely what made me choose Currency Trader Magazine above others was the fact that it was freely accessible to anyone who wants to download it, making my content reach a larger audience and the strategies I publish more “relevant” to the general public. Yesterday the November 2010 issue of the magazine with my 8th contribution was published. On this this new article I explain a very robust moving average strategy and share the results of both individual currency pairs and a basket of currencies using this strategy. As always you can download the magazine directly from the currency trader magazine website where the current and last issue are always available for download. In order to get previous issues you will need to purchase the articles through the website.During the next few paragraphs I will talk a little bit about this article, why I wrote it and why I believe it paves the way towards much more interesting and profitable developments in the near future.

I have always thought that moving averages are perhaps one of the most widely used technical analysis tools in professional trading and yet they are very unappreciated by new trader who – when thinking about moving averages – only think that they “lag” and “do not work”. Certainly many of you will remember that my first article in currency trader also dealt with a moving average cross strategy, explaining clearly how the money management aspects of such a strategy made an extremely important difference showing how implementing adaptive techniques took a strategy from barely to significantly profitable.

On this month’s article on CT I wanted to show that moving averages are in fact very robust tools which can be used in the development of long term profitable strategies by the implementation of very simple yet adaptive trading techniques. Unlike my first article on CT, this article doesn’t deal with a moving average cross strategy but it implements a daily strategy using a large group of moving averages as introduced by Daryl Guppy around 1995-97 for stock trading. This shows that moving averages are not only limited to be traded as “crosses” but other techniques which do not rely strictly on how moving averages cross can in fact be successful, not only in one single currency pair but in a basket of currencies. The article also shows the power of portfolio make up of this strategy as draw downs are very effectively hedged although the exact same strategy with the exact same settings is used on the different currency pairs.

As you know I have always been an advocate of “elegant” trading techniques, the building of trading strategies which are simple in logical nature but extremely complex and “rich” when it comes to the inefficiencies they exploit. Using this multi-moving average trading technique is very simple yet effective in detecting and following “trending moments” on several different forex currency pairs. I decided to limit the basket of currencies used to a small amount of currencies in which I could ensure there was no important under-estimation of open draw down but certainly the strategy can be traded on a wider arrange of instruments with similar results.Those of you who like the strategy may want to implement and evaluate it on other pairs (and if you want share your results with me!).

This article is yet another proof that moving averages are not “lagging”, “useless” indicators but that through adequate analysis of what they represent and how they work together a person can arrive at profitable, simple and robust trading strategies. Definitely it is not about mindless testing of an endless array of indicators and the building of extremely complex strategies through fancy optimization techniques, artificial intelligence, agents, neural networks, etc. It is – most importantly – about understanding what you are doing and building strategies that put that understanding into a very simple entry and exit strategy. This is definitely one of my favorite CT articles up to date (from the ones I have published of course) because it demonstrates how easily the achievement of profitability can be when you tackle very simple aspects of the market.

This moving average strategy however can – without a doubt – be significantly improved by the changing of the entry/exit logic, probably to include some of the more intricate aspects of moving average group behavior. Concepts such as volatility adjusted measurement of the separation between moving averages, the use of exponential moving averages and the time and extent of tight moving average “convergence” periods might lead to the development of additional profitable strategies using similar concepts.

On tomorrow’s post I will talk a little bit about another very interesting aspect of Currency Trader magazine I discovered today which will help you compare your current performance to the leading professionals of the field and their results year-to-date. If you would like to learn more about my work and how you too can learn to develop your own likely long term profitable strategies based on sound trading techniques please consider joining, a website filled with educational videos, trading systems, development and a sound, honest and transparent approach to automated trading in general . I hope you enjoyed this article ! :o)

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2 Responses to “Moving Averages do Work ! : My November Currency Trader Magazine Article”

  1. Gary Trading says:

    I have been building a Crossover strategy based on fast and slow moving averages and finally have decent results with a testing period over the last 5 years. My question to you or anyone that has experience with these type of strategies is:
    When I do stress testing and change the time period of either fast/slow time period by roughly 10 percent, I get poor results where the profit and sharpe ratio are significantly lower (50-75% lower).

    Is this a typical of cross-over strategy behavior, or does this imply that I have curve fitted my period? (I did use in-sample and out of sample to optimize this strategy)

    Any input on this is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • admin says:

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your post :o) A five year period is too small for long term testing and at least 10 years would be necessary to make a better assessment. You should also remember that out-of-sample (unless if it was used through a moving window) should only be used on the LAST test as if you discard parameters that give unprofitable out of sample results you’re simply making the out of sample period a poor in-sample optimization. Also if your strategy falters so much on stress testing due to parameter variations it is not very robust although I would test a small variation (2%) which is what we presume should have a small effect if the strategy has not been curve fitted a lot. Also map all the optimization space around your optimum settings and check how much profitability varies, if it varies too much then your current results are probably too optimistic. I hope this helps!

      Best Regards,


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