Learn range trading to easily grasp market rhythm and capture profits!


Following the trend means discovering wealth! The secret is knowing when to follow the decline! Remember, greed will destroy everything you have.

We all know the saying "the trend is your friend." During an uptrend, traders focus on buying. When prices are on a downtrend, it makes more sense to look for shorting opportunities. Indeed, when the market trend is clear, you tend to take advantage of favorable possibilities, following the trend rather than going against it.

However, in the world of trading, currency pair trends are not as obvious as we would hope. The market tends to range about two-thirds of the time.

While all advice seems to tell you to trade with the trend, the market frequently presents ranging periods. So, should we stop trading during these sideways periods? Of course not! If traded properly, range periods can also bring significant profits. Today, we will discuss "How to effectively trade ranges!"

01 Basic Knowledge of Range Trading

A range typically forms when the price is confined between support and resistance levels. Thus, one of the simplest ways to trade ranges is: enter or exit at the boundaries of the range, selling at the top and buying at the bottom.

Below is a chart showing a rectangular range or box channel, where the price oscillates within nearly parallel levels:

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02 Forms of Ranges

To trade ranges effectively, you must first recognize their forms. There are typically five types of ranges:

1. Rectangular Range

In a rectangular range, the support and resistance levels are almost parallel. These ranges occur frequently, less commonly than channels or continuation ranges. How do you identify a rectangular range?

A rectangular range is easy to identify because it has the following characteristics:

■ Clear upper and lower support and resistance levels;

■ Smooth moving averages;

■ Price highs and lows often appear within similar levels.

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(Using Indicators to Identify Range Reversals) The indicator at the bottom of the above chart is the MACD. Downward crossings of the black histogram bars below the orange signal line indicate sell signals, while upward crossings indicate buy signals. The height of the MACD lines suggests the levels of overbought or oversold conditions.

2. Price Channels (Trending Ranges)

In a price channel or trending range, prices form an upward or downward channel with a certain slope.

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Overall, such channels represent trending markets, but often provide short-term range trading opportunities. Therefore, channels can be traded using trend-following or breakout strategies. Short-term channel ranges may lead to counter-trend breakouts. In an upward-sloping range, most breakouts are downward, and vice versa. This is not absolute but is an important rule in technical analysis.

The chart below shows a bearish channel with a strong bullish breakout:

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3. False Channel Breakouts

False breakouts can be triggered by many factors, such as major news announcements, which might activate automated trading systems. However, markets usually absorb such information before the news is released, and as market consensus reestablishes, the impact of the news fades, and prices return to their original path.

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In the chart above, a channel breakout occurred during a Federal Reserve announcement. Prices surged upwards by about 300 points before returning to the original range.

4. Continuation Ranges: Flags, Triangles, Wedges

Continuation ranges occur within a trend and include patterns like triangles, flags, and wedges. These ranges are often corrections within the main trend and can signal either bullish or bearish moves.

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These patterns can appear on any timeframe chart. They can be traded either as ranges or breakouts.

5. Irregular Ranges

Some range patterns are not immediately obvious. At such times, prices typically revolve around a pivot line, with support and resistance forming around it. Using trendline analysis tools and moving averages helps identify these ranges and determine support and resistance levels.

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Apart from trading breakouts at the range boundaries, some traders trade ranges closer to the central pivot line, believing that prices will return to the mean (the central pivot line).

03 Range Trading Methods

After recognizing different range forms, how should we utilize range trading?

1. Identifying Worthwhile Ranges

Not all sideways periods are suitable for trading. Some have thin profits but higher risks, making such whipsaw ranges not worth trading. How do we identify the worthier ones? We know a sideways period indicates a time when prices oscillate between support and resistance. Our judgment is based on this oscillation's range and frequency.

Let's examine a worthwhile whipsaw range:

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From the above chart, we can see:

1. Prices oscillate clearly between two support and resistance levels;

Hence, this whipsaw range is worth trading! Now, let's look at a counter-example:

3. There is a gap of over 630 points between the support and resistance, making the profits substantial;

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From the above chart, we can see:

1. Prices are oscillating but within a very narrow range, yielding thin profits;

2. The strength of these support and resistance levels is weak;

Therefore, this whipsaw range is not worth trading!

2. How to Trade Ranges?

Especially for experienced traders, identifying whether a whipsaw trend is worth trading will be easy with some effort. Having identified the worthwhile range, how do we trade it?

The basic methods for trading ranges include:

Waiting for price reversals at the range boundaries or two-thirds through the range; Confirming trading signals with at least two candles;

Setting profit-taking levels at two-thirds of the range, as prices usually reverse before hitting the support or resistance levels;

Placing stop-losses at the range boundaries to account for false breakouts. Lastly, a warning: beware of signals that seem too good to be true, as they might be traps.

3. How to Maximize Profits in Range Trading? After learning the basic methods of range trading, how can we maximize our profits?

At this point, terms like "bottom fishing" or "key pressure points" might come to mind. Indeed, seeking opportunities near support and resistance levels is a good strategy, but today, I want to introduce something new. To emphasize profit maximization, I want to introduce the concept of "using false breakouts to amplify profits"!

For example:

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As shown in the chart, whipsaw ranges often come with false breakout patterns. By confirming the false breakout, entering at that point can yield the highest profit. While it sounds risky, it can be highly profitable. Observing the strength of resistance levels and certain patterns helps mitigate risks.

04 How to Handle Range Breakouts?

Range breakouts are rarely clear-cut and clean, adding complexity to both breakout and range trading strategies. False breakouts see prices first break out and then return to the range. When trading ranges, avoid chasing prices post-breakout, as breakouts can be strong. If you choose the wrong direction, cut losses promptly and wait for another entry opportunity.

For more related trading confidence, please contact CWG Ahai;

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Risk Warning and Disclaimer

The market carries risks, and investment should be cautious. This article does not constitute personal investment advice and has not taken into account individual users' specific investment goals, financial situations, or needs. Users should consider whether any opinions, viewpoints, or conclusions in this article are suitable for their particular circumstances. Investing based on this is at one's own responsibility.

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