How to Use the Average True Range (ATR) To Set Stops 
How to Use the Average True Range (ATR) To Set Stops
by InformedTrades
Video Lecture 41 of 77
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Date Added: May 7, 2017

Lecture Description

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A lesson on how to include volatility in setting for traders of the stock, futures, and forex markets.

In our last lesson we looked at determining how much you are willing to risk on any one trade as the first step in developing a successful money management strategy. Now that we have established this, in today's lesson we are going to look at some of the different ways that you can then set your stop, which fit within this initial criteria.

As we learned in last lesson, risking more than 2% of total trading capital on any one trade is a major reason for the high failure rate of most traders. Does this mean that when setting a stop we should simply figure out how many points away from our entry represents 2% of our account balance and set the stop there? Well, traders could obviously do this and to be honest it would probably be a lot better than most of the other money management strategies I have seen, but there better ways.

Although many traders will look at other things in conjunction, having an idea of the historical volatility of the instrument you are trading is always a good idea when thinking about your stop loss level. If for instance you are trading a $100 stock which moves $5 vs. a $100 stock that moves $1 a day on average, then this is going to tell you something about where you should place your stop. As it is probably already clear here, all else being equal, if you put a stop $5 away on both stocks, you are going to be much more likely to be stopped out on the stock which moves on average $5 a day than you are with the stock that moves on average $1 a day.

While I have seen successful traders who get to know a list of the things they are trading well enough to have a good idea of what their average daily ranges are, many traders will instead use an indicator which was designed to give an overview of this, which is known as the Average True Range (ATR)

Developed by J. Welles Wilder the ATR is designed to give traders a feel for what the historical volatility is for an instrument, or very simply how much it moves. Financial instruments that exhibit high volatility move a lot, and traders can there fore make or lose a lot of money in a short period of time. Conversely, financial instruments with low volatility move a relatively small amount so it takes longer to make or lose money in them all else being equal.

As with many of the other indicators we have studied in previous lessons, Wilder uses a moving average to smooth out the True Range numbers. When plotted on a graph it looks as follows:

What you are basically seeing here is a representation of the daily movement of the EUR/USD. As you can see when the candles are longer (which represents large trading ranges and volatility) the ATR moves up and when the candles are smaller (representing smaller trading ranges and volatility) it moves down.

So with this in mind, the most basic way that traders use the ATR in setting their stops is to place their stop a set number of ATR's away from their entry price so they have less of a chance of being knocked out of the market by "market noise".

That's our lesson for today. In tomorrow's lesson we are going to look at how you can use volatility based stops in conjunction with another method traders use for setting stops based on technical levels so we hope to see you in that lesson.

As always if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below so we can all learn together and good luck with your trading!

Course Index

  1. Intro to Technical Analysis
  2. Introduction to Dow Theory
  3. Second 3 Tenets of Dow Theory
  4. How to Read Stock Charts
  5. How to Trade Support and Resistance
  6. Multi Time Frame Analysis
  7. Introduction to the Double Top and Double Bottom Charting Pattern
  8. How to Trade Double Tops Like a Pro
  9. How to Trade the Head and Shoulders Pattern Part 1
  10. How to Trade the Head and Shoulders Pattern Part 2
  11. How to Trade the Wedge Chart Pattern Like a Pro Part 1
  12. How to Trade the Wedge Chart Pattern Like a Pro Part 2
  13. How to Trade the Flag/Pennant Patterns Like a Pro Part 1
  14. How to Trade the Flag/Pennant Patterns Like a Pro Part 2
  15. How to Trade Triangle Chart Patterns Like a Pro Part 1
  16. How to Trade Triangle Chart Patterns Like a Pro Part 2
  17. Learn to Trade with Technical Indicators
  18. How to Trade Moving Averages Like a Pro (Part 1)
  19. How toTrade Moving Averages Like a Pro (Part 2)
  20. How to Trade the MACD Indicator Like a Pro (Part 1)
  21. MACD Indicator: Trade it Like a Pro (Part 2)
  22. How to Trade the Relative Strength Index (RSI) Like a Pro
  23. How to Trade Stochastics Like the Pro's Do
  24. The Difference Between the Fast, Slow and Full Stochastic
  25. How to Trade Bollinger Bands - Stocks, Futures, Forex
  26. How to Trade the Average Directional Index (ADX)
  27. How to Trade the Parabolic SAR
  28. How to Trade Candlestick Chart Formations Part 1
  29. How to Trade Spinning Tops and Doji Candlestick Patterns
  30. How to Trade the Bullish/Bearish Engulfing Candlesticks
  31. How to Trade the Hammer Hanging Man Candlesticks
  32. How to Trade the Morning/Evening Star Candlestick Pattern
  33. How to Trade the Inverted Hammer/Shooting Star Patterns
  34. Why Most Traders Lose Money and The Solution
  35. Why Traders Hold On to Losing Positions
  36. Two Trading Mistakes Which Will Destroy Your Account
  37. Herd Mentality is the Psychology That Leads to Big Trading Losses
  38. Profit Expectations: What Millionaire Traders Know
  39. How to Join the Minority of Traders Who Are Successful
  40. How To Determine Where to Put Your Initial Stop Loss Order
  41. How to Use the Average True Range (ATR) To Set Stops
  42. How to Up Your Chances for Profit When Setting Stops
  43. How to Reduce the Chances of Being Stopped Out on a Trade
  44. How Successful Traders Use Indicators to Place Stops
  45. Stop Your Mind From Causing You to Take Profits Too Soon
  46. How To Use Trailing Stops
  47. Why Position Sizing is So Important in Trading
  48. Why Fixed Position Sizing Is Not the Best Way to Trade
  49. Trading The Martingale and Anti Martingale Strategies
  50. How to Set Trade Position Size for Maximum Profits
  51. Maximize Trading Profits with Correct Position Sizing 2
  52. Fundamental Analysis and The US Economy
  53. A Simple Explanation of the US Economy for Traders
  54. Simple Explanation of The US Economy For Traders Part 2
  55. The Business Cycle and Fiscal Policy - What Traders Know
  56. How Interest Rates Move Markets
  57. What Traders Know About Interest Rates Part 2
  58. What Traders Need to Know About The Structure of The Fed
  59. How the Fed Changes Interest Rates
  60. How to Determine When the Fed is Going to Change Rates
  61. Why Markets Move Ahead of Interest Rate Announcements
  62. How to Trade the GDP Number (Part 1)
  63. The Components of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  64. Intro to Trading Non Farm Payrolls (NFP's)
  65. Trading the News - Economic Numbers - Retail Sales
  66. Trading the News - Economic Numbers - ISM Manufacturing
  67. The Producer Price Index (PPI)
  68. The Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  69. Trade the News - Existing Home Sales Index
  70. How To Interpret the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI)
  71. How to Interpret the Index of Leading Economic Indicators
  72. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Day Trading
  73. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Swing Trading
  74. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Position Trading
  75. How to Keep a Trading Journal
  76. The Most Important Attributes of a Good Trading Journal
  77. The 20 Components of a Successful Trading Plan

Course Description

This is a series of 77 short video lessons meant to give traders an introduction to the basics of trading as well as the components necessary to develop a profitable trading plan.


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