Monday, February 22, 2016

How do you know you have a trading edge?

In my previous post, I briefly explained what a trading edge is. It is a set of trading principles which enable you to keep your profits higher than your losses.

But, traders must surely wonder: How do I know if I have a trading edge?

This posts tries to answer the question posed above.

1. Your trading edge should be confirmed by statistical analysis.
This way is the easiest to apply and the most difficult to create. If you have a statistical analysis of your trades then you know for sure if you have an edge. Suppose you have recorded the details of actual trades taken over a period of three years. There are five hundred trades and you have the reasons for taking each trade, together with the the gain or loss  per trade. Putting this data into Excel can give you a complete statistical analysis of your performance. If you are making more money than you lose, with a reasonable upward sloping equity curve, then you have an edge.
But that was the easy part. The difficult part is to have actually kept a record of your trades. Suppose you did not keep a record. Then what do you do? Then we come to the other methods.

2. Back-Testing a mechanical trading system. 
You may be trading with a mechanical trading system - a method that has a set of rules and these rules have been tested on past data. If your trading rules can be tested over previous / past data, then do so. The results of the back test with give you some idea if you have an edge or not. If the performance over the data period is satisfactory then at least you have an edge in the past.

3. Be consistent.
if you are not using a clear set of rules which can be back tested, then this one is for you. You should be consistent with your trading method. Follow the same set of rules for all your trades. Chances are that your consistency will ensure that you have an edge.

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