Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday morning trades, canoodling with EW Theory, and other thoughts


Yesterday's short trade is still on. I took a third off the table earlier and have my stop at plus 60 pips. I may move it again soon. I also took another short position earlier this morning and have the stop at breakeven. Note on the three hour chart below how RSI respected its Fib levels. The horizontal orange lines are why I said yesterday I wanted to short around 1.6150. I explained yesterday that I shorted under that because of price behavior. The thing to watch now, in my mind, is how the pair begins to behave as it nears the short uptrend line. Here’s the 3-hour chart but I’ll be watching shorter time frames.

My short was obviously taken out yesterday morning at profit. I entered long on the pullback where it continues to do well. But it’s nearing the top of that channel I’ve shown on prior charts so I need to assess this.


I got in and out of a quick short yesterday. I’m carefully analyzing the recent price activity. My “belief” is that the pair is headed down but you know how beliefs can blind you to what’s really happening? A good price analysis will tell the story.


Yesterday I wrote that I was out of the Ozzie until I could form a clearer picture. I hypothesized that perhaps we could be in some sort of B wave (Elliott wave speak for corrective waves that are often choppy and difficult to decipher).

I’m not a big fan of the Elliott Wave Theory (EWT) for actual trading because it’s difficult to use it for trades by itself (although I know some people do and more power to them if it is profitable for them). I do, though, count waves. I do spend oodles of time canoodling with my Elliott Wave Principle book (Frost and Prechter).

Why does EWT appear so difficult? Why is it that there are so many interpretations? One reason is that while there are several rules—and these are inviolate—there are many more guidelines. These are just that—guidelines. The guidelines lead to arguments among EWT practitioners. Another reason is that many so-called EWT practitioners don’t seem to have memorized the rules and say things that simply aren’t true. A third reason, as I’ve mentioned before, is that the corrections are devilishly difficult to identify until well after the fact as to what they are and what they mean. While they’re in process they can lead to some strong arguments among practitioners.

Arguing over interpretations of anything on the charts is a valid activity. After all, if one person or theory held the absolute answer then that would be the fountain of youth, Eldorado, and the lost city of Atlantis rolled into one. Wouldn’t all who practiced that theory be lucky? But people that hold strongly to any given theory get extreme in their arguments, often using emotion where reason fails. So you hear such phrases as “I have this on absolute authority from a close relative of Elliott himself who verified it had never been written down and therefore I’m right and you’re not and you’re also stupid.”

Where I find EWT most useful is in gauging market psychology. It supplements my other analysis. I won’t necessarily act on a wave count that seems to be present if it goes against other factors I consider more important.

Briefly, since I don’t have the time to write a treatise on the topic, certain waves are technically strong and have real oomph. Others are not strong at all. Often, such as the B wave I mentioned as a possibility yesterday, they exhibit divergences, non-confirmations and the like.

Getting back to the AUDUSD, I studied charts dating back 30 years yesterday, in an attempt to clear up my confusion over what the pair was doing. I can make a case for three alternative wave counts based on the monthly chart. This is not helpful. One can’t trade this. But it’s a good exercise to write down the reasons for each. Briefly, though, my favored wave count is that we’re in a primary wave two correction (wave one being the steep drop from July, 2008). If this is true then it could retrace most or all of wave one. So it can’t exceed .9851. Since its high yesterday was .8860, this isn’t helpful, either. At least not to me, a small trader, who is not going to buy now, damn the torpedoes, and put a stop quite a distance away. I can make a good case for why I should have gone long at .8590 and stayed in. Had I done that I wouldn’t be doing all this work right now. I didn’t buy but should have doesn’t cut it in trading. Or anywhere else.

So I need to work on a smaller chart, right? Yes. But before leaving the monthly chart I drew an uptrend line from the lows earlier in the decade and it is coming in right about where the pair traded yesterday. Sometimes these old trend lines, once violated, serve as resistance. If I draw a horizontal line back in time to the early 80s on the monthly chart, I also see this is an interesting area known as polarity. Price has roughly used it for support and resistance.

Is it worth a short then? Well this would tie in with my belief we might be in a B wave correction. But there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance here. I’ve been calculating resistance ever since the secondary low in November, 2008. At each key resistance level I dutifully lightened or closed my longs, only to have to find a way to get back in. I’ve been trying to go long since the beginning of September and had some decent trades, e.g. one at 90 pips, but, for the last couple of weeks, have only found short setups where I’ve made small amounts of pips or taken small losses. (I’m not trashing 20 pip profits—they can add up—but one hopes for better than that, usually).

Here’s my opinion. It’s in an uptrend although it seems to be struggling with robust, sustained up moves. It’s at a resistance level that held once, yesterday. I may short it if it reaches .8860 again, depending on the behavior on the charts. Or I may go long if I can find behavior to support that position. That’s the best I can do at this point. Wait and see.

None of the above are trade recommendations. Remember that trading involves substantial risk.

© Dianne Fecteau, 2009. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without the express written permission of the author.

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