Advanced Trailing Stop Loss Methods

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In this article we will look at taking this one step further and using stop losses not just to limit risk and lock in profits but also to enable you to produce even more profit but increasing the level of risk you are in the trade at the appropriate time. This does not mean that you trade at a more risky level – remember this is a cardinal sin for traders. It does mean, however, that you take on more risk at a time in a trade that is already in profit. This way, you can be assured that the trade will never lose you money but you will be able to give it more freedom to develop without being stopped out too early!

Non-fixed Average True Range (ATR) Based Stop Losses

The average true range is an indicator that takes into account the volatility of a stock. The more volatile a stock, the more room is required for a stop to prevent the trade from being stopped out too early intraday. ATR takes into account the volatility of a stock unlike other more basic forms of stop loss such as a trailing percentage or point stop loss. For a more detailed discussion of ATR (and other indicators)

As an example, it is possible for you to set your initial stop loss to 2*ATR below the low of the day and then increase the stop loss to, for example, 3*ATR once the stock is in profit. This will allow your trade a little more room to breathe with very little chance of losing any money.

The chart below demonstrates this principle:


The red line is the stop loss that is not based on the traditional approach of trailing behind a fixed ATR while the blue line is a stop loss that is based on a fixed ATR. The trade was entered on the 19th September and it can be seen that, in this case, the blue stop loss is activated much quicker than the red stop loss. In other words, in this case, a non-fixed ATR produced much more profit than the fixed ATR based stop loss.

Mixed Stop Loss Methods

It is also perfectly possible for you to mix the initial stop loss method with a totally different method of stop loss calculation later on. For example, the initial stop loss can be based on a 2*ATR and then be trailed based on the low of the past “X” number of days. So, if we take X to be 40 days, then as soon as the low of the past 40 days is greater than the initial stop loss, the stop loss is trailed to the newly calculated method and so on.


The above state two methods of advanced stop loss calculation. There are a number of different other methods and you will need to find a method that is suitable for you. Remember, there is no method that is ideal in all situations and you may find that one method may be better in one stock and not another. It is therefore important that you back test your method on different stocks to ensure that the method, in general, works. Above all, keep it simple and manageable. Without sounding too harsh remember the following pneumonic - KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!

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  1. ementido-online

    July 17, 2010 at 12:24 am

    good start