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The Donchian channel is an indicator that considers the high and low for N number of periods. This indicator works based on the highs and lows made by the market. The channel makes a stair-stepping pattern for every high or low made in a period of 20 days. Below is a chart that shows the Donchian indicator applied to it. From the above chart, we can clearly see that the top and bottom lines blue lines are moving in the form of a stair-stepping pattern representing the highs and lows over the past 20 days.
Precisely, the black arrows represent the highs and lows in a look back of 20 days. The Turtle strategy using the Donchian channel is simple. When the market breaks above the resistance line, we can prepare to go long. Similarly, when the market goes below the support line, we can go short. Here are some of the tips and tricks for using this indicator.
The candle that breaks the line must be quite strong. Trading Example Consider the below figure. Reading from the left, we can see that the market was holding at the upper line of the channel. Later, a huge green candle broke above the channel. Many would hit a buy at this moment, but we wait for a confirmation. When another candle shows a bullish sentiment as well, we can hit the buy at the point shown on the chart.
However, to keep it simple, you can keep the stop loss a few pips below the candle, which broke the channel. In this set of examples, we shall reverse the logic. That is, we will look to go long when the price breaks below the channel and short when the price breaks above the channel.
Later, the price comes down to that low and even tries to break below it. Once the price shoots right back up to the line, we anticipate on the buy. No one knows the exact criteria Dennis used, but the process included a series of true-or-false questions, a few of which you can find below: The big money in trading is made when one can get long at lows after a big downtrend.
It is not helpful to watch every quote in the markets one trades. Others' opinions of the market are good to follow. On initiation, one should know precisely where to liquidate if a loss occurs. For the record, according to the Turtle method, 1 and 3 are false; 2, 4, and 5 are true. The Rules Turtles were taught very specifically how to implement a trend-following strategy.
The idea is that the "trend is your friend," so you should buy futures breaking out to the upside of trading ranges and sell short downside breakouts. In practice, this means, for example, buying new four-week highs as an entry signal. Figure 1 shows a typical turtle trading strategy. Figure 1: Buying silver using a day breakout led to a highly profitable trade in November Source: Genesis Trade Navigator This trade was initiated on a new day high.
The exit signal was a close below the day low. The exact parameters used by Dennis were kept secret for many years, and are now protected by various copyrights. In "The Complete TurtleTrader: The Legend, the Lessons, the Results" , author Michael Covel offers some insights into the specific rules: Look at prices rather than relying on information from television or newspaper commentators to make your trading decisions.
Have some flexibility in setting the parameters for your buy and sell signals. Test different parameters for different markets to find out what works best from your personal perspective. Plan your exit as you plan your entry. Know when you will take profits and when you will cut losses. Use the average true range to calculate volatility and use this to vary your position size. Take larger positions in less volatile markets and lessen your exposure to the most volatile markets. If you want to make big returns, you need to get comfortable with large drawdowns.
Did It Work? Dennis had proved beyond a doubt that beginners can learn to trade successfully. Even without Dennis' help, individuals can apply the basic rules of turtle trading to their own trading. The general idea is to buy breakouts and close the trade when prices start consolidating or reverse. Short trades must be made according to the same principles under this system because a market experiences both uptrends and downtrends.
New trends often get underway after a breakout of some kind. A breakout is simply where the price starts to move strongly in a new direction, moving outside of an established range , and breaking new highs or new lows. It aims to build the position at the earliest stages, as a new trend is just forming. The purpose of this is to enter trends that are more established than would be indicated by those on a shorter time frame.
The slow breakout signal also allows for greater retracements of the trend than the fast breakout system does. This allows it to stay in strong trends, for longer. Fast Breakouts — The day system An example of a day breakout is shown in Figure 1. The turtle system triggers a buy entry which is marked on the chart with a blue rectangle.
The trigger happens because the price breaks out of a day range and makes a new high. This happens at the candle marked with the blue arrow. Following on the trend rises further and at the green arrow the first accumulate signal is triggered. This triggers another buy order. Another accumulate signal is triggered at 1xN because the price continues to rise in the direction of profit.
At this point the total size of the position is 3 units and the average entry price is 1. The average price paid for the 3 units is 1. On the candle marked with the red close arrow the price descends to 1. The value of N at this point is 65 pips so this triggers a stop loss because the price is now more than 2xN pips below the last entry price of 1.
Richard Dennis believed that average people could be trained and taught specific rules in order to become a profitable trader while William Eckhardt believed that trading success was a function of your innate talent and could not be taught.
In order to find out if successful trading can be taught, they hired a group of people called The Turtles and they were put through a rigorous training program and afterwards they were given a million dollars to trade. The Turtle experiment proved that successful trading can be taught as the group was able to generate millions of dollars in profits. In essence, the Turtle strategy is a trend following system and is designed more for the long-term traders.
The Turtle Trading Strategy Basically, the Turtle system focused primarily on commodities, but the same system can be used in the Forex market as well because is a technical system it can be applied to any asset classes. The components of the Turtle Trading system are as follows: Markets: What to buy or sell; Position Sizing: How much to buy or sell; Entries: When to buy or sell; Stops: Where to get out of a losing position; Exits: when to get out of a winning position; The turtle system should be used only in the most liquid currency pairs which are the majors.
The original Turtle trading strategy used a complex position sizing calculation which was based on the dollar volatility of the market.