How to Determine Where the Real Support and Resistance are Everyday
Posted in the Day Trading Forum
#1 Dec 12, 2011
Understanding support and resistance levels is an extremely important technical skill in any market, and I think it's absolutely critical if you plan on trading the S&P E-Mini market. Professional Floor Traders are aware of an entire range of major and minor support and resistance levels before the market opens each day. They also know how to calculate new levels as the trading day progresses.
Support is the price area for a potential bottom where the market will be buoyed up as buyers come in seeing potential value. Resistance is the price spot where the market just can't seem to move any higher as selling comes in every time it hits that level.
Knowing those points where the market may turn gives you an effective road map to guide you through the day.
Most traders calculate support and resistance levels incorrectly, and to make their job even harder, they generally don't know how to trade around them. Many traders will use an old high or an old low and assume they've found support or resistance. That just doesn't work. Think about it for a moment. If the market always stopped at old highs we could never have an up trending market, and if the market always stopped at old lows we couldn't have a down trending market.
These Are the Same Numbers I (And Other Pro Traders) Use Every Morning
In my training programs I like to focus some attention on the information needed to correctly calculate support and resistance levels before the open each day. These are the same numbers I and many other floor traders utilize each morning. Can you imagine the "edge" this information gives you for planning your possible trades?
Let's face it; all traders likely want to catch the big trending days, days when the S&P moves 15 or 20 points without looking back. Unfortunately those big trending days just don't happen that often. Most days it appears the market doesn't trend very much in either direction, instead it will move between known support and resistance levels.
Knowing the location of these price levels is important, but knowing how to trade around them can be the difference between success and failure.
One of the simplest ways to do technical analysis is by using the pivot points. This method has been around for years and is described below:
A pivot point is approximately the center of today's price range. From there, I calculate three different sets of highs and lows.
These pivots are then potential support and resistance, when prices have gone outside the Value Area.
Pivot Point =(High + Low + Close)/3
#1 high pivot = Pivot Point +(Pivot Point - Low)
#1 low pivot = Pivot Point -(High - Pivot Point)
#2 high pivot = Pivot Point + 2 (Pivot Point - Low)
#2 low pivot = Pivot Point - 2 (High - Pivot Point)
#3 high pivot = High + 2 (Pivot Point - Low)
#3 low pivot = Low - 2 (High - Pivot Point)
This is easy to do by hand every day, after the market closes, so you are ready for the next trading day
Most trading platforms automatically calculate these numbers for your easy retrieval and use. I do not use the pivot number for trading; I only use it to determine the "sets" of pivots. I also do not use the #1 high pivot as support, if the market opens or trades above it. I use them as "envelopes". Let's say the market opens above the #1 high, I'll look at the #1 low for support and the #2 high for resistance.
In my own experience, I have noticed that the #1 pivots work the best over time. If the market gaps over the #1 pivot high, you'll have a #2 and #3 to work with. You can either use limit orders to buy or sell at these pivots and use a money stop, or wait for the pivot to "hold" the market. If the pivot "holds" the market, trade an engulfment, doji-star, tail or whatever you see, which is a more conservative entry.
Best Trades to you,
Founder & President- Trading Advantage
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