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The Definitive Guide to Trading Trends with Ichimoku Cloud

The Definitive Guide to Trading Trends with Ichimoku Cloud

2014-08-26 01:48:00
Tyler Yell, CMT, Currency Strategist
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Article Summary:

Trend trading with Ichimoku need not be confusing because the name is unfamiliar. Many traders prefer to trade with Ichimoku once they learn to see the trend in a new way with Ichimoku. This article is a complete breakdown of the components of the indicator as well as how you can turn this indicator into a trend following system.

Patience is a high virtue.

—Geoffrey Chaucer

Many traders are asked what indicator they would wish to never do without. My answer has never wavered as there is one indicator that clearly illustrates the current trend, helps you time entries, displays support and resistance, clarifies momentum, and shows you when a trend has likely reversed. That indicator is Ichimoku Kinko Hyo or more casually known as Ichimoku.

Learn Forex: After a Quick Lesson, Ichimoku Clearly Displays Trading Opportunities

How to use Ichimoku as a stand-alone trading strategy in EURUSD.

Chart Created by Tyler Yell, CMT

Ichimoku is a technical or chart indicator that is also a trend trading system in and of itself. The creator of the indicator, Goichi Hosada, introduced Ichimoku as a “one glance” indicator so that in a few seconds you are able to determine whether a tradable trend is present or if you should wait for a better set-up on a specific pair.

Before we break down the components of the indicator in a clear and relatable manner, there are a few helpful things to understand. Ichimoku can be used in both rising and falling markets and can be used in all time frames for any liquid trading instrument. The only time to not use Ichimoku is when no clear trend is present.

Meet the 5 Members of the Ichimoku Family

Always Start With the Cloud

The cloud is composed of two dynamic lines that are meant to serve multiple functions. However, the primary purpose of the cloud is to help you identify the trend of current price in relation to past price action. Given that protecting your capital is the main battle every trader must face, the cloud helps you to place stops and recognize when you should be bullish or bearish. Many traders will focus on candlesticks or price action analysis around the cloud to see if a decisive reversal or continuation pattern is taking shape.

Learn Forex: The Cloud Alone Can Help Provide Direction

How to use the Ichimoku cloud to determine a bullish or bearish trend in forex.

Chart Created by Tyler Yell, CMT

In the simplest terms, traders who utilize Ichimoku should look for buying entries when price is above the cloud. When price is below the cloud, traders should be looking for temporary corrections higher to enter a sell order in the direction of the trend. The cloud is the cornerstone of all Ichimoku analysis and as such it is the most vital aspect to the indicator.

Time Entries with the Trigger & Base Line

Once you have built a bias of whether to look for buy or sell signals with the cloud, you can then turn to the two unique moving averages provided by Ichimoku. The fast moving average is a 9 period moving average and the slow moving average is a 26 period moving average by default. What is unique about these moving averages is that unlike their western counterparts, the calculation is built on mid-prices as opposed to closing prices. I often refer to the fast moving average as the trigger line and the slow moving average as the base line.

Learn Forex: Look for the Trigger Crossing the Base In Favor of the Trend

How to use Ichimoku moving averages to time entry points in forex.

Chart Created by Tyler Yell, CMT

The Ichimoku components are introduced in a specific order because that is how you should analyze or trade the market. Once you’ve confirmed the trend by recognizing price as being below or above the cloud, you can move to the moving averages. If price is above the cloud and the trigger crosses above the base line you have the makings of a buy signal. If price is below the cloud and the trigger crosses below the base line you have the makings of a sell signal.

Confirm Entries with the Mysterious Lagging Line

In addition to the mystery of the cloud, the lagging line often confuses traders. This shouldn’t be the case as it’s a very simple line that is the close of the current candle pushed back 26 periods. When studying Ichimoku, I found that this line was considered by most traditional Japanese traders who utilize mainly Ichimoku as one of the most important components of the indicator.

Learn Forex: The Lagging Line Displays Momentum of the Move

How to use the Ichimoku lagging line to confirm trends in forex.

Chart Created by Tyler Yell, CMT

Once price has broken above or below the cloud and the trigger line is crossing the base line with the trend, you can look to the lagging line as confirmation. The lagging line can best confirm the trade by breaking either above the cloud in a new uptrend or below the cloud in a developing downtrend. Looking above, you can see that the trend often gathers steam nicely after the lagging line breaks through the cloud. Another benefit of using the lagging line as a confirmation indicator is that the lagging line can build patience and discipline in your trading because you won’t be chasing the initial thrust but rather waiting for the correction to play out before entering in the direction of the overall trend.

Trading With Ichimoku Checklist

Now that you know the components of Ichimoku here is a checklist that you can print off or use to keep the main components of this dynamic trend following system:

Ichimoku Checklist:

1.Where is Price in Relation to the Cloud?

  • Above the cloud -filtered for buy only signals
  • In the Cloud - be cautious but ready to jump in on the prior trend or finesse a current position. watch the candle stick formations heavily
  • Below the cloud - filtered for short only trades

2. Is price consistently on one side of the cloud or is price whipping around on both sides consistently?

  • Ichimoku is best used with clear trends and should be set aside during ranging markets.

3. Which level of the Ichimoku would like to use to place your stop?

  • If you use Ichimoku to place stops as well, you can either use the cloud or the base line.

Ichimoku is a stand-alone trading system. Unlike most indicators, Ichimoku can be used on multiple time frames. Read page 6 of our Ichimoku Trading Guide to learn how incorporate this unique indicator into your trading strategy, whether you're a day or swing trader.

Happy Trading!

--Written by Tyler Yell, Trading Instructor

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.

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