Mastering the Art of Trailing Stop Loss: A Guide for Traders

syndu | Jan. 8, 2024, 1:45 p.m.

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A Trailing Stop Loss Explained

A trailing stop loss is a type of stop loss order that moves with the market price. It's designed to protect gains by enabling a trade to remain open and continue to profit as long as the price is moving in a favorable direction, but closes the trade if the market price changes direction by a specified distance.

Here's how it works:

  1. Initial Placement: You set a trailing stop loss order at a certain distance away from the market price. This distance is usually specified in percentage points or a fixed dollar amount.
  2. Price Movement - Favorable: If the market price moves in a favorable direction (up for a buy position, down for a sell position), the trailing stop loss moves with it, maintaining the pre-set distance from the market price.
  3. Price Movement - Unfavorable: If the market price moves in an unfavorable direction and hits the trailing stop loss level, the order is triggered, and the trade is closed to prevent further loss.

For example, if you own a stock that's currently priced at $100 and you set a trailing stop loss order with a $5 trail, the stop loss order will be at $95. If the stock price rises to $105, the trailing stop loss will move up to $100. If the stock price then falls to $100, the trailing stop loss order would be triggered, and the stock would be sold to protect your gains.

The key advantage of a trailing stop loss is that it allows traders to specify the amount they are willing to lose without setting a limit on the potential profit.

It's particularly useful in volatile markets where prices fluctuate widely.

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