May 20, 2014

Pivot point trading

Trading pivot points along with support and resistance levels is a common strategy employed by day traders and sometimes, positional traders.

In the context of day trading, pivot point is nothing but the average of previous day's high, low and close. Sometimes the open is also considered but this is rarely done simply because open can be unreliable.

Once the pivot point is calculated, the next levels are support and resistance (2 each). The formula is:
  • R1 = P + (P − L) = 2×P − L
  • S1 = P − (H − P) = 2×P − H
  • R2 = P + (H − L)
  • S2 = P − (H − L)

Some people use three levels...
  • R3 = H + 2×(P − L) = R1 + (H − L)
  • S3 = L − 2×(H − P) = S1 − (H − L)

The pivot point itself represents a level of highest resistance or support, depending on the overall market condition. If the market is directionless (undecided), prices may fluctuate greatly around this level until a price breakout develops. Trading above or below the pivot point indicates the overall market sentiment. It is a leading indicator providing advanced signaling of potentially new market highs or lows within a given time frame.

The support and resistance levels calculated from the pivot point and the previous market width may be used as exit points of trades, but are rarely used as entry signals. For example, if the market is up-trending and breaks through the pivot point, the first resistance level is often a good target to close a position, as the probability of resistance and reversal increases greatly.

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