What is Trend Following Trading Strategy?

Trend following is a trading strategy that capitalises on long-term movements in market prices. It profits from the direction of the trend rather than the specific price fluctuations. This strategy is useful across various asset classes, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and currencies.

The trend-following strategy is important in various markets due to its versatility and effectiveness in capturing large price moves. It can offer significant gains. This strategy is useful in markets where identifying and adhering to trends can protect traders from noise and short-term fluctuations.

How to Identify Market Trends?

Recognising uptrends and downtrends with technical indicators is necessary for trend following. You can identify an uptrend when the price of an asset makes higher highs and higher lows. Conversely, a downtrend causes lower highs and lower lows. Traders use various technical tools to confirm these trends:

Moving Averages

A tool in which the price above the moving average points to an uptrend and below suggests a downtrend. The crossover of short-term and long-term moving averages often indicates the beginning of a new uptrend. 

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MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)

This indicator shows the relationship between two moving averages of a price. The MACD line crossing above the signal line implies a buy (uptrend) signal, and the crossing below shows a sell (downtrend) signal.

Risk Management in Trend Trading

Effective risk management in trend maximises gains and minimises losses:

Setting Stop Losses

Place stop-loss orders below recent swing lows in an uptrend or above swing highs in a downtrend. It protects against sudden reversals.

Trailing Stop Losses

Use trailing stops to lock in profits while allowing the trade room to grow. As the price moves favourably, the stop-loss is adjusted toward the trend.

Portfolio Management

Diversify across asset classes and use position sizing to manage exposure and reduce risk.

Advantages of Trend-Following Strategies

Trend Following strategies offer multiple advantages, like:

Profit Potential in Large Movements

Trend following can catch significant profits during prolonged market trends as it exploits large price moves.

Simple to Implement

Basic technical analysis tools can be used to implement buying high and selling high in uptrends or selling low and buying back lower in downtrends.


You can apply strategies across asset classes like stocks, forex, and commodities. It diversifies investment portfolios.

Disadvantages of Trend-Following Strategies

Despite all the benefits, trend-following strategies come with inherent risks:

Late Entry and Exit

Trend following has a delay in entry and exit signals as it waits for confirmation of the trend. As a result, you can miss the initial and final parts of the move.

Frequent Losing Trades

Markets do not always trend and can stay in consolidation phases for extended periods, leading to numerous small losses and false signals during sideways market conditions.

Over-reliance on Historical Data

The effectiveness of trend following depends on historical market behaviour. It assumes that markets will continue to behave in similar patterns, but this may not always be true, especially in unprecedented market conditions.


Trend following is one of the easiest trading strategies. However, it comes with inherent risks. New traders should practise these strategies in a demo account or with low-risk options to gain experience without substantial risk.

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