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Top 5 Markets for Intraday Trading

November 29, 2017 15:42

Dear traders,

Back in 2010, when I started posting on Forex Factory, the majority of trades were solely EUR/USD. The EUR/USD was the most popular pair back then, just because everyone was trading it. The sheer volume of posts on the EUR/USD thread was so significant that a trader quickly got lost among so many comments traders were posting regarding EUR/USD setups, direction, and fundamental news.

Things have changed. I'd say, the change is for the better. Fortunately, we can choose from so many markets today, and trading is just much better when you have all tools aligned. For the best understanding of the intraday trading, I need to explain two fundamental concepts – Momentum and Average True Range (ATR).


We traders usually say that the price frequently lies, but momentum generally speaks the truth. The faster prices increase, the greater the increase in momentum. The faster prices decrease, the larger the decrease in momentum. For me, momentum is exceptionally important as it tends to propel the price directly in profits, provided that we have picked a clear and accurate entry. If the entry is bad, your position might be in a loss.

However, the worst trades are made when the market is stuck in a range and it simply goes nowhere. Novice traders are usually caught in those rangy market moves, and they tend to quickly revenge their trades, thinking that the market changes the direction when it stays effectively in the range.

In terms of intraday trading, this can be devastating. The lack of patience, especially for new traders, is a sure sign to lose money.

You can avoid that. For intraday trading, we need to pick up markets with good momentum and big ATR.


Source: GBP/JPY H4 chart with ecs.ATR indicator applied, Sep-Nov 2017

The ATR is a volatility indicator developed by J. Welles Wilder. The primary function of the ATR indicator is to gauge the distance between the previous highs and lows, for a given number of periods. The ATR is displayed with a decimal to indicate the number of pips between the highs and lows. But it can also be shown as digits... as I use it for our webinars and analyses. The ATR value is crucial to a trader as volatility increases so will a charts ATR value. If volatility declines, and the difference between the markets' highs and lows decreases, the ATR will drop, too.

Intraday Trading

For intraday trading, it is essential to find trending markets with good ATR. There are multiple beneficial effects to that:

  • It ensures that your trade is not stuck in a low range;
  • It increases the odds of a profitable trade;
  • It gives you a possibility to earn more pips;
  • Your account should grow exponentially;
  • You will think more about proper risk (if ATR is high), and you will think twice about overleveraging.

When trading pairs with big ATR, it is critical not to overleverage your trade. Stop-losses will usually be higher than your usual pairs, such as EUR/USD or AUD/USD. Conversely, the reward from winning trades could be much higher. The ATR changes, but not that often. Low ATR pairs are making 50-70 pips, while high ATR pairs make usually 100+ pips.

Low ATR (14) pairs (50-70 pips in the last 14 days)*

  • EUR/USD: 70
  • AUD/JPY: 60
  • USD/CHF: 61
  • NZD/USD: 53
  • AUD/NZD: 64

High ATR (14) pairs (100 +pips in last 14 days)*

  • GBP/JPY: 111
  • GBP/NZD: 162
  • EUR/NZD: 142
  • GBP/CAD: 115
  • GBP/AUD: 131

Of course, Forex is not the only market you can trade. CFDs on indices (or equities as we traders call them), have a slightly different calculation, and I will mention the most volatile one that you could try to trade. Please try to trade it on a Demo Account account first before you go live.

High ATR indices (equities):

DAX30 Instrument

Generally speaking, all the equities markets go up in time, so they become more volatile in pips terms. The higher the index value (assuming the same daily percent change), by trading the index with a larger points value you will get more pips per ticks if you are on the right side of the market.

Also, indices with less constituents (i.e., companies in it) will generally be more volatile. At this point, my eyes are on:

  • HSI50 (Hang Seng Index)
  • JPY225 (Nikkei)
  • DAX30 (The DAX)
  • DJI30 Dow Jones Industrial Average
  • FTSE100 (The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index)

Don't forget about commodities! WTI (West Texas Intermediate, or Crude Oil) and Gold are always extremely popular and can get very volatile during the day and the week.

Remember that Admiral Markets brings you a rich range of financial products to trade – check it out and choose your favourite instrument!

Top 5 Markets for Intraday Trading

Let's sum it all up. When trading intraday, you need to choose several markets and watch their correlation to other markets. The Correlation Matrix will help in finding correlated pairs. By using the tool you should avoid being double exposed to a currency or certain market volatility. Opening multiple positions with pairs and markets that are highly correlated is not advisable as it gives rise to more exposure. Moreover, having higher exposure to a particular currency can be harmful should the analysis go wrong. For example, by going long on AUD/CHF, AUD/JPY, and EUR/JPY, a trader gives rise to double exposure on JPY and Nikkei index if they are highly correlated.

So for me, the top 5 markets to trade on intraday basis are:

  1. GBP/JPY
  2. GBP/USD
  3. USD/JPY
  4. JPY225
  5. WTI

The current ATR (14) of the USD/JPY is 72 pips and the GBP/USD is 92 pips so those pairs are falling in line between Low ATR and High ATR markets. Of course, this doesn't mean I don't make any trades on EUR/USD or AUD/USD, it's just a personal preference. For some traders, let's say – beginner traders it is always best to start with low ATR markets such as:

  1. EUR/USD
  2. NZD/USD
  3. AUD/USD
  4. EUR/CHF
  5. CAD/JPY

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me… and don't forget to sign up for real-time trading webinars and see the real action!

Cheers and safe trading,


Live Forex webinars free

*As of November 28, 2017, source Nenad Kerkez T

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