Trend following is an investment or trading strategy which tries to take advantage of long, medium or short-term moves that seem to play out in various markets. Traders who employ a trend following strategy do not aim to forecast or predict specific price levels; they simply jump on the trend (when they perceived that a trend has established with their own peculiar reasons or rules) and ride it. These traders normally enter in the market after the trend “properly” establishes itself, betting that the trend will persist for a long time, and for this reason, they ignore the initial turning point profit. A market “trend” is a tendency of a financial market price to move in a particular direction over time. If there is a turn contrary to the trend, they exit and wait until the turn establishes itself as a trend in the opposite direction. In case their rules signals an exit, the trader exits but re-enters when the trend re-establishes.

Cutting Loss. Exit market when market turn against them to minimize losses, and “let the profits run”, when the market trend goes as expected until the market exhausted and reverses to book profit.

This trading or “betting with positive edge” method involves a risk management component that uses three elements: number of shares or futures held, the current market price, and current market volatility. An initial risk rule determines position size at time of entry. Exactly how much to buy or sell is based on the size of the trading account and the volatility of the issue. Changes in price may lead to a gradual reduction or an increase of the initial trade. On the other hand, adverse price movements may lead to an exit for the entire trade.

If there is a turn contrary to the trend, these systems signal a pre-programmed exit or wait until the turn establishes itself as a trend in the opposite direction. In case the system signals an exit, the trader re-enters when the trend re-establishes.

In the words of Tom Basso, in the book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom:

Let’s break down the term Trend Following into its components. The first part is “trend”. Every trader needs a trend to make money. If you think about it, no matter what the technique, if there is not a trend after you buy, then you will not be able to sell at higher prices…”Following” is the next part of the term. We use this word because trend followers always wait for the trend to shift first, then “follow” it.

As with any investment strategy this questions is – Does it work? Trend following is one of the few trading disciplines that has:

  1. a long track record and
  2. a verifiable track

Here is a track record of performance spanning multiple decades 

When do these perform best:

  • Lower volatility
  • Bull Markets
  • Strongly Trending markets

When do they perform worst:

  • Bear markets as our system is long only( It will revert to holding cash only in a bear market)
  • Sideways and choppy markets where no trends are seen