Basic Set-ups and Stop Placement

Most price action traders place buy or sell stop orders with a pre-determined stop loss level, and a take profit or target level. The buy or sell stop sets the level that price much reach for the order to be filled; the stop loss level sets the margin of loss that a trader will accept before closing the position; the take profit level sets the level at which to automatically close a successful position.

Basically, you determine risk based on where you are placing your stop, and then determine your target with regard to this risk level; commonly, traders will aim for at least a 1:3 risk to reward ratio, although scalpers and those who trade on shorter time frames often have to accept smaller ratios.

The buy or sell stop, or entry level, is typically set at a significant support or resistance level so that it will only be filled when price has broken definitively in the desired direction; by setting strategic entry levels in their orders, traders can ensure that they enter trades with the momentum of the market.

Perhaps the most basic set-up is the pinbar, which, if you remember has an open and close within the previous bar, and a wick at least 3 times the length of the candle body, protruding beyond the levels of prior bars.

The long wick and short body implies that traders have made a strong attempt to push price in one direction, but price has returned to earlier levels, often indicating the possibility of a reversal in trend direction.

The basic way to trade a pinbar is to place the stop loss level at the extreme of the wick, and to place your entry level above the body in a bullish scenario, and below the body in a bearish scenario. the target is set relative to the risk level represented by the stop loss, often at a resistance level in a bullish scenario, or at a support level in a bearish scenario.

Another basic strategy is the inside bar, a bar or series of bars contained by the preceding bar; since the shrinking candle size implies consolidation, it can mean that a big move is on the way, either a strong continuation of the current trend, or a reversal. Because the price direction is uncertain, traders often place a orders on both sides of the inside bar, so that a downward movement will trigger a sell, and an upward movement will trigger a buy. A liberal entry point would be set just beyond the high or low of the inside bar; a more conservative entry point would be at the open or close of the preceding mother bar.

Inside bars are more effective to trade on larger time frame charts because they are so common on faster chart.