What is Turtle Trading?

  • 17-Jan-2024
  • 2 mins read

Turtle Trading is a simple yet powerful strategy used in financial markets. Imagine trading like a turtle—steady and systematic. In the 1980s, a group called the Turtles, guided by their mentor Richard Dennis, used specific rules for buying and selling stocks. They proved that anyone with the right approach could succeed in trading. Now, Turtle Trading involves following predetermined rules, like a roadmap, to make investment decisions.

Want to know how turtles trade their way to success? Let’s explore the fascinating world of Turtle Trading and its clever techniques.

What Is Turtle Trading Strategy?

Turtle Trading is a strategy guiding you through financial markets like a seasoned trader. Originating in the 1980s, this approach, popularized by Richard Dennis and his Turtles, involves clear rules for entering and exiting trades. As a trader, you follow these rules systematically, avoiding emotional decisions. It’s like having a reliable roadmap for making strategic investment choices.

By embracing the Turtle Trading strategy, you gain a disciplined method to navigate the complexities of the market. If the trader follows the rules, then the chances of winning increase.

What Are the Turtle Trading Rules?

The Turtle Trading strategy involves a set of specific rules designed to guide traders in making disciplined and systematic investment decisions. The key rules include:

  • Entry Signals: In Turtle Trading, entry signals rely on breakouts, marking a significant price move beyond a defined range. As a Trader, you identify a specified lookback period, observing recent price action. If the current price exceeds the highest high or falls below the lowest low within that period, it triggers a buy or sell signal. This breakout approach aims to capture emerging trends early, guiding you to enter positions strategically when markets show substantial price movements.
  • Position Sizing: Position sizing in Turtle Trading is crucial for managing risk. It involves determining the number of contracts or shares to trade based on your overall capital and the level of risk you’re willing to take. By allocating a specific percentage of your trading capital to each position, you protect yourself from excessive losses. This disciplined approach ensures that no single trade can significantly impact your overall portfolio. Moreover, it promotes long-term sustainability and risk control in your trading strategy.
  • Exit Signals: In Turtle Trading, exit signals are crucial for managing trades. Traders set predetermined points to exit positions, whether to secure profits or limit losses. This systematic approach ensures discipline by avoiding emotional decision-making. Profits are locked in when the market hits specified targets, while losses are contained through predefined stop-loss levels. By adhering to these exit signals, Turtle Traders maintains a strategic and consistent approach to risk management and their investment endeavours.
  • Timeframes: Using multiple timeframes means analysing charts over different periods, such as short-term and long-term. This allows you to capture various aspects of market trends. Short-term timeframes help in identifying immediate price movements, while long-term timeframes provide a broader perspective on overall trends. By considering multiple timeframes, you can enhance your ability to make well-informed decisions, aligning with both short-term fluctuations and long-term market dynamics.
  • Risk Management: Risk Management is crucial in Turtle Trading. It involves limiting the amount of capital risked on each trade to a small percentage of the total trading capital. By doing so, traders ensure that individual losses don’t significantly impact overall portfolio value. This disciplined approach helps control risk and prevents big losses. It helps you to successfully navigate the markets and stick to a systematic, long-term strategy for potential success.

How Does Turtle Trading Work?

Turtle Trading works by providing you with a systematic framework for making trading decisions. As a trader, you follow specific rules for entering, sizing, and exiting positions. Imagine navigating the markets like a turtle, moving steadily and deliberately. Entry signals are based on breakouts, while position sizing ensures prudent risk management. Exit signals help you lock in profits or cut losses. By sticking to these rules, you create a disciplined approach to trading and reducing emotional influence. Turtle Trading is about maintaining consistency and resilience in the unpredictable world of financial markets.

Turtle Trading Strategies 

Here are some of the Turtle Trading strategies:

  • 1% risk rule:Traders should risk no more than 1% of their account balance on any trade.
  • Trend-following strategy:Buy futures breaking out to the upside of trading ranges and sell short downside breakouts.
  • Volatility-based constant percentage risk position sizing algorithm:Position size is determined by the volatility of the market.

The Turtle Trading strategy is not a quick-win strategy. It produces lots of small losses with a few big wins. To be profitable, those big wins have to be sizable enough to compensate for the losses.

Is Turtle Trading Strategy Profitable?

Is the Turtle Trading Strategy profitable or not? It depends on various factors, including market conditions, risk management, and the ability of traders to execute the strategy effectively. Here are some considerations:

  • Market Conditions:Trend-following strategies like Turtle Trading tend to perform well in trending markets but may struggle during periods of low volatility and consolidation phase.
  • Risk Management:Effective risk management is crucial for the success of any trading strategy. The Turtle Trading Strategy includes rules for position sizing and risk control to help manage potential losses.
  • Discipline and Execution:The success of the strategy also depends on the discipline and ability of traders to stick to the rules. Emotional decision-making can undermine the effectiveness of the strategy.
  • Adaptability:Markets evolve over time, and strategies need to adapt to changing conditions. Traders using the Turtle Trading Strategy may need to periodically reassess and adjust their approach.
  • Transaction Costs: High transaction costs can impact the profitability of any trading strategy. Traders should consider the impact of commissions and spreads on their overall returns.

The strategy has been successful in the past, but it may not be profitable in the future.

The Turtle Trading Strategy has the following characteristics:

  • Trend-following
  • A low percentage of winning trades
  • Profits on winning trades make for losing trades

According to past trends, Turtle Trading systems tend to be profitable in 40-50% of cases. However, some say that the exact parameters of Turtle Trading rules aren’t likely to work nowadays.

Final Thoughts

Turtle Trading is a strategy where traders follow specific rules to make decisions about buying and selling assets. It emphasizes disciplined risk management and systematic approaches. Just like the slow and steady turtle, this method aims for consistent gains over time.

If you’re interested in exploring Turtle Trading, platforms like Bigul Trading can offer user-friendly tools and resources to help you navigate the markets effectively.


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