Donchian rules

Richard Donchian is known as the father of trend following. His original trend following ideas form the basis for all trend following success that has followed. Below in an excerpt from an article written in 1995 about his 5 and 20 day moving average system:

Title: Donchian’s five- and 20-day moving averages. 
Author: Richard Donchian
Publication: Futures (Cedar Falls, Iowa) (Magazine/Journal)
Date: November 15, 1995
Publisher: Oster Communications, Inc.
Volume: v24 Issue: n13 Page: p32: ISSN: 0746-2468

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On Wall Street there are two conflicting adages:

1. “You’ll never go broke taking a profit.”

2. “Cut your losses short and let your profits ride.”

Experience has shown that in commodities trading, the first of these “old saws” is dangerous and misleading, while the second may well be regarded as the one lesson the inexperienced commodity trader should learn if he wishes to have a better-than-even chance to come out ahead.

Every well-designed, trend-following, loss-limiting method for trading in futures (or stocks) rests on the basic principle that a trend in either direction, once established, has a strong tendency to persist, at least for a time. Among the many trend-following approaches now in use are the Dow Theory, point-and-figure chart techniques, swing methods (other than the Dow Theory), trendline methods, weekly-rule methods and moving average methods. We’ll focus on moving average methods and, in particular, the comparatively simple five- and 20-day moving average method.

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