When using a daily average, the maximum loss one can incur, is the maximum the market can lose on any single day. However unlikely this is, one should keep in mind that the biggest single day loss in Dow history is about 27%! Even 27% is significant, but consider for a moment you used double or triple leveraged ETFs – one would have been wiped in a single day!

Where I am getting is that stop losses are a must. The need of them is even more obvious when one is trading using longer term periods, for example, weekly or monthly.

Let’s assume we are using a 10-month EMA. One way to compute a stop loss, is to predict the end month value whether we would have sold, then (optionally) add a penetration cushion before this predicted price. Once the daily price goes below cushioned price, we sell.

How do we predict the ending month value? It requires a little bit of math, but in general it’s as simple as solving an equation with a single unknown.

Computing the Closing Price that Would Trigger a Sell

In other words, a sell signal at the end of the current month will be triggered if the closing price for the current month is below the EMA computed at the end of the previous month.

As an example, at the end of September (the last full month at the time of this post, today is October 17th), the closing price was $1141.20 and the EMA was $1089.64. Thus, there will be a sell signal at the end of October if the closing price for October is below $1089.64. If we want to add some cushion, we can subtract another 1% from $1089.64 and arrive at a sell stop of $1078.74.

Similar tactics can be used to get into the market ahead of the period end – if the intra-period price penetrates and stays above the end period price.

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