The market goes in one direction. It has a correction. Then it continues back in its trend direction. It has another correction and so on. Even in sideways or choppy market, there are ups and down in the price action.
You should learn how to ride these waves. You need to understand how the price action in a market takes place. Price action in the market is like the continuous ebb and flow of the tides. You must learn to ebb and flow with the tides in the market. Setting stops on the key levels of price support are crucial. These key support levels represent significant market realities occurring with enough trade volume to warrant a stop loss level.
How do you reduce the possibility of getting stopped out of a perfectly good trend by the normal ebb and flow of the market? The market will continuously fluctuate. The answer lies in the current price, volume and volatility of the market.
What should be the role of the stops in your trading? The stops need to protect you from risk but they also need to allow the market freedom to fluctuate. Meaning stops should reduce your risk but not your profits. You will need to ensure that your trading system and approach take these factors into consideration so as to allow your stops to ebb and flow with the markets.
The market will tell you where to set your stop loss if you know how to listen to the market. To choose a random exit that does not include the crucial information the market is giving you at any time is ignoring what the market is telling you.
Never ever use an arbitrary dollar amount like, I will get out of the trade when it goes against me $200. You need to learn how to identify the correct stop loss based on the market dynamics. Then learn to adjust your trade size to manage your dollar loss.
A stop loss protects you from different types of risks. The value of having the stop loss in place prior to entering the market is that you can unemotionally determine the best exits possible for the different types of risk like the trade risk, the market risk, the liquidity risk, the margin risk, overnight risk and the volatility risk.
The position of your initial stop should be based on the rule of 2% risk on your trading account. For some advanced traders it is sometimes beneficial to risk more than 2% of their trading account on a single trade. However, the amount these traders risk must be carefully calculated depending on their proven historical performance statistics.
Placing stop loss correctly is an important part of the money and risk management program. One of the greatest challenges for any trader is to finally come to the point where he/she firmly believes that a sound money and risk management program is vital. Remember the saying that there should be some method to your madness. Learn the yin and yang of trading.