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Counter-trend Strategies for TradeStation

Last Updated on 11 September, 2023 by Samuelsson

In the dynamic world of trading, it is essential to explore various strategies to stay ahead of the game. Counter-trend strategies offer a unique approach to trading that focuses on identifying potential reversals in price trends. This article will delve into the world of counter-trend strategies, exploring their definition, benefits, and risks. Furthermore, we will discuss popular technical indicators for counter-trend trading, provide examples of counter-trend strategies, and explain how to implement them in TradeStation.

Understanding Counter-trend Strategies

Counter-trend strategies are trading techniques that aim to capitalize on price reversals in financial markets. While trend-following strategies focus on riding established trends, counter-trend strategies attempt to identify points of exhaustion or reversal in the prevailing trend. By doing so, traders can potentially profit from market corrections or reversals.

Counter-trend strategies come with their advantages and risks. On the positive side, these strategies provide opportunities for early entries into potential reversals, allowing traders to capture profitable moves before the majority of the market participants. Additionally, counter-trend trading can be used as a hedge against existing trend-following positions, diversifying risk in a portfolio.

However, counter-trend strategies are not without risks. Identifying trend reversals accurately can be challenging, as false signals are common. Traders must exercise caution and employ risk management techniques to minimize potential losses.

Technical Indicators for Counter-trend Trading

To assist in identifying potential reversals, traders often rely on technical indicators. Here are some commonly used indicators for counter-trend trading:

Moving Averages

Moving averages smooth out price data and help identify the overall trend. Traders look for crossovers or price rejections at specific moving average levels to signal a potential reversal.

Bollinger Bands

Bollinger Bands consist of a moving average, accompanied by an upper and lower band that represents standard deviations from the average. When the price moves outside the bands, it may indicate an overbought or oversold condition, suggesting a possible reversal.

Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The RSI measures the speed and change of price movements. Values above 70 indicate overbought conditions, while values below 30 suggest oversold conditions. Reversals can occur when RSI readings reach extreme levels.

Stochastic Oscillator

The stochastic oscillator compares the current closing price to its price range over a specific period. Readings above 80 indicate overbought conditions, while readings below 20 suggest oversold conditions. Reversals can occur when the indicator moves out of these extreme zones.

MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)

The MACD is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages. Divergence between the MACD line and the price can indicate a potential reversal.

Counter-trend Strategy Examples

Now, let’s explore some examples of counter-trend strategies that traders commonly use:

Reversal Patterns

Traders often look for recognizable reversal patterns, such as double tops or bottoms, head and shoulders, or wedges. These patterns suggest that the prevailing trend may be ending, presenting an opportunity for counter-trend trades.


Divergence occurs when the price moves in the opposite direction of an indicator. For example, if the price is making lower lows, but the indicator is making higher lows, it may indicate an impending reversal.

Overbought and Oversold Conditions

When an asset becomes overbought or oversold, there is a higher probability of a price reversal. Traders can look for extreme readings on indicators like RSI or Stochastic Oscillator to identify these conditions.

Trendline Breaks

A break of a trendline can signify a potential trend reversal. Traders draw trendlines connecting swing highs or swing lows and monitor for breaks that could indicate a change in the trend direction.

Fibonacci Retracement

Fibonacci retracement levels, derived from the Fibonacci sequence, can act as support or resistance levels. Traders often look for reversals at these levels as the price retraces a portion of the previous trend.

Implementing Counter-trend Strategies in TradeStation

TradeStation provides a robust platform for implementing counter-trend strategies. Here are some key considerations when using TradeStation for counter-trend trading:

Setting Up TradeStation

Set up a TradeStation account and familiarize yourself with the platform’s features and tools. Ensure you have access to the necessary technical indicators discussed earlier.

Selecting the Right Timeframe

Choose a timeframe that suits your trading style and preferences. Shorter timeframes can provide more trading opportunities but may require more active monitoring. Longer timeframes may offer more reliable signals but fewer opportunities.

Identifying Entry and Exit Points

Define clear rules for identifying entry and exit points based on your chosen counter-trend strategy. Consider using a combination of technical indicators and price patterns to increase the accuracy of your signals.

Managing Risk

Implement risk management techniques to protect your capital. Set appropriate stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and consider using trailing stops to protect profits during favorable price moves.

Backtesting and Optimizing Counter-trend Strategies

Before deploying a counter-trend strategy with real capital, it is crucial to backtest and optimize it using historical data. Backtesting allows you to assess the performance of your strategy under different market conditions and make necessary adjustments.

Analyze the results of your backtesting and fine-tune your counter-trend strategy based on the insights gained. Consider modifying parameters, adding additional filters, or adjusting risk management rules to improve the strategy’s performance.


Counter-trend strategies offer traders a unique approach to capturing potential reversals in financial markets. By utilizing technical indicators, recognizing patterns, and implementing sound risk management, traders can profit from countertrend moves. However, it is important to exercise caution and thoroughly backtest and optimize these strategies before applying them in live trading. With TradeStation’s powerful platform, traders have the necessary tools to implement and refine their counter-trend trading strategies.


  1. Are counter-trend strategies suitable for all traders? Counter-trend strategies require a good understanding of technical analysis and market dynamics. Traders should carefully assess their risk tolerance and trading experience before employing counter-trend strategies.
  2. Can I use counter-trend strategies in other trading platforms? Yes, counter-trend strategies can be applied in various trading platforms that offer technical analysis tools and indicators. However, the specific implementation may vary across platforms.
  3. How much historical data do I need for backtesting? Sufficient historical data is essential for accurate backtesting. It is recommended to use several years of data to cover various market conditions and ensure the robustness of your counter-trend strategy.
  4. What is the difference between counter-trend and trend-following strategies? Counter-trend strategies aim to identify potential reversals and profit from countertrend moves, while trend-following strategies focus on riding established trends.
  5. How do I handle false signals in counter-trend trading? False signals are a common challenge in counter-trend trading. To mitigate their impact, consider using additional confirmation indicators or filters to increase the probability of accurate signals.
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