Stop-Loss Orders in Forex Trading (2023 Guide)
All products and services featured are independently selected by WikiJob. When you register or purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission.
- A list of the Top Forex and CFD Brokers for November 2023:
- Description of the Best Forex Brokers for November 2023
- Why Setting a Stop Loss Is Important
- Types of Stop Loss
- Stop-Loss Strategies
- Pros and Cons of Stop-Loss Orders
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
- Regulated by FCA, ASIC
- No withdrawal fee for US clients
- 0% commission on stocks
- Social and copy trading
- Not available in every US State
- More expensive than most of its competitors
- No MetaTrader platforms
Founded in 2007, eToro is considered a very low-risk broker as it is highly regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and many other regulatory bodies elsewhere.
Opening an account is free and you can access a $100,000 demo account to test the system.
It offers 47 currency pairs for trading. Spreads for forex trading have recently been significantly reduced and range from a very competitive 1 to 3 pips for major currency pairs.
Typical spreads for EURUSD and USDJPY trades, for example, are just 1 pip.
You can see the full list of spreads on the eToro website.
You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $200 for Copy Trading, eToro's standout feature which allows you to follow other traders and copy their trades.
This forex broker is great for beginners due to its user-friendly interface and app and 24-hour customer support. It allows you to trade currencies, stocks and cryptocurrencies in one portfolio and the Copy Trading system is a great way to learn.
The company also offers trading courses and features a Learning Lab which houses a variety of tools to support clients with their trading experience.
To find out more, read our eToro review.
Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 mins to learn more.
- No buy/sell commissions and tight spreads
- Leverage of up to 1:30
- FREE unlimited Demo
- 2,800+ trading instruments
- Real-time quotes and advanced analytical tools
- Fast and reliable order execution
- No API integrations
- No social copy trading
Plus500 is a CFD provider and offers only CFDs.
Another user-friendly entry on our list of the best forex and CFD brokers in the UK is Plus500, providing an easy-to-use and accessible service.
You’ll find over 60 CFD currency pairs with competitive spreads, no commission and available leverage of up to 1:30.
Although MetaTrader and cTrader are not available, Plus500’s own platform is very user-friendly. It comes with a range of intuitive risk management features and is available on web and mobile.
Plus500 requires a minimum deposit of £100 if using a credit or debit card, and £500 if using bank transfer.
Plus500 UK Ltd authorized & regulated by the FCA (#509909).
81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
- Highly regulated
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
- Over 10,000 instruments
- Available in the UK and US
- 24/7 customer support
- High fees
- No deposit compensation scheme for US accounts
- No copy trading
- Inactivity fees
IG is a great share trading platform for beginners thanks to its user-friendly interface and extensive educational resources.
Pros of IG include a wide range of trading instruments and markets, as well as the ability to access multiple account types and trading platforms. The platform also offers a demo account for beginners to practise trading strategies before investing real money.
However, IG isn’t the cheapest share trading platform, with relatively high trading fees and a minimum deposit requirement of £250 when paying by credit/debit card or PayPal.
In terms of additional fees, IG charges a commission fee for share trading, starting from £8 per trade. There’s also a custody fee of 0.25% per year for holdings of £250 or more.
Overall, IG is a solid choice for beginners looking for a user-friendly platform with extensive educational resources, but investors should be aware of its fees and minimum deposit requirements.
- Highly regulated
- Advanced trading tools
- Account protection
- Low trading fees
- No US clients
- Inactivity fee
- Minimum deposit of $250
Best for: Advanced trading tools
Admiral Markets, rebranding to 'Admirals', describes itself as a ‘full-spectrum financial hub’.
In practice, Admirals is a broker that offers several forex and CFD trading instruments in most currencies.
Founded in 2001, Admiral Markets is regulated by JSC, FCA, EFSA and CySEC, and offers traders access to both MetaTrader 4 and 5, with the opportunity to have several active accounts with different base currencies to take advantage of price instability.
There are several account types available, depending on the platform that you want to use.
On MT4, you can choose a standard account known as Trade.MT4. The minimum deposit for this account is 100 USD/EUR/GBP or equivalent, and you can trade 37 currency pairs as well as metal, energy, future, stock and bond CFDs.
In this account, the trading fees come from the spread, apart from with single share or ETF CFDs, which have a standard commission of 0.02 USD.
The Zero.MT4 account offers tighter spreads, with more currency pairs (45) but fewer CFD options.
The commission on forex and metal CFDs is 1.8 to 3 USD per lot, cash indices are 0.5 to 3 USD per lot, and energy CFDs are 1 USD per lot.
If you prefer the upgraded MT5, you can also have an Invest.MT5 account, alongside the Trade.MT5 and Zero.MT5. MetaTrader 5 accounts have access to more trading instruments in both Trade and Zero, but the Invest.MT5 is designed purely for buying stocks and ETFs, with more than 4,350 stocks and 200 ETFs available and a minimum deposit of 1 EUR/USD/GBP.
Deposits are free using bank transfer, card, PayPal or Klarna, but there is a 0.9% fee (or $1 minimum) for deposits made using e-wallets like Neteller or Skrill. You can have one free withdrawal a month as a bank transfer, but two if you use PayPal or e-wallets.
Admirals is available as a trading app on mobile as well as web and desktop, and the user interface and real-time trading that is available across platforms offer a seamless user experience.
The research and analytics are extensive, with technical and fundamental analysis alongside trading news, market sentiment and a market heat map. Access to MetaTrader Trading Central and a weekly trading podcast is also provided.
In terms of education, there are articles and tutorials, eBooks, trading videos, webinars and seminars as well as a FAQ and a handy glossary.
Admirals takes learning seriously with two separate courses aimed at beginner traders. The Zero to Hero course consists of 20 video lessons, a Q&A and a live session as well as a well-crafted trading strategy.
Forex 101 is a three-stage course to take beginners through to experts using a structure that includes a video lesson with detailed notes and a quiz to check knowledge.
If you are not a UK resident, the conditions might change depending on the regulation. Please, check the Admirals website for details.
Please, be aware that if you want to see UK conditions but you don't have a UK IP address, then you must select Admirals Markets UK at the bottom of the home page.
In forex trading, a stop loss – which is also known as a stop order or a stop-loss order – is a computer-activated trade tool allowed by most brokers.
It is an emergency instruction to your broker, telling them to exit a trade when it reaches a specified price. The purpose of a forex stop loss is to reduce a trader’s losses if the market changes in an unfavourable direction.
This is especially important if you are using a forex robot or another automated trading method, since these strategies do not involve the responsive monitoring or intervention associated with manual trading.
While stop-loss orders are commonly associated with long positions, they are also regularly applied for short positions in forex trading.
This article will explore the different types of stop loss, why they are important and the pros and cons of using them in forex trading.
When placing a trade, considering the price at which you wish to exit and placing a corresponding stop order is good practice. As a trader, protecting your capital from the cumulative impacts of small losses is crucial to maintaining an active trading account.
Regardless of your level of experience in forex trading, the market is so volatile that it is impossible to predict future movements with any certainty.
Unforeseen economic shocks, evolving political situations and even rumours of the aforementioned instability within the financial services sector can have significant repercussions on currency prices, and will impact the forex trading market.
Even if traders follow global developments very closely, it is still not possible to place a risk-free trade. There is always the possibility that the market may move unexpectedly against your position. Every trade placed involves a proportion of risk.
To protect against this volatility, many traders implement a stop-loss order on their trades. This stop-loss order protects them against being wiped out by large losses.
Setting this stop-loss protection is even more important when trading using leverage, as leverage can increase profits but also amplify losses. The smaller your margin requirement and the more leverage you are intending to use, the greater the risk to your capital.
Stop losses should be set carefully, as the price at which you exit your trade is a vital part of the forex trading strategy. Your stop loss will protect you against significant loss, but it may also hamper profit if it is set at the wrong point.
Forex trading is sometimes a game of chance as much as skill, but practice will improve your reading of the market. The more experience you acquire in forex trading, the easier it will be to choose where to set your stop losses across sessions.
Setting a stop-loss order also protects against the emotions that may cloud your decisions when trading in forex, as you have already set a considered and immovable safety net for your trade.
There are many types of stop orders that can be used in forex trading to protect traders against potential losses. Stop-loss market orders and stop-loss limit orders are discussed below.
When arranging a stop-loss market order, you first set your stop-loss price. When the market nears your set limit, a market order is automatically issued by your broker to close your position at the current price – whatever this may be.
It is worth noting that stop-loss market orders differ from conventional market orders.
With a standard market order, a trader outlines that they wish to trade a certain number of shares of a stock at the current market-clearing price. Basic market orders do not allow traders to set an exit price. Using a stop-loss market order instead allows the investor to specify their limit price.
In most cases, the stop-loss market order will reach or end up very close to the stop loss price set by the trader. In extremely volatile market conditions, however, you may find that the exit point is different from the stop-loss price that was set by the order.
This scenario is referred to as slippage. If your trading activities are affected by slippage, you may find that you end up selling securities at a lower price than you had hoped.
Slippage is one of the downsides of trading using a stop-loss market order. Consequently, some forex traders prefer to exit trades manually, so that they can retain control over assessing the market conditions for each trade, and exit when they deem conditions to be favourable.
If a stop-loss market order has been set, it will automatically exit the trade regardless of conditions.
A stop-loss order, described above, triggers when a security falls to a certain price – it is a market order that executes at the next price available. If this price is lower than expected, the trader may lose money due to the slippage.
Traders using limit orders specify the minimum or maximum price at which they wish to buy or sell.
With a stop-loss limit order, once the price of the security arrives at the specified stop-loss price, a limit order is immediately generated by the broker to end the position, either at the stop-loss price or a better one.
In contrast with market orders (which are set up to close the position either at or past the stop loss limit), the limit order will only close when the price reaches the stop loss limit or a better price.
This ensures that your trade is not executed at a lower price than anticipated, preventing potential losses from slippage. Limit orders are, however, more expensive and have time frames. This means they may expire before they are executed if the security price never reaches its set limit.
Stop-loss limit orders also introduce a new problem, since they don’t automatically exit the trade when the price goes strongly against your position. If the price drops continually without your order being filled, your loss will continue to grow and the stop loss imposed will be negated.
A trader with a ‘long position’ – someone who has bought currency in the expectation that the value will increase – may wish to specify a limit order above the current market price to maximise profits. They could then set a market order below the market price to help minimise any losses on the position.
A trader with a ‘short position’ – someone who chooses to sell a security with the view to purchasing it again at a lower price in the future – may choose to set a limit order below the current price alongside a market order over the current price to mitigate risks.
Volatility describes the potential fluctuations within a market during a specific timeframe. When prices change very quickly, the market can be described as volatile.
A volatility stop applies a methodology based around market volatility. If volatility is high, traders employ larger stop losses to allow for greater market swings. If it is low, the stop loss used can be more conservative.
Correspondingly, in times of high market volatility, a trader should set wider targets to capture large price swings. With low volatility, profit should be set closer to the entry price.
Getting to know how much your chosen currency pair moves enables you to set the appropriate stop-loss levels. In turn, this helps to prevent exiting a trade early based on random and temporary price fluctuations.
For example, if GBP/USD has moved approximately 150 pips per day during the last month, setting a stop loss at 30 pips means that you will likely exit the trade too early if there is a slight fluctuation in the price.
This is the most common type of stop loss used by forex traders. It is calculated as a predetermined proportion of your overall trading account. For example, if you have £20,000 in your forex trading account and you set a stop loss of 3%, you will be risking a total of £600 per trade.
Once the percentage risk has been determined, a trader uses their position size to calculate how far the stop should be set away from the entry.
The percentage is set at trader discretion. More confident traders may risk up to 10%, while cautious traders might set their percentage-based stop loss at 1% of their capital.
The main problem with using a percentage-based stop loss is that it is based on how much you are willing to lose, rather than the market conditions of your chosen currency pair.
This means that it forces traders to place their stops at arbitrary price levels, which can lead to ineffective trades that fail to reach their profit potential.
To maximise potential, stop losses should always be determined according to the market environment or system rules, not based on how much you do/don’t want to lose.
This type of stop loss considers the different market signals, indicators and patterns that can be observed within the forex market.
Using forex charts, traders use trend lines to observe and interpret areas of resistance and support in price action. Stops are set beyond these levels of support and resistance as, if the market trades beyond these areas, it is deemed likely that other traders will play the break and push the market against your position.
If the support and resistance levels are broken, unexpected market movements are increasingly likely.
Setting your stops based on forex charts takes a high level of chart literacy and understanding. If this is your risk-management strategy, it is important that you are adept at reading and interpreting the charts to ensure your stop loss is set at the correct point.
- They can allow you to step away from your trades
- They eliminate the element of human emotion
- They help to mitigate risks
- They can be used to lock in gains
- They don’t make you invincible
- You might stop a trade too early
- There may be stop limit price and exit discrepancies
They can allow you to step away from your trades. Stop losses are particularly useful when you are unable to closely watch the market or your trading position. Setting a stop loss allows you to take a step away from your trading account knowing that there is a cap on your potential losses. Breaks are important in the intense environment of forex trading, as they enable traders to return refreshed and sharpened.
Stop losses eliminate the element of human emotion. Trading can be an exhausting and emotionally draining practice. It can also be highly invigorating and cause surges of enthusiasm and confidence (which may indeed turn out to be misplaced). Ultimately, emotions can interfere, often to the detriment of trading decisions. Setting a stop loss protects against the urge to hold the position for too long, or indeed, to exit too soon – your limit has already been set so cannot be influenced by emotions triggering impulsive and potentially damaging decisions in the moment.
They help to mitigate risks. Since the forex market is so changeable, setting a stop loss can help you manage your money and trading account in a way that helps to reduce losses. If you have set a stop loss, you will exit the trade when your limit is reached, preventing loss if the market moves drastically against you. Without the stop loss, you may encounter large losses, particularly if you are trading using leverage from your broker.
Stop losses can be used to lock in gains. Stop losses not only serve to mitigate against large losses, but they also help to secure profits. In this context, it is often referred to as a trailing stop. Using this type of stop allows profits to run while guaranteeing a level of capital gain. The price of the stop loss adjusts as the stock price fluctuates. This is because the stop-loss order is set at a percentage level below the current market price, not the price at which it was bought.
They don’t make you invincible. Stop losses are, perhaps ironically, not designed to stop all losses in all situations and they don’t guarantee profits. Intelligent investment decisions are still needed. If not, traders will end up losing as much money as they would have done without a stop loss, just at a much slower rate.
You may stop a trade too early. Setting a stop loss may mean that you set arbitrary or overly cautious limits that lead to exiting the trade before it ends up becoming profitable. This is the potential trade-off that is taken to protect from a scenario in which large losses would be incurred without the security a stop loss provides.
There may be stop limit price and exit discrepancies. When trading, the sale price could be lower than the stop-loss price set by the trader. This is referred to as slippage and can cause unexpected losses. It is not that common, however, to suffer large loses due to slippage.
A stop-loss is a risk management tool used in forex trading to limit losses by automatically closing a trade when the market moves against a trader's position.
It is an order that is placed with a broker to sell or buy a currency pair at a pre-determined price, which is typically below the current market price for a long position and above it for a short position.
Using a stop-loss in forex is important because it helps to protect traders from significant losses.
By setting a stop-loss order, traders can limit their potential losses and control their risk exposure.
Traders can determine their stop-loss and take profit levels based on technical analysis, fundamental analysis or a combination of both.
Some common methods include using support and resistance levels, trendlines, Fibonacci retracements or volatility-based indicators, such as Average True Range.
To use a stop-loss in forex trading, traders need to place an order with their broker that specifies the stop-loss level. The order will be executed automatically when the market reaches the stop-loss level, closing the trade at that price.
There is no minimum stop-loss allowed in forex trading. However, traders should ensure that their stop-loss is large enough to allow for market fluctuations while still limiting their potential losses.
The stop-loss level is determined by the trader based on their risk tolerance and trading strategy.
Traders may also consider market conditions, volatility and other factors when setting their stop-loss levels.
When a stop-loss fails in forex, it is important to re-evaluate the trade and determine if it is still worth holding onto or if it is better to cut losses and exit the trade.
Traders should also assess the reason why the stop-loss failed and adjust their risk management strategy accordingly.
To calculate a stop-loss in forex, traders should consider factors such as the entry price, target price and the desired level of risk.
One popular method is to use the average true range (ATR) indicator to determine the appropriate stop-loss level based on market volatility.
Most reputable forex brokers offer the stop-loss option as part of their trading platform. Traders should research and compare brokers to find the one that offers the best combination of features, fees and reliability.
The best stop-loss strategy depends on individual trading style and risk tolerance.
Some popular strategies include using trailing stops to lock in profits, setting stop-loss levels based on technical analysis and adjusting stop-loss levels as the trade develops.
The average stop-loss for forex retail traders varies depending on the trader's risk management strategy and trading style.
However, industry research suggests that the average stop-loss range for most retail traders is between 25 to 50 pips.
Trading forex without a stop-loss can be extremely risky and is generally not recommended.
Traders who wish to trade without a stop-loss should have a solid understanding of risk management and technical analysis, and be prepared to monitor their positions closely to limit potential losses.
However, it is important to note that even experienced traders can experience significant losses without a stop-loss in place.
Forex markets are particularly volatile, so it makes sense to protect your capital against unexpected fluctuations which could work against your trading position. If set correctly, stop-loss orders provide safety nets against large losses. They can also be used to ensure profits are secured.
Using a stop-loss order is particularly recommended if you are trading using leverage, to protect against the extra losses leverage trading can incur.
A stop-loss strategy that is based around the market environment is recommended. The market is a dynamic environment and, to be efficient and productive, your stop-loss strategy should take detailed account of the trends that are currently occurring.
As with many forex strategies, gaining experience using stop losses will help to improve your limit setting. Trading conservatively with cautious stop losses to begin with will help to conserve your capital and give the greatest chance of accruing profits in the long term.
WikiJob does not provide tax, investment or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.