70+ Free Trading Strategies (Quantified Systems)

On this page, we have compiled all the free trading strategies we have published since our start in 2012. The page contains 65+ free strategies plus articles about indicators and trading strategy-specific articles.

If you don’t want to browse through all the articles, we have compiled the most important free strategies and indicators into a 32-page PDF file which you can purchase for 149 USD. The file contains descriptions in “plain English” and code to quantify.

Before you look at our free trading strategies below, you might want to read our articles about what quantified strategies are about:

Indicators and how they work (including trading strategies):

If you like our free trading strategies on this page, you might be interested in our monthly subscription service where we provide trading edges/strategies. We save our best strategies for our paying subscribers. 

Each month we publish a new “edge”/strategy – a 100% quantifiable trading idea that includes buy and sell signals in “plain” English plus code for Amibroker and Tradestation/Easy language.

S&P 500 trading systems (SPY free trading strategies):

Nasdaq trading systems (QQQ free trading strategies):

Treasuries/bonds trading systems (TLT free trading strategies):

Consumer staples trading systems (XLP free trading strategies):

Seasonality strategies (seasonalities, anomalies, abnormalities, and effects):

Rotation strategies (free momentum strategies):

Free trading strategies for one or more instruments/assets:

Day trading strategies and systems:

Gold trading systems (GLD free trading strategies):

Miscellaneous about trading strategies:

Finale: Some advice before you embark on your trading career:

If you have clicked on one or several of the free trading strategies above, you might wonder what is the best way to approach trading. We have tried to answer that in many other articles, but below we give a very brief explanation of what should be your main considerations before you start trading:

Are you a trader or an investor?

First, you need to have a thorough understanding of what kind of investor you are. It might seem obvious, but many derail already before they start.

Sit down and think about what your aims and goals are. Are you a trader or an investor? Do you think you have the mindset and capabilities to deal with frequent profits and losses?

The alternative to trading is to invest in stocks and mutual funds for the long-term:

Position trading/buy and hold

By position trading we mean holding positions for a long time, close to or equal to “buy and hold”.

Should you trade at all? Trading is scalable, ie. you can make a lot of money in a relatively short period of time, but the fail ratio is much higher compared to buy and hold.

If you invest passively in a mutual fund you participate in the earnings and productivity growth in society and you are most likely well protected against inflation.

We recommend spending some time pondering where you should put your money.

What is a trading strategy?

A clearly defined trading strategy needs at least four elements:

  1. It needs to have defined/quantified buy/short criteria. That is, you need to know exactly when to buy. “Buy when touching resistance” is not a criterion – it’s vague and not clearly defined. You should not use anecdotal evidence in your decision-making!
  2. If you get a buy signal, how do you execute the buy/short order? Do you put in a limit order or do you buy at the market? In the strategies above, we mainly use at the close orders. Obviously, we only know the close price in hindsight. However, we start sending orders ten seconds before the close, and that works really well and gets very close to the results in our backtests.
  3. If you are in a position, you need to know when to sell/cover. Just like the buy criterion, this needs to be quantified to avoid second-guessing.
  4. The sell/short order should be executed at prices that are realistic compared to your backtests. Slippage and commissions are a big cost for a trader, and you need to minimize costs and make it as similar as possible to the backtest. We have been using at the close orders for years, just like when we buy and enter positions, and it works well for us.

Types of trading strategies: What kind of trader should you be?

If you start trading, you need to make plans and strategies. This takes time, but hopefully, this is time well spent and at the same time enjoyable.

If you don’t have a particular interest in trading, you should invest for the long-term and forget about trading. A great interest in trading is a prerequisite for success!

Furthermore, your approach should be agnostic. First off, what kind of instruments and asset classes should you trade? Don’t limit yourself by focusing on a certain time frame or asset class.

There are many types of strategies to choose from, but mainly we can argue they fall in two groups: day trading and swing trading.

Day trading

Day trading has the shortest time frame. Many day traders do scalping, but we are a bit cautious with scalping. If you want to day trade it’s crucial that you know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, many want to be day traders in the hope they can make money faster. The reality is that most of them get poor pretty fast. It’s a fast way of departing your money if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Another downside with day trading is that you don’t benefit from the long-term tailwind in the stock market, as you do in swing trading:

Swing trading (end-of-day trading)

We prefer end-of-day trading where we enter at the close (but sometimes exit at the open). This is the same as swing trading.

Many argue they will day trade to avoid the overnight “risk” in the stock market. But the long-term trend suggests that you get well awarded for taking this “risk”: all the gains since 1993 have come from the close until the next day’s open. There has been no money to be made intraday from the open to the close.

The overnight “risk” is a nice tailwind you can exploit!

The tailwind is particularly strong in stocks, and to some extent in gold. In most other asset classes, you don’t have this edge.

Other trading strategies

Among prop traders long/short and pairs trading are popular. These are market-neutral strategies because you hold an equal amount of capital both long and short that should cancel each other out in case of adverse movements.

The idea behind pairs trading strategies is to trade on the value of the spread. For example, this could be shorting the strongest and buying the weakest on the assumption they will converge.

The downside of trading

If you buy a basket of mutual funds there is no much you need to do. Just buy the funds and forget about it. Get on with your life and save regularly and don’t interfere in your dollar-cost averaging. If history is any guide, you will be well rewarded as long as you are patient and let the capital compound.

With trading, you need to do a lot of work and research. It requires time to develop strategies, and when you are done developing you need to do the actual trading. It’s essential you like this process and find it enjoyable. If not, you will not make it as a trader.

However, if you use automated trading software you can “outsource” the trading to your computer. This gives you leverage to trade an “unlimited” number of strategies.

Which time frame is best for trading?

One of the most important things in trading is to have a portfolio of diversified strategies that correlate as little as possible. One way to do this is to trade several different time frames.

We believe we have given you a pretty wide variety in time frames in the systems and strategies we have presented above: from day trading to long-term position trading in the S&P 500.

However, most of the strategies are swing trades. Scalping and day trading is very difficult and only a few traders manage being profitable year in and year out. The longer the time frame, the more you utilize the long-term tailwind mentioned above (at least in the stock markets).

Which market is best for trading?

Because of inflation and earnings growth, a diversified basket of stocks, like for example owning the S&P 500, has proven to beat inflation in the long run. Just by owning stocks overnight, you manage a 0.04% return from the close until the next day’s open.

This is an edge, let’s call it tailwind, that you basically only get in the stock market. Very few other asset classes offer the same tailwind, perhaps gold being an exception.

Thus, we believe you stand better chances in stocks and stock indexes.

Moreover, our research stock trading strategies are less prone to “blow off”, like for example happens frequently in the commodities markets. Likewise, the forex markets are very difficult to trade. If you manage to find commodity and forex trading strategies that last year in and year out – congratulations!

We recommend starting with stocks. Not only do you have a tailwind, but you can also choose among thousand of stocks in different sectors. Many of those have little competition from other traders. Compare this to forex trading strategies where you are competing against millions of traders just in the USD/EUR spread!

Swing trading strategy tips: What are you looking for in a strategy?

You want to have consistent profits, more like an income, but that is very tough to achieve. Some kind of lump-sum and erratic profits are inevitable. Most likely just a few days per month will generate most of the profits. The rest of the time you are scraping by and looking to avoid losses and disasters.

Trading is much like a slow grind where you have to show up day in and day out for years with some occasional big wins.

That said, you want a steady rising equity curve from the left to the right. You want a profit factor that is somewhere between 1.75 and 3. Likewise, you can have a look at the Sharpe Ratio of your strategy as well.

Because of the behavioral mistakes you are most likely to commit, most traders should make strategies that give the smoothest returns you can get.

Trade small size – be careful

Trading requires experience – lots of it. In order to survive, always make sure you are trading smaller position sizes than you would like.

Likewise, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your time frames, asset classes, and strategies.

Why trade small?

You want to trade small because you want to make sure you can survive adverse movements against your position. Sooner or later you’ll experience days where all or most of your positions go against you.

Put aside money for a rainy day

Likewise, don’t put all your money in your trading account. We recommend setting aside money for long-term appreciation, preferably in mutual funds. Don’t try to be smart, make your investments simple.

Be careful with leverage:

It’s easy to get fooled by a backtest – it all looks so simple and easy in hindsight. Because of this, many use too much leverage by being greedy.

Leverage can put you out of business. Make sure you always think about how much you can lose, not what you can make. A 50% drop requires a 100% rise to get back to break-even.

Make sure you have a trading plan

This website is all about quantified trading strategies and systems. We believe 100% quantified rules are what fits most traders.

The reason for this is simple: Although nothing is certain about the future, you at least have an opinion if your strategy performed well in the past. Additionally, it makes you disciplined and less prone to knee-jerk trades out of the blue.

Besides, by automating all your trading you theoretically can trade an almost unlimited amount of trading systems. You focus on developing strategies, and you let the computer do the rest.

Avoid obvious mistakes

Profits tend to take care of themselves as long as you avoid the biggest blunders. In tennis, this is called unforced errors. In professional tennis, most of the matches are won by the player who makes the least amount of unforced errors!

Make sure you understand yourself

It might sound like a cliche, but you need to understand yourself and potential behavior mistakes you are prone to make. Even very profitable strategies won’t make you money if you buy and sell at the wrong time.

Conclusion:

This page which contains our free trading strategies might give you input on how to start trading. Trading is not easy, and certainly much more demanding than long-term investing.

While trading offers scalability and huge profit potential, consider the time spent and risk of ruin. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might lose your capital quickly.

 

 

Disclosure: We are not financial advisors. Please do your own due diligence and investment research or consult a financial professional. All articles are our opinions – they are not suggestions to buy or sell any securities.