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Position Trading Guide for Long-Term Investment Strategies


Investors use position trading to capitalize on longer-term market trends and capture substantial price movements. This strategy aligns with investors who have a broader time horizon, allowing them to hold positions through short-term market fluctuations. Here’s what you need to know.

A financial advisor can walk you through different investment strategies for your portfolio.

How Position Trading Works

Position trading is a trading strategy used in the financial markets, primarily in stocks, commodities and forex. It involves holding positions for an extended period, typically ranging from weeks to months, with the goal of capitalizing on broader market trends rather than short-term price fluctuations.

This strategy is suitable for individuals who have a longer investment horizon and can tolerate some price volatility along the way. It requires a solid understanding of market analysis, risk management and a disciplined approach to trading decisions.

9 Position Trading Strategies

Position trading aims to capitalize on long-term trends. Here are nine common strategies:

  • Trend following strategy: This is one of the most common position trading strategies. Traders identify established trends, either upward (bullish) or downward (bearish) and aim to enter the market in the direction of the trend. They use technical indicators like moving averages, trendlines and momentum oscillators to confirm the trend’s strength and validity.
  • Breakout strategy: Traders using this strategy look for assets that have been trading within a specific range for an extended period. They anticipate that when the price breaks out of this range, a new trend will develop. This could involve buying when the price breaks above a resistance level or selling short when it breaks below a support level.
  • Event-based strategy: Position traders sometimes focus on specific events that can trigger long-term price movements. This could include earnings reports, economic data releases, political events or regulatory changes. They analyze how these events might impact an asset’s value and establish positions based on their analysis.
  • Momentum strategy: Momentum position traders look for assets that have shown consistent upward or downward momentum over an extended period. They enter trades based on the belief that strong momentum is likely to continue for some time before a reversal occurs.
  • Cyclical strategy: Some position traders focus on identifying cyclical patterns in the market, such as seasonal trends or economic cycles. For example, they might buy commodities like agricultural products ahead of their typical seasonal demand peaks.
  • Long-term fundamental analysis: Position traders who take a fundamental approach analyze macroeconomic indicators, company financials and market trends to identify assets that are undervalued or have strong growth potential over the long term.
  • Diversified portfolio strategy: Instead of focusing on a single asset, traders using this strategy build a diversified portfolio of assets across different industries or sectors. This approach aims to spread risk while capturing trends in various parts of the market.
  • Trend reversal strategy: These position traders look for assets that have experienced a prolonged trend and are showing signs of reversing. They aim to enter the market at the beginning of a new trend in the opposite direction.
  • Global macro strategy: Traders using this strategy analyze global economic trends, geopolitical events and macroeconomic indicators to anticipate shifts in the broader financial landscape. They then position themselves in assets that they believe will benefit from these trends.

How Does Positional Trading Work With Shares?

Positional shares trading refers to a strategy in the stock market where investors buy and hold shares of a company’s stock for an extended period with the expectation of capitalizing on long-term price appreciation. 

Unlike short-term trading, where stocks are bought and sold quickly to take advantage of short-lived price movements, positional share trading involves holding onto stocks for weeks, months or even years to benefit from the overall growth potential of the company. 

Investors who engage in positional share trading often focus on fundamental analysis to assess the company’s financial health, growth prospects and industry trends, as well as other factors that could influence the stock’s value over an extended period. 

The goal of positional share trading is to generate significant returns through capital appreciation as the company’s performance improves and the stock’s value increases over time.

How Does Positional Trading Work With Index Markets?

Positional index trading, also known as position trading in index markets, involves holding positions in stock market indices for an extended period to capitalize on longer-term market trends and potential price appreciation. 

Instead of focusing on individual stocks, traders using this strategy buy and hold positions in index-based financial instruments like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or index futures contracts. 

The goal is to benefit from the overall growth of the market as represented by the index. 

Positional index trading involves analyzing broader economic trends, market sentiment and fundamental indicators to make informed decisions about when to enter and exit positions. 

This strategy aligns with investors who have a longer investment horizon and are looking to achieve returns over weeks, months or even years by capturing the collective performance of a basket of stocks within an index.

How Does Positional Trading Work With Commodity Trading?

Positional commodity trading involves holding positions in commodity markets for an extended period with the goal of benefiting from long-term price movements and potential profit opportunities. 

Commodities are raw materials or primary agricultural products that are traded in markets, such as gold, oil, wheat or copper. 

Positional commodity traders focus on capturing trends and price fluctuations in these markets over weeks, months or even years. 

Unlike day traders who make quick trades within a single day or swing traders who hold positions for a few days, positional commodity traders are interested in capitalizing on the broader cycles and trends within the commodities markets. 

This strategy requires a strong understanding of supply and demand factors, geopolitical influences, weather patterns and global economic trends that can impact commodity prices over the long term. 

The goal is to achieve significant gains through successful prediction of future price movements in the commodity markets.

Pros and Cons of Position Trading

Position trading, like any trading strategy, has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are six common advantages of position trading:

  • Less time-intensive: Position trading doesn’t require constant monitoring of the markets. Traders can make decisions based on longer-term trends, allowing for a more relaxed trading approach.
  • Lower transaction costs: Position traders make fewer trades compared to day traders or scalpers, which can lead to lower transaction costs over time.
  • Less emotional stress: Position traders are less exposed to short-term market fluctuations, reducing the emotional stress associated with rapid price changes.
  • Fundamental focus: Position traders often rely on fundamental analysis, which involves assessing a company’s financial health, industry trends and other factors. This can provide a more comprehensive view of an investment’s potential.
  • Potential for larger gains: Holding positions for an extended period increases the potential for capturing larger price movements and significant gains if trends play out as anticipated.
  • Reduced market noise impact: Longer time horizons in position trading allow traders to filter out short-term market noise and focus on more relevant market trends.

And, here are six common disadvantages to consider:

  • Less frequent profit opportunities: Position traders may have fewer trading opportunities compared to shorter-term traders, potentially reducing the frequency of profits.
  • Market swings: Holding positions for extended periods exposes traders to market swings and changes in sentiment that might affect the value of their positions.
  • Longer exposure to risk: Holding positions for longer periods means traders are exposed to risk for an extended time. Adverse events can impact investments over the holding period.
  • Large capital requirements: Position trading often requires more significant capital due to potential overnight or extended holding requirements, which may limit participation for some traders.
  • Less responsive to short-term events: Position trading might not capture short-term price spikes resulting from sudden news events or market developments.
  • Missed short-term opportunities: Position traders might miss out on short-term profit opportunities that short-term traders can use.

Bottom Line

Position trading offers a more relaxed trading approach, potential for larger gains and reduced emotional stress. However, it requires patience, a longer investment horizon and the ability to manage risk over extended periods. Traders should carefully consider their financial goals, risk tolerance and trading preferences before adopting a position trading strategy.

Tips for Investing

  • A financial advisor can help you make smart decisions for your portfolio. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. 
  • Online brokerages can help make stock trading convenient and low-cost if you’re new to the market. SmartAsset’s comparison tool will help you compare trading platforms to pick the right one for you.

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