Stop Loss (SL)

A Stop Loss Order is a trading order designed to limit a trader’s potential losses on a position.

When the market price reaches a specified level, it automatically closes the position, allowing traders to manage their risk exposure and protect their investment from significant losses.

In the dynamic world of trading, managing risk is critical to long-term success. One powerful tool that traders can use to protect their trading capital is the stop-loss order.

How stop loss orders work

Traders place stop-loss orders by specifying a stop-loss price, which is the price level that triggers the order.

When the market price reaches the stop price, the order becomes a market order and is immediately executed at the best available price.

For long positions, the stop-loss price is set lower than the entry price, and if the market price drops to or below the stop-loss price, the stop-loss order will be triggered.

For example, if you were long USD/JPY at 110.50, you could set it to 109.00. If the buy price drops to this level, the trade will be automatically closed.

Conversely, for a short position, the stop-loss price is set higher than the entry price, and if the market price rises to or above the stop-loss price, the stop-loss order is triggered.

Stop loss orders can only limit losses, but cannot prevent losses.

Benefits of stop loss orders

  • Risk Management: The main benefit of stop loss orders is their ability to help traders manage risk. By setting a stop-loss price, traders can limit potential losses and protect their investment from severe declines.
  • Emotional Control: Stop-loss orders can help traders maintain emotional control without having to constantly monitor their positions. Knowing that stop-loss orders exist can alleviate anxiety and help traders stick to their intended trading strategy.
  • Automation: Stop orders provide a level of automation to the trading process as they are automatically executed once the stop price is reached. This automation saves time and ensures traders don’t miss critical exit points through negligence or indecision.

Disadvantages of Stop Loss Orders

  • Slippage: One potential disadvantage of stop-loss orders is slippage, which occurs when the market is volatile or illiquid and the order is executed at a price worse than the specified stop-loss price. Slippage can result in higher than expected losses.
  • Premature Exits: Stop-loss orders can sometimes result in premature exits from positions because they may be triggered by temporary price fluctuations rather than ongoing market movements. This could result in missed profit opportunities if market prices subsequently reverse.
  • NO GUARANTEE TO LIMIT LOSSES: While stop-loss orders can help manage risk, they do not guarantee that losses will be limited to the specified stop-loss price. If the market gapps or moves rapidly, your order may be executed at a much worse price than expected.

Stop loss setting

Setting stop loss orders wisely is one of the things that separates successful traders from their peers.

They keep their stop loss close enough to avoid serious losses, but they also avoid setting their stop loss too close to the trade entry point lest they end up being stopped out unnecessarily and the exit turns out to be profitable transaction.

  • A good Traders set stop loss orders at levels that protect their trading capital from excessive losses.
  • A Great traders do this while also avoid being stopped out unnecessarily and thus missing real profit opportunities.

Many novice traders mistakenly believe that risk management is nothing more than placing stop-loss orders very close to the entry point of a trade.

Indeed, good money management means that you should not set your stop loss level too far from your entry point, otherwise it will give an unfavorable risk/reward ratio to the trade.

For example, when you take more risk on a failed trade than you would reasonably take on a successful trade.

However, one factor that often causes trades to fail is the habit of running stop loss orders close to the entry point .

As evidenced by being stopped out on a trade at a loss, only to then see the market turn in the trade's favor and have to endure watching the price rise to a level that would have netted you a substantial long as you didn't Stopped due to loss.

Yes, it is important to only take trades that allow you to place a stop loss order close enough to your entry point to avoid catastrophic losses.

But it is also important to place a stop loss order at a reasonable price level based on your market analysis.

An oft-cited general rule of thumb regarding the correct placement of stop orders is that your stop should be placed slightly beyond the market should not be at the price is trading if your market analysis is correct .


In summary, stop-loss orders are a valuable tool for traders looking to manage risk and maintain emotional control in their trading strategies.

By setting a stop price, traders can limit potential losses and automate the exit process, saving time and reducing stress.

However, stop-loss orders also have potential disadvantages, such as slippage, premature exits, and no guarantee of limiting losses to the desired level.

To maximize the effectiveness of stop-loss orders, traders must carefully consider stop-loss prices, monitor market conditions, and continuously refine strategies based on experience and market analysis.

If you want to learn more foreign exchange trading knowledge, please click: Trading Education.

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