Momentum Trading and Investing: Riding the Market Waves for Profitable Returns

Categories: CFD Trading  

Tags: Trading Malaysia  trading  Momentum Trading  Momentum Trading and Investing  

Publish date: 2023-8-3

In the dynamic world of financial markets, various trading strategies and investment approaches have emerged over the years. Among these strategies, momentum trading and investing have gained popularity for their potential to deliver profitable returns in both bullish and bearish market conditions. Momentum-based strategies rely on the principle that assets that have exhibited strong recent performance will continue to do so in the near future. In this article, we will explore the concept of momentum trading and investing, its key principles, benefits, and potential risks.

Table of Contents

  • Momentum investing vs. momentum trading
  • Understanding Momentum Trading
  • Key Principles of Momentum Trading
    • Where do you look for momentum stocks?
    • What are some tactics for trading momentum?
  • Understanding Momentum Investing
  • Key Principles of Momentum Investing
  • Benefits of Momentum Trading and Investing
    • Momentum stock examples
  • Potential Risks and Drawbacks
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Momentum investing vs. momentum trading

These two tactics sound similar, and they both consider price, trends, and exit points, but they differ in significant ways.

  • Momentum trading Ignores "the noise" of estimations and projections. It applies technical analysis just to discover price patterns. It does not examine the value of a stock, only its popularity
  • Momentum investing examines price, but also fundamentals like sales and earnings. It also takes into account "future" elements such as estimates and projections. It employs fundamental analysis to select prospective stocks.

Understanding Momentum Trading

Momentum trading is a short-term trading strategy that capitalizes on the prevailing trend in asset prices. Traders utilizing this strategy identify securities that have demonstrated significant price movements over a specific period and take positions in the hope that the trend will continue. In essence, momentum traders aim to ride the wave of strong price movements, either upward or downward, to profit from short-term fluctuations.

Key Principles of Momentum Trading

  • Identify Strong Trends: Momentum traders focus on identifying assets with established trends. This can be accomplished through technical analysis tools such as moving averages, Relative Strength Index (RSI), and MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence).
  • Timely Execution: Momentum trading requires quick decision-making and execution. Traders must act swiftly when they spot potential entry or exit points, as the nature of momentum is fleeting.
  • Cut Losses Early: Due to the volatile nature of momentum trading, it is essential to set stop-loss orders to protect against significant losses. A disciplined approach to managing risk is crucial.

Where do you look for momentum stocks?

Traders can identify momentum stocks by employing a stock/market scanner to get an initial selection of stocks to investigate further.

These four factors have been shown to be effective in selecting equities with momentum. Stocks that are currently:

  1. Consistently breaking their daily highs
  2. Earnings per share have increased and accelerated during the last 12 months.
  3. Outperforming their benchmark or index over the last three, six, and twelve months
  4. Reflecting a rising moving price average over 10 days, 50 days, and 100 days

What are some tactics for trading momentum?

Buy low, sell high is a popular technique to momentum trading in which traders utilise technical analysis to determine the low and high price points.

Breakout trading is another popular momentum strategy that involves entering a trade when the price breaks out of a significant resistance or support level. Traders anticipate that the breakout will lead to a continuation of the trend, providing an opportunity for profit.

Momentum trading in the context of forex involves identifying currency pairs that have exhibited strong and sustained price movements and taking positions to profit from these trends. FXCM, as one of the leading forex brokers, offers various tools and features that can be utilized by traders interested in momentum trading.

Understanding Momentum Investing

Momentum trading and momentum investing are both investment strategies that focus on buying assets that are already performing well. However, they differ in their time horizon. Momentum trading is a short-term strategy, while momentum investing is a long-term strategy. Momentum traders buy assets that have recently shown strong price appreciation, and then sell them when the price starts to decline. Momentum investors, on the other hand, buy assets that have shown consistent and sustained price appreciation over an extended period, and then hold them for a long time. The fundamental principle of momentum investing is that assets with strong historical performance will continue to outperform the market in the future.

Momentum investing has been shown to be a successful investment strategy over the long term. However, it is important to note that momentum investing is not without risk. Assets that are overbought can experience a sharp decline in price, and momentum investors can lose money if they do not sell their assets before the price decline.

Key Principles of Momentum Investing

  • Relative Strength: Momentum investors evaluate an asset's relative strength compared to other investments in its class or the broader market. They typically select assets that have demonstrated superior performance over a specified period, such as the past 6-12 months.
  • Diversification: As with any investment strategy, diversification is essential in momentum investing. Spreading investments across different asset classes and sectors helps mitigate risk.
  • Rebalance Regularly: Momentum investing requires periodic reassessment of the portfolio to ensure that underperforming assets are replaced with those exhibiting stronger momentum.

Benefits of Momentum Trading and Investing

Momentum trading and investing offer several benefits for traders and investors who effectively implement these strategies. Below are some of the key advantages of momentum trading and investing:

  1. Potential for High Returns: One of the most attractive benefits of momentum trading and investing is the potential for significant returns. By identifying assets that have exhibited strong and sustained price movements, traders and investors can capitalize on trends and profit from short- to medium-term price swings. In favorable market conditions, momentum strategies can deliver returns that outperform traditional buy-and-hold approaches. However, please be aware that there is also potential for significant losses.
  2. Participation in Market Trends: Momentum strategies allow traders and investors to participate in the prevailing market trends actively. Whether it's a bull market with rising asset prices or a bear market with declining prices, momentum traders can adapt their positions to capitalize on the current market sentiment.
  3. Emotional Discipline: Momentum trading and investing are based on concrete data and predefined entry and exit points. Having specific rules and criteria to identify opportunities helps reduce emotional decision-making biases. This disciplined approach can prevent traders and investors from making impulsive decisions driven by fear or greed.
  4. Diversification of Portfolio Strategies: Incorporating momentum-based strategies into an investment portfolio can enhance overall diversification. By combining momentum investing with other approaches, such as value investing or growth investing, investors can spread risk across different asset classes and investment styles.
  5. Potential for Outperformance: In certain market conditions, momentum trading and investing can lead to outperformance compared to the broader market or traditional investment strategies. Successfully identifying assets with strong momentum can provide an edge in generating alpha (excess returns over a benchmark index).
  6. Quick Decision-making: Momentum trading requires quick decision-making and execution due to the short-term nature of the strategy. This can be appealing to traders who prefer active trading and relish the challenge of reacting swiftly to changing market conditions.
  7. Adaptability to Short-Term Trading: Momentum trading is well-suited for short-term traders who prefer to take advantage of immediate market trends. It allows for frequent trades and the potential to capitalize on multiple price movements within a short period.
  8. Use of Technical Analysis: Momentum trading and investing heavily rely on technical analysis tools and indicators to identify potential opportunities. Traders who are adept at technical analysis can find momentum strategies particularly appealing as they can utilize their expertise in chart patterns, oscillators, and moving averages.

FXCM provides trading platforms like Trading Station and MetaTrader 4 (MT4) that offer charting tools and technical indicators. Traders can use these platforms to analyze price movements, identify potential entry and exit points, and execute trades.

Furthermore, traders can use FXCM's demo accounts to practice momentum trading strategies in a risk-free environment. Additionally, backtesting historical data can help traders evaluate the performance of their strategies under various market conditions.

Momentum stock examples

Remember that momentum trading is simpler in a bull market. Keep in mind that performance will alter over time. Here are three stocks/equities with strong momentum and their past movements:

  • Apple (AAPL) – Creating buzz around new products and advancements, Apple stocks have maintained strong pace for much of the past decade, climbing from roughly $17 in mid-2013 to more than $170 in mid-2023.
  • Tesla Inc. (TSLA): Tesla, the electric vehicle pioneer, experienced a significant momentum surge over the years leading up to Mid-2023. Its innovative products, expanding market presence, and optimistic growth forecasts contributed to its remarkable price appreciation. Tesla's stock price went through substantial ups and downs, attracting both bullish and bearish momentum traders and investors.
  • NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): NVIDIA, a leading semiconductor company specializing in graphics processing units (GPUs), witnessed robust momentum due to its dominance in the gaming industry and its crucial role in artificial intelligence and data center applications. The growing demand for GPUs and the company's innovative solutions positioned it as a top momentum stock in the technology sector.

Potential Risks and Drawbacks

It's important to note that while momentum strategies offer various benefits, they also come with inherent risks. Market conditions can change rapidly, and momentum can reverse abruptly, leading to potential losses if not managed prudently.

  • Volatility: Momentum strategies can be highly volatile, leading to rapid and unexpected price swings that may result in significant losses if not managed properly. Momentum strategies are based on the idea that past performance is a good predictor of future performance. This means that stocks that have done well in the past are likely to continue doing well in the future. Momentum strategies can be highly volatile, meaning that the prices of the stocks they invest in can go up and down very quickly. This can lead to significant losses if the stocks do not continue to perform well. It is important to manage momentum strategies carefully to avoid large losses. One way to do this is to use stop-loss orders, which will automatically sell a stock if it falls below a certain price. This can help to limit losses if the stock starts to decline. Another way to manage momentum strategies is to use diversification, which means investing in a variety of different stocks. This can help to reduce risk if one stock starts to decline.
  • Market Reversals: Markets can change direction suddenly, leading to a swift reversal in momentum. Traders and investors must be prepared for such situations. Markets are constantly changing, and it is important for traders and investors to be prepared for sudden changes in direction. These changes can be caused by a variety of factors, such as economic news, political events, or natural disasters. When markets change direction quickly, it can be difficult to make accurate predictions about future price movements. However, there are a few things that traders and investors can do to prepare for these situations. First, it is important to have a diversified portfolio that includes a variety of assets. This will help to reduce the risk of losses if one asset class experiences a sudden decline. Second, it is important to have a stop-loss order in place for each trade. This will automatically sell the asset if it reaches a certain price, which can help to limit losses. Finally, it is important to stay calm and disciplined during periods of market volatility. This can be difficult, but it is important to remember that markets will eventually recover.
  • Overtrading: The fast-paced nature of momentum trading may tempt some individuals to overtrade, leading to higher transaction costs and potentially eroding profits. This is because momentum traders are constantly buying and selling stocks in an attempt to capitalize on short-term price movements. However, this can lead to them making more trades than they need to, which can eat into their profits. Additionally, if the market is not moving in the direction that they expect, they may end up losing money on their trades. As a result, it is important for momentum traders to be disciplined and to only trade when they have a good reason to do so.


Momentum trading and investing represent powerful strategies for those who can effectively navigate the complexities of the financial markets. While they offer the potential for significant returns, they also come with inherent risks. As with any investment approach, it is crucial to conduct thorough research, establish a well-defined strategy, and practice disciplined risk management.

Whether you are a short-term trader seeking quick gains or a long-term investor seeking to capitalize on trends, momentum strategies can be valuable tools in your financial arsenal. However, it is essential to remember that no strategy guarantees success, and past performance is not always indicative of future results.


Q: Is momentum an effective investment strategy?

A: Momentum could be a good approach for those with the necessary abilities, expertise, and mindset, but as with any investment or trading strategy, sufficient research and risk management are required.

Q: What is the distinction between momentum and swing trading?

A: They are very similar, but swing traders hold their positions for a longer period of time, at least overnight, and occasionally days or even weeks. Every day, momentum day traders typically close off positions. 

Q: Can momentum trading and investing work in bearish markets?

A: Yes, momentum trading and investing can work in both bullish and bearish markets. While momentum strategies typically thrive in trending markets, traders can also profit from downward price movements by short-selling assets that show weak momentum.

Q: How do I get started with momentum trading and investing?

A: To get started with momentum trading and investing, educate yourself about the principles and strategies involved. Practice using demo accounts or paper trading to gain experience before risking real capital. Develop a clear trading plan, set risk management rules, and consider seeking guidance from experienced traders or financial advisors.

[Disclaimer] The articles above are purely personal opinions and are not intended to be investment advice. Only for the purpose of mutual learning and sharing. There is no express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy or completeness of the above-mentioned information. Anyone who relies on the information, ideas, or data contained in this article does so entirely at their own risk.