Glossary   »   C   »  Correction
published-date Published: January 6, 2024
update-date Last Update: January 10, 2024


What Is a Correction?

In forex trading, a correction refers to a temporary reversal in the trend of a currency pair’s price. This normal phenomenon happens when prices have moved significantly in one direction, leading to a counter movement. Reasons for corrections include profit-taking, shifts in market sentiment, or the release of economic data.

How a Correction Works

Correction happens when the price of a currency pair changes direction briefly, undoing some of its earlier movement. Say a currency pair has been rising; a correction occurs when its price starts to drop, going back over some of its recent rise.

In forex trading, a correction doesn’t always mean the trend is changing completely; it’s more like a short break. Traders can use this as an opportunity to buy the currency at a cheaper price, anticipating that the prices will go back to following the original upward trend after this correction.

Charting a Correction

At times, specialists forecast corrections by studying the market and comparing different market indexes. If they see one poorly performing index closely followed by another, it might hint at an upcoming correction.

Technical analysts look at price support and resistance levels to guess when a market might shift direction or stabilize before a correction. Technical corrections usually occur when an asset or the whole market is overpriced. Analysts use graphs to monitor asset value changes over time, using techniques like Bollinger Bands®, envelope channels, and trendlines to spot likely support and resistance points.

Preparing Investments for a Correction

Even if certain stocks are performing well or surpassing the market initially, they often struggle during a correction due to tough market conditions. This situation might offer a chance to purchase valuable assets at lower prices. Yet, investors should be cautious, considering the risk that asset values might keep dropping during the correction.

Safeguarding investments in these times is challenging but feasible. Investors can use strategies like stop-loss orders or stop-limit orders for protection. A stop-loss order automatically initiates a sale when the price hits a predetermined level, though the final sale price might differ if prices drop rapidly. A stop-limit order sets both a trigger price and a ceiling for the sale. It’s important to regularly review and adjust these stop orders to align them with the prevailing market dynamics.

Investing During a Correction

Corrections can affect various investments differently. Typically, small-cap stocks in volatile sectors, such as technology, are likely to see the most substantial declines. Conversely, sectors like consumer staples, which deal in necessary goods and services, usually show greater resilience in these situations.

Diversification is a key strategy for risk mitigation. By spreading investments across different asset types that respond differently to market conditions or are influenced by distinct factors, you can reduce overall risk. Including bonds, commodities, or real estate in your portfolio can provide a balance to the volatility often associated with stocks.

Real-World Examples of a Correction

Corrections are a common occurrence in financial markets. From 1980 to 2020, the S&P 500, a major stock market index, experienced 18 such corrections. These corrections sometimes evolved into bear markets, indicative of economic downturns, while at other times, they transitioned back to bull markets, suggesting economic growth and stability.

Take 2018 as an example: major indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 underwent corrections, with declines exceeding 10%. Nevertheless, the markets eventually bounced back. The essential insight here is that corrections are a standard aspect of the financial world. They not only offer chances to purchase assets at lower prices but also provide valuable insights into the dynamic and fluctuating nature of the markets.

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