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Yen Heading Toward Breakout Levels


If you were asleep for the last seven months, then you missed nothing in the Japanese Yen futures market (6J, and E-mini is J7). It has been moving laterally for about seven months, but with a strong drop on August 20 the Yen is moving closer to breakout levels.

The Yen is no stranger to extended periods of sideways action. Over the last three years the USD/JPY, upon which Yen futures are based, has seen three other extended consolidation phases, each lasting about six months (give or take a month).

In 2013 the Yen lost a lot of value relative to the U.S. dollar, and many other currencies. If the Yen futures break this range to the downside, it indicates that slide could continue.

Watch 0.0096 as a drop below that could trigger a continuation of the downtrend. Expect a move to at least 0.0093 based on the size of the current range, but it could go even lower considering the magnitude of prior down waves we've seen over the last three years.

Figure 1. Yen Futures (6J) Daily Chart

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The risk in trading any breakout, should it materialize, is a false breakout. That's when the price breaks the range, moves out of it, and then moves right back in. Because of this, keep risk relatively tight if a breakout develops, for instance placing a stop above 0.009660 (if entering short below 0.0096). This keeps risk contained and gives a high reward to risk ratio if the breakout is legitimate.

In the event of a false breakout, or support near 0.0096 holds, buying Yen futures with a tight stop may not be a bad play, attempting to capture some short-term upside as the price bounces within the range.

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