The Darvas Box strategy was developed by Nicholas Darvas. Aside from being a well known dancer, he began trading stock in the 1950s. Based on his success in trading, he was approached to write a book on his strategy. The book, “How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market,” outlines his rather simple approach … simple once you understand the basic concepts and rationale of the strategy.
Darvas Box is an indicator that simply draws lines along highs and lows, and then adjusts them as new highs and lows form. The indicator is available on many trading platforms, such as Thinkorswim. Traders may wish to draw their own boxes though, based on recent highs and lows; Darvas was able to do so (based on telegram quotes) more than half a century ago.
Darvas Box Rules
I shall not follow advisory services.
I shall be cautious of broker advice.
I shall ignore Wall Street sayings or truisms, no matter how ancient or revered.
I shall only trade stocks on major exchanges with adequate .
I shall not listen to (or trade off of) rumors or tips, no matter how well researched they may sound.
I will use a sound strategy instead of gamble…I must study this strategy (originally this approach was , which didn’t work for him, so he developed his Darvas Box trading method).
I will hold one position for longer, as opposed to juggling a bunch of positions for a short period of time.
Darvas looked for increasing when selecting stocks to trade; this alerted him to stocks that were being accumulated and were likely to see strong trends.
Darvas believed in buying stocks that presented an upper box limit breakout, but also had an upward trend. This was especially the case when the major indexes had experienced a decline.
When an upper box limit is broken, buy. From his book, the entry price was usually about 1 to 2% above the upper box limit.
If you enter a trade and the price proceeds to drop out of the new box, and back into the old box, exit the trade.
Entry and stop loss orders should be set in advance, so trades aren’t missed and risk is controlled.
Place, and trail the stop loss order to below the low of the most recent box. This initial stop loss was pretty tight, because Darvas assumed when a price broke out of an old box, it was entering a new box. Therefore, the stop was placed just below the high of old box which was just broken (low of new box).
Record trades, including reasons why you entered and exited.
General conditions of the market must favor buying. Don’t buy stocks when the major indexes are in a bear market, or when is flat or declining.
If you are stopped out, but the price moves back into the higher box again providing another buy signal, buy again, using the same stop loss location.
Since the stop is being trailed up, more funds can be added on each consecutive breakout.
The Bottom Line
Nicholas Darvas was a dancer, but committed a great deal of time to developing and then mastering his stock trading method. It’s a trend following method based on breakouts to higher boxes. Risk is controlled by placing a stop below new higher boxes as they form. During choppy conditions the strategy won’t be profitable. This is why Darvas also attempted to only trade stocks with increasing and rising . Trading his method requires a lot of discipline, but can produce big profits when strong trends develop.
Creator: Nicholas DARVAS