A thought has crossed my mind, in those circumstances where high impact news causes a massive gap in the market/chart, if I have an open long near neither stop or take profit, and the gap changes the price down to below my stop loss, would the trade server automatically close the trade, or would it be down to the EA to check that the trade should be closed and send a separate close or could it be down to the broker who acts differently per broker.
What do you do?
No - that's not correct. I've confirmed with the broker (FXCM) that GumRai is correct - the server will see that price is below (long) your SL and close the trade *ASAP*. If price 'keeps heading the wrong way" it won't matter as the server *should* have closed the trade.
The only time I can expect the situation to 'get worse' is if there are so many trade closures to do, further price changes come in before the servers have had a chance to close your trade. Its basically a best endeavours business. Look what happened to Alpari UK when they tried that in JAn 2015 when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly removed the franc's ceiling against the euro (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpari_Group).
Better ensure your robots are very profitable in the mean time then!
There is no need for conspiration theories here. Stop Loss is just a (limit) stop order in the opposite direction of your position. How else should it work than the way GumRai explained in the first place?
Some brokers offer a stop level and a limit price, under/over which the order will not be executed regardless of crossing the stop level (stop limit order, unknown to MQL afaik). This would allow a bad position to at least reach again a predefined stop loss limit although the SL was activated already.
Something like that could be programmed in an EA. In fact, there are a some programmers who try keep their EAs order management hidden from the broker. They check for SL conditions inside their EAs and don't use 'hard' SL. This can get quite dangerous if for any reason you loose connection to the trade server and that is why many of them place an emergency SL very far away from the current price action anyway.
I know a programmer who doesn't let the EA run on the connected MT4 platform out of mistrust towards his broker. He thinks it would be too easy for the broker to learn EAs' strategy if it was left trading on the brokers server just like that. So they program one MT4 instance on a different server, which only forwards the trade operations to the MT4 that actually places the trades.
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