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Beyond Candlesticks

  • Author : Steve Nison
  • Publisher : John Wiley & Sons
  • Release Date : 1994-11-10
  • Genre: Business & Economics
  • Pages : 304
  • ISBN 10 : 9780471007203
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Japanese Candlestick Bible Pdf

Beyond Candlesticks Book Description :

From the 'Father of Candlesticks'--penetrating new Japanese techniques for forecasting and tracking market prices and improving market timing Steve Nison has done it again. The man who revolutionized technical analysis by introducing Japanese candlestick charting techniques to Western traders is back--this time with a quartet of powerful Japanese techniques never before published or used in the West. Stunningly effective on their own, these new techniques pack an even greater wallop when teamed up with traditional trading, investing, or hedging strategies, and Steve Nison shows you how to do it. Beyond Candlesticks provides step-by-step instructions, detailed charts and graphs, and clear-cut guidance on tracking and analyzing results--everything you need to pick up these sharp new tools and take your place at the cutting edge of technical analysis. Critical praise for Steve Nison's first book . '. destined to become the classic reference on the subject.' --Charles Lebeau and David Lucas Technical Trader's Bulletin 'I believe Steve Nison's new candlestick book is destined to become one of the truly great books for this time period.. Whether you trade futures, commodities, or equities, day trade or hold positions overnight, this book is a must.' --Lee Siegfried Investor's Library, Data Broadcasting Corp. 'It is hard to be too effusive about the quality of NiSon's work . this is clearly one of the best investment books ever written in terms of covering a subject with pedagogical ability and writing skill. The organization is impeccable . reading it was a pleasure.' --Commodity Traders Consumer Report

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques Pdf Free Download Mac

JAPANESE CANDLESTICK CHARTING TECHNIQUES
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'Candles Exhaust Themselves to Give Light to Men'
JAPANESE CANDLESTICK CHARTING TECHNIQUES A Contemporary Guide to the Ancient Investment Techniques of the Far East
STEVE NISON
NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF FINANCE NewYork
London
Toronto
Sydney
Tokyo
Singapore
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nison, Steve. Japanese candlestick charting techniques : a contemporary guide to the ancient investment technique of the Far East I Steve Nison. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-13-931650-7 1. Stocks-Charts, diagrams, etc. 2. Investment analysis. I. Title. HG4638.N57 1991 90-22736 332.63'22-dc20 CIP This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
From a Declaration of Principles Jointly Adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations 01991 by Steve Nison All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. New York Institute of Finance Simon & Schuster Printed in the United States of America 1 0 9 8 7
Acknowledgements Like having ice cream after a tonsillectomy, this section is my treat after the book's completion. Some of those who deserve recognition for their help are addressed in Chapter 1 in my discussion of my candlestick education. There are many others whom I would like to thank for their help along my candlestick path. Candles might help light the way, but without the assistance and insights of many others it would have been almost impossible to do this book. There were so many who contributed in one way or another to this project that if I have forgotten to mention anyone I apologize for this oversight. The Market Technicians Association (MTA) deserves special mention. It was at the MTAfs library that I first discovered candlestick material written in English. This material, albeit scant, was extremely difficult to obtain, but the marvelously complete MTA library had it. This information provided the scaffolding for the rest of my candlestick endeavors. Besides the two English references on candlesticks I mention in Chapter 1, I also obtained a wealth of information from books published in Japanese. I would like to thank the following Japanese publishers and authors for these books that I used as references:
Kabushikisouba no Technical Bunseki (Stock Market Technical Analysis) by Gappo Ikutaro, published by Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha Kabuka Chato no Tashikana Yomikata ( A Sure W a y to Read Stock Charts) by Katsutoshi Ishii, published by Jiyukokuminsha Keisen Kyoshitsu Part 1 (Chart Classroom Part I ) , published by Toshi Rader Hajimete Kabuka Chato w o Yomu Hito no Hon ( A Book for Those Reading Stock Charts for the First Time) by Kazutaka Hoshii, published by Asukashuppansha
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Acknowledgements
Nihon Keisenshi (The History of Japanese Charts), Chapter 2 by Kenji Oyama, published by Nihon Keisai Shimbunsha Shinpan Jissen Kabushiki Chart Nyumon (Introduction to Stock Charts) by Okasan Keisai Kenkyusho, published by Diamond-sha Sakata Goho Wa Furinkazan (Sakata's Five Rules are Wind, Forest, Fire and Mountain), published by Nihon Shoken Shimbunsha Yoshimi Toshihiko no Chato Kyoshitsu (Toshihiko Yoshimi's Chart Classroom) by Toshihiko Yoshimi, published by Nihon Chart Then there's the team at Merrill Lynch who were so helpful in looking over the manuscript, making suggestions, and providing ideas. John Gambino, one of the best colleagues anyone can work with provided all the Elliott Wave counts in this book. Chris Stewart, Manager of Futures Research, not only read the entire manuscript but provided valuable suggestions and finely dissected the many, many charts I used. I also want to thank Jack Kavanagh in compliance who also read the manuscript. Yuko Song provided extra insights by conveying some of my candlestick questions to her Japanese customers who use candlesticks. I have included hundreds of charts in this book from various services. Before I thank all the services that have generously provided use of their candlestick charts, I want to give plaudits to Bloomberg L.P. and CQG (Commodity Quote Graphics). Bloomberg L.P. was among the first on-line services to provide candlestick charts on the American markets. It's too bad I didn't discover this earlier. I was drawing candlestick charts on my own for years before I found out about Bloomberg. CQG, an on-line futures charting service, was also among the first to see the potential of candlestick charts. Within a few weeks of my first candlestick article, they sent me an alpha test (this is a high-tech term for the very early stages of software prototype testing) of their candlestick software for my CQG System One T'. Once I had this software, my candlestick research progressed exponentially. Most of the charts in this book are courtesy of CQG. Besides Bloomberg L.P. and CQG, other services that were kind enough to provide charts are: T
Commodity Trend Service Charts (North Palm Beach, FL), CompuTrac ' (New Orleans, LA), Ensign Software (Idaho Falls, ID), FutureSource ' (Lombard, Ill), and Quick 10-E Financial Information System (New York, N.Y.). T
I want to thank those who took time from their busy schedules to review the introductions for Part Two of the book. These are: Dan
--
-
Acknowledgements
Gramza for the chapter on Market [email protected];Jeff Korzenik for the chapters on options and hedging; John Murphy for the chapter on volume and open interest; once again, John Gambino for the chapter on Elliott Wave; Charles LeBeau for the chapter on oscillators; Gerard Sanfilippo and Judy Ganes for the chapter on hedging; and Bruce Kamich for the English language glossary. The Nippon Technical Analysts Association (NTAA) deserves utmost praise for their assistance. Mr. Kojiiro Watanabe at the Tokyo Investment Information Center helped me to contact NTAA members who have been especially helpful. They are: Mr. Minoru Eda, Manager, Quantative Research, Kokusai Securities Co.; Mr. Yasushi Hayashi, Senior Foreign Exchange Trader at Sumitomo Life Insurance; and Mr. Nori Hayashi, Senior Analyst, Fidelity Management and Research (Far East). When I asked them questions via fax I expected just brief answers. But these three NTAA members took their valuable time to write pages of explanations, complete with drawings. They were wonderful about sharing their candlestick experiences and insights with me. I also want to thank them for reading over and providing information for Chapter 2 on the history of Japanese technical analysis. If there are any mistakes that remain, they are those that I failed to correct. I want to thank again 'idea a day' Bruce Kamich. Bruce is a friend and a fellow futures technician. Throughout our 15-year friendship he has provided me with many valuable ideas and suggestions. Probably two of the most important were his suggestion that I join the MTA and his constant haranguing until I agreed to write a book about candlesticks. Then there's the publishing staff of the New York Institute of Finance. They were all great, but those with whom I worked most closely deserve extra praise. Susan Barry and Sheck Cho patiently, skillfully and affably guided a neophyte author through the labyrinth of the book publishing business. Of course there is my family. At the time that I was writing this book, our newborn son Evan entered the picture (with all the excitement about candlesticks, I came close to calling him Candlesticks Nison). Try writing a book with a newborn and a rambunctious four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, and you start to get an idea of how much my wife, Bonnie, contributed to this book. She cared for the children while I maladroitly pummeled away at the keyboard. Obviously, she had the harder job. For each chapter's heading, and throughout the book, I used Japanese proverbs or sayings. Many times proverbs in the United States are considered trite and are rarely used. This is not so in Japan where proverbs are respected. Besides being enjoyable to read, the Japanese proverbs offer insights into Japanese beliefs and perspectives. I would like to
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thank the following publishers for the use of their material for the proverbs and sayings used in this book: University of Oklahoma Press, Charles E. Tuttle, and Kenkyusha Ltd. Finally, I must give proper and legal acknowledgements to many of the services I relied upon during my writing and research. Tick Volume Profile ' is a registered trademark of CQG. Market [email protected] Liquidity Data [email protected] registered trademarks of the Chicago Board of Trade. The CBOT holds exclusive copyrights to the Market ProfileB and Liquidity Data [email protected] Graphics reproduced herein under the permission of the Chicago Board of Trade. The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author and are not to be construed as the views of the Chicago Board of Trade nor is the Chicago Board of Trade in any way responsible for the contents thereof. T
PREFACE ' A clever hawk hides his claws'
W o u l d you like to learn a technical system refined by centuries of use, but virtually unknown here? A system so versatile that it can be fused with any Western technical tool? A system as pleasurable to use as it is powerful? If so, this book on Japanese candlestick charting techniques is for you. You should find it valuable no matter what your background in technical analysis. Japanese candlestick charts are older than bar charts and point and figure charts. Candlesticks are exciting, powerful, and fun. Using candlesticks will help improve your market analysis. My focus will be mainly on the U.S. markets, but the tools and techniques in this book should be applicable to almost any market. Candlestick techniques can be used for speculation and hedging. They can be used for futures, equities, options, or anywhere technical analysis is applied. By reading this book you will discover how candlesticks will add another dimension of analysis. Do not worry if you have never seen a candlestick chart. The assumption of this book is that they are new to you. Indeed, they are new to the vast majority of the American and European trading and investing community. If you are a seasoned technician, you will discover how joining Japanese candlesticks with your other technical tools can create a powerful synergy of techniques. The chapters on joining Japanese candlestick techniques with Western technical tools will be of strong interest to you. If you are an amateur technician, you will find how effective candlestick charts are as a stand alone charting method. To help guide you, I
x
Preface
have included a glossary of all the western and Japanese candlestick terms used. The Japanese technicals are honed by hundreds of years of evolution. Yet, amazingly, we do not know how the Japanese analyze our markets with their traditional technical tool called candlesticks. This is disconcerting if you consider that they are among the biggest players in the financial markets. The Japanese are big technical traders. Knowing how the Japanese use candlestick charts to analyze both our markets and theirs may help you answer the question 'What are the Japanese going to do?' The Japanese use a combination of western chart and candlestick techniques to analyze the markets. Why shouldn't we do the same? If you do not learn about Japanese candlestick charts, your competition will! If you like reading about colorful terminology like 'hanging-man lines,' 'dark-cloud covers,' and 'evening stars' then this book is for you. If you subscribe to one of the multitude of services now providing candlestick charts and would like to learn how to use these charts, then this book is for you. In the first part of the book, you learn how to draw and interpret over 50 candlestick lines and formations. This will slowly and clearly lay a solid foundation for the second part where you will learn to use candlesticks in combination with Western technical techniques. This book will not give you market omniscience. It will, however, open new avenues of analysis and will show how Japanese candlesticks can 'enlighten' your trading.
Contents
Chapter
1
Preface
ix
INTRODUCTION
1
Some background, 1 How I learned about candlestick charts, 1 Why have candlestick charting techniques captured the attention of traders and investors around the world?, 4 What is in this book, 5 Some limitations, 7 The importance of technical analysis, 8
Chapter
2
A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
PART ONE: THE BASICS Chapter
3
CONSTRUCTING THE CANDLESTICKS Drawing the candlestick lines, 21
Chapter
4
REVERSAL PATTERNS Hammer and hanging-man lines, 28 Engulfing pattern, 38 Dark-cloud cover, 43 Piercing pattern, 48
xii
Contents
Chapter
5
STARS
55
The morning star, 56 The evening star, 59 The morning and evening doji stars, 64 The shooting star and the inverted hammer, 70 The inverted hammer, 75
Chapter
6
MORE REVERSAL PATTERNS The harami pattern, 79 Harami Cross, 85 Tweezers tops and bottoms, 88 Belt-hold lines, 94 Upside-gap two crows, 98 Three black crows, 101 The counterattack lines, 103 Three mountains and three rivers, 107 The importance of the number three in candlesticks, 112 Dumpling tops and fry pan bottoms, 113 Tower tops and tower bottoms, 115
Chapter
7
CONTINUATION PATTERNS Windows, 119 Upward- and downward-gap tasuki, 129 High-price and low-price gapping plays, 131 Gapping side-by-side white lines, 134 Rising and falling three methods, 135 Three advancing white soldiers, 143 Separating lines, 147
Chapter
8
THE MAGIC DOJI The importance of the doji, 149 Doji at tops, 150 Doji after a long white candlestick, 154 The long-legged doji and the rickshaw man, 154 The gravestone doji, 159 Doji as support and resistance, 161 The tri-star, 162
Chapter
9
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
.
165
xiv
Contents
Chapter
16 CANDLESTICKS WITH ELLIOTT WAVE Elliott wave basics, 253 Elliott wave with candlesticks, 254
Chapter
17 CANDLESTICKS WITH MARKET PROFILE' Market profile' with candlesticks, 261
Chapter
18 CANDLESTICKS WITH OPTIONS Options basics, 268 Options with candlesticks, 269
Chapter
19 HEDGING WITH CANDLESTICKS
Chapter
20 HOW I HAVE USED CANDLESTICKS CONCLUSION
Glossary
A CANDLESTICK TERMS AND VISUAL GLOSSARY
Glossary
B
AMERICAN TECHNICAL TERMS BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX
Contents
xiii
PART TWO: THE RULE OF MULTIPLE TECHNICAL TECHNIQUES Chapter
10 A CONFLUENCE OF CANDLESTICKS
Chapter
11 CANDLESTICKS WITH TRENDLINES Support and resistance lines with candlesticks, 185 Springs and upthrusts, 193 The change of polarity principle, 201
Chapter
12 CANDLESTICKS WITH RETRACEMENT LEVELS
Chapter
13 CANDLESTICKS WITH MOVING AVERAGES The simple moving average, 215 The weighted moving average, 216 The exponential moving average and the MACD, 216 How to use moving averages, 217 Dual moving averages, 220
Chapter
14 CANDLESTICKS WITH OSCILLATORS Oscillators, 227 The relative strength index, 228 How to Compute the RSI, 228 How to Use RSI, 229 Stochastics, 232 How to Compute Stochastics, 232 How to Use Stochastics, 233 Momentum, 236
Chapter
15 CANDLESTICKS WITH VOLUME AND OPEN INTEREST Volume with candlesticks, 242 On balance volume (OBV), 244 OBV with candlesticks, 245 Tick volume ' , 245 Tick Volume 'with candlesticks, 246 Open interest, 248 Open interest with candlesticks, 249
241
CHAPTER
1
INTRODUCTION li A S 'The beginning is most important'
SOME BACKGROUND Some of you may have already heard of candlecharts. Probably, many more of you have not. In December 1989, I wrote an introductory article on candlesticks that precipitated an immediate groundswell of interest. It turned out that I was one of the few Americans familiar with this centuries-old Japanese technique. I wrote follow-up articles, gave numerous presentations, taught classes, and was interviewed on television and by newspapers across the country. In early 1990, I wrote a short reference piece for my Chartered Market Technician thesis about candlestick charts. It contained very basic introductory material, but it was the only readily available information on candlestick charts in the United States. This handout became very popular. Within a few months, Merrill Lynch, the publisher of the booklet, received over 10,000 requests.
HOW I LEARNED ABOUT CANDLESTICK CHARTS 'Why,' I have often asked myself, 'has a system which has been around so long almost completely unknown in the West?' Were the Japanese trying to keep it secret? Was it the lack of information in the United States? I don't know the answer, but it has taken years of research to fit all the pieces together. I was fortunate in several ways.
2
Introduction
Perhaps my perseverance and serendipity were the unique combination needed that others did not have. In 1987, I became acquainted with a Japanese broker. One day, while I was with her in her office, she was looking at one of her Japanese stock chart books (Japanese chart books are in candlestick form). She exclaimed, 'look, a window.' I asked what she was talking about. She told me a window was the same as a gap in Western technicals. She went on to explain that while Western technicians use the expression 'filling in the gap' the Japanese would say 'closing the window.' She then used other expresions like, 'doji' and 'dark-cloud cover.' I was hooked. I spent the next few years exploring, researching, and analyzing anything I could about candlestick charts. It was not easy. There are scant English publications on the subject. My initial education was with the help of a Japanese broker and through drawing and analyzing candlestick charts on my own. Then, thanks to the Market Technicians Association (MTA) library, I came across a booklet published by the Nippon Technical Analysts Association called Analysis of Stock Price i n Japan. It was a Japanese booklet which had been translated into English. Unfortunately, there were just ten pages on interpreting candlestick charts. Nonetheless, I finally had some English candlestick material. A few months later, I borrowed a book that has had a major influence on my professional life. The MTA office manager, Shelley Lebeck, brought a book entitled The Japanese Chart of Charts by Seiki Shimizu and translated by Greg Nicholson (published by the Tokyo Futures Trading Publishing Co.) back from Japan. It contains about 70 pages on candlestick charts and is written in English. Reading it was like finding an oasis in a desert. As I discovered, while the book yielded a harvest of information, it took some effort and time to get comfortable with its concepts. They were all so new. I also had to become comfortable with the Japanese terminology. The writing style was sometimes obscure. Part of this might have resulted from the translation. The book was originally written in Japanese about 25 years ago for a Japanese audience. I also found out, when I had my own material translated, that it is dreadfully difficult to translate such a specialized subject from Japanese to English. Nonetheless, I had some written reference material. This book became my 'Rosetta Stone.' I carried the book with me for months, reading and rereading, taking copious notes, applying the candlestick methods to the scores of my hand-drawn candlestick charts. I chewed and grinded away at the new ideas and terminology. I was fortunate in another sense. I had the help
Introduction
of the author, Seiki Shimizu, to answer my many questions. Although Mr. Shimizu does not speak English, the translator of the book, Greg Nicholson, graciously acted as our intermediary via fax messages. The Japanese Chart of Charts provided the foundation for the rest of my investigation into candlesticks. Without that book, this book would not have been possible. In order to continually develop my abilities in candlestick charting techniques, I sought out Japanese candlestick practitioners who would have the time and inclination to speak with me about the subject. I met a Japanese trader, Morihiko Goto who had been using candlestick charts and who was willing to share his valuable time and insights. This was exciting enough! Then he told me that his family had been using candlestick charts for generations! We spent many hours discussing the history and the uses of candlestick charts. He was an invaluable storehouse of knowledge. I also had an extensive amount of Japanese candlestick literature translated. Obtaining the original Japanese candlestick information was one problem. Getting it translated was another. Based on one estimate there are probably fewer than 400 full-time Japanese-to-English translators in America (this includes part-time translators)' I had to find a translator who could not only translate routine material, but also the highly specialized subject of technical analysis. In this regard I was lucky to have the help of Languages Services Unlimited in New York. The director, Richard Solberg, provided indispensable help to this project. He was a rarity. He was an American fluent in Japanese who understood, and used, technical analysis. Not only did Richard do a wonderful job of translating, but he helped me hunt down and obtain Japanese candlestick literature. Thanks to his help I might have the largest collection of Japanese books on candlesticks in the country. Without Richard this book would have been much less extensive. Before my introductory article on candlestick charts appeared in late 1989, there were few services offering candlestick charts in the United States. Now a plethora of services offer these charts. These include: Bloomberg L.P. (New York, NY); Commodity Trend Service Charts (North Palm Beach, FL); CompuTrac '(New Orleans, LA); CQG (Glenwood Springs, CO); Ensign Software (Idaho Falls, ID); Futuresource '(Lombard, IL); and Knight Ridder-Commodity Perspective (Chicago, L).
3
4
Introduction
By the time you read this book, there probably will be additional services providing candlestick charts. Their popularity grows stronger every day. The profusion of services offering the candlestick charts attests to both their popularity and their usefulness.
WHY HAVE CANDLESTICK CHARTING TECHNIQUES CAPTURED THE ATTENTION OF TRADERS AND INVESTORS AROUND THE WORLD? I have had calls and faxs from around the world requesting more information about candlestick techniques. Why the extensive interest? There are many reasons and a few are: 1. Candlestick charts are flexible. Users run the spectrum from first-time chartists to seasoned professionals. This is because candlestick charts can be used alone or in combination with other technical analysis techniques. A significant advantage attributed to candlestick charting techniques is that these techniques can be used in addition to, not instead of, other technical tools. I am not trying to convince veteran technicians that this system is superior to whatever else they may be using. That is not my claim. My claim is that candlestick charting techniques provide an extra dimension of analysis. 2. Candlestick charting techniques are for the most part unused in the
United States. Yet, this technical approach enjoys a centuries-old tradition in the Far East, a tradition which has evolved from centuries of trial and error. 3. Then there are the picturesque terms used to describe the patterns. Would the expression 'hanging-man line' spark your interest? This is only one example of how Japanese terminology gives candlesticks a flavor all their own and, once you get a taste, you will not be able to do without them.
4. The Japanese probably know all the Western methods of technical analysis, yet we know almost nothing about theirs. Now it is our turn to benefit from their knowledge. The Japanese use a combination of candlestick charting techniques along with Western technical tools. Why shouldn't we do the same?
5. The primary reason for the widespread attention aroused by candlestick charts is that using them instead of, or in addition to, bar charts is a win-win situation.
Introduction
As we will see in Chapter 3 on drawing candlestick lines, the same data is required in order to draw the candlestick charts as that which is needed for our bar charts (that is, the open, high, low, and close). This is very significant since it means that any of the technical analysis used with bar charting (such as moving averages, trendlines, Elliott Wave, retracements, and so on) can be employed with candlestick charts. But, and this is the key point, candlestick charts can send signals not available from bar charts. In addition, there are some patterns that may allow you to get the jump on those who use traditional Western charting techniques. By employing candlestick charting instead of bar charting you have the ability to use all the same analyses as you would with bar charting. But candlestick charts provide a unique avenue of analysis not available anywhere else.
WHAT IS IN THIS BOOK? Part I of the book reveals the basics on constructing, reading, and interpreting over 50 candlestick chart lines and patterns. Part I1 explains how to meld candlestick charts with Western technical analysis techniques. This is where the true power of candlecharts is manifested. This is how I use them. I have drawn illustrations of candlestick patterns to assist in the educational process. These illustrations are representative examples only. The drawn exhibits should be viewed in the context that they show certain guidelines and principles. The actual patterns do not have to look exactly as they do in the exhibits in order to provide the reader with a valid signal. This is emphasized throughout the book in the many chart examples. You will see how variations of the patterns can still provide 'mportant clues about the state of the markets. Thus, there is some subjectivity in deciding whether a certain candlestick formation meets the guidelines for that particular formation, but this subjectivity is no different than that used with other charting techniques. For instance, is a $400 support area in gold considered broken if prices go under $400 intra-day, or do prices have to close under $400? Does a $.I0 penetration of $400 substantiate broken support or is a larger penetration needed? You will have to decide these answers based on your trading temperment, your risk adversity, and your market philosophy. Likewise, through text, illustrations and real examples I will provide the general principles and guidelines for recognizing the candlestick formations. But you should not expect the real-world examples to always match their ideal formations.
5
6
Introduction
I believe that the best way to explain how an indicator works is through marketplace examples. Consequently, I have included many such examples. These examples span the entire investment spectrum from futures, fixed-income, equity, London metal markets and foreign exchange markets. Since my background is in the futures markets, most of my charts are from this arena. I also look at the entire time spectrumfrom intra-day to daily, weekly, and monthly candlestick charts. For this book, when I describe the candlestick lines and patterns, I will often refer to daily data. For instance, I may say that in order to complete a candlestick pattern the market has to open above the prior day's high. But the same principles will be valid for all time frames. Two glossaries are at the end of the text. The first includes candlestick terms and the second Western technical terms used in the book. The candlestick glossary includes a visual glossary of all the patterns. As with any subjective form of technical analysis, there are, at times, variable definitions which will be defined according to the users' experience and background. This is true of some candlestick patterns. Depending on my source of information, these were instances in which I came across different, albeit usually minor, definitions of what constitutes a certain pattern. For example, one Japanese author writes that the open has to be above the prior close in order to complete a dark-cloud cover pattern (see Chapter 4). Other written and oral sources say that, for this pattern, the open should be above the prior high. In cases where there were different definitions, I chose the rules that increased the probability that the pattern's forecast would be correct. For example, the pattern referred to in the prior paragraph is a reversal signal that appears at tops. Thus, I chose the definition that the market has to open above the prior day's high. It is more bearish if the market opens above the prior day's high and then fails, then it would be if the market just opens above the prior day's close and then failed. Much of the Japanese material I had translated is less than specific. Part of this might be the result of the Japanese penchant for being vague. The penchant may have its origins in the feudal ages when it was acceptable for a samurai to behead any commoner who did not treat him as expected. The commoner did not always know how a samurai expected him to act or to answer. By being vague, many heads were spared. However, I think the more important reason for the somewhat ambigtlous explanations has to do with the fact that technical analysis is more of an art than a science. You should not expect rigid rules with most forms of technical analysis-just guideposts. Yet, because of this uncertainty, some of the ideas in this book may be swayed by the author's trading philosophy. For instance, if a Japanese author says that a candlestick line has to be 'surpassed to signal
Introduction
the next bull move, I equate 'surpassed' with 'on a close above.' That is because, to me, a close is more important than an intra-day move above a candlestick line. Another example of subjectivity: In the Japanese literature many candlestick patterns are described as important at a high-price area or at a low-price area. Obviously what constitutes a 'high-price' or 'low-price' area is open to interpretation.
SOME LIMITATIONS As with all charting methods, candlestick chart patterns are subject to the interpretation of the user. This could be viewed as a limitation. Extended experience with candlestick charting in your market specialty will show you which of the patterns, and variations of these patterns, work best. In this sense, subjectivity may not be a liability. As you gain experience in candlestick techniques, you will discover which candlestick combinations work best in your market. This may give you an advantage over those who have not devoted the time and energy in tracking your markets as closely as you have. As discussed later in the text, drawing the individual candlestick chart lines requires a close. Therefore, you may have to wait for the close to get a valid trading signal. This may mean a market on close order may be needed or you may have to try and anticipate what the close will be and place an order a few minutes prior to the close. You may also prefer to wait for the next day's opening before placing an order. This aspect may be a problem but there are many technical systems (especially those based on moving averages of closing prices) which require a closing price for a signal. This is why there is often a surge in activity during the final few minutes of a trading session as computerized trading signals, based on closing prices, kick into play. Some technicians consider only a close above resistance a valid buy signal so they have to wait until the close for confirmation. This aspect of waiting for a close is not unique to candlestick charts. On occasion, I can use the hourly candlestick charts to get a trade signal rather than waiting for the close of that day. For instance, there could be a potentially bullish candlestick pattern on the daily chart. Yet, I would have to wait for the close before the candlestick pattern is completed. If the hourly charts also show a bullish candlestick indicator during that day, I may recommend buying (if the prevalent trend is up) even before the close. The opening price is also i.mportant in the candlestick lines. Equity traders, who do not have access to on-line quote machines, may not be
7
8
Introduction
able to get opening prices on stocks in their newspapers. I hope that, as candlestick charts become more common, more newspapers will include openings on individual stocks. Candlestick charts provide many useful trading signals. They do not, however, provide price targets. There are other methods to forecast targets (such as prior support or resistance levels, retracements, swing objectives, and so on). Some Japanese candlestick practitioners place a trade based on a candlestick signal.and stay with that trade until another candlestick pattern tells them to offset. Candlestick patterns should always be viewed in the context as to what occurred before and in relation to other technical evidence. With the hundreds of charts throughout this book, do not be surprised if you see patterns that I have missed within charts. There will also be examples of patterns that, at times, did not work. Candlesticks will not provide an infallible trading tool. They do, however, add a vibrant color to your technical palette. Candlestick charts allow you to use the same technical devices that you use with bar charts. But the candlestick charts give you signals not available with bar charts. So why use a bar chart? In the near future, candlestick charts may become as standard as the bar chart. In fact, I am going to make a bold prediction: A s more technicians become comfortable with candlestick charts, they will no longer use bar charts. I have been a technical analyst for nearly 20 years. And now, after discovering all their benefits, I only use candlestick charts. I still use all the traditional Western technical tools, but the candlesticks have given me a unique perspective into the markets. Before I delve into the topic of candlestick charts, I will briefly discuss the importance of technical analysis as a separate discipline. For those of you who are new to this topic, the following section is meant to emphasize why technical analysis is so important. It is not an in-depth discussion. If you would like to learn more about the topic, I suggest you read John Murphy's excellent book Technical Analysis of the Futures Markets (The New York Institute of Finance). If you are already familiar with the benefits of technical analysis, you can skip this section. Do not worry, if you do not read the following section, it will not interfere with later candlestick chart analysis information.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNICAL ANALYSIS The importance of technical analysis is five-fold. First, while fundamental analysis may provide a gauge of the supplyidemand situations,
Introduction
pricelearnings ratios, economic statistics, and so forth, there is no psychological component involved in such analysis. Yet the markets are influenced at times, to a major extent, by emotionalism. An ounce of emotion can be worth a pound of facts. As John Manyard Keynes stated, 'there is nothing so disastrous as a rational investment policy in an irrational ~ o r l d . 'Technical ~ analysis provides the only mechanism to measure the 'irrational' (emotional) component present in all markets. Here is an entertaining story about how strongly psychology can affect a market. It is from the book The New G a t ~ b y sIt. ~takes place at the Chicago Board of Trade. Soybeans were sharply higher. There was a drought in the Illinois Soybean Belt. And unless it ended soon, there would be a severe shortage of beans. . . . Suddenly a few drops of water slid down a window. 'Look,' someone shouted, 'rain!'. More than 500 pairs of eyes [the traderseditor's note] shifted to the big windows. . . . Then came a steady trickle which turned into a steady downpour. It was raining in downtown Chicago. Sell. Buy. Buy. Sell. The shouts cascaded from the traders' lips with a roar that matched the thunder outside. And the price of soybeans began to slowly move down. Then the price of soybeans broke like some tropic fever. It was pouring in Chicago all right, but no one grows soybeans in Chicago. In the heart of the Soybean Belt, some 300 miles south of Chicago the sky was blue, sunny and very dry. But even if it wasn't raining on the soybean fields it was in the heads of the traders, and that is all that counts [emphasis added]. To the market nothing matters unless the market reacts to it. The game is played with the mind and the emotions [emphasis added].
In order to drive home the point about the importance of mass psychology, think about what happens when you exchange a piece of paper called 'money' for some item like food or clothing? Why is that paper, with no intrinsic value, exchanged for something tangible? It is because of a shared psychology. Everyone believes it will be accepted, so it is. Once this shared psychology evaporates, when people stop believing in money, it becomes worthless. Second, technicals are also an important component of disciplined trading. Discipline helps mitigate the nemesis of all traders, namely, emotion. As soon as you have money in the market, emotionalism is in the driver's seat and rationale and objectivity are merely passengers. If you doubt this, try paper trading. Then try trading with your own funds. You will soon discover how deeply the counterproductive aspects of tension, anticipation, and anxiety alter the way you trade and view
9
10
Introduction
the markets-usually in proportion to the funds committed. Technicals can put objectivity back into the drivers seat. They provide a mechanism to set entry and exit points, to set riskheward ratios, or stoplout levels. By using them, you foster a risk and money management approach to trading. As touched upon in the previous discussion, the technicals contribute to market objectivity. It is human nature, unfortunately, to see the market as we want to see it, not as it really is. How often does the following occur? A trader buys. Immediately the market falls. Does he take a loss. Usually no. Although there is no room for hope in the market, the trader will glean all the fundamentally bullish news he can in order to buoy his hope that the market will turn in his direction. Meanwhile prices continue to descend. Perhaps the market is trying to tell him something. The markets communicate with us. We can monitor these messages by using the technicals. This trader is closing his eyes and ears to the messages being sent by the market. If this trader stepped back and objectively viewed price activity, he might get a better feel of the market. What if a supposedly bullish story is released and prices do not move up or even fall? That type of price action is sending out volumes of information about the psychology of the market and how one should trade in it. I believe it was the famous trader Jesse Livermore who expressed the idea that one can see the whole better when one sees it from a distance. Technicals make us step back and get a different and, perhaps, better perspective on the market. Third, following the technicals is important even if you do not fully believe in their use. This is because, at times, the technicals are the majon reason for a market move. Since they are a market moving factor, they should be watched. Fourth, random walk proffers that the market price for one day has no bearing on the price the following day. But this academic view leaves out an important component-people. People remember prices from one day to the next and act accordingly. To wit, peoples' reactions indeed affect price, but price also affects peoples' reactions. Thus, price, itself, is an important component in market analysis. Those who disparage technical analysis forget this last point. Fifth, and finally, the price action is the most direct and easily accessible method of seeing overall supplyldemand relationships. There may be fu.ndamenta1 news not known to the general public but you can expect it is already in the price. Those who have advance knowledge of some market moving event will most likely buy or sell until current prices reflect their information. This knowlehge, at times, consequently,
Introduction
may be discounted when the event occurs. Thus, current prices should reflect all available information, whether known by the general public or by a select few.
NOTES 'Hill, Julie Skur. 'That's Not What I Said,' Business Tokyo, August 1990, pp. 4 6 4 7 'Smith, Adam. The Money Game, New York, NY: Random House, 1986, p. 154. 3Tamarkin, Bob. The New Gatsbys, Chicago, IL:Bob Tamarkin, 1985, pp. 122-123.
11
CHAPTER
2
A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 'Through Inquiring of the Old We Learn the New'
T h i s chapter provides the framework through which Japanese technical analysis evolved. For those who are in a rush to get to the 'meat' of the book (that is, the techniques and uses of candlesticks), you can skip this chapter, or return to it after you have completed the rest of the book. It is an intriguing history. Among the first and the most famous people in Japan to use past prices to predict future price movements was the legendary Munehisa Homma.' He amassed a huge fortune trading in the rice market during the 1700s. Before I discuss Homma, I want to provide an overview of the economic background in which Homma was able to flourish. The time span of this overview is from the late 1500s to the mid-1700s. During this era Japan went from 60 provinces to a unified country where commerce blossomed. From 1500 to 1600, Japan was a country incessantly at war as each of the daimyo (literally 'big name' meaning 'a feudal lord') sought to wrestle control of neighboring territories. This 100-year span between 1500 and 1600 is referred to as 'Sengoku Jidai' or, literally, 'Age of Country at War.' It was a time of disorder. By the early 1600s, three extraordinary generals-Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Ieyasu Tokugawa-had unified Japan over a 40-year period. Their prowess and achievements are celebrated in Japanese history and folklore.
14
A Historical Background
There is a Japanese saying: 'Nobunaga piled the rice, Hideyoshi kneaded the dough, and Tokugawa ate the cake.' In other words, all three generals contributed to Japan's unification but Tokugawa, the last of these great generals, became the shogun whose family ruled Japan from 1615 to 1867. This era is referred to as the Tokugawa Shogunate. The military conditions that suffused Japan for centuries became an integral part of candlestick terminology. And, if you think about it, trading requires many of the same skills needed to win a battle. Such skills include strategy, psychology, competition, strategic withdrawals, and yes, even luck. So it is not surprising that throughout this book you will come across candlestick terms that are based on battlefield analogies. There are 'night and morning.attacks', the 'advancing three soldiers pattern', 'counter attack lines', the 'gravestone', and so on. The relative stability engendered by the centralized Japanese feudal system lead by Tokugawa offered new opportunities. The agrarian economy grew, but, more importantly, there was expansion and ease in domestic trade. By the 17th century, a national market had evolved to replace the system of local and isolated markets. This concept of a centralized marketplace was to indirectly lead to the development of technical analysis in Japan. Hideyoshi Toyotomi regarded Osaka as Japan's capital and encouraged its growth as a commercial center. Osaka's easy access to the sea, at a time where land travel was slow, dangerous, and costly, made it a national depot for assembling and disbursing supplies. It evolved into Japan's greatest city of commerce and finance. Its wealth and vast storehouses of supplies provided Osaka with the appellation the 'Kitchen of Japan.' Osaka contributed much to price stability by smoothing out regional differences in supply. In Osaka, life was permeated by the desire for profit (as opposed to other cities in which money making was despised). The social system at that time was composed of four classes. In descending order they were the Soldier, the Farmer, the Artisan, and the Merchant. It took until the 1701)s for merchants to break down the social barrier. Even today the traditional greeting in Osaka is 'Mokarimakka' which means, 'are you making a profit?'. In Osaka, Yodoya Keian became a war merchant for Hideyoshi (one of the three great military unifiers). Yodoya had extraordinary abilities in transporting, distributing, and setting the price of rice. Yodoyals front yard became so important that the first rice exchange developed there. He became very wealthy-as it turned out, too wealthy. In 1705, the Bakufu (the military government led by the Shogun) confiscated his entire fortune on the charge that he was living in luxury not befitting his
A Historical Background
social rank. The Bakufu was apprehensive about the increasing amount of power acquired by certain merchants. In 1642, certain officials and merchants tried to corner the rice market. The punishment was severe: their children were executed, the merchants were exiled, and their wealth was confiscated. The rice market that originally developed in Yodoya's yard was institutionalized when the Dojima Rice Exchange was set up in the late 1600s in Osaka. The merchants at the Exchange graded the rice and bargained to set its price. Up until 1710, the Exchange dealt in actual rice. After 1710, the Rice Exchange began to issue and accept rice warehouse receipts. These warehouse receipts were called rice coupons. These rice receipts became the first futures contracts ever traded. Rice brokerage became the foundation of Osaka's prosperity. There were more than 1,300 rice dealers. Since there was no currency standard (the prior attempts at hard currency failed due to the debasing of the coins), rice became the defacto medium of exchange. A daimyo needing money would send his surplus rice to Osaka where it would be placed in a warehouse in his name. He would be given a coupon as a receipt for this rice. He could sell this rice coupon whenever he pleased. Given the financial problems of many daimyos, they would also often sell rice coupons against their next rice tax delivery (taxes to the daimyo were paid in rice-usually 40% to 60% of the rice farmer's crop). Sometimes the rice crop of several years hence was mortgaged. These rice coupons were actively traded. The rice coupons sold against future rice deliveries became the world's first futures contracts. The Dojima Rice Exchange, where these coupons traded, became the world's first futures exchange. Rice coupons were also called 'empty rice' coupons (that is, rice that was not in physical possession). To give you an idea of the popularity of rice futures trading, consider this: In 1749, there were a total of 110,000 bales (rice used to trade in bales) of empty-rice coupons traded in Osaka. Yet, throughout all of Japan there were only 30,000 bales of ricea2 Into this background steps Homma, called 'god of the markets.' 'Munehisa Homma was born in 1724 into a wealthy family. The Homma family was considered so wealthy that there was a saying at that time, 'I will never become a Homma, but I would settle to be a local lord.' When Homma was given control of his family business in 1750, he began trading at his local rice exchange in the port city of Sakata. Sakata was a collections and distribution area for rice. Since Homma came from Sakata, you will frequently come across the expression 'Sakata's Rules' in Japanese candlestick literature. These refer to Homma.
15
16
A Historical Background
When Munehisa Homma's father died, Munehisa was placed in charge of managing the family's assets. This was in spite of the fact that he was the youngest son. (It was usually the eldest son who inherited the power during that era.) This was probably because of Munehisa's market savvy. With this money, Homma went to Japan's largest rice exchange, the Dojima Rice Exchange in Osaka, and began trading rice futures. Homma's family had a huge rice farming estate. Their power meant that information about the rice market was usually available to them. In addition, Homma kept records of yearly weather conditions. In order to learn about the psychology of investors, Homma analyzed rice prices going back to the time when the rice exchange was in Yodoya's yard. Homma also set up his own communications system. At prearranged times he placed men on rooftops to send signals by flags. These men stretched the distance from Osaka to. Sakata. After dominating the Osaka markets, Homma went to trade in the regional exchange at Edo (now called Tokyo). He used his insights to amass a huge fortune. It was said he had 100 consecutive winning trades. His prestige was such that there was the following folk song from Edo: 'When it is sunny in Sakata (Homma's town), it is cloudy in Dojima (the Dojima Rice Exchange in Osaka) and rainy at Kuramae (the Kuramae exchange in Edo).' In other words when there is a good rice crop in Sakata, rice prices fall on the Dojima Rice Exchange and collapse in Edo. This song reflects the Homma's sway over the rice market. In later years Homma became a financial consultant to the government and was given the honored title of samurai. He died in 1803. Homma's books about the markets (Sakata Senho and Soba Sani No Den) were said to have been written in the 1700s. His trading principles, as applied to the rice markets, evolved into the candlestick methodology currently used in Japan.
-
-
A Historical Background
NOTES 'His first name is sometimes translated as Sokyu and his last name is sometimes translated as Honma. This gives you an idea of the difficulty of translating Japanese into English. The same Japanese symbols for Homma's first name, depending on the translator, can be Sokyu or Munehisa. His last name, again depending on the translator, can be either Homma or Honma. I chose the English translation of Homma's name as used by the Nippon Technical Analysts Association. 'Hirschmeier, Johannes and Yui, Tsunehiko. The Development of Japanese Business 1600-1973, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1975, p. 31.
17
PART
I
THE BASICS 'Even a Thousand Mile Journey Begins with the First Step'
CHAPTER
3
CONSTRUCTING THE CANDLESTICKS wwm < T A T W I ~ 'Without Oars You Cannot Cross in a Boat'
A comparison between the visual differences of a bar chart and a candlestick chart is easy to illustrate. Exhibit 3.1 is the familiar Western bar chart. Exhibit 3.2 is a candlestick chart of the same price information as that in the bar chart. On the candlestick chart, prices seem to jump off the page presenting a stereoscopic view of the market as it pushes the flat, two-dimensional bar chart into three dimensions. In this respect, candlecharts are visually exciting.
DRAWING THE CANDLESTICK LINES Since candlestick charts are new to most Western technicians, the most common Western chart, the bar chart, is used throughout this chapter as an instructional tool for learning how to draw the candlestick lines. Drawing the daily bar chart line requires open, high, low, and close. The vertical line on a bar chart depicts the high and low of the session. The horizontal line to the left of the vertical line is the opening price. The horizontal line to the right of the vertical line is the close. Exhibit 3.3 shows how the same data would be used to construct a bar chart and a candlestick chart. Although the daily bar chart lines and candlestick chart lines use the same data, it is easy to see that they are drawn differently. The thick part of the candlestick line is called the real
22
The Basics
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118
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120
126
EXHIBIT 3.1. Cocoa-March, 1990, Daily Bar Chart CCHO DAILY BAR
EXHIBIT 3.2. Cocoa-March, 1990, Daily Candlestick Chart
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1989 CQG INC.
1
Constructing the Candlesticks Time Period 1 2 3 4 5
Open 20 25 30 45 25
High 30 25 35 50 40
Low 15 10 15 35 25
Close 25 15 20 40 35 Candlestick Chart
I
1
2 3 4 Time Period
5
1
2 3 4 Time Period
5
EXHIBIT 3.3 Bar Chart and Candlestick Chart
body. It represents the range between that session's opening and closing. When the real body is black (i.e., filled in) it means the close of the session was lower than the open. If the real body is white (i.e., empty), it means the close was higher than the open. The thin lines above and below the real body are the shadows. These shadows represent the session's price extremes. The shadow above the real body is called the upper shadow and the shadow under the real body is known as the lower shadow. Accordingly, the peak of the upper shadow is the high of the session and the bottom of the lower shadow is the low of the session. It is easy to see why these are named candlestick charts since the individual lines often look like candles and their wicks. If a candlestick line has no upper shadow it is said to have a shaven head. A candlestick line with no lower shadow has a shaven bottom. To the Japanese, the real body is the essential price movement. The shadows are usually considered as extraneous price fluctuations. Exhibits 3.4 through 3.7 demonstrate some common candlestick lines. Exhibit 3.4 reveals a long black candlestick reflecting a bearish period in which the market opened near its high and closed near its low. Exhibit 3.5 shows the opposite of a long black body and, thus, represents a bullish period. Prices had a wide range and the market opened near the low and closed near the high of the session. Exhibit 3.6 shows candlesticks having small real bodies and, as such, they represent a tug of war between the bulls and the bears. They are called spinning tops and are neutral in lateral trading bands. As shown later in this book (in the sec-
23
24
The Basics
EXHIBIT 3.4. Black Candlestick
EXHIBIT 3.5. White Candlestick
High 1
_,High
-
Close
J
Close-L o w,------
Open
EXHIBIT 3.6. Spinning Tops
LOW'
EXHIBIT 3.7. Doji Examples
tions on stars and harami patterns), these spinning tops do become important when part of certain formations. The spinning top can be either white or black. The lines illustrated in Exhibit 3.6 have small upper and lower shadows, but the size of the shadows are not important. It is the diminutive size of the real body that makes this a spinning top. Exhibit 3.7 reveals no real bodies. Instead, they have horizontal lines. These are examples of what are termed doji lines. A doji occurs when the open and close for that session are the same or very close to being the same (e.g., two- or three-thirty-seconds in bonds, a Yi cent in grains, and so on.). The lengths of the shadows can vary. Doji are so important that an entire chapter is devoted to them (see Chapter 8 The Magic Doji). Candlestick charts can also be drawn more colorfully by using the classical Japanese candlestick chart colors of red and black. Red can be used instead of the white candlestick. (This could be especially useful for computer displays of the candlestick charts.) The obvious problem with this color scheme is that photo copies and most computer printouts will not be useful since all the real bodies would come out as black. Some readers may have heard the expression yin and yang lines. These are the Chinese terms for the candlestick lines. The yin line is another name for the black candlestick and the yang line is equivalent to the white candlestick. In Japan, a black candlestick is called in-sen (black line) and the white candlestick is called yo-sen (white line). The Japanese place great emphasis on the relationship between the open and close because they are the two most emotionally charged
Constructing the Candlesticks
points of the trading day. The Japanese have a proverb that says, 'the first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.' So is the opening the rudder for the trading session. It furnishes the first clue about that day's direction. It is a time when all the news and rumors from overnight are filtered and then joined into one point in time. The more anxious the trader, the earlier he wants to trade. Therefore, on the open, shorts may be scrambling for cover, potential longs may want to emphatically buy, hedgers may need to take a new or get out of an old position, and so forth. After the flurry of activity on the open, potential buyers and sellers have a benchmark from which they can expect buying and selling. There are frequent analogies to trading the market and fighting a battle. In this sense, the open provides an early view of the battlefield and a provisional indication of friendly and opposing troops. At times, large traders may try to move the market on the open by executing a large buy or sell order. Japanese call this a morning attack. Notice that this is another military analogy. The Japanese use many such military comparisons as we shall see throughout the book.
CANDLESTICK TERMINOLOGY AND MARKET EMOTION Technicals are the only way to measure the emotional component of the market. The names of the Japanese candlestick charts make this fact evident. These names are a colorful mechanism used to describe the emotional health of the market at the time these patterns are formed. After hearing the expressions 'hanging man' or 'dark-cloud cover,' would you think the market is in an emotionally healthy state-of course not! These are both bearish patterns and their names clearly convey the unhealthy state of the market. While the emotional condition of the market may not be healthy at the time these patterns form, it does not preclude the possibility that the market will become healthy again. The point is that at the appearance of, say, a dark-cloud cover, longs should take defensive measures or, depending on the general trend and other factors, new short sales could be initiated. There are many new patterns and ideas in this book, but the descriptive names employed by the Japanese not only make candlestick charting fun, but easier to remember if the patterns are bullish or bearish. For example, in Chapter 5 you will learn about the 'evening star' and the 'morning star.' Without knowing what these patterns look like or what they imply for the market, just by hearing their names which do you think is bullish and which is bearish? Of course, the evening star which comes out before darkness sets in, sounds like the bearish signal-and so it is! The morning star, then, is bullish since the morning star appears just before sunrise.
: :
i
:
i
: : :
i
:
i
:
i
: :
i
:
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:
25
26
The Basics
The other pivotal price point is the close. Margin calls in the futures markets are based on the close. We can thus expect heavy emotional involvement into how the market closes. The close is also a pivotal price point for many technicians. They may wait for a close to confirm a breakout from a significant chart point. Many computer trading systems (for example, moving average systems) are based on closes. If a large buy or sell order is pushed into the market at, or near, the close, with the intention of affecting the close, the Japanese call this action a night attack. Exhibits 3.4 to 3.7 illuminate how the relationship between a period's open, high, low, and close alters the look of the individual candlestick line. Now let us turn our attention to how the candlestick lines, alone or in combination, provide clues about market direction.
CHAPTER
4
REVERSAL PATTERNS --%%ImJ 'Darkness Lies One Inch Ahead'
Technicians watch for price clues that can alert them to a shift in market psychology and trend. Reversal patterns are these technical clues. Western reversal indicators include double tops and bottoms, reversal days, head and shoulders, and island tops and bottoms. Yet the term 'reversal pattern' is somewhat of a misnomer. Hearing that term may lead you to think of an old trend ending abruptly and then reversing to a new trend. This rarely happens. Trend reversals usually occur slowly, in stages, as the underlying psychology shifts gears. A trend reversal signal implies that the prior trend is likely to change, but not necessarily reverse. This is very important to understand. Compare an uptrend to a car traveling forward at 30 m.p.h. The car's red brake lights go on and the car stops. The brake light was the reversal indicator showing that the prior trend (that is, the car moving forward) was about to end. But now that the car is stationary will the driver then decide to put the car in reverse? Will he remained stopped? Will he decide to go forward again? Without more clues we do not know. Exhibits 4.1 through 4.3 are some examples of what can happen after a top reversal signal appears. The prior uptrend, for instance, could convert into a period of sideways price action. Then a new and opposite trend lower could start. (See Exhibit 4.1.) Exhibit 4.2 shows how an old uptrend can resume. Exhibit 4.3 illustrates how an uptrend can abruptly reverse into a downtrend. It is prudent to think of reversal patterns as trend change patterns. I was tempted to use the term 'trend change patterns' instead of 'reversal patterns' in this book. However, to keep consistent with other tech-
28
The Basics
EXHIBIT 4.1. Top Reversal
EXHIBIT 4.2. Top Reversal
EXHIBIT 4.3. Top Reversal
nical analysis literature, I decided to use the term reversal patterns. Remember that when I say 'reversal pattern' it means only that the prior trend should change but not necessarily reverse. Recognizing the emergence of reversal patterns can be a valuable skill. Successful trading entails having both the trend and probability on your side. The reversal indicators are the market's way of providing a road sign, such as 'Caution-Trend in Process of Change.' In other words, the market's psychology is in transformation. You should adjust your trading style to reflect the new market environment. There are many ways to trade in and out of positions with reversal indicators. We shall discuss them throughout the book. An important principle is to place a new position (based on a reversal signal) only if that signal is in the direction of the major trend. Let us say, for example, that in a bull market, a top reversal pattern appears. This bearish signal would not warrant a short sale. This is because the major trend is still up. It would, however, signal a liquidation of longs. If there was a prevailing downtrend, this same top reversal formation could be used to place short sales. I have gone into detail about the subject of reversal patterns because most of the candlestick indicators are reversals. Now, let us turn our attention to the first group of these candlestick reversal indicators, the hammer and hanging-man lines.
HAMMER AND HANGING-MAN LINES Exhibit 4.4 shows candlesticks with long lower shadows and small real bodies. The real bodies are near th.e top of the daily range. The variety of candlestick lines shown in the exhibit are fascinating in that either line can be bullish or bearish depending on where they appear in a trend. If either of these lines emerges during a downtrend it is a signal that the downtrend should end. In such a scenario, this line is labeled a hammer,
1T
These Lines Can Be Either Bullish or Bearish
EXHIBIT 4.4. Hammer and Hanging Man Candlesticks
I
I
' ' P'
,
I
White or
Black
EXHIBIT 4.5. Hammer
I
Reversal Patterns
T