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To be considered a bullish reversal, there should be an existing downtrend to reverse. A bullish engulfing at new highs can hardly be considered a bullish reversal pattern. Such formations would indicate continued buying pressure and could be considered a continuation pattern. In the Ciena example below, the pattern in the red oval looks like a bullish engulfing, but formed near resistance after about a 30 point advance. The pattern does show strength, but is more likely a continuation at this point than a reversal pattern.
The bullish engulfing pattern consists of two candlesticks, the first black and the second white. The size of the black candlestick is not that important, but it should not be a doji which would be relatively easy to engulf. The second should be a long white candlestick – the bigger it is, the more bullish. The white body must totally engulf the body of the first black candlestick. Ideally, though not necessarily, the white body would engulf the shadows as well. Although shadows are permitted, they are usually small or nonexistent on both candlesticks.
After a decline, the second white candlestick begins to form when selling pressure causes the security to open below the previous close. Buyers step in after the open and push prices above the previous open for a strong finish and potential short-term reversal. Generally, the larger the white candlestick and the greater the engulfing, the more bullish the reversal. Further strength is required to provide bullish confirmation of this reversal pattern.
The hammer is made up of one candlestick, white or black, with a small body, long lower shadow and small or nonexistent upper shadow. The size of the lower shadow should be at least twice the length of the body and the high/low range should be large relative to range over the last 10-20 days.
After a decline, the hammer's intraday low indicates that selling pressure remains. However, the strong close shows that buyers are starting to become active again. Further strength is required to provide bullish confirmation of this reversal pattern.
The bullish three line strike reversal pattern carves out three black candles within a downtrend. Each bar posts a lower low and closes near the intrabar low. The fourth bar opens even lower but reverses in a wide-range outside bar that closes above the high of the first candle in the series. The opening print also marks the low of the fourth bar. This reversal predicts higher prices with an 83% accuracy rate.
The three white soldiers pattern occurs over three days. It consists of consecutive long green (or white) candles with small wicks, which open and close progressively higher than the previous day.
It is a very strong bullish signal that occurs after a downtrend, and shows a steady advance of buying pressure.
Head and shoulders is a chart pattern in which a large peak has a slightly smaller peak on either side of it. Traders look at head and shoulders patterns to predict a bullish-to-bearish reversal.
Typically, the first and third peak will be smaller than the second, but they will all fall back to the same level of support, otherwise known as the ‘neckline’. Once the third peak has fallen back to the level of support, it is likely that it will breakout into a bearish downtrend.
A rounding bottom chart pattern can signify a continuation or a reversal. For instance, during an uptrend an asset’s price may fall back slightly before rising once more. This would be a bullish continuation.
An example of a bullish reversal rounding bottom – shown below – would be if an asset’s price was in a downward trend and a rounding bottom formed before the trend reversed and entered a bullish uptrend.
The cup and handle pattern is a bullish continuation pattern that is used to show a period of bearish market sentiment before the overall trend finally continues in a bullish motion. The cup appears similar to a rounding bottom chart pattern, and the handle is similar to a wedge pattern – which is explained in the next section.
Following the rounding bottom, the price of an asset will likely enter a temporary retracement, which is known as the handle because this retracement is confined to two parallel lines on the price graph. The asset will eventually reverse out of the handle and continue with the overall bullish trend.
Wedges form as an asset’s price movements tighten between two sloping trend lines. There are two types of wedge: rising and falling.
A rising wedge is represented by a trend line caught between two upwardly slanted lines of support and resistance. In this case the line of support is steeper than the resistance line. This pattern generally signals that an asset’s price will eventually decline more permanently – which is demonstrated when it breaks through the support level.
The ascending triangle is a bullish continuation pattern which signifies the continuation of an uptrend. Ascending triangles can be drawn onto charts by placing a horizontal line along the swing highs – the resistance – and then drawing an ascending trend line along the swing lows – the support.
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