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TradingDay.com > Technical Analysis Tutorial

T e c h n i c a l   A n a l y s i s   T u t o r i a l
by Alan Farley

Triangle Trading

Classic triangle patterns don't fit easily into simple continuation or reversal trading strategies. Depending on their unique characteristics and position within the larger trend, they may foretell either event. While certain variations lean toward a favored breakout, the artistic symmetrical triangle has zero bias to either outcome as the formation suggests a state of perfect balance. Sharp traders closely watch the tug and pull within the developing pattern to identify the eventual winning play.

Trading power within well-formed triangles intensifies as they shift from range into breakout mode. When price finally surges into directional trend, a powerful vertical thrust quickly develops. While false moves occur at these apex points, triangles have a higher degree of reliability than most breakouts.

The angle of inclination defines this pattern's identity. Ascending triangles rise again and again toward a ceiling resistance level. Symmetrical triangles surge rhythmically across both sides of a horizontal axis dividing the formation right through the middle. The bearish descending triangle bounces weakly off bottom support.

High volatility marks the birth of new triangles. But as they approach their termination points, activity decreases sharply. This highlights a major risk in successfully trading these patterns. Should no ignition spark the expected breakout, the chart may flat-line, with price meandering endlessly in sideways motion. Traders caught in this phenomenon are advised to close positions and move to more fruitful endeavors.

WCOM Ascending Triangles - Buying pressure builds as price bounces repeatedly off a ceiling of horizontal resistance. A sharp thrust through this zone signals the breakout. Watch for any failure at the 3rd high, triggering a possible triple top reversal.
   
INTU Symmetrical Triangles - Noted for their central pivot axis, these patterns can yield powerful moves. Take no initial bias and examine buying at the 2nd and 3rd bottoms. The ability to hold well above the 1st low on good accumulation stokes the breakout fires.
   
IOM Descending Triangles - Rally power fades as the bull's energy is spent. An illusory double bottom invites one last batch of weak hands just before a sharp break signals major selling. If the bears fail, buy the 1st move above the trendline of the declining tops.
 


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