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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Busted
Patterns
Candles Chart
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Patterns
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Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 11/20/2017
23,430 72.09 0.3%
9,522 38.86 0.4%
756 -2.12 -0.3%
6,791 7.92 0.1%
2,582 3.29 0.1%
YTD
18.6%
5.3%
14.6%
26.1%
15.3%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 11/14/2017
23,700 or 22,800 by 12/01/2017
9,300 or 9,800 by 12/01/2017
800 or 750 by 12/01/2017
7,000 or 6,500 by 12/01/2017
2,625 or 2,540 by 12/01/2017

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September 2010 Headlines


Archives


Thursday 9/30/10. This Just In: Trade With The Trend!

How many times have you read or heard the phrase, "Trade with the trend" and how many times has someone proved it?

I decided to take a look. I used my actual trades but culled the list by excluding day trades, trades held longer than a year, trades that were too old and I didn't have price data, short sales, and non-stock trades (like options, ETFs).

For each trade, I determined how the S&P 500 index faired over the hold time and how other stocks in the same industry did. Industry ties (such as when 3 stocks in the industry closed higher and 3 lower) were not included.

Market:UpDown
Industry up15%7%
Industry down-7%-10%

The table on the right shows the results. When the S&P index closed higher over the holding period for each trade and stocks in the same industry also closed higher, the trades gained an average of 15%, the best result of the bunch. When both the index and industry closed lower, the trades lost an average of 10%. That's the worst combination.

If the market climbed but the industry suffered, I lost 7%. Finally, when the industry climbed but the market dropped, I made 7%.

The results say two things. First, trade with the market and industry trend for the best results. Second, it's more important that the industry is doing well than it is for the index to be moving up. That surprised me.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 9/28/10. Tutorial Tuesday: Reflections on Trendline Mirrors

Picture of Boeing on the daily scale.

You have heard (read, actually) me discuss price mirrors often enough (yesterday, for example), so here's another one: trendline mirrors. The figure shows an example in Boeing on the daily scale.

Notice how the peak at A mirrors the drop to D. The reflection isn't a smooth one, but that's ok. It's the distance that interests us most (well, me, anyway). The AB move upward reflects across the trendline almost exactly to CD.

To use this method, starting from the breakout, C, find the highest distance from the most recent peak to the trendline directly below. That's the AB distance. From the breakout apply this distance downward to get a price target (the price at C minus the AB distance). That method works 63% of the time. Thus, you can multiply the AB height by 63% and subtract that from the breakout (C) to get a target that price will reach over 90% of the time. Many of you will know this technique as the trendline measure rule. Look for it in finer stores nationwide.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 9/27/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the Dow industrials on the weekly scale.

I show the Dow industrials on the weekly scale so it would fit on the page. If price mirrors work, where price on the left side of an imaginary line reflects across to the right side, then predicting where the Dow will end up should be easy.

The imaginary axis is the peak at B, with a green plumb line dropped down from it. Point A reflects across the line to C (blue line). The valleys in February and June also appear nearly equidistant from a vertical mirror lowered from B (green line).

What then can we say about peak D? It has no reflection. Since the reflections have been used, my guess is price will continue higher, matching the peak at B. If the upward momentum continues, then look for two more weeks of upward price movement.

That would put us into October. Price will likely move sideways for a time, consolidating the gains and figuring out what next to do. Mutual funds will begin to square up their portfolios in window dressing, perhaps forcing the markets down. Then year-end buying should power the indices higher into December and the next year.

$ $ $

In the picture below, it looks like two mountain climbers got stuck in the pollen.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Up 145.77 points.
Tuesday: Up 7.41 points. Housing starts and building permits were better than expected.
Wednesday: Down 21.72 points.
Thursday: Down 76.89 points. Initial jobless claims climbed.
Friday: Up 197.84 points. Durable orders improved but new home sales were below expectations.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 252.41 points or 2.4%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 65.61 points or 2.8%.
The S&P 500 index was up 23.08 points or 2.1%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     3.5% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     13.0% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     6.1% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     15.5% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     5.8% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     13.6% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Consumer confidence10:00 TB-Surveys 5,000 households for trends.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Gross domestic product8:30 ThBMeasures economic activity; GDP deflator measures inflation.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Chicago purchasing managers index9:45 ThBMonitors regional manufacturing activity.
Personal income & consumption8:30 FC+Measures sources of income to predict future demand.
Personal consumption expenditures8:30 FC+Covers durables, non-durables, and services.
Construction spending10:00 FDCovers residential/non-residential/public spending on new construction.
Auto & truck sales2:00 FC-Monthly sales of domestically produced vehicles.

Options Expiration

No options expire this week.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 09/24/2010, the CPI had:

4 bearish patterns,
37 bullish patterns,
167 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 90.2%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,595  10,728  10,797  10,929  10,998 
Weekly  10,520  10,690  10,778  10,948  11,036 
Monthly  9,625  10,243  10,554  11,172  11,483 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,126  1,137  1,143  1,154  1,160 
Weekly  1,114  1,131  1,140  1,157  1,166 
Monthly  1,003  1,076  1,112  1,185  1,222 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,344  2,363  2,372  2,390  2,400 
Weekly  2,294  2,338  2,360  2,403  2,425 
Monthly  2,005  2,193  2,287  2,475  2,569 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 4 weeks up 14.6%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 51.5%  Expect a random direction.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 4 weeks up 12.3%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 53.4%  Expect a random direction.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 4 weeks up 12.7%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 48.9%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bearish.
Nasdaq Composite: bearish.
S&P 500 Index: bearish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is over.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
90Pipe bottom
26Triangle, symmetrical
13Head-and-shoulders bottom
11Rising wedge
10Triangle, descending
8Target price
7Triangle, ascending
6Double Bottom, Adam and Adam
6Triple bottom
5Falling wedge

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Alternate Energy2. Packaging and Container
3. Metals and Mining (Div.)3. Alternate Energy
4. Internet4. Chemical (Basic)
5. Packaging and Container5. Chemical (Diversified)
48. Coal48. Natural Gas (Diversified)
49. Securities Brokerage49. Semiconductor
50. Semiconductor50. Cement and Aggregates
51. Cement and Aggregates51. Coal
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 9/23/10. A New Bike!

Picture of my bike.

I was going to discuss trendline mirrors, but will cover that on Tutorial Tuesday. This post is already long...

$ $ $

A few days ago, I was running a time trial where I try to beat my 18.6 mph speed record over a 14.65 mile course pushing a 31.6 pound bicycle. Not many riders can keep up with a 20 mph speed I use on the flats and even fewer can catch me if I have a lead.

I had gone over 3 hills, including one that's a mile long, but I was still clicking around at 20 mph. I looked in my side-view mirror and there he was, another rider (he looked like a blob, at first). A second check showed he was coming up fast. It never dawned on me that he could be a motorcycle.

Anyway, he pulled beside me riding a 17 pound carbon fiber bike (mine is carbon steel), not breathing heavily at all. When we went up a hill, he sat down, shifting to lower gears while I stood on my pedals, pumping away, breathing like I'd run a marathon. He kept pace, no sweat. When we coasted down a longer hill, his bike moved ahead by about 50 feet. He claimed that only a special "time trial" bike was more slippery, but I think it was due mostly to my rust bucket needing a better grease job. After a mile, he turned left and I turned right.

I thought about the technique of standing up and pedaling, which gives you power at the cost of effort versus down shifting and seated. Today, I tried it out, actually using more than 2 of 12 gears I have on the bike for the first time in months. My time was slower, but comparable to other times when the wind was 8 to 10 mph like it was today. Wind is a big deal for a bike rider...

After pondering the encounter over the last few days, I decided to buy a new bike. I will pay up for a jersey (sheds sweat better than the T-Shirt and safety vest I wear), a new helmet (they say to change it every 3 to 5 years and mine's old), shoes (I use regular sneakers and removed my toe clips as too dangerous), cleats (a new version of toe clips, and shorts all of which will cost me hundreds. I have a pair of riding shorts, but the fabric is worn though enough that you can see through it. And in doing research, I discovered that you're not supposed to wear underwear beneath the shorts. Who knew? I always thought that when the butt cheeks of the pro riders hung out after a crash that they were naked but thought they were just saving weight. I've read that it's a chaffing issue on long rides. The shorts don't have seems down there where it counts. I'm not making this stuff up, either.

That leaves the bike. No carbon fiber for me. If my bike falls over, I don't want to write off the cost. I'll stick to metals, probably aluminum, which one bike shop claims is lighter than fiber anyway. I'm hoping to keep it below $1,500 for the complete package but $2,000 is maybe more realistic.

Can you believe that? Paying $2,000 for a bicycle! What this really means is that more of you have to click on some ads that interest you or click on one of my books to take you to Amazon.com. Doing that and buying anything while there gives me a small referral fee but does not raise your cost. If enough of you do that, it'll still cost me $2,000 for a new bike.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 9/21/10. Chubb Check: What Not to Buy.

Picture of the Chubb on the monthly scale.

I show a chart of Chubb on the monthly scale because that's the only one that would fit and still show what I wanted. Recently, I added a bunch of insurance companies to my watch list. Why? Because if the market does well, so will these stocks. I noticed that the insurance stocks I follow were moving up, so I decided to investigate.

One missive I read said insurance stocks tend to do well in September because of the hurricane season (perhaps betting it will be a light one. This season is expected to be above average in the number of named storms). One analyst speculated that price will rise 5% in September and another 5% by year's end.

Anyway, Chubb is one that I removed from my shopping list. Why?

I used a 38% Fibonacci extension to determine how far price is likely to rise since price has been breaking out to new highs (how else would you set a target?). I took the difference between A and B (major turning points), multiplied by 38% and added that to the high at A for a target of about 67. With the stock trading at 58, you're looking at a 9 point bump, or about 15%. That's not bad, but I'm looking to double my money, not make 15%.

The second factor for tossing it aside is the move at C and D. That happened in the space of about 2-3 weeks and it wasn't part of the flash crash, either. Why did this happen? I don't know and at this point, I don't care. Seeing my investment move from 66 to 34 in 3 weeks is not my idea of a steady rise I expect better from my investments. In other words, the stock is too choppy for my taste, and at 58, it's not exactly cheap either.

I also didn't use D in my extension calc since I consider aberrant behavior.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 9/20/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the Dow transports on the daily scale.

The chart shows the Dow transports on the daily scale, beginning with a broadening bottom chart pattern from May to July with at least three touches of each trendline and plenty of price crossings, filling the space between the two trendlines. Price hasn't broken out of the two diverging trendline boundaries yet.

A small head-and-shoulders top appears next, in July and August. Price breaks out downward, but doesn't drop far and that suggests underlying strength.

Now, price has climbed up to overhead resistance shown by peaks 1, 2, and 3. Price can make several moves here. The obvious choice is for the index to drop to support, perhaps stopping at an up-sloping trendline joining valleys 4 and 5. I show that line in green. The decline could drop as far as the left (LS) and right (RS) shoulders of the head-and-shoulders top.

Alternatively, price could continue rising. You see hints of that in the Nasdaq with Friday's move higher. Price could also continue lining sideways until it makes up its mind.

My guess is for a shallow dip before a push through to higher ground, as the red line shows. However, if prices make a bold move up then I'll start buying more stocks, doing my part to keep the uptrend going.

This week should decide the coming trend.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Up 81.36 points. Treasury budge deficit narrowed more than expected.
Tuesday: Down 17.64 points. Retail sales were higher than expected but inventories climbed.
Wednesday: Up 46.24 points. Industrial production and capacity utilization dropped.
Thursday: Up 22.1 points. Initial jobless claims dropped. PPI climbed.
Friday: Up 13.02 points. CPI climbed.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 145.08 points or 1.4%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 73.13 points or 3.3%.
The S&P 500 index was up 16.04 points or 1.4%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     5.8% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     10.3% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     8.7% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     12.3% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     7.7% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     11.3% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Housing starts8:30 TB-Number of homes beginning construction.
Building permits8:30 TB-Measures building permits for new construction.
FOMC Rate decision2:15 T?The Federal Reserves reports on interest rate changes.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Existing home sales10:00 ThCCounts sales of used homes.
Leading indicators10:00 ThD-Summary of already known reports.
Durable goods orders8:30 FBMeasures orders, shipments of goods with lifespans >3 years.
New home sales10:00 FC+Shows sales of single-family homes.

Options Expiration

No options expire this week.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 09/17/2010, the CPI had:

15 bearish patterns,
39 bullish patterns,
337 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 72.2%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,526  10,567  10,608  10,650  10,691 
Weekly  10,381  10,494  10,572  10,686  10,764 
Monthly  9,685  10,146  10,398  10,860  11,112 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,117  1,122  1,126  1,131  1,136 
Weekly  1,105  1,115  1,123  1,134  1,142 
Monthly  1,007  1,066  1,099  1,158  1,191 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,294  2,305  2,313  2,323  2,331 
Weekly  2,243  2,279  2,300  2,336  2,357 
Monthly  2,024  2,170  2,245  2,391  2,466 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 3 weeks up 19.7%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 51.5%  Expect a random direction.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 3 weeks up 16.6%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 53.4%  Expect a random direction.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 3 weeks up 17.0%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 48.9%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bearish.
Nasdaq Composite: bearish.
S&P 500 Index: bearish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is over.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
86Pipe bottom
24Triangle, symmetrical
13Head-and-shoulders bottom
11Triangle, descending
10Triple bottom
8Double Bottom, Adam and Adam
7Double Bottom, Adam and Eve
6Head-and-shoulders top
6Rising wedge
6Triangle, ascending

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Packaging and Container2. Packaging and Container
3. Alternate Energy3. Electric Utility (West)
4. Chemical (Basic)4. Air Transport
5. Chemical (Diversified)5. Electric Utility (Central)
48. Natural Gas (Diversified)48. Semiconductor
49. Semiconductor49. Oilfield Svcs/Equipment
50. Cement and Aggregates50. Natural Gas (Diversified)
51. Coal51. Coal
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 9/16/10. What Pattern Width Says

Picture of a flower from my garden.

I read in an interview in Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine that the best profits from chart patterns come after waiting three times the pattern's width. I decided to find out if that was true.

I examined nearly 27,000 chart patterns from May 1988 to July 2010 using 45 different types of chart patterns from 1,283 stocks. These chart patterns were not generated by some automated pattern recognition system. Rather, they were hand picked and cataloged over the years.

I measured the width of each pattern from start to end and the length of time from the breakout to the ultimate high (I'll only discuss upward breakouts here). The ultimate high is the highest high before a trend change of at least 20%. I also measured the price change over those periods.

For upward breakouts, 38% reached the ultimate high within 1 pattern width, 20% between 1 and 2 pattern widths and 11% between 2 and 3 widths. In other words, 69% of the chart patterns I looked at peaked within 3 pattern widths.

For the price move over those three ranges (and I measured up to 10 ranges, but want to keep it simple), price climbed 18%, 29%, and 37%. After that, price continued to move up but at a slower pace.

I concluded that the best bang for the buck (highest rise in the shortest time) comes from hold times of up to 3 pattern widths for upward breakouts. For downward breakouts, the hold time is less, 2 pattern widths. After that, the risk of shorting the stock and seeing it rise outweighs a longer hold time. After two pattern widths, the performance flat lines so you make almost no more money by holding longer.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 9/14/10. Time to Go International!

Picture of a flower from my garden.

I was looking at my stocks on Thursday and noticed something unusual. Most of the stocks were waffling around, but one was trending higher. I stopped to think about that but then clicked to the next stock. It also was trending higher. What did they have in common? They were ETFs (exchange traded funds) that track countries.

Over the weekend, I decided to take a closer look at the international ETFs and found two that I like. I posted them in my watch list on Saturday and have a buy order on EZA.

Here are my notes on some ETFs that may be of interest. The names may be a bit different from the current name listed on yahoo!finance.

  • EZA: South Africa Index. I have an order to buy when it breaks out upward from the ascending triangle (formed starting on 4/5/10. Ignore the May 6 spike).
  • ECH: Chile Investable Market Index. This is a momentum play but it's too expensive here. Draw a trendline beneath the lows and when price returns to the trendline, I may buy then. It's also a wonderful example of cycles. The lows on 7/1/10 and 7/16/10 repeat at regular intervals. If the pattern holds, this should be ready for buying in about 2 weeks.
  • EWC: Canada Index. Has broken above a down-sloping trendline drawn from the peak in April.
  • EEM: Emerging markets index. Same as Canada but ignore the spike on 4/9/10.
  • EWH: Hong Kong index. Another at a new high. Could be a momentum play.
  • EWM: Malaysia index. Another at a new high but it seems to wave up and down a lot (volatile).
  • EWS: Singapore index. Another at a new high.
  • THD: Thailand. Another at a new high but it fluctuates a lot.
  • TUR: Turkey index. An ascending triangle but it's high risk due to potential debt problems there.

I am NOT recommending that you buy any of these but many countries outside of the US markets seem to be doing well. For diversification, you might take a look.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Monday 9/13/10. Market Monday: The Week Ahead

My Prediction

Picture of the S and P 500 index on the monthly scale.

I decided to take a longer view of the markets this week and the chart shows the S&P 500 index on the monthly scale.

Compare the move from ABC to DEF. They look similar, don't they? Price takes off at A and rises to B in a straight-line run and then lines sideways to C.

Price began the recent rise at D and climbed to E in a straight-line run, and now price is going sideways.

The question I wanted to answer is how long until we hit F? In other words, how long will the markets line sideways before making their next move, providing they follow the profile set by the ABC move?

The answer uses simple math. The AB move climbed 371 points (1160-789) before moving sideways for 238 days to C (10/25/2004-3/1/2004). The move up from the 2009 low was 553 points (D to E or 1220-667). That means the index should line sideways for 354 days or about a year (553 * 238/371). If point E begins on April 26, 2010, then this sideways move should end on April 15, 2011.

April 15. Sounds like tax day, doesn't it? Life as we know it could end then. Remember you heard it here, first.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Tuesday: Down 107.24 points.
Wednesday: Up 46.32 points. Consumer credit dropped less than expected.
Thursday: Up 28.23 points. Jobless claims fell.
Friday: Up 47.53 points. Wholesale inventories climbed

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 14.84 points or 0.1%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 8.73 points or 0.4%.
The S&P 500 index was up 5.04 points or 0.5%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     7.1% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     8.8% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     11.5% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     8.8% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     9.0% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     9.8% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Treasury budget2:00 MDTracks budget deficit. Important in April (tax filing).
Retail sales8:30 TA-Reports total retail sales (not services). Are people spending?
Business inventories10:00 TC-Reports manufacturing, wholesale, retail inventories.
International trade8:30 WC+Import/export prices, trade balance. US economy vs others.
Industrial production9:15 WB-Production of utilities, mines, and manufacturers.
Capacity utilization9:15 WB-Gauges economic activity, hints of inflation.
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Producer price index8:30 ThB-Measures wholesale goods cost. An indication of future inflation.
Consumer price index8:30 FB+Inflation report. Measures cost of goods and services.

Options Expiration

The following is courtesy of the Options Industry Council.

OptionDate
2013 Equity Leaps addedMonday
VIX, RVX expireWednesday
A.M. settled index options cease trading.Thursday
Expiring equity, P.M. settled index options and treasury/interest rate options classes cease trading. Expiring cash-settled currency options cease trading at 12:00 P.M. EST.Friday
Equity, index, cash-settled currency and treasury/interest rate options expireSaturday

Many options expire this week, so traders will be looking to close out their positions ahead of that, and that suggests increased volatility (large daily price swings).

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 09/10/2010, the CPI had:

2 bearish patterns,
70 bullish patterns,
538 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 97.2%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,378  10,420  10,446  10,488  10,514 
Weekly  10,281  10,372  10,424  10,515  10,568 
Monthly  9,590  10,026  10,373  10,810  11,156 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,101  1,105  1,108  1,112  1,115 
Weekly  1,084  1,097  1,104  1,117  1,124 
Monthly  1,003  1,056  1,093  1,146  1,182 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,222  2,232  2,239  2,250  2,257 
Weekly  2,188  2,215  2,234  2,261  2,279 
Monthly  2,007  2,125  2,217  2,335  2,427 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 2 weeks up 28.9%  The trend may continue.
 1 month up 51.5%  Expect a random direction.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 2 weeks up 26.9%  The trend may continue.
 1 month up 53.4%  Expect a random direction.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 2 weeks up 24.6%  Expect a reversal soon.
 1 month up 48.9%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bearish.
Nasdaq Composite: bearish.
S&P 500 Index: bearish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is over.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
31Head-and-shoulders top
26Pipe bottom
21Triangle, symmetrical
10Triangle, descending
9Double Bottom, Adam and Adam
7Broadening bottom
6Rectangle bottom
6Triple bottom
6Falling wedge
4Double Bottom, Adam and Eve

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Packaging and Container2. Packaging and Container
3. Chemical (Diversified)3. Electric Utility (West)
4. Electric Utility (East)4. Air Transport
5. Electric Utility (Central)5. Electric Utility (Central)
48. Medical Supplies48. Semiconductor
49. Natural Gas (Diversified)49. Oilfield Svcs/Equipment
50. Coal50. Natural Gas (Diversified)
51. Semiconductor51. Coal
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Saturday 9/11/10. Bulkowski on Bike Hits Car

Picture of bike accident.

Background: About a month ago, I bought a florescent yellow/lime green jersey that I always wear when riding my bicycle. It's the same thing that state/city workers wear when cutting grass along major thoroughfares. It's a high visibility jersey.

I like riding my bicycle because it's great exercise, but I also know that each time I go out, I'm risking my life. Take what happened yesterday (Friday) as an example.

I was wearing my lime-green jersey, riding my bike up a mile long hill on a 4-lane road that nobody uses. The picture shows the setup. I have the right-of-way because a guy I'll call Twit is stopped, making a left-hand turn onto my road from a subdivision.

Everything is fine so far. I see him pull out and I'm worried. I don't like it when cars do that just as I approach. Since it's a wide road, I figure he's going to take the lane to my left and accelerate.

Wrong!

He's not going fast as if he's engrossed in a cell phone conversation or something. Anyway, he keeps moving right, into the left lane then sliding into my lane. Soon, he's squeezing me toward the curb.

What did I do?

I slapped his pickup truck.

He slowed down but I kept going because I was on a time trial (a timed, speed run to see how quickly I can cover 14.66 miles without dying). Then he moves into the left lane and passes me with the passenger side window rolled down, but the vehicle is ahead of me so I can't put a dent in it. "Y'all right?" he yells.

"Yup," I replied and away we go.

The adrenaline rush I got from this near miss helped me power up the hill and post a decent time despite winds gusting to 21 mph.

Let's be clear. Bicycles are classified as motor vehicles. We have every right to use the road just as cars and trucks do. We must signal when turning and stop at lights and stop signs, just like cars. I'm one of the few bike riders that actually does signal then making turns and stops at those stop signs (well, as much as cars do).

And yes, I think cell phones should be outlawed for use in all motor vehicles. If caught violating the law, the police should have the right to confiscate the cell phone and impound the car for a week, month or lifetime. If you're also driving drunk, then police should be authorized to shoot on sight.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 9/9/10. A Word About Divergence

Picture of the Dow transports on the daily scale.

Tropical storm Hermine dropped almost 4 inches of rain on my property, turning much of my front lawn into a lake. That's not a bad thing if you like playing in the mud like I do. Right now, there's a tornado scare in the next county.

I spread rye grass seed out front a few days ago, but that probably floated away. Guess I won't have such a green lawn this winter. During the summer, my lawn wasn't really a lawn so much as it was a repository for weeds. Apparently you have to water once in a while to get the grass to grow.

I thought of installing rock or something. One neighbor installed brick pavers but their front lawn footprint was about the size of a walk-in closet. I've heard out west that they use artificial turf.

$ $ $

Here is the summary of my findings on divergence.

First, tests show that divergence between price and the Wilder relative strength index (RSI) beat the performance of the S&P 500 index consistently only in a bull market using bullish divergence. The other combinations of bull/bear markets and bullish/bearish divergence underperform the market index.

For the winning combination, bullish divergence in a bull market, I found that it wins between 45% and 48% of the time. In other words, the performance of the index beats stocks showing bullish divergence more often than not.

Second, I read that when the indicator makes a shallow dip or rise between the end points in divergence, it means a more powerful move. That turns out to be true but only in a bear market.

Third, it's best to ignore divergence when the first peak or valley occurs between 30 and 70. Including that range hurts performance in nearly all categories.

If my findings are accurate, I don't consider divergence to be a reliable technique. However, I still like failure swings. Those are smaller versions of divergence.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Tuesday 9/7/10. Market Monday on Tuesday: The Week Ahead

I had a cylinder of compressed helium leftover from a party and I thought, "What am I going to do with this?" Then I had an idea.

I wheeled my bicycle into the living room and filled the tires with helium. Then I pushed the cylinder into the garage. When I returned, my bicycle was floating on the ceiling!

My Prediction

Picture of the Dow transports on the daily scale.

I show a picture of the Dow transports on the daily scale. The red line represents overhead resistance setup by peaks in June and August. My guess is the index will climb to that line and reverse there. That will probably happen next week, after retracing some of the gains this week, returning to the old high and then moving sideways for a few days.

The inset shows the last candle. Notice the tall upper shadow, which is the thin line sticking out the top of the rectangle. That means price reached a high during the day but bearish selling pressure pushed it down. Given the extent of the straight-line run these last four days, it suggests price will retrace before moving higher.

Looking at the rest of this posting shows that three out of five indices are below the 12-month simple moving average and that's long-term bearish. It doesn't give me warm-fuzzies for the future. I'm not sure what a warm-fuzzy looks like anyway, but if one appears, I'll let you know.

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A Brief Look Back

Picture of a flower from my garden.

The following are economic reports that moved the markets last week. The numbers refer to the close-to-close move in the Dow industrials.

Monday: Down 140.92 points. Personal income climbed and so did personal consumption expenditures.
Tuesday: Up 4.99 points. Chicago PMI dropped more than expected but consumer confidence climbed.
Wednesday: Up 254.75 points. Construction spending dropped more than expected.
Thursday: Up 50.63 points. Initial jobless claims dropped slightly as did productivity and factory orders
Friday: Up 127.83 points. Employment reports showed improving trends.

For the Week...

The Dow industrials were up 297.28 points or 2.9%.
The Nasdaq composite was up 80.12 points or 3.7%.
The S&P 500 index was up 39.92 points or 3.7%.

Year to Date...

Dow Industrials
     7.2% down from the high of 11,258.01 on 04/26/2010.
     8.7% up from the low of 9,614.32 on 07/02/2010.
Nasdaq
     11.9% down from the high of 2,535.28 on 04/26/2010.
     8.4% up from the low of 2,061.14 on 07/01/2010.
S&P 500
     9.5% down from the high of 1,219.80 on 04/26/2010.
     9.3% up from the low of 1,010.91 on 07/01/2010.

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Economic Reports

The following information is derived from yahoo!finance and sometimes Bloomberg.com with times local to the east coast.

ReportTimeA-F
Rating
Description
Crude inventories10:30 W?My guess: Measures oil inventory.
FEDs Beige book2:00 W?Reports on economic conditions.
Consumer credit3:00 WD-Measures auto, credit card and other debt.
Initial jobless claims8:30 ThC+Counts people filing for state unemployment benefits.
Trade balance8:30 ThC+Signals balance of exports & imports.
Wholesale inventories10:00 FD-Wholesale sales and inventory statistics.

Options Expiration

No options expire this week.

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Swing and Position Traders: Chart Pattern Indicator

As of 09/03/2010, the CPI had:

2 bearish patterns,
158 bullish patterns,
298 patterns waiting for breakout.
The CPI signal is 98.8%, which is bullish (>= 65%).

The chart pattern indicator is bullish with 1 of 3 full triangles showing (). Additional triangles are a measure of strength with solid triangles meaning a more reliable signal than half triangles.

Swing Traders: Pivot Points

The following is based on an SFO article in December 2004 by John Seekinger, titled, "Take a two-dimensional approach." He offers these tips.

IndexS2S1PivotR1R2
Dow Industrials (^DJI): Daily  10,278  10,363  10,407  10,492  10,536 
Weekly  9,771  10,109  10,280  10,619  10,790 
Monthly  9,585  10,016  10,368  10,800  11,151 
S&P 500 (^GSPC): Daily  1,090  1,097  1,101  1,109  1,113 
Weekly  1,019  1,062  1,083  1,126  1,148 
Monthly  1,002  1,053  1,091  1,143  1,181 
Nasdaq (^IXIC): Daily  2,206  2,220  2,228  2,242  2,250 
Weekly  2,056  2,145  2,190  2,279  2,324 
Monthly  2,004  2,119  2,214  2,329  2,424 
  • Seekinger doesn't look at the range of S2 to R2 as support and resistance levels. Rather, he considers them oversold (S) and overbought (R) areas.
  • S2 to R2 range of values across daily, weekly, and monthly periods: If two values are close together then they lend more significance to the area.
  • If the market trends on day 1, the odds rise tremendously that the market will be range bound between daily S1 and daily R1 the next day.
  • In a quiet market when traders are waiting for an important earnings announcement or economic report, look for daily R1 and S1 levels to hold and for the market to return to the daily pivot.
  • A move outside of daily R1 or S1 usually does not mean a breakout.
  • The odds suggest that the entire week's price action will remain between weekly R2 and S2.
  • Avoid going long when the market moves above weekly R2 (it's overbought) and avoid going short when price moves below weekly S2 (oversold).
  • Consider going short at weekly R1 or long at weekly S1 with a profit objective of the weekly pivot.
  • Consider going long at weekly S2 or short at weekly R2 with a profit objective of weekly S1 or R1, respectively.

Here are the formulas:

Pivot point: P = (H + L + C)/3
First resistance level: R1 = (2 * P) - L
First support level: S1 = (2 * P) - H)
Second resistance level: R2 = P + (R1 - S1)
Second support level: S2 = P - (R1 - S1)
H = high price , L=low price, C=closing price

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Consecutive Price Trends

Index Consecutive
Closes So Far 
% Comments 
 Dow industrials (^DJI) 1 week up 41.8%  Expect a random direction.
 1 month up 51.5%  Expect a random direction.
 S & P 500 (^GSPC) 1 week up 38.4%  The trend may continue.
 1 month up 53.4%  Expect a random direction.
 Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) 1 week up 38.6%  The trend may continue.
 1 month up 48.9%  Expect a random direction.

How long can an index close higher (or lower) each day? The adjacent table shows how often consecutive up or down closes occur in the indexes, based on the most recent trend of closes.

Low percentages suggest the market is overdue to turn (think of it as the likelihood that next week or next month will continue the trend, based on historical performance). Values of 50% mean random, so most percentages will be lower.

The analysis uses data going back 10 years for weekly percentages and 25 years for monthly percentages (or the start of data, whichever is more recent). Any unchanged closing price is interpreted as the end of the string of consecutive up or down closes.

Buy-and-Hold: 12-Month SMA

This indicator warns of an index moving into or out of a bear market. It's based on a 12-month simple moving average of monthly closing prices, so it only changes monthly. See 12-Month Moving Average for more details.
Dow Industrials: bearish.
Nasdaq Composite: bearish.
S&P 500 Index: bearish.
Dow Transports: bullish.
Dow Utilities: bullish.

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Earnings, Chart Patterns & Industries

Earnings season is over.

 Found Chart Pattern Name
42Head-and-shoulders top
29Triangle, symmetrical
15Pipe top
11Pipe bottom
10Double Top, Adam and Eve
8Triangle, descending
8Triangle, ascending
7Broadening bottom
6Rising wedge
6Falling wedge

Large numbers of bullish or bearish chart patterns can signal short- to intermediate-term market trends (many bullish chart patterns can mean an uptrend will continue, for example). However, please realize that the short-term price trend could have changed since the pattern was discovered (this is especially true of pipe tops or bottoms, which are weekly patterns).

The 10 types of most frequently appearing chart patterns in the stocks, indexes, and long-only exchange traded funds I follow during the last month are shown in the adjacent table.

 

 

 

 

The following industries, of 52 that I follow, were the best (1) and worst (52) performing.

This WeekLast Week
1. Computers and Peripherals1. Computers and Peripherals
2. Packaging and Container2. Electric Utility (West)
3. Electric Utility (West)3. Chemical (Diversified)
4. Air Transport4. Electric Utility (Central)
5. Electric Utility (Central)5. Packaging and Container
48. Semiconductor48. Semiconductor
49. Oilfield Svcs/Equipment49. Oilfield Svcs/Equipment
50. Natural Gas (Diversified)50. Natural Gas (Diversified)
51. Coal51. Coal
52. Homebuilding52. Homebuilding

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Thursday 9/2/10. Chart Pattern Trading Quiz, Part 5

Picture of a flower from my garden.

This ends the chart pattern trading quiz unless I decide to think up more questions...

True or False: Chart patterns in small cap stock outperform mid and large caps.

Market capitalization is the stock's price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. I consider a small cap stock as having a value up to $1 billion. Large caps are over $5 billion with mid caps between those two. Various rating services have their own boundaries which seem to grow as a bull market progresses.

I computed the rise or decline after the breakout from various chart patterns with the same result. Small cap stocks outperformed their mid and large cap brothers (or sisters). So, the statement above is true.

True or false: Bullish chart patterns perform best within a third of the yearly low.

I separated chart patterns by where the breakout price occurs in the prior 12-month trading range, just to see if I could determine a performance difference. For bearish patterns, the answer is false. They don't show much performance difference, but that's also not the question I asked. I mentioned bullish chart patterns. For those guys, the answer is true. Bullish chart pattern tend to perform better if the breakout price is within a third of the yearly low.

Two Bonus Questions, each rhetorical: If I ask my neighbor to park his hummer on my back lawn, near the hummingbird feeder, will it attract more hummers? If a hummingbird overdoses on sugar, how can you tell?

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Use the best: Linux for servers, Mac for graphics, and Windows for Solitaire.