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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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Picture of Bumper.
Picture of the head's law.
Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
Trading Basics: Evolution of a Trader book.
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Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
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Bulkowski's Busted Patterns

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Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 06/18/2018
24,987 -103.01 -0.4%
11,050 -24.14 -0.2%
681 2.25 0.3%
7,747 0.65 0.0%
2,774 -5.91 -0.2%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 06/14/2018
25,750 or 24,500 by 07/01/2018
11,350 or 10,600 by 07/01/2018
695 or 645 by 07/01/2018
8,000 or 7,500 by 07/01/2018
2,850 or 2,700 by 07/01/2018

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

Information on busted chart patterns is discussed in my book, Visual Guide to Chart PatternsVisual Guide to Chart Patterns book.. You can find information in the book in Chapter 22: "Busted Pattern Buy Setups" (starting on page 229) and in Chapter 25, "Busted Pattern Sell Signals" starting on page 271.

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Links To Busted Chart Patterns

  1. Busted ascending triangles
  2. Busted descending triangles
  3. Busted double bottoms
  4. Busted double tops
  5. Busted head-and-shoulders Bottoms
  6. Busted head-and-shoulders Tops
  7. Busted Performance. A comparison to themselves and other chart patterns.
  8. Busted rectangles
  9. Busted symmetrical triangles
  10. Busted triple bottoms
  11. Busted triple tops

Table of Contents


Latest Releases

What Are Busted Chart Patterns?

A busted chart pattern is one in which price breaks out in one direction from a chart pattern, but moves less than 10% before reversing and breaking out in the new direction. A "breakout" means a close above the top or a close below the bottom of a chart pattern. This measure is used so that all busted chart patterns can be compared on an apples-to-apples basis.

The idea behind a busted chart pattern is that the move is often stronger from a failed chart pattern than from one that works. For example, in my book, Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns Second EditionEncyclopedia of Chart Patterns 2nd Edition book., pictured on the right, the average rise from 286 triple bottoms in a bull market is 37%.

The average rise from 145 failed triple tops in bull markets, is 42%.

Why does better performance happen? I can only guess at the cause. Perhaps you have heard of the belief that the market likes to confound the most people. If everyone expects the market to drop, it rises instead. A triple top is supposed to break out downward, and it does. But when the drop is meager and price rises, it takes on a life of its own and soars.

Unfortunately, like all market techniques, busted chart patterns are not perfect, meaning that they fail to perform as expected, too.

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Busted Pattern Elements

All busted chart patterns share these elements, but the benchmarks are arbitrary, set by me years ago.

  • Price breaks out in the normal manner with price closing below the bottom (downward breakout), above the top (upward breakout), or outside of a trendline boundary of a chart pattern (such as a symmetrical triangle which uses two trendlines to mark the breakout).
  • Price continues less than 10% in the breakout direction.
  • Price reverses direction.
  • Price closes on the side opposite the breakout direction. If the breakout is downward, then price busts the pattern when it closes above the top of the pattern. For upward breakouts, price must close below the lowest low in the chart pattern to bust it.

Examples of busted chart patterns are included in the links below.

Busting a Bust?

A chart pattern can bust multiple times. For example, price breaks out downward then soars and busts out upward, reverses and moves lower for a double bust. If it drops less than 10% before shooting upward and closing above the top of the pattern, it's a triple bust. This type of up and down motion can continue for months.

How often does it occur? Research using triple tops shows that single busts happen 19% of the time. Double and triple busts occur 1% of the time, each. A triple bust includes those busting three or more times.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Other Busted Examples

See Also

Written by and copyright © 2005-2018 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Chili: It's not just for breakfast anymore!