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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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The Hudgin Golden Triangle

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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.

This article discusses the Armchair Investors Golden Triangle™ stock trading setup, including performance tests on how well it works.

 

Golden Triangle Summary

The golden triangle setup is actually two related trading setups.

The first setup (Setup 1) has a confirmation signal that occurs on one day, and it has an average rise of 23% (if traded perfectly). The failure rate is 29% meaning that 29% of the trades are stopped out for a loss.

The second setup has an entry signal that can occur over a period of three weeks (if Setup 1 does not occur). It has an average rise of 15% with 49% of the trades stopped out for a loss.

A simplified version of Setup 1, described at the end of this article, boosts the number of trades from 153 to 2,944 while increasing the average rise to 28% (from 23%) and lowering the failure rate to 17% from 29% (stopped out).

Golden Triangle Background

Picture of the golden triangle.

The Armchair Investor Golden Triangle™ (hereinafter referred to as the Golden Triangle) setup is a variation of the buy-the-dip strategy, refined by Charlotte Hudgin.

I tested the setup and found that it could be useful when trading inverted and ascending scallop chart patterns.

The setup takes its name from the triangle pattern formed by the ideal trade. See the picture.

Price rises into the golden triangle, retraces, and then recovers to post a new high.

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Golden Triangle Setup 1

Picture of the ideal golden triangle setup.

Here are the steps in the Golden Triangle setup (Setup 1). Refer to the figure on the right. Line D represents the 50-day simple moving average (SMA). H is the 50-day volume SMA. Point A is the first bottom in the pattern and C is the second. B is called the pivot, the highest peak between A and C.

Here are the rules for Setup 1.

  1. Look for price to be above its SMA.
  2. There should be white space between price and the moving average (G).
  3. Price peaks at the pivot (B) and then retraces (B to C) a portion of the prior rise (A to B).
  4. Volume should trend lower during the retrace (E). If the drop is only two or three days, high volume on each day is acceptable (I only tested for a receding volume trend).
  5. The drop from the pivot (B) to the SMA (C) should take from two days to four weeks.
  6. When price crosses the SMA (C),

  7. The low price should be on or below the SMA.
  8. The stock should close above the SMA on that day.
  9. When the stock meets the above conditions 6 and 7, you have "price confirmation."
  10. After price confirms, look for volume confirmation (in that order). This is done in two steps, 9 and 10.

  11. Volume on the day price confirms (C) should be higher than the prior four days (at F).
  12. On the day price confirms, volume should be above its 50-day simple moving average (line H at volume bar F).
  13. Buy at the open the next day.
  14. Set a stop loss order 6% below the buy price.

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Golden Triangle Setup 2

Picture of the ideal golden triangle setup 2.

If setup 1 does not occur, Hudgin offers a second setup. Refer to the figure on the right. Line E is the 50-day simple moving average of price and line F is the 50-day volume SMA.

Point A is the first time the stock touches the SMA. This would qualify price for setup 1 (above) however, volume doesn't confirm. In other words, volume on that day is below the moving average and below the prior 4 days, which are both rule breakers.

Point B shows a close below the SMA. Point C is the buy signal, which we'll see when we review the rules for the setup. Here they are.

  1. Price confirmation: The second way price can confirm is for it to drop to or below the 50-SMA and then close above it on a later day (A or C).
  2. Look for price to close higher than the prior day (called an "up day") (B or C). When price closes above the SMA then you have price confirmation.
  3. After price confirms, look for volume confirmation (which may occur on the same day or after another up day providing price is still above its SMA).
  4. Volume confirmation also requires volume to be above its 50-day SMA and also above the prior four days (only C/D qualifies). If that occurs, then you have volume confirmation.
  5. If price closes below the 50-SMA before volume confirms, you must wait for another price confirmation and then volume confirmation.
  6. This setup must occur within three weeks otherwise look elsewhere.
  7. Once these conditions are met, buy at the open the next day.
  8. Set a stop loss order 6% below the buy price.

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Golden Triangle Testing

I programmed my computer to test both setups using in-sample data from the bullish period 10/11/2002 to 10/11/2007. Dividends, commissions, fees or other income/expenses were not included.

Only stocks priced over $5 at the first bottom (point A in the figure of Setup 1) were allowed.

For bottoms, I found the lowest valley within 10 days and for peaks, I found the highest peak within 10 days. These two found major turning points. It's possible that values other that 10 would work better (such as all peaks or valleys within 5 days of the high or low, respectively).

I looked for a bottom-top-bottom combination that formed an inverted and ascending scallop pattern (a rise-retrace pattern). The second bottom must be above the low of the first, but not by much, so the scallop in many cases looks like an upside down U.

This gave me a spreadsheet of 12,701 samples using 854 stocks.

I measured the average rise using the opening price the day after the buy signal to the ultimate high. The ultimate high is the highest high before price tumbles at least 20%. If price dropped below the low of the first bottom (the lowest low in the pattern), the search for the ultimate high ended.

If price continued at least 6% below the buy price, I closed out the trade for a loss. In short, I used a 6% stop loss order.

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Golden Triangle Results

For setup 1, I found only 153 trades that qualified out of 12,701 samples. The average rise was 23% (median rise: 14%). The 5% failure rate (a count of how many stocks moved up but peaked and tumbled after gaining less than 5%) was 7%. Twenty-nine percent were stopped out, so 71% of the time the setup made money.

For setup 2, if a stock did not qualify for setup 1 (those that qualified were excluded from the setup 2 test), I found 4,468 that qualified. The average rise was 15% with 7% failing to rise at least 5% and 49% of the trades were stopped out for a loss.

Golden Triangle Curve-Fit Tests

Can we improve the results of setup 1 by testing the importance of each rule? Yes. I did not try to curve fit Setup 2.

I tested Setup 1 using the same data as already described. The 35% average gain often mentioned below is for the rise from the opening price the day after a buy signal occurs to the ultimate high. Consider it the perfect trade without slippage, commissions, or any fees deducted. A stop loss is not applied to the results since that would be testing the stop mechanism.

Once rules are added to the perfect trade, performance deteriorates.

Here are the individual test results (Refer to the figure associated with Setup 1).

Rule 1 Test: price rising faster than its SMA.

I tested performance of the setup when the SMA was above and below bottom 1 (the first bottom in the rise-retrace pattern. If price is ABOVE the SMA, the average gain of 2,236 samples was 34%. When price was BELOW the SMA, performance improved but only marginally, to 35% in 8,113 samples.

MultiplierAverage Rise
131%
232%
336%
438%
534%
636%
733%
832%
946%

Rule 2 Test: White space. There should be white space between price and the SMA.

I found the highest low price in the pattern and measured the distance from that low to the SMA. I calculated the clearance using this: (Highest low price - SMA)/Average spike length. The average spike length is the average daily high low price range over the prior month. The result gave me a number (the median was 3). I tested numbers from 1 to 9 (multiplier) and found the performance ranged as shown in the table.

If you don't have any white space, the trades made an average of 20%, but there were only 14 samples.

The results say that it's important to have white space. As the amount of white space increased, so did performance, up to a point (multiplier 4). The nine multiplier had only 45 samples, so consider the 46% average rise unreliable.

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Rule 4 Test: Lower trend volume (point E). From the pivot (highest peak in the pattern) to the day before the cross (B to the day before C), I used linear regression and looked at performance.

If volume trended higher, the trades made 35% (3,294 samples) with 11% failing to rise at least 5%. When volume trended lower, the trades made 34% (7,073 samples) with 10% failing to rise at least 5%. Trending volume made little difference.

Rule 5 Test: Price retraces from two days to four weeks.

I measured the time from the high at the pivot (B) to bottom 2 (C) or the date price crosses the SMA. When the time was within the specified range, the trades made an average of 34% (6,219 trades). Outside of the two day to four week range, the trades made the same, 34% (458 trades)

It was rare that a stock couldn't make it down to point C in less than a month.

Rules 6, 7 Tests: low on or below the SMA at C with a close above the SMA.

Low Price Above
or Below SMA
Closing Price Above
or Below SMA
Avg
Rise
BelowBelow34%
AboveBelowN/A
BelowAbove34%
AboveAbove36%

I tested the four combinations of above and below the SMA for the low and closing prices (but a close below the low was impossible). The table shows the results.

For example, when both the low and closing prices were below the SMA, the 3,069 trades made an average of 34%. When both were above the SMA, the rise averaged 36%.

Rule 9 Test: volume higher than prior four days.

If volume is above the prior four days, the trades make 35%. If volume is below any of the prior four days, the trades make 34%. That's not much of a difference.

Rule 10 Test: volume above the SMA.

Regardless of whether volume is above or below its SMA at point C, the average rise is 35%.

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Golden Triangle Optimization Results

I tested various combinations of the rules and found a simple setup that improves performance.

Here are the steps for this setup

  • Look for a rise-retrace pattern, similar to an inverted and ascending scallop chart pattern.
  • Price must close below the 50-day SMA during the retrace (the right bottom of the scallop).
  • Buy at the open the next day.
  • Place a 6% stop loss order.

The setup increases the number of trades from 153 to 2,944. The average rise climbs from 23% to 28%. Five percent failures rise from 7% to 8% (which is bad). However the number stopped out drops from 29% to 17%.

Golden Triangle Sample Results

TestAvg Rise5% FailuresStopped Out
Original setup, in sample23%7%29%
Original setup, out of sample22%3%26%
Improved setup, in sample28%8%17%
Improved setup, out of sample26%5%22%

The following table shows the results of in sample and out of sample tests on the original and improved setup.

The in-sample test used the bull market period from 10/11/2002 to 10/11/2007. This is the data I used to test setup 1 and create the improved setup.

The out-of-sample test used the more recent bull market period from 3/7/2009 to 12/24/2013.

The original setup shows improvement in the failure rates when using out-of-sample data. The improved setup shows deterioration in the number stopped out (rising from 17% to 22%) and average rise (it drops from 28% to 26%).

Golden Triangle Example Trade

Picture of a sample trade.

The figure on the right shows an example trade using the improved setup described above.

The rise-retrace pattern is at AB. As price drops toward B, it closes below the 50 SMA at B, triggering the buy signal. Luckily, the stock turns then, but it could have continued lower.

Entry is made at the opening price the next day, C, at 361.79.

Not shown, but the stock is sold at the ultimate high on 9/21/2012 at a price of 705.07. After that, the stock tumbles at least 20%. The trade made 95%.

Please recognize that this is a perfect trade. Entry is made just as price happens to turn and is sold at the highest high before a trend change. Do not expect your trades to duplicate this behavior.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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See Also

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. Everything should be built top-down, except the first time.