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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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Bulkowski's Intraday High and Low

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Industrials (^DJI):
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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%
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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

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.

My book, Swing and Day TradingSwing and Day Trading: Evolution of a Trader book., discusses when securities reach the intraday high and low starting on page 193. I show a picture of the book on the left. By clicking this link and buying the book, you help support thepatternsite.com.

 

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This article discusses research that finds the most common minutes when price reaches the intraday high and low.

Intraday High-Low Summary

Price reaches the day's high and low often within the first minute of the stock's open. Within the first hour of trading, the day's high occurs 49% of the time and price reaches the day's low 46% of the time, on average.

Intraday High-Low Background

A May 2011 article in Active Trader magazine titled, "Intraday swing extremes," gave me the idea for this research. Their staff tested the E-Mini Nasdaq 100 futures to determine when price is most likely to set the day's high and low.

I decided to test this for stocks.

Intraday High-Low Methodology

I used a database covering both bull (2/2003 to 12/2005) and bear (2/2007 to 2/2009) markets on 55 stocks. That gave me over 60,300 samples of data on the 1-minute scale.

For each day, I found the day's high and low and logged when those occurred. From the analysis, I excluded all half trading days, such as half days before a market holiday.

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Intraday High-Low Results

When Does Price Hit the Day's High/Low?
Period High  Low 
First minute10%9%
First half hour 40%37%
First hour49%46%
Last hour19%20%
Last half hour14%14%
Last minute3%3%

The results were similar to what Active Trader staff reported in their article. Most of the time, the intraday high or low is set early in the session, often in the first minute. Activity remains high for several minutes after the open and tapers off until near the end of the trading day. Within a few minutes of the close, activity picks up again and price may post new highs or lows then, but the level is about a third of the opening minutes.

The table shows the results.

For example, in the first minute, price reaches the day's high 10% of the time. The first minute also sees price making the day's low 9% of the time.

Another example: The first hour sees price post the day's high 49% of the time and the day's low 46% of the time.

-- 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. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He doesn't expect to be paid back.