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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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Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
Trading Basics: Evolution of a Trader book.
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Swing and Day Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns 2nd Edition book.

Bulkowski's Black Spinning Top

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Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 06/15/2018
25,090 -84.83 -0.3%
11,074 64.50 0.6%
678 5.01 0.7%
7,746 -14.66 -0.2%
2,780 -2.83 -0.1%
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.

My book, Encyclopedia of Candlestick ChartsEncyclopedia of Candlestick Charts book., pictured on the left, takes an in-depth look at candlesticks, including performance statistics.

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A black spinning top is a small candle with tall shadows. Candle theory says that it acts as with indecision. Testing reveals that it is a reversal 51% of the time. Thus, theory and reality agree. If you can call it good news, the black spinning top ranks 1 for frequency. That means it appears as often as weeds in a vacant lot. Performance ranks 73rd, or near the other end of the scale. The bottom line on this candle is it does not amount to much of anything.

Black Spinning Top: Important Results

Theoretical performance: Indecision
Tested performance: Reversal 51% of the time
Frequency rank: 1
Overall performance rank: 73
Best percentage meeting price target: 83% (bull market, up breakout)
Best average move in 10 days: -3.36% (bear market, down breakout)
Best 10-day performance rank: 58 (bull market, up breakout)

All ranks are out of 103 candlestick patterns with the top performer ranking 1. "Best" means the highest rated of the four combinations of bull/bear market, up/down breakouts.

The above numbers are based on hundreds of perfect trades. See the glossary for definitions.

The ideal black spinning top candlestick
Black Spinning Top
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Black Spinning Top: Discussion

As I mentioned in the introduction, the black spinning top works in theory as it does in reality: indecision. Price breaks out in any direction almost equally. With a frequency rank of 1, the candle is prolific, so you will see it often in a historical price series. The best move 10 days after a breakout occurs when price drops 3.36% in a bear market. However, the best performance rank is 58 after an upward breakout in a bull market. The difference between the downward move in a bear market and the best performing rank coming after an upward breakout in a bull market, is one of degree. The first is just the best average move that the black spinning top achieved. The rank is a comparison with other candle patterns.

Black Spinning Top: Identification Guidelines

Number of candle linesOne.
Price trend leading to the patternNone required.
ConfigurationLook for a small black body with shadows taller than the body.
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Black Spinning Top: Three Trading Tidbits

If you want a few bones from my Encyclopedia of candlestick charts book, here are three to chew on. The pages refer to the book where the tips appear.

  1. Black spinning top candles that appear within a third of the yearly low perform best -- page 696.
  2. Black spinning top candles with shadows taller than the median outperform those shorter than the median -- page 697-698.
  3. Volume gives performance clues -- page 698.

Black Spinning Top: Example

Black and white spinning top candlesticks on the daily scale

The chart shows black and white spinning tops on the daily scale. The candle at A is a black spinning top because the body is black, small, and the candle has shadows taller than the body. This one occurs in a downward price trend, but the breakout is upward. Thus, it acts as a reversal. And a breakout occurs when price closes either above the top or below the bottom of the candlestick.

Candle B is a white spinning top that appears in an upward price trend. Notice the small white body and tall upper and lower shadows. Price breaks out upward from this spinning top two days later, meaning the spinner acted as a continuation of the up trend.

Candles C, D, and E are also black spinning tops. Candles C and E act as continuations of the downward price trend whereas candle D is a reversal. Price enters and exits the candle from the top.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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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. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.