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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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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. Some pattern names are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Updated on 11/28/18.

This article compares the performance of chart patterns over the decades. Do chart patterns perform worse or better now than in decades past? Let's find out.

Obviously, the tables are incomplete. I'll populate them with more information as I complete my research. It often takes a week or two per pattern, so it'll be a sloooow roll out.

 

Time Performance: Up Breakouts

The following table shows the average and median rises from the breakout to the ultimate high.

 

Up Breakouts: Bull Market Performance Over Decades
 Average Rise2010sMedian Rise
Chart Pattern 1990s  2000s  2010s Rank 1990s  2000s  2010s 
AB=CD, bearish42%44%43%1222%25%22%
AB=CD, bullish38%43%36%2320%24%19%
Bat, bearish42%50%38%1822%31%24%
Bat, bullish43%55%42%1426%24%26%
Big W44%52%46%730%31%28%
Broadening bottom41%45%45%920%21%25%
Broadening top40%47%34%2723%26%15%
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending39%50%34%2725%25%19%
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending34%53%36%2323%28%18%
Broadening wedge, ascending44%43%41%1530%29%18%
Broadening wedge, descending41%44%38%1826%30%24%
Bump-and-run reversal bottom44%67%65%127%47%47%
Butterfly, bearish44%50%43%1229%29%23%
Butterfly, bullish49%*44%31%3127%26%18%
Crab, bearish41%45%45%924%28%28%
Crab, bullish42%*35%*48%*624%*30%*41%*
Cup with handle49%54%55%432%36%37%
Diamond bottom45%39%40%1634%25%19%
Diamond top24%37%29%3219%26%12%
Double bottom, Adam & Adam45%62%35%2626%29%17%
Double bottom, Adam & Eve44%49%33%3026%32%14%
Double bottom, Eve & Adam39%49%36%2325%32%21%
Double bottom, Eve & Eve43%58%37%2122%35%18%
Diving board91%56%58%345%37%38%
Flags**14%12%6%339%7%4%
Flags, high and tight43%37%34%2722%27%17%
Head-and-shoulders bottoms45%46%44%1130%31%23%
Head-and-shoulders bottoms, complex41%45%62%229%28%35%
Horn bottom55%70%49%528%39%29%
Island bottoms26%30%37%2111%19%11%
Measured move down41%52%40%1623%28%18%
Measured move up36%50%38%1819%28%16%
Pipe bottom53%60%46%728%35%27%
* Measure uses 30 samples or fewer, so results may be inaccurate.
** Measures from the opening price the day after the breakout to the very short-term tend end (approximately the closest minor high or low).

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Time Performance: Down Breakouts

The following table shows the average and median declines from the breakout to the ultimate low.

Down Breakouts: Bull Market Performance Over Decades
 Average Rise2010sMedian Rise
Chart Pattern 1990s  2000s  2010s Rank 1990s  2000s  2010s 
AB=CD, bearish14%13%12%2211%9%8%
AB=CD, bullish15%13%14%1611%8%10%
Bat, bearish16%12%12%2214%11%7%
Bat, bullish18%13%17%514%7%14%
Big M19%15%16%617%13%13%
Broadening bottom17%13%16%615%10%10%
Broadening top16%13%13%2013%9%8%
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending16%13%14%1611%9%9%
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending16%13%16%614%10%11%
Broadening wedge, ascending17%11%13%2013%8%8%
Broadening wedge, descending17%12%14%1613%8%10%
Bump-and-run reversal top19%18%19%117%15%15%
Butterfly, bearish14%12%16%69%9%9%
Butterfly, bullish18%16%*16%616%12%12%
Crab, bearish17%22%*15%1316%16%*9%
Crab, bullish16%13%*16%613%9%*12%
Cup with handle, inverted17%16%19%114%15%13%
Diamond bottom23%14%15%1322%12%11%
Diamond top20%15%14%1618%12%10%
Double top, Adam & Adam16%13%12%2213%10%8%
Double top, Adam & Eve17%13%11%2714%10%8%
Double top, Eve & Adam15%12%12%2213%9%9%
Double top, Eve & Eve16%13%10%3013%11%7%
Flags*11%8%6%319%7%5%
Head-and-shoulders tops20%14%15%1317%11%10%
Head-and-shoulders tops, complex20%13%16%618%9%11%
Horn tops19%18%19%116%14%15%
Island tops14%15%12%2210%11%8%
Measured move down13%12%11%279%8%8%
Measured move up13%13%11%2710%9%8%
Pipe top20%18%18%417%14%14%

* Measure uses 30 samples or fewer, so results may be inaccurate.

-- 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. Some pattern names are the registered trademarks of their respective owners. If God had wanted us to be naked, we would have been born that way.