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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.
Fundamental Analysis and Position Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Swing and Day Trading: Evolution of a Trader book.
Visual Guide to Chart Patterns book.
Encyclopedia of Chart Patterns 2nd Edition book.

Bulkowski's Big W

Class Elliott Wave Fundamentals Psychology Quiz Research Setups Software Tutorials More...
Candles Chart
Small Patterns
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 11/22/2017
23,526 -64.65 -0.3%
9,627 11.94 0.1%
758 -0.24 0.0%
6,867 4.88 0.1%
2,597 -1.95 -0.1%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 11/14/2017
23,700 or 22,800 by 12/01/2017
9,300 or 9,800 by 12/01/2017
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.

A big W is a double bottom with tall sides. Price often confirms the double bottom and approaches the height of the left side trend start before retracing and forming a handle. Once price completes the handle, the rise resumes.

A big W chart pattern appears

A Big W chart pattern


Important Bull Market Results

Overall performance rank for up/down breakout's (1 is best): not ranked
Break even failure rate for up/down breakouts: 11%; 16%
Average rise/decline: 31%; 14%
Throwback/pullback rate: 32%, 13%
Percentage meeting price target for up/down breakouts: 42%, 12%

The above results are preliminary, based on a sample of 202 qualifying patterns (151 with upward breakouts, 51 with downward breakouts). The percentage meeting price target for down breakouts showed that just 6 hit the target and the pullback rate used just 26 samples. The numbers are likely to change.

See the glossary for definitions.

Big W Identification Guidelines

Price trendCan be any direction leading to the pattern. Best performance comes from patterns with price trending upward leading to the pattern.
ShapeA big W shape with twin bottoms and tall sides.
Reversal patternLook for a double bottom reversal pattern at the base of the big W.
Tall sidesThe best performing big W chart patterns have tall, straight declines leading to the bottom of the big W.
Left side declineThe decline leading to the first bottom should be at least 1.5 times the rise between the two bottoms for best performance.
Double bottomThe double bottom should have twin bottoms with lows less than 4% apart.
Rise between bottomsThe rise between the valleys of the double bottom is 10% to 20% or more.
VolumeRecedes 60% to 63% of the time for up/down breakouts respectively.
BreakoutLook for an upward breakout. That's when price rises above the right side of the big W.
ConfirmationThe pattern confirms as a valid one when price closes above the highest peak between the double bottoms.


Big W Trading Tips

Consult the associated figure on the right.

Trading TacticExplanation
Measure ruleCompute the height from the highest peak (usually the left side of the big W, point A in this example) to the lowest valley (B) and then multiply it by the above “percentage meeting price target.” Add the result to the right side of the big W (upward breakouts, C) or subtract it from the lowest valley (downward breakouts, B). The result is the target price. The link to the left gives more information about the measure rule.
BreakoutUpward breakouts occur when price closes above the right side of the big W (C). Downward breakouts occur when price closes below the lowest valley in the big W (B).
StallFor swing traders, buy at the double bottom low (E) and ride price upward to confirmation of the double bottom (the high between the two bottoms, D). Price often pauses there. If price drops below the low of the second bottom (E), exit the position immediately. If price confirms the double bottom, expect a rise approaching the left side high (A).
Position tradersWait for confirmation of the double bottom before taking a position and be prepared to sell as the stock nears the price of the left side high (the price at C approaches the price at A).
Left side highThe right side high of the big W (C) reaches the price at the start of the pattern (A) 46% of the time.

Big W measure rule

The Measure Rule


Big W Example

A big W chart pattern example

The above figure shows an example of a big W chart pattern. Price begins its decline at A and reaches a low at B in just a few months. Price bounces and retraces to form a second low in September (C). The Eve & Adam double bottom confirms as a valid chart pattern when price closes above the confirmation line, as shown. A pretty symmetrical triangle appears during October.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Other Big W Examples

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. Any minute now I'll jump in with pointless observations.