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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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Picture of the head's law.
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Chart Patterns: After the Buy
Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.
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Bulkowski's Busted Pattern Setup

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Busted
Patterns
Candles Chart
Patterns
Event
Patterns
Small Patterns
Market
Industrials (^DJI):
Transports (^DJT):
Utilities (^DJU):
Nasdaq (^IXIC):
S&P500 (^GSPC):
As of 01/13/2017
19,886 -5.27 0.0%
9,202 57.87 0.6%
657 -0.99 -0.2%
5,574 26.63 0.5%
2,275 4.20 0.2%
YTD
0.6%
1.8%
-0.4%
3.5%
1.6%
Tom's Targets    Overview: 12/30/2016
19,250 or 20,250 by 01/15/2017
8,880 or 9,550 by 01/15/2017
625 or 690 by 01/15/2017
5,650 or 5,400 by 01/15/2017
2,350 or 2,240 by 01/15/2017
Indus strength: None YTD
Mutt Losers: None YTD
Mutt Winners: None YTD

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.

Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second EditionGetting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition book.

Chapter 8 starting on page 225 of Getting Started in Chart Patterns, Second Edition, (pictured on the left) discusses busted chart patterns. It has a wealth of information including updated performance statistics for 18 busted chart patterns and how to trade them.

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Quick note: Busted patterns work for both stock and option plays, so I repeated the trading setup (it appears in both Options setups and Stocks setups).

What Is A Busted Chart Pattern?

A busted pattern occurs when price breaks out in one direction and moves less than 10% away from the breakout price, reverses, and then breaks out in the new direction. After the pattern busts, price tends to trend in the new direction, setting up a profitable trade. The new trend is often a powerful one, so it lasts longer than usual and is less likely to be fake.

If you search for busted patterns and trade the new breakout direction, you can have a higher success rate (more winning trades that make more money) than if you trade the initial breakout of a chart pattern. Of course anything can happen, so use stops to protect your position.

Busted Symmetrical Triangle

A busted symmetrical triangle appears

I show a busted symmetrical triangle in the chart. The breakout is upward when price rises above the top trendline. Then, price busts the pattern when it reverses and plunges downward, closing below (outside of) the bottom trendline.

With some patterns, the breakout occurs well before the end of the pattern so that when it busts, it is clear that price has zoomed out the other side of the pattern. The situation shown in the chart is difficult to separate from a throwback. Sometimes it is best to wait for price to close below the chart pattern low before placing the trade. In this example, you would want to short the stock when it becomes clear that price is making a determined move down. Often you can tell that when price closes below a prior minor low.

Symmetrical triangles are also notorious for busting out in both directions, sometimes multiple times. Price breaks out upward then downward, then upward and finally moves off horizontally. Ascending and descending triangles make safer plays than symmetrical triangles.

-- 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. It's lonely at the top, but you eat better.