Part-time to Pro6 MIN READ

Chart patterns

In technical analysis of price charts, a trader aims to look for recurring patterns that could signal a potential move. When evaluating charts for trading, chart patterns are quite important. These chart patterns in technical analysis can be used to predict transitions in trends, and you will be able to find trade opportunities from these chart patterns.

However, before reading about these patterns, you must first understand them and how they form.

In this article

    Key takeaways

    • Price charts summarise all of the market's buying and selling.
    • Chart patterns tend to repeat themselves, which appeals to human psychology and trader psychology in particular.
    • If you can learn to spot these patterns early on, you will have a significant competitive advantage in the markets.
    • Chart patterns might be a continuation or reversal.
    • Chart patterns give a full graphical record of order flow as well as a framework for studying the conflict between bulls and bears.

    An introduction to chart patterns

    Chart patterns appear on trading charts and assist traders in predicting the likely direction in which a particular market, say a currency pair, will move. Chart patterns may emerge in any timescale, from a few hours to years. Japanese candlestick patterns also give a good indication of where the market's immediate direction may be heading.

    Role of support and resistance in chart patterns

    Resistances are drawn through past pivot highs. Resistance functions as a barrier. A resistance line can either stop or reverse an uptrend. The strength of resistance depends on the number of times it has been touched and tested. The larger the timeframe, the stronger the line. Some traders may sell at resistance levels.

    Support lines operate as a floor and are price zones that a financial instrument finds difficult to penetrate below. Support lines are drawn through past lows and may either pause or reverse a downtrend, depending on their strength. Traders usually buy at support levels. All traders might see a support level but have different perceptions about it. Some traders might buy from that level in anticipation of a bounce. While others wait for a breakout of that level.  Traders all see the same thing.

    If support is broken in a downtrend, it becomes future resistance and vice versa.

    Role of trendlines in chart patterns

    Regardless of whether the market is heading up, down, or even sideways, it is possible to find trade ideas in all these scenarios.

    However, there is a popular saying in financial markets, "The trend is your friend." Therefore, it is always advised to stick to trend-following systems.

    • A rising trendline connects consecutive Higher Lows or Higher Highs.
    • A falling trendline connects consecutive Lower Highs or Lower Lows in a move.

    A trendline that connects successive Lower Highs is known as a resistance line, whereas a trendline that connects successive Higher Lows is known as a support line.

    Trendlines are boundary lines used to highlight areas to go long or short. As shown in subsequent sections, trendlines serve as the boundary lines for most chart formations.

    A 45-degree trendline is regarded as the most trustworthy, and if it is steeper than that, the market is unlikely to maintain that level of momentum for long. Keep an eye on whether the market bounces off a trendline or cuts through it.

    After the price has sliced through the trendline, look for retests. The third touch of a trendline is frequently a good buying or selling signal.

    You can see the rising and falling trendlines below.

    Let's go through some chart patterns now.

    Types of chart patterns

    Chart patterns are classified into two types: 

    • Reversal patterns: in which the market reverses.
    • Continuation patterns: in which the market continues in the same direction following a period of consolidation or retracement.

    Continuation patterns

    A continuation pattern can be considered a temporary pause in an ongoing trend. This occurs when the bulls take a break from finding low prices to buy during an uptrend or when the bears take a break from finding high prices to sell during a decline. 

    While a chart pattern is building, it is impossible to predict whether the trend will continue or reverse. Therefore you should pay close attention to the trendlines used to form the price pattern. 

    Channels and Rectangles

    A channel is formed when prices trend between two parallel trendlines. When prices reach the bottom trendline, this may be utilised as a support for buying, but when prices reach the higher trendline, it can be used as an area for profit-taking, and vice versa. Breakouts of support and resistance lines are attractive places to buy or sell.

    Channels can be slanted upward or downward. Below is an example of a rising channel in a bull trend.

    Rectangles are areas of consolidation or correction where the market moves sideways. Rectangles can be found in both up or down trends. A breakout in the direction of a bull trend is considered a signal to buy and vice versa. Below are examples of rectangles in bull and bear trends.


    Flag patterns are two parallel trendlines that might slope up or down. A flag with an upward slope (bullish) appears as a halt in a downtrend, whereas a flag with a downward bias (bearish) appears as a break in an uptrend. Typically, the development of the flag is followed by a drop in volume, which returns when the price breaks out of the flag shape.

    Flags are generally visible immediately following a large, fast move. Below are examples of bull and bear flags.

    The bullish flags have lower highs and lower lows, with the pattern seemingly against the bull trend.

    The bearish flags have higher highs, and higher lows mean the slope is in the opposite direction of the bear trend.

    Triangles (ascending and descending)

    Triangle is a chart pattern in which the slopes of price highs and lows converge to create a point. The resistance line runs parallel to the chart's bottom border, while the support line slopes upward. 

    The pattern of dropping highs and lows remaining the same distinguishes the descending triangle. An illusory double bottom entices one more wave of inexperienced buyers just as a sharp break suggests significant selling. A breakout below the support is usually a sell signal.

    Because supply and demand are well-defined, descending triangles are among the most trustworthy technical patterns.

    A symmetrical triangle is a shape formed when the slopes of price highs and lows meet at a spot. Support and resistance keep tightening. Rallies and sell-offs, each smaller than the previous, produce symmetrical triangles. Symmetrical triangles are dealt with so that a breakout in any direction creates a trade signal.

    An ascending triangle is the opposite of a descending triangle. Highs remain the same, while lows keep getting higher, resulting in a breakout.

    Reversal Patterns

    A reversal pattern indicates a shift in the current trend. These patterns indicate when the bulls or bears have run out of steam. 

    For example, an upswing accompanied by bullish excitement might stall, indicating equal pressure from both bulls and bears and finally give way to the bears. As a result, the trend shifts to the downside.

    At market peaks, reversals are known as distribution patterns, in which the trading instrument is more excitedly sold than bought. On the other hand, reversals that occur during market bottoms are known as accumulation patterns, in which the trading instrument is aggressively acquired rather than sold.

    Here are a few popular reversal chart patterns.

    Head and shoulders

    Head and shoulders is a reversal pattern that may show at market peaks or bottoms as a sequence of three pushes: an initial peak or trough, followed by a second and greater one, and finally, a third push that breakouts off the neckline of the pattern.

    An uptrend broken by a head and shoulders top pattern may have a trend reversal, ending in a downtrend. A downtrend that results in an inverted head and shoulders will potentially encounter a trend reversal to the upside. Volume may fall while the pattern develops and rebound after the price breaks above.

    Double tops and bottoms

    Double tops and bottoms are among forex traders' most well-known and effective chart patterns. They are a comparison to a prior high or low. Triple tops and bottoms are similar in that they feature three highs or lows.

    A double top happens when the price attempts but fails to break out above a previous pivot high. This pattern consists of two tops of almost identical height. Many traders await confirmation until the retracement low between the two peaks is broken to the downside following the second peak. 

    When a double top forms, the price target is generally the same distance below the corrective low, double tops are not as powerful in a strong uptrend as in a downtrend during a correction. Below is an example of a double top.

    The double bottom is the inverse of the double top and is a bullish reversal pattern. Support cannot be established until the last point of support is tested.

    If the equal points are far apart, double tops (M-shaped) and double bottoms (W shaped) are stronger. A double top's two peaks do not have to be precisely at the same level, so you should allow for a few pips variations.

    A double bottom with a somewhat higher low for the second point might be a strong bullish indicator. Double bottoms in a strong downtrend are not as powerful as in an uptrend during a correction. A double bottom corresponding to a pivot line might result in a quick upward move.

    Wedges (rising and falling)

    This pattern happens when the highs and lows of prices meet at a location to create an inclining wedge. 

    Both lines have an upward slope in a rising wedge, with the bottom line steeper than the upper. A breakout below the support trendline is a signal to go short, and targets are usually set to the height of the wedge pattern.

    Both lines have a downward slope in a falling wedge, with the higher line being steeper than, the lower. A breakout in the upward direction is usually a signal to go long, and targets are set equal to the height of the wedge pattern.

    False breaks in chart patterns

    You must understand that chart patterns do not always result in the expected reaction. The chart pattern fails if the price does not move in the predicted direction. Traders can, however, hedge their positions and still benefit.

    False Breaks result in quick movements. A false breakout happens when the price climbs above a prior pivot high and then abruptly reverses for a rapid advance in the other direction.

    A bear trap is referred to as a fake break when the price swings down past a prior pivot low and then abruptly reverses up for a quick move.

    False breaks happen when the market breaks through a chart pattern and then abruptly reverses in the original direction.

    Why are chart patterns important?

    Chart patterns are excellent for observing price movements during the trading session. Forex and CFD traders use chart patterns in their trading strategies frequently. 

    It all comes down to the success probability of certain chart patterns on a particular trading instrument, timeframe, and market conditions. Today, traders have developed indicators for chart patterns that can be embedded in price charts and used to spot patterns. 

    Final thoughts

    Price patterns are frequently discovered when the price "takes a break," indicating areas of consolidation that might result in the continuation or reversal of the current trend. Trendlines can help you spot these pricing tendencies.

    Volume plays a big part in these patterns, frequently decreasing while building the pattern and increasing when the price breaks out. Chart patterns, including trend continuations and reversals, are used by technical analysts to anticipate future price behaviour. But like any other trading strategy, you should do proper due diligence before including a chart pattern in your trading plan.

    People also ask

    How many different types of chart patterns exist?

    Depending on who you ask, traders employ more than 25 chart patterns. Some traders utilise a limited number of patterns, while others use many more.

    What is the most powerful chart pattern?

    Trader taste and tactics define the most powerful chart pattern. The one that works best for your trading strategy will be your most powerful.

    What do chart patterns indicate?

    When seeking trading opportunities, traders employ chart patterns to detect price movements. Some patterns indicate when traders should buy, while others indicate when they should sell or hold.

    Ready to trade?

    Trade Now