A Four-Chart Lesson in Spotting Trade Setups

A Four-Chart Lesson in Spotting Trade Setups

June 29, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

You can find low-risk, high-probability trading opportunities by trading with the trend. The trick is to find the end of market corrections, so you can position yourself for the next move in the direction of the trend. 

This excerpt from Jeffrey Kennedy's free 47-page eBook How to Spot Trading Opportunities explains where to find bullish and bearish trade setups in your charts and how to zero-in on these opportunities. If this lesson interests you, the full 47-page eBook is free through July 6.  


On the left-hand side of the illustration below, there are two bullish trade setups. As traders, we want to wait for the wave (2) correction to be complete so we can catch the move up in wave (3) – this is the trade. What we are trying to do in this bullish trade setup is anticipate the potential for profits on the buy-side as prices move up in wave (3). Another bullish trade setup is at the end of wave (4).

As traders, we are looking to buy the pullback and position ourselves within the direction of the larger up-trend. Remember, three-wave moves are corrections, which means that they are countertrend structures. On the other hand, five-wave moves define the larger trend. As traders, we want to determine what the trend is and trade in the direction of the trend. Our buying opportunity to rejoin the trend is whenever the trend pauses and forms a correction.

Now, let’s look at the right-hand side of the illustration where we see two bearish setups. When a five-wave move is complete, it is retraced in three waves as a correction. The end of the five-wave move presents the first trading opportunity that we can take advantage of the short side (or the sell side) as the wave (A) down begins.

Notice the second bearish trade setup gives us another shorting opportunity as wave (B) tops.

So, within the classic wave pattern of five waves up and three waves down, we have four high-probability trading opportunities in which we are either positioning ourselves in the direction of the trend or identifying termination points of a trend. I want to share with you some tricks I have picked up over the years about how to analyze corrective waves and their termination points. The single most important thing I’ve learned from analyzing corrections is that corrective or countertrend price action is usually contained by parallel lines.

As shown above, draw the parallel lines by beginning at the origin of wave A and going to the extreme of wave B. You draw a parallel of that line off the extreme of wave A. So basically you have a small, slightly angled downward price channel. This will show you the containment region for wave C. It also shows you an area toward the bottom of the lower trend line where you can expect a reversal in price.

Here is another example. Again, you draw the parallel lines off the origin of wave A, the extreme of wave A and the extreme of wave B.

Toward the upper end of the upper trend line, you will usually see a reversal in price.

This example shows how countertrend price action is contained by parallel lines in the British pound, 60-minute, all sessions. Why is it important to know parallel lines contain the corrective or countertrend price action? Number one, it will increase your confidence that you are indeed labeling a countertrend move properly. Number two, it identifies areas where you will likely see prices reverse. For example, we see this reversal up near the top.

Improve Your Success with 14 Actionable Lessons in Trading This brief trading lesson is just a small example of the opportunities you can find once you learn to identify key market patterns. Learn more in your free 47-page eBook, How to Spot Trading Opportunities. This valuable eBook is regularly $79, but you can get it free through July 6. Download your free copy of How to Spot Trading Opportunities now.

What Will Happen to the Stock Market When QE2 Ends?

What Will Happen to the Stock Market When QE2 Ends?

Club EWI's free "Independent Investor eBook, 2011 Edition" offers you an unorthodox view of the Fed's quantitative easing program  

June 28, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

The second round of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing program, better known as QE2, will expire this week.

The QE2 policy was officially announced on November 4, 2010, and has been widely credited with subsequent stock market gains. And now, according to rumors, the end of this "experimental" program will kill the stock rally -- with potential impact across all markets.
Let's think about that.

For starters, there is little "experimental" about QE2. As EWI's November 2010 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast pointed out to subscribers, "In Japan, the very same remedy the U.S. is applying today -- rate cuts followed by quantitative easing -- finds its stock market still down more than 75% from its December 1989 peak."

Also, this chart, from EWI president Robert Prechter's January 2011 Elliott Wave Theorist, shows "the effect" the first round of quantitative easing (QE1) had on the market:

Stocks Crashed Right Through QE1

But investors have short memories. And even many of those who remember how powerless the Fed was during the 2007-2009 crash are convinced that "it's different this time."

What do the facts and the evidence say? Read the expanded, 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook

From the very first pages, the charts and graphs will show you that the Fed’s QE programs are far less powerful than is commonly presumed.

All you need to read this important 118-page eBook online now is to create a free Club EWI profile. Here's what else you'll learn:
  • Why QE2 was a major tactical error
  • Why interest rates don't drive stock prices.
  • Why rising oil prices are not bearish for stocks.                      
  • Why earnings don't drive stock prices.
  • What inflation has to do with the prices of gold and silver
  • Why the problem with the Fed is its very existence.
  • Why central banks don't control the markets.
Keep reading this free report now -- all you need is a free Club EWI membership.

Can the Fed and Economists Forecast the Future? See This Startling Chart.
Elliott Wave Financial Forecast Editors Kendall and Hochberg on economists, the Fed and forecasting
June 27, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

Business Talk Radio host Gabriel Wisdom recently spoke with Pete Kendall, Co-Editor of EWI's Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. Their discussion included a crucial but rarely asked question about economists and the Federal Reserve. Here's the relevant excerpt: 
Gabriel Wisdom: "Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says the economy is slowing but there's faster growth ahead. Is he wrong?"
Pete Kendall: "Economists are extrapolationists. They tend to look at what's happening in the economy and extrapolate that forward. So here we have a situation where not just Bernanke but economists in general are looking at... what they call the 'soft patch' and somehow contorting that into growth later in the year.  
Pete's startling reply flatly contradicts conventional wisdom. Most people believe that the Fed really is able to anticipate the economic future. After all, they're the most "qualified." But what do the facts say? 

Pete's Elliott Wave Financial Forecast Co-Editor Steve Hochberg recently included this eye-opening chart (from Societe Generale Equity Research) in his new subscriber-exclusive video, "Buy and Hold, or Sell and Fold: Where Are The Markets Headed in 2011?"

Analysts Lag Reality. From 'Buy and Hold, or Sell and Fold: Where Are the Markets Headed in 2011?'

The red line in the chart is the S&P earnings, and the black line shows economists' forecasts relative to those earnings. Here's what James Montier, head of equity research for Societe Generale, said about it:
"The chart makes it transparently obvious that analysts lag reality. They only change their minds when there is irrefutable proof they were wrong, and then only change their minds very slowly." (emphasis added)
That comment is spot-on. In 2002-2003, as you can see, earnings turned up despite economists' forecasts for earning declines. It took them a while to "turn the ship around" and play catch-up with the trend. 

Yet in 2007-2008, earnings turned down -- despite the forecast by economists for continued increases. The devastating truth is that earnings did more than fall in the first quarter of 2008: they had their first negative quarter in the history of the S&P. As Steve said in his subscriber video, "Economists were wrong to a record degree" -- and investors felt the pain.
So what's the point? Economists do extrapolate the trend. That approach works fine, until it doesn't­ -- and you're on the hook.

Elliott wave analysis never extrapolates trends -- it anticipates them. The Wave Principle recognizes that markets must rise and fall -- and that they unfold according to changes in investor psychology, in a way that is patterned and recognizable.
Most people believe that the Fed really is able to anticipate the economic future. Now you know the facts. Uncover other important myths and misconceptions about the economy and the markets by reading Market Myths Exposed.

EWI's free Market Myths Exposed 33-page eBook takes the 10 most dangerous investment myths head on and exposes the truth about each in a way every investor can understand. Download your free copy now.

Learn to Spot High-Confidence Trading Opportunities

Dear Trader,

What if you could look at a chart and see the potential trading opportunities?

Elliott Wave International (EWI), the world’s largest market forecasting firm, has just released a free eBook to teach you exactly that. How to Spot Trading Opportunities features 47 pages of easy-to-understand trading techniques that help you identify high-confidence trade setups. Senior EWI Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy will show you how some of the simplest rules and guidelines have some of the most powerful applications for trading.

Created from the $129 two-volume set of the same name, this valuable eBook is offered free until July 6.

Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to learn how to find opportunities in the markets you follow.

Download How to Spot Trading Opportunities now.

Happy Trading!!

How to Set Protective Stops Using the Wave Principle

How to Set Protective Stops Using the Wave Principle
The 3 simple rules of Elliott wave analysis can help traders manage risk, ride market trends and spot price reversals  

June 20, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

The 3 simple rules of Elliott wave analysis can help traders manage risk, ride market trends and spot price reversals.

EWI's Chief Commodities Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy values the Wave Principle not only as an analytical tool, but also as a real-time trading tool. In this excerpt from Jeffrey's free Best of Trader's Classroom eBook, he shows you how the Wave Principle's built-in rules can help you set your protective stops when trading.

Over the years that I've worked with Elliott wave analysis, I've learned that you can glean much of the information you require as a trader - such as where to place protective or trailing stops - from the three cardinal rules of the Wave Principle:

1. Wave two can never retrace more than 100% of wave one.
2. Wave four may never end in the price territory of wave one.
3. Wave three may never be the shortest impulse wave of waves one, three and five.

Let's begin with rule No. 1: Wave two will never retrace more than 100% of wave one. In Figure 4-1, we have a five wave advance followed by a three-wave decline, which we will call waves (1) and (2). An important thing to remember about second waves is that they usually retrace more than half of wave one, most often making a .618 Fibonacci retracement of wave one. So in anticipation of a third-wave rally - which is where prices normally travel the farthest in the shortest amount of time - you should look to buy at or near the .618 retracement of wave one.

Where to place the stop: Once a long position is initiated, a protective stop can be placed one tick below the origin of wave (1). If wave two retraces more than 100% of wave one, the move can no longer be labeled wave two.

Now let's examine rule No. 2: Wave four will never end in the price territory of wave one. This rule is useful because it can help you set protective stops in anticipation of catching a fifth-wave move to new highs. The most common Fibonacci retracement for fourth waves is .382 retracement of wave three.

Where to place the stop: As shown in Figure 4-2, the protective stop should go one tick below the extreme of wave (1). Something is wrong with the wave count if what you have labeled as wave four heads into the price territory of wave one.  

And, finally, rule No. 3: Wave three will never be the shortest impulse wave of waves one, three and five. Typically, wave three is the wave that travels the farthest in an impulse wave or five-wave move, but not always. In certain situations (such as within a Diagonal Triangle), wave one travels farther than wave three.

Where to place the stop: When this happens, you consider a short position with a protective stop one tick above the point where wave (5) becomes longer than wave (3) (see Figure 4-3). 

Why? If you have labeled price action correctly, wave five will not surpass wave three in length; when wave three is already shorter than wave one, it cannot also be shorter than wave five. So if wave five does cover more distance in terms of price than wave three - thus breaking Elliott's third cardinal rule - then it's time to re-think your wave count.

The Best of Trader's Classroom presents the 14 most critical lessons that every trader should know. You can download the entire 45-page eBook with a free Club EWI Membership. Download the free Best of Trader's Classroom now.


People say trading is hard and I agree. Its hard because we dont have the answer. There is no spoon. There is no answer. What we have is our mind and our eyes. I havent heard of any blind traders yet.

In order to be profitable in forex you must train your mind. It seems the more indicators you use the harder it is to trade. Keep it simple and remember the principal of trading. BUY WHEN THE PRICE IS GOING UP AND SELL WHEN THE PRICE IS GOING DOWN.

Can anyone tell me when the price is going up or down in this chart???

Think Lower Trade Deficit is Bullish for the Stock Market?

Think Lower Trade Deficit Is Bullish For the Stock Market? Now See This Chart
U.S. trade gap narrowed in April, and many will see that as a bullish sign
June 10, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

"The Dow rose nearly 1 percent Thursday... Investors were encouraged by a report that the United States trade deficit had narrowed, one positive point in a recent string of weak economic data." (June 9, 2011, Reuters)
Before you join the crowd in thinking that shrinking trade gap is bullish for stocks, read this excerpt from the 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook.
Over the past 30 years, hundreds of articles -- you can find them on the web -- have featured comments from economists about the worrisome nature of the U.S. trade deficit. It seems to be a reasonable thing to worry about. But has it been correct to assume throughout this time that an expanding trade deficit impacts the economy negatively? Figure 8 answers this question in the negative. 

Trader Deficit Has Not Been Bearish 

In fact, had these economists reversed their statements and expressed relief whenever the trade deficit began to expand and concern whenever it began to shrink, they would have accurately negotiated the ups and downs of the stock market and the economy over the past 35 years. The relationship, if there is one, is precisely the opposite of the one they believe is there. Over the span of these data, there in fact has been a positive -- not negative -- correlation between the stock market and the trade deficit.

It is no good saying, “Well, it will bring on a problem eventually.” Anyone who can see the relationship shown in the data would be far more successful saying that once the trade deficit starts shrinking, it will bring on a problem. Whether or not you assume that these data indicate a causal relationship between economic health and the trade deficit, it is clear that the “reasonable” assumption upon which most economists have relied throughout this time is 100% wrong.

Around 1998, articles began quoting a minority of economists who -- probably after looking at a graph such as Figure 8 -- started arguing the opposite claim. Fitting all our examples so far, they were easily able to reverse the exogenous-cause argument and have it still sound sensible. It goes like this: In the past 30 years, when the U.S. economy has expanded, consumers have used their money and debt to purchase goods from overseas in greater quantity than foreigners were purchasing goods from U.S. producers. Prosperity brings more spending, and recession brings less. So a rising U.S. economy coincides with a rising trade deficit, and vice versa. Sounds reasonable!

But once again there is a subtle problem. If you examine the graph closely, you will see that peaks in the trade deficit preceded recessions in every case, sometimes by years, so one cannot blame recessions for a decline in the deficit. Something is still wrong with the conventional style of reasoning. 

Read the expanded, 2011 edition of our popular free Club EWI resource, The Independent Investor eBook. All you need is to create a free Club EWI profile. Here's what else you'll learn:
  • Why QE2 was a major tactical error
  • Why interest rates don't drive stock prices.
  • Why rising oil prices are not bearish for stocks.            
  • Why earnings don't drive stock prices.
  • What inflation has to do with the prices of gold and silver
  • Why central banks don't control the markets.
  • Much more -- 51 pages in all
Keep reading the free Independent Investor eBook now -- all you need is a free Club EWI membership.

The Trend Is Your Friend: How Moving Averages Can Improve Your Market Analysis

June 06, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

Many traders and investors use technical indicators to support their analysis. One of the most popular and reliable also happens to be an indicator that has been around for years and years -- moving averages.

A moving average is simply the average value of data over a specific time period. Analysts use it to figure out whether the price of a stock or a commodity is trending up or down. It effectively "smooths out" the daily fluctuations to provide a more objective way to view a market.

Although simple to construct, moving averages are dynamic tools, because you can choose which data points and time periods to use to build them. For instance, you can choose to use the open, high, low, close or midpoint of a trading range and then study that moving average over a time period, from tick data to monthly price data or longer.

Moving Averages can help you identify the trend in a market, which is important since we all know that the trend is your friend. Yet certain moving averages can serve as support or resistance, and also alert you to trading opportunities.

This excerpt from EWI Senior Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy's free eBook, How You Can Find High-Probability Trading Opportunities Using Moving Averages, shows how a popular moving average setting identified trading opportunities in the stock of Johnson & Johnson.  

A popular moving average setting that many people work with is the 13- and the 26-period moving averages in tandem. The figure below shows a crossover system, using a 13-week and a 26-week simple moving average of the close on a 2004 stock chart of Johnson & Johnson. Obviously, the number 26 is two times 13.
During this four-year period, the range in this stock was a little over $20.00, which is not much price appreciation. This dual moving average system worked well in a relatively bad market by identifying a number of buyside and sellside trading opportunities.

Learn to apply Moving Averages to your trading and investing by downloading Jeffrey Kennedy's free 10-page eBook. Here's what you'll learn:
  • How to apply the three most popular moving average techniques.
  • How to decide which moving average parameters are best for the markets and time frames you trade.
  • How to avoid several common but dangerous myths about moving averages.

What Does a Fractal Look Like?

What Does a Fractal Look Like?
And What Does It Have to Do with the Stock Market?
May 26, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

If the word 'fractal' comes up at all in conversation, that conversation is probably being held in a mathematics department. However, anyone who is interested in the Wave Principle and how it applies to the stock market may have stumbled across the phrase "robust fractal."

If you want to know more about what it means in that context, here's an excerpt from Elliott Wave International's primer on fractals that explains the connection.
* * * * *
Excerpted from The Human Social Experience Forms a Fractal
by Robert R. Prechter

In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott discovered that aggregate stock market prices trend and reverse in recognizable patterns. In a series of books and articles published from 1938 to 1946, he described the stock market as a fractal. A fractal is an object that is similarly shaped at different scales.

Although Elliott came to his conclusions fifty years before the new science of fractals blossomed, he took a step that current observers of natural processes have yet to take. He explained not only that the progress of the market was fractal in nature but discovered and described the component patterns. The patterns that Elliott discerned are repetitive in form but not necessarily in time or amplitude. Elliott isolated and defined a number of patterns, or "waves," that recur in market price data. He named and illustrated the patterns.

He then described how they link together to form larger versions of themselves, how they in turn link to form the same patterns at the next larger size, and so on, producing a structured progression. He called this phenomenon The Wave Principle….

The Stock Market as a Robust Fractal

A classic example of a self-identical fractal is nested squares. One square is surrounded by eight squares of the same size, which forms a larger square, which is surrounded by eight squares of that larger size, and so on.

A classic example of an indefinite fractal is the line that delineates a seacoast. When viewed from space, a seacoast has a certain irregularity of contour. If we were to drop to ten miles above the earth, we would see only a portion of the seacoast, but the irregularity of contour of that portion would resemble that of the whole. From a hundred feet up in a balloon, the same thing would be true.

Photo of Madeira coastline, near Sao Jorge, by Plane Person (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Scientists today recognize financial markets' price records as fractals, but they presume them to be of the indefinite variety. Elliott undertook a meticulous investigation of financial market behavior and found something different. He described the record of stock market prices as a specifically patterned fractal yet with variations in its quantitative expression.

I call this type of fractal, which has properties of both self-identical and indefinite fractals, a robust fractal. Robust fractals permeate life forms. Trees, for example, are branching robust fractals, as are animals, circulatory systems, bronchial systems and nervous systems. The stock market record belongs in the category of life forms since it is a product of human social interaction.

How Is the Stock Market Patterned?
Idealized Wave Development and Subdivisions
Figure 1 shows Elliott's idea of how the stock market is patterned. If you study this depiction, you will see that each component, or "wave," within the overall structure subdivides in a specific way by one simple rule: If the wave is heading in the same direction as the wave of one larger degree, then it subdivides into five waves.

If the wave is heading in the opposite direction as the wave of one larger degree, then it subdivides into three waves (or a variation). These are called motive and corrective waves, respectively. Each of these waves adheres to specific traits and tendencies of construction, as described in Elliott Wave Principle (1978).

Waves subdivide this way down to the smallest observable scale, and the entire process continues to develop larger and larger waves as time progresses. Each wave's degree may be identified numerically by relative size on a sort of social Richter scale. 

Want to Know More About Fractals and the Stock Market? Then read the whole special report, called "The Human Social Experience Forms a Fractal." It's free of charge, so long as you are a member of Club EWI, which gives you access to many free reports that explain Elliott wave analysis and the Wave Principle.

How to Put the Wave Principle to Work

In the video below, EWI Senior Commodity Analyst Jeffrey Kennedy walks you
through a basic checklist of how to put the Wave Principle to work. This clip
was taken from The Wave Principle Applied webinar, originally recorded for Futures

Would you like to learn more about trading with the Wave Principle? Get 45
pages of FREE practical lessons in Elliott Wave International's Best of Trader's
Classroom eBook
Taken from Jeffrey Kennedy's renowned Trader's Classroom series, this
FREE 45-page collection offers 14 actionable lessons that will help you determine
entry points, stop levels and price targets for the markets you trade.
Download The Best of Trader's Classroom now