Candlesticks And Crossovers
Candlestick charts are widely used by traders around the world, as superficial demarcations between East and West are thankfully fading away. While bar charts are still more popular because of sheer inertia, there is little doubt that candles provide much more information, even though both types of charts are based on the same prices. Let’s take a look at the advantages of using candles when gauging the validity of intersections.
Traders make a big deal about prices breaking support and resistance lines, trendlines, moving averages and retracement or extension levels. However, intersecting these lines on an intraday basis and closing outside them are two very different ball games.
Benefits for Using Candlesticks
- Candles make it easy to separate bullish periods from bearish periods.
You can easily do that by looking at the different colors of the candles.
- They make it easy to separate truly bullish and bearish periods from failed bullish and bearish. Traders achieve that by avoiding bar charts. The lowest bar in a downtrend may look like a bearish continuation on a regular bar chart, but it may show just the opposite on the candlestick chart under special conditions.
- Candlestick charts provide specific bullish and bearish reversal patterns that are not seen with bar charts. In addition to the standard head-and-shoulders or flag formations, candlestick charts provide one-day or two-day reversals, such as dark cloud cover or hammers. These are powerful tools that should be used by all traders.
- They also provide “wait-and-see” patterns.
Traders always like clear directions, and currency dealers will be equally happy with both bullish and bearish signals. However, whether we like it or not, there will be many times when the markets will be quite unclear. Candlestick charts will provide these “wait-and-see” signals, such as harami, to warn you to slow down considerably or even temporarily stop trading because you do not have sufficient information.
Candlestick charts consist of opening, high, low, and closing prices, just like bar charts, but the significance of the closing price, along with the opening price, is clearly emphasized. There are two important elements to consider in chasing the above benefits:
The body of the candlestick is formed by the difference between the opening and closing prices. Traditionally, a red body indicates that the currency closed higher than it opened, and a black body shows that the currency closed lower than it opened. Of course, select the color scheme of your choice, for as long as they are different and you remember which color is up and which one is down. A long body adds strength to that direction, while a small body indicates lack of confidence. Figure 1 shows a series of mostly bullish daily candles of euro/dollar, which have different body lengths
caption: Figure 1. A series of euro/dollar prices with mostly bullish daily candles, which have different body lengths.
On the one hand, short tails, or shadows, have no bearing on the significance of the candlestick. On the other hand, long shadows will point to failure in the direction of the shadow. Figure 2 shows several attempts to extend the euro/dollar rally seen in the first candle. However, while the third candle hits the highest level of this move, the attack is very tentative and the euro/dollar pulls back by the close. More of the same is seen in the next candle. Eventually it becomes clear that the market doesn’t have what it takes to break any higher and the euro/dollar came down hard.