Candlestick Reversal Patterns
Just as many traders look to bar charts for double tops and bottoms, head-and-shoulders, and technical indicators for reversal signals, so too can candlestick formations be looked upon for the same purpose. A reversal does not always mean that the current uptrend/downtrend will reverse direction, but merely that the current direction may end. The market may then decide to drift sideways. Candlestick reversal patterns must be viewed within the context of prior activity to be effective. In fact, identical candlesticks may have different meanings depending on where they occur within the context of prior trends and formations.
Hammer — a candlestick with a long lower shadow and small real body. The shadow should be at least twice the length of the real body, and there should be no or very little upper shadow. The body may be either black or white, but the key is that this candlestick must occur within the context of a downtrend to be considered a hammer. The market may be “hammering” out a bottom.
* Hanging Man — identical in appearance to the hammer, but appears within the context of an uptrend.
*Engulfing Patterns — Bullish — when a white, real body totally covers, “engulfs” the prior day’s real body. The market should be in a definable trend, not chopping around sideways. The shadows of the prior candlestick do not need to be engulfed.
*Bearish — when a black, real body totally covers, “engulfs” the prior day’s real body. The market should be in a definable trend, not chopping around sideways. The shadows of the prior candlestick do not need to be engulfed.
* Dark-Cloud Cover(bearish) — a top reversal formation where the first day of the pattern consists of a strong white, real body. The second day’s price opens above the top of the upper shadow of the prior candlestick, but the close is at or near the low of the day, and well into the prior white, real body.
* Piercing Pattern (bullish) — opposite of the dark-cloud cover. Occurs within a downtrend. The first candlestick having a black, real body, and the second has a long, white, real body. The white day opens sharply lower, under the low of the prior black day. Then, prices close above the 50% point of the prior day’s black real body.
A large portion of the material is taken from an excellent book called Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques.As traders, we need as many trading tools in our arsenal, and a basic knowledge of candlesticks provides a trader much needed ammunition. Also remember that no matter what the trading tool, no matter how advanced or ancient, it is only effective when put into practice properly.