About Elliott Waves Theory Basics
The Elliott Wave Theory is named after Ralph Nelson Elliott. Inspired by the Dow Theory and by observations found throughout nature, Elliott concluded that the movement of the stock market could be predicted by observing and identifying a repetitive pattern of waves. In fact, Elliott believed that all of man's activities, not just the stock market, were influenced by these identifiable series of waves.
Elliott based part his work on the Dow Theory, which also defines price movement in terms of waves, but Elliott discovered the fractal nature of market action. Thus Elliott was able to analyze markets in greater depth, identifying the specific characteristics of wave patterns and making detailed market predictions based on the patterns he had identified.
Definition of Elliott Waves
In the 1930s, Ralph Nelson Elliott found that the markets exhibited certain repeated patterns. His primary research was with stock market data for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. This research identified patterns or waves that recur in the markets. Very simply, in the direction of the trend, expect five waves. Any corrections against the trend are in three waves. Three wave corrections are lettered as "a, b, c." These patterns can be seen in long-term as well as in short-term charts. Ideally, smaller patterns can be identified within bigger patterns. In this sense, Elliott Waves are like a piece of broccoli, where the smaller piece, if broken off from the bigger piece, does, in fact, look like the big piece. This information (about smaller patterns fitting into bigger patterns), coupled with the Fibonacci relationships between the waves, offers the trader a level of anticipation and/or prediction when searching for and identifying trading opportunities with solid reward/risk ratios.
There have been many theories about the origin and the meaning of the patterns that Elliott discovered, including human behavior and harmony in nature. These rules, though, as applied to technical analysis of the markets (stocks, commodities, futures, etc.), can be very useful regardless of their meaning and origin.
Simplifying Elliott Wave Analysis
Elliott Wave analysis is a collection of complex techniques. Approximately 60 percent of these techniques are clear and easy to use. The other 40 are difficult to identify, especially for the beginner. The practical and conservative approach is to use the 60 percent that are clear.
When the analysis is not clear, why not find another market conforming to an Elliott Wave pattern that is easier to identify?
From years of fighting this battle, we have come up with the following practical approach to using Elliott Wave principles in trading.
The whole theory of Elliott Wave can be classified into two parts:
· Impulse patterns
· Corrective patterns
The first wave is usually a weak rally with only a small percentage of the traders participating. Once Wave 1 is over, they sell the market on Wave 2. The sell-off in Wave 2 is very vicious. Wave 2 will finally end without making new lows and the market will start to turn around for another rally.
The initial stages of the Wave 3 rally are slow, and it finally makes it to the top of the previous rally (the top of Wave 1).
Traders are not convinced of the upward trend and are using this rally to add more shorts. For their analysis to be correct, the market should not take the top of the previous rally.
Therefore, many stops are placed above the top of Wave 1.
The Wave 3 rally picks up steam and takes the top of Wave 1. As soon as the Wave 1 high is exceeded, the stops are taken out. Depending on the number of stops, gaps are left open. Gaps are a good indication of a Wave 3 in progress. After taking the stops out, the Wave 3 rally has caught the attention of traders.
The next sequence of events are as follows: Traders who were initially long from the bottom finally have something to cheer about. They might even decide to add positions.
This is the time when the majority of the traders have decided that the trend is up.
Finally, all the buying frenzy dies down; Wave 3 comes to a halt.
Profit taking now begins to set in. Traders who were long from the lows decide to take profits. They have a good trade and start to protect profits.This causes a pullback in the prices that is called Wave 4.
Wave 2 was a vicious sell-off; Wave 4 is an orderly profit-taking decline.
While profit-taking is in progress, the majority of traders are still convinced the trend is up. They were either late in getting in on this rally, or they have been on the sideline.
On the end of Wave 4, more buying sets in and the prices start to rally again.
Although the prices make a new high above the top of Wave 3, the rate of power, or strength, inside the Wave 5 advance is very small when compared to the Wave 3 advance.
Finally, when this lackluster buying interest dies out, the market tops out and enters a new phase.