The Japanese began using technical analysis to trade rice in the 17th century. While this early version of technical analysis was different from the US version initiated by Charles Dow around , many of the guiding principles were very similar:. According to Steve Nison , candlestick charting first appeared sometime after Much of the credit for candlestick development and charting goes to a legendary rice trader named Homma from the town of Sakata.
It is likely that his original ideas were modified and refined over many years of trading eventually resulting in the system of candlestick charting that we use today. In order to create a candlestick chart, you must have a data set that contains open, high, low and close values for each time period you want to display.
The high is marked by the top of the upper shadow and the low by the bottom of the lower shadow. If the stock closes higher than its opening price, a hollow candlestick is drawn with the bottom of the body representing the opening price and the top of the body representing the closing price. If the stock closes lower than its opening price, a filled candlestick is drawn with the top of the body representing the opening price and the bottom of the body representing the closing price.
Compared to traditional bar charts, many traders consider candlestick charts more visually appealing and easier to interpret.
Each candlestick provides an easy-to-decipher picture of price action. Immediately a trader can compare the relationship between the open and close as well as the high and low. The relationship between the open and close is considered vital information and forms the essence of candlesticks. Hollow candlesticks, where the close is greater than the open, indicate buying pressure. Filled candlesticks, where the close is less than the open, indicate selling pressure.
Generally speaking, the longer the body is, the more intense the buying or selling pressure. Conversely, short candlesticks indicate little price movement and represent consolidation. Long white candlesticks show strong buying pressure. The longer the white candlestick is, the further the close is above the open. This indicates that prices advanced significantly from open to close and buyers were aggressive. While long white candlesticks are generally bullish, much depends on their position within the broader technical picture.
After extended declines, long white candlesticks can mark a potential turning point or support level. If buying gets too aggressive after a long advance, it can lead to excessive bullishness. Long black candlesticks show strong selling pressure.
The longer the black candlestick is, the further the close is below the open. This indicates that prices declined significantly from the open and sellers were aggressive. After a long advance, a long black candlestick can foreshadow a turning point or mark a future resistance level.
After a long decline, a long black candlestick can indicate panic or capitulation. Even more potent long candlesticks are the Marubozu brothers, Black and White.
Marubozu do not have upper or lower shadows and the high and low are represented by the open or close. A White Marubozu forms when the open equals the low and the close equals the high. This indicates that buyers controlled the price action from the first trade to the last trade. Black Marubozu form when the open equals the high and the close equals the low.
This indicates that sellers controlled the price action from the first trade to the last trade. The upper and lower shadows on candlesticks can provide valuable information about the trading session.
Upper shadows represent the session high and lower shadows the session low. Candlesticks with short shadows indicate that most of the trading action was confined near the open and close. Candlesticks with long shadows show that prices extended well past the open and close.
Candlesticks with a long upper shadow and short lower shadow indicate that buyers dominated during the session, and bid prices higher. However, sellers later forced prices down from their highs, and the weak close created a long upper shadow. Conversely, candlesticks with long lower shadows and short upper shadows indicate that sellers dominated during the session and drove prices lower.
However, buyers later resurfaced to bid prices higher by the end of the session and the strong close created a long lower shadow. Candlesticks with a long upper shadow, long lower shadow, and small real body are called spinning tops.
One long shadow represents a reversal of sorts; spinning tops represent indecision. The small real body whether hollow or filled shows little movement from open to close, and the shadows indicate that both bulls and bears were active during the session. Even though the session opened and closed with little change, prices moved significantly higher and lower in the meantime. Neither buyers nor sellers could gain the upper hand and the result was a standoff.
After a long advance or long white candlestick, a spinning top indicates weakness among the bulls and a potential change or interruption in trend. After a long decline or long black candlestick, a spinning top indicates weakness among the bears and a potential change or interruption in trend.
Doji are important candlesticks that provide information on their own and as components of in a number of important patterns. Doji form when a security's open and close are virtually equal. The length of the upper and lower shadows can vary and the resulting candlestick looks like a cross, inverted cross or plus sign. Alone, doji are neutral patterns. Any bullish or bearish bias is based on preceding price action and future confirmation.
Ideally, but not necessarily, the open and close should be equal. While a doji with an equal open and close would be considered more robust, it is more important to capture the essence of the candlestick. Doji convey a sense of indecision or tug-of-war between buyers and sellers.
Prices move above and below the opening level during the session, but close at or near the opening level. The result is a standoff. Neither bulls nor bears were able to gain control and a turning point could be developing. Different securities have different criteria for determining the robustness of a doji. Determining the robustness of the doji will depend on the price, recent volatility, and previous candlesticks. Relative to previous candlesticks, the doji should have a very small body that appears as a thin line.
Steven Nison notes that a doji that forms among other candlesticks with small real bodies would not be considered important. However, a doji that forms among candlesticks with long real bodies would be deemed significant.
The relevance of a doji depends on the preceding trend or preceding candlesticks. After an advance, or long white candlestick, a doji signals that the buying pressure is starting to weaken. After a decline, or long black candlestick, a doji signals that selling pressure is starting to diminish. Doji indicate that the forces of supply and demand are becoming more evenly matched and a change in trend may be near. Doji alone are not enough to mark a reversal and further confirmation may be warranted.
After an advance or long white candlestick, a doji signals that buying pressure may be diminishing and the uptrend could be nearing an end.
Whereas a security can decline simply from a lack of buyers, continued buying pressure is required to sustain an uptrend. Therefore, a doji may be more significant after an uptrend or long white candlestick. Even after the doji forms, further downside is required for bearish confirmation. This may come as a gap down, long black candlestick, or decline below the long white candlestick's open.
After a long white candlestick and doji, traders should be on the alert for a potential evening doji star. After a decline or long black candlestick, a doji indicates that selling pressure may be diminishing and the downtrend could be nearing an end. Even though the bears are starting to lose control of the decline, further strength is required to confirm any reversal. Bullish confirmation could come from a gap up, long white candlestick or advance above the long black candlestick's open.
After a long black candlestick and doji, traders should be on the alert for a potential morning doji star. Long-legged doji have long upper and lower shadows that are almost equal in length. These doji reflect a great amount of indecision in the market. Long-legged doji indicate that prices traded well above and below the session's opening level, but closed virtually even with the open. After a whole lot of yelling and screaming, the end result showed little change from the initial open.
Dragonfly doji form when the open, high and close are equal and the low creates a long lower shadow. Dragonfly doji indicate that sellers dominated trading and drove prices lower during the session. By the end of the session, buyers resurfaced and pushed prices back to the opening level and the session high.
The reversal implications of a dragonfly doji depend on previous price action and future confirmation. The long lower shadow provides evidence of buying pressure, but the low indicates that plenty of sellers still loom. After a long downtrend, long black candlestick, or at support , a dragonfly doji could signal a potential bullish reversal or bottom. After a long uptrend, long white candlestick or at resistance , the long lower shadow could foreshadow a potential bearish reversal or top.
Bearish or bullish confirmation is required for both situations. Gravestone doji form when the open, low and close are equal and the high creates a long upper shadow.
Gravestone doji indicate that buyers dominated trading and drove prices higher during the session. However, by the end of the session, sellers resurfaced and pushed prices back to the opening level and the session low. As with the dragonfly doji and other candlesticks, the reversal implications of gravestone doji depend on previous price action and future confirmation.
Even though the long upper shadow indicates a failed rally, the intraday high provides evidence of some buying pressure. After a long downtrend, long black candlestick, or at support, focus turns to the evidence of buying pressure and a potential bullish reversal. After a long uptrend, long white candlestick or at resistance, focus turns to the failed rally and a potential bearish reversal.More...