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  Up arrow13,800 or 11,800 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow990 or 900 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow11,975 or 10,700 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow3,800 or 3,500 by 10/15/2022
CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 9/28/22
As of 09/28/2022
  Indus: 29,684 +548.75 +1.9%  
  Trans: 12,457 +303.78 +2.5%  
  Utils: 945 +10.61 +1.1%  
  Nasdaq: 11,052 +222.14 +2.1%  
  S&P 500: 3,719 +71.75 +2.0%  
YTD
-18.3%  
-24.4%  
-3.7%  
-29.4%  
-22.0%  
  Targets    Overview: 09/15/2022  
  Up arrow32,000 or 29,200 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow13,800 or 11,800 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow990 or 900 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow11,975 or 10,700 by 10/15/2022
  Up arrow3,800 or 3,500 by 10/15/2022
CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 9/28/22

Bulkowski on Pattern Pairs: Triple Tops

Initial release: 12/23/2021.

The idea behind pattern pairs is to pick a chart pattern type (like broadening bottoms with upward breakouts) to buy and another to sell (like double tops). You buy the upward breakout from the broadening bottom, hold for a few years, and sell when a double top appears and breaks out downward. Along the way, you give price a chance to rise far enough to overcome those trades which are stopped out for a loss. This is a trend-following strategy.

Trading Triple Tops: Summary

Picture of the pattern pairs.

The figure illustrates the idea for trading pattern pairs, where price is the red line and the boxes are chart patterns. This articles assumes you buy a busted triple top (price breaks out downward, drops no more than 10%, reverses, and closes above the top of the triple top). Buy as price rises above the top of the pattern.

On the sale side, you can sell the first bearish chart pattern which comes along, or you can wait for your favorite bearish chart pattern to appear and sell then.

Here's a list of the top five performing sell signals, based on annualized gain (annualized because the hold time is often years, in parenthesis).

Buy a busted triple top and sell a...

The following list shows the expected performance of chart pattern pairs, ranked by their expectancy. Expectancy is a way of gauging winning and losing trades and how much money you might make trading a pattern pair. I put the expected profit per trade, per share, in parenthesis.

Buy a busted triple top and sell a...

To improve performance, try these tips.

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Trading Triple Tops: Entry and Exit Conditions

The databases I built over several decades doesn't identify every chart pattern. There may be plenty of double tops over the years, for example, that I didn't catalog along the way to the one I did catalog. So buying a busted triple top and selling the downward breakout from a double top I cataloged would be different than choosing to sell a different double top. However, the following analysis does give a real-world flavor for how well you might do trading chart patterns if you follow the pattern pair strategy.

Here's what I used in my analysis.

I used the following 43 chart patterns in the analysis, but some only applied if they were busted.

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Trading Triple Tops: Stops

I used a stop loss order set a penny below the bottom of the busted triple top. Price on the way down may have gapped below the stop price (for the sale price), so I used the lower of the stop price or the opening price on the day of sale).

For trailing stops, I removed the stop loss order and used a trailing stop set at 10%, 15%, 20%, or 25% below a peak, never lowering the stop value, but raising it if a higher peak came along during the trade.

In Table 1, I calculated the percentage net gain (the average of gains and losses) when using various trailing stop loss amounts (10%, 15%, 20%, and 25%) for all tested chart patterns according to the busted/non-busted buy/sell configuration. In parenthesis is the size of the average loss so I could detail how losses change with various stop loss orders.

For example, if I tested busted triple tops and sold various non-busted patterns (broadening bottoms, broadening tops, head-and-shoulders tops, and so on), I made an average of 34% ("Stop Loss Only" column) after having a stop loss order in place. Losses averaged 9%. Replacing the stop loss with a 10% trailing stop cut the gain to 6% but also trimmed the average loss to 7%. Using a 25% trailing stop allowed me to keep more money, 27%, but losses climbed to 15%. If I didn't use any type of stop, the gain averaged 123% with losses averaging 26%.

The results show that:

Table 1: Various Trailing Stop Settings: Net Profit and (Average Loss)
Data 10%  15%  20%  25%  Stop Loss 
Only
 No Stop
Busted buys, non-busted sales 6% (-7%)  11% (-9%)  17% (-10%)  27% (-15%)  34% (-9%)  123% (-26%) 
Busted buys, busted sales 5% (-7%)  10% (-9%)  15% (-11%)  21% (-15%)  34% (-9%)  116% (-22%) 

Trading Triple Tops: Busted Patterns

A busted triple top has a downward breakout but price drops no more than 10% before reversing and moving above the top of the pattern.

In 22 contests (selling 22 different chart pattern types, depending on which apply), I compared the performance of sales using busted and non-busted patterns. I found that selling busted patterns resulted in better performance than selling busted ones 59% of the time. That's different than what's shown in Table 1:, but this is a tally of contest winners. It's different than a pattern-to-pattern comparison.

We'll see later that the expectancy is higher after selling non-busted patterns

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Trading Triple Tops: Busted Buy, Non-Busted Sale

Picture of a busted pattern pair.

The figure shows the setup for this scenario. When price busts the downward breakout from a bearish triple top, buy. Sell after a downward breakout from a non-busted target chart pattern.

Table 2 shows the performance of this scenario. A stop loss order was used and priced a penny below the bottom of the triple top (after buying).

For example, buying an triple top with a busted downward breakout in a bull market and selling after the downward breakout from a broadening bottom shows winners averaging gains of 270%. Losses average 9%, for a net gain of 55%. The annualized net is 29%. Fully 246 trades occurred with a win/loss ratio of 23%. This scenario ranks the net gain as 3rd among the two tables (2 and 3). If you traded this as a buy-and-hold position, meaning no stops were used, the net gain climbed to a gain of 113%. Expectancy was a gain of $2.68 per share, ranking 39nd where 1 is best.

Trades with sample counts below 30 are not ranked.


Table 2: Statistics for Busted Buys, Non-Busted Sales
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Broadening bottom270%-9%55%29%3113%56/19023%$2.6839
Broadening top173%-9%38%21%16118%122/35026%$3.0133
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending118%-9%16%10%4358%40/16420%$1.1849
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending143%-9%20%11%4182%28/11719%$1.1750
Broadening wedge, ascending255%-10%55%39%1104%31/9525%$6.888
Broadening wedge, descending114%-9%17%9%4745%26/9921%$2.5842
Bump-and-run reversal top147%-9%41%21%1792%171/36532%$4.4020
Diamond bottom190%-11%34%16%2788%13/4522%$3.4428
Diamond top160%-9%32%17%23124%40/12524%$4.4418
Adam & Adam double top305%-8%58%25%5212%286/106121%$7.853
Adam & Eve double top266%-8%49%24%6246%120/45321%$7.007
Eve & Adam double top241%-9%42%21%15156%125/48620%$3.7625
Eve & Eve double top262%-9%36%21%14184%93/46317%$2.7935
Falling wedge96%-9%7%5%5641%18/9915%$0.9453
Head-and-shoulders top199%-9%37%18%22136%396/140022%$4.5417
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Head-and-shoulders, complex top63%-9%6%4%5765%53/20121%$1.1351
Rectangle top99%-9%15%8%4887%76/26322%$1.0752
Rising wedge116%-9%21%14%34108%131/42324%$2.7636
Rounding top130%-9%24%10%42112%71/22024%$1.3448
Ascending scallop55%-10%2%1%6152%15/6718%-$0.9560
Descending scallop125%-10%22%13%3791%154/50823%$2.7038
Scallop, inverted and ascending76%-9%12%6%5183%22/6725%$0.8154
Scallop, descending and inverted118%-10%15%9%4559%74/30220%$0.5758
Triangle, ascending212%-8%33%17%2499%53/22619%$3.6226
Triangle, descending317%-10%62%34%2113%56/19822%$4.1622
Triangle, symmetrical179%-10%29%15%30110%164/64420%$2.9134
Triple top190%-9%38%20%19116%386/125124%$4.7915
Rectangle bottom140%-9%9%5%5555%22/15313%-$0.6359
3 falling peaks141%-9%23%12%3994%292/107321%$3.0431
Roof49%-8%4%3%60104%22/8321%$1.8945
Roof, inverted156%-10%45%19%20110%44/8933%$7.504
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank

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Trading Triple Tops: Busted Buy, Busted Sale

Picture of a busted pattern pair.

Table 3 shows trading statistics for busted Triple Tops as the entry signal and various busted chart patterns as the exit signal. Keep in mind that some trades were few. A stop loss order was used and priced a penny below the bottom of the triple top (after buying).

The associated figure shows the setup.

For example, buying a busted triple top and selling a busted broadening bottom made 213% from the winners, lost 9% on the losers for a net gain of 39%. Annualized, it was 16%. The net placed the performance of this setup at 25, where a rank of 1 is best.

Removing stops from the trades allowed them to make 446%. Only 103 trades were taken and 21% of them were winners. Expectancy was a gain of $7.46 per share, ranking 5th where 1 is best.

Trades with sample counts below 30 are not ranked.


Table 3: Statistics for Busted Buys and Sales
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Broadening bottom213%-9%39%16%25446%22/8121%$7.465
Broadening top165%-8%36%15%2998%65/19025%$4.8814
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending111%-9%25%15%3158%21/5229%$2.7537
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending201%-8%29%16%2683%19/8918%$1.6246
Broadening wedge, ascending252%-9%38%23%10155%6/2718%$2.1343
Broadening wedge, descending61%-8%6%4%5864%14/5321%$0.5957
Bump-and-run reversal bottom89%-9%7%4%5960%11/5616%$0.6855
Cup with handle2%-8%-7%-8%6259%3/319%-$1.5562
Diamond bottom122%-7%24%12%40215%17/5424%$3.2729
Diamond top197%-9%52%22%12128%27/6430%$4.4319
Adam & Adam double bottom313%-8%56%22%13221%73/29620%$7.466
Adam & Eve double bottom299%-9%64%24%9158%51/16624%$3.1330
Eve & Adam double bottom227%-8%47%24%8152%42/14023%$4.2621
Eve & Eve double bottom144%-9%9%5%5484%19/14512%-$1.4161
Falling wedge221%-9%40%18%2192%15/5621%$3.4927
Head-and-shoulders bottom220%-8%43%20%1897%93/32122%$6.6910
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Head-and-shoulders complex bottom65%-8%10%6%5254%14/4325%$0.6156
Rectangle top193%-8%51%24%7174%53/12829%$6.739
Rising wedge84%-8%16%13%3898%27/7726%$1.9044
Round bottom2%-6%-5%73%2/1214%
Rounding top118%-11%29%9%46126%12/2731%$4.9813
Ascending scallop108%-9%20%13%3587%24/7325%$2.6740
Descending scallop50%-9%9%6%5362%13/3030%$4.5516
Scallop, inverted and ascending132%-8%23%13%36102%37/13122%$3.0232
Scallop, descending and inverted100%-8%14%7%4978%19/7321%$2.6641
Triangle, ascending348%-9%46%27%4325%18/9915%$9.082
Triangle, descending174%-10%24%14%3378%19/8518%$5.2211
Triangle, symmetrical180%-8%33%16%28117%102/36222%$3.8024
Triple bottom169%-9%30%15%32112%111/40322%$4.1123
Rectangle bottom107%-10%19%9%4455%18/5425%$5.2212
3 rising valleys94%-9%13%6%5081%62/23121%$1.5847
Roof258%-8%51%146%6/2122%
Roof, inverted247%-7%58%23%11122%14/4026%$9.421
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank

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Trading Triple Tops: Performance Improvements

Here are a few ideas the data suggested which may improve performance of your pattern pairs trading.

Trend Start: Short, Medium, or Long

Find the trend start for your triple top. Often you can just look at a chart and see where the trend begins. If not, or you want to be sure, then the glossary describes how to find it.

Determine the length from the trend start to the pattern's start: short term (less than 3 months), medium term (3 to 6 months) or long term (more than 6 months).

Table 4 shows the results for the two combinations of busted/non-busted trades and the resulting performance.

The medium term (3 to 6 months) worked best when selling non-busted patterns and the short-term (up to 3 months) worked best for selling busted patterns.

Table 4: Short (S) Medium (M) or Long (L) Trend Start and Performance
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy busted patternS37% M43% L27%S43% M35% L27%

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Moving Averages: 50- and 200-Day SMA

I checked two moving averages at buy time, 50- and 200-day simple moving averages (not as a crossover setup). I compared the breakout price to the value of the moving average. Table 5 shows the performance of selling busted or non-busted patterns when the breakout price was above (A) or below (B) the 50-day simple moving average (SMA).

The results are obvious: buy a busted triple top if the breakout price is above the 50-day SMA.

Table 5: Above (A) Below (B) 50-Day Simple Moving Average
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy busted patternA34% B12%A35% B-5%

Table 6 shows the results of using a longer moving average, the 200-day. Traders often use this as a proxy for the long-term trend.

For both busted and non-busted sales, performance improves if the breakout price is above the 200-day SMA.

Table 6: Above (A) Below (B) 200-Day Simple Moving Average
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy busted patternA37% B9%A37% B0%

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Selling First Bearish Chart Pattern

The prior discussion assumes you buy a busted triple top but sell a chart pattern of your choosing, such as a downward breakout from a double top (you wait for one to appear). What if you sold the first bearish chart pattern which comes along? How would you do?

Table 7 shows the results sorted by the type of patterns involved (busted or non-busted). For example, if you buy a busted triple top and sell the first non-busted chart pattern which comes along, you'd make 11% on average. Annualized, you'd make 25%. This compares to a 18% annualized gain if you sell a designated pattern (like you waited for a double top before selling, which may or may not be the first bearish chart pattern to come along).

The best results come from buying a busted triple top and selling the first non-busted pattern which appears.

The bottom half of the table shows expectancy for the two combinations. Selling non-busted patterns leads to a higher expectancy of profit.

Table 7: Selling the First Bearish Pattern (Annualized)
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy busted pattern11% (25% v 18%)3% (8% v 16%)
Expectancy (Below)
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy busted pattern$2.29$-0.32

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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See Also

 

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