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  Up arrow12,000 or 10,600 by 12/15/2022
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CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 12/5/22
As of 12/06/2022
  Indus: 33,596 -350.76 -1.0%  
  Trans: 13,898 -150.08 -1.1%  
  Utils: 979 +8.73 +0.9%  
  Nasdaq: 11,015 -225.05 -2.0%  
  S&P 500: 3,941 -57.58 -1.4%  
YTD
-7.5%  
-15.7%  
-0.2%  
-29.6%  
-17.3%  
  Targets    Overview: 12/01/2022  
  Up arrow35,500 or 32,800 by 12/15/2022
  Down arrow13,400 or 14,500 by 12/15/2022
  Up arrow1,000 or 925 by 12/15/2022
  Up arrow12,000 or 10,600 by 12/15/2022
  Up arrow4,250 or 3,850 by 12/15/2022
CPI (updated daily): Arrows on 12/5/22

Bulkowski on Pattern Pairs: Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms

Initial release: 11/19/21.

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 Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: Summary

Picture of the pattern pairs.

Before I continue, when I refer to a cHSB in this article, I'm referring to a complex head-and-shoulders bottom.

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 upward breakout from a cHSB. Buy as price rises above the top of the cHSB.

On the sale side, you can sell the first bearish chart pattern which comes along, or 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 cHSB 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 cHSB and sell a...

To improve performance, try these tips.

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Trading Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: 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 on the way to the one I did catalog. So buying an upward breakout from a broadening bottom and selling at the 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 Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: Stops

I used a stop loss order set a penny below the bottom of the cHSB. 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 non-busted cHSBs and sold various non-busted patterns (broadening bottoms, broadening tops, head-and-shoulders tops, and so on), I made an average of 41% ("Stop Loss Only" column) after having a stop loss order in place. Losses averaged 14%. Replacing the stop loss with a 10% trailing stop cut the gain to 7% but also trimmed the average loss to 4%. Using a 25% trailing stop allowed me to keep more money, 18%, but losses climbed to 12%. If I didn't use any type of stop, the gain averaged 108% with losses averaging 32%.

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
Non-busted buys, non-busted sales 7% (-4%)  10% (-7%)  15% (-10%)  18% (-12%)  41% (-14%)  108% (-32%) 
Non-busted buys, busted sales 7% (-5%)  10% (-7%)  13% (-10%)  16% (-12%)  33% (-13%)  99% (-28%) 

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Trading Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: Busted Patterns

I compared the performance of selling busted and non-busted patterns in 22 contests (22 different chart pattern types, depending on which apply). I found that busted patterns outperformed non-busted ones just 36% of the time. Trade non-busted patterns.

Trading using non-busted chart patterns can improve trading results.

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Trading Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: Non-busted Buy, Non-Busted Sale

Picture of a busted pattern pair.

Table 2 shows statistics I collected for cHSBs using the trading rules described above and shown in the figure. A stop loss order was used and priced a penny below the bottom of the cHSB (after buying).

For example, if you were to buy the upward breakout from a cHSB and hold it until you encountered a broadening bottom (the first chart pattern listed in the table), but one with a downward breakout, you'd net an average of 33% on the 253 (76 winners, 177 losers) trades. That's an average of 141% on your winners, 14% average loss on your losers, and holding onto the position an average of 2.6 years. You'd find that only 30% of the trades made money but you'd gain an average of 13% per year (ranking 26th where 1 is best). If you removed the stop loss order and just held on until the broadening bottom with a downward breakout appeared, you'd make an average of 89% per trade.

The expectancy averages a loss of $0.67 per share per trade which ranks 55th where 1 is the best value.

Notes: All of the above numbers appear in the table except for the average hold time. The rank is based on the net gain for tables 2 and 3, shown below.

Table 2: Statistics for cHSBs
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Broadening bottom141%-14%33%13%2689%76/17730%$0.6755
Broadening top152%-14%45%18%8118%184/33635%$10.706
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending122%-14%21%11%3985%61/17226%$1.4748
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending178%-15%47%18%879%64/13532%$3.8432
Broadening wedge, ascending76%-14%31%15%1859%80/8150%$5.3723
Broadening wedge, descending110%-13%19%10%4344%38/10726%$1.3849
Bump-and-run reversal top130%-13%45%22%4122%240/34641%$4.8925
Diamond bottom171%-15%54%17%1189%22/3837%$5.0324
Diamond top101%-13%32%16%15162%86/12840%$6.6717
Adam & Adam double top271%-14%77%24%1163%308/65532%$12.484
Adam & Eve double top220%-14%61%21%5148%145/30732%$8.569
Eve & Adam double top183%-14%53%17%11163%175/34234%$11.315
Eve & Eve double top153%-14%42%17%11107%208/41134%$8.3910
Falling wedge104%-14%13%7%5331%33/11023%-$3.2660
Head-and-shoulders top176%-14%49%20%6120%656/133133%$5.8520
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Head-and-shoulders, complex top77%-14%14%9%4744%124/27831%$0.9154
Rectangle top209%-15%54%23%3106%97/22131%$6.4419
Rising wedge120%-14%33%16%1582%199/37035%$3.2135
Rounding top168%-14%44%15%1897%89/19032%$7.0815
Ascending scallop92%-14%25%15%18112%53/9137%$4.5226
Descending scallop143%-15%35%15%18118%267/58231%$3.5033
Scallop, inverted and ascending92%-13%23%9%4790%19/3635%$15.161
Scallop, descending and inverted99%-13%18%10%4338%126/32828%$2.2941
Triangle, ascending124%-13%29%13%26123%93/20731%$4.4027
Triangle, descending86%-14%16%8%5045%110/25130%-$1.6358
Triangle, symmetrical137%-14%29%13%2691%251/63828%$3.0338
Triple top177%-14%46%18%8128%426/94631%$6.9816
Rectangle bottom101%-16%5%3%5817%42/19418%-$2.5259
3 falling peaks158%-14%40%15%18108%415/91031%$7.4414
Roof42%-15%5%3%5835%34/6136%$1.1850
Roof, inverted84%-14%24%11%3968%52/8239%$4.3428
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank

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Trading Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: Non-busted Buy, Busted Sale

Picture of a busted pattern pair.

The figure shows an example of how this trade unfolds.

A bullish chart pattern appears and you buy at the breakout. Continue holding until your selected chart pattern appears. The chart pattern is bullish because it has an upward breakout but then things go wrong. Price reverses. Sell when the stock dips below the bottom of the chart pattern (meaning it busts the upward breakout).

Table 3 shows the performance statistics for this setup (buying a cHSB and selling only after a busted chart pattern appears). A stop loss order was used and priced a penny below the bottom of the cHSB (after buying).

For example, buying a cHSB with an upward breakout in a bull market and selling a busted broadening bottom shows winning trades making an average of 87%. Losing trades lost 14%, giving a net of 12%. The annualized gain is 5%, giving the setup a rank of 55 (where 1 is best). If you traded this without a stop, the net gain climbed to 51%. Of the stocks I looked at, I found 93 trades with 26% of them winning. Expectancy was $2.07 per share, ranking 44th where 1 is best.

Trades with sample counts below 30 are not ranked.

Table 3: Statistics for Normal Buy, Busted Sale
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Broadening bottom87%-14%12%5%5551%24/6926%$2.0744
Broadening top103%-14%24%11%3981%82/16733%$5.5322
Broadening formation, right-angled and ascending116%-12%24%12%3580%28/7128%$4.1730
Broadening formation, right-angled and descending108%-13%25%10%4351%36/7832%$1.9646
Broadening wedge, ascending172%-14%27%12%3581%8/2922%$0.6257
Broadening wedge, descending70%-14%9%5%5574%16/4228%$1.1351
Bump-and-run reversal bottom134%-12%44%16%1585%26/4238%$5.5421
Cup with handle134%-14%25%10%43102%10/2826%$3.4534
Diamond bottom136%-12%22%8%5064%11/3723%$3.1836
Diamond top100%-12%37%14%25101%32/4144%$8.2911
Adam & Adam double bottom205%-14%49%15%18129%96/23729%$14.242
Adam & Eve double bottom302%-13%71%20%6154%47/13027%$8.0212
Eve & Adam double bottom251%-12%47%15%18115%32/11023%$8.718
Eve & Eve double bottom98%-14%21%9%4755%37/8231%$2.0645
Falling wedge95%-13%24%13%26141%30/5734%$3.1437
Head-and-shoulders bottom162%-12%32%13%2686%101/29825%$2.2642
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank
Head-and-shoulders complex bottom63%-11%10%5%5545%20/5029%$1.5447
Rectangle top123%-14%29%13%26134%42/9231%$3.9831
Rising wedge105%-13%28%12%35111%35/6734%-$4.2161
Round bottom47%-12%4%76%3/827%
Rounding topNone-14%-14%5%0/160%
Ascending scallop108%-13%29%13%26107%39/7335%$2.1943
Descending scallop63%-18%1%1%6145%14/4325%$1.0252
Scallop, inverted and ascending95%-12%15%8%5081%35/10725%$2.6440
Scallop, descending and inverted107%-14%36%13%2662%22/3241%$6.5418
Triangle, ascending178%-13%45%24%179%39/8930%$2.7539
Triangle, descending102%-13%14%7%5368%30/9923%$1.0252
Triangle, symmetrical132%-14%32%13%26107%140/30032%$4.1929
Triple bottom186%-13%50%17%11132%137/29532%$8.837
Rectangle bottom59%-15%3%2%6056%21/6425%$0.6556
3 rising valleys137%-14%36%12%35105%90/18533%$13.983
Roof185%-14%80%139%9/1047%
Roof, inverted103%-15%24%11%39125%16/3333%$7.5413
Sell PatternAverage
Win
Average
Loss
NetAnnualized
Net
RankNo Stop
Net
Win/Loss
Samples
Win
Loss
Average
Expectancy
Expectancy
Rank

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Trading Complex Head-and-Shoulders Bottoms: 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 cHSB. 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 combinations of busted/non-busted sales and the resulting performance.

Buying patterns with a medium-term (3 to 6 months) duration from the trend start to the pattern's start results in better performance than the other combinations.

Table 4: Short (S) Medium (M) or Long (L) Trend Start and Performance
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy non-busted patternS41% M47% L32%S31% M46% 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 buying or selling busted or non-busted patterns when the breakout price was above (A) or below (B) the 50-day simple moving average (SMA).

If you're using a 50-day SMA, buy a non-busted cHSB if the breakout price is above the moving average.

Table 5: Above (A) Below (B) 50-Day Simple Moving Average
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy non-busted patternA52% B31%A42% B25%

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.

Trades work best if the breakout price is below the 200-day moving average.

Table 6: Above (A) Below (B) 200-Day Simple Moving Average
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy non-busted patternA30% B56%A32% B35%

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Selling First Bearish Chart Pattern

The prior discussion assumes you buy a non-busted cHSB but sell a chart pattern of your choosing, such as a downward breakout from a head-and-shoulders 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 non-busted cHSB and sell the first non-busted chart pattern which comes along, you'd make 23% on average. Annualized, you'd make 28%. This compares to a 17% 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).

Selling the first non-busted pattern which appears does well. Otherwise selling a designated busted pattern works better.

The bottom half of the table shows expectancy. If you sell the first pattern which appears, trading non-busted patterns perform best.

Table 7: Selling the First Bearish Pattern (Annualized)
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy non-busted pattern23% (28% v 17%)6% (9% v 13%)
Expectancy (Below)
 Sell Non-Busted PatternSell Busted Pattern
Buy non-busted pattern$3.98$1.16

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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See Also

 

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