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Candlestick – Forex Trading Strategies

Candlestick charts are the most common chart types used by retail traders and investors. There are many other types of charts such as line charts, bar charts etc., but they don’t tell the story of past price action like candlestick indicator patterns do. When active trading is based solely upon technical analysis, projecting future price action is rooted in how the price has behaved in the past.

Candlestick analysis is a very useful form of technical analysis. It works almost perfectly in volatile times but also functions adequately in less volatile times. All in all, candlesticks, as well as candlestick trading, works fairly well in isolation or when combined with one or two other indicators.

Candlesticks represent fluctuations in price for a certain period of time. Durations may be as little as one minute or as large as a week or month. The body of the candlestick is the price difference between the opening and the closing time. The two vertical lines on each side, which are called shadows or wicks, display the highest and the lowest point of the price for that period of time.

The green candlestick in the picture below is a bullish candlestick in which the closing point is higher than the opening. The red candlestick is a bearish candlestick, indicating that the price at closing was lower than at opening. The colors of the body are irrelevant, you can set them to your personal preference.

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In candlestick trading, a green candle is bullish and a red candle is bearish. 

Now that we have explained what a candlestick is, let’s see the different shapes that a candlestick can take.

Candlestick Trading: Popular Chart Patterns

Traders carry out technical analysis to build ideas and strategies for the execution of future trades. Candlestick formations are a very useful tool for indicating possibilities for entries and exits. Their shapes show you very clearly what’s going on with the price. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and easy to recognize patterns in candlestick trading.

Dojis: In a doji, price opens and closes almost at the same level after having been traded on both sides. Buyers and sellers both have a go at pushing the price higher and lower, but finally, price ends up at the starting point. This means that forces are the same from both directions. After an uptrend where buyers had the upper hand, a doji indicates that the sellers are back in business. This means a reversal, or at least a pullback, is about to take place. The opposite applies to a downtrend.

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Left – a typical doji candlestick
Right – reversal indicated by doji candlestick.

Pins/Reverse Pins: In a pin candlestick, the price trades below the opening level and ends up at the same level by the time of the period close. This means that the buyers are matching the conviction of the sellers. In a downtrend this means that the bears are losing steam, therefore a reversal might take place. In an uptrend, a pin indicates that the sellers had a go at pushing the price down but were outnumbered by the buyers. This is a confirmation of trend continuation and longs have much better odds than shorts.

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In a downtrend, a pin candlestick usually indicates a reversal.

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In an uptrend, pin candlesticks usually indicate the continuation of the trend.

Reverse pins are the same as pins but act on the opposite direction. The candle opens, bulls have a go,  and then the bears charge in to take the price back to the opening level. In an uptrend, this means that a downtrend is about to begin — in a downtrend, a reversal pin indicates a trend continuation.

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In an uptrend, reverse pin candlesticks usually indicate the beginning of a bearish trend.

Hammers/Reverse Hammers: In candlestick trading, hammers are basically the same as pins and reverse pins but with stronger momentum. In a downtrend hammer, price opens and trades below before closing above the opening level. This means that the buyers more than matched the sellers.

The size of the shadow might vary. Some argue it should be at least twice the size of the body, but one thing is for sure; the bigger the shadow/wick, the bigger and stronger the reversal. This is true for pins as well. In an uptrend, a hammer is a sign of a trend continuation. Reverse hammers are the opposite, same as reverse pins. They indicate trend change in an uptrend and trend continuation in a downtrend.

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Hammers indicate trend reversal is in place.

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Inverted hammer in an uptrend indicates a reversal of the trend.

Morning/Evening Star: Morning stars and evening stars can only mean one thing in candlestick trading — reversal. A morning star formation includes three candles, a bearish candle, a neutral candle and a bullish candle. The formation means that price will rise, hence the name ‘morning star’. Evening stars consist of a bullish candle, an indecisive one, and a bearish candle. They indicate a fall in price is forthcoming. Between the three candles, there are supposed to be gaps, which can only happen on daily or weekly charts, but that’s not always the case.

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Evening and morning stars always indicate a reversal.

Bearish/Bullish Engulfing: A bearish engulfing is a much bigger bear candle than the previous bull candle. The new candle engulfs the body of the previous candle. In this formation, the trend doesn’t matter as it indicates a fall regardless of trend. Vice-versa for the bullish engulfing candle.

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Bearish engulfing reversal – falls follow each bearish engulfing candle.

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Bullish engulfing reversal and continuation – bullish engulfing formation are followed by rises in the price.