Japanese Candlestick Patterns

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Candlestick trading has become popular among technical traders due to the rapid growth of the candlestick trend. In addition, Japanese candlestick patterns are incredibly versatile, and many people consider these patterns to be reliable indicators of future positive or negative price swings.

Can these chart patterns be trusted to give reliable and accurate results, and they work in all market conditions?

Candlestick patterns are unreliable in every case, but some of them are, and you can use them as part of a trading strategy. There are many factors related to your overall trading strategy that affect the reliability of candlestick patterns, including the market, your trade-in, the timeframe, and other related factors.

This article will tell you all you need to know about Japanese candlestick charts, how they work, and whether they are reliable and accurate for making trading decisions.

What is a Japanese candlestick?

Japanese flat candlestick finance chart isolate on white background

The Japanese candlestick is a technical analysis tool traders use to chart and analyse price movements. A Japanese rice trader named Munehisa Homma developed candlestick charts. When Homma was routinely trading, he found that market forces such as supply and demand affected rice prices.

Homma’s candlesticks portray price movements graphically using different colours to denote the changes. Traders can use candlestick patterns to identify price action patterns and make decisions about short-term price movement.

Famous for developing the method of candlestick charting, Homma dominated rice markets and became an expert trader of financial instruments. Technical analysts in Japan incorporated Homma’s candlestick methodology into the trading process shortly after Japan’s stock market began in the 1870s.

By publishing his book “Japanese Candlestick Charting Technique”, the American technical analyst Steve Nison debuted the technique in the West. As a result, financial trading markets using Japanese Candlestick charts have become a widespread use of technical indicators.

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How does candlestick trading work?

The candlestick chart consolidates the data from a selected time frame into a single chart bar. A candlestick provides information about the price movement of a security over a specified period, such as a minute, hour, day, or month.

Thus, a candlestick indicates opens, closes, highs and lows within the chosen timeframe.

The colour codes make it easy to determine whether a price has increased or decreased. For example, red or black candles indicate negative (bearish) candlesticks, while green or white candles indicate positive (bullish).

A bullish candlestick will generally show a higher close than the open. On the other hand, a bearish one will show a lower close than the open.

If you want to identify a candlestick, look at its body, wicks, and colour. Patterns can take many forms, and while the shape, colour, and direction of individual candlesticks may seem random, sometimes several candlesticks join together to tell a story.

By examining candlestick patterns, traders can determine bullish or bearish market sentiment and confirm their predictions about the market’s future direction.

Does candlestick trading work?

Some traders who have had marginal success using candlestick patterns fail because they erroneously believe that all patterns follow a similar path. Instead, these patterns form when traders take a single action, such as selling when they see bearish pin bars.

However, the reason a market pattern forms have nothing to do with this, so traders don’t carry out an analysis to determine the reason.

To put it briefly, candlestick traders believe the price moves according to the candlestick pattern after a pattern forms. Therefore, they assume the pattern caused the market to behave in the way it did and that new patterns will behave similarly in the future.

Candlestick patterns have consistently been 50% successful in studies that have examined their effectiveness. To do this, traders need to learn how to differentiate between patterns that are likely to turn profitable and those that are likely to lose money. When used correctly, candlestick trading is effective.

Market analysis can benefit from it.

Candlestick patterns and shapes provide valuable data regarding what transpires in the market and can be used to predict what will happen in the future. Some patterns could indicate reversals in the market, indicating a continuation of trends.

This makes chart patterns an essential tool for analysing the market, which explains why some price action traders work with chart patterns when doing technical analysis.

Candlesticks make it easier to read price action.

Even beginners can interpret candlesticks efficiently and accurately. By simply looking at the colour-coded candlesticks, you can determine the direction of price movements, making it much easier to analyse the market. Furthermore, you can use the information you get from your chart to make your analysis.

How to read Japanese candlestick patterns?

The three elements of Japanese candlesticks you need to become familiar with are their colour, body, and wicks. This chart’s colour indicates movement within the period, its body indicates the opening and closing levels, and its wick indicates highs and lows.

As a rule of thumb, green candlesticks indicate upward movement, and red ones suggest downward. Some people, however, may prefer white (up) or black (down) candles instead.

For a green candle, the top of the body represents the close, and the bottom represents the open. On a red candle, it’s the opposite.

Both the red and green sticks have wicks (sometimes called shadows) at the top and bottom, indicating how high and low the market got in the period.

An example of a green and red candlestick

These three elements can significantly influence the movement of a market within a certain period. A green candlestick with a long body, for example, indicates significant bullish price action.

It is a sign of high volatility within the period when the wick is taller than the elongated body. Bulls and bears were battling for control, with bulls ultimately winning.

Short red candlesticks with high upper wicks indicate the price was driven higher by bulls before bears subdued it. A candlestick without any wick means the open or closing price was also high or low.

Technical traders use specific patterns as indicators of possible future movements. In principle, these patterns indicate specific behaviours that have led to particular outcomes.

Candlestick patterns come in three variations: single, double, and triple. A candlestick pattern consists of a certain number of sticks.

These patterns can be helpful for spotting opportunities despite past performance not guaranteeing future price movement. There are several examples below.

1. Doji

The doji sign occurs when the opening and closing prices are nearly (or exactly) the same for a given period. The buyer and seller will have cancelled each other out no matter how the price moves within the period.

The best way to spot a doji is to find a candlestick with a skinny body: usually less than 5% of the range for that period.

You can then determine the type of doji by looking at the wick:

  • Gravestone doji is when a long wick is visible above the body
  • When the wick extends below the body, it’s a dragonfly
  • When the wicks are long on both sides, it’s a long-legged doji
  • When the candle has no wick at all, it is a four-price doji

On its own, a doji is not very informative. Yet when viewed in context, it becomes more meaningful.

During an uptrend, for instance, you may notice gravestones forming. Although the upper wick indicates that the bull run may have continued at the start, its thin body suggests that sellers took over by the end of the session. It seems likely that the trend will reverse.

2. Spinning tops

If your candlestick has a narrow body and a long wick above and below, you have a spinning top. Consequently, the market had an extensive trading range but only a slight difference between open and closed.

When forming a spinning top, it does not matter whether the stick is red or green – all that is needed is a small body and a long wick.

The buyers and sellers compete against each other on a spinning top. Although the bulls and bears are cancelling each other, there hasn’t been much movement.

Technical traders view a spinning top as an indication of weakness in an ongoing trend.

After a long bull run, a market may spin a top, which indicates the positive sentiment may have worn off. Instead, bullish sentiment appears to be gaining strength following a downtrend.

How accurate is candlestick trading?

Since they provide detailed information and are easy to use, candlestick patterns are popular among beginning traders. They mainly use candlestick patterns to reveal where prices are likely to move. However, these predictions are not always accurate.

You can’t learn everything from candlesticks. Using candlesticks, for example, it’s impossible to determine why the open and close data points are similar or different. Therefore, candlesticks aren’t suitable for analysis alone.

You should use additional methods of technical analysis to enhance your trading experiences, such as market structure, oversold or overbought conditions, trend direction, and support and resistance levels.

By incorporating candlestick patterns with technical analysis and advanced computing, you can improve your trading strategies, making them more efficient.

Are candlestick patterns reliable?

Technical price graph and indicator, red and green candlestick chart on blue theme screen, market volatility, up and down trend.

The candlestick pattern is one of the ways traders use it to predict price movements. However, in some cases, the patterns themselves may not be accurate enough, resulting in less reliable signals from the patterns.

In addition to their massive popularity, candlestick patterns have also reduced their reliability significantly since hedge funds analyse them using their algorithms to entice retail traders to take advantage of high-odds gains.

You may consider using candlestick patterns with other trading strategies instead of solely using them as a trader. However, using candlestick patterns effectively is still an excellent method of understanding the market’s driving forces.  

Several factors impact the reliability of candlestick patterns, but you can trade with more confidence if you note these factors. They include:

  • The timeframe: Short-term timeframes are less reliable than long-term ones due to the more considerable volatility since trader sentiment tends to change more frequently on a short-term basis. In contrast, daily or weekly timeframes offer more reliable long-term effects.
  • The instrument: Different instruments behave differently, but the crucial factor is the traded volume (liquidity). In general, the more volume traded, the more reliable the candles will be. Hence, some candles work better for forex, while others are better for stocks.
  • The chart pattern: Look at the environment the candlestick occurs. Trades that are supported and challenged nearby have a good chance of working.
  • The pattern size: The larger the pattern, the more accurate it tends to be. Significant price movements also generate strong signals.
  • The candlestick pattern: Certain candle patterns are more reliable than others. On the other hand, a formation that contains more candles tends to be more reliable. Unfortunately, this formation doesn’t occur very frequently.

FAQs

  1. Which candlestick pattern is the most reliable?

No one candlestick pattern consistently predicts price action, but some appear to do so more than others. This article has a few popular patterns, but the Doji patterns are often considered the most reliable.

  1. Do candlestick patterns work?

Candlestick patterns are effective – just not in every case. However, you should always use a stop loss and confirm the move, whichever pattern you choose to trade. Then, if the pattern fails, you are at a lower risk.

  1. How many different Japanese candlestick patterns are there?

Many more Japanese candlestick patterns are not covered here, but we have covered two. Of course, each technical trader uses a different pattern, and more and more new examples appear every day. So you might better focus on a few basic patterns for those just getting started and build from there.

  1. How are candlestick patterns used in day trading?

You can use Japanese candlestick patterns in day trading the same way you would anywhere else spot a pattern on the market, confirm the move and then enter a position. Day traders often use short-term charts to spot opportunities, but the principle remains the same overall.

Bottom line

You can gain a competitive edge in the market by using Japanese candlestick trading patterns for technical analysis. Therefore, the key to using patterns is understanding how to use them.

This is because it gives you an understanding of the market’s potential trends and the ability to make decisions based on those conclusions. You can use these trading patterns to your advantage if you use them properly.

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