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There are hundreds of thousands of market participants buying and selling securities for a wide variety of reasons: hope of gain fear of loss tax consequences short-covering hedging stop-loss triggers price target triggers fundamental analysis technical analysis broker recommendations and a few dozen more. Trying to figure out why participants are buying and selling can be a daunting process. Chart patterns put all buying and selling into perspective by consolidating the forces of supply and demand into a concise picture. As a complete pictorial record of all trading chart patterns provide a framework to analyze the battle raging between bulls and bears. More importantly chart patterns and technical analysis can help determine who is winning the battle allowing traders and investors to position themselves accordingly.
In many ways chart patterns are simply more complex versions of trend lines. It is important that you read and understand our articles on Support and Resistance as well as Trend Lines before you continue.
Chart pattern analysis can be used to make short-term or long-term forecasts. The data can be intraday daily weekly or monthly and the patterns can be as short as one day or as long as many years. Gaps and outside reversals may form in one trading session while broadening tops and dormant bottoms may require many months to form.