Introduction to Candlesticks
The Japanese began using Candle Stick to trade rice in the 17th century. While this early version of technical analysis was different from the US version initiated by Charles Dow around 1900, many of the guiding principles were very similar:
The “what” (price action) is more important than the “why” (news, earnings, and so on).
All known information is reflected in the price
Buyers and sellers move markets based on expectations and emotions (fear and greed).
The actual price may not reflect the underlying value.
According to Steve Nison, candlestick charting first appeared sometime after 1850. Much of the credit for candlestick development and charting goes to a legendary rice trader named Homma from the town of Sakata. It is likely that his original ideas were modified and refined over many years of trading eventually resulting in the system of candlestick charting that we use today.
In order to create a candlestick chart, you must have a data set that contains open, high, low and close values for each time period you want to display. The hollow or filled portion of the candlestick is called “the body” (also referred to as “the real body”). The long thin lines above and below the body represent the high/low range and are called “shadows” (also referred to as “wicks” and “tails”). The high is marked by the top of the upper shadow and the low by the bottom of the lower shadow. If the stock closes higher than its opening price, a hollow candlestick is drawn with the bottom of the body representing the opening price and the top of the body representing the closing price. If the stock closes lower than its opening price, a filled candlestick is drawn with the top of the body representing the opening price and the bottom of the body representing the closing price.
What Candlesticks Don’t Tell You
Candlesticks do not reflect the sequence of events between the open and close, only the relationship between the open and the close. The high and the low are obvious and indisputable, but candlesticks (and bar charts) cannot tell us which came first.
With a long white candlestick, the assumption is that prices advanced most of the session. However, based on the high/low sequence, the session could have been more volatile. The example above depicts two possible high/low sequences that would form the same candlestick. The first sequence shows two small moves and one large move: a small decline off the open to form the low, a sharp advance to form the high, and a small decline to form the close. The second sequence shows three rather sharp moves: a sharp advance off the open to form the high, a sharp decline to form the low, and a sharp advance to form the close. The first sequence portrays strong, sustained buying pressure, and would be considered more bullish. The second sequence reflects more volatility and some selling pressure. These are just two examples, and there are hundreds of potential combinations that could result in the same candlestick. Candlesticks still offer valuable information on the relative positions of the open, high, low and close. However, the trading activity that forms a particular candlestick can vary.
Definition of “Candlestick”
A chart that displays the high, low, opening and closing prices for a security for a single day. The wide part of the candlestick is called the “real body” and tells investors whether the closing price was higher or lower than the opening price (black/red if the stock closed lower, white/green if the stock closed higher). The candlestick’s shadows show the day’s high and lows and how they compare to the open and close. A candlestick’s shape varies based on the relationship between the day’s high, low, opening and closing prices.
Investopedia explains “Candlestick”
Candlesticks reflect the impact of investors’ emotions on security prices and are used by technical analysts to determine when to enter and exit trades. Candlestick charting is based on a technique developed in Japan in the 1700s for tracking the price of rice. There are many short-term trading strategies based upon candlestick patterns, such as the engulfing pattern, harami, harami cross and evening star.
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