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Level 3 Trading - Chart Basics (Trends)

When a collection of data points are plotted on a chart, you may start seeing the general direction in which a currency paid is headed towards. In some cases, the trend is easily identified. For example, the chart clearly shows that the currency pair is rising over time:


Figure 1


On the other hand, there will be instances where trend is much more difficult to identify:

Figure 2



Therefore, more commonly, trends tend to operate in a series of gradually moving highs and lows. Thus, an uptrend is a series of escalating highs and lows, while a downtrend is a series of descending lows and highs.

Figure 3


Figure 3 is an example of an uptrend. For this to remain an uptrend, each successive low must not fall below the previous lowest point or the trend, if it does, it is deemed a reversal.


Types of Trend
There are three types of trend: Uptrends, Downtrends and Sideways/Horizontal Trends (The latter occurs when there is minimal movement up or down in the peaks and troughs). Some chartists consider that a sideways trend is actually not a trend on its own, but a lack of a well-defined trend in either direction.


Trend Lengths
Along with these three trend directions, there are three trend classifications that have to do with time duration in which the trend is taking place. A trend of any direction can be classified as either a long-term trend, an intermediate trend or a short-term trend. For forex trading, a long-term trend is composed of several intermediate trends. The short-term trends are components of both major and intermediate trends.

Take a look a Figure 4 to get a sense of how these three trend lengths might look.


Figure 4


Trendlines
Trendlines represent a charting technique, which a line is added to represent the trend in a currency pair. Drawing a trendline is as simple as drawing a straight line that follows a general trend. Trendlines can also be used in identifying trend reversals.

As you can see in Figure 5, an upward trendline is drawn at the lows of an upward trend. Notice how the price is propped up by this level of support. You can now see how this trendline can be used by traders to estimate the point at which a currency pair will begin moving upwards. Similarly, a downward trendline is drawn at the highs of the downward trend. This will indicate the resistance level that a currency pair experiences when price moves from a low to a high. (To read more, see Support & Resistance Basics and Support And Resistance Zones - Part 1 and Part 2.)

Figure 5


It is important to be able to understand and identify trends so that you can trade and profit from the general direction in which a currency pair is heading rather than lose money by acting against them. Now that you know a little about candlestick charts and trend, we can introduce you to one of the most popular chart patterns: Head and Shoulders.

Chart Basics (Head and Shoulders)
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