What is a 'Bullish Engulfing Pattern'

A bullish engulfing pattern is a candlestick chart pattern that forms when a small black candlestick, showing a bearish trend, is followed the next day by a large white candlestick, showing a bullish trend, the body of which completely overlaps or engulfs the body of the previous day’s candlestick.

 

A picture depicting the Bullish Engulfing Pattern

Breaking Down 'Bullish Engulfing Pattern'

A bullish engulfing pattern is not simply a white candlestick, representing upward price movement, following a black candlestick, representing downward price movement. For a bullish engulfing pattern to form, the stock must open at a lower price on Day 2 than it closed at on Day 1. If the price did not gap down, the body of the white candlestick would not have a chance to engulf the body of the previous day’s black candlestick.

Because the stock both opens lower than it closed on Day 1 and closes higher than it opened on Day 1, the white candlestick in a bullish engulfing pattern represents a day in which bears controlled the price of the stock in the morning only to have bulls decisively take over by the end of the day.

The white candlestick of a bullish engulfing pattern typically has a small upper wick, if any. That means the stock closed at or near its highest price, suggesting that the day ended while the price was still surging upward. This lack of an upper wick makes it more likely that the next day will produce another white candlestick that will close higher than the bullish engulfing pattern closed, though it’s also possible that the next day will produce a black candlestick after gapping up at the opening. Because bullish engulfing patterns tend to signify trend reversals, analysts pay particular attention to them.

Bullish Engulfing Candle Reversals

Investors should look not only to the two candlesticks which form the bullish engulfing pattern but also to the preceding candlesticks. This larger context will give a clearer picture of whether the bullish engulfing pattern marks a true trend reversal.

Bullish engulfing patterns are more likely to signal reversals when they are preceded by four or more black candlesticks. The more preceding black candlesticks the bullish engulfing candle engulfs, the greater the chance a trend reversal is forming, confirmed by a second white candlestick closing higher than the bullish engulfing candle.

Acting on a Bullish Engulfing Pattern

Ultimately, traders want to know whether a bullish engulfing pattern represents a change of sentiment, which means it may be a good time to buy. If volume increases along with price, aggressive traders may choose to buy near the end of the day of the bullish engulfing candle, anticipating continuing upward movement the following day. More conservative traders may wait until the following day, trading potential gains for greater certainty that a trend reversal as begun.

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