The most popular continuation patterns are bullish and bearish flags, bull and bear pennants, and triangles. The least popular continuation patterns are rectangles and continuation gaps. It is considered a failure when the price rises from below the breakdown point to above the pattern resistance level. It is considerd a failure when the price drops from above the breakout point to below the pattern support level.

  1. If the price breaks higher, add that measurement to the bottom of the flag/pennant to get an upside profit target.
  2. Both formations are classified as continuation patterns as they facilitate an extension of the prevailing trend.
  3. Proper identification and interpretation allow traders to devise strategies in harmony with the market trend’s continuation.

Conversely, a trendline that is angled down, called a down trendline, occurs where prices are experiencing lower highs and lower lows. As a “visual summary” of all buying and selling activity, chart patterns provide a “picture” of the battle raging between the bulls and bears. Flag patterns are categorized by a flagpole connected with two parallel lines with the price oscillating within these parallel levels. This type of a continuation pattern is not as common as the previous four. It is quite difficult to identify, but it is still effective and classified as a continuation pattern. It is named “a cup and handle” as it resembles a cup and handle, as the cup is in the shape of the letter U, while the handle has a slight downward drift.

These patterns often signify that the momentum will pick up again, carrying the price further in its original direction. The major drawback to trading continuation patterns and chart patterns, in general, is the risk of a false breakout. A false breakout occurs when the price moves outside of the pattern but then moves right back inside it or out the other side. Continuation patterns are de facto periods of price consolidation within a broader trend.

Price patterns are often found when the price “takes a break,” signifying areas of consolidation that can result in a continuation or reversal of the prevailing trend. Trendlines with three or more points are generally more valid than those based on only two points. Once the breakout appears, a trader may take positions in the direction of the trend. If the price breaks above any one of the Continuation patterns, it may be a buy signal. Conversely, if the price breaks below the Continuation patterns, it may be considered a sell signal. The stop-losses are commonly set outside the Continuation patterns.

Bullish and bearish Flags

These patterns indicate a temporary consolidation phase before the price resumes its previous trend. Traders can enter trades after the breakout, aiming for a profit target based on the height of the triangle. It is crucial to wait for a confirmed breakout before entering a position, as false breakouts can lead to significant losses.

Often, the volume will decrease during the formation of the pennant, followed by an increase when the price eventually breaks out. A continuation pattern entry point is set on a bearish continuation pattern when the price penetrates the pattern support level on increased selling volume and bearish momentum. A continuation pattern entry point is set on a bullish continuation pattern when the price rises above the resistance point on increased buying volume and bullish momentum.

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Continuation chart patterns are often used in forex technical analysis to predict the continuation of a trend in a currency pair’s exchange rate. These classic chart patterns generally occur during a temporary pause in the forex market’s direction for a currency pair that is then followed by a continuation of the prevailing trend. As the name suggests, the continuation pattern for a rectangle continuation pattern will follow a rectangular shape, with the value bouncing between two parallel trendlines. As they follow an uptrend or downtrend, these continuation patterns do look very similar to flags, but they differ in the size, or broadness, of their pattern.

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For instance, the buyers are in control of the price action as long as the uptrend is taking place i.e. there is a series of the higher highs and higher lows. Hence, the side that has been in control so far has a higher chance of winning the upcoming matches than the side that has been on the losing side. After a strong move to one of the two sides, the price action starts to move sideways i.e. on a temporary pause. This period is ended once there is a confirmed breakout in the direction of a previous trend.

Bullish Continuation Pattern Example

The rectangle pattern characterizes a pause in trend whereby price moves sideways between a parallel support and resistance zone. The pattern indicates a consolidation in price before continuing in the original direction of the existing trend. The added benefit of this pattern is that traders have the opportunity to trade within the range or trade the eventual breakout, or both.

Rectangle patterns are continuation patterns that represent a period of consolidation within a prevailing trend. These patterns are formed by parallel horizontal support and resistance levels, creating a rectangle shape on the chart. Traders can enter trades after the breakout, targeting a profit equal to the height of the rectangle pattern.

What is a Continuation Pattern?

A brief continuation pattern occurring within a strong trend has a better chance of playing out than an extended structure which erodes the trend over time. As an example, in a bearish descending triangle, price repeatedly tests support while making a series of lower highs, indicating waning momentum and buyer appetite. A bullish triangle will display the opposite features — consistently higher lows while price attempts to overcome overhead resistance. A triangle can mark a consolidatory period in situations where an uptrend is less visible, and can occur without the ‘flagpole’ which precedes a pennant.

What are continuation patterns in technical analysis?

More information about each type of classic continuation pattern appears below. A bullish continuation pattern example is illustrated on the daily Facebook (Meta) stock price chart above. They are often found in strong uptrends and downtrends and can be either bullish or bearish. They are most indicative of a strong breakout when their waves (in the rectangle area) are tight and bounce up and down at equal heights, bouncing up to the height where the initial trend finished. Often a bullish chart pattern, the ascending triangle pattern in an uptrend is not only easy to recognize but is also a slam-dunk as an entry or exit signal. It should be noted that a recognized trend should be in place for the triangle to be considered a continuation pattern.

In addition, in some circumstances, an asset will not behave as expected — continuation patterns in and of themselves provide no guarantee of what will happen next. Not all continuation patterns strictly show whether a trend is about to resume and how far it might do so. Continuation patterns are not a trading strategy or instrument in themselves; they provide a frame of reference for price behavior as part of chart analysis. Continuation patterns are ubiquitous, and apply to both bull and bear markets, long and short timeframes.

For example, in a bullish trend, a flag pattern may initially show a slight downward movement before breaking upwards. The breakout’s direction is crucial; it must align with the initial trend to classify as a continuation. For example, if the prevailing trend is up, they will buy if the price breaks out of the pattern to the upside. Other traders will take a trade in the breakout direction even if it goes against the prevailing trend.