General Trade Setups

Trading a triangle breakout

Hello Traders!

A triangle break out is a high probability setup and can often be traded in either direction. A triangle is formed when there is a consolidation between buyers and sellers. The price range narrows progressively forming a nice symmetrical triangle indicating that there is near balance between buy and sell orders.  It leads to a squeeze and eventually traders on either the buy or the sell side start closing their positions resulting in an imbalance and hence the breakout. The power behind a breakout can be magnified if there is fundamentals news supporting that side of the trade around the time (or indeed the breakout could be triggered by the news!)

Take a look at one such scenario that took place yesterday, the 2nd of May 2013 on the USD-JPY pair.


It is important to draw the triangles properly and allow the formation for a sufficiently long period of time (the above example is on a 3 minute chart indicating the price action was within the triangle for a fair bit of time).  I prefer to see at least 3 touches on either sides of the triangle. Once I have seen at least three touches this is how I plan my trade:

  1. Mark the latest touches to the triangle as trigger points – in this case they are at 97.34 on the higher side and 97.11 on the lower side.
  2. Place a Buy Stop order at 97.35 i.e. 1 pip above with a Stop Loss at 97.10  i.e. 1 pip below the trigger points
  3. Place a Sell Stop order at 97.10 with stop loss at 97.35
  4. Once any of the above two orders get triggered, make sure the other order is cancelled.
  5. For target look at higher timeframe support and resistance – place orders only if you have an acceptable reward to risk ratio according to trading plan.

In the above example the initial breakout thrust produced a move of over 100 pips from entry within 2 candles roughly 4 times the 25 pips risk on the trade.

Happy Trading!

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