How to Trade the Head and Shoulders Pattern in Forex

Head and Shoulders Pattern

The first and third peaks are the shoulders, and the second peak forms the head. The line connecting the first and second troughs is called the neckline. The price rises again to form a second high substantially above the initial peak and declines again. The neckline rests at the Head and Shoulders Pattern support or resistance lines, depending on the pattern direction. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

Now for the really fun part – how to trade and of course profit from a head and shoulders reversal. Next, we’ll discuss a few entry methods for trading the head and shoulders. Notice how it took a daily close below neckline support to constitute a confirmed break. While there were a few previous sessions that came close to breaking the level, they never actually closed below support. To better explain things let’s look at it from a different perspective. For this, we’re going to use a real head and shoulders formation that occurred on the GBPJPY weekly chart.

Head and Shoulders Pattern: What Is It & How to Trade With It?

After forming the left shoulder, head, and right shoulder, the cryptocurrency dropped through the neckline, signaling that it would continue declining. Find the breakout point—where the price first breaks the neckline after the right shoulder forms—and add that distance to the breakout price. A fourth component—the neckline—is formed by drawing a line underneath the troughs established just before and just after the head.

Head and Shoulders Pattern

The head and shoulders pattern indicates that a reversal is possible. Traders believe that three sets of peaks and troughs, with a larger peak in the middle, means a stock’s price will begin falling. The neckline represents the point at which bearish traders start selling. After the formation of the left shoulder, price decline below prior low and form lower low formation and it is marked as the bottom of the trend. After trough formed the price advance near the level of prior swing high, and it forms the second point for the neckline. This high usually breaks the downtrend line and indicates a loss in market momentum. It is important to understand the trend direction to trade reversal because without a prior uptrend there cannot be head and shoulder reversal patterns.

The best time frame to spot it

The very first part of a head and shoulders pattern is the uptrend. This is the extended move higher that eventually leads to exhaustion. Today I’m going to show you step-by-step how to trade the head and shoulders pattern. Im using a technique that uses bollinger bands and several moving average to trade this pattern with great winning probability. Not for pure price action fans though because it uses quite a number of indicators. The Head and Shoulders pattern signals a possible trend reversal as the buyers cannot push the price higher. These following techniques could actually give you a more favorable risk to reward and a better higher probability trade on this chart pattern.

Head and Shoulders Pattern

Both versions of the pattern share the same strengths and weaknesses, as they only differ in the context of structure. Arguably, the greatest advantage of the head and shoulders pattern is that it defines clear areas to set risk levels and profit targets. The head and shoulders pattern, as well as the inverse head and shoulders formation, are two of the most popular trading formations. Although they are not so easy to identify, they are very reliable and effective patterns that offer extremely lucrative risk-reward opportunities.

Plan your trading

This can raise the chance of a ‘fake-out’, where the price breaks the neckline and then reverses higher once more. With that in mind, it makes sense to seek some form of confirmation that the break will last. Technical analysts use a whole host of methods to find turning points in charts, be it through the use of indicators, patterns, or historical highs and lows. USD/CAD closed below the neckline on a daily basis, then the buyers pushed the price higher the next day, before ultimately sliding lower.