W Pattern in Trading: Mastering Reversal Strategies for Profit - Trading Literacy (2024)

The W pattern in trading is a formation on price charts that signifies a potential bullish reversal after a downward trend. It resembles the letter ‘W’ due to its structure formed by two consecutive price declines and recoveries. Investors often consider this pattern as an indicator that indicates a shift from a bearish to a bullish market sentiment. It’s essential for traders to identify this pattern correctly to capitalize on possible upward movements.

This pattern is identified by two distinct lows at roughly the same price level. These lows are separated by a minor peak, forming what appears to be a double bottom. The second low is crucial, as it demonstrates that the market could not sustain the downward momentum, suggesting that a reversal may be approaching. Traders usually wait for the price to break above the resistance level created by the minor peak between the two lows to confirm the pattern’s validity.

Understanding the W pattern is important for both short-term and long-term trading strategies as it can provide insights into key entry and exit points. However, like all technical analysis tools, the W pattern should be used in conjunction with other indicators and market analysis to improve the accuracy of predictions and mitigate risks associated with trading.

Understanding the W Pattern

The W pattern is a technical analysis tool that suggests a bullish market trend reversal. It is characterized by two distinct lows at a similar price level.

Definition of W Pattern

The W pattern is a chart formation that appears as two consecutive lows separated by a peak. It resembles the letter “W”. This pattern indicates that the asset has faced support twice at a similar level and may be due for a reversal in trend.

  • First Low: Initial drop in price, establishing the first bottom.
  • Peak: Subsequent rise in price, creating a middle peak.
  • Second Low: Price drops again to the level of the first low.
  • Breakout Point: Price rises past the resistance level of the peak, confirming the W pattern.

Historical Performance

Historical performance of the W pattern suggests its reliability in anticipating bullish reversals. Analysts typically scrutinize:

  • Duration: Time taken to form the pattern can range from a few weeks to several months.
  • Volume: A noticeable increase in trading volume is often observed at both lows and upon breakout.

Psychology Behind the Pattern

The psychology behind the W pattern reflects the sentiment of the market participants. The dual test of the support level reinforces the belief that the asset has found a solid base, and when prices rise above the peak, it confirms the change in sentiment from bearish to bullish.

  • Market Sentiment: Traders’ confidence grows as the pattern develops, especially after the breakout.
  • Investor Behavior: The pattern’s second low suggests a strong buying interest at the support level.

Identifying W Patterns in Trading Charts

The ‘W’ pattern is a reliable chart formation that can signal a bullish reversal in the market. Investors often look for this pattern to capture potential uptrends.

Visual Identification Techniques

The ‘W’ pattern in trading charts resembles the letter ‘W’ and is marked by two distinct troughs indicating price declines, interjected by a peak. A trader should look for the following characteristics:

  • Initial Trough: The stock price reaches a new low and then slightly rebounds.
  • Peak: Following the rebound, the price encounters resistance and falls back, but not as far as the initial trough.
  • Secondary Trough: The price mirrors the initial trough’s low point, forming a near symmetrical visual ‘W’ on the chart.

Support and Resistance Levels

The ‘W’ pattern’s efficacy is enhanced by identifying support and resistance levels. A resistance level is the price point at which selling is thought to be strong enough to prevent the price from rising further. Conversely, a support level is where buying is considered strong enough to stabilize the price. In the context of a ‘W’ pattern:

  • Support Level: The troughs should lie near a significant support level.
  • Resistance Level: The high point of the peak often represents a key resistance level which will be tested when the pattern completes.

Volume and Confirmations

Volume and confirmations reinforce the validity of the ‘W’ pattern:

  • Increasing Volume: A higher trading volume during the second trough suggests stronger buying interest, adding credibility to the potential reversal.
  • Confirmation Point: The pattern is confirmed when the price breaks through the resistance level, ideally on increased volume.

Traders often couple the ‘W’ pattern with other technical indicators to reinforce the likelihood of a reversal.

Trading Strategies Involving W Patterns

In the context of financial trading, W patterns, or double bottom formations, signal potential bullish reversals and serve as important indicators for traders looking to capitalize on upward momentum following a downtrend.

Entry Points

Traders typically identify entry points when the price action completes the second bottom and begins to ascend. A conservative entry strategy waits for the price to break above the middle peak of the W, which is often considered a confirmation of the pattern’s validity.

  • Aggressive Entry: When price bounces off the second bottom.
  • Conservative Entry: After the price breaks above the W’s middle peak.

Exit Points

For exit points, traders often set a target by measuring the height of the W pattern and projecting it upward from the breakout point. Some may also employ trailing stops to capitalize on any further upward movement after their initial target is reached.

  • Initial Target: Height of W pattern added to breakout point.
  • Trailing Stop Loss: Adjusted upwards as price moves favorably.

Risk Management

Effective risk management strategies involve setting stop losses below the second bottom of the W pattern. Traders also manage risk by rationing their position sizes and adhering to strict trading plans to avoid emotional decision-making.

  • Stop Loss: Below the second bottom.
  • Position Sizing: Based on a fixed percentage of the trading account to limit exposure.

Technical Indicators and the W Pattern

The W pattern in trading is often confirmed and analyzed with the use of various technical indicators. These indicators help traders to assess the strength and potential validity of the pattern.

Moving Averages

Traders commonly employ moving averages to determine the trend direction and potential reversal points that coincide with the formation of a W pattern. A simple moving average (SMA) provides a smoothed price line by averaging the prices over a specific period. In contrast, an exponential moving average (EMA) gives more weight to recent prices, making it more responsive to new information. When a W pattern forms, seeing the price move above a key moving average, such as the 50-day or 200-day, can reinforce the pattern’s significance.

Momentum Indicators

Momentum indicators are crucial for evaluating the strength of the W pattern. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) measures the speed and change of price movements. A W pattern accompanied by a rising RSI suggests increasing bullish momentum, which may validate the pattern. Additionally, the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is used to spot changes in momentum and trend. A bullish crossover in the MACD, concurrent with the completion of a W pattern, can signal a strong buy opportunity.


Oscillators are used to identify overbought or oversold conditions that could align with the W pattern’s pivot points. The Stochastic Oscillator compares a closing price to a range of prices over a period, highlighting potential reversals. In the case of a W pattern, a move out of an oversold condition in the stochastic can indicate a potential upswing. The Commodity Channel Index (CCI) oscillator indicates when an asset has deviated from its statistical mean, which can be useful in confirming the second leg of a W pattern if it shows a movement back toward the mean.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Trading W Patterns

W patterns in trading are seen as indicators for a potential bullish trend reversal. This section outlines specific benefits and drawbacks associated with trading these patterns.

Pros of W Patterns

Identification of Trend Reversals: W patterns often signify that a stock is transitioning from a downtrend to an uptrend. Traders can leverage this information to enter trades at the beginning of a potential upward trajectory.

  • Clarity of Entry and Exit Points: The structure of a W pattern provides clear points for entry at the conclusion of the second leg and exit at the breaking of the pattern’s high.
  • Potential for High Reward-to-Risk Ratios: By setting stop losses below the lowest point of the W, traders may achieve favorable reward-to-risk ratios.

Cons of W Patterns

False Breakouts: The possibility of a false breakout exists, where the price fails to follow through after appearing to complete a W pattern.

  • Subjectivity in Pattern Identification: The recognition of W patterns can be subjective, as traders may interpret the formation differently.
  • Need for Supplementary Analysis: Relying solely on W patterns without confirmation from other indicators or volume can increase the risk of misjudging market movements.

Practical Examples of W Patterns

W Pattern formations in trading indicate potential bullish reversals and are significant in technical analysis.

Real-World Trade Scenarios

When a W Pattern emerges on a chart, traders typically look for two distinct troughs of similar depth. As an example, a trader observes that stock XYZ exhibits this pattern over a period of two months. The first trough hits at $50, followed by a rebound to $60, and then a second trough at $50, creating a potential double bottom. The trader enters a long position when the stock breaches the $60 level, signifying a potential uptrend.

Similarly, in the forex market, a trader may spot a W Pattern on the GBP/USD pair. The currency hits a low of 1.2500, rallies to 1.2650, and retraces back to the 1.2500 level before climbing again. The trader might wait for the price to break above 1.2650 with increased volume to confirm the pattern before executing a long trade.

Case Studies

Case Study 1: In 2018, a well-documented instance involving Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock formed a clear W Pattern. The stock dropped to $150 in November, recovered to around $170 in December, dropped back to $150, and then broke through the $170 mark in January 2019. Investors who recognized the W Pattern could have capitalized on the subsequent rise.

Case Study 2: Another instance is Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) during late 2020. The price dipped to $2900 in late September, rose to $3200 by mid-October, and again retreated to $2900 at the end of October. The completion of the W Pattern was when the price exceeded the $3200 resistance in November, which could have been an indicator for traders to open a long position.

Comparing W Patterns with Other Chart Patterns

The ‘W’ pattern is a technical analysis tool that indicates a double bottom and potential bullish reversal. It is distinct in that it reflects a specific price movement and potential change in market sentiment.

Head and Shoulders

A key distinction between the ‘W’ pattern and the Head and Shoulders pattern lies in the reversal signals they send. While the ‘W’ pattern signifies a bullish turnaround following a downtrend, the Head and Shoulders pattern typically suggests a bearish reversal after an uptrend. The ‘W’ consists of two prominent lows at roughly the same price level, signifying support, whereas the Head and Shoulders features three peaks, with the middle being the highest, representing a failing rally.

  • Signal:
    • W Pattern: Bullish reversal
    • Head and Shoulders: Bearish reversal


Triangles differ from the ‘W’ pattern by the convergence patterns they depict. Triangular patterns can be categorized as ascending, descending, or symmetrical, based on the direction of the price squeeze. In contrast, the ‘W’ pattern has a well-defined shape with two lows connected by a peak, indicating support levels are being tested.

  • Shapes:
    • W Pattern: Two connected lows with a peak
    • Triangles: Converging trendlines

Flags and Pennants

Flags and pennants are short-term continuation patterns, whereas the ‘W’ pattern indicates a potential trend reversal. Flags are rectangular shaped and slope against the prevailing trend direction, and pennants are small symmetrical triangles that form right after a steep price move. The ‘W’ pattern has a more prolonged formation and involves a double testing of the support level before the anticipated bullish move.

  • Price Movement:
    • W Pattern: Double bottom and potential bullish reversal
    • Flags and Pennants: Short-term continuation in current trend

Each pattern is a tool for market analysis, and understanding their unique features enables traders to make informed decisions based on likely future price movements.

W Pattern in Trading: Mastering Reversal Strategies for Profit - Trading Literacy (2024)


What is the W pattern in trading? ›

W Bottoms and Tops chart patterns are formed when a stock's price drops, then rises again before dropping once more and rising for a second time, creating a W-shaped pattern on the chart. The pattern signals that the downtrend may be reversing into an uptrend.

Is trading reversals profitable? ›

Reversal patterns can be very profitable to trade, as they offer opportunities to enter or exit the market at the right time. However, not all reversal patterns are equally reliable or effective.

What is the big W pattern in trading? ›

Updated with trading lessons on 6/5/2024. A big W is a double bottom with tall sides. Price often confirms the double bottom and approaches the height of the left side trend start before retracing and forming a handle. Once price completes the handle, the rise resumes.

What is the reversal pattern strategy? ›

The price first breaks out of the channel and below the trendline, signaling a possible trend change. The price then also makes a lower low, dropping below the prior low within the channel. This further confirms the reversal to the downside. The price then continues lower, making lower lows and lower highs.

What happens after W pattern trading? ›

The final component of the W pattern is the breakout. This occurs when the price rises above the middle peak, confirming the pattern and signaling the start of a new uptrend. This breakout is the signal traders look for to enter a long position.

What is the W symbol in trade? ›

On the Nasdaq, a fifth letter is added to stocks that are delinquent in certain exchange requirements: for example, in ACER. W, the first four letters comprises the stock symbol for Acer Therapeutics Inc. (ACER), and the last letter '. W' indicates that the shares have warrants attached.

Is the W formation bullish or bearish? ›

A double bottom has a 'W' shape and is a signal for a bullish price movement.

What is the W formation in forex? ›

A double bottom is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the opposite of a double top. It's formed when a market's price has made two attempts to break through a support level and failed. In between, there has been a temporary price rise to a level of resistance. It creates a 'W' shape.

What is the most accurate reversal pattern? ›

Head and shoulders patterns are usually formed at the end of an uptrend with a reversal aspect, hence, can work as one the best trend reversal patterns for traders. This pattern is formed with three highs during an uptrend or three lows during a downtrend that forms a left shoulder, right shoulder, and head.

What is the key reversal pattern? ›

Key Reversal: In a bearish key reversal the market OPENS above the prior close, often leaving a gap, sets a new high, and then closes the day lower than the prior days close. The pattern becomes stronger if the two days comprising the pattern are wide range days (spikes) or if the spike on the reversal day is extreme.

What is the best time frame for a reversal? ›

The daily chart time frame and 4 hour chart time frame are the best time frames for pin bar reversals and fakey reversals.

What does the W mean in Big W? ›

Woolworths Limited developed the Big W brand to provide Australian shoppers with a broad range of general merchandise products in a dedicated one-stop-shop. Big W's name reflects the complementary relationship it has with Woolworths Supermarkets and the W stands for Woolworths.

What is the W pattern in Crypto? ›

Description: Two consecutive, roughly equal troughs with a moderate peak in between (resembles a “W” shape). This powerful chart pattern occurs after an extended downtrend and often represents a reversal pattern that indicates a minor, if not long term, change from a downtrend to an uptrend (i.e. bullish).

What does the inverted W pattern mean? ›

A double bottom is the inverse pattern of a double top and has two successive troughs, which may or may not be at the same price levels. It looks like a W. In a double bottom, prices must close above the high point between the two bottoms before a trading ...

What is the K pattern in trading? ›

A kicker pattern is a type of candlestick pattern that predicts a change in the direction of an asset's price trend. This pattern is characterized by a sharp reversal in price over the span of two candlesticks. Traders use kicker patterns to determine which group of market participants is in control of the direction.

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