It will come to a point when the market will break out through previous support or resistance, and that can often signal the start of a new trend.
If a market really starts moving, then clearly it’s going to break through a level.
As you can see in the first picture, we’ve got resistance there. The market rallies up, market sentiment shifts. Sellers come back in and push the price down. Breakout is when it’s approaching it again, we’re expecting it to run out of steam but it doesn’t. This is a breakout to the upside.
And of course, If we add a line beneath that breakout, we will have a breakout to the downside. So traditionally, it’s a sign that sentiment has changed. And in this example, the normal expectation would be for the market to move higher. They can be difficult to trade because you get false breakouts. But there are a couple of different ways of trading this.
1. Go for It
One way is that when the market breaks the level, in this example we just buy, of course, if it was breaking to the downside we would be a seller. So we’re jumping in straight away. If that level is 100, let’s say the market trades to 102, which is going to buy in and hope the market is going to move higher when it comes to stops.
This is where it can be difficult. Breakouts tend not to be very clean and suddenly the market just zooms up nice and easily. There will be an element of the market shopping around. So I think it’s an idea to have our stop somewhere back in the breakout zone.
2. Be Patient
Maybe an easier way of placing stocks is to be a bit more patient. So the market breaks out rather than buying straightaway. Perhaps one approach is to wait to see what happens next. If the market maybe pulls back a little bit, then shows some strength and starts to move. We have maybe an obvious area to have a tighter stop. We’ve seen the market break out. It’s been a bit of selling to push it back, but the markets run it again. So, maybe buying like you can see in the previous picture with a tight stop.
And there is an approach that some traders may prefer. The downside, of course, is if the market breaks out and takes off and doesn’t pull back, then you miss out on the move. But they can be a bit tricky to trade because it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a clean break. So let’s look at a few examples and the different ways that maybe we can try to profit.
Here’s a short-term example on a foreign exchange pair euro-dollar zero spreads that you can see on the picture. So this is the end of October through to the first week in November. And we’ve seen the euro slid heavily as rallied, but it really can’t get through 1,1691.
If the market breaks through 1,1690, well, maybe you set an order at 1,17 and you want to be a buyer. So you can see on the picture that this was a problem back on the 2nd November, 3rd November and again comes back up to it on the 10th of November. The market really doesn’t want to rally up through 1,17.
But if we look at the 14th of November, so 7 to 8 o’clock in the morning UK time, we do see that level break.
So if we’re just buying the breakout, an aggressive strategy would be a buy now and maybe we put our stop-loss under the most recent lows. The lows that were set during the early hours in the morning may be down around about 1,1655, that sort of area. But either way, the breakout is the signal to buy in this example. So we’re in straight away.
Just on the break-in this example, it went well. There’s our break as you can see on the picture.
The market doesn’t really look back. And in fairly short order, it’s 150 points higher. So it moved almost in a straight line. If we were trading our stop-loss up, we would have caught a chunk of the move. But as a good example, I think where just buying that breakouts right away, big level. And the market did really rally and it would have been a profitable trade. But sticking with this same euro-dollar chart, for now, I thought it’s important to highlight an example where it didn’t work.
You know, we had the lows from back here. 27th of October lows around about 1,1570. The market breaks below those on the 7th of November. So, If we just sold the breakout there with the stop-loss, we didn’t get any follow-through ended up being a false break and we would have been stopped there. So this does highlight, why it’s always important to have some sort of risk control in place, some stop If it doesn’t work out.
Now for longer-term breakouts, it would be interesting to look at the daily chart of an individual share. On this picture, you can see Facebook shares, just to see really how the breakouts have performed. So, September 2016 rallies out to about a $133 a share. Rallies back there again in October 2016.
And it’s not until the next year set to February 2017 that we finally get the break, and the break of this is a big level. This big barrier did signal the next rally higher and we didn’t get much of a pullback. But look at the picture what happens in April. It does get a bit messy. And we’ve got that level at 154. The market sort of pokes through during the day, but keeps giving it up, then pokes through again.
So if you’re a bull on the break out there, we would have had to stand quite a big move against it. The logical place for stop-losses was probably below those old lows. So it’s not as clear cut that you’re guaranteed to make money on a breakout because you do get false breakouts and you do get quite a bit of choppy trading.
We have these old highs for Facebook from July 2017, around about 1,75. And towards the end of October, we’ve seen the level break.
Plenty of people are broken out and pulled back, so now we’re seeing a bit more strength. And maybe one idea for a stop-loss is underneath that low from the end of October. So somewhere below 1,67.
But hopefully, you can see just because a market breaks out doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to carry on straight away in that direction. But it can be a good sign, the sentiment is shifting. We’re looking to sell a breakout to the downside, but we’re going to be patient.
So, as you can see in the picture, that is the short term chart of the German stock market index from the beginning of November. And this is an hourly candlestick. So the market gapped higher left a lower 13300, came back down to a 7th in November. And it holds and then it breaks. Now, if we are being patient, we’d be looking to sell short. But maybe we want to see a bit of a bounce back to get a better price to sell short and have a better place to set our stop.
If we’d been waiting here, we never really got it, because the markets sold off so heavily. 13300 was the level and it traded down a good couple 100 points over the next six hours or so.
So we would have missed out if we were waiting for a better opportunity there. But it has given us, I think, another level if we’re looking at short-term breakouts. Let’s pick up on these lows and think about selling short if those lows are broken.
So we’re watching 13104, the break. We’re not going to set it straight away. We want to see it break, then rally, run out of steam, then sell short.
What happens? So once again, when the level breaks, we see a really sharp sell-off and the market drops, what, 150 points, but it does bounce back, runs out of steam. Near the breakout point. So, again, as you can see this could be an opportunity now where we’ve been a bit more patient selling short, maybe putting a stop-loss up above these highs here.
As you can see on the next picture, the rally back to the breakout point ends up failing again. So if we were going short-13018, the market does sell off even deeper down towards 12860 area. So there is an example where we have missed the breakout here because the market never really pulled back. But a bit of patience there, we got a better entry, maybe a logical point for the stop and ended up being a pretty good trade in the end.
That is a good example because we have missed our first of all on that big move by being maybe too patient. But we did call the second move. Good entry, good stop and a nice move afterward. So breakouts, they don’t work all the time like everything else, there is no holy grail some magic system.
But they can be an easy way of spotting when a potential new trend is starting. And if you’re a little bit patient, giving you a good balance of risk versus reward, where it comes to where you place your stop and what your target’s going to be.