Symmetrical triangle chart patterns

Triangles are a popular price pattern that traders use. There are several different triangle patterns that can be identified including:

This lesson will first take you through what a symmetrical triangle chart pattern is and then teach you how to use it to trade.

In the following lessons we will then introduce you to ascending and descending triangles.

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A symmetrical triangle is found when the price is consolidating

A symmetrical triangle occurs when the price is making lower highs and higher lows. This usually means that neither the buyers nor the sellers are able to gain control, causing the price to range within a triangle.

The price usually trades between trend lines which act as support and resistance, preventing the price from breaking through to new highs or lows.

Identifying a symmetrical triangle pattern

The chart below demonstrates how a symmetrical triangle pattern may look:

Symtriangle example3

You can practice how to draw symmetrical triangles in the following exercises:

Exercise 1: Where is the symmetrical triangle? Show exercise
Exercise 2: Where is the symmetrical triangle? Show exercise

Trading a symmetrical triangle: method one

The first way to trade a symmetrical triangle is to look for a breakout on either side of the triangle and then trade in the direction of the breakout. Wait for a candle to close above or below the trend line before you look to enter.

The stop loss should be placed at the opposite slope of the triangle.

  • When buying, the stop loss would be placed below the bottom slope.
  • When selling, the stop loss would be placed above the top slope.

The take profit level is determined by taking the height of the back of the triangle and placing it an equal distance from the trend line breakout.

The chart below demonstrates where the entry would be placed. In this case the price broke out to the upside of the triangle.

Symtriangle example2method1

el1 Long entry after the price breaks through the triangle to the upside
sl2 Stop loss below the lower slope of the triangle
tp3 Take profit goes the same distance away from the entry as the height of the back of the triangle

The chart below demonstrates the price breaking out to the downside:

Symtriangle method1example

es1 Short entry when the price breaks through triangle to the downside
sl2 Stop loss above the upper slope of the triangle
tp3 Take profit goes the same distance away from the entry as the height of the back of the triangle

You can practice where to place the entry, stop loss and take profit in the following exercise.

Exercise 1: Where would you place your entry, stop loss and profite target Show exercise

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Trading a symmetrical triangle: method two

The second way to trade a symmetrical triangle is to wait for the price to break out of the triangle and then come back to retest the slopes of the triangle as either support (in the case of a long trade) or resistance (in the case of a short trade).

The stop loss would go either above the resistance level (in the case of a short trade) or below the support level (in the case of a long trade).

The profit target is the same as in method two, by measuring the distance of the back of the triangle and placing the profit target the same distance away from the entry.

The chart below demonstrates the second way you can trade the symmetrical triangle pattern for a long trade:

Symtriangle method2 example

el1 Long entry after the price comes back to test the slope of the triangle as support
sl2 Stop loss goes below the support area
tp3 Profit target goes the same distance as the back of the triangle, up from the entry

You can practice where to place the entry, stop loss and take profit in the following exercise.

Exercise 1: Where would you place your entry, stop loss and profit target Show exercise

Summary

So far, you have learned that …

  • … the symmetrical triangle chart pattern indicates a possible breakout in either direction.
  • ... you can trade using a symmetrical triangle by placing a trade when the price breaks through the triangle and trading in the direction of the breakout. The stop loss would go on the opposite side of the triangle. The take profit is placed the same distance away from the entry as the height of the back of the triangle.
  • ... you can also trade using a symmetrical triangle by waiting for the price to come back and then place a trade once the price has found support (in the case of a long trade) or resistance (in the case of a short trade). The stop loss would go above, or below, the resistance or support levels respectively. The profit target would be placed the same distance away from the entry as the height of the back of the triangle.

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  • Hi, I've got some discrepancy concerned Quiz contained in question 4 p 2. Namely the lesson states that you should measure the size of the back of the bearish symmetrical triangle, and then place your profit target an equal distance away from your entry. In the example given, this is at tp2. The above sentence is contrary with the video which says that it should be rather measured from breakdown line and this is somewhere between tp1 and tp2:
    "To measure the profit objective, measure the height of the back of triangle and extend this measurement from the breakout point where price broke out from the trend line."
    Please explain which one solution is more correct.
  • Hi Radek,
    I don't see too much conflict between the two instances. Entry and breakout are used interchangeably because of the entry occurring on the break. But to be precise the measuring should start at the breakout. That is a technical event, your entry isn't.
    Hope that helps.
    Peter
  • The answer for question 6 says "The lesson states that you should place your stop loss just below the newly formed resistance level. In the example given", should it be "above" actually?
  • Hi Balebeng,
    Thanks for spotting the mistake, now corrected.
    Regards.
    Peter

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