Using Trendlines In Trading

Table of Content

What Is a Trendline?

Trendlines are easily recognizable lines that traders draw on charts to connect a series of prices together or show some data’s best fit. The resulting line is then used to give the trader a good idea of the direction in which an investment’s value might move.

A trendline is a line drawn over pivot highs or under pivot lows to show the prevailing direction of price. Trendlines are a visual representation of support and resistance in any time frame. They show direction and speed of price, and also describe patterns during periods of price contraction.

Illustration Of Trendlines:
Illustration Of Trendlines

Important Points To Remember:

  • Trendlines indicate the best fit of some data using a single line or curve.
  • A single trendline can be applied to a chart to give a clearer picture of the trend.
  • Trendlines can be applied to the highs and the lows to create a channel.
  • The time period being analyzed and the exact points used to create a trendline vary from trader to trader.

What Do Trendlines Tell You?

The trendline is among the most important tools used by technical analysts. Instead of looking at past business performance or other fundamentals, technical analysts look for trends in price action. A trendline helps technical analysts determine the current direction in market prices. Technical analysts believe the trend is your friend, and identifying this trend is the first step in the process of making a good trade.

To create a trendline, an analyst must have at least two points on a price chart. Some analysts like to use different time frames such as one minute or five minutes. Others look at daily charts or weekly charts. Some analysts put aside time altogether, choosing to view trends based on tick intervals rather than intervals of time. What makes trendlines so universal in usage and appeal is they can be used to help identify trends regardless of the time period, time frame or interval used.


What Is the Utility of Trendlines?

Uptrends and downtrends are hot topics among technical analysts and traders because they ensure that the underlying market conditions are working in favor of a trader’s position, rather than against it. Trendlines are easily recognizable lines that traders draw on charts to connect a series of prices together.

The resulting line is then used to give the trader a good idea of the direction in which an investment’s value might move. In this article, you’ll discover how to use this tool. It won’t be long before you’re drawing them on your own charts to increase your chances of making a successful trade.

Important Points To Remember:

  • Trendlines are easily recognizable lines that traders draw on charts to connect a series of prices together.
  • Trendlines are used to give traders a good idea of the direction an investment’s value might move.
  • Understanding the direction of an underlying trend is one of the most basic ways to increase the probability of making a successful trade because it ensures that the general market forces are working in your favor.
  • While trendlines can be used to gauge the overall direction of a given asset, they can also be used by traders to help predict areas of support and resistance.
  • Trendlines can vary drastically, depending on the time frame used and the slope of the line.

Understanding Trendlines

Understanding the direction of an underlying trend is one of the most basic ways to increase the probability of making a successful trade because it ensures that the general market forces are working in your favor.

Downward sloping trendlines suggest that there is an excess amount of supply for the security, a sign that market participants have a higher willingness to sell an asset than to buy it. As you can see below, when a downward sloping trendline (black dotted line) is present, you should refrain from holding a long position; a gain on a move higher is unlikely when the overall longer-term trend is heading downward.

Also notice that there are a series of lower highs and lower lows, which is a hallmark of a confirmed downtrend. Conversely, an uptrend is a signal that the demand for the asset is greater than the supply, and is used to suggest that the price is likely to continue heading upward.

Trendlines can vary drastically, depending on the time frame used and the slope of the line. For example, some securities can show aspects of uptrend/downtrends for months, days, or even a few minutes, while others can become range-bound and trade within a sideways trend.


Support and Resistance

Trendlines are a relatively simple tool that can be used to gauge the overall direction of a given asset, but, more importantly, they can also be used by traders to help predict areas of support and resistance. This means that trendlines are used to identify the levels on a chart beyond which the price of an asset will have a difficult time moving. This information can be very useful to traders looking for strategic entry levels or can even be used to effectively manage risk, by identifying areas to place stop-loss orders.

Technical traders pay particularly close attention to an asset when the price approaches a trendline because these areas often play a major role in determining the short-term direction of the asset’s price. As the price nears a major support/resistance level, there are two different scenarios that can occur: The price will bounce off the trendline and continue in the direction of the prior trend, or it will move through the trendline, which can then be used as a sign that the current trend is reversing or weakening.


Drawing Your Own Trendlines

As mentioned earlier, trendlines are simply lines that connect a series of prices to give the trader a better idea of where the price of a particular investment is headed. The problem comes with figuring out which prices are used to create the trendline. As you may know, the open, close, low, and high prices are easily obtained for most stocks, but which of these prices should be used when creating a trendline?

There is no one, distinct answer to this question. Technical signals generated by the various technical patterns/indicators are very subjective and trendlines are no exception. It is entirely the trader’s decision when it comes to choosing what points are used to create the line and no two traders will always agree to use the same points. Some traders will only connect closing prices while others may choose to use a mix of close, open, and high prices. Regardless of the prices being connected, it is important to note that the more prices that touch the trendline the stronger and more influential the line is believed to be.

In general, upward sloping trendlines are used to connect prices that act as support, while the given asset is trending upward. This means that upward sloping trendlines are mainly drawn below the price and connect either a series of closes or period lows. Conversely, a downward sloping trendline is generally used to connect a series of closing prices or period highs, that act as resistance while the given asset is trending downward.

We should note that it is possible to use two trendlines on the same chart. However, this method, known as a channel, goes beyond the scope of this article.

Once a technical trader has entered a position near the trendline, they would keep the position open until the price moved below the support of the trendline. Most traders will constantly adjust their stop-loss orders by moving them higher, as the trendline continues to slope upward.

This method ensures that a trader can lock in as much of the gain as possible, without being taken out of the position too early. Keeping a stop-loss order below an influential trendline is a strategic way to ensure that the asset has adequate room to fluctuate, without getting whipsawed.


Limitations Of Trendlines

Trendlines have limitations shared by all charting tools in that they have to be readjusted as more price data comes in. A trendline will sometimes last for a long time, but eventually the price action will deviate enough that it needs to be updated. Moreover, traders often choose different data points to connect.

For example, some traders will use the lowest lows, while others may only use the lowest closing prices for a period. Last, trendlines applied on smaller timeframes can be volume sensitive. A trendline formed on low volume may easily be broken as volume picks up throughout a session.