What Is Price Action?:

Johnpaul Ifechukwu

Price action is the movement of a security’s price plotted over time. Price action forms the basis for all technical analyses of a stock, commodity or other asset charts.

Many short-term traders rely exclusively on price action and the formations and trends extrapolated from it to make trading decisions. Technical analysis as a practice is a derivative of price action since it uses past prices in calculations that can then be used to inform trading decisions. Price action generally refers to the changes in a security’s price over time.

Different looks can be applied to a chart to make trends in price action more obvious for traders. This is especially true when analyzing data covering different periods. Technical analysis formations and chart patterns are derived from price action.

Technical analysis tools like moving averages are also calculated from price action and projected into the future to inform trades.

Though many use price action to forecast future prices, prior price action does not guarantee future results.

By studying the movement in price over a set period, you get all the information you need to trade trends, breakouts, and swings effectively. Japanese candlestick charts are perhaps the most commonly used form of price action analysis.

Price reacts to all known news, which means that moves in price tell you what the collective view of breaking news is rather than any single individual. The fundamental belief of price action analysis is that price is never wrong.

So if you’re losing money, you are wrong. Your job as a trader is to manage this risk and close the trade. Learning about risk management is a key step to becoming a better trader. Not everyone is speculating and reacting to the news.

Every day, billions of dollars are transacted through markets by entities that aren’t speculating.Perhaps it’s an insurance fund rebalancing its portfolios at the end of the month, a central bank managing its currency exposures, or a huge American smartphone company buying camera sensors from Japan in JPY.

Either way, price action looks at all global capital flows at any one time and provides a holistic picture of what the market thinks of the currency pair that’s on your chart.

What Does Price Action Tell You?:

Price action can be seen and interpreted using charts that plot prices over time. Traders use different chart compositions to improve their ability to spot and interpret trends, breakouts and reversals. Many traders use candlestick charts since they help better visualize price movements by displaying the open, high, low and close values in the context of up or down sessions.

Candlestick patterns such as the Harami cross, engulfing pattern and three white soldiers are all examples of visually interpreted price action. There are many more candlestick formations that are generated off-price action to set up an expectation of what will come next. These same formations can apply to other types of charts, including point and figure charts, box charts, box plots and so on.

In addition to the visual formations on the chart, many technical analysts use price action data when calculating technical indicators. The goal is to find order in the sometimes seemingly random movement of a price. For example, an ascending triangle pattern formed by applying trendlines to a price action chart may be used to predict a potential breakout since the price action indicates that bulls have attempted a breakout on several occasions and have gained momentum each time.

How to Use Price Action:

Price action is not generally seen as a trading tool like an indicator, but rather the data source from which all the tools are built. Swing traders and trend traders tend to work most closely with price action, eschewing any fundamental analysis in favour of focusing solely on support and resistance levels to predict breakouts and consolidation.

Even these traders must pay some attention to additional factors beyond the current price, as the volume of trading and the periods being used to establish levels all have an impact on the likelihood of their interpretations being accurate.

Many institutions have begun leveraging algorithms to analyze prior price action and execute trades in certain circumstances. 

Limitations of Price Action:

Interpreting price action is very subjective. It’s common for two traders to arrive at different conclusions when analyzing the same price action. One trader may see a bearish downtrend and another might believe that the price action shows a potential near-term turnaround. Of course, the time being used also has a huge influence on what traders see as a stock can have many intraday downtrends while maintaining a month-over-month uptrend.

The important thing to remember is that trading predictions made using price action on any time scale are speculative. The more tools you can apply to your trading prediction to confirm it, the better.

The past price action of security is no guarantee of future price action. High-probability trades are still speculative trades, which means traders take on risks to get access to the potential rewards. Price action does not explicitly incorporate macroeconomic or non-financial matters impacting security.

How Can I Use Price Action in Trading?:

Price action is used to analyze trends and identify entry and exit points when trading. Many traders use candlestick charts to plot prior price action, then plot potential breakout and revering patterns. Although prior price action does not guarantee future results, traders often analyze a security’s historical patterns to better understand where the price may move next.

How Do I Read Price Action?:

Price action is often depicted graphically in the form of a bar chart or line chart. There are two general factors to consider when analyzing price action. The first is to identify the direction of the price, and the second is to identify the direction of the volume.

Should a security’s price be moving upward while the volume increases, this means there is a strong conviction in the market as many investors are buying at the increasing price. Alternatively, should there have been low volume, the price action may not be as convincing as not many investors are choosing to invest at the current pricing levels.

What Is Bullish Price Action?:

Bullish price action is an indicator giving positive signals that a security’s price is due for future increases. For exactly, one bullish trend is often defined by “higher highs” and “higher lows” forming an ascending triangle pattern. This means the price action of a security recently surpassed a high price but remained higher than a recent low price.

Is Price Action Good for Swing Trading?:

Swing traders rely on price movement; if a security’s price remains unchanged, it is harder to seek opportunities to profit. In general, price action is good for swing traders because traders can identify the oscillations up and down and trade accordingly.


Price action trading is a methodology for financial market speculation which consists of the analysis of basic price movement across time. It’s used by many retail traders and often by institutional traders and hedge fund managers to make predictions on the future direction of the price of a security or financial market.

Put simply, price action is how price changes, i.e., the ‘action’ of price. It’s most easily observed in markets with high liquidity and volatility, but really anything that is bought or sold in a free market will generate price action.

Price action trading ignores the fundamental factors that influence a market’s movement, and instead, it looks primarily at the market’s price history, that is to say, its price movement across a period. Thus, price action is a form of technical analysis, but what differentiates it from most forms of technical analysis is that its main focus is on the relationship of a market’s current price to its past or recent prices, as opposed to ‘second-hand’ values that are derived from that price history.

In other words, price action trading is a ‘pure’ form of technical analysis since it includes no second-hand, price-derived indicators. Price action traders are solely concerned with the first-hand data a market generates about itself; its price movement over time.

Price action analysis allows a trader to make sense of a market’s price movement and provides him or her with explanations that serve as a way for the trader to build a mental scenario to describe the current market structure. Experienced price action traders often attribute their unique mental understanding and ‘gut feeling of a market as the main reason for their profitable trading.

Price action traders make use of the history of a market’s price movement, most typically focusing on the recent price action of the last 3 to 6 months, with a lighter focus on more distant price history. This price history includes swing highs and swing lows in a market, as well as support and resistance levels.

A trader can use a market’s price action to try and describe the human thought process behind a market’s movement. Every participant in a market will leave price action ‘clues’ on a market’s price chart as they trade their markets, these clues can then be interpreted and used to try and predict the next move in a market.

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