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HOW TO TRADE GAPS

Education
OANDA:EURUSD   Euro / U.S. Dollar
A gap is a seemingly simple thing. It is such a period when the price minimum in a certain trading period is higher than the maximum in the previous period or vice versa - the maximum is lower than the minimum from the previous period. Gaps are not displayed on line charts or charts with closing prices, so they can only be seen on charts with bars or Japanese candlesticks. There they will look like an empty vertical space between trading periods, and this is the zone of extremely heightened emotions.

They are usually formed after the trading session, during the overnight period, when the market is digesting fresh negative or positive news. On daily charts gaps are much more common than on weekly charts, because on a weekly chart a gap can appear only between Fridays. Monthly gaps are rare and such gaps on the chart can be formed only between monthly price ranges. The easiest way to find a gap on an intraday chart is to open a trading session.

Gaps are an important emotional zone
Where gaps form on a chart is an important, potential reversal zone because emotions are running high. As charts are a reflection of the psychological state of market participants. Consequently, when price returns to the area of the previous gap, its upper and lower points become important support and resistance zones where short-term trends can briefly reverse.

Why most gaps close from a psychological perspective
A gap close is filled when price reverses and rolls back to the full range of the gap, thus "closing" it. On a daily chart it sometimes takes several days, sometimes it takes weeks or even months. And in some rare cases this process may not be completed at all.

"The market does not tolerate a void"

In other words, gaps are filled, sooner or later, almost always. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are quite rare. The psychology of this process is quite simple. It can take months and sometimes years to fill the gap in the market. That is why you should not create a trading system only on the assumption that the gap will be filled tomorrow. In most cases, the market will try to close the gap, but it often ends up with a partial closing attempt.

Why do gaps close at all?
Simply, like any emotional phenomenon, they reflect the psychology of market participants: excessive fear or greed, for example, depending on the direction of the trend. The decision to buy or sell at any price by itself is not objective or rational. Consequently, when the market cools down, people will begin to retroactively reconsider their decisions. Which will lead to either closing the gap or trying to close it at least partially.

Gaps should be treated with respect, but do not overestimate their importance. If a gap appeared on the formation of a price pattern, it is a general or gap zone. They close quickly and are not particularly important from the technical point of view. Therefore, we are much more interested in three other types of gaps, strong ones, which we will consider:

Breakout gaps
Continuation gaps
Exhaustion gaps


Breakout Gaps
A breakout gap is created when price breaks a price pattern or any other trading range. In general, if a gap appears, it emphasizes the bearish or bullish nature of the breakout, depending on its direction. Nevertheless, it is highly desirable that an upward breakout be accompanied by higher volumes. However, if the gap breaks down, it usually does not require high volumes.

Not every gap on a breakout is important, because as we know there is no such thing as a "sure thing" in technical analysis. However, a gap that is formed on a breakout is more important than one that appears by itself somewhere on the chart. There is a danger of buying on a breakout gap because you will get right into the epicenter of the market storm. The desire to buy at any price will in most cases end in disappointment when the price inevitably rolls back down after the emotions have subsided.

Breakout gaps that are formed in the early stages of a major bullish trend are much more reliable than those that are formed after a long rise in price. If a breakout gap is formed at the end of a bull market, the chances of emotional burnout increase. Bulls sell out everything and do not buy back the asset on pullbacks, they are not interested in a low price anymore.

Continuation gaps
Continuation gaps occur when the price is falling or rising in a straight line, when the price is flying fast and emotions are running high. Sometimes such gaps are closed very quickly, literally within a day. Sometimes they are open much longer and do not close until the market shows a strong or intermediate reversal in the opposite direction from the main trend. The same trend that created such a gap. Such a gap is usually formed between the previous breakout, in the middle of the price movement that follows it.

That is why such gaps are also called measuring gaps. It is not uncommon for one trend to have several such gaps at once. Continuation gaps are much more common in weak stocks or markets than in active and strong ones. The reason for this is that the window of opportunity is quite narrow and if everyone tries to get into it at the same time, only a few participants will get what they are looking for at the desired price. In the end, the demand to buy or sell will only be met by a much higher or lower price.

Exhaustion Gaps
If you see several continuation gaps in a trend, it means that the trend is being influenced by powerful forces. A second or third gap will also hint to a good technical analyst that the trend is stabilizing quickly. Therefore, there is a chance that the second or third continuation gap will be the last one. Accordingly, an exhaustion gap is the final stage of a rapid rise or fall in price, which will be the last of the continuation gaps. And there are cases when the exhaustion gap can develop after a long and extended trend.
In the end we have a breakout gap, this is the beginning of the price movement. A continuation/measurement gap is usually in the middle of a new move. And the exhaustion gap is the final gap in a price movement.

Therefore, exhaustion gaps are associated with rapid and prolonged price movement. They indicate that buyers gradually give up and stop believing in a new buying opportunity in the form of a pullback. In a downtrend, the opposite is true - sellers are losing at the top into a pullback higher for downside purchases.

Intraday Gaps
Generally, there are two types of opening gaps on intraday charts. The first one is formed after the price opens below the trading prices of the previous session. The second, much more widespread type of gap is formed exclusively on intraday charts, where the opening price of a new day jumps far away from the closing candle of the previous trading session.

Intraday traders should avoid trades when the market opens sharply up or down. In the stock market, this happens due to extreme imbalances, where liquidity providers are forced to open down positions to meet the demand from open orders.

Therefore, the ideal situation for them is when the price bounces slightly at the opening and then declines, allowing the liquidity providers to close all or part of the down positions. This process will be exactly the opposite if the price opens with a fall. Therefore, it is critical to observe what happens to the price after the opening range. As a rule, if after a gap up, the price goes further and opens a new trading range, it sets the sentiment for the whole market for at least a few hours, and sometimes even longer.

Island reversals
An island reversal is a small trading range that is formed at the end of a long price movement and is separated from the previous price by an exhaustion gap and a breakout gap.
Remember that islands do not occur very often on charts, and when they do, they do not last long. However, they are a frequent guest at the end of an intermediate or even major trend and are formed as part of a price pattern. Such as the top/bottom of a head and shoulders (or inverse head and shoulders). In addition, islands are often a one-day phenomenon.

Summary
Gap on the chart that was formed due to excessive emotions in the market. Gaps are closed almost always. They also act as potential support and resistance zones. The high volume on the gap confirms its importance. A breakout gap is formed at the beginning of the price movement, continuation gaps in the middle of the movement, and exhaustion gaps at the end of the trend. An island reversal is a small price pattern on a 1-day chart, isolated from the main price by two gaps. They often indicate the end of an intermediate trend.

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