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Fundamental & Tech Analysis
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Bearish Pennant Pattern

Description

A Bearish Pennant  pattern follows a steep or nearly vertical fall in price, and consists of two converging trendlines that form a narrow, tapering flag shape. The Pennant pattern shape generally appears as a horizontal shape, rather than one with a downtrend or uptrend.

Apart from its shape, the Pennant is similar in all respects to the Flag. The Pennant is also similar to the Symmetrical Triangle or Wedge continuation patterns however; the Pennant pattern is typically shorter in duration and flies horizontally.

Important Characteristics

Following are important characteristics for this pattern.

Trend-lines

For Pennants patterns, the price trend-lines tend to converge. At the start of the Pennant pattern, the price spikes, perhaps in response to an unexpected and negative company announcement. Following the price spike, the price fluctuations continue until they taper out and become decreasingly less volatile. This behavior appears on a price chart with the initial price spike forming what technical analysts refer to as the “mast” of the Pennant, followed by a triangular pennant shape.

Volume

As the Pennant develops, the volume tends to decrease. Martin Pring notes in his book, Technical Analysis Explained, “a pennant is in effect a very small triangle. If anything, volume tends to contract even more during the formation of a pennant than during that of a flag.” However, as with Flags, when the Pennant completes you will often observe a sharp spike in volume.

Duration of the Pattern

In his book, Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets, John J. Murphy identifies that Pennants and Flags are relatively short-term and should be completed within one to three weeks”. He also notes that by comparison, the bullish patterns take longer to develop than the related bearish patterns.

Trading Considerations

Possibility of Price Reversal

In some rare cases, the price will break against the original price movement, and create a reversal trend. The pattern reversal may be signaled during the Pennant formation by an increase in volume, as opposed to the more typical decrease.

Duration of the Pattern

The duration of the pattern depends on the extent of the price fluctuations (consolidation). The greater the fluctuations, the longer a pattern will take to develop.

Target Price

It is commonly held that the length of the mast indicates the potential price increase. Like the Flag, the Pennant is considered to be a pause in a downtrend. Following the Pennant, the price typically jumps to replicate the height of the mast, while continuing in the direction of the inbound trend.

Criteria that Support

Volume

Volume should diminish noticeably as the pattern forms.

A strong volume spike on the day of the pattern confirmation is a strong indicator in support of the potential for this pattern. The volume spike should be significantly above the average of the volume for the duration of the pattern. In addition, the volume over the course of the pattern should be declining on average.

Criteria that Refute

Duration of the Pattern

According to Martin Pring, a pattern that exceeds “4 weeks to develop should … be treated with caution”. After 4 weeks, interest in the stock is likely to decrease to point that it is unlikely to continue in a strong downtrend.

No Volume Spike on Breakout

The lack of a volume spike on the day of the pattern confirmation is an indication that this pattern may not be reliable. In addition, if the volume has remained constant, or was increasing, over the duration of the pattern, then this pattern should be considered less reliable and may actually reverse.

Underlying Behavior

This pattern is effectively a pause in a downtrend. The price has moved ahead of itself with a steep decline; therefore market activity takes a break before continuing the downtrend. This pause is reflected in the decreasing trading volume. Similarly, a spike in volume marks the resumption of the downtrend.

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