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Penny Stock Basics

Ascending Triangle Pattern: Definition & Key Tips to Trade It

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 3/4/2021 17 min read

You know me — I love patterns. Do you know the ascending triangle pattern?

Some patterns are more advanced and require more expertise to spot … Others are simpler and more newbie-friendly.

I have my go-to patterns, like the supernova and the cup and handle. I’ve developed strategies that work for me.

My students have taken the time to find patterns and develop strategies that work for them. Like Jack Kellogg who’s now up over $750K* … Learn more about him and other top Challenge students in this recent New York Post article.

When you’re first starting out, you gotta expose yourself to as many patterns and as much knowledge as possible.

If you’re looking for a simple bullish pattern, the ascending triangle pattern is one worth knowing.

Let’s go over what the ascending triangle pattern is, how it works, and how to find it in play…

(*Please note: My trading results, along with the results of my top students, are far from typical. Individual results will vary. Most traders lose money. My top students and I have the benefit of many years of hard work and dedication. Trading is inherently risky. Do your due diligence and never risk more than you can afford to lose.) 

What Is an Ascending Triangle Pattern?

The ascending triangle pattern is considered a bullish pattern.

I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘bulls’ and ‘bears’ in the stock market. These are the two main ways to describe whether a stock is going up or down.

Bullish means the stock price looks like it should move higher — that’s what the ascending triangle pattern indicates.

The best part? You can apply this pattern — like other patterns in the stock market — to different time frames. Whether you’re looking at a daily chart or an intraday chart, it’s still a bullish pattern.

Whether you’re looking for an intraday or a swing trade based on a daily ascending triangle, the same principles apply. I don’t usually swing trade, so I mainly look for this pattern intraday.

Before I go on, here’s what an ascending triangle pattern looks like on a stock chart:

ascending triangle pattern peix
Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) 10-day, 1-minute candles — courtesy of StocksToTrade.com

See how the chart forms a triangle, where the top is flat but the bottom keeps rising? And notice that as soon as the stock breaks above that triangle, the price continues upward.

This is a continuation pattern, where the stock price continues in the direction of the breakout after it breaks out of the channel.

How Does the Ascending Triangle Pattern Work?

The ascending triangle pattern, like other patterns, shows the emotions of traders trading the stock.

Look at PEIX. Every time the stock dips, each low is progressively higher than the last. This means buyers generally feel comfortable and are buying the stock on dips.

And the sellers don’t come in until the top of the ascending triangle. This signals that buyers are likely in control of the stock. Also, take note of the volume candles on the PEIX chart.

Every time it went near the high of the triangle, volume increased. This can be a signal that buyers want the stock to go higher.

But notice the period where the stock finally broke out of the triangle. There was even more volume than the previous test.

This is almost always needed for the stock to break out of the ascending triangle. If you see a stock breaking out of an ascending triangle with little volume coming in … be careful.

Not sure how volume affects stocks? Watch this video:

This pattern works when buyers are in control. Once sellers give up, the buyers step in and move the price of the stock up. Can you see it on the chart?

No two ascending triangle patterns will be identical. Let’s talk about how to identify one…

How to Identify an Ascending Triangle Pattern

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For the most part, ascending triangle patterns are very similar. They come in different forms, but they have the same characteristics:

  • A clear and defined top
  • Higher lows
  • Increasing volume at the highs

Ascending is a synonym for ‘rising.’ Think of this as a rising triangle. It looks like the name of the pattern — an ascending triangle.

Here’s something to remember: the top of the triangle should always be flat. This is known as an area of resistance.

Resistance is one of the simplest technical indicators out there. It’s a spot where sellers try to keep a stock down. Once resistance is broken, the stock should have room to move higher.

The PEIX example is good, but to understand this pattern you need to see it on multiple charts. Here’s an example from a recent runner, Ocugen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCGN):

ascending triangle pattern ocgn
OCGN chart, 10-day, 1-minute candles — courtesy of StocksToTrade.com

The pattern might be harder to spot on this chart — it’s a tighter triangle with less range.

Look how high OCGN went after breaking the top of the triangle … from 57 cents per share to 66 cents per share. That’s about a 16% move.

Again, remember that the ascending triangle should form higher lows as it tests a clear level of resistance. Once it breaks through, it confirms the movement to the upside.

Understanding the Difference Between an Ascending Triangle and a Descending Triangle

What goes up must come down.

The ascending triangle pattern has a bearish counterpart: the descending triangle pattern.

Know the difference so you don’t get caught in the wrong play.

The descending triangle is like an upside-down flip of the ascending triangle. Instead of making higher lows while testing an area of resistance, a descending triangle makes lower highs while testing an area of support. (Support is the opposite of resistance, BTW.)

This means the flat part of the triangle is on the bottom, while the other line is declining.

In this scenario, the sellers are in control … usually selling into pops. Once the support gives out, the stock should continue to fall to the downside.

What Is a Symmetrical Triangle Pattern?

Generally speaking, ascending triangles are bullish, while descending triangles are bearish.

But there’s another triangle pattern that’s neither bullish nor bearish … at least, until it chooses a direction out of the trend. It’s called the symmetrical triangle pattern.

Here’s an example from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN):

ascending triangle pattern amazon
AMZN chart, 10-day, 1-minute candles — courtesy of StocksToTrade.com

Right out of the open, Amazon began forming a triangle, but there wasn’t a clear direction. It didn’t test a particular top, but it also didn’t test a solidified bottom either. Instead, it made lower highs and higher lows.

With a symmetrical triangle pattern, there’s no telling the stock’s direction until it breaks out of the trend. 

If it breaks downward out of the triangle, it’s considered bearish. If it breaks upward out of the triangle, consider it bullish.

I don’t like the symmetrical triangle as much. There’s no telling who’s really in control like with the ascending or descending triangle.

One more thing…

There’s also another commonly confused pattern that lots of traders think is a triangle, but it’s not — it’s the rising wedge.

Ascending Triangle vs. Rising Wedge: What’s the Difference?

The rising wedge is another pattern that isn’t necessarily bullish or bearish but makes a triangle-like formation that can be confusing to newer traders.

Here’s an example of it on a daily chart of Amazon:

ascending triangle pattern
AMZN chart, 1-year, 1-day candles — courtesy of StocksToTrade.com

In this case, the pattern eventually turned out to be bullish, leading to upward momentum after it broke out of the rising wedge. Had it broken down instead, it probably would have continued with downward action.

The main difference here is that the ascending wedge pattern makes a clear flat top where there’s resistance. As it continues to form, higher lows should form the ascending triangle pattern.

Once enough buyers and volume come in, the top should be taken out and the stock should continue up.

With a rising wedge, there’s not one clear price level where the stock struggles to break out. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend a brand-new trader try to learn this pattern first.

Keep it simple. Learn the easy patterns first. Once you find consistency with the basics, start expanding. It can help you stay more focused when you’re building your knowledge account.

What Are the Advantages of the Ascending Triangle Pattern?

I’ve been trading for a long time, so I mostly stick with my go-to patterns…

That said, the ascending triangle pattern has some advantages for new traders.

First, it’s a long-biased pattern. That’s good because a lot of new traders can’t pursue short selling because of broker restrictions

he started tracking everything. He figured out what was working for him. As it turns out, it was only two patterns. He’d tried Short selling isn’t really smart for new traders, anyway. I’ve been trading for 20+ years and I’m scared to short these days. In the current volatile market with short squeezes left and right, it can be really dangerous.

But I’d say that an even bigger advantage of the ascending triangle pattern is that it’s so easy to spot. The level of resistance should be extremely clear — even to a new trader. 

Because of its steady ascent, the ascending triangle pattern offers multiple spots for an entry. If you want to buy it as it breaks out of resistance to catch a potentially faster and safer trade, you can.

If you want to buy on a dip, you can do that too — but know it might be slightly riskier. You might make more on the trade, but you also have less confirmation that it’ll test the area of resistance again.

What Are the Limitations of the Ascending Triangle Pattern?

The main limitation is that it doesn’t always work.

No pattern works every time … If it did, I’d have a better win rate. I’m wrong about 25% of the time … Take a look at a recent example from iBio Inc. (NYSE: IBIO):

ascending triangle pattern ibio
IBIO chart, 1-day, 1-minute candles — courtesy of StocksToTrade.com

On this ticker, $5.05 was the breakout level for the ascending triangle. After breaking out on good volume — at the time — it failed to continue. Then it dumped almost $1 per share.

This is where cutting losses quickly is so important. If a trade doesn’t work, get out immediately.

The last thing I’d want is for you to get stuck in a massive move down and lose. Especially in a case like this, where the stock should have continued up much higher than it went.

Example of How to Interpret the Ascending Triangle Pattern

Interpreting the ascending triangle pattern is straightforward.

You’re looking for are a solid resistance level combined with higher lows. It should form a pretty clear triangle.

But always make sure there’s enough volume coming in on the breakout. The more times the stock tests the top of the triangle, the more volume it needs to break out. If it doesn’t have enough volume, it probably won’t work. 

Just look at IBIO. Not enough buyers were coming into the trade, and that eventually led to a massive sell-off. Volume, combined with the triangle itself, should be one of your top watches when looking for the ascending triangle.

How Do You Trade Ascending Triangles? Pro Tips

There are a few different ways to trade the ascending triangle pattern … let’s take a look.

Ascending Triangle Pattern Trading Strategy

There are two main strategies when trading the ascending triangle — each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The first and easiest way is to buy the breakout over resistance.

If you watch closely, you can see the volume coming in over the breakout level. And in combination with the higher lows, this should give you the confirmation you need to take a trade.

Another strategy is to buy the dip. Remember, the dips should hold a triangle-like pattern, so it should be easy to guess where the next dip will be. The issue here is that there’s no confirmation the pattern will work yet. It should hold the trend, there’s always the possibility for failure.

This might be a little more advanced, and it requires quick reactions to cut losses when you’re wrong. But the potential gains could be higher with this strategy.

supernova placement

Ascending Triangle Pattern Screener

There’s no way to scan specifically for a pattern like this. But a scanner can help you narrow down the many choices of stocks to trade. It’s a smart way to build a smaller and more manageable watchlist. From there, you can monitor your watchlist for patterns like this.

StocksToTrade has an amazing screener to find the hottest plays of the day and the top percent gainers. I use this screener every day to find my plays, and I think you should be too.

Why is finding the top percent gainers important? Because the same stock can go through a lot of different patterns on the same day.

So look for the top percent gainers. The top percent gainers of the day have a lot of strength behind them, meaning ascending triangles that fit that criteria could create great long opportunities.

Once you find the hottest stocks of the day, track the charts and watch for the pattern. Once you see it, you can trade one of the strategies I talked about earlier.


Let’s do a quick recap on ascending triangles…

Here’s what to look for with the ascending triangle pattern:

  • Resistance at the top of the triangle
  • Higher lows as the triangle ascends
  • High volume through the breakout of the triangle

If you can focus these, you might be surprised by how often this pattern shows up. But remember: no pattern works 100% of the time. If the trade starts to go against you, cut losses quickly and protect your account.

The ascending triangle pattern is just one pattern of many worth learning. You won’t get it overnight. It’s OK. Learning takes time — it’s part of the process of trial and error and finding the strategies that work for you.

Knowledge is the key to figuring it out.

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Two Ways to Grow Your Knowledge Account

All of my top students studied my educational DVDs, webinars, and video lessons over and over until they finally got it. I don’t have time for students who don’t want to work for success…

Are you willing to be dedicated … even if it means studying for hours a day for months and maybe even years? That’s what it takes. Ask my top students. The discipline and commitment is real. If you’re ready, apply to my Trading Challenge.

Or start with a crash course in trading with my brand-new 30-Day Bootcamp. I filmed this with my student Matthew Monaco, who just passed $250K in profits.* Matt just became a moderator in my Trading Challenge chat room too…

The 30-Day Bootcamp guides you through basic to advanced trading techniques, with workbooks, video lessons, and more. I’m super excited about it … It’s an awesome way to get a strong trading foundation fast.

Have you ever traded the ascending triangle pattern? Let me know in the comments below!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”