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How To Trade the Bear Pennant Pattern – All You Need to Know

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 9/7/2023 14 min read

*Written by AI, Edited by Humans

The Bear Pennant Pattern is a technical chart formation that signals a continuation of a downtrend in the market. It resembles a small, symmetrical triangle known as a “pennant,” which forms after a significant downward price movement called the “flagpole.” The pattern is considered a bearish indicator, suggesting that the asset’s price is likely to continue moving lower once the pattern is completed. Traders often look for a downside breakout from the pennant’s lower trendline as a signal to enter short positions.

In this article, you’ll learn the ins, the outs, and all there is to know about trading the bear pennant pattern. From identifying to actually trading it, you’ll get the knowledge, pointers, and maybe some unfiltered advice.

Finally, we’ll tackle some commonly asked questions, debunk a few myths, and even talk about how to soft-pedal your risks like a pro. Let’s get to the content!

What Is a Bear Pennant Pattern?

So what is this bear pennant pattern? Think of it as a short-lived pause in a market downtrend, often represented by a small triangular formation on your chart. But don’t let its appearance fool you. This pattern is anything but playful, as it usually indicates that the downtrend will continue.

To make money off of this, you’ve got to understand its structure and dynamics. The bear pennant is a continuation pattern, meaning it generally signals that the current trend (in this case, a downtrend) is likely to continue. If you get information on one forming, prepare for some bears running through the forest of your chart.

What Does a Bear Pennant Look Like?

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Bear pennant patterns aren’t hard to spot. They resemble a consolidation phase wedged between two trendlines that converge, like a triangle. The pennant is preceded by a sharp move downwards, known as the flagpole. That’s the setup: a flagpole, followed by a pennant.

Here’s a tip: the pennant shouldn’t last long. If the consolidation phase is too prolonged, it might not be a bear pennant. Usually, the pattern takes place over a few days to a few weeks. So, be aware of the timing.

While the bear pennant is a specific pattern, it’s not the only formation you should be aware of. For instance, the rectangle pattern is another technical setup that traders often use to identify potential price movements. Understanding different patterns can give you a broader perspective on market behavior. If you’re keen on expanding your pattern recognition skills, here’s a guide on the rectangle pattern.

Identifying a Bear Pennant Pattern

You’re here because you want to trade, not just read about patterns. To trade a bear pennant, you’ve got to identify it first. This is where your chart becomes your best friend. Remember, patterns don’t form in the sky; they appear on your charts. Use trend lines to outline the highs and lows during the pennant phase and flagpole.

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Price Action Cues to Look For

Pay attention to price action. What’s the stock doing? Is it making lower highs and higher lows? That’s the kind of fun you want to see on your chart. These are your cues. The point where the trend lines converge is your trigger point. Get ready to make your move, but keep your risks under control. It’s about balance.

Analyzing Volume Activity

Don’t neglect volume. During the pennant formation, the volume usually decreases. This is the market taking a breath, a pause before the next move. A breakout is often accompanied by a spike in volume, confirming the pattern. Patterns and volume go hand in hand — each gives context to the other.

Volume is a critical factor in confirming patterns, but it’s not just about the bear pennant. The expanding wedge pattern, for example, often shows varying volume levels that can offer additional cues. Knowing how volume interacts with different patterns can sharpen your trading acumen. For a deep dive into how volume plays a role in the expanding wedge pattern, check out this resource.

Determining Support and Resistance Levels

Support and resistance levels are not just random lines; they are your territory markers in the wild of trading. Use them to set your entry and exit points. When the price breaks through the support level during a bear pennant, that’s often a sign that the bears are taking control. On the flip side, if the price bounces off the resistance level, maybe don’t short just yet.

Identifying Profit Targets

Look, you’re here to make money, not just admire the pattern. Setting profit targets is crucial. Calculate the length of the flagpole and subtract it from the point of the breakout. That’s your target. Simple, right? But remember, trading isn’t about certainties; it’s about probabilities.

Lack of Range Expansion

If the pennant drags on too long, or the range starts expanding instead of contracting, be cautious. This isn’t a teddy bear you’re dealing with; it’s a wild animal that can turn on you. Lack of range expansion could indicate that the pattern is not a bear pennant but something else. So keep your eyes peeled.

Shape and Location

The shape and location of the pennant on the chart matter. If the pattern is forming near the top after a strong uptrend, it might not be a bear pennant. Context matters, just like you wouldn’t expect to find a forest in the middle of a desert. Know where you are in the larger market landscape.

How To Trade With the Bear Pennant Pattern

You’ve identified a bear pennant. What’s next? It’s time to talk trade execution. But before you go all-in, keep a few things in mind. You’re not investing here; you’re trading. You’re in and out, aiming for small, consistent gains while mitigating risks.

Identifying a Bear Pennant Pattern

Didn’t we just talk about this? Yes, but repetition is the mother of skill. Go through your chart meticulously. Make sure that the flagpole and pennant are in place. Check your trend lines, look for converging points, and only then proceed. Trading is not a huge gamble; it’s calculated risk, backed by analysis and research.

Opening a Short Sell Position

Now’s the time to strike. Open a short-sell position when you see that price break below the support level, post-pennant. You’re betting that the price will go down further, capitalizing on the continuation of the downtrend. Use your chart patterns and indicators as guides, not gospel. They’re tools, not oracles.

Setting Stop Losses

Set up your stop-loss orders above the pennant’s resistance level. This ensures that you cut losses if things go south. You don’t want a playful mistake to turn into a giant, forest-fire level blunder. Be strategic about your exit options.

Avoiding False Breakouts

False breakouts are like decoy animals in the wild, throwing you off track. Look for volume confirmation to avoid falling for these traps. A significant volume increase during the breakout is a good signal that it’s the real deal. Always double-check before you jump.

Using Technical Indicators to Confirm Trade Signals

Indicators like RSI, MACD, or moving averages can be your allies. They add an extra layer of confirmation to your trade signals. But remember, indicators are just a part of the puzzle, not the whole picture. They should align with your overall analysis to validate your trade.

Understanding Market Conditions Before Entering a Trade

You’re not trading in a vacuum. Market conditions, like trading volume and overall trend, are your backdrop. Know them, understand them, and then make your move. This isn’t a playful game; it’s serious business. Your money, your risk, your reward.

Timing Your Entry and Exit Points Accurately

Timing is everything. If you enter too early, you risk getting stopped out. Enter too late, and you might miss the profit train altogether. Use your knowledge of chart patterns, especially bear pennants, to time your entry and exit points like a pro.

Knowing Where to Take Profit

We’ve talked about setting profit targets, but knowing where to take profits is an art. It involves understanding price action, market conditions, and your own risk tolerance. Make sure to close your position before the market flips its trend, as nothing lasts forever.

Pros and Cons of the Bear Pennant Pattern

Trading the bear pennant pattern isn’t a one-way ticket to Easy Street. It has its pros, like high-probability downtrend continuation and relatively easy identification. But it also has its cons, like the risk of false breakouts and limited profit targets.

If you’re seeking alternatives, the wedge pattern is another formation that traders frequently encounter, and it comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Being aware of the strengths and weaknesses of various patterns can help you make more informed decisions. For an in-depth look at the pros and cons of the wedge pattern, this guide has got you covered.

Remember, patterns are not 100% reliable. They’re indicators, not guarantees. Your risk management strategies should be as solid as a giant boulder, ensuring you can bear the weight of potential losses.

Pennant Patterns vs. Triangle Patterns

Think all chart patterns are the same? Wrong. Pennants and triangles may look similar, but they have distinct characteristics. Pennants are short-term patterns that usually form over days to weeks, while triangles can develop over weeks to months. In a triangle pattern, the highs and lows don’t have to converge as tightly as they do in a pennant. Know the difference to trade effectively.

Bear Pennant Pattern Limitations

Let’s get real. The bear pennant pattern isn’t infallible. It can offer false signals and is heavily dependent on market conditions. Plus, if the market suddenly turns bullish, your short position could cause big losses. Trading is not a fluffy bed of roses; it has thorns. Understand the limitations and act accordingly.

It isn’t a silver bullet for your trading plan — but the bear pennant pattern is one of the many topics you should learn as part of your trading education!

Trading isn’t rocket science. It’s a skill you build and work on like any other. Trading has changed my life, and I think this way of life should be open to more people…

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Trading is a battlefield. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be.

Do you use the bear pennant pattern in your trading strategy? Let me know in the comments — I love hearing from my readers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Bear Flag and a Bear Pennant Pattern?

While both bear flags and bear pennants are continuation patterns, the main difference lies in their shape. A bear flag has a rectangular shape while a bear pennant forms a triangle. Two different animals in the same forest; know which one you’re tracking.

Can I Trade the Bear Pennant on Forex, Futures, and Shares?

Absolutely, yes. The bear pennant pattern isn’t limited to stocks. It’s a universal pattern you can find in Forex, futures, and even shares. The key is to adapt your strategies and risk management according to the market you’re playing in.

Why Is Trading Bearish Pennants Risky?

Trading bearish pennants, like all trading, carries risk. It involves speculation on a future price move, which is inherently uncertain. In volatile market conditions, a bear pennant can quickly turn into something else. Don’t blindly trust patterns; use them as part of a broader strategy.

Is Bear Pennant Bullish?

No, a bear pennant is a bearish pattern. It signals a potential continuation of a downtrend, not a reversal to a bullish trend. Keep your definitions clear; you don’t want to chase the wrong animal.

What Happens After Bearish Pennant?

Typically, a bearish pennant leads to a continuation of the existing downtrend. Once the price breaks below the pennant’s lower trendline, traders often see this as a signal to enter a short position. But, again, patterns are probabilities, not certainties.

How Can I Avoid False Breakouts in Bear Pennant Trading?

To avoid false breakouts, always look for volume confirmation and employ technical indicators as secondary confirmations. Use these tools together to make a more educated decision. It’s not about one clue; it’s about compiling evidence.

Are Bear Pennant Patterns Reliable in Volatile Market Conditions?

In volatile markets, bear pennant patterns can provide mixed signals. While they generally signal a continuation of a downtrend, extreme market conditions can lead to false breakouts or sudden reversals. So, in volatile markets, tread carefully.

What Do Investors Need to Open an Account for Trading?

To get started with trading the Bear Pennant Pattern, investors usually need to open a trading account. This account will allow them to execute trades and manage their investment portfolio. Typically, there will be an example or tutorial available to guide newcomers through the account setup and trading process.

How Can Courses Help in Understanding the Bear Pennant?

There are various courses available that focus on teaching technical analysis and specific trading patterns like the Bear Pennant. These courses often contain theoretical and practical examples of investment strategies to help traders get a comprehensive understanding of the market. Such educational resources are excellent ways to learn about the dynamics between buyers and sellers in the market.

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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”