Cup With A Handle Strategy


Remember that you should always use your knowledge and risk appetite to decide if you are going to trade based on ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ signals. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to scan for hot stocks on the move. When evaluating whether a cup and handle pattern is real, it is important to look at the shapes of both the cup and the handle.

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  • Although we might argue O’Neil is the innovator of the cup and handle strategy, it’s just one part of many in his methodology.
  • A cup and handle is considered a bullish continuation pattern and is used to identify buying opportunities.
  • In addition to the price levels, some traders also look at trade volume in the asset before entering a trade after a cup and handle pattern.

Volume should decrease during the formation of the pattern, but there should be a spike when the breakout/breakdown happens after the handle formation. It’s also important to keep in mind that the cup and handle pattern is not a perfect indicator. There will be times when the stock price does not move higher after the pattern forms. In these cases, it’s important to use stop-loss orders to manage your risk and have a soundtrading strategyfor getting out. The second example is another classic cup and handle pattern that develops over three to four months, with the handle forming over approximately two weeks. The cup retraces slightly more than half the preceding movement, which is relatively mature prior to the cup and handle pattern’s formation.

With this chart pattern, the handle has to be smaller than the cup. It should not drop into the lower half of the cup; it should stay in the upper third. The pattern can be seen in both small timeframes, like a one-minute chart, and in big time frames, such as daily, weekly, and monthly charts. It occurs when there’s a wave down of price, followed by a period of stabilization, and then followed by a rally of approximately equal size to the prior decline.

The cup can be spread out from 1 to 6 months, occasionally longer. The perfect pattern would have equal highs on both sides of the cup, but this is not always the case. For a more in-depth read about double tops and double bottoms, check out our article on divergence trading strategies.

The Psychology behind Cup and Handle Pattern

The Cup and Handle pattern can form in any timeframe, but as a swing trader, you should focus on the daily timeframe. To identify the Cup and Handle pattern or the inverse type, you need to understand the price movements that form its structure. For example, being a continuation pattern, there has to be a prior trend before the Cup and Handle pattern forms. A cup-and-handle pattern, illustrated below, is considered a bullish trading trend. It represents a consolidation period for a strong asset, during which traders move away from a stock, which is generally growing well.


If you’re not ready to take on the live markets, you can open a risk-free demo account to identify the cup and handle pattern and practise your trades. This is useful when trading both the cup and handle and the inverted cup and handle, because you can speculate on upward or downward price movements. You can use derivatives such as CFDs or spread bets to trade when you see the cup and handle pattern. With derivatives trading, you don’t own the underlying asset, which means you can go long or short .

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As the name suggests, the pattern is made up of two sections; a cup and handle. The cup pattern happens first and then a handle happens next. Therefore, profit depends on how a strategy is implemented and traded, and will vary by trader. A continuation pattern is another trade opportunity to watch for. It is when a handle forms, as described above, but within the context of a big strong uptrend . The cup and handle strategy for stocks is one of my favorites.

I use this strategy often, especially when the major indexes (like the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, Dow Jones Industrial) are near prior highs or heading that way. It’s best to have a fixed set of rules to trade breakout and then just trade it when it happens. Thank you for reply, entry above the handle is after breakout, where we can entry in pre-break out. With this in mind, you can trail your stop loss on the previous swing low because if the market wants to continue higher, the previous swing low shouldn’t be “broken”.

Sometax tips for home based business ownerss, the beginning of the decrease and the end of the increase could diverge in terms of the level they are supposed to be located at. However, a small discrepancy between the tops of the two trends is admissible. You could also place an order above or below the handle to buy or sell when the asset reaches a more favourable price. An order allows you to open a position at a price you choose, rather than the one currently being quoted. Check out this step-by-step guide to learn how to find the best opportunities every single day. The potential profit is twice the risk because the risk is the size of the handle.

The cup and handle pattern is called so because of its appearance. The handle can be a small consolidation or slight pullback. The chart below shows how a cup and handle pattern look like. For some stocks, I expect a lot more out of them because they have a lot of momentum.


Further, the pattern tells you not to worry when the price reaches at the resistance and either consolidates or starts retreating. Notice, with the scanning method covered below, I’m only looking at stocks that have outperformed the S&P 500. Your position is not random or based on how strongly you feel about a trade or stock. It is based on the difference between your entry and stop loss, your risk tolerance, and the amount of capital you have.

Double Cup And Handle Pattern

The two elements create a pattern, which resembles a cup with handle on the chart. The Cup and Handle is a chart pattern, which has a bullish potential. As we said, the classic cup and handle pattern has its bearish equivalent – the bearish Cup & Handle, which is a mirror image of the standard Cup & Handle.

Determine significant support and resistance levels with the help of pivot points. In between trading stocks and forex he consults for a number of prominent financial websites and enjoys an active lifestyle. Wait for volatility to contract during the handle, and volume should drop during the consolidation. A tight consolidation will reduce the risk, and volume often drops significantly just before a big price move higher.

It is however advisable to remain in the trade as long as the price is trending favorably. You may not want to completely exit the trade, where the price move is having more potential to increase the profit of your trade. Therefore, you can observe clues in price action so as to increase the profits of the trade. William O’Neil created this pattern and introduced it in his book, How to Make Money in Stocks, in 1988. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.


This means the inverted cup and handle is the opposite of the regular cup and handle. Instead of a ‘u’ shape, it forms an ‘n’ shape, with the handle bending slightly upwards on the chart. There are two potential profit target levels for this pattern. The first profit target is estimated by measuring a distance equivalent to the size of the handle, starting from the breakout point. The second profit target is estimated by measuring a distance equal to the depth of the cup, again, starting from the point of the breakout. Just like in other chart patterns, the Cup and Handle pattern provides a logical entry point, a stop-loss level, and a profit target.

Cup and Handle Pattern Trading Mistakes

Traders sometimes use this pattern as a signal about when to buy the stock. As with all forms of technical analysis, this pattern essentially tracks investor behavior, not the underlying strength or weakness of a company’s business. Consider working with a financial advisor as you analyze possisble stock purchases. The image above displays the standard cup and handle pattern. To trade this formation correctly, a trader should place a stop buy order slightly above the upper trendline that makes up the handle. This way, the buy order will only execute if the price breaks above the upper resistance level.

There are not perfect, so you will need to practice strong trade management in order to earn profits in the strategy. You never want to over risk because no strategy will win 100% of the time. The ideal profit target for the Cup and Handle trading strategy would be equal to the same distance in price as measured from the initial Cup peak to the bottom of the Cup. In most cases, the decline from high to low should not exceed 8% to 12%.

The main reason for this is that bear markets are characterized by high levels of fear and uncertainty and investors tend to sell on any break-outs or rallies. This selling pressure creates a hard environment to gain traction after a cup and handle breaks out to the upside. The handle can be either a small, unorganized pullback, or a bear flag or pennant. In any case, the handle should retrace less than 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the cup – the shallower the retracement, the more bullish the movement following a breakout should be. The handle can develop over one week to several months on a daily chart, although ideally completes in less than one month. The reasoning behind this explanation is that the breakout move requires strong volume after the necessary quiet period to form both the cup and the handle.

A cup retracement of 62% may not fit the pattern requirements, but a particular stock’s pattern may still capture the essence of the Cup with Handle. A stop-loss order gets a trader out of a trade if the price drops, instead of rallying, after buying a breakout from the cup and handle formation. The stop-loss controls risk on the trade by selling the position if the price declines enough to invalidate the pattern. The cup and handle pattern occurs when the price of an asset trends downward, followed by a stabilizing period.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success. The stop loss order of the trade needs to be placed above the handle. Its location is shown with the red horizontal line on the chart.

The breakout, when it does happen, should be accompanied with a marked increase in volume in order for it to be a successful cup and handle pattern. Once you learn what is Cup and Handle pattern you have no more excuses not to have a chance to succeed in trading. In the technical analysis field, this is one of the most profitable chart patterns. The Cup and Handle trading strategy is providing you with an effective way to exploit this pattern.

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