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Fibonacci Retracement
This technique is very similar to using speed resistance lines. Fibonacci numbers are frequently used to hypothesize which rates particular assets will gravitate towards. Use of these numbers is widely accepted in the currency market. There are four popular types of Fibonacci studies, arcs, fans, retracements and time zones.

In 1170 A.D., Leonardo Fibonacci a mathematician, discovered the relationship that is now referred to as the Fibonacci numbers while he was studying the Great Pyramid of Gizza, in Egypt. The Fibonacci ratio exists between any two successive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. The numbers are a sequence of numbers for which each successive number is the sum of the two previous numbers. For example: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233 etc.

When the market is moving rapidly in any given direction, it sometimes experiences breaks where investors simply hold on to their profits. This phenomenon is known as retracements and generally creates good opportunities for investors to re-enter the market at some attractive levels before the move resumes. Retracements are usually similar in size. Technical traders in particular, pay considerable attention to retracements that are at the Fibonaccio ratios of 38.1% and 50%.

Fibonacci retracement is displayed by drawing lines between an extremely high peak and an opposing extreme low peak A series of horizontal lines are drawn to intersect the trend line at the Fibonacci levels of 0.0%, 38.2% with 61.8% or 33.3% with 66.6%, 50%, and 100%. When a significant price move occurs, either up or down, the prices will often retrace a significant portion of the original move; sometimes prices will trace the exact move. As prices retrace their steps, support and resistance levels will often occur at or near the Fibonacci retracement levels.

While retracement levels can be applied to both the price and the time, they are more commonly used to determine price. The most common levels used in retracement analysis are 61.8%, 38% and 50%. As a market move starts to reverse, the three levels are calculated by drawing a horizontal line from low to high. It is interesting to note that the Greek and Egyptian mathematicians also knew about the Fibonacci ratios. The ratio known as the Golden Mean was applied in both music and architecture. A Fibonacci spiral is a logarithmic spiral that is used to track patterns of natural growth.

This is an hourly chart of USD/JPY. Here we plotted the Fibonacci Retracement Levels by clicking on the Swing Low at 110.78 on 07/12/05 and dragging the cursor to the Swing High at 112.27 on 07/13/05. You can see the levels plotted by the software. The Retracement Levels were 111.92 (0.236), 111.70 (0.382), 111.52 (0.500), and 111.35 (0.618). Now the expectation is that if USD/JPY retraces from this high, it will find support at one of the Fibonacci Levels because traders will be placing buy orders at these levels as the market pulls back.

Now letís look at what actually happened after the Swing High occurred. The market pulled back right through the 0.236 level and continued the next day piercing the 0.382 level but never actually closing below it. Later on that day, the market resumed its upward move. Clearly buying at the 0.382 level would have been a good short term trade.

Now letís see how we would use Fibonacci Retracement Levels during a downtrend. This is an hourly chart for EUR/USD. As you can see, we found our Swing High at 1.3278 on 02/28/05 and our Swing Low at 1.3169 a couple hours later. The Retracement Levels were 1.3236 (0.618), 1.3224 (0.500), 1.3211 (0.382), and 1.3195 (.236). The expectation for a downtrend is if it retraces from this high, it will encounter resistance at one of the Fibonacci Levels because traders will be placing sell orders at these levels as the market attempts to rally.

Letís check out what happened next. Now isnít that a thing of beauty! The market did try to rally but it barely past the 0.500 level spiking to a high 1.3227 and it actually closed below it. After that bar, you can see that the rally reversed and the downward move continued. You would have made some nice dough selling at the 0.382 level.

Hereís another example. This is an hourly chart for GBP/USD. We had a Swing High of 1.7438 on 07/26/05 and a Swing Low of 1.7336 the next day. So our Retracement Levels are: 1.7399 (0.618), 1.7387 (0.500), 1.7375 (0.382), and 1.7360 (0.236). Looking at the chart, the market looks like it tried to break the 0.500 level on several occasions, but try as it may, it failed. So would putting a sell order at the 0.500 level be a good trade?

You can see from these examples the market usually finds at least temporary support (during an uptrend) or resistance (during a downtrend) at the Fibonacci Retracements Levels. Itís apparent that there a few problems to deal with here. Thereís no way of knowing which level will provide support. The 0.236 seems to provide the weakest support/resistance, while the other levels provide support/resistance at about the same frequency. Even though the charts above show the market usually only retracing to the 0.382 level, it doesnít mean the price will hit that level every time and reverse. Sometimes itíll hit the 0.500 and reverse, other times itíll hit the 0.618 and reverse, and other times the price will totally ignore Mr. Fibonacci and blow past all the levels like similar to the way Allen Iverson blows past his defenders with his nasty first step. Remember, the market will not always resume its uptrend after finding temporary support, but instead continue to decline below the last Swing Low. Same thing for a downtrend. The market may instead decide to continue above the last Swing High.

The placement of stops is a challenge. Itís probably best to place stops below the last Swing Low (on an uptrend) or above the Swing High (on a downtrend), but this requires taking a high level of risk in proportion to the likely profit potential in the trade. This is called reward-to-risk ratio. In a later lesson, you will learn more money management and risk control and how you would only take trades with certain reward-to-risk ratios.

Another problem is determining which Swing Low and Swing High points to start from to create the Fibonacci Retracement Levels. People look at charts differently and so will have their own version of where the Swing High and Swing Low points should be. The point is, there is no one right way to do it, but the bad thing is sometimes it becomes a guessing game.


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