76 Elliott Wave and Zigzag (5-3-5)
A single zigzag in a bull market is a simple three-wave declining pattern labeled A-B-C. The subwave sequence is 5-3-5, and the top of wave B is noticeably lower than the start of wave A, as illustrated in Figures 1-22 and 1-23.
In a bear market, a zigzag correction takes place in the opposite direction, as shown in Figures 1-24 and 1-25. For this reason, a zigzag in a bear market is often referred to as an inverted zigzag.
Occasionally zigzags will occur twice, or at most, three times in succession, particularly when the first zigzag falls short of a normal target. In these cases, each zigzag is separated by an intervening "three," producing what is called a double zigzag (see Figure 1-26) or triple zigzag. These formations are analogous to the extension of an impulse wave but are less common. The correction in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from July to October 1975 (see Figure 1-27) can be labeled as a double zigzag, as can the correction in the Standard and Poor’s 500 stock index from January 1977 to March 1978 (see Figure 1-28). Within impulses, second waves frequently sport zigzags, while fourth waves rarely do.
R.N. Elliott’s original labeling of double and triple zigzags and double and triple threes (see later section) was a quick shorthand. He denoted the intervening movements as wave X, so that double corrections were labeled A-B-C-X-A-B-C. Unfortunately, this notation improperly indicated the degree of the actionary subwaves of each simple pattern. They were labeled as being only one degree less than the entire correction when in fact, they are two degrees smaller. We have eliminated this problem by introducing a useful notational device: labeling the successive actionary components of double and triple corrections as waves W, Y and Z, so that the entire pattern is counted "W-X-Y (-X-Z)." The letter W now denotes the first corrective pattern in a double or triple correction, Y the second, and Z the third of a triple. Each subwave thereof (A, B or C, as well as D or E of a triangle — see later section) is now properly seen as two degrees smaller than the entire correction. Each wave X is a reactionary wave and thus always a corrective wave, typically another zigzag.
Figure 1-24Figure 1-25
free forex signals
A flat correction differs from a zigzag in that the subwave sequence is 3-3-5, as shown in Figures 1-29 and 1-30. Since the first actionary wave, wave A, lacks sufficient downward force to unfold into a full five waves as it does in a zigzag, the B wave reaction, not surprisingly, seems to inherit this lack of countertrend pressure and terminates near the start of wave A. Wave C, in turn, generally terminates just slightly beyond the end of wave A rather than significantly beyond as in zigzags.
Figure 1-29Figure 1-30
In a bear market, the pattern is the same but inverted, as shown in Figures 1-31 and 1-32.
A flat correction usually retraces less of the preceding impulse wave than does a zigzag. It tends to occur when the larger trend is strong, so it virtually always precedes or follows an extension. The more powerful the underlying trend, the briefer the flat tends to be. Within an impulse, the fourth wave frequently sports a flat, while the second wave rarely does.
What might be called a "double flat" does occur. However, Elliott categorized such a formation as a "double three," a term we discuss later in this chapter.
The word "flat" is used as a catch-all name for any A-B-C correction that subdivides 3-3-5. In Elliott literature, however, three types of 3-3-5 corrections have been named by differences in their overall shape. In a regular flat correction, wave B terminates about at the level of the beginning of wave A, and wave C terminates a slight bit past the end of wave A, as we have shown in Figures 1-29 through 1-32. Far more common, however, is the variety we call an expanded flat, which contains a price extreme beyond that of the preceding impulse wave. Elliott called this variation an "irregular" flat, although the word is inappropriate as they are actually far more common than "regular" flats.
In expanded flats, wave B of the 3-3-5 pattern terminates beyond the starting level of wave A, and wave C ends more substantially beyond the ending level of wave A, as shown for bull markets in Figures 1-33 and 1-34 and bear markets in Figures 1-35 and 1-36. The formation in the DJIA from August to November 1973 was an expanded flat correction in a bear market, or an "inverted expanded flat" (see Figure 1-37).
In a rare variation on the 3-3-5 pattern, which we call a running flat, wave B terminates well beyond the beginning of wave A as in an expanded flat, but wave C fails to travel its full distance, falling short of the level at which wave A ended, as in Figures 1-38 through 1-41. Apparently in this case, the forces in the direction of the larger trend are so powerful that the pattern is skewed in that direction. The result is akin to the truncation of an impulse.
It is always important, but particularly when concluding that a running flat has taken place, that the internal subdivisions adhere to Elliott’s rules. If the supposed B wave, for instance, breaks down into five waves rather than three, it is more likely the first wave up of the impulse of next higher degree. The power of adjacent impulse waves is important in recognizing running corrections, which tend to occur only in strong and fast markets.
We must issue a warning, however. There are hardly any examples of this type of correction in the price record. Never label a correction prematurely this way, or you’ll find yourself wrong nine times out of ten. A running triangle, in contrast, is much more common (see next section).
free forex signals presents special offer