Chart Patterns XII: Rectangles

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The rectangle formation is often a very simple one to recognize. It is essentially a market that is trading in a range between two horizontal lines. The rectangle formation represents consolidation of the move that preceded it, creating a foundation for a continuation of a further move in the same direction.

The chart below showed the consolidation period of EUR/USD from May 2004 to October 2004. EUR/USD had been going on an up-trend since the beginning of 2002. In February 2004, EUR/USD started a retracement and followed by the consolidation period in the chart, forming a rectangle. EUR/USD traded between 1.1970 and 1.2460 for five months. The price eventually broke above 1.2460 in mid-October and continued the up-trend, reaching EUR/USD historical high at 1.3660 at the end of year 2004. The rectangular consolidation period created a foundation for the continuation of a further move in the up-trend.

The rectangle formation can be used in either an up trend or a down trend, and although it normally signals continuation of a market move in the direction of the original trend, the important signal is upon the breakout from the rectangle. Reversals are possible in a rectangle pattern if the breakout occurs back towards the origin of the trend that preceded the pattern.