Head And Shoulders Pattern

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Definition: Head And Shoulders Pattern



What is the dictionary definition of Head And Shoulders Pattern?

Dictionary Definition


Head and Shoulders Pattern is a technical analysis term used to describe a chart formation that appears to outline a human head and shoulders.  The Head and Shoulders pattern is considered to be very bearish.


Full Definition of Head And Shoulders Pattern


A head and shoulders pattern is a technical analysis charting pattern that signals the reversal of an uptrend — it’s a bearish reversal signal. Three peaks, with the middle peak the highest, and two valleys that touch a support level characterize a head and shoulders pattern. The support level of the head and shoulders pattern is also referred to as the neckline. Initially, buying pressure is strong when the peak of the left shoulder in the head and shoulders pattern forms. A relatively short sell-off completes the left shoulder of the head and shoulders pattern. A new advance that reaches a peak higher than the left shoulder, followed by another sell-off to support (i.e. the neckline) forms the head of the head and shoulders pattern. Sometimes the formation of the head in the head and shoulders pattern will occur on lower trading volume than was in process for the left shoulder which is another indication that support for the security is weakening. The right shoulder of the head and shoulders pattern reaches a peak lower than the head and is often in line with the left shoulder. Traders consider the reversal signalled by the head and shoulders pattern confirmed when the sell-off from the peak of the right shoulder breaks below the neckline (preferably on increasing volume). The target price for the head and shoulders pattern is determined by calculating the price differential between the neckline and the peak of the head and then subtracting this differential from the neckline.

The Head and Shoulders Pattern chart formation occurs when a stock’s price:

  1. Rises to a peak and subsequently declines.
  2. The price rises above the former peak and again declines.
  3. And finally, rises again, but not to the second peak, and declines once more.

The first and third peaks are shoulders, and the second peak forms the head.

The Head and Shoulders Pattern is extremely bearish.  Traders typically wait until the neckline has been breached on high volume before entering a short position.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Head And Shoulders Pattern are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 22nd March, 2020 | 1 Views.