This is a classic example of a breakout from a pennant pattern which we had been following in the spot gold market for several weeks, and is covered in more detail on my daily market commentary for the spot gold market. As we can see from the daily gold chart, spot gold prices had been consolidating in an increasingly narrow trading range, forming the pennant pattern as a result which is outlined with the two lines above and below which give the pattern it’s name. Such trading is typified by prices moving in a ever small range day after day, until one day we see the explosive breakout that occured in the spot gold market recently, with the breakout on this occasion coming to the upside. There are two things to note in order to trade such breakouts, and the first is simply that the longer the sideways consolidation continues, then the greater will be the force and speed of the breakout when it does occur – much like a tightly coiled spring. The second point to note is that generally the breakout will be in the same direction as that which the market was taking before the start of the consolidation, so in this case we were expecting a break to the upside as the more likely for spot gold prices in this case.
The question of course, is whilst we can see the pennant forming on the daily chart, how do we benefit as traders, and the simple answer is in two ways. First we can trade the breakout before it happens by placing a long straddle in position using options. This is known as a directionless trade, as we benefit whichever way the breakout comes, but ONLY if the trade is in place when the breakout occurs. Should the market continue to consolidate sideways, then this trade will lose, unless you sell any remaining option value back to the market. So the key to success with this trade is in the timing, and you must therefore allow sufficient time for the trade to develop such that the options do not expire before the breakout occurs, and my suggestion for such trades is normally around 3 months, which I suggested on this occasion to my regular readers. The second trading option is to wait for the breakout and then to trade in the direction the breakout has occurred once the market has settled – more risky as we often see considerable volatility following the breakout from the trading range, but nevertheless this is a second way to trade – however, my preferred trading strategy for breakouts is always to use the straddle option strategy wherever possible, and if you would like further details please just follow the link here which explains this in more detail.
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