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Elliott Waves Theory – Types of Expanding Triangles

Like contracting triangles are of three types, the same thing is valid for expanding triangles. The only difference is that these expanding triangles appear less often than the contracting ones. However, when it comes to some types of expanding triangles we’re going to cover in this article, they’re not that rare and they do form especially on the Forex market. The thing is that the Forex market, being so liquid and all, is tied up in so many ranges sometimes that triangles of all types are forming. Probably by now you’re wondering why there are so many articles in our Forex Trading Academy that are dedicated to the triangular formation. This is happening exactly because they are so common! Elliott found more than ten different types of triangles and based on their characteristics, they appear in different places in the overall Elliott Waves count. Coming back to expanding triangles, as a short review, they are three waves structures, in the sense that all the five segments of the triangle are corrective ones, and they appear most likely as part of complex corrections. For what a complex correction is, please refer to the article dedicated to it in our project. Like any other triangle, expanding or not, the key stays with the b-d trend line as, by the time this line is broken, the whole pattern is considered to be completed. This b-d trend line is usually easy to identify as it needs to be a clean one. It means that no parts of the c-wave nor the e-wave should break this trend line before the triangle’s completion.

Three Types of Expanding Triangles

Following the contracting triangles lead, in order to identify the types of expanding triangles a market can form, the thing is to start from the very basic definition and then to apply the changes. Therefore, if a contracting triangle, a classical one, is having all the segments of the triangle smaller than the previous one, in the case of an expanding triangle, the logic says that all the segments should be bigger than the previous ones. And this leads to the first type of an expanding triangle Elliott found!

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Horizontal Expanding Triangle

types of expanding triangles1A horizontal expanding triangle is, above all, expanding on the horizontal. Keep in mind that all the legs here are bigger than the previous one, and, as mentioned in other articles here on the Forex Trading Academy, such moves are really vicious, especially if the triangle forms on bigger time frames, like daily charts and above. Such a triangle is actually a result of a period of uncertainty that characterizes a currency pair. You have to remember that a currency pair is moving based on the differences between the two economies the currencies represent. This means that, sometimes, monetary policies between the two jurisdictions may differ so strongly, that no matter what the economic releases will be, the market is undecided on the next movement and only fake moves will govern the Forex pairs. It is very likely that this kind of an environment is the one that leads to the formation of an expanding triangle. However, out of all expanding triangles, the horizontal one is the rarest form possible. Having all the segments bigger than the previous one is not that common so, if you ever, witness such a triangle, chances are you’re wrong and the market is forming something else. The rules of a triangle should be respected, though, even for this kind of triangle.

Irregular Expanding Triangle

types of expanding triangles2In order for us to correctly show how an irregular expanding triangle is looking like, the thing to do is to go back to the definition of an irregular contracting triangle. That one is forming when the b-wave is bigger than all the other segments in the triangle. If that is valid in a contracting pattern, it means that in an expanding one things should be exactly the opposite. Therefore, we have the definition of an expanding triangle: a triangle that has all the legs bigger than the previous one, with the b-wave being the only exception. Such a triangle I by far more common than the horizontal one and the expanding nature of the two trend lines is even more visible. This is due to the fact that the b-wave is much smaller than the a-wave.

Running Expanding Triangle

When compared with the running contracting triangle, this one appears more often. The running concept is the same though: the triangle will end above/below (depending if the triangle is a bullish or a bearish one) the end of the previous wave. This running feature is one that is often misunderstood by traders but this doesn’t make it appear less often. Knowing that it can form is a huge competitive advantage for any trader. In order to define a running expanding triangle, we should, again, start from the contracting one, and do the things exactly the opposite way. Following those steps, a running expanding triangle is one that is having types of expanding triangles3the b-wave as the smallest segment of all five that make the triangular formation, the d-wave smaller than the c-wave, and the e-wave bigger than the d-wave. Building such a pattern may sound like a complicated thing if you read the above description, but, in reality, it is one of the most common things that form on the Forex market, no matter the time frame. If you correctly build this triangle, you’ll end up with a series of three lows (if the triangle is a bearish one) or three highs (if the triangle is a bullish one). How many times have you looked at a chart only to see a series of three higher highs or lower lows to form before the price is reversing abruptly? That series is nothing but a running expanding triangle! With these triangles explained here, we covered all the possibilities Elliot found for triangular formations. They are really important when counting waves as they are forming quite often. Actually, most of the complex corrections the market makes (and complex corrections are forming more often than simple ones) are having at least a triangle in their componence. Such a triangle can be either a contracting or an expanding one, and we listed here all their types and possibilities to form. No matter the type of a triangle, though, one thing should matter the most: by the time the b-d trend line is broken, we should look for trading in the opposite direction, having a stop loss at the end of the e-wave.

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