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Zig Zag

The Zig-Zag indicator attempts to determine price trends, support and resistance areas, and classic chart patterns like head and shoulders, double bottoms and double tops. The Zig-Zag indicators uses both swing highs and swing lows in its calculation:

  • Swing Highs: When a price (usually close) is both higher than the price previous to it and after it.
  • Swing Lows: When a price is both lower than the price prior to it and lower than the price following it.

The Zig-Zag indicator can use both percentages or points in its construction. To construct the Zig-Zag indicator, there must be a certain percentage or number of points between a swing high and a swing low before a line will be drawn. The chart below of the E-mini Nasdaq 100 Futures contract visually illustrates the difference between a price retracement Zig-Zag of 3% and a price retracement Zig-Zag of 5%:

Volume accumulation confirming downtrend

Notice how in the chart above that a Zig-Zag with a retracement percentage of 3% makes more distinct lines than the Zig-Zag with a retracement percentage of 5%. The purpose of using a Zig-Zag with a larger retracement percentage is to help eliminate price noise that is not significant for the trader’s analysis.

As will be shown on the next page, the Zig-Zag can be helpful in uncovering stock cycles while screening out short-term price noise.

The information above is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute trading advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any stock, option, future, commodity, or forex product. Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance. Trading is inherently risky. OnlineTradingConcepts.com shall not be liable for any special or consequential damages that result from the use of or the inability to use, the materials and information provided by this site. See full disclaimer.

Zig Zag Interpretations

The Zig-Zag indicator can be effective in filtering short-term noise and identifying significant trends and significant changes in market prices.

Below is a chart of the E-mini S&P 500 Futures contract that illustrates how effective the Zig-Zag indicator was in visually finding areas of support and resistance and price breakouts:

Zig Zag indicator showing major tops and bottoms of price moves

The chart above of the e-mini uses a 5% Zig-Zag retracement value; therefore, only price changes of 5% or greater are shown, helping a long-term trader or trader identify important areas of support, resistance, and areas of price breakouts.

On the left of the chart, the S&P 500 was forming a triangle consolidation pattern. When prices broke resistance, a potential long-term buy was generated. During the middle of the chart, the Zig-Zag indicator was effective in illustrating that the S&P 500 was in an upward price channel. Typically traders might wish to buy in areas where price touched the lower support trendline and sell when prices touched the upper resistance line.

The chart below of Intel (INTC) shows a classic chart head and shoulder pattern easily seen by the Zig-Zag indicator ($1 retracement):

Zig Zag and a head and shoulder pattern

The easily identified head and shoulders pattern gave a potential sell signal when price on the right shoulder broke the upward slanting trendline.

The Zig-Zag indicator is a technical analysis tool that might be used to identify classic charting patterns. The Zig-Zag indicator is also effective in visually reducing noise and helping the technical trader see larger picture patterns and general market direction.

The information above is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute trading advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any stock, option, future, commodity, or forex product. Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance. Trading is inherently risky. OnlineTradingConcepts.com shall not be liable for any special or consequential damages that result from the use of or the inability to use, the materials and information provided by this site. See full disclaimer.

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