Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gorman & Kennedy, Visual Guide to Elliott Wave Trading

First, what Visual Guide to Elliott Wave Trading by Wayne Gorman and Jeffrey Kennedy (Bloomberg/Wiley, 2013) is not. It is not an Elliott wave primer. The authors direct the reader who knows nothing about wave patterns to the classic presentation by Frost and Prechter, available free online.

Instead, this visual guide shows how to actually use Elliott waves in trading, both as a stand-alone tool and, more perfunctorily, in combination with technical indicators. It also includes two chapters on incorporating Elliott waves into options trading strategies

Many of the Elliott waves the author illustrate (and naturally the illustrations are abundant) are of the “real world” vs. the “textbook” variety. That is, they are tricky to decipher even in hindsight. This difficulty has led many critics to claim that Elliott wave theory is useless in real time. In fact, the authors admit that “under the Elliott wave model, there is usually more than one valid wave count at any particular time” and that “sometimes these wave counts point in opposite directions.” (p. 195)

For the trader in doubt (who is not pursuing an option strategy that can profit under more than one scenario), Gorman and Kennedy provide visual cues—usually familiar patterns such as channels and wedges, sometimes Fibonacci levels—that help the trader make sense of the waves. The chapter titles in Part II (“Trading Examples”) point to some of these cues: “How Zigzags and Flats Set Up a Trade for the Next Impulse Wave,” “How a Triangle Positions You for the Next Move,” “Riding Wave C in a Zigzag,” and “Using Ending Diagonals to Trade Swift and Sharp Reversals.”

The authors draw the majority of their examples from the futures and FX markets, which tend to trade more technically than do stocks. They describe sample trades as these trades progress over time, explaining how they set stops and targets, what they were thinking (and feeling) during the trades, and what they learned from them.

Visual Guide to Elliott Wave Trading will help the trader who is interested in wave theory as a practical tool for increasing his bottom line—even if he can’t properly label all the wave levels on his charts.

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