Profiting from the Bollinger Squeeze

Combining Bollinger Bands and Bollinger Bands Width Pairing the Bollinger Band width indicator with Bollinger Bands is like combining the perfect red wine and meat combo you can find. In the previous section, we talked about staying away from changing the settings.

Find higher highs or lower lows and place a trend line on them. Notice how the price of the stock is barely moving at the time the 6 month Band-Width Low Is Reached. These indicators should come standard on your trading platform. I was reading an article on Forbes, and it highlighted 6 volatile swings of bitcoin starting from November through March

Conclusion

Read The Basics of Bollinger Bands. The Squeeze. The squeeze is the central concept of Bollinger Bands®. When the bands come close together, constricting the moving average, it is called a.

Notice how the bands dynamically narrow and widen based on the day to day price action changes. The indicator is called Band-Width and the sole purpose of this indicator is to subtract the lower band value from the upper band. Notice in this example how the Band-Width indicator gives lower readings when the bands are contracting and higher readings when bands are expanding. One particular Bollinger Bands Strategy that I use when volatility is decreasing in the markets is the Squeeze entry strategy.

The Squeeze strategy is based on the idea that once volatility decreases for extended periods of time the opposite reaction typically occurs and volatility expands greatly once again. When volatility expands markets usually begin trending strongly in one direction for a short period of time. The Squeeze begins with the Band-Width making a 6 month low.

In this example you can see IBM stock reaching the lowest level of volatility in 6 months. Notice how the price of the stock is barely moving at the time the 6 month Band-Width Low Is Reached. In this example you can see how IBM stock breaks outside of the upper Bollinger Band immediately after the stocks Band-Width level reached 6 month low.

In this example you can see how Apple Computers reaches the lowest Band-Width level in 6 months and one day later the stock breaks outside of the upper band. This is the type of set ups you want to monitor on a daily basis when using the Band-Width indicator for Squeeze set ups. Notice how the Band-Width begins to increase quickly after reaching the 6 month low level. This would be a good time to think about scaling out of a position or getting out entirely. Another trading strategy is to gauge the initiation of an upcoming squeeze.

John created an indicator known as the band width. The idea, using daily charts, is that when the indicator reaches its lowest level in 6 months, you can expect the volatility to increase.

This goes back to the tightening of the bands that I mentioned above. This squeezing action of the bollinger band indicator foreshadows a big move. You can use additional signs such as volume expanding, or the accumulation distribution indicator turning up.

We need to have an edge when trading a bollinger band squeeze because these setups can head-fake the best of us. It immediately reversed, and all the breakout traders were head faked. You don't have to squeeze every penny out of a trade. Wait for some confirmation of the breakout and then go with it. If you are right, it will go much further in your direction. Notice how the price and volume broke when approaching the head fake highs yellow line. To the point of waiting for confirmation, let's look at how to use the power of a Bollinger Band squeeze to our advantage.

Notice how leading up to the morning gap the bands were extremely tight. Now some traders can take the elementary trading approach of shorting the stock on the open with the assumption that the amount of energy developed during the tightness of the bands will carry the stock much lower. Another approach is to wait for confirmation of this belief. So, the way to handle this sort of setup is to 1 wait for the candlestick to come back inside of the bands and 2 make sure there are a few inside bars that do not break the low of the first bar and 3 short on the break of the low of the first candlestick.

Based on reading these three requirements you can imagine this does not happen very often in the market, but when it does, it's something else. The below chart depicts this approach. Now let's look at the same sort of setup but on the long side. Below is a snapshot of Google from April 26, Notice how GOOG gapped up over the upper band on the open, had a small retracement back inside of the bands, then later exceeded the high of the first candlestick.

These sorts of setups can prove powerful if they end up riding the bands. This strategy is for those of us that like to ask for very little from the markets. Essentially you are waiting for the market to bounce off the bands back to the middle line. You are not obsessed with getting in a position and it wildly swinging in your favor. Nor are you looking to be a prophet of sorts and try to predict how far a stock should or should not run.

By not asking for much, you will be able to safely pull money out of the market on a consistent basis and ultimately reduce the wild fluctuations of your account balance, which is common for traders that take big risks. The key to this strategy is waiting on a test of the mid-line before entering the position.

You can increase your likelihood of placing a winning trade if you go in the direction of the primary trend and there is a sizable amount of volatility. As you can see in the above example, notice how the stock had a sharp run-up, only to pull back to the mid-line.

You would want to enter the position after the failed attempt to break to the downside. You can then sell the position on a test of the upper band. If you have an appetite for risk, you can ride the bands to determine where to exit the position. This is honestly my favorite of the strategies. If I gave you any other indication that I preferred one of the other signals, forget whatever I said earlier. First, you need to find a stock that is stuck in a trading range.

The greater the range, the better. Now, looking at this chart, I feel a sense of boredom coming over me. However, from my experience, the guys that take money out of the market when it presents itself, are the ones sitting with a big pile of cash at the end of the day. In the above example, you just buy when a stock tests the low end of its range and the lower band. Conversely, you sell when the stock tests the high of the range and the upper band.

The key to this strategy is a stock having a clearly defined trading range. This way you are not trading the bands blindly but are using the bands to gauge when a stock has gone too far. You could argue that you don't need the bands to execute this strategy.

However, by having the bands, you can validate that a security is in a flat or low volatility phase, by reviewing the look and feel of the bands. So, instead of trying to win big, you just play the range and collect all your pennies on each price swing of the stock. Like anything else in the market, there are no guarantees. Bollinger Bands can be a great tool for identifying volatility in a security, but it can also prove to be a nightmare when it comes to newbie traders.

Don't skip ahead, but I will touch on this from my personal experience a little later in this article. Not exiting your trade can almost prove disastrous as three of the aforementioned strategies are trying to capture the benefits of a volatility spike.

For example, imagine you are short a stock that reverses back to the highs and begins riding the bands. What would you do? While bands do a great job of encapsulating price movement, it only takes one extremely volatile stock to show you the bands are nothing more than man's failed attempt to control the uncontrollable.

While there is still more content for you to consume, please remember one thing - you must have stopped in place! Let me help you out if you are confused - kill the trade! While bandsdo a great job of encapsulating price movement, it only takes one extremely volatile stock to show you the bands are nothing more than man's failed attempt to control the uncontrollable.

Strategy 5 - Snap back to mthe iddle band, will work in very strong markets. I have been a breakout trader for years and let me tell you that most breakouts fail.

Not to say pullbacks are without their own issues, but you at least minimize your risk by not buying at the top. Shifting gears to strategy 6 - Trade Inside the Bands, this approach will work well in sideways markets. Because you are not asking much from the market in terms of price movement.

From my personal experience of placing thousands of trades, the more profit you search for in the market, the less likely you will be right. Don't worry, I'm not about to go on a history lesson on cryptocurrencies with details of where David Chaum went to college.

I was reading an article on Forbes, and it highlighted 6 volatile swings of bitcoin starting from November through March So, I wanted to do my own research and I looked at the most recent price swings of Bitcoin in the Tradingsim platform.

Let's look at the period of December 22, ,to December 27, During this period, Bitcoin ran from a low of 12, to a high of 16, Let's unpack this a little further. Do you realize that these gains were largely made over 3 days' worth of trading? I am getting a little older now and hopefully a little wiser and that kind of money that fast, I have learned is almost impossible for me to grasp.

The psychological warfare of the highs and the lows become unmanageable. So, it got me thinking, would applying bands to a chart of bitcoin futures have helped with making the right trade? I indicated on the chart where bitcoin closed outside of the bands as a possible turning point for both the rally and the selloff.

But let's be honest here, this is a minute chart of a highly volatile security. You must honestly ask yourself will you have the discipline to make split second decisions to time this trade, just right? The one thing the bands manages to do as promised is contain the price action, even on something as wild as bitcoin. I honestly find it hard to determine when bitcoin is going to take a turn looking at the bands. It's not that the bands are doing anything wrong or not working. Bitcoin is just illustrating the harsh reality when trading volatile cryptocurrencies that there is no room for error.

I personally do not trade bitcoin, but after looking at the most recent price swing using bands a couple of things come to mind:. Pairing the Bollinger Band width indicator with Bollinger Bands is like combining the perfect red wine and meat combo you can find.

In the previous section, we talked about staying away from changing the settings. Well, if you really think about it, your entire reasoning for changing the settings in the first place is in hopes of identifying how a security is likely to move based on its volatility. A much easier way of doing this is to use the Bollinger Bands width.

In short, the BB width indicator measures the spread of the bands to the moving average to gauge the volatility of a stock. Well, now you have an actual reading of the volatility of a security, you can then look back over months or years to see if there are any repeatable patterns of how price reacts when it hits extremes.

Still, don't believe me? Look at the below screenshot using both the Bollinger Bands and Bollinger Band width. Notice how the Bollinger Band width tested the. The other point of note is that on each prior test, the high of the indicator made a new high, which implied the volatility was expanding after each quiet period.

As a trader, you need to separate the idea of a low reading with the Bollinger Bands width indicator with the decrease in price. If you had just looked at the bands, it would be nearly impossible to know that a pending move was coming.

You would have no way of knowing that. This is just another example of why it's important to pair Bollinger Bands with other indicators and not use it as a standalone tool. The above chart is of the E-Mini Futures.

I want to dig into the E-Mini because the rule of thumb is that the smart money will move the futures market which in turn driveS the cash market. Looking at the chart of the E-mini futures, the peak candle was completely inside of the bands. Other than the fact the E-mini was riding the bands for months, how would you have known there was a big break coming?

Now that I have built up tremendous anticipation, let's see if there is a way to identify an edge. Remember in Chapter 4, the Bollinger Band width can give an early indication of a pending move as volatility increases.

In the above example, the volatility of the E-Mini had two breakouts prior to price peaking. If that wasn't enough to convince you, then the second break above the 8-month swing high of the Bollinger Band width was your second sign. After these early indications, the price went on to make a sharp move lower and the Bollinger Band width value spiked.

The inspiration for this section is from the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where Michelangelo gets super excited about a slice of pizza and compares it to a funny video of a cat playing chopsticks with chopsticks.

Does anything jump out that would lead you to believe an expanse in volatility is likely to occur? Let me tell you, when you are trading in real-time, the last thing you want to do is come late to a party. More times than not, you will be the one left on cleanup after everyone else has had their fun. It was very subtle, but you can see how the bands were coiling tighter and tighter from September through December.

During this time, the VIXY respected the middle band. There was one period in late November when the candlesticks slightly jumped over the middle line, but the candles were red and immediately rolled over. However, in late January, you can see the candlesticks not only closed above the middle line, but also started to print green candles.

Now, one could argue that this wasn't enough information to make a trading decision. That is a fair statement. You would need a trained eye and have a good handle with market breadth indicators to know that this was the start of something real.

There is the obvious climactic volume which jumps off the chart, but there was a slight pickup in late January, which was another indicator that the smart money was starting to cash in profits before the start of spring break.