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Elliott Wave Counts

The ZigZag feature can be used to filter out small moves and make Elliott Wave counts more straightforward. The chart below shows the S&P 500 ETF with a 6% ZigZag to filter moves less than 6%. After a little trial and error, 6% was deemed the threshold of importance. An advance or decline greater than 6% was deemed significant enough to warrant a wave for an Elliott count. Keep in mind that this is just an example. The threshold and the wave count are subjective and dependent on individual preferences. Based on the 6% ZigZag, a complete cycle was identified from March 2009 until July 2010. A complete cycle consists of 8 waves, 5 up and 3 down.

Retracements and Projections

SharpCharts users can choose between the normal “ZigZag” and “ZigZag (Retrace.).” As shown in the examples above, the normal ZigZag shows lines that move at least a specific percentage. The ZigZag (Retrace.) connects the reaction highs and lows with labels that measure the prior move. The numbers on the dotted lines reflect the difference between the current ZigZag line and the ZigZag line immediately before it. For example, the chart below shows Altera (ALTR) with the 15% ZigZag (Retrace.) feature. Three ZigZag lines have been labeled (1, 2 and 3). The dotted line connecting the low of Line 1 with the low of Line 2 shows a box with 0.638. This means Line 2 is .638 (63.8%) of Line 1. A number below 1 means the line is shorter than the prior line. The dotted line connecting the high of Line 2 with the high of Line 3 shows a box with 1.646. This means Line 3 is 1.646 (164.6%) of Line 2. A number above 1 means the line is longer than the prior line.

As you may have guessed, seeing these lines as a percentage of the prior lines makes it possible to assess Fibonacci projections. The August decline (Line 2) retraced around 61.8% of the June-July advance (Line 1). This is a classic Fibonacci retracement. The advance from early September to early November was 1.646 times the August decline. In this sense, the ZigZag (Retrace.) can be used to project the length of an advance. Again, 1.646 is close to the Fibonacci 1.618, which is the Golden Ratio used in many projection estimates. See our ChartSchool article for more on Fibonacci retracements.

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Gold Forecast

The ZigZag and ZigZag (Retrace.) filter price action and do not have any predictive power. The ZigZag lines simply react when prices move a certain percentage. Chartists can apply an array of technical analysis tools to the ZigZag. Chartists can perform basic trend analysis by comparing reaction highs and lows. Chartists can also overlay the ZigZag feature to look for price patterns that might not be as visible on a normal bar or line chart. The ZigZag has a way of highlighting the important movements and ignoring the noise. When using the ZigZag feature, don't forget to measure the last line to determine if it is temporary or permanent. This line is temporary if the current price change is less than the ZigZag parameter, but becomes permanent if the price change is greater than or equal to the ZigZag parameter.