Elliott Wave Theory

Elliott Wave Theory

What is Elliott Wave Theory?

Ralph Nelson Elliott developed the Elliott Wave Theory in the late 1920s by discovering that stock markets, thought to behave in a somewhat chaotic manner, in fact traded in repetitive cycles.

Elliott discovered that these market cycles resulted from investors’ reactions to outside influences, or predominant psychology of the masses at the time. He found that the upward and downward swings of the mass psychology always showed up in the same repetitive patterns, which were then divided further into patterns he termed waves.

Elliott’s theory is somewhat based on the Dow theory in that stock prices move in waves. Because of the fractal nature of markets, however, Elliott was able to break down and analyze them in much greater detail. Fractals are mathematical structures, which on an ever-smaller scale infinitely repeat themselves. Elliott discovered stock-trading patterns were structured in the same way.

The Elliott Wave Theory is interpreted as follows:

  • Every action is followed by a reaction.

  • Five waves move in the direction of the main trend followed by three corrective waves (a 5-3 move).

  • A 5-3 move completes a cycle.

  • This 5-3 move then becomes two subdivisions of the next higher 5-3 wave.

  • The underlying 5-3 pattern remains constant, though the time span of each may vary.


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