Master the Broadening Wedge Pattern

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

May 27, 2024May 27, 2024

Introduction to the Broadening Wedge Pattern

The broadening wedge pattern is a significant chart formation in technical analysis, characterized by its widening shape due to diverging trend lines. This pattern typically signals heightened volatility and potential breakouts in either direction.

Recognizing it is crucial for traders as it often precedes major market reversals, indicating a shift in trend. Broadening wedges can be classified into the following types:

  • Ascending Broadening Wedge: Features an upward-sloping pattern with higher highs and higher lows, usually found in uptrends and signaling potential bearish reversals. Learn More
  • Descending Broadening Wedge: Exhibits lower highs and lower lows, generally occurring in downtrends and pointing towards a potential bullish reversal. Learn More
  • Symmetrical Broadening Wedge: This formation has a horizontal or slightly inclined appearance, with no clear upward or downward slope, signifying extreme uncertainty in market direction.

Other wedge patterns to consider include the rising wedge and falling wedge patterns, which share similarities with the broadening wedge but exhibit converging trendlines. Check out our master trading chart patterns guide for a comprehensive list of key chart patterns.

Key Features of the Broadening Wedge Pattern

Key Characteristics

  • Diverging Trendlines: The pattern consists of two trend lines that diverge, with the upper one acting as resistance and the lower one as support. The expanding nature signifies increasing volatility.
  • Broadening Formation: The pattern typically forms after a significant price move, where the market begins to exhibit increasingly erratic behavior, often due to news events or changes in investor sentiment.
  • Breakout Implications: Depending on the prevailing trend, a breakout can occur either upward or downward, marking the continuation or reversal of the existing trend.

Market Psychology

  • Expanding Volatility and Uncertainty: The pattern reflects growing uncertainty and heightened volatility, indicating that the market is grappling with conflicting forces.
  • Trading Signals: Traders often interpret broadening wedges as a sign of impending market reversals due to the growing divergence between buyers and sellers. The pattern’s breakout typically signals a strong directional move.

Master the Broadening Wedge Pattern

Identifying the Broadening Wedge Pattern

Identifying this pattern requires careful analysis of price action and trendlines:

  1. Identify Diverging Trendlines: Look for two trend lines that are diverging over time. The upper trendline should be connecting higher highs, while the lower trendline connects lower lows.
  2. Observe Expanding Price Action: Check for expanding price action between these trendlines, which is indicative of increasing volatility. The price swings become progressively larger.
  3. Analyze Pattern Duration: Broadening wedges usually form over several weeks to months. Patterns that appear too short in time frame might not be as reliable.

Practical Examples

In stock markets, a typical example of a broadening wedge can be observed in tech stocks during periods of regulatory uncertainty. The initial news can cause price swings that widen as the market digests new information, forming a pattern with diverging trendlines.

Strategic Trading Approaches

Entry Points

  • Post-Breakout Entry: A traditional approach involves waiting for the price to break above or below the broadening wedge’s boundaries. Entering at this point capitalizes on the momentum of the breakout.
  • Early Entry: Some traders anticipate the breakout by analyzing other technical indicators like volume or oscillators, allowing them to enter positions before the breakout.

Stop-Loss Settings

  • Above/Below Trendlines: Stop-losses can be set just above the upper trendline for short trades or below the lower trendline for long trades, minimizing risk in case of a false breakout.

Profit Targets

  • Fibonacci Extensions: Using Fibonacci extensions can help estimate target levels for taking profit after the breakout.
  • Price Projections: Estimating the potential breakout distance by projecting the pattern’s width onto the breakout point provides another target level.

These trading strategies provide a comprehensive approach for traders to efficiently navigate the broadening wedge pattern in real-time markets. The following sections will explore complementary technical indicators and other patterns to further enhance trading strategies.

Combining Broadening Wedge with Technical Indicators

While the broadening wedge pattern offers significant insights into potential market moves, integrating technical indicators can enhance its reliability and accuracy. Here’s how traders can leverage various tools:

Moving Averages

  • Identifying Trends: Moving averages (MAs) smooth out price data, making it easier to identify broader market trends. The 50-day and 200-day moving averages are commonly used to confirm the overall trend direction.
  • Breakout Confirmation: If the breakout aligns with a moving average crossover (e.g., the 50-day MA crossing above the 200-day MA), this reinforces the strength of the move.

RSI (Relative Strength Index)

  • Overbought/Oversold Conditions: The RSI measures the magnitude of recent price changes to evaluate whether an asset is overbought or oversold. An RSI above 70 suggests overbought conditions, while below 30 indicates oversold conditions.
  • Pattern Validation: RSI can validate breakouts by highlighting overbought or oversold conditions that align with the pattern’s breakout direction.
    Learn More About RSI Divergence

MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence)

  • Momentum Shifts: The MACD illustrates changes in momentum through the relationship between two moving averages. Bullish or bearish crossovers often precede significant price moves.
  • Pattern Alignment: A MACD crossover aligning with a broadening wedge breakout supports the pattern’s anticipated direction, providing traders with additional confirmation.

Volume Analysis

  • Volume Confirmation: Analyzing volume is crucial as it adds weight to the pattern’s reliability. A significant breakout should ideally be accompanied by a spike in trading volume, which indicates broader market participation.
  • Divergence Analysis: Declining volume during a pattern formation could signal a lack of conviction while increasing volume with diverging price movement might suggest a reversal.

Other Chart Patterns You Should Know

Symmetrical Triangle

  • The symmetrical triangle pattern is characterized by converging trendlines, which are distinct from the diverging lines seen in broadening wedges. This formation leads to a progressively narrower price range over time. It generally represents a period of consolidation, often followed by a breakout in the direction of the prevailing trend.
    Learn More About The Symmetrical Triangle

Rising/Falling Wedge

  • Rising Wedge: The rising wedge pattern, with converging trend lines sloping upwards, signals a bearish reversal. Once the breakdown occurs, it frequently results in significant price declines.
    Learn More About Rising Wedge Pattern

Helpful Trading Tools


  • Charting Tools: TradingView offers comprehensive charting tools, allowing traders to identify broadening wedge patterns with ease. Their extensive range of indicators enhances pattern analysis.
  • Alerts and Notifications: Traders can set custom alerts for pattern formations or price levels, ensuring they don’t miss critical market movements.
  • Community Insights: TradingView’s community offers a wealth of insights, where traders share analyses and perspectives on patterns.
    Learn More About TradingView


  • Automated Pattern Recognition: TrendSpider’s automated pattern recognition feature helps traders identify broadening wedges quickly and accurately, reducing the risk of subjective bias.
  • Backtesting and Analysis: The platform enables traders to backtest strategies based on historical data, helping validate the effectiveness of the broadening wedge pattern.
  • Advanced Charting Tools: The platform offers advanced tools like heat maps and multi-timeframe analysis, which aid in thorough market analysis.
    Learn More About TrendSpider

Final Thoughts on the Broadening Wedge Pattern

Mastering the broadening wedge pattern is crucial for traders aiming to predict market volatility and anticipate significant price movements. By understanding its characteristics and integrating it with technical indicators and complementary patterns, traders can enhance their market analysis and improve their trading strategies.

The use of advanced trading tools like TradingView and TrendSpider further simplifies pattern recognition and increases trading efficiency, making the process seamless and more accurate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Broadening wedge patterns indicate potential market reversals or continuations but do not guarantee specific price targets. Combining them with other technical indicators improves their predictive accuracy.

The pattern can form over weeks or months, depending on the market’s volatility and overall trend. Shorter formations may not be as reliable.

Yes, they can be applied to various asset classes, including stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, due to the universal nature of price action and chart patterns.

Traders often misinterpret false breakouts or prematurely enter trades without sufficient confirmation. Using complementary indicators and waiting for pattern confirmation can mitigate these pitfalls.

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

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