In the previous article, we learned about Elliott’s Zigzag corrective wave. So in this article, we will learn about the Flat corrective wave pattern to know one more major form in the structure of the Elliott wave.
Flat corrective wave pattern
The Flat (FL) is a very popular corrective wave pattern consisting of three waves marked A-B-C. It differs from Zigzag (ZZ) patterns in that it tends to move up and down slowly and smoothly like a boat bobbing on the waves rather than increase or decrease sharply, hence the name “Flat”. This pattern tends to slightly correct the previous trend. It can form a common flag pattern every time it appears. Sometimes, it can look like a simple channel where the price tends to move sideways for most of the channel and there are few obvious bullish signs.
In an Impulse Wave, a Flat is usually found on the fourth wave (especially when wave 2 is already a zigzag, the 4th is most likely a flat), which can create an ‘A’ or ‘B’ wave of the corrective pattern. But you won’t find them in wave ‘C’ of the correction. In addition, a Flat wave can also appear in wave B of a Zigzag or a component wave of a Double Three or Triple Three Combination. However, you will not find an FL in a corrective pattern that is a triangle pattern. Triangles are built from zigzags or other triangle patterns.
At the same time, the FL pattern usually has a 3-3-5 or 3-3-7 wave structure. Conversely, Zigzag patterns move up or down quickly and strongly and follow a 5-3-5 wave structure.
Rules of the wave pattern
- Wave A can follow any corrective pattern.
- Wave B can follow any corrective pattern except Contracting Triangle (CT) and Expanding Triangle (ET).
- Wave B must retrace at least 50% of wave A in price (according to Fibonacci Retracement) and must be shorter than 2 times the length of wave A (0.5A ≤ B ≤ 2A).
- Wave C can only be an Impulse (IM) or an Ending Diagonal (ED) or a Double Zigzag (DZ) pattern. If wave C follows a DZ and wave X extends, the internal wave structure of the FL pattern is 3-3-3. But if wave X is not extending then the internal wave structure of the FL pattern is 3-3-7.
- Wave C is no longer than 3 times the length of wave A (C ≤ 3A).
- Wave C must share the price area with wave A.
Basically, there are 4 corrective Flat types, Regular Flat, Expanded Flat, Running Flat and Elongated Flat. The name of the pattern you define is not as important as its meaning. Each of the Flats above implies a prior consolidation of the trend that preceded the Flat formation.
Variations of the FL corrective pattern
Expanded Flat / Irregular pattern
The Expanded Flat is a particularly popular waveform of the Flat wave pattern. Here, wave B is extended and surpasses the end of the previous master wave (in other words, it surpasses the beginning of wave A).
The strength of wave B shows that the market wants to continue following the main trend. If wave C is much longer than wave A, that strength will be weakened.
Running Flat pattern
The Running Flat pattern is the same as the Expanded Flat pattern when wave B is extended beyond the beginning of wave A. But the end of wave C does not cross the end of wave A. This represents the strength of the main trend.
Elongated Flat pattern
With the Elongated Flat, wave C is very long compared to wave A. It can be 2.618 times as long as wave A. In this waveform, wave C usually follows the master wave pattern extending the 5th wave.
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