Whilst the symmetrical triangle is one of the staples of the technical analysis toolkit there are things that set aside adequate examples from very good examples. One of the main things that I tend to look for is formations that appear on the end of a trending movement. If you see a triangle forming up within a ranging movement then you aren't as likely to see that explosive movement that is the hallmark of a good pattern breakout.
Something that's worth keeping in mind is the fact that a strong breakout can be a confirmation sign that the pattern was in fact genuine - despite the fact that fast moving price can be nothing if not a little scary for some traders.
Upon a breakout it can be quite positive to see a high level of volume going through as a confirmation signal. We also tend to like getting dual-timeframe confirmation from one of your oscillators - I like the Stochastic Oscillator for this purpose. This means that you are looking for the direction of the oscillator to confirm the direction of the breakout in both the current timeframe and a higher one - e.g. daily and weekly.
Generally the trader will wait for at least 1 close outside of the pattern before considering it to be a breakout - the idea being that it should reduce the chances of a whipsaw trade occuring. The more aggrevive stops would likely be placed just on the inside of the pattern from the breakout whilst more conservatve traders will place theirs on quite likely on the far side of the pattern. General price targets are set by extrapolating the height of the pattern out from the point of the breakout.
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