The Wyckoff Method
Table of Contents
What is the Wyckoff Methodology?
It is a Technical Analysis approach based on the study of supply and demand; that is, on the continuous interaction between buyers and sellers.
The approach is simple: when well-informed traders want to buy or sell, they carry out processes that leave their traces on the chart through price and volume.
The Wyckoff Methodology tries to identify that professional intervention to try to elucidate who is most likely to be in control of the market and enable us to pose judicious scenarios of where the price is most likely to go.
Richard Wyckoff (1873-1934) became a Wall Street celebrity.
He was a forerunner in the investment world as he started as a stockbroker at the age of 15 and by the age of 25 already owned his own brokerage firm.
The method he developed of technical analysis and speculation arose from his observation and communication skills.
Working as a Broker, Wyckoff saw the game of the big operators and began to observe through the tape and the graphics the manipulations they carried out and with which they obtained high profits.
He stated that it was possible to judge the future course of the market by its own actions since the price action reflects the plans and purposes of those who dominated it.
Wyckoff carried out its investment methods achieving a high return. As time passed his altruism grew until he redirected his attention and passion to education.
He wrote several books as well as the publication of a popular magazine of the time “Magazine of Wall Street”.
He felt compelled to compile the ideas he had gathered during his 40 years of Wall Street experience and bring them to the attention of the general public. I wanted to offer a set of principles and procedures about what it takes to win on Wall Street.
These rules were embodied in the 1931 course “The Richard D. Wyckoff Method of Trading and Investing Stocks. A course of Instruction in Stock Market Science and Technique” becoming the well known Wyckoff method.
Many of Wyckoff’s basic principles have become basic foundations of technical analysis. For instance:
The Wyckoff method has passed the test of time
More than 100 years of continuous development and use have proven the value of the method to trade all kinds of financial instruments.
This achievement should not come as a surprise as it relies on the analysis of price and volume action to judge how it reacts to the battle between the real forces that govern all price changes: supply and demand.
What makes it different from other methods?
The real underlying logic
It is the cornerstone of the methodology, which makes it stand above any other form of technical analysis; it is the only one that informs us about what is really happening in the market in a logical way through its three fundamental laws:
Another of its main benefits is that the reading is applicable:
Wyckoff Methodology Advantages
Provides context and roadmap
Thanks to the accumulation and distribution structures, we will be able to identify the professional’s participation as well as the general market sentiment up to the present moment, enabling us to propose truly objective scenarios.
The Events and Phases are unique elements of the methodology and help us to guide the development of the structures. This puts us in a position to know what to expect the price to do after the occurrence of each of them, providing us with a roadmap to follow at all times.
Setting high-probability trading zones
The Methodology provides us with the exact zones on which we are going to act, as well as examples of triggers to enter the market, making it as easy as possible to know where to look for trades.
Wyckoff Methodology Structures
Financial markets are a living thing, they are constantly changing due to their continuous interaction between buyers and sellers. This is why it would be a mistake to use fixed patterns or schemes to try to read the context of the market.
Aware that it is practically impossible for price to develop two identical structures, the trading approach proposed by the Wyckoff methodology is flexible when analysing the market.
The price can develop different types of structures depending on the conditions in which it is found. This is why we need an approach that gives some flexibility to price movements but at the same time is governed by certain fixed elements that provide as much objectivity as possible to the reading.
These fixed aspects of the methodology are the events and phases that make up the development of the structures. Below we present two basic schemes of accumulation and distribution to provide a very general idea of the dynamics in which price moves under the premises of the Wyckoff methodology.
As we have just said, these schemes can be considered as ideals. The important thing to keep in mind is that the market will not always present them this way.
Recommended books on the Wyckoff method
Before I begin to explain in more detail the structure of this methodology, I want to leave you my three essential recommendations to know it in depth:
Basic accumulation structure #1
Phase A. Stopping the previous bearish trend.
Phase B. Construction of the cause.
Phase C. Test
Phase D. Bullish trend within the range.
Phase E. Bullish trend out of range.
Succession of SOS and LPS generating a dynamic of rising highs and lows.
Basic accumulation structure #2
Second variant of the methodology in which the test event in Phase C fails to reach the minimums of the structure.
It usually occurs because current market conditions denote background strength.
The objective of the price is to visit this liquidity zone but the big operators support the market entering aggressively in purchase. They don’t let the price go any lower so no one else can buy any lower.
This type of ranks are more complicated to identify because by not being able to assess that jolt action, the bullish approach loses a point of confidence.
The primary trading zone is in the Spring potential; then, when buying in a possible LPS we will always be in doubt if, as is most likely, the price will visit that minimum zone first to develop the Spring.
In addition to this, that first sign of bullish strength that produces range breakage is usually lost.
Therefore, the only viable purchase opportunity in this type of structure can be found in the BUEC. This is where we must pay more attention to look for entry in lengths.
Basic distribution structure #1
Phase A. Stop the previous trend.
Phase B. Construction of the cause.
Phase C : Test
Phase D. Bearish Trend Within Range.
Phase E : Bearish trend out of range.
Succession of SOW and LPSY generating a dynamic of diminishing maximums and minimums.
Basic distribution structure #2
Second variant of the methodology in which the test event in Phase C fails to reach the maximums of the structure.
Inverse reasoning than for the example of cumulative scheme #2.
Denotes a greater weakness in the background.
The price tries to reach the liquidity that there are in maximums but the big traders that are already short positioned prevent it,
Structures with a loss of confidence due to the absence of shaking. When going short on the possible LPSY we will always be in doubt as to whether the price will shake to highs before falling.
The sign of weakness (SOW) that breaks the structure is lost. Unique opportunity to the breakage test (LPSY).
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