Broadening Formations: Explained, Trading Strategies, and Real-World Examples


Broadening Formation is a technical chart pattern marked by increasing price volatility, characterized by diverging trend lines. This pattern indicates a market with heightened disagreement among investors and provides opportunities for swing traders. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into understanding Broadening Formations, its significance, and how traders can capitalize on it.

What is a broadening formation?

A Broadening Formation, often referred to as a broadening wedge pattern, is a well-recognized price chart pattern in technical analysis. This pattern is characterized by increasing price volatility, and it’s diagrammed as two diverging trend lines—one ascending and the other descending. Broadening formations typically manifest after a substantial price increase or decrease in a security.

Broadening Formation is a technical chart pattern depicting a widening channel of high and low levels of support and resistance. It signifies escalating price volatility. Swing traders can exploit the oscillations within a Broadening Formation.

Understanding broadening formations

Broadening Formations emerge when investors in the market exhibit heightened disagreement over the fair price of a security within a relatively short time frame. This disagreement leads to buyers becoming increasingly willing to purchase at higher prices, while sellers are motivated to take profits, causing a series of higher interim price peaks and lower interim price troughs.

When these interim highs and lows are connected by trend lines, they form a widening pattern that resembles a megaphone or a reverse symmetrical triangle. The shape of a Broadening Formation reflects the ongoing dispute between investors and can be attributed to various factors, including both random factors and more fundamental ones.

For instance, in certain countries, Broadening Formations may occur due to heightened political risk ahead of an upcoming election. Different polling results or candidate policies can lead to the market’s fluctuating sentiment, with periods of optimism and pessimism.

It’s important to note that Broadening Formations are relatively rare during stable market conditions over the long term. Most markets tend to have a clear trend over time, either upwards or downwards. For example, the S&P 500 has consistently exhibited a long-term upward trend. As a result, Broadening Formations are more likely to occur when markets are grappling with unsettling news or events, such as geopolitical conflicts or shifts in government policies.

Profiting from broadening formations

Broadening Formations are generally unfavorable for long-term investors and trend traders because they are characterized by rising volatility without a distinct directional move. However, swing traders and day traders can find opportunities within this pattern.

Swing traders and day traders rely on technical analysis techniques, such as trendlines and technical indicators, to make quick trading decisions. They aim to capitalize on short-term market movements rather than predicting long-term trends.

For instance, a swing trader may identify a Broadening Formation and enter long positions when the price touches the lower trendline, or short positions when it reaches the upper trendline. The widening gap between these two trendlines implies that each swing trade offers a larger profit potential compared to the previous one. This advantage doesn’t exist if the trendlines are converging or parallel.

In addition to trendlines, swing traders and day traders often employ momentum indicators to identify potential short-term reversals. Day traders, in particular, are more likely to encounter Broadening Formations because they focus on short time frames, which can last from minutes to hours.


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks of Broadening Formations to consider.

  • Opportunity for swing and day traders to profit from increased volatility.
  • Clear visual pattern that can aid in decision-making.
  • Reflects market sentiment and disagreement among investors.
  • Generally unfavorable for long-term investors and trend traders.
  • Can be challenging to distinguish from other patterns for novice traders.
  • Occurrence is relatively rare during stable market conditions.

Recognizing broadening formations

Broadening Formations are a distinct pattern, but recognizing them in real market scenarios can be challenging. Let’s delve into some practical examples and tips for identifying this pattern.

Example 1: Stock ABC

Consider the price chart of Stock ABC. After a significant rise in the stock’s price, you notice that the trading range starts to widen. The stock experiences alternating higher interim peaks and lower interim troughs. You draw a rising trendline connecting the interim troughs and a descending trendline connecting the interim peaks. This creates a clear Broadening Formation pattern.

Example 2: Forex pair XYZ

In the world of currency trading, you observe the price action of Forex Pair XYZ. The market has recently been swayed by geopolitical events, causing the currency pair to exhibit increased volatility. You see a pattern where the currency pair’s price alternates between higher highs and lower lows. By drawing trendlines connecting these points, you identify a Broadening Formation, indicating ongoing disagreement among traders.

Trading strategies for broadening formations

Now that you can identify Broadening Formations let’s explore some effective trading strategies to capitalize on this pattern.

1. Swing trading

Swing traders can benefit significantly from Broadening Formations. As the price oscillates between the widening trendlines, swing traders can enter long positions near the lower trendline and short positions near the upper trendline. This strategy aims to profit from short to medium-term price movements within the formation.

2. Volatility-based strategies

Given the increased price volatility within Broadening Formations, traders can employ volatility-based strategies. These may include options trading strategies that benefit from price fluctuations. It’s crucial to carefully manage risk in these scenarios, as the pattern’s unpredictability can lead to rapid price changes.

3. Technical indicators

Traders can use technical indicators in conjunction with Broadening Formations to refine their entries and exits. Popular indicators like Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Moving Averages can provide additional insights into the likelihood of a price reversal within the pattern.

Real-world applications

Broadening Formations are not confined to traditional financial markets. They have real-world applications in various fields beyond finance.

1. Political polling

In the realm of political polling, Broadening Formations can be observed as voter sentiment fluctuates leading up to an election. Different surveys and candidate policies can trigger shifts in sentiment, creating a pattern resembling a Broadening Formation. This is an example of how technical analysis concepts can be applied to diverse areas.

2. Earnings season

During earnings season, companies report their financial results, and these can vary widely. Positive or negative earnings surprises can lead to bouts of optimism or pessimism in the stock market. Traders often use Broadening Formations to navigate this period of heightened volatility and make informed decisions.

3. Consumer sentiment

Consumer sentiment surveys, which measure the confidence and expectations of consumers, can also exhibit patterns resembling Broadening Formations. Changes in consumer sentiment can impact various industries, and traders may use technical analysis to gauge market sentiment.

Risk management with broadening formations

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of trading any pattern, including Broadening Formations. Let’s explore some risk management strategies to help traders navigate this pattern effectively.

1. Set stop-loss orders

Traders should always use stop-loss orders when trading Broadening Formations. These orders automatically execute a trade when the price reaches a specified level, helping to limit potential losses. By placing stop-loss orders just outside the pattern’s boundaries, traders can protect their capital in case the price moves against their position.

2. Use proper position sizing

To mitigate risk, traders should determine the appropriate size for each trade based on their overall portfolio size and risk tolerance. Position sizing ensures that no single trade can significantly impact the trader’s account if it goes against them.

3. Diversify your portfolio

Diversification is a fundamental risk management strategy. Traders should avoid over-concentration in a single asset or pattern. By diversifying across different asset classes and trading strategies, traders can reduce the impact of a losing trade.

Case study: Broadening formation in cryptocurrency

To illustrate the applicability of Broadening Formations in different markets, let’s examine a real-world example in the world of cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin (BTC)

In the cryptocurrency market, patterns like Broadening Formations can be observed. Take Bitcoin (BTC), for instance. After a sharp price rise, Bitcoin enters a period of heightened volatility, with frequent high and low extremes. Traders can identify this pattern and apply the same trading strategies discussed earlier to make informed decisions.

Additional resources

For traders seeking to expand their knowledge of chart patterns and technical analysis, there are various resources available. Here are a few highly regarded sources:

1. Technical analysis of stock trends

This classic book by Robert D. Edwards and John Magee provides in-depth insights into technical analysis, including chart patterns like Broadening Formations. It’s a must-read for traders looking to master this field.

2. Online technical analysis courses

Numerous online platforms offer technical analysis courses that cover a wide range of chart patterns and trading strategies. These courses often include interactive exercises and certification.


Broadening Formations are a valuable tool for traders looking to profit from short to medium-term market movements within a pattern of increased volatility. Identifying these patterns and applying suitable trading strategies can lead to success, particularly for swing traders and day traders. These patterns are a testament to the complex interplay of market sentiment and the real-world factors that shape it.

Frequently asked questions

How can I distinguish a broadening formation from other chart patterns?

A Broadening Formation is recognized by its diverging trend lines, one ascending and the other descending. This distinct pattern sets it apart from other chart formations.

Are broadening formations common in stable markets?

No, Broadening Formations are relatively rare in stable market conditions. They are more likely to occur during times of heightened volatility and disagreement among investors.

Who can benefit from trading Broadening Formations?

Swing traders and day traders are best positioned to benefit from Broadening Formations due to their ability to profit from short-term market oscillations.

Key takeaways

  • Broadening Formations depict a widening channel of high and low support and resistance levels, signaling increased price volatility.
  • These formations are more favorable for swing traders and day traders looking to capitalize on short-term market movements.
  • Understanding the factors that contribute to Broadening Formations can aid in recognizing and trading this pattern effectively.
View Article Sources
  1. Expanding Wedge – profitable Forex pattern – LiteFinance
  2. Rising Wedge Pattern In Crypto Trading – Freewallet
  3. Ascending Broadening Wedge Definition – ForexBee