Module 2   Technical AnalysisChapter 11

The Support and Resistance

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While discussing candlestick patterns, we had learnt about the entry and the stoploss points, however the target price was not discussed. We will discuss the same in this chapter.

The best way to identify the target price is to identify the support and the resistance points. The support and resistance (S&R) are specific price points on a chart which are expected to attract maximum amount of either buying or selling. The support price is a price at which one can expect more buyers than sellers. Likewise the resistance price is a price at which one can expect more sellers than buyers.

On a standalone basis traders can use S&R to identify trade entry points as well.

M2-Ch11-title1

11.1 – The Resistance

As the name suggests, resistance is something which stops the price from rising further. The resistance level is a price point on the chart where traders expect maximum supply (in terms of selling) for the stock/index. The resistance level is always above the current market price.

The likely hood of the price rising up to the resistance level, consolidating, absorbing all the supply, and then declining is high. The resistance is one of the critical technical analysis tool which market participants look at in a rising market. The resistance often acts as a trigger to sell.

Here is the chart of Ambuja Cements Limited. The horizontal line coinciding at Rs.215 on chart, marks the resistance level for Ambuja Cements.

M2-Ch11-chart1

I have deliberately compressed the chart to include more data points, the reasons for which I will shortly explain. But before that there are two things that you need to pay attention to while looking at the above chart:

  1. The resistance level, indicated by a horizontal line, is higher than the current market price.
  2. While the resistance level is at 215, the current candle is at 206.75. The current candle and its corresponding price level are encircled for your reference

For a moment let us imagine Ambuja cements at Rs.206 forming a bullish marubuzo with a low of 202. We know this is a signal to initiate a long trade, and we also know that the stoploss for this trade is at 202. With the new found knowledge on resistance, we now know that we can set 215 as a possible target for this trade!

Why 215 you may wonder? The reasons are simple:-

  1. Resistance of 215 implies there is a likelihood of excess supply
  2. Excess supply builds selling pressure
  3. Selling pressure tends to drag the prices lower

Hence for reasons stated above, when a trader is long he can look at resistance points to set targets and to set exit points for the trade.

Also, with the identification of the resistance the long trade can now be completely designed as follows:

Entry – 206, Stoploss – 202, and Target – 215.

The next obvious question is how do we identify the resistance level? Identifying price points as either a support or resistance is extremely simple. The identification process is the same for both support and resistance. If the current market price is below the identified point, it is called a resistance point; else it is called a support point.

Since the process is the same, let us proceed to understand ‘support’, and we will follow it up with the procedure to identify S&R.

M2-Ch11-title2

11.2 – The Support

Having learnt about resistance, understanding the support level should be quite simple and intuitive. As the name suggests, the support is something that prevents the price from falling further. The support level is a price point on the chart where the trader expects maximum demand (in terms of buying) coming into the stock/index. Whenever the price falls to the support line, it is likely to bounce back. The support level is always below the current market price.

There is a maximum likely hood that the price could fall till the support, consolidate, absorb all the demand, and then start to move upwards. The support is one of the critical technical level market participants look for in a falling market. The support often acts as a trigger to buy.

Here is the chart of Cipla Limited. The horizontal line coinciding at 435 on chart marks the support level for Cipla.

M2-Ch11-chart2

Few things that you need to notice on the chart above:

  1. The support level, indicated by the horizontal line is below the current market price
  2. While the support level is at 435, the current candle is at 442.5. The current candle and its corresponding price level are encircled for your reference

Like we did while understanding resistance, let us imagine a bearish pattern formation – perhaps a shooting star at 442 with a high of 446. Clearly with a shooting star,  the call is to short Cipla at 442, with 446 as the stoploss. Since we know 435 the immediate support, we can set the target at 435.

So what makes Rs.435 target worthy? The following reasons back the decision:

  1. Support at 435 implies there is a maximum likely hood of excess demand to emerge
  2. Excess demand builds buying pressure
  3. Buying pressure tends to drag the price higher

Hence for the reasons stated above, when a trader is short, he can look at support points to set targets and to set exit points for the trade.

Also, with the identification of the support, the short trade is now completely designed.

Entry – 442, stoploss – 446, and target – 435.

11.3 – Construction/Drawing of the Support and Resistance level

Here is a 4 step guide to help you understand how to identify and construct the support and the resistance line.

Step 1) Load data points – If the objective is to identify short term S&R load at least 3-6 months of data points. If you want to identify long term S&R, load at least 12 – 18 months of data points. When you load many data points, the chart looks compressed. This also explains why the above two charts looks squeezed.

  1. Long term S&R – is useful for swing trading
  2. Short term S&R – is useful intraday and BTST trades

Here is a chart where I have loaded 12 months of data points

M2-Ch11-chart3

Step 2) Identify at least 3 price action zones – A price action zone can be described as ‘sticky points’ on chart where the price has displayed at least one of the behaviors:

  1. Hesitated to move up further after a brief up move
  2. Hesitated to move down further after a brief down move
  3. Sharp reversals at particular price point

Here are a series of charts that identifies the above 3 points in the same order:

In the chart below, the encircled points indicate the price hesitating to move up further after a brief up move:

M2-Ch11-chart4

In the chart below, the encircled points indicate the price hesitating to move down further after a brief down move:

M2-Ch11-chart5

In the chart below, the encircled points indicate sharp price reversals:

M2-Ch11-chart6

Step 3) Align the price action zones – When you look at a 12 month chart, it is common to spot many price action zones. But the trick is to identify at least 3 price action zones that are at the same price level.

For example here is a chart where two price action zones are identified but they are not at the same price point.

M2-Ch11-chart7

 

Look at the following chart, I have encircled 3 price action zones that are around the same price points:

M2-Ch11-chart8

A very important point to note while identifying these price action zones is to make sure these price zone are well spaced in time. Meaning, if the 1st price action zone is identified on 2nd week on May, then it will be meaningful to identify the 2nd price action zone at any point after 4th week of May (well spaced in time). The more distance between two price action zones, the more powerful is the S&R identification.

Step 4) Fit a horizontal line – Connect the three price action zones with a horizontal line. Based on where this line fits in with respect to the current market price, it either becomes a support or resistance.

Have a look at this chart

M2-Ch11-chart9

Starting from left:

  1. The 1st circle highlights a price action zone where there is a sharp reversal of price
  2. The 2nd circle highlights a price action zone where price is sticky
  3. The 3rd circle highlights a price action zone where there is a sharp reversal of price
  4. The 4th circle highlights a price action zone where price is sticky
  5. The 5th circle highlights the current market price of Cipla – 442.5

In the above chart all the 4 price action zones are around the same price points i.e at 429. Clearly, the horizontal line is below the current market price of 442.5, thus making 429 as an immediate support price for Cipla.

Please note, whenever you run a visual exercise in Technical Analysis such as identifying S&R, you run the risk of approximation. Hence always give room for error. The price level is usually depicted in a range and not at a single price point. It is actually a zone or an area that acts as support or resistance.

So going by the above logic, I would be happy to consider a price range around 426 to 432 as a support region for Cipla. There is no specific rule for this range, I just subtracted and added 3 points to 429 to get my price range for support!

Here is another chart, where both S&R have been identified for Ambuja Cements Limited.

M2-Ch11-chart10

The current price of Ambuja is 204.1, the support is identified at 201 (below current market price), and the resistance at 214 (above current market price). So if one were to short Ambuja at 204, the target, based on support can be at 201. Probably this would be a good intraday trade. For a trader going long at 204, 214 can be a reasonable target expectation based on resistance.

Notice in both the support and the resistance level, there at least 3 price action zone identified at the price level, all of which are well spaced in time.

11.4 – Reliability of S&R

The support and resistance lines are only indicative of a possible reversal of prices. They by no means should be taken for as certain. Like anything else in technical analysis, one should weigh the possibility of an event occurring (based on patterns) in terms of probability.

For example, based on the chart of Ambuja Cements –

Current Market Price = 204
Resistance = 214

The expectation here is that if at all Ambuja cements starts to move up it is likely to face a resistance at 214. Meaning, at 214 sellers could emerge who can potentially drag the prices lower. What is the guarantee that the sellers would come in at 214? In other words, what is dependence of the resistance line? Honestly, your guess is as good as mine.

However, historically it can be seen that whenever Ambuja reached 214, it reacted in a peculiar way leading to the formation of a price action zone. The comforting factor here is that the price action zone is well spaced in time. This mean 214 stands as a time tested price action zone. Therefore keeping the very first rule of technical analysis in perspective i.e “History tends to repeat itself” we go with the belief that support and resistance levels will be reasonably honored.

Purely from my personal trading experience well constructed S&R points are usually well respected.

11.5 – Optimization and checklist

Perhaps, we are now at the most important juncture in this module. We will start discovering few optimization techniques which will help us identify high quality trades. Remember, when you seek quality, quantity is always compromised, but this is a compromise that is worth making. The idea is to identify quality trading signals as opposed to identifying plenty, but worthless trades.

Optimization in general is a technique wherein  you fine tune a process for best possible results. The process in this context is about identifying trades.

Let us go back to candlesticks patterns, maybe to the very first we learnt – bullish marubuzo. A bullish marubuzo suggests a long trade near the close of the marubuzo, with the low of the marubuzo acting as the stoploss.

Assume the following credentials for the bullish marubuzo:

Open = 432, High = 449, Low = 430, Close = 448

Hence the entry for the long trade is approximately at 448, with 430 as the stoploss.

Now what if the low of the marubuzo also coincides with a good time tested support? Do you see a remarkable confluence of two technical theories here?

We have a double confirmation to go long. Think about it on following terms:

  1. A recognized candlestick pattern (bullish marubuzo) suggests the trader to initiate a long trade
  2. A support near the stoploss price suggests the trader the presence of significant buying interest around the low

While dealing with a fairly random environment such as the markets, what a trader really needs is a well crafted trade setup. The occurrence of the above two conditions (marubuzo + support near the low) suggests the same action i.e to initiate a long trade in this case.

This leads us to an important idea. What if we had a checklist (call it a framework if you like) for every trade that we consider? The checklist would act as a guiding principle before initiating a trade. The trade should comply to the conditions specified in the checklist. If it does, we take the trade; else we just drop it and look for another trade opportunity that complies with the checklist.

Discipline, they say makes up for the 80% of the trader’s success. The checklist in my opinion forces you to be disciplined; it helps you avoid taking abrupt and reckless trading decision.

In fact to begin with we have the first two very important factors of the checklist:

  1. The stock should form a recognizable candlestick pattern
    1. Note: We have learnt some of the popular patterns in this module. To begin with you can use just these patterns to comply with checklist
  2. S&R should confirm to the trade. The stoploss price should be around S&R
    1. For a long trade, the low of the pattern should be around the support
    2. For a short trade, the high of the pattern should be around the resistance

Going forward in this module, as and when we learn new TA concepts, we will build this checklist. But just to quench your curiosity, the final checklist will have 6 checklist points. In fact when we have the grand 6 checklist points, we will weigh down each one of them. For example, checklist point number 4 may not be as important as point number 1, but nevertheless it is more important than 100 other factors that distract the trader.


Key takeaways from this chapter

  1. S&R are price points on the chart
  2. Support is a price point below the current market price that indicate buying interest
  3. Resistance is a price point above the current market price that indicate selling interest
  4. To identify S&R, place a horizontal line in such a way that it connects at least 3 price action zones, well spaced in time. The more number of price action zones (well spaced in time) the horizontal line connects, the stronger is S&R
  5. S&R can be used to identify targets for the trade. For a long trade, look for the immediate resistance level as target. For a short trade, look for the immediate support level as target.
  6. Lastly, comply with the checklist for optimal trading results

940 comments

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  1. Charles says:

    Sir, I have read almost all the chapters and its really useful. Can you plz tell how to use trailing stop loss, should it be based on any indicator or manual stop loss. Require for intraday/ positional. Thanks..

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      For both intra day and positional it may not be a great idea to base your trailing stop loss based on a typical indicator. It should preferable be based on a preset condition. For example…for every 2% move in your direction you may want to trail the stop loss by 0.5%.

      • srihari says:

        Sir, can you/anyone please tell me… what is difference between manual stop loss and trailing stop loss :-)…

        • Karthik Rangappa says:

          In fact both Manual stoploss and trainling stoploss are manual….they are two different technique of placing SL. In manual you set a price as your SL. For example if you buy a stock at 100 and you are willing to lose Rs.5 on it, then your manual SL is Rs.5.

          Trailing SL is when you trail your SL when your trade starts to make a profit. Have explained trailing stoploss here in section 7.5 – http://zerodha.com/varsity/chapter/margin-calculator-part-2/

          Also, you maybe interested to know that in Zerodha’s Bracket Order type you can automate the trailing stoploss.

      • chirag says:

        hi
        suppose my stock is trading at 1185
        now i get one support at 1150 and other at 1100
        the priceaction zones line is better in 1100 range than 1150range
        to whom should i take support range
        thanks

      • Genesis says:

        Karthik, kudos to you!

        Unbelievably Awesome job at explaining complex stuff in such simple terms….

        I already feel confident and successful at trading stocks after reading your modules 🙂

        Can’t wait to put them into practice (of course with my unique Point of View 🙂

        Thanks a lot for taking time to craft and create these modules – I can see how patient and persistent you are as you’ve repeated some points over and over, so we newbies can digest the sophisticated stock stuff.

        For me, it’s the best trading educational course that I’ve come across!

        Really you deserve at least a five minutes standing ovation from all readers here on Varsity, thanks a lot karthik ji 🙂

        • Karthik Rangappa says:

          Thanks for the very kind words 🙂
          I’m really happy you find the contents useful. Happy learning and all the very best !

          • m n prasad says:

            you are good guide. very nice tutor . i would like to know…in zerodha kite…, can use any specified indicator or tool to identify Resistance levels, demand zone, Support levels , supply zone signals. through these signals of the indicator we can buy or sell easily. few other agencies … like shereKhan / TradeTiger ( youtube videos are available ) they call it Boring Candle indicator to specify Demand and Supply zone. so i have one request can we have any indicator or tool in our Zerodha / kite to specify Demand and Supply zone

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            Thanks for the kind words, Prasad.

            Its best if you plot the S&R lines manually. Remember this is a visual concept, you need to see the support or resistance emerging at a single price point over multiple time periods. Hence its best if you do this manually.

          • Mahesh says:

            How to draw S&R lines manually ?

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            Have explained the same in the chapter. Request you to kindly check. Thanks.

        • Raman says:

          Yes, 1000% times.

    • rajeshck32 says:

      IF YOUR ENTRY IS RIGHT YOU CAN HAVE THE PREVIOUS CANDLE HIGH IN CASE OF SHORTING OR LOW IN CASE OF LONG AS THE STOP LOSS .

    • Kannan says:

      Sir, This module 2 can i download as pdf.

    • Pavan says:

      How should I practice. How to know whether iam doing right or not . can any body help me. I don’t have any friends to discuss about this

  2. Sreekanth Vasu says:

    Dear Sir,
    In the above first chart , You plotted 215 as the Resistance point , But My doubt goes here ,how you came to that point that chart is resisting at 215. not even 216 or 214 . Or how i can fix a resistance point . In the said chart many candles are traded above 215 i think in chart it shows 240 ranges. or you confirm it with any candle patterns???

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      As I mentioned in this chapter, it would not be a wise idea to take a singe price point as a either support or resistance. We should consider the region in and around the price action zone as a S&R. For example if the line coincides with 215, I would be happy to treat 211 to 218 as either support or resistance.

  3. Anishcharith says:

    sir ,what if a stock is trading at a record high price what is the resistance ?

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      We need to have price history to identify S&R levels. Hence if the stock is trading at an all time high, plotting the resistance is not possible.

  4. rajeshck32 says:

    you can see the candle stick patterns being formed and take the , next trade ex if there is a doji high becomes resistance , or a pin bar high becomes resistance .

  5. jagadeesh says:

    Hi karthik,
    Ihav come across some charts today where some reversal patterns appear above some previous gaps and reversed.. can i consider previous gaps as supports and resistances..???

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      I personally don’t like to considered gaps as a price action zone and hence prefer to avoid gaps for S&R considerations… but thats just me :). I would suggest you dig up more price history to evaluate the presence of historical price action around the gap price level.

      • Vivek says:

        Hi Karthik, Thanks for the lucid explanation. Would you let me know,while plotting S&R for Intraday trading, 3-6 months of EOD data or any other time frame data(like 15 min. data of 3-6 months) to be taken into consideration.? Thanks.

        • Karthik Rangappa says:

          For intraday I would suggest you plot the S&R on 15 mins candle with a look back period of at least 2 weeks (10 trading sessions).

          • Singh says:

            Sir, your explanations are very helpful and informative as i am new to trading. Can we apply this 2 week R&S method for both Equity-Cash trade and Stock Future also?

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            Yes, you can certainly do this!

          • Dave says:

            Hi Karthik Rangappa,

            In case of swing trade shall I select 1D time frame of (3-6) months or shall I select some other time frame?

            The reason I asking this question again is because, I am finding challenging to find few specific S&R in the time frame of (3-6 Months) by keeping 1D time frame.

            Appreciate any of the community member feedback. Thanks

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            1D is good, Dave. To plot the S&R, you can even increase the time frame to over 6 months. This should not pose any problem.

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