How to Trade the W and M Patterns for Forex Success

How To Trade The W and M Patterns
.08 Jun 2023
author avatar image Chad Smith

Table of Contents


In today’s forex market, traders have access to a wide range of tools, indicators, and guides that can help them navigate the market and increase their profits. One of the most popular tools used by traders is price graphs, which provide valuable insights into the best entry and exit points for trades. These graphs often reveal various formations, such as the head and shoulders, triangles, wedges, flags, and more. Among these classical patterns, the W and M patterns, also known as double tops and double bottoms, are highly significant.

In this article, we will focus on understanding and effectively utilizing the W and M patterns in forex trading. These patterns can indicate potential reversals in the market, presenting opportunities for traders to enter profitable trades. By learning how to identify and trade these patterns, traders can enhance their trading strategies and increase their chances of success.

How To Trade The W and M Patterns

Key Takeaways

  1. A double top is a bearish reversal chart pattern that forms after an uptrend.
  2. A double bottom is a bullish reversal chart pattern that forms after a downtrend.
  3. It is important to use double top and double bottom patterns in conjunction with other indicators, such as volume, to confirm reversals before taking a position.
  4. There are specific rules and guidelines to follow when trading with double-top and double-bottom chart patterns.

Understanding the W Pattern

The W pattern, also known as the double bottom pattern, often precedes a significant upward movement in the market. When the market reaches its low point, there is typically a surge in demand as buyers enter the market.

This sudden increase in buying pressure leads to a sharp rise in prices. The key is to recognize this behavior and take advantage of it by positioning oneself favorably. Traders often patiently wait for the right conditions before executing their trades.

The double-bottom pattern is essentially the opposite of the double-top pattern. It signifies a potential reversal after a downtrend. A double bottom is formed when there are two consecutive rounding bottoms, which often occur at the end of a prolonged bearish trend. This formation indicates that investors are closely monitoring the security, anticipating its final decline toward a support level.

A double-bottom pattern typically signals a bullish reversal, providing traders with an opportunity to profit from an upward rally. After identifying a double bottom or W pattern, traders often opt for long positions, aiming to capitalize on rising security prices.

Exploring the Double Bottom Pattern

The double bottom chart pattern is a bullish reversal pattern that forms after a downtrend. This pattern consists of two lows, commonly referred to as the neckline, positioned below the resistance level. The first low occurs after a significant downtrend, followed by a price retracement to the neckline.

Subsequently, the price experiences a bearish movement, leading to the formation of the second low. The pattern is completed when the prices rise back to the neckline after forming the second low. Confirmation of a bullish trend reversal occurs when the prices break above the neckline, allowing traders to enter long positions confidently.

Determining the Right Time to Trade the W Pattern

Trading the W pattern requires patience and the ability to identify safe entry points for potential price increases. Traders should wait for the upward movement to commence and ensure that the reversal is poised to move upward. While some traders may perceive this strategy as offering smaller profits, it significantly reduces the risk of making incorrect predictions.

It is worth noting that, at the end of a W pattern, there may be a period of resistance, which can lead to the formation of an M pattern or double top pattern. These trading cycles present profitable opportunities if traded in the right direction.

However, it is essential to consider these potential trades within the larger context of the market and only pursue them if there is a prevailing larger trend that supports one of the patterns. To determine the reversal point accurately, traders should aim for higher probability conditions and establish maximum positions and profit targets.

Decoding the Significance of a Big W in Stocks

A big W in trading typically refers to a double-bottom pattern with prominent sides. Price action often confirms the double bottom and approaches the height of the left side trend before retracing and forming a handle. Once the handle is complete, the upward movement resumes.

The big W is a chart pattern characterized by two valleys that bottom near the same price, with tall sides differentiating it from a traditional double-bottom pattern. When the big W pattern is successful, the stock can return to the launch price or even surpass it, indicating a significant price increase.

Mastering the M Pattern

The M pattern, also known as the double top pattern, is a valuable pattern that frequently occurs in the forex market. It closely resembles the triple top or triple bottom pattern; however, the aim is to enter the market at the bottom of the M pattern and the top of the W pattern. Unlike the triple top or bottom patterns, where traders typically enter after the neckline has been breached, the M pattern requires a different approach.

To identify the M pattern, start by drawing a line from the left leg to the top of the left shoulder. Then, draw a line from the top of the left shoulder to the bottom of the middle leg, followed by a line from the bottom of the middle leg to the top of the right shoulder. Finally, draw a line from the top of the right shoulder to the bottom of the right leg.

The M pattern is considered complete only when all the components of the letter “M” are present. Once the pattern is near completion, traders look for an entry point at or close to the bottom of the right leg.

Entering the market at this trend line with a stop-loss order just below it minimizes the risk. If the pattern turns out not to be an M pattern, the loss will be minimal. However, if the pattern is confirmed, the first target is the top of the right shoulder. Since the distance between the bottom of the right leg and the top of the right shoulder can be small, it is advisable to observe this pattern on larger time frames, such as 4 hours or more.

For the W pattern, the process is reversed. Start by drawing the left leg down to the bottom of the left shoulder, then draw a line from the bottom of the left shoulder to the top of the middle leg. Continue by drawing a line down to the bottom of the right shoulder, and finally, draw a line to the top of the right leg.

Similar to the M pattern, the W formation is not complete until all the components of the W are in place. Once they are, draw a trend line across the tops of the left leg and middle leg; this becomes the entry point.

Place a stop just above the trend line to minimize risk, and set a target at the bottom of the right shoulder. It’s worth noting that the M pattern often indicates the bottom of a market move and suggests an upcoming upward movement. The same applies to the W pattern, which often signals the market topping out and an imminent downward movement.

Trading Strategies for the M Pattern

Trading the M pattern requires a strategic approach to maximize profits and minimize risks. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Confirm the pattern: Ensure that all the components of the M pattern are present before initiating a trade. Premature entries can lead to false signals and potential losses.
  • Entry and stop-loss: Enter the market as the price approaches the trend line at the bottom of the right leg. Place a stop-loss order just below the trend line to protect against unfavorable price movements.
  • Target placement: The initial target for the M pattern is typically the top of the right shoulder. However, given the potentially small range between the bottom of the right leg and the top of the right shoulder, it may be beneficial to look for this pattern on larger time frames for more significant profit potential.
  • Monitor price action: Keep a close eye on price movements after entering the trade. If the move appears strong, there may be no need to exit immediately. Traders can consider measuring the distance between the top and bottom of the right leg and projecting it forward to determine a larger target. This approach effectively provides a target that is twice the length of the right leg.

Identifying Potential Risks in W Pattern Trading

To avoid losses, traders must establish a maximum risk threshold and ensure their positions do not become overly compromising. While the W pattern is highly reliable, it is not infallible, and there may be scenarios where it fails. It is crucial to prepare for such cases and remain vigilant for other potential opportunities. Setting appropriate stop-loss and take-profit orders is an effective way to manage risks.

Another risk mitigation strategy is diversification. Traders should avoid putting all their capital into a single trade in an attempt to make quick profits. By allocating their capital wisely and not overcommitting, traders can preserve funds to capitalize on other potential opportunities.

While the W pattern offers a high probability of success, it is beneficial to combine it with other available tools and indicators to improve trade outcomes and increase profits.

Limitations of Double Tops and Bottoms

While double tops (M pattern) and bottoms (W pattern) are powerful methods when identified correctly, they can be misleading and detrimental if misinterpreted. Therefore, traders must exercise caution and patience before jumping to conclusions.

It is crucial to differentiate between a successful double top and one that has failed. A genuine double top is an extremely bearish technical pattern that can lead to a sharp decline in a stock or asset.

However, it is important to exercise patience and identify the critical support level to confirm the existence of a double top. Relying solely on the formation of two consecutive peaks without considering other factors could result in false readings and premature exits from positions.


The W and M patterns, also known as double tops and bottoms, are valuable tools in forex trading. By understanding and effectively utilizing these patterns, traders can enhance their trading strategies and increase their chances of success. It is essential to patiently wait for the right conditions, confirm the pattern’s presence, and strategically enter and exit trades.

Managing risks, diversifying capital, and combining these patterns with other indicators can further improve trading outcomes. However, traders should remain cautious of the limitations and potential false signals associated with double tops and bottoms.

author avatar image
Chad Smith

Chad Smith is the Director of Research & Analysis here at previously served as an Editor for a number of websites related to finance and trading, where he authored a significant number of published articles about trading and the impact of technology in transforming investing as we know it.Overall, Chad is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher with more than 15 years of trading experience, and you can find him teaching his dog how to trade in his free time.

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