Applying Pure Elliott Wave to Market Charts

by | Elliott Wave Articles


In the fast-paced world of financial markets, investors are always on the lookout for reliable and effective tools to gain an edge. Among the various technical analysis methodologies, Elliott Wave stands out as a powerful and time-tested approach. Developed by Ralph Nelson Elliott in the 1930s, this theory has garnered a substantial following among traders and investors worldwide.

In this comprehensive tutorial, we will delve into the intricacies of applying pure Elliott Wave to market charts. We will explore its dual role as both a technical analysis tool and an investor psychology tool, unlocking its potential to identify market trends, forecast price movements, and anticipate major turning points.

Understanding Pure Elliott Wave Theory

Elliott Wave is built on the concept that market price movements follow recognizable patterns governed by the natural behavior of human psychology. These price patterns, known as Elliott Waves, are repetitive and fractal in nature, manifesting across various timeframes. They offer insights into the market’s overall sentiment and provide a structured approach to market analysis.

At its core, Elliott Wave states that markets progress through five motive waves (designated with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) followed by three corrective waves (designated with letters A, B, and C). The motive waves represent the direction of the primary trend, while the corrective waves denote temporary retracements against the primary trend.

Investor Psychology Tool

Before delving into the technical aspects of Elliott Wave analysis, it is crucial to understand its significance as an investor psychology tool. Market movements are not merely the outcome of rational decision-making but are significantly influenced by the emotions of market participants.

Greed and Fear: Elliott Wave recognises that investor psychology oscillates between periods of greed and fear. During bull markets, optimism and euphoria drive prices higher (motive waves), while bear markets witness pessimism and panic leading to downward corrections (corrective waves).

Herd Mentality: Human beings are social creatures, and this trait extends to financial markets. The herding behaviour is evident in the way markets tend to move in the same direction as the majority. Elliott Waves help identify such collective patterns and anticipate potential reversals.

Pattern Recognition: Elliott Wave analysis trains investors to recognize specific patterns in market charts, enabling them to assess the prevailing sentiment accurately. This awareness empowers investors to make more informed decisions and avoid irrational impulses.

Applying Elliott Wave Theory as a Technical Analysis Tool

Now that we have touched upon the psychological underpinnings of the Elliott Wave let us explore how it functions as a powerful technical analysis tool.

1. Identifying Elliott Waves

The first step in applying the Pure Elliott Wave is identifying waves on market charts. This process involves recognizing both the motive and corrective waves and labeling them accordingly.

To make this task more manageable, here are some Elliott Wave tips:

Wave 1: Typically the smallest wave in the motive sequence, it represents the initial move in the direction of the new trend.

Wave 2: A corrective wave that retraces a portion of wave 1’s advance but does not move beyond its starting point.

Wave 3: Often the longest and most powerful wave, it signifies the strongest move in the direction of the trend.

Wave 4: Another corrective wave, which retraces a portion of wave 3 but does not move into wave 1 price territory.

Wave 5: The final wave in the motive sequence, marking the last leg of the trend.

2. Counting Elliott Waves

Once we can identify Elliott Waves, the next step is to count them and determine the broader market structure. This involves understanding the larger degree waves, which encompass multiple smaller-degree waves.

For instance, a motive wave at a smaller degree may represent part of a corrective wave at a larger degree. The process of counting waves allows us to comprehend where we stand within the market cycle and what to expect next.

Analyzing Elliott Waves: A Case Study

To illustrate the practical application of Elliott Wave analysis, let us examine a fictional stock, XYZ Inc., over a six-month period.

Step 1: Identify Wave 1: After conducting a thorough analysis, we conclude that XYZ Inc. has started a new bullish trend. The initial upward movement from $50 to $60 represents wave 1.

Step 2: Spot Wave 2 Correction: Following Wave 1, XYZ Inc. experiences a price pullback to $55. This decline, which doesn’t surpass the starting point of Wave 1, is identified as wave 2.

Step 3: Ride the Impulse of Wave 3: As expected, XYZ Inc. witnesses a powerful rally, surging from $55 to $90. This substantial move corresponds to wave 3, confirming the strength of the underlying uptrend.

Step 4: Identify Wave 4 Correction: Following wave 3, XYZ Inc. experiences a moderate decline to $75. This correction represents wave 4, providing investors an opportunity to add to their positions.

Step 5: Witness the Culmination of Wave 5: In the final leg of the uptrend, XYZ Inc. reaches a high of $100. This last upward move marks the completion of wave 5.

Step 6: Spot Corrective Waves A, B, and C: After completing wave 5, XYZ Inc. enters a corrective phase. The price retraces to $85 (wave A), bounces back to $95 (wave B), and finally declines to $80 (wave C).

Step7: Identify an entry opportunity when the correction is over. When a channel drawn about the A-B-C correction is complete, the Elliott wave structure is complete, and the next motive wave may begin.

By diligently applying Elliott Wave, investors in XYZ Inc. could have capitalized on the prevailing trend, identified lucrative entry and exit points, and navigated the corrective phases with more confidence.

The Limitations of Elliott Wave Theory

While Elliott Wave offers valuable insights into market behaviour, it is essential to recognize its limitations to avoid potential pitfalls:

Subjectivity: Identifying and labeling waves can be subjective, leading to varying interpretations among analysts.

Complexity: Elliott Wave’s complexity can be daunting for beginners, requiring substantial study and practice.

Retroactive Analysis: Elliott Wave analysis may appear more accurate in hindsight, making real-time application challenging.


Elliott Wave serves as an indispensable tool for technical analysis, providing investors with a structured framework to navigate the complexities of financial markets. Additionally, its insights into investor psychology offer a deeper understanding of market sentiment and human behavior.

By following the general guideline outlined in this article, investors can gain a competitive advantage in their trading and investment decisions. However, it is crucial to remember that no analysis tool is foolproof, and combining Elliott Wave with other methods can enhance overall market analysis.

In summary, mastering the art of Elliott Wave analysis requires dedication, discipline, and experience, but it can be a rewarding endeavor for investors seeking a deeper comprehension of market trends and movements.

This article outlines the beginning of your journey into learning Elliott wave. To become proficient requires deeper understanding and practice. You will find many resources on this website to continue your learning Elliott wave.