The Fibonacci Retracements

The topic on Fibonacci retracements is quite intriguing. To fully understand and appreciate the concept of Fibonacci retracements, one must understand the Fibonacci series. The origins of the Fibonacci series can be traced back to the ancient Indian mathematic scripts, with some claims dating back to 200 BC. However, in the 12th century, Leonardo Pisano Bogollo an Italian mathematician from Pisa, known to his friends as Fibonacci discovered Fibonacci numbers.

The Fibonacci series is a sequence of numbers starting from zero arranged in such a way that the value of any number in the series is the sum of the previous two numbers.

The Fibonacci sequence is as follows:

0 , 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34,  55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610…

Notice the following: 233 = 144 + 89 144 = 89 + 55 89 = 55 +34

Needless to say the series extends to infinity. There are few interesting properties of the Fibonacci series.

Divide any number in the series by the previous number; the ratio is always approximately 1.618.

For example: 610/377 = 1.618 377/233 = 1.618 233/144 = 1.618

The ratio of 1.618 is considered as the Golden Ratio, also referred to as the Phi. Fibonacci numbers have their connection to nature. The ratio can be found in human face, flower petals, animal bodies, fruits, vegetables, rock formation, galaxial formations etc. Of course let us not get into this discussion as we would be digressing from the main topic.  For those interested, I would suggest you search on the internet for golden ratio examples and you will be pleasantly surprised. Further into the ratio properties, one can find remarkable consistency when a number is in the Fibonacci series is divided by its immediate succeeding number.

For example: 89/144 = 0.618 144/233 = 0.618 377/610 = 0.618

At this stage, do bear in mind that 0.618, when expressed in percentage is 61.8%.

Similar consistency can be found when any number in the Fibonacci series is divided by a number two places higher.

For example: 13/34 = 0.382 21/55 = 0.382 34/89 = 0.382

0.382 when expressed in percentage terms is 38.2%

Also, there is consistency when a number in the Fibonacci series is divided by a number 3 place higher.

For example: 13/55 = 0.236 21/89 = 0.236 34/144 = 0.236 55/233 = 0.236

0.236 when expressed in percentage terms is 23.6%.

16.1 – Relevance to stocks markets

It is believed that the Fibonacci ratios i.e 61.8%, 38.2%, and 23.6% finds its application in stock charts. Fibonacci analysis can be applied when there is a noticeable up-move or down-move in prices.  Whenever the stock moves either upwards or downwards sharply, it usually tends to retrace back before its next move. For example if the stock has run up from Rs.50 to Rs.100, then it is likely to retrace back to probably Rs.70, before it can move Rs.120.

‘The retracement level forecast’ is a technique using which one can identify upto which level retracement can happen. These retracement levels provide a good opportunity for the traders to enter new positions in the direction of the trend.  The Fibonacci ratios i.e 61.8%, 38.2%, and 23.6% helps the trader to identify the possible extent of the retracement. The trader can use these levels to position himself for trade.

Have a look at the chart below:

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I’ve encircled two points on the chart, at Rs.380 where the stock started its rally and at Rs.489, where the stock prices peaked.

I would now define the move of 109 (380 – 489) as the Fibonacci upmove.  As per the Fibonacci retracement theory, after the upmove one can anticipate a correction in the stock to last up to the Fibonacci ratios. For example, the first level up to which the stock can correct could be 23.6%. If this stock continues to correct further, the trader can watch out for the 38.2% and 61.8% levels.

Notice in the example shown below, the stock has retraced up to 61.8%, which coincides with 421.9, before it resumed the rally.

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We can arrive at 421 by using simple math as well –

Total Fibonacci up move = 109

61.8% of Fibonacci up move = 61.8% * 109 = 67.36

Retracement @ 61.8% = 489- 67.36 = 421.6

Likewise, we can calculate for 38.2% and the other ratios. However one need not manually do this as the software will do this for us.

Here is another example where the chart has rallied from Rs.288 to Rs.338. Therefore 50 points move makes up for the Fibonacci upmove. The stock retraced back 38.2% to Rs.319 before resuming its up move.

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The Fibonacci retracements can also be applied to stocks that are falling, in order to identify levels upto which the stock can bounce back. In the chart below (DLF Limited), the stock started to decline from Rs.187 to Rs. 120.6 thus making 67 points as the Fibonacci down move.

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After the down move, the stock attempted to bounce back retracing back to Rs.162, which is the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level.


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