Stock Trading
Oct. 25, 202311 min read

Candlestick Charts: How to Read Candlestick Patterns for Trading

Tim BohenAvatar
Written by Tim Bohen

Chart candles, or candlestick charts, are a type of financial chart used to describe price movements of an asset, usually over time. These charts are highly valued for their ability to provide a wide range of information in a clear and comprehensive manner. Understanding candlestick charts is crucial for any trader looking to gain an edge in the market.

Get into this article because it explains why most traders prefer candlestick charts for their visual clarity and comprehensive information.

I’ll answer the following questions …

  • What Are Candlestick Charts?
  • What Are the Basic Components of a Candlestick Chart?
  • How Do You Recognize Candlestick Patterns?
  • What Are Some Examples of Bullish and Bearish Patterns?
  • Why Do Most Traders Use Candlestick Charts?
  • What Is the Difference Between Candlestick and Bar Charts?
  • What Is the 3 Candlestick Rule?

Let’s dive in!

What Are Candlestick Charts?

Candlestick charts are a visual representation of market data, showing the high, low, opening, and closing prices during a given time period. Originating from Japanese rice traders in the 18th century, these charts have become a staple in modern technical analysis. In my years of trading and teaching, I’ve found that mastering candlestick charts is often the first significant step a new trader takes toward consistent profitability.

History of Candlestick Charts

The candlestick charting technique was developed in Japan over 300 years ago. Initially used to track the price of rice, it was later adapted to the stock market and other assets. Its historical relevance and effectiveness have stood the test of time, making it a go-to method for traders worldwide.

How Does a Candlestick Chart Work?

A candlestick chart is built from individual “candles,” each representing a specific time frame. The candles show the opening, high, low, and closing prices for that period. Understanding the mechanics of a candlestick chart is essential for interpreting price movement and trends, which is why I always cover this topic in depth in my trading courses.

Basic Components of a Candlestick Chart

The primary components of a candlestick chart are the real body, upper and lower shadows, and the color of the candle.

Real Body

The real body of the candle is the rectangular area between the opening and closing prices. If the asset closes higher than its opening price, the body is usually colored white or green. If it closes lower, the body is black or red.

Upper and Lower Shadows

The lines above and below the real body are known as shadows or wicks. The upper shadow shows the high for the period, while the lower shadow shows the low. Shadows can provide insights into the trading behavior during a specific period.

Significance of Color

The color of the candle body indicates whether the asset’s price increased or decreased during the period. Green or white usually signifies an increase, while red or black indicates a decrease. Understanding the significance of color is crucial for quick visual analysis.

Candlestick Chart Patterns

Recognizing candlestick patterns is a skill that can significantly enhance your trading strategy. These patterns can indicate potential price movement, helping traders make more informed decisions.

Some patterns are less common but equally telling — like the Dragonfly Doji. This pattern can signal a potential bullish reversal and is worth keeping an eye on. To deepen your understanding of this unique pattern, read up on the Dragonfly Doji.

Bullish Patterns

Bullish patterns like the Morning Star or Hammer indicate potential upward movement. These are patterns you want to look for during a downtrend as they can signal a reversal.

Bearish Engulfing Pattern

The Bearish Engulfing pattern occurs when a small bullish candle is followed by a larger bearish candle that “engulfs” the previous one. This pattern often signals that the bears have taken control.

Bearish Evening Star

The Bearish Evening Star is a three-candle pattern that signals a potential reversal from a bullish trend to a bearish trend. It’s a pattern that I often discuss in my advanced trading courses due to its reliability.

Bearish Harami

The Bearish Harami is a two-candle pattern where a large bullish candle is followed by a smaller bearish or bullish candle within the previous candle’s body. It often indicates a potential reversal or consolidation.

Bullish Harami

The Bullish Harami is the opposite of the Bearish Harami. It signals potential bullish reversals and is a pattern that can offer excellent entry points for traders.

Bearish Harami Cross

The Bearish Harami Cross is a variant of the Bearish Harami but involves a Doji candle. This pattern often indicates indecision in the market but can also signal a bearish reversal.

Bullish Harami Cross

The Bullish Harami Cross is similar to the Bearish Harami Cross but signals a potential bullish reversal. It’s a pattern that I often use in conjunction with other indicators for maximum effectiveness.

Bullish Rising Three

The Bullish Rising Three is a pattern that indicates a brief consolidation in an uptrend, followed by a continuation of the upward movement. It’s a pattern that can offer excellent entry points for traders.

Bearish Falling Three

The Bearish Falling Three is the opposite of the Bullish Rising Three. It indicates a brief consolidation in a downtrend, followed by a continuation of the downward movement.

Why Most Traders Use Candlestick Charts

Candlestick charts are popular for several reasons, including their visual clarity and the comprehensive information they provide.

Candlestick charts are not just about recognizing patterns; they’re also about understanding gaps. Gaps can occur between trading days and can be filled or not, providing crucial insights into market sentiment. To get a grip on how gaps work and how to trade them, check out this guide on fill-the-gap stocks.

Visual Clarity

Candlestick charts offer a clear visual representation of market data, making it easier for traders to interpret price movements at a glance.

Comprehensive Information

These charts provide a wealth of information, including price direction, volatility, and market sentiment, all in one place. This comprehensive nature is why I always recommend candlestick charts to my students.

Pattern Recognition

Candlestick charts are excellent for pattern recognition, a crucial skill for any trader. They allow for easy identification of trends, reversals, and various other market patterns.

Sentiment Indication

The color and shape of the candles can quickly indicate market sentiment, helping traders understand the balance between buyers and sellers.

Incorporation of Volume

Some advanced candlestick charts also incorporate volume data, providing an extra layer of information that can be invaluable for traders.


Candlestick charts can be used in various time frames and markets, making them a flexible tool for traders of all kinds.

Historical Relevance

As mentioned earlier, the historical relevance of candlestick charts adds an extra layer of trustworthiness to this method of analysis.

Candlestick vs. Bar Charts

The main difference between candlestick and bar charts is the way they display the opening and closing prices. While both provide similar information, candlestick charts are generally easier to interpret due to their color-coded bodies and more visual nature.

What Candlestick Pattern Is Most Accurate?

No single candlestick pattern can be deemed the most accurate as market conditions vary. However, patterns like the Bullish Engulfing or Bearish Harami are often reliable indicators of potential reversals. In my experience, combining these patterns with other forms of technical analysis can yield the best results.

What Is the 3 Candlestick Rule?

The 3 Candlestick Rule is a trading strategy that involves examining the last three candles in a chart to predict future price movement. It’s a simple yet effective way to gauge market sentiment and potential reversals.

The 3 Candlestick Rule isn’t the only way to gauge market sentiment. Sometimes, the market is in a clear downtrend, and understanding this can save you from making poor trading decisions. For more insights on how to trade in a downtrend, take a look at this article on downtrend trading.

How Do You Interpret Candlesticks?

Interpreting candlesticks involves understanding their components—body, wicks, and color—as well as recognizing various patterns. The key is to use this information in conjunction with other indicators and market data for a well-rounded trading strategy.

The Future of Candlestick Charts

Candlestick charts have stood the test of time and are likely to continue being a vital tool for traders. With the advent of automated trading and advanced charting software, these charts have become more accessible and easier to use than ever.

Key Takeaways

Candlestick charts are an invaluable tool for traders, offering a wealth of information in a visually clear and comprehensive manner. Mastering the art of reading these charts can significantly enhance your trading strategy, providing insights into market sentiment, trends, and potential reversals.

There are a ton of ways to build day trading careers… But all of them start with the basics.

Before you even think about becoming profitable, you’ll need to build a solid foundation. That’s what I help my students do every day — scanning the market, outlining trading plans, and answering any questions that come up.

You can check out the NO-COST webinar here for a closer look at how profitable traders go about preparing for the trading day!

Do you use candlestick charts? Let me know in the comments!


How Can I Get Started Trading?

Getting started in trading involves understanding basic charting methods, of which candlestick charts are a fundamental part. These charts offer a wealth of information that can help you make informed trading decisions.

What Is Candle Charting?

Candle charting involves using candlestick charts for market analysis. These charts provide a visual representation of an asset’s price movement over a specific period, helping traders make informed decisions.

What Is the Best Color Candle for a Chart?

The best color for a candle on a chart is subjective and depends on personal preference. However, the most commonly used colors are green for bullish candles and red for bearish candles, as they are easily distinguishable.

How Do Candlestick Charts Differ from Other Types?

Candlestick charts differ significantly from other types of charts like column, scatter, bubble, pie, donut, and radar charts. While most of these chart types represent data in a straightforward manner, candlestick charts offer intricate details such as strength and support levels in a stock’s price movement.

What Do Bottom and Shooting Star Patterns Indicate?

In candlestick charting, the bottom pattern typically indicates a reversal from a downtrend, symbolizing newfound strength. The shooting star, on the other hand, usually appears at the top of an uptrend and is considered a sign of potential weakness or lack of support in the current trend.

How Do Events and Relationship Levels Affect Candlesticks?

Events such as earnings reports or geopolitical occurrences can have an immediate effect on candlestick patterns. They often disrupt the relationship between supply and demand, impacting the support and resistance level of stock prices.