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Why Stocks Form a Base; Five Bullish Traits of a Healthy Base

Author: Rushit Sejpal

May 22 2021 | Reading Time: 9 minutes
Nifty has been trading near its 50-DMA with high volatility for the last two months. In these times, a lot of stocks are breaking out and a few of them are hitting stop-losses due to the volatility. To say the least, it has been a challenging period to find stock breakouts working for you. Such episodes of market uncertainty often result in an uneven performance. To understand why this happens, one should know why a stock forms a base and how to identify a healthy base pattern.
 

After a strong run-up, a stock will pause and consolidate gains. This is the basing process where a true market leader catches its breath in preparation for another big move up. Recognize the below five signs of a healthy base: the healthier it is, the better the chance it has of delivering an explosive breakout.

1) Look for a calm action when the stock starts to pull back. A quiet, orderly decline is preferable to herky-jerky, wide-and-loose price action.

A cup-shaped base generally shouldn’t show a correction of more than 30-33% from high to low. A flat base shouldn’t correct more than 15% – many show tight, sideways action in a much lighter pullback than that. The bottom line is that you will see calm pullbacks and volatile ones; focus on the former.

2) Using a daily or weekly chart, spot tight daily/weekly closes at the bottom of the base. Such price stability tells you the pullback may be ending, paving the way for a new round of buying demand. As the stock starts working its way higher toward a prior high, look for signs of heavy accumulation or institutional buying. Big investors have a hard time covering their tracks because big volume always gives them away.

3)  When assessing the quality of a base, look at the daily as well as the weekly chart and also the entire base. Do up-days in heavy volume outnumber down-days in heavy volume? If so, the stock is generally showing signs of net accumulation. You want the big funds buying shares heavily ahead of a powerful breakout.

4) A healthy RS line is another attribute of a sound base. Make sure it’s at or near a new high as the stock gets into position for a breakout try. A bullish RS line, shown in blue on the MarketSmith India charts, shows you the stock has been outperforming the market and could have the potential to be a big market leader.

5) Look for heavy volume at the breakout. MarketSmith’s volume percentage change, noted in all charts, will tell you when the volume is heavy in a stock. When the volume percentage change is 50%, it means the volume is on pace to be 50% above average. Keep in mind that volume can be heavy early in a stock and then fade by the close.

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Disclaimer: Information contained herein is not and should not be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell securities. It is for educational purposes only.For more information, see our Legal disclosures here.

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