3.6 Cup and Handle

The cup and handle formation in trading is a bullish continuation pattern characterized by a rounded bottom (the "cup") followed by a smaller consolidation or correction (the "handle").

A cup and handle typically appears after a strong uptrend and suggests a potential resumption of the bullish trend. Traders look for a breakout above the resistance level formed by the top of the cup to enter long positions. Proper risk management, confirmation of the breakout, and the consideration of additional indicators are essential when using this pattern for trading decisions

Here's a detailed explanation of what it is and how to use it:


  1. Cup Formation:

    • The cup and handle pattern typically begins with a strong uptrend in the price of an asset.

    • The price then undergoes a rounded or U-shaped correction, forming the "cup" part of the pattern. This correction can last for weeks or even months.

  2. Handle Formation:

    • After the cup formation, there's a smaller downward price consolidation or correction, creating the "handle" part of the pattern. The handle is usually shorter in duration compared to the cup.

    • The handle often takes the form of a shallow, downward-sloping channel or a flag pattern.


  • Volume: Volume tends to decline during the formation of the handle and then picks up when the price breaks out from the handle.

  • Duration: The entire cup and handle pattern can take several months to form.

  • Symmetry: The cup and handle should exhibit a relatively symmetric and well-rounded shape.


  • Look for a strong prior uptrend in the price.

  • Identify the cup formation, which is characterized by a rounded bottom.

  • Notice the formation of the handle, which should be smaller and exhibit a downward-sloping or consolidating price movement.

Trading Strategy:

  • Entry: Consider entering a long (buy) position when the price breaks out above the resistance level formed by the top of the cup (the highest point of the pattern).

  • Stop-Loss: Place a stop-loss order just below the low of the handle, which is the lowest point within the pattern.

  • Take Profit: Calculate a target by measuring the depth of the cup and projecting it upward from the breakout point. This can provide an estimate of the potential price target.

  • Risk Management: Implement proper position sizing and risk management techniques to protect your capital.

How to Use It:

  • Confirm Breakout: Wait for a confirmed breakout above the resistance level (the top of the cup) before entering a trade. A breakout with significant trading volume is considered more reliable.

  • Consider Other Indicators: Use additional technical indicators or fundamental analysis to strengthen your trading decision when a cup and handle pattern is identified.

  • Time Frame: The pattern can take some time to form, so be patient and use it in conjunction with other analysis methods to ensure a well-rounded trading strategy.

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