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How do traders use pivot points in their analysis?

Understanding Pivot Points in Stock Market Analysis


In the world of trading, analyzing financial market trends is of paramount importance, and to do so, traders employ various techniques, with pivot points being a critical one. Pivot points are a crucial tool that traders use to forecast short-term price movements based on prior trends. Utilized mainly in technical analysis, they enable traders and investors, both beginners and advanced alike, to identify potential points of price reversal.

Definition of Pivot Points

Pivot points are calculation-based indicators that determine levels of support and resistance in the markets. The pivot point itself is simply the average of the high, low, and closing prices from the previous trading day. On the subsequent day, trading above the pivot point is perceived as ongoing bullish sentiment, while trading below the pivot point indicates bearish sentiment.

How Pivot Points are used in Trading

Identifying Market Trends

Traders consider pivot points as an essential tool in determining market sentiment. It provides a comprehensive overview of the market, pointing out instances where the price could potentially halt or reverse. When prices are above the pivot point, it signifies a bullish market, attracting buyers. On the other hand, if prices are below the pivot point, it denotes a bearish market, attracting sellers.

Recognizing Support and Resistance Levels

The support and resistance levels generated by pivot point calculations inform traders when to enter or exit a trade. Support levels (S1, S2, and S3) signify areas where buying pressure is expected to increase, causing the price to bounce back up. Contrastingly, resistance levels (R1, R2, and R3) are points where selling pressure is anticipated to increase, possibly pushing the price down.

Determining Stop Loss and Target Price

Pivot points can aid traders in deciding where to place stop losses and set target prices. For instance, if a trader enters a long (buy) position, they might set their stop loss at the nearest support level below the market price and their target price at the nearest resistance level above the market price.

Anticipating Breakouts

During times of high volatility, the price might break through resistance or support levels. Traders use these breakthrough events as opportunities for ‘breakout trading.’ A breakout above resistance can be a signal to go long, while a breakout below support can indicate a chance to go short.

The Calculation of Pivot Points

To compute pivot points, the following equation is implemented: Pivot Point = (Previous High + Previous Low + Previous Close) / 3. Once the pivot point is determined, it becomes feasible to calculate the support and resistance levels. Typically, there are three support and resistance levels calculated from the pivot point.

First Level

S1 = (Pivot Point x 2) – Previous High
R1 = (Pivot Point x 2) – Previous Low

Second Level

S2 = Pivot Point – (Previous High – Previous Low)
R2 = Pivot Point + (Previous High – Previous Low)

Third Level

S3 = S2 – (High – Pivot)
R3 = R1 + (High – Low)


Pivot points, while straightforward, provide crucial information about market sentiment and potential price movements, making them an indispensable tool in a trader’s arsenal. They offer a significant advantage in that they are predictive rather than lagging indicators, enabling traders to identify potential turning points in the market before they occur. As with any trading tool, pivot points should not be used in isolation but in conjunction with other technical analysis tools to confirm signals and increase trading accuracy. By understanding and effectively implementing pivot points, traders can significantly enhance their trading strategies and market edge.