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Continuation Patterns. The Dead Cat Bounce

Adam Lienhard
Continuation Patterns. The Dead Cat Bounce

A Dead Cat Bounce refers to a fleeting, momentary rise in asset prices that follows a significant decline or bear market. This pattern is characterized by a brief rally, which is then followed by a continued descent. The term is metaphorical, implying that even an object with no life, like a dead cat, would bounce if dropped from a great height.

Сharacteristics of Dead Cat Bounce

Classified as a continuation pattern, a Dead Cat Bounce is not supported by underlying fundamentals and is swiftly reversed by a subsequent downturn. It typically manifests within a broader secular bear market.

At first glance, the bounce may seem like a temporary reversal of the downward trend. Some traders may choose to exit short positions or buy during the bounce, believing they have identified a bottom. But it is usually just a pause before the price continues to fall. 

Identifying Dead Cat Bounces retrospectively is common, and they are often hard to pinpoint in real time. The pattern solidifies as a genuine Dead Cat Bounce when the price dips below its previous low. Anticipating these patterns before they occur is a complex task, even for experienced investors.

First mention

Economist Nouriel Roubini famously described the stock market recovery in March 2009 as a Dead Cat Bounce, forecasting a reversal. However, this turned out to be the start of a lengthy bull market

It’s important to note that, similar to identifying market peaks or troughs, spotting a Dead Cat Bounce early is difficult. Traders should exercise caution and employ additional analytical methods to confirm their interpretations.

How to trade the Dead Cat Bounce

To effectively trade the Dead Cat Bounce pattern, it’s essential to conduct a thorough analysis and time your entries correctly. Here’s a structured approach to navigating this pattern:

1. Detect a robust bearish trend: Identify a stock or asset that is clearly experiencing a downward trend. The price should exhibit a consistent downward trajectory.

2. Recognize the bounce: Notice a temporary price rise that interrupts the downtrend. This bounce is typically small compared to the preceding downward movement from the highest point.

3. Seek confirmation: The initial bounce serves as an initial indicator of a potential Dead Cat Bounce. Confirmation is achieved when the price surpasses the previous low (the lowest point before the bounce occurred).

4. Execution of trades: When the price exceeds its preceding low, consider initiating a trade. Set a Stop-Loss below the newly established top (the highest point of the bounce). Stay in the trade until the new impulse is equivalent in magnitude to the initial downward thrust (the downward move before the bounce).

While identifying the Dead Cat Bounce pattern can be elusive, observing these key stages on your chart will help you a potential Dead Cat Bounce pattern. It’s crucial to integrate technical analysis with other strategies for a well-rounded trading methodology.

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