Articles, Investing, Strategies

Take Advantage of the Trend With the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo

Written By: Lyster Rosales
Reviewed by: Mike Reyes
Last Updated June 15, 2023
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Black Blue and Red stock chart

Having problems with analyzing market trends? Let me introduce a trading indicator that hails from one of the biggest trading places in the world, Japan. The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo indicator is a trend-following tool that allows traders and investors to identify price action. It is intended to provide buy and sell signals and identify trends, potential support, resistances, and more. 

What is the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo?

The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo, which is often called a “Glance Equilibrium Chart,” is one of the most versatile technical analysis tools that offer investors and traders a holistic view of market conditions. It is built as an all-in-one indicator that consists of five key components that provide valuable information to traders:

Tenkan-sen (Conversion Line) – This is a 9-period line that is used to represent short-term market momentum. This is calculated by dividing the sum highest high and lowest low over the past nine periods.

Kijun-sen (Base Line) – This is a 26-period moving average similar to the Tenkan-sen. It provides a medium-term insight into the market.

Senkou Span A (Leading Span A) – This is the sum of the Tenkan-sen and Kijun-sen divided by two and projected forward by 26 periods. It works as the first boundary of the Ichimoku Cloud and serves as a potential support and resistance level.

Senkou Span B (Leading Span B) – This is the sum of the 52-week high and 52-week low divided by 2, which is also projected forward 26 periods. This is the second component that forms the next boundary of the Ichimoku Cloud. It also serves as a measure of long-term support and resistance.

Kumo (Cloud) – This area between Senkou Span A and Senkou Span B gives a visual representation of potential areas of support and resistance that the price has to break out from to proceed with its current trend.

Chikou Span ( Lagging Span) -This is the current period’s closing price plotted 26 days back on the chart that is used to show potential support and resistance areas.

How do you use Ichimoku Kinko Hyo in your trading?

Being one of the most versatile indicators, the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo indicator provides traders and investors with different ways to optimize their investment strategies by providing different signals.

Crossover Signals

When the Tenkan-sen/conversion line crosses and closes above the Kijun-sen/baseline, this is considered a bullish signal toward a potential upward trend. Conversely, when the Tenkan-sen/conversion line crosses and closes below the Kijun-sen/baseline, it is considered a bearish signal that can provide traders an opportunity to short the security.

Cloud Breakouts

Cloud breakouts occur when the price moves and closes above or below the boundaries of the cloud, signifying a potential change in the overall trend and allowing traders to ride a potential long-term move toward the direction of the breakout.

Price support using the Chikou Span 

The Chikou/Lagging Span represents the current closing price, plotted 26 periods behind. Its position relative to the price gives investors and traders a visual that easily tells them if prices will move into a support or resistance area.

Senkou Crosses 

Since the Senkou span is projected 26 periods forward, it provides traders and investors a forecast of potential trend changes. It helps them plan on trades that can potentially give them a chance to pick a reversal.

Intermediate applications of Ichimoku Kinko Hyo 

While Ichimoku Kinko Hyo offers a wide range of applications like identifying support and resistance, breakouts, and buy signals from its component. Traders and investors may also take advantage of some other applications of its components like:

Trend Identification using the Kumo

The Kumo or the cloud provides traders and investors a context of the security’s current trend. As prices trade above the cloud, it tells investors and traders that prices are currently in a bullish trend, bearish when trading below, and in a range when trading inside the cloud.

Confirmation of Breakouts

Ichimoku Cloud’s boundaries act as dynamic support and resistance levels. Traders and investors can then use this as strong confirmation of trend reversals or continuation patterns. Due to its focus on the medium to long-term trend, when a breakout occurs, it adds credibility to the trading decision for positioning.

Trade Management

Chikou Span can also assist traders in trade management. Since the Chikou span is projected 26 periods backward, traders can observe how the Chikou span will interact with previous prices and provide potential exit points.

Limitations

While the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo provides valuable insights, it still has its limitations like any other technical indicator. Understanding and acknowledging them as a standalone indicator can help traders efficiently utilize their strengths for consistent returns and minimize potential losses.

False Signals

Like any technical analysis tool, Ichimoku Kinko Hyo is not immune to false signals. Traders and investors use additional data or indicators to enhance the strength of each signal.

Dependency on market conditions

One of Ichimoku Kinko Hyo’s strengths is its quick and efficient ability to identify the current strength or a potential change in the trend. It tends to perform better in trending markets compared to choppy markets. However, traders can backtest its capabilities to better understand the limits of its trend-following capacity and range-bound limitations.

Some components can provide conflicting signals

While the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo is a powerful tool, its component can sometimes make mastering it a struggle for some traders and investors as it combines short, medium, and long-term signals in one indicator. However, the traders can still opt to only use parts of the indicator that works for their strategy, like only the cloud to get a visual on the long-term trend or the Kijun Sen and Tenkan Sen for buy signals. 

Conclusion

Ichimoku Kinko Hyo provides investors and traders with an all-in-one trading system that provides traders with a comprehensive framework that can help analyze market trends, identify support and resistance levels, and make informed and actionable trading decisions. Its components provide a unique perspective when it comes to getting valuable insights from the current state of the market. However, as no trading system is foolproof, it is important not just to focus on signals when making trading decisions but look at the context of the market as a whole. With proper understanding and application, the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo is a powerful tool in a trader’s trading toolbox that can help traders take advantage of the opportunities of the market.

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