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Meaning of Phi The value of this ubiquitous phenomenon was deeply understood and profoundly appreciated by the greatest intellects of the ages. History abounds with examples of exceptionally learned men who held a special fascination for this mathematical formulation. Pythagoras chose the five-pointed star, in which every segment is in golden ratio to the next smaller segment, as the symbol of his Order; celebrated 17th century mathematician Jacob Bernoulli had the Golden Spiral etched into his headstone; Isaac Newton had the same spiral carved on the headboard of his bed (owned today by the Gravity Foundation, New Boston, NH). The earliest known aficionados were the architects of the Gizeh pyramid in Egypt, who recorded the knowledge of phi in its construction nearly 5000 years ago. Egyptian engineers consciously incorporated the Golden Ratio in the Great Pyramid by giving its faces a slope height equal to 1.618 times half its base, so that the vertical height of the pyramid is at the same time the square root of 1.618 times half its base. According to Peter Tompkins, author of Secrets of the Great Pyramid (Harper & Row, 1971), "This relation shows Herodotus' report to be indeed correct, in that the square of the height of the pyramid is Öf x Öf = f, and the areas of the face 1 x f = f." Furthermore, using these proportions, the Egyptian scientists (apparently in order to build a scale model of the Northern Hemisphere) used pi and phi in an approach so mathematically sophisticated that it accomplished the feat of squaring the circle and cubing the sphere (i.e., making them of equal area and volume), a feat which was not duplicated for well over four thousand years. While the mere mention of the Great Pyramid may serve as an engraved invitation to skepticism (perhaps for good reason), keep in mind that its form reflects the same fascination held by pillars of Western scientific, mathematical, artistic and philosophic thought, including Plato, Pythagoras, Bernoulli, Kepler, DaVinci and Newton. Those who designed and built the pyramid were likewise demonstrably brilliant scientists, astronomers, mathematicians and engineers. Clearly they wanted to enshrine for millennia the Golden Ratio as something of transcendent importance. That such a caliber of people, who were later joined by some of the greatest minds of Greece and the Enlightenment in their fascination for this ratio, undertook this task is itself important. As for why, all we have is conjecture from a few authors. Yet that conjecture, however obtuse, curiously pertains to our own observations. It has been surmised that the Great Pyramid, for centuries after it was built, was used as a temple of initiation for those who proved themselves worthy of understanding the great universal secrets. Only those who could rise above the crude acceptance of things as they seemed to discover what, in actuality, they were, could be instructed in "the mysteries," i.e., the complex truths of eternal order and growth. Did such "mysteries" include phi? Tompkins explains, "The pharaonic Egyptians, says Schwaller de Lubicz, considered phi not as a number, but as a symbol of the creative function, or of reproduction in an endless series. To them it represented `the fire of life, the male action of sperm, the logos [referenced in] the gospel of St. John.'" Logos, a Greek word, was defined variously by Heraclitus and subsequent pagan, Jewish and Christian philosophers as meaning the rational order of the universe, an immanent natural law, a life-giving force hidden within things, the universal structural force governing and permeating the world. Conceptual Phi Consider when reading such deep yet vague descriptions that these people could not clearly see what they sensed. They did not have graphs and the Wave Principle to make nature's growth pattern manifest and were doing the best they could to describe an organizational principle that they discerned as shaping the natural world. If these ancient philosophers were right that a universal structural force governs and permeates the world, should it not govern and permeate the world of man? If forms throughout the universe, including man's body, brain and DNA, reflect the form of phi, might man's activities reflect it as well? If phi is the life-force in the universe, might it be the impulse behind the progress in man's productive capacity? If phi is a symbol of the creative function, might it govern the creative activity of man? If man's progress is based upon production and reproduction "in an endless series," is it not reasonable that such progress has the spiraling form of phi, and that this form is discernible in the movement of the valuation of his productive capacity, i.e., the stock market? Just as the initiated Egyptians learned the hidden truths of order and growth in the universe behind the apparent randomness and chaos (something that modern "chaos theory" has finally rediscovered in the 1980s), so the stock market, in our opinion, can be understood properly if it is taken for what it is rather than for what it crudely appears to be upon cursory consideration. The stock market is not a random, formless mess reacting to current news events but a remarkably precise recording of the formal structure of the progress of man. Compare this concept with astronomer William Kingsland's words in The Great Pyramid in Fact and in Theory that Egyptian astronomy/astrology was a "profoundly esoteric science connected with the great cycles of man's evolution." The Wave Principle explains the great cycles of man's evolution and reveals how and why they unfold as they do. Moreover, it encompasses micro as well as macro scales, all of which are based upon a paradoxical principle of dynamism and variation within an unaltered form. It is this form that gives structure and unity to the universe. Nothing in nature suggests that life is disorderly or formless. The word "universe" means "one order." If life has form, then we must not reject the probability that human progress, which is part of the reality of life, also has order and form. By extension, the stock market, which values man's productive enterprise, will have order and form as well. All technical approaches to understanding the stock market depend on the basic principle of order and form. Elliott's theory, however, goes beyond all others. It postulates that no matter how minute or how large the form, the basic design remains constant. Phi and Elliott Elliott, in his second monograph, used the title Nature's Law — The Secret of the Universe in preference to "The Wave Principle" and applied it to all sorts of human activity. Elliott may have gone too far in saying that the Wave Principle was the secret of the universe, as nature appears to have created numerous forms and processes, not just one simple design. Nevertheless, some of history's greatest scientists, mentioned earlier, would probably have agreed with Elliott's formulation. At minimum, it is credible to say that the Wave Principle is one of the most important secrets of the universe. Even this grandiose claim at first may appear to be only so much tall talk to practically-minded investors, and quite understandably so. The grand nature of the concept stretches the imagination and confounds the intellect, while its applicability is as yet unclear. First we must ask, can we both theorize and observe that there is indeed a principle that operates on the same mathematical basis in the heavens and earth as it does in the stock market? The answer is yes. The stock market has the very same mathematical base as do these natural phenomena. The idealized Elliott concept of the progression of the stock market is an excellent base from which to construct the Golden Spiral, as Figure 3-10 illustrates with a rough approximation. In this construction, the top of each successive wave of higher degree is the touch point of the logarithmic expansion. Figure 3-10 This result is possible because at every degree of stock market activity, a bull market subdivides into five waves and a bear market subdivides into three waves, giving us the 5-3 relationship that is the mathematical basis of the Elliott Wave Principle. We can generate the complete Fibonacci sequence, as we first did in Figure 1-4, by using Elliott's concept of the progression of the market. If we start with the simplest expression of the concept of a bear swing, we get one straight line decline. A bull swing, in its simplest form, is one straight line advance. A complete cycle is two lines. In the next degree of complexity, the corresponding numbers are 3, 5 and 8. As illustrated in Figure 3-11, this sequence can be taken to infinity. Figure 3-11
Introducing Fibonacci Statue of Leonardo Fibonacci, Pisa, Italy. The inscription reads, "A. Leonardo Fibonacci, Insigne Matematico Piisano del Secolo XII." Photo by Robert R. Prechter, Sr. HISTORICAL AND MATHEMATICAL BACKGROUND OF THE WAVE PRINCIPLE The Fibonacci (pronounced fib-eh-nah´-chee) sequence of numbers was discovered (actually rediscovered) by Leonardo Fibonacci da Pisa, a thirteenth century mathematician. We will outline the historical background of this amazing man and then discuss more fully the sequence (technically it is a sequence and not a series) of numbers that bears his name. When Elliott wrote Nature's Law, he referred specifically to the Fibonacci sequence as the mathematical basis for the Wave Principle. It is sufficient to state at this point that the stock market has a propensity to demonstrate a form that can be aligned with the form present in the Fibonacci sequence. (For a further discussion of the mathematics behind the Wave Principle, see "Mathematical Basis of Wave Theory," by Walter E. White, in New Classics Library's forthcoming book.) In the early 1200s, Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa, Italy published his famous Liber Abacci (Book of Calculation) which introduced to Europe one of the greatest mathematical discoveries of all time, namely the decimal system, including the positioning of zero as the first digit in the notation of the number scale. This system, which included the familiar symbols 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, became known as the Hindu-Arabic system, which is now universally used. Under a true digital or place-value system, the actual value represented by any symbol placed in a row along with other symbols depends not only on its basic numerical value but also on its position in the row, i.e., 58 has a different value from 85. Though thousands of years earlier the Babylonians and Mayas of Central America separately had developed digital or place-value systems of numeration, their methods were awkward in other respects. For this reason, the Babylonian system, which had been the first to use zero and place values, was never carried forward into the mathematical systems of Greece, or even Rome, whose numeration comprised the seven symbols I, V, X, L, C, D, and M, with non-digital values assigned to those symbols. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in a system using these non-digital symbols is not an easy task, especially when large numbers are involved. Paradoxically, to overcome this problem, the Romans used the very ancient digital device known as the abacus. Because this instrument is digitally based and contains the zero principle, it functioned as a necessary supplement to the Roman computational system. Throughout the ages, bookkeepers and merchants depended on it to assist them in the mechanics of their tasks. Fibonacci, after expressing the basic principle of the abacus in Liber Abacci, started to use his new system during his travels. Through his efforts, the new system, with its easy method of calculation, was eventually transmitted to Europe. Gradually the old usage of Roman numerals was replaced with the Arabic numeral system. The introduction of the new system to Europe was the first important achievement in the field of mathematics since the fall of Rome over seven hundred years before. Fibonacci not only kept mathematics alive during the Middle Ages, but laid the foundation for great developments in the field of higher mathematics and the related fields of physics, astronomy and engineering. Although the world later almost lost sight of Fibonacci, he was unquestionably a man of his time. His fame was such that Frederick II, a scientist and scholar in his own right, sought him out by arranging a visit to Pisa. Frederick II was Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the King of Sicily and Jerusalem, scion of two of the noblest families in Europe and Sicily, and the most powerful prince of his day. His ideas were those of an absolute monarch, and he surrounded himself with all the pomp of a Roman emperor. The meeting between Fibonacci and Frederick II took place in 1225 A.D. and was an event of great importance to the town of Pisa. The Emperor rode at the head of a long procession of trumpeters, courtiers, knights, officials and a menagerie of animals. Some of the problems the Emperor placed before the famous mathematician are detailed in Liber Abacci. Fibonacci apparently solved the problems posed by the Emperor and forever more was welcome at the King's Court. When Fibonacci revised Liber Abacci in 1228 A.D., he dedicated the revised edition to Frederick II. It is almost an understatement to say that Leonardo Fibonacci was the greatest mathematician of the Middle Ages. In all, he wrote three major mathematical works: the Liber Abacci, published in 1202 and revised in 1228, Practica Geometriae, published in 1220, and Liber Quadratorum. The admiring citizens of Pisa documented in 1240 A.D. that he was "a discreet and learned man," and very recently Joseph Gies, a senior editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, stated that future scholars will in time "give Leonard of Pisa his due as one of the world's great intellectual pioneers." His works, after all these years, are only now being translated from Latin into English. For those interested, the book entitled Leonard of Pisa and the New Mathematics of the Middle Ages, by Joseph and Frances Gies, is an excellent treatise on the age of Fibonacci and his works. Although he was the greatest mathematician of medieval times, Fibonacci's only monuments are a statue across the Arno River from the Leaning Tower and two streets which bear his name, one in Pisa and the other in Florence. It seems strange that so few visitors to the 179-foot marble Tower of Pisa have ever heard of Fibonacci or seen his statue. Fibonacci was a contemporary of Bonanna, the architect of the Tower, who started building in 1174 A.D. Both men made contributions to the world, but the one whose influence far exceeds the other's is almost unknown. The Fibonacci Sequence In Liber Abacci, a problem is posed that gives rise to the sequence of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, and so on to infinity, known today as the Fibonacci sequence. The problem is this: How many pairs of rabbits placed in an enclosed area can be produced in a single year from one pair of rabbits if each pair gives birth to a new pair each month starting with the second month? In arriving at the solution, we find that each pair, including the first pair, needs a month's time to mature, but once in production, begets a new pair each month. The number of pairs is the same at the beginning of each of the first two months, so the sequence is 1, 1. This first pair finally doubles its number during the second month, so that there are two pairs at the beginning of the third month. Of these, the older pair begets a third pair the following month so that at the beginning of the fourth month, the sequence expands 1, 1, 2, 3. Of these three, the two older pairs reproduce, but not the youngest pair, so the number of rabbit pairs expands to five. The next month, three pairs reproduce so the sequence expands to 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and so forth. Figure 3-1 shows the Rabbit Family Tree with the family growing with logarithmic acceleration. Continue the sequence for a few years and the numbers become astronomical. In 100 months, for instance, we would have to contend with 354,224,848,179,261,915,075 pairs of rabbits. The Fibonacci sequence resulting from the rabbit problem has many interesting properties and reflects an almost constant relationship among its components. Figure 3-1 The sum of any two adjacent numbers in the sequence forms the next higher number in the sequence, viz., 1 plus 1 equals 2, 1 plus 2 equals 3, 2 plus 3 equals 5, 3 plus 5 equals 8, and so on to infinity. The Golden Ratio After the first several numbers in the sequence, the ratio of any number to the next higher is approximately .618 to 1 and to the next lower number approximately 1.618 to 1. The further along the sequence, the closer the ratio approaches phi (denoted f) which is an irrational number, .618034.... Between alternate numbers in the sequence, the ratio is approximately .382, whose inverse is 2.618. Refer to Figure 3-2 for a ratio table interlocking all Fibonacci numbers from 1 to 144. Figure 3-2 Phi is the only number that when added to 1 yields its inverse: .618 + 1 = 1 ÷ .618. This alliance of the additive and the multiplicative produces the following sequence of equations: .6182 = 1 - .618, .6183 = .618 - .6182, .6184 = .6182 - .6183, .6185 = .6183 - .6184, etc. or alternatively, 1.6182 = 1 + 1.618, 1.6183 = 1.618 + 1.6182, 1.6184 = 1.6182 + 1.6183, 1.6185 = 1.6183 + 1.6184, etc. Some statements of the interrelated properties of these four main ratios can be listed as follows: 1) 1.618 - .618 = 1, 2) 1.618 x .618 = 1, 3) 1 - .618 = .382, 4) .618 x .618 = .382, 5) 2.618 - 1.618 = 1, 6) 2.618 x .382 = 1, 7) 2.618 x .618 = 1.618, 8) 1.618 x 1.618 = 2.618. Besides 1 and 2, any Fibonacci number multiplied by four, when added to a selected Fibonacci number, gives another Fibo-nacci number, so that: 3 x 4 = 12; + 1 = 13, 5 x 4 = 20; + 1 = 21, 8 x 4 = 32; + 2 = 34, 13 x 4 = 52; + 3 = 55, 21 x 4 = 84; + 5 = 89, and so on. As the new sequence progresses, a third sequence begins in those numbers that are added to the 4x multiple. This relationship is possible because the ratio between second alternate Fibonacci numbers is 4.236, where .236 is both its inverse and its difference from the number 4. This continuous series-building property is reflected at other multiples for the same reasons. 1.618 (or .618) is known as the Golden Ratio or Golden Mean. Its proportions are pleasing to the eye and an important phenomenon in music, art, architecture and biology. William Hoffer, writing for the December 1975 Smithsonian Magazine, said: ...the proportion of .618034 to 1 is the mathematical basis for the shape of playing cards and the Parthenon, sunflowers and snail shells, Greek vases and the spiral galaxies of outer space. The Greeks based much of their art and architecture upon this proportion. They called it "the golden mean." Fibonacci's abracadabric rabbits pop up in the most unexpected places. The numbers are unquestionably part of a mystical natural harmony that feels good, looks good and even sounds good. Music, for example, is based on the 8-note octave. On the piano this is represented by 8 white keys, 5 black ones — 13 in all. It is no accident that the musical harmony that seems to give the ear its greatest satisfaction is the major sixth. The note A vibrates at a ratio of .62500 to the note C. A mere .006966 away from the exact golden mean, the proportions of the major sixth set off good vibrations in the cochlea of the inner ear — an organ that just happens to be shaped in a logarithmic spiral. The continual occurrence of Fibonacci numbers and the golden spiral in nature explains precisely why the proportion of .618034 to 1 is so pleasing in art. Man can see the image of life in art that is based on the golden mean. Nature uses the Golden Ratio in its most intimate building blocks and in its most advanced patterns, in forms as minuscule as atomic structure, microtubules in the brain and DNA molecules to those as large as planetary orbits and galaxies. It is involved in such diverse phenomena as quasi crystal arrangements, planetary distances and periods, reflections of light beams on glass, the brain and nervous system, musical arrangement, and the structures of plants and animals. Science is rapidly demonstrating that there is indeed a basic proportional principle of nature. By the way, you are holding your mouse with your five appendages, all but one of which have three jointed parts, five digits at the end, and three jointed sections to each digit. Fibonacci Geometry The Golden Section Any length can be divided in such a way that the ratio between the smaller part and the larger part is equivalent to the ratio between the larger part and the whole (see Figure 3-3). That ratio is always .618. Figure 3-3 The Golden Section occurs throughout nature. In fact, the human body is a tapestry of Golden Sections (see Figure 3-9) in everything from outer dimensions to facial arrangement. "Plato, in his Timaeus," says Peter Tompkins, "went so far as to consider phi, and the resulting Golden Section proportion, the most binding of all mathematical relations, and considered it the key to the physics of the cosmos." In the sixteenth century, Johannes Kepler, in writing about the Golden, or "Divine Section," said that it described virtually all of creation and specifically symbolized God's creation of "like from like." Man is the divided at the navel into Fibonacci proportions. The statistical average is approximately .618. The ratio holds true separately for men, and separately for women, a fine symbol of the creation of "like from like." Is all of mankind's progress also a creation of "like from like?" The Golden Rectangle The sides of a Golden Rectangle are in the proportion of 1.618 to 1. To construct a Golden Rectangle, start with a square of 2 units by 2 units and draw a line from the midpoint of one side of the square to one of the corners formed by the opposite side as shown in Figure 3-4. Figure 3-4 Triangle EDB is a right-angled triangle. Pythagoras, around 550 B.C., proved that the square of the hypotenuse (X) of a right-angled triangle equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides. In this case, therefore, X2 = 22 + 12, or X2 = 5. The length of the line EB, then, must be the square root of 5. The next step in the construction of a Golden Rectangle is to extend the line CD, making EG equal to the square root of 5, or 2.236, units in length, as shown in Figure 3-5. When completed, the sides of the rectangles are in the proportion of the Golden Ratio, so both the rectangle AFGC and BFGD are Golden Rectangles. Figure 3-5 Since the sides of the rectangles are in the proportion of the Golden Ratio, then the rectangles are, by definition, Golden Rectangles. Works of art have been greatly enhanced with knowledge of the Golden Rectangle. Fascination with its value and use was particularly strong in ancient Egypt and Greece and during the Renaissance, all high points of civilization. Leonardo da Vinci attributed great meaning to the Golden Ratio. He also found it pleasing in its proportions and said, "If a thing does not have the right look, it does not work." Many of his paintings had the right look because he used the Golden Section to enhance their appeal. While it has been used consciously and deliberately by artists and architects for their own reasons, the phi proportion apparently does have an effect upon the viewer of forms. Experimenters have determined that people find the .618 proportion aesthetically pleasing. For instance, subjects have been asked to choose one rectangle from a group of different types of rectangles with the average choice generally found to be close to the Golden Rectangle shape. When asked to cross one bar with another in a way they liked best, subjects generally used one to divide the other into the phi proportion. Windows, picture frames, buildings, books and cemetery crosses often approximate Golden Rectangles. As with the Golden Section, the value of the Golden Rectangle is hardly limited to beauty, but serves function as well. Among numerous examples, the most striking is that the double helix of DNA itself creates precise Golden Sections at regular intervals of its twists (see Figure 3-9). While the Golden Section and the Golden Rectangle represent static forms of natural and man-made aesthetic beauty and function, the representation of an aesthetically pleasing dynamism, an orderly progression of growth or progress, can be made only by one of the most remarkable forms in the universe, the Golden Spiral. The Golden Spiral A Golden Rectangle can be used to construct a Golden Spiral. Any Golden Rectangle, as in Figure 3-5, can be divided into a square and a smaller Golden Rectangle, as shown in Figure 3-6. This process then theoretically can be continued to infinity. The resulting squares we have drawn, which appear to be whirling inward, are marked A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Figure 3-6 Figure 3-7 The dotted lines, which are themselves in golden proportion to each other, diagonally bisect the rectangles and pinpoint the theoretical center of the whirling squares. From near this central point, we can draw the spiral as shown in Figure 3-7 by connecting the points of intersection for each whirling square, in order of increasing size. As the squares whirl inward and outward, their connecting points trace out a Golden Spiral. The same process, but using a sequence of whirling triangles, also can be used to construct a Golden Spiral. At any point in the evolution of the Golden Spiral, the ratio of the length of the arc to its diameter is 1.618. The diameter and radius, in turn, are related by 1.618 to the diameter and radius 90° away, as illustrated in Figure 3-8. Figure 3-8 The Golden Spiral, which is a type of logarithmic or equiangular spiral, has no boundaries and is a constant shape. From any point on the spiral, one can travel infinitely in either the outward or inward direction. The center is never met, and the outward reach is unlimited. The core of a logarithmic spiral seen through a microscope would have the same look as its widest viewable reach from light years away. As David Bergamini, writing for Mathematics (in Time-Life Books' Science Library series) points out, the tail of a comet curves away from the sun in a logarithmic spiral. The epeira spider spins its web into a logarithmic spiral. Bacteria grow at an accelerating rate that can be plotted along a logarithmic spiral. Meteorites, when they rupture the surface of the Earth, cause depressions that correspond to a logarithmic spiral. Pine cones, sea horses, snail shells, mollusk shells, ocean waves, ferns, animal horns and the arrange- ment of seed curves on sunflowers and daisies all form logarithmic spirals. Hurricane clouds and the galaxies of outer space swirl in logarithmic spirals. Even the human finger, which is composed of three bones in Golden Section to one another, takes the spiral shape of the dying poinsettia leaf when curled. In Figure 3-9, we see a reflection of this cosmic influence in numerous forms. Eons of time and light years of space separate the pine cone and the spiraling galaxy, but the design is the same: a 1.618 ratio, perhaps the primary law governing dynamic natural phenomena. Thus, the Golden Spiral spreads before us in symbolic form as one of nature's grand designs, the image of life in endless expansion and contraction, a static law governing a dynamic process, the within and the without sustained by the 1.618 ratio, the Golden Mean. Figure 3-9a Figure 3-9b Figure 3-9c Figure 3-9d Figure 3-9e Figure 3-9f
Lesson 7: Wave Personality The idea of wave personality is a substantial expansion of the Wave Principle. It has the advantages of bringing human behavior more personally into the equation and even more important, of enhancing the utility of standard technical analysis. The personality of each wave in the Elliott sequence is an integral part of the reflection of the mass psychology it embodies. The progression of mass emotions from pessimism to optimism and back again tends to follow a similar path each time around, producing similar circumstances at corresponding points in the wave structure. The personality of each wave type is usually manifest whether the wave is of Grand Supercycle degree or Subminuette. These properties not only forewarn the analyst about what to expect in the next sequence but at times can help determine one's present location in the progression of waves, when for other reasons the count is unclear or open to differing interpretations. As waves are in the process of unfolding, there are times when several different wave counts are perfectly admissible under all known Elliott rules. It is at these junctures that a knowledge of wave personality can be invaluable. If the analyst recognizes the character of a single wave, he can often correctly interpret the complexities of the larger pattern. The following discussions relate to an underlying bull market picture, as illustrated in Figures 2-14 and 2-15. These observations apply in reverse when the actionary waves are downward and the reactionary waves are upward. Figure 2-14 Wave Personality 1) First waves — As a rough estimate, about half of first waves are part of the "basing" process and thus tend to be heavily corrected by wave two. In contrast to the bear market rallies within the previous decline, however, this first wave rise is technically more constructive, often displaying a subtle increase in volume and breadth. Plenty of short selling is in evidence as the majority has finally become convinced that the overall trend is down. Investors have finally gotten "one more rally to sell on," and they take advantage of it. The other fifty percent of first waves rise from either large bases formed by the previous correction, as in 1949, from downside failures, as in 1962, or from extreme compression, as in both 1962 and 1974. From such beginnings, first waves are dynamic and only moderately retraced. 2) Second waves — Second waves often retrace so much of wave one that most of the advancement up to that time is eroded away by the time it ends. This is especially true of call option purchases, as premiums sink drastically in the environment of fear during second waves. At this point, investors are thoroughly convinced that the bear market is back to stay. Second waves often produce downside non-confirmations and Dow Theory "buy spots," when low volume and volatility indicate a drying up of selling pressure. 3) Third waves — Third waves are wonders to behold. They are strong and broad, and the trend at this point is unmistakable. Increasingly favorable fundamentals enter the picture as confidence returns. Third waves usually generate the greatest volume and price movement and are most often the extended wave in a series. It follows, of course, that the third wave of a third wave, and so on, will be the most volatile point of strength in any wave sequence. Such points invariably produce breakouts, "continuation" gaps, volume expansions, exceptional breadth, major Dow Theory trend confirmations and runaway price movement, creating large hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly gains in the market, depending on the degree of the wave. Virtually all stocks participate in third waves. Besides the personality of "B" waves, that of third waves produces the most valuable clues to the wave count as it unfolds. 4) Fourth waves — Fourth waves are predictable in both depth (see Lesson 11) and form, because by alternation they should differ from the previous second wave of the same degree. More often than not they trend sideways, building the base for the final fifth wave move. Lagging stocks build their tops and begin declining during this wave, since only the strength of a third wave was able to generate any motion in them in the first place. This initial deterioration in the market sets the stage for non-confirmations and subtle signs of weakness during the fifth wave. 5) Fifth waves — Fifth waves in stocks are always less dynamic than third waves in terms of breadth. They usually display a slower maximum speed of price change as well, although if a fifth wave is an extension, speed of price change in the third of the fifth can exceed that of the third wave. Similarly, while it is common for volume to increase through successive impulse waves at Cycle degree or larger, it usually happens below Primary degree only if the fifth wave extends. Otherwise, look for lesser volume as a rule in a fifth wave as opposed to the third. Market dabblers sometimes call for "blowoffs" at the end of long trends, but the stock market has no history of reaching maximum acceleration at a peak. Even if a fifth wave extends, the fifth of the fifth will lack the dynamism of what preceded it. During fifth advancing waves, optimism runs extremely high, despite a narrowing of breadth. Nevertheless, market action does improve relative to prior corrective wave rallies. For example, the year-end rally in 1976 was unexciting in the Dow, but it was nevertheless a motive wave as opposed to the preceding corrective wave advances in April, July and September, which, by contrast, had even less influence on the secondary indexes and the cumulative advance-decline line. As a monument to the optimism that fifth waves can produce, the market forecasting services polled two weeks after the conclusion of that rally turned in the lowest percentage of "bears," 4.5%, in the history of the recorded figures despite that fifth wave's failure to make a new high! Ideal Wave Personality Figure 2-15 6) "A" waves — During "A" waves of bear markets, the investment world is generally convinced that this reaction is just a pullback pursuant to the next leg of advance. The public surges to the buy side despite the first really technically damaging cracks in individual stock patterns. The "A" wave sets the tone for the "B" wave to follow. A five-wave A indicates a zigzag for wave B, while a three-wave A indicates a flat or triangle. 7) "B" waves — "B" waves are phonies. They are sucker plays, bull traps, speculators' paradise, orgies of odd-lotter mentality or expressions of dumb institutional complacency (or both). They often involve a focus on a narrow list of stocks, are often "unconfirmed" (Dow Theory is covered in Lesson 28) by other averages, are rarely technically strong, and are virtually always doomed to complete retracement by wave C. If the analyst can easily say to himself, "There is something wrong with this market," chances are it's a "B" wave. "X" waves and "D" waves in expanding triangles, both of which are corrective wave advances, have the same characteristics. Several examples will suffice to illustrate the point. — The upward correction of 1930 was wave B within the 1929-1932 A-B-C zigzag decline. Robert Rhea describes the emotional climate well in his opus, The Story of the Averages (1934): ...many observers took it to be a bull market signal. I can remember having shorted stocks early in December, 1929, after having completed a satisfactory short position in October. When the slow but steady advance of January and February carried above [the previous high], I became panicky and covered at considerable loss. ...I forgot that the rally might normally be expected to retrace possibly 66 percent or more of the 1929 downswing. Nearly everyone was proclaiming a new bull market. Services were extremely bullish, and the upside volume was running higher than at the peak in 1929. — The 1961-1962 rise was wave (b) in an (a)-(b)-© expanded flat correction. At the top in early 1962, stocks were selling at unheard of price/earnings multiples that had not been seen up to that time and have not been seen since. Cumulative breadth had already peaked along with the top of the third wave in 1959. — The rise from 1966 to 1968 was wave * in a corrective pattern of Cycle degree. Emotionalism had gripped the public and "cheapies" were skyrocketing in the speculative fever, unlike the orderly and usually fundamentally justifiable participation of the secondaries within first and third waves. The Dow Industrials struggled unconvincingly higher throughout the advance and finally refused to confirm the phenomenal new highs in the secondary indexes. — In 1977, the Dow Jones Transportation Average climbed to new highs in a "B" wave, miserably unconfirmed by the Industrials. Airlines and truckers were sluggish. Only the coal-carrying rails were participating as part of the energy play. Thus, breadth within the index was conspicuously lacking, confirming again that good breadth is generally a property of impulse waves, not corrections. As a general observation, "B" waves of Intermediate degree and lower usually show a diminution of volume, while "B" waves of Primary degree and greater can display volume heavier than that which accompanied the preceding bull market, usually indicating wide public participation. 8) "C" waves — Declining "C" waves are usually devastating in their destruction. They are third waves and have most of the properties of third waves. It is during this decline that there is virtually no place to hide except cash. The illusions held throughout waves A and B tend to evaporate and fear takes over. "C" waves are persistent and broad. 1930-1932 was a "C" wave. 1962 was a "C" wave. 1969-1970 and 1973-1974 can be classified as "C" waves. Advancing "C" waves within upward corrections in larger bear markets are just as dynamic and can be mistaken for the start of a new upswing, especially since they unfold in five waves. The October 1973 rally (see Figure 1-37), for instance, was a "C" wave in an inverted expanded flat correction. 9) "D" waves — "D" waves in all but expanding triangles are often accompanied by increased volume. This is true probably because "D" waves in non-expanding triangles are hybrids, part corrective, yet having some characteristics of first waves since they follow "C" waves and are not fully retraced. "D" waves, being advances within corrective waves, are as phony as "B" waves. The rise from 1970 to 1973 was wave [D] within the large wave IV of Cycle degree. The "one-decision" complacency that characterized the attitude of the average institutional fund manager at the time is well documented. The area of participation again was narrow, this time the "nifty fifty" growth and glamour issues. Breadth, as well as the Transportation Average, topped early, in 1972, and refused to confirm the extremely high multiples bestowed upon the favorite fifty. Washington was inflating at full steam to sustain the illusory prosperity during the entire advance in preparation for the election. As with the preceding wave , "phony" was an apt description. 10) "E" waves — "E" waves in triangles appear to most market observers to be the dramatic kickoff of a new downtrend after a top has been built. They almost always are accompanied by strongly supportive news. That, in conjunction with the tendency of "E" waves to stage a false breakdown through the triangle boundary line, intensifies the bearish conviction of market participants at precisely the time that they should be preparing for a substantial move in the opposite direction. Thus, "E" waves, being ending waves, are attended by a psychology as emotional as that of fifth waves. Wave Tendencies Because the tendencies discussed here are not inevitable, they are stated not as rules, but as guidelines. Their lack of inevitability nevertheless detracts little from their utility. For example, take a look at Figure 2-16, an hourly chart showing the first four Minor waves in the DJIA rally off the March 1, 1978 low. The waves are textbook Elliott from beginning to end, from the length of waves to the volume pattern (not shown) to the trend channels to the guideline of equality to the retracement by the "a" wave following the extension to the expected low for the fourth wave to the perfect internal counts to alternation to the Fibonacci time sequences to the Fibonacci ratio relationships embodied within. It might be worth noting that 914 would be a reasonable target in that it would mark a .618 retracement of the 1976-1978 decline. Figure 2-16 There are exceptions to guidelines, but without those, market analysis would be a science of exactitude, not one of probability. Nevertheless, with a thorough knowledge of the guide lines of wave structure, you can be quite confident of your wave count. In effect, you can use the market action to confirm the wave count as well as use the wave count to predict market action. Notice also that Elliott Wave guidelines cover most aspects of traditional technical analysis, such as market momentum and investor sentiment. The result is that traditional technical analysis now has a greatly increased value in that it serves to aid the identification of the market's exact position in the Elliott Wave structure. To that end, using such tools is by all means encouraged. Learning the Basics With a knowledge of the tools in Lessons 1 through 15, any dedicated student can perform expert Elliott Wave analysis. People who neglect to study the subject thoroughly or to apply the tools rigorously have given up before really trying. The best learning procedure is to keep an hourly chart and try to fit all the wiggles into Elliott Wave patterns, while keeping an open mind for all the possibilities. Slowly the scales should drop from your eyes, and you will continually be amazed at what you see. It is important to remember that while investment tactics always must go with the most valid wave count, knowledge of alternative possibilities can be extremely helpful in adjusting to unexpected events, putting them immediately into perspective, and adapting to the changing market framework. While the rigidities of the rules of wave formation are of great value in choosing entry and exit points, the flexibilities in the admissible patterns eliminate cries that whatever the market is doing now is "impossible." "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Thus eloquently spoke Sherlock Holmes to his constant companion, Dr. Watson, in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four. This one sentence is a capsule summary of what one needs to know to be successful with Elliott. The best approach is deductive reasoning. By knowing what Elliott rules will not allow, one can deduce that whatever remains must be the most likely course for the market. Applying all the rules of extensions, alternation, overlapping, channeling, volume and the rest, the analyst has a much more formidable arsenal than one might imagine at first glance. Unfortunately for many, the approach requires thought and work and rarely provides a mechanical signal. However, this kind of thinking, basically an elimination process, squeezes the best out of what Elliott has to offer and besides, it's fun! As an example of such deductive reasoning, take another look at Figure 1-14, reproduced below: Figure 1-14 Cover up the price action from November 17, 1976 forward. Without the wave labels and boundary lines, the market would appear as formless. But with the Wave Principle as a guide, the meaning of the structures becomes clear. Now ask yourself, how would you go about predicting the next movement? Here is Robert Prechter's analysis from that date, from a personal letter to A.J. Frost, summarizing a report he issued for Merrill Lynch the previous day: Enclosed you will find my current opinion outlined on a recent Trendline chart, although I use only hourly point charts to arrive at these conclusions. My argument is that the third Primary wave, begun in October of 1975, has not completed its course as yet, and that the fifth Intermediate wave of that Primary is now underway. First and most important, I am convinced that October 1975 to March 1976 was so far a three-wave affair, not a five, and that only the possibility of a failure on May 11th could complete that wave as a five. However, the construction following that possible "failure" does not satisfy me as correct, since the first downleg to 956.45 would be of five waves and the entire ensuing construction is obviously a flat. Therefore, I think that we have been in a fourth corrective wave since March 24th. This corrective wave satisfies completely the requirements for an expanding triangle formation, which of course can only be a fourth wave. The trendlines concerned are uncannily accurate, as is the downside objective, obtained by multiplying the first important length of decline (March 24th to June 7th, 55.51 points) by 1.618 to obtain 89.82 points. 89.82 points from the orthodox high of the third Intermediate wave at 1011.96 gives a downside target of 922, which was hit last week (actual hourly low 920.62) on November 11th. This would suggest now a fifth Intermediate back to new highs, completing the third Primary wave. The only problem I can see with this interpretation is that Elliott suggests that fourth wave declines usually hold above the previous fourth wave decline of lesser degree, in this case 950.57 on February 17th, which of course has been broken on the downside. I have found, however, that this rule is not steadfast. The reverse symmetrical triangle formation should be followed by a rally only approximating the width of the widest part of the triangle. Such a rally would suggest 1020-1030 and fall far short of the trendline target of 1090-1100. Also, within third waves, the first and fifth subwaves tend toward equality in time and magnitude. Since the first wave (Oct. 75-Dec.75) was a 10% move in two months, this fifth should cover about 100 points (1020-1030) and peak in January 1977, again short of the trendline mark. Now uncover the rest of the chart to see how all these guidelines helped in assessing the market's likely path. Christopher Morley once said, "Dancing is a wonderful training for girls. It is the first way they learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it." In the same way, the Wave Principle trains the analyst to discern what the market is likely to do before it does it. After you have acquired an Elliott "touch," it will be forever with you, just as a child who learns to ride a bicycle never forgets. At that point, catching a turn becomes a fairly common experience and not really too difficult. Most important, in giving you a feeling of confidence as to where you are in the progress of the market, a knowledge of Elliott can prepare you psychologically for the inevitable fluctuating nature of price movement and free you from sharing the widely practiced analytical error of forever projecting today's trends linearly into the future. Practical Application The Wave Principle is unparalleled in providing an overall perspective on the position of the market most of the time. Most important to individuals, portfolio managers and investment corporations is that the Wave Principle often indicates in advance the relative magnitude of the next period of market progress or regress. Living in harmony with those trends can make the difference between success and failure in financial affairs. Despite the fact that many analysts do not treat it as such, the Wave Principle is by all means an objective study, or as Collins put it, "a disciplined form of technical analysis." Bolton used to say that one of the hardest things he had to learn was to believe what he saw. If the analyst does not believe what he sees, he is likely to read into his analysis what he thinks should be there for some other reason. At this point, his count becomes subjective. Subjective analysis is dangerous and destroys the value of any market approach. What the Wave Principle provides is an objective means of assessing the relative probabilities of possible future paths for the market. At any time, two or more valid wave interpretations are usually acceptable by the rules of the Wave Principle. The rules are highly specific and keep the number of valid alternatives to a minimum. Among the valid alternatives, the analyst will generally regard as preferred the interpretation that satisfies the largest number of guidelines, and so on. As a result, competent analysts applying the rules and guidelines of the Wave Principle objectively should usually agree on the order of probabilities for various possible outcomes at any particular time. That order can usually be stated with certainty. Let no one assume, however, that certainty about the order of probabilities is the same as certainty about one specific outcome. Under only the rarest of circumstances does the analyst ever know exactly what the market is going to do. One must understand and accept that even an approach that can identify high odds for a fairly specific outcome will be wrong some of the time. Of course, such a result is a far better performance than any other approach to market forecasting provides. Using Elliott, it is often possible to make money even when you are in error. For instance, after a minor low that you erroneously consider of major importance, you may recognize at a higher level that the market is vulnerable again to new lows. A clear-cut three-wave rally following the minor low rather than the necessary five gives the signal, since a three-wave rally is the sign of an upward correction. Thus, what happens after the turning point often helps confirm or refute the assumed status of the low or high, well in advance of danger. Even if the market allows no such graceful exit, the Wave Principle still offers exceptional value. Most other approaches to market analysis, whether fundamental, technical or cyclical, have no good way of forcing a change of opinion if you are wrong. The Wave Principle, in contrast, provides a built-in objective method for changing your mind. Since Elliott Wave analysis is based upon price patterns, a pattern identified as having been completed is either over or it isn't. If the market changes direction, the analyst has caught the turn. If the market moves beyond what the apparently completed pattern allows, the conclusion is wrong, and any funds at risk can be reclaimed immediately. Investors using the Wave Principle can prepare themselves psychologically for such outcomes through the continual updating of the second best interpretation, sometimes called the "alternate count." Because applying the Wave Principle is an exercise in probability, the ongoing maintenance of alternative wave counts is an essential part of investing with it. In the event that the market violates the expected scenario, the alternate count immediately becomes the investor's new preferred count. If you're thrown by your horse, it's useful to land right atop another. Of course, there are often times when, despite a rigorous analysis, the question may arise as to how a developing move is to be counted, or perhaps classified as to degree. When there is no clearly preferred interpretation, the analyst must wait until the count resolves itself, in other words, to "sweep it under the rug until the air clears," as Bolton suggested. Almost always, subsequent moves will clarify the status of previous waves by revealing their position in the pattern of the next higher degree. When subsequent waves clarify the picture, the probability that a turning point is at hand can suddenly and excitingly rise to nearly 100%. Practical Application The ability to identify junctures is remarkable enough, but the Wave Principle is the only method of analysis which also provides guidelines for forecasting, as outlined in Lessons 10 through 15 and 20 through 25 of this course. Many of these guidelines are specific and can occasionally yield results of stunning precision. If indeed markets are patterned, and if those patterns have a recognizable geometry, then regardless of the variations allowed, certain price and time relationships are likely to recur. In fact, real world experience shows that they do. It is our practice to try to determine in advance where the next move will likely take the market. One advantage of setting a target is that it gives a sort of backdrop against which to monitor the market's actual path. This way, you are alerted quickly when something is wrong and can shift your interpretation to a more appropriate one if the market does not do what is expected. If you then learn the reasons for your mistakes, the market will be less likely to mislead you in the future. Still, no matter what your convictions, it pays never to take your eye off what is happening in the wave structure in real time. Although prediction of target levels well in advance can be done surprisingly often, such predictions are not required in order to make money in the stock market. Ultimately, the market is the message, and a change in behavior can dictate a change in outlook. All one really needs to know at the time is whether to be bullish, bearish or neutral, a decision that can sometimes be made with a swift glance at a chart. Of the many approaches to stock market analysis, the Elliott Wave Principle, in our view, offers the best tool for identifying market turns as they are approached. If you keep an hourly chart, the fifth of the fifth of the fifth in a primary trend alerts you within hours of a major change in direction by the market. It is a thrilling experience to pinpoint a turn, and the Wave Principle is the only approach that can occasionally provide the opportunity to do so. Elliott may not be the perfect formulation since the stock market is part of life and no formula can enclose it or express it completely. However, the Wave Principle is without a doubt the single most comprehensive approach to market analysis and, viewed in its proper light, delivers everything it promises.
Lesson 6: Channeling Wave Equality One of the guidelines of the Wave Principle is that two of the motive waves in a five-wave sequence will tend toward equality in time and magnitude. This is generally true of the two non-extended waves when one wave is an extension, and it is especially true if the third wave is the extension. If perfect equality is lacking, a .618 multiple is the next likely relationship (the use of ratios is covered in Lessons 16-25). When waves are larger than Intermediate degree, the price relationships usually must be stated in percentage terms. Thus, within the entire extended Cycle wave advance from 1942 to 1966, we find that Primary wave  traveled 120 points, a gain of 129%, in 49 months, while Primary wave  traveled 438 points, a gain of 80% (.618 times the 129% gain), in 40 months (see Figure 5-3), far different from the 324% gain of the third Primary wave, which lasted 126 months. When the waves are of Intermediate degree or less, the price equality can usually be stated in arithmetic terms, since the percentage lengths will also be nearly equivalent. Thus, in the year-end rally of 1976, we find that wave 1 traveled 35.24 points in 47 market hours while wave 5 traveled 34.40 points in 47 market hours. The guideline of equality is often extremely accurate. Charting the Waves A. Hamilton Bolton always kept an "hourly close" chart, i.e., one showing the end-of-hour prices, as do the authors. Elliott himself certainly followed the same practice, since in The Wave Principle he presents an hourly chart of stock prices from February 23 to March 31, 1938. Every Elliott Wave practitioner, or anyone interested in the Wave Principle, will find it instructive and useful to plot the hourly fluctuations of the DJIA, which are published by The Wall Street Journal and Barron's. It is a simple task that requires only a few minutes' work a week. Bar charts are fine but can be misleading by revealing fluctuations that occur near the time changes for each bar but not those that occur within the time for the bar. Actual print figures must be used on all plots. The so-called "opening" and "theoretical intraday" figures published for the Dow averages are statistical inventions that do not reflect the averages at any particular moment. Respectively, these figures represent a sum of the opening prices, which can occur at different times, and of the daily highs or lows of each individual stock in the average regardless of the time of day each extreme occurs. The foremost aim of wave classification is to determine where prices are in the stock market's progression. This exercise is easy as long as the wave counts are clear, as in fast-moving, emotional markets, particularly in impulse waves, when minor movements generally unfold in an uncomplicated manner. In these cases, short term charting is necessary to view all subdivisions. However, in lethargic or choppy markets, particularly in corrections, wave structures are more likely to be complex and slow to develop. In these cases, longer term charts often effectively condense the action into a form that clarifies the pattern in progress. With a proper reading of the Wave Principle, there are times when sideways trends can be forecasted (for instance, for a fourth wave when wave two is a zigzag). Even when anticipated, though, complexity and lethargy are two of the most frustrating occurrences for the analyst. Nevertheless, they are part of the reality of the market and must be taken into account. The authors highly recommend that during such periods you take some time off from the market to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. You can't "wish" the market into action; it isn't listening. When the market rests, do the same. The correct method for tracking the stock market is to use semilogarithmic chart paper, since the market's history is sensibly related only on a percentage basis. The investor is concerned with percentage gain or loss, not the number of points traveled in a market average. For instance, ten points in the DJIA in 1980 meant nothing, a one percent move. In the early 1920s, ten points meant a ten percent move, quite a bit more important. For ease of charting, however, we suggest using semilog scale only for long term plots, where the difference is especially noticeable. Arithmetic scale is quite acceptable for tracking hourly waves since a 300 point rally with the DJIA at 5000 is not much different in percentage terms from a 300 point rally with the DJIA at 6000. Thus, channeling techniques work acceptably well on arithmetic scale with shorter term moves. Channeling Technique Elliott noted that parallel trend channels typically mark the upper and lower boundaries of impulse waves, often with dramatic precision. The analyst should draw them in advance to assist in determining wave targets and provide clues to the future development of trends. The initial channeling technique for an impulse requires at least three reference points. When wave three ends, connect the points labeled "1" and "3," then draw a parallel line touching the point labeled "2," as shown in Figure 2-8. This construction provides an estimated boundary for wave four. (In most cases, third waves travel far enough that the starting point is excluded from the final channel's touch points.) Figure 2-8 If the fourth wave ends at a point not touching the parallel, you must reconstruct the channel in order to estimate the boundary for wave five. First connect the ends of waves two and four. If waves one and three are normal, the upper parallel most accurately forecasts the end of wave five when drawn touching the peak of wave three, as in Figure 2-9. If wave three is abnormally strong, almost vertical, then a parallel drawn from its top may be too high. Experience has shown that a parallel to the baseline that touches the top of wave one is then more useful, as in the illustration of the rise in the price of gold bullion from August 1976 to March 1977 (see Figure 6-12). In some cases, it may be useful to draw both potential upper boundary lines to alert you to be especially attentive to the wave count and volume characteristics at those levels and then take appropriate action as the wave count warrants. Figure 2-9 Figure 6-12 Throw-over Within parallel channels and the converging lines of diagonal triangles, if a fifth wave approaches its upper trendline on declining volume, it is an indication that the end of the wave will meet or fall short of it. If volume is heavy as the fifth wave approaches its upper trendline, it indicates a possible penetration of the upper line, which Elliott called "throw-over." Near the point of throw-over, a fourth wave of small degree may trend sideways immediately below the parallel, allowing the fifth then to break it in a final gust of volume. Throw-overs are occasionally telegraphed by a preceding "throw-under," either by wave 4 or by wave two of 5, as suggested by the drawing shown as Figure 2-10, from Elliott's book, The Wave Principle. They are confirmed by an immediate reversal back below the line. Throw-overs also occur, with the same characteristics, in declining markets. Elliott correctly warned that throw-overs at large degrees cause difficulty in identifying the waves of smaller degree during the throw-over, as smaller degree channels are sometimes penetrated on the upside by the final fifth wave. Examples of throw-overs shown earlier in this course can be found in Figures 1-17 and 1-19. Figure 2-10 More Guidelines Scale The larger the degree, the more necessary a semilog scale usually becomes. On the other hand, the virtually perfect channels that were formed by the 1921-1929 market on semilog scale (see Figure 2-11) and the 1932-1937 market on arithmetic scale (see Figure 2-12) indicate that waves of the same degree will form the correct Elliott trend channel only when plotted selectively on the appropriate scale. On arithmetic scale, the 1920s bull market accelerates beyond the upper boundary, while on semilog scale the 1930s bull market falls far short of the upper boundary. Aside from this difference in channeling, these two waves of Cycle dimension are surprisingly similar: they create nearly the same multiples in price (six times and five times respectively), they both contain extended fifth waves, and the peak of the third wave is the same percentage gain above the bottom in each case. The essential difference between the two bull markets is the shape and time length of each individual subwave. Figure 2-11 Figure 2-12 At most, we can state that the necessity for semilog scale indicates a wave that is in the process of acceleration, for whatever mass psychological reasons. Given a single price objective and a specific length of time allotted, anyone can draw a satisfactory hypothetical Elliott Wave channel from the same point of origin on both arithmetic and semilog scale by adjusting the slope of the waves to fit. Thus, the question of whether to expect a parallel channel on arithmetic or semilog scale is still unresolved as far as developing a definite tenet on the subject. If the price development at any point does not fall neatly within two parallel lines on the scale (either arithmetic or semilog) you are using, switch to the other scale in order to observe the channel in correct perspective. To stay on top of all developments, the analyst should always use both. Volume Elliott used volume as a tool for verifying wave counts and in projecting extensions. He recognized that in any bull market, volume has a natural tendency to expand and contract with the speed of price change. Late in a corrective phase, a decline in volume often indicates a decline in selling pressure. A low point in volume often coincides with a turning point in the market. In normal fifth waves below Primary degree, volume tends to be less than in third waves. If volume in an advancing fifth wave of less than Primary degree is equal to or greater than that in the third wave, an extension of the fifth is in force. While this outcome is often to be expected anyway if the first and third waves are about equal in length, it is an excellent warning of those rare times when both a third and a fifth wave are extended. At Primary degree and greater, volume tends to be higher in an advancing fifth wave merely because of the natural long term growth in the number of participants in bull markets. Elliott noted, in fact, that volume at the terminal point of a bull market above Primary degree tends to run at an all-time high. Finally, as discussed earlier, volume often spikes briefly at points of throw-over at the peak of fifth waves, whether at a trend channel line or the terminus of a diagonal triangle. (Upon occasion, such points can occur simultaneously, as when a diagonal triangle fifth wave terminates right at the upper parallel of the channel containing the price action of one larger degree.) In addition to these few valuable observations, we have expanded upon the importance of volume in various sections of this course. The "Right Look" The overall appearance of a wave must conform to the appropriate illustration. Although any five-wave sequence can be forced into a three-wave count by labeling the first three subdivisions as one wave "A" as shown in Figure 2-13, it is incorrect to do so. The Elliott system would break down if such contortions were allowed. A long wave three with the end of wave four terminating well above the top of wave one must be classified as a five-wave sequence. Since wave A in this hypothetical case is composed of three waves, wave B would be expected to drop to about the start of wave A, as in a flat correction, which it clearly does not. While the internal count of a wave is a guide to its classification, the right overall shape is, in turn, often a guide to its correct internal count. Figure 2-13 The "right look" of a wave is dictated by all the considerations we have outlined so far in the first two chapters. In our experience, we have found it extremely dangerous to allow our emotional involvement with the market to let us accept wave counts that reflect disproportionate wave relationships or misshapen patterns merely on the basis that the Wave Principle's patterns are somewhat elastic.