A regression channel is a technical analysis tool that encompasses most of the price action between two given points in time.
Since the channel incorporates most of the price action, when the price nears the top or bottom of the channel, it indicates that the price may meet resistance or support.
Regression channels are not meant to forecast exact highs or lows, rather they simply notify a trader that the price has entered an area where the price has tended to reverse from in the past.
Regression channels also help with establishing profit targets. For example, if the price bounces off the bottom of a particular channel, it could rally toward the top of the channel.
Note that I only use regression channels in forex trading. I do not use it for trading stocks. They are different markets, and I have found them more useful when forex trading.
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How to Draw A Regression Channel
Like a trendline, a regression channel is drawn over an area that encompasses at least two swing lows, and/or two swing highs.
A regression channel is drawn between any two points selected. The tools will automatically calculate the line of best fit, or the path that encompasses the most price action between the two points.
I use TradingView charts.
Note that I have selected two points that cover an area where the price appears to be moving in a channel. The price is oscillating up and down rather rhythmically.
A regression channel is an optional tool. If the price action doesn’t seem to align with the regression channel, don’t try to use it! We can’t force the market to align with our indicator. It will align quite often, but if the price is not moving in a rhythmic way, then the tool may not be useful.
Below is how the channel looks once the two points are selected.
Click on the regression channel to determine how wide the channel is. I have this one set to 1.75 deviations. A larger number will widen the channel, while a smaller number will narrow the channel.
In the example above, we have drawn one regression channel over a long period of time.
But we can also use the regression tool in real-time, updating the regression channel as the price moves. For example, back in September or October of 2018 the channel would have been much smaller, based on the price action so far, but over time the oscillating price action continued and the channel could be continually extended (match the endpoint to recent price bar).
We can also draw multiple channels over smaller segments in the price. In the example below the rising price action within the larger channel has a regression channel applied to it, as well as the decline off the top of the big channel.
Once a channel is no longer relevant, delete it.
How to Use Regression Channels
I use regression channels to highlight possibly important support and resistance areas, which then may translate into possible trades.
Consider the EURUSD rise in late 2019. The EURUSD has reached the top of its short-term rising channel, and it also moved just slightly above the top of a long-term descending channel. We could call this a double resistance area, where we are at the top of two channels, one short-term and one longer-term.
The price being a bit above or below a channel line doesn’t matter. The channels are just meant to alert us to an important area (not an exact price).
This is a good area to go short, assuming you believe the long-term (big) descending channel will remain intact. In this case, you are looking for a drop back to the bottom of the channel. That drop, which played out, is highlighted by the smaller descending channel.
Regression channels may also aid in setting profit targets. A longer-term trader may target the bottom of the big channel after going short near the top. See the Price Structure Strategy for more on setting targets with these types of patterns.
A shorter-term trader may target the bottom of the rising shorter-term channel after going short, for example.
In 2021, the USDJPY had a continual series of channels that linked up. Small channels within bigger channels. And remember, you want at least two swing highs and two swing lows before you draw a channel.
What about the massive rise in the USD during the latter part of 2022. Regressions could have been useful there as well (if you don’t find it useful, then don’t use it).
Same with the EURUSD. On this chart, I also point out that sometimes it is better to draw a new regression, even during the middle of a trend, if the new channel fits the price action better. Use the tool however you need to aid your trading.
Regression Channel Considerations
The regression tool shows where most of the price action happened. It won’t capture extreme highs or lows. Its power is in showing where the price typically/historically reverses.
The channel indicates areas of interest, not exact levels.
Extending the channel out to the right highlights areas of possible future interest.
The wider the channel (increasing the deviations in the settings) the more price action the channel will encompass. This may be good for highlighting extreme areas, but you will miss lots of the reversals that don’t occur at such high/low/extreme levels (they occur inside the channel).
Regression channels can provide an overall context for how the price is moving.
Regression channels are based on two fixed points, which means they need to be updated as price action unfolds. They are still useful though, as even with updating some channels will change very little, providing tradeable areas for long periods of time.
If a channel is no longer useful or doesn’t really suit the price action, delete it.
If you are assuming a channel will continue, there will be losing trades when the channel breaks. There is nothing wrong with that. That price action is telling you a new structure/trend/channel is potentially starting. You can trade the new trend after a breakout.
Remember YOUR trading timeframe. If you are a day trader or short-term swing trader, focus on channels that last minutes, hours, days, or weeks. If you are a longer-term trader, focus on channels that last months or years.
We want the regression channel(s) to improve our analysis and ultimately our profits. If it doesn’t aid you in that regard, don’t use it. Some people find it visually appealing and it helps them in their trade selection. For others, it may not help. It is an optional tool. This is not a recommendation to use it.
The EURUSD Day Trading Course covers how to trade the forex market in 1 to 2 hours per day (can trade more if you wish), trading patterns that occur over and again in the world’s largest financial market.
By Cory Mitchell, CMT
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is personal investment advice, or advice to buy or sell anything. Trading is risky and can result in substantial losses, even more than deposited if using leverage.