Breakaway Gaps Definition And Trading Strategy

Breakaway Gaps: Definition And Trading Strategy Example

In technical analysis, a breakaway gap is a significant price jump through support or resistance levels, indicating the potential start of a new trend.

Are you wondering what a breakaway gap is in the stock market and how to identify one? A breakaway gap is a move that traders pay close attention to for its strength and implications on market direction. This article will guide you through understanding breakaway gaps, how to spot them, and their importance in your trading approach, laying the foundation for detailed strategies and considerations in the following sections.

Furthermore, we’ll give you statistics, numbers, data, performance metrics, and facts, which we did by backtesting. Hopefully, you will get more knowledge than from other websites’ traditional anecdotal and boring descriptions.

Key Takeaways

  • A breakaway gap is a significant price movement through a stock’s support or resistance level, often signaling the start of a new trend and accompanied by high volume which reflects strong market conviction.
  • Breakaway gaps differ from other gaps in that they are less likely to be filled due to their association with a strong shift in market sentiment, fundamental company changes, or significant news events.
  • When trading breakaway gaps, high volume is a key confirmation of trend continuation, and risk management strategies include using stop-loss orders and monitoring for pullbacks and continuation patterns.
  • We provide historical evidence, statistics, data-driven numbers, facts, and performance via backtesting.
Breakaway Gaps Definition And Trading Strategy

What is a breakaway gap in Technical Analysis?

A breakaway gap in technical analysis is when the price of an asset suddenly breaks away from a previous trading range, typically signaling a significant shift in market sentiment and potential continuation of the current trend. In technical analysis, breakaway gaps are identified by a significant leap in stock prices through established support or resistance levels on the chart, without any trades occurring within that price gap.

Such gaps usually manifest when the security’s price jumps over resistance or drops below support and are frequently associated with trading range breaks or trend reversals indicated on a chart pattern.

Below is a visual example of a breakaway gap:

Breakaway gap example
Breakaway gap example

It opens above yesterday’s high and never trades below yesterday’s high. The gap was accompanied by increased volume, normally because a positive event triggered interest and made it gap higher. You need to backtest to find out how important the increased volume is.

These types of gaps stand apart from other varieties like runaway gaps, exhaustion gaps, and common gaps due to their association with initiating trends and breaking out of chart patterns.

When breakaway gaps occur alongside high trading volume, it underscores strong market consensus about the move’s directionality, which often predicts sustained continuation of the trend. Catalysts such as major news announcements from corporations or earnings reports can precipitate these gaps and underscore their influence on maintaining momentum in line with the gap’s direction.

Do breakaway gaps get filled?

Yes, breakaway gaps do tend to get filled. However, the presumption that gaps will inevitably be filled does not always hold true, especially in the case of breakaway gaps. However, you need to backtest to find the gap-fill rate. The statistics and numbers vary from market to market. For example, a breakaway gap is more likely to be filled in a stock index than in the commodity market. Also, single stocks are less likely to get filled than broad stock indices.

These particular types of gaps are a harbinger of an emerging trend and often remain unfilled since they represent a significant shift in sentiment among investors. Distinguished from common gaps, which are typically quickly closed, breakaway gaps usually coincide with a substantial increase in trading volume as evidence of a decisive move beyond an established chart pattern or trading range.

Significant news events or revelations can lead to breakaway gaps by altering investor perspectives on the worth of an asset drastically enough to support a prolonged movement in price rather than merely causing short-lived volatility that is soon corrected.

The emergence of such gaps frequently happens alongside robust movements breaching levels previously thought to be firm support or resistance barriers – this underscores confidence in the directionality of this new trend, making it unlikely for these breaks to revert into previous ranges. A notable surge above normal trading volume accompanying these gaps strengthens their validity and suggests continuation instead of closing out said gap.

An example of a breakaway gap in a price chart

How do you identify a breakaway gap?

You identify a breakaway gap by observing a significant price movement that creates a gap on a chart, usually accompanied by high trading volume.

To detect a breakaway gap, one should look for an abrupt movement in price that leaps beyond established support or resistance levels rather than breaking these barriers during the usual trading activity.

When pinpointing a breakaway gap, it’s important to note if the price has surged past resistance or plummeted beneath support – this typically happens adjacent to chart patterns such as trading ranges, triangles, or head and shoulders formations.

When high volume accompanies a breakaway gap—volume noticeably exceeding the average—it denotes firm market conviction about the direction of the trend and heightens expectations for its persistence.

Such gaps are frequently triggered by pivotal events like earnings reports or other critical company-specific developments that rapidly alter investor attitudes. Verifying a break afterward often requires corroboration from additional technical analysis tools, including moving averages, oscillators, or indicators related to volume, which confirm and bolster the relevance of the observed gap on the chart.

We recommend to backtest. You do that by quantifying trading rules to scrutinize the trading strategy in a trading platform like Amibroker, Tradestation, TradingView, etc. Let’s show you how this can be done:

Breakaway gap trading strategy – rules and performance

Let’s first look at the theory behind a breakaway gap:

For an effective trading strategy approach utilizing breakaway gaps, it is essential to evaluate the gap’s caliber, determine appropriate entry and exit positions, and employ sound risk management tactics.

When judging a breakaway gap’s quality for trading purposes, one should look for signs of low volume during the consolidation period followed by high volume during the breakout gap. The likelihood that a breakaway gap will offer fruitful trading opportunities increases if it aligns with the prevailing market trend prior to entering into consolidation.

In terms of initiating positions when dealing with a breakaway gap strategy, options include purchasing after an encouraging earnings announcement in anticipation of an upward price gapping on subsequent trade days or getting involved early in highly traded stocks at onset movements to take advantage of strong fills and enduring trends.

Considering where prices closed on prior days is also crucial when determining these starting points. Conversely, considering exit strategies may lead one to sell once prices touch back down to former support levels post-gap closure or opt-out quickly upon same-day filling—a tactic referred to as fading.

When engaging with investments associated with breakaway gaps, there are risks, such as potential delays in fillings, which need mindful consideration. To counter such uncertainties, investors can apply precise exiting methods like using trailing stop losses or setting target projections drawing from chart pattern dimensions. Alternatively, waiting for Continuation gaps could serve as markers for locking in profits targets.

As you can see, the theory is pretty detailed. However, formulating all the rules into something quantifiable is no easy task. Breakaway gaps are not frequent, so the number of observations is limited, regardless of the index you are looking at. If you study single stocks, you get many more breakaway gaps.

Let’s use the following trading rules to make a trading strategy that we can backtest:

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When we employ this trading rule on GLD, the ETF that tracks the gold price, and we use a time stop of N-trading days (1 to 10 days), we get the following table since its inception until today:

Breakaway gap performance
Breakaway gap performance

The results show pretty random results. We tried other assets like stocks and bonds, but the results were not inspiring. For example, the stock market is very mean reverting, and thus, it’s difficult to make money on breakaway gaps.

Let’s add another trading rule:

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When we added the second rule the results were even worse:

Breakaway gap trading rules
Breakaway gap trading rules

Let’s add a third rule to our trading strategy:

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When we backtest all those 3 trading rules, we get the following table:

How to trade breakaway gap
How to trade breakaway gap

The number of trades goes down, but the average gain improves. If we exit after five trading days, we get the following equity curve for GLD since its inception:

Breakaway gap trading strategy
Breakaway gap trading strategy

The conclusion is this: breakaway gaps are not easy to trade.

How to trade breakaway gaps?

trade breakaway gaps

To trade breakaway gaps, monitor stocks for sudden price gaps accompanied by high volume. Before entering a trade, look for confirmation through technical indicators like momentum or trend analysis.

Participating in the trading of gaps, including breakaway gaps, requires careful analysis, precise timing, and thorough risk assessment, preferably a backtested trading strategy.

When scouting for an appropriate gap to trade on a chart pattern, it’s advisable to pinpoint one that forms above a resistance level or below a support level with high volume indicating robust backing for the direction of the gap. It’s important to bear in mind that when there is low volume associated with the gap formation, there is an increased likelihood of failure—this means that prices may not be able to maintain their new levels and could revert into their previous trading range. A breakaway gap might be a bear trap.

When deciding on market entry prompted by a breakaway gap occurrence on your chart, you have two options. Either initiate your position assertively as soon as the breakout occurs or consider entering following any potential retrace towards former price levels.

Implementing stop-loss orders might be useful for managing exposure when engaging in trades involving breakaway gaps since they serve as safeguards against possible pullbacks into formerly established ranges. Volume should also be continually scrutinized post-entry because it can offer additional confirmation. However, according to statistics we have gathered using data-driven analysis, setting an arbitrary stop loss is not very useful. Please read about the pros and cons of a stop loss.

  • Consider taking immediate action at point-of-breakout or watch out for retracement opportunities.
  • Employ stop-losses as defensive measures against adverse moves (you must backtest if it makes sense).
  • Observe ongoing volume closely after initiating trades
  • High transaction volumes during gapping signal confidence.
  • Conversely, scant volumes hint toward risks related to sustainability.

Understanding why a particular gap has appeared might help you – occurrences such as earnings announcements or significant company news amplify its impact significantly thereby adding weight behind its cause. Identifying what type of chart pattern led up to where we see these dramatic shifts—the emergence from formations like triangles patterns types will substantiate belief conviction trust assurance concerning engage interaction participation.

Comparison between a breakaway gap and an exhaustion gap

What is the difference between a breakaway gap and an exhaustion gap?

The difference between a breakaway gap and exhaustion gap is that a breakaway gap occurs at the beginning of a new trend, indicating strong momentum, while an exhaustion gap occurs near the end of a trend, signaling the weakening of momentum.

Breakaway gaps and exhaustion gaps indicate substantial shifts in a stock’s price, but they point to different phases within a trend. A gap known as an exhaustion gap emerges after several weeks of steep increase or decrease in the value of a stock, suggesting that the existing trend may be approaching its end or due for a reversal. In contrast, when a breakaway gap occurs, it heralds the emergence of a new trend.

These two types can be differentiated by their market behavior. An exhaustion gap typically shows trading activity transitioning from dominance in buying to selling, or vice versa—hinting at an imminent cessation of the current momentum. Breakaway gaps, on the other hand, signal initiation and usually do not fill back because they mark commencement rather than conclusion—they represent that start phase where prices might persist, moving along with this newly established direction for some time ahead.

What is a breakaway gap example

A Breakaway Gap Example is when a stock price sharply gaps up or down from its previous trading range, indicating a significant shift in market sentiment or investor behavior. Picture a stock market chart for Apple Inc. (AAPL), where the price exhibits a triangle pattern following a downward trend. Suddenly, it surges above this formation on substantial volume due to an earnings report, signaling an upward trajectory – this is indicative of what’s known as a breakaway gap.

Here is an example:

Breakaway gap example
Breakaway gap example

A breakaway gap is typically linked with prominent chart patterns such as triangles, wedges, cup and handle formations, rounded bottoms or tops, or even head and shoulders formations. These gaps appear in conjunction with pronounced shifts in the market landscape.

Although they can materialize at any moment within the stock market, their frequency amplifies around company-specific news like earnings disclosures. The ensuing high-volume breakout serves as validation for continued movement along the trajectory set by the initial gap – confirming investors’ strong commitment to that direction.

Is a breakaway gap fill bullish?

A breakaway gap fill is typically explained as a bullish occurrence. However, statistics show that this might not be true, as we have shown in breakaway gap trading strategies above.

When a breakaway gap takes place amid an uptrend and is accompanied by high volume, it’s often interpreted as a bullish indicator. High trading volume at the time of the gap suggests that there’s substantial market conviction backing the move. If, following this event, prices persist in moving with the trend set forth by the gap, such persistence can affirm the ongoing strength of said trend.

The positive outlook reinforced by a breakaway gap also hinges on whether or not its effects endure. Should price levels hold above-established resistance following occurring gaps, market sentiment is typically upbeat.

If markets witness what’s known as a “gap fill” where price reverts back but then continues upholding an upward trajectory—this behavior solidifies investor confidence in enduring buying pressure and thus contributes to rising prices. To a bullish stance regarding future movement.

Is a breakaway gap important?

A breakaway gap is important because it often signifies a significant change in market sentiment and can indicate the beginning of a new trend. Breakaway gaps carry substantial weight in technical analysis due to their representation of robust price movement across support or resistance levels, signaling a possible new trend. They often occur at the beginning of a trend, signaling conviction in the new trend direction, which can be a critical time for traders to take positions.

Breakaway gaps are considered quintessential breakouts in stock analysis and are regarded as vital for finding the best growth stocks to buy at the correct time. They are usually event-driven, such as a strong earnings report, and can cause a stock to leap out of a base, indicating strong buying demand and potential for significant price increases. In this context, gap analysis can help identify these breakaway gaps and other stock gaps and their potential impact on stock performance.

A stock chart showing a breakaway gap fill

What is the difference between a breakaway gap and a runaway gap?

The difference between a breakaway and a runaway gap is that breakaway gaps occur at the beginning of a new trend, signaling a potential change in market sentiment. On the other hand, runaway gaps happen in the middle of a trend, indicating a continuation of the existing market direction.

Breakaway gaps and runaway gaps signify major shifts in price, but they take place at different phases within a trend. A breakaway gap emerges when a significant leap above resistance or below support, typically marking the beginning of a new trend direction with strong market consensus. In contrast, a runaway gap arises amidst an ongoing trend where the price opens notably higher or lower than its previous closing value—this suggests that the prevailing trend will persist for several weeks to days.

They usually follow an important chart pattern breakout when looking into such phenomena as breakaway gaps. Meanwhile, runaway gaps are identified by their occurrence along with the pre-existing trend rather than breaking through substantial support or resistance barriers. Traders can spot these gaps more accurately on weekly or monthly charts.

High volume accompanying a breakaway gap signifies robust commitment and increases likelihood for persistent movement in that particular direction. Conversely, if there’s low volume, it could indicate potential failure of sustaining this change in pricing.

What is the psychology behind breakaway gaps?

The psychology behind a breakaway gap is that is signifies a scenario where traders, sometimes approaching near-panic levels, are eager to enter the market. This leads them to execute trades at significantly different prices from previous closing prices. These price leaps often manifest as breakaway gaps and are triggered by unexpected news that elicits a potent reaction in line with the ongoing trend.

Should some traders missed out on the initial surge of movement, their urgency for a pullback might compel them to join what they perceive as an enduring market trend. This action fuels momentum behind the breakaway gap. Such a gap is emblematic of strong confidence among those participating in the market because it involves marked moves through established support or resistance zones—a behavior indicating solid alignment with the emerging direction of the new trend.

Are breakaway gaps reliable indicators?

Breakaway gaps are unreliable indicators, as proven in backtests and statistics.

The psychology behind breakaway gaps lies in the sudden shift in market sentiment, where a significant number of traders rush to enter or exit positions, leading to a gap in price movement on the chart. This often indicates a strong change in market momentum and can signify the beginning of a new trend.

Breakaway gaps are considered trustworthy indicators when they occur at the end of a price pattern and indicate the beginning of a new trend. The presence of elevated trading volume alongside breakaway gaps boosts their credibility, reflecting significant investor enthusiasm for the emerging movement.

Evaluating breakaway gaps as reliable signals requires consideration of additional technical aspects like candlestick formations along with levels of support and resistance. Although these types of gaps frequently suggest a new trend is forthcoming, traders should exercise patience and look for prices to move in alignment with the gap prior to establishing positions to prevent premature excitement.

What is the risk with breakaway gaps?

The risk with breakaway gaps is that they can indicate a sudden shift in market sentiment, potentially leading to increased volatility and unpredictability in price movements.

Breakaway gaps can offer lucrative trading prospects but also carry a certain level of risk. Mistaking the type of gap may result in dire trading errors and substantial financial harm. Traders might be lured into anticipating the emergence of a new trend following a breakaway gap. If they misjudge the nature of this price void, their expectations for market direction could fail to materialize.

When engaging in trades based on breakaway gaps without employing proper stop-loss measures, there’s an increased likelihood of encountering unmanageable losses should prices shift contrary to what was predicted by traders.

While jumping into trades right after identifying a potential breakaway gap with an aggressive strategy carries more inherent danger due to possible unfavorable price movements, opting for a cautious approach that involves waiting for price retracement may lead one to miss out on potential gains should the expected trend proceed without any notable pullbacks.

A trader entering a position after a breakaway gap

What are some common mistakes in breakaway Gap Trading

Some common mistakes in breakaway gap trading include over-relying on gaps alone for trading decisions, ignoring other technical indicators, failing to consider market context and news events, and not setting appropriate stop-loss levels. Another grave mistake is not backtesting your trading idea. Backtests show that the win rate for breakaway gaps is low, thus leading to many false signals.

Understanding the intricacies of market movements and having a strategic approach is essential when trading breakaway gaps, yet traders often slip up by not adequately confirming whether a gap is actually a breakaway rather than another type like exhaustion or continuation. This mistake can result in misreading what the market is signaling.

It’s crucial to validate that high trading volume accompanies the common gap since such significant volume tends to be indicative of authentic breakaway gaps. When there’s low volume accompanying a gap, it suggests that there isn’t strong support for the price shift and hence raises the likelihood that this gap may eventually be filled.

Hastily entering into positions immediately after witnessing a gap without waiting for subsequent confirmation can expose one to unfavorable trends in case the observed space wasn’t an actual breakaway.

What role does volume play in breakaway gaps?

Volume in Breakaway Gaps serves as a confirmation indicator, indicating increased market participation and conviction behind the price movement. The presence of high volume plays a crucial role in the formation and validation of breakaway gaps.

When a gap is accompanied by an unusually large amount or significantly elevated trading volume, it signifies considerable agreement among market participants on the direction of the price move, enhancing the likelihood that this trend will persist.

A surge in trading volume at the time of a breakaway gap acts as confirmation for traders regarding the legitimacy of the breakout. It demonstrates increased involvement from players within markets who are aligning with establishing new trends. Conversely, when such gaps occur with limited participation—reflected by low volume—it casts doubt on whether this emerging trend has enough support to continue. Hence raising concerns over whether prices may revert back to their former range-bound state.


Grasping the concept of breakaway gaps might be crucial for traders seeking to leverage their trading with additional tools and strategies. This guide has thoroughly examined everything from recognizing breakayway gaps to grasping their psychological underpinnings, as well as outlining effective trading tactics and typical traps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What signals a breakaway gap?

The emergence of a breakaway gap is signaled by a substantial movement in price that cuts through either support or resistance levels, usually coupled with higher-than-normal trading volume. This suggests the possibility of an impending new trend.

Is a breakaway gap fill bullish?

A gap fill following a breakaway can indicate bullishness, especially when it occurs amidst an uptrend, and the price persists in trending along the path set by the gap.

How do you identify a breakaway gap?

A breakaway gap is identified when a significant move in price punctures through support or resistance levels, causing the price to leap over these thresholds rather than surging past them within normal trading hours.

What are some common mistakes in breakaway gap trading?

Common mistakes in breakaway gap trading include neglecting to ascertain the type of gap you’re dealing with, overlooking the need for confirmation through high volume trading, and rushing into a position without proper affirmation.

Are breakaway gaps reliable indicators?

Breakaway gaps are not reliable indicators. Backtest show that the win rate is low and thus leading to many false signals.

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