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Markets move against the trend of one greater degree only with a seeming struggle. Resistance from the larger trend appears to prevent a correction from developing a full impulsive structure. The struggle between the two oppositely trending degrees generally makes corrective waves less clearly identifiable than impulsive waves, which
always flow with comparative ease in the direction of the one larger trend. As another result of the conflict between trends, corrective waves are quite a bit more varied than impulsive waves.
Corrective patterns fall into four main categories:
1. Zigzags (5-3-5; includes three variations: single, double, triple);
2. Flats (3-3-5; includes three variations: regular, expanded, running);
3. Triangles (3-3-3-3-3; four types: ascending, descending, contracting, expanding);
4. Double threes and triple threes (combined structures).
A single zigzag in a bull market is a simple three-wave declining pattern labeled A-B-C and subdividing 5-3-5. The top of wave B is noticeably lower than the start of wave A, as illustrated in Figures 11 and 12.
Occasionally zigzags will occur twice, or at most, three times in succession, particularly when the first zigzag falls short of a normal target. In these cases, each zigzag is separated by an intervening "three" (labeled X), producing what is called a double zigzag (see Figure 13) or triple zigzag. The zigzags are labeled W and Y (and Z, if a triple).
A flat correction differs from a zigzag in that the subwave sequence is 3-3-5, as shown in Figures 14 and 15.
Since the first actionary wave, wave A, lacks sufficient downward force to unfold into a full five waves as it does
in a zigzag, the B wave reaction seems to inherit this lack of countertrend pressure and, not surprisingly, terminates
near the start of wave A. Wave C, in turn, generally terminates just slightly beyond the end of wave A rather than
significantly beyond as in zigzags.
Flat corrections usually retrace less of preceding impulse waves than do zigzags. They participate in periods involving
a strong larger trend and thus virtually always precede or follow extensions. The more powerful the underlying trend, the
briefer the flat tends to be. Within impulses, fourth waves frequently sport flats, while second waves rarely do.
Three types of 3-3-5 corrections have been identified by differences in their overall shape. In a regular flat correction, wave B terminates about at the level of the beginning of wave A, and wave C terminates a slight bit past the end of wave A, as we have shown in Figures 14 and 15. Far more common, however, is the variety called an expanded flat, which contains a price extreme beyond that of the preceding impulse wave. In expanded flats, wave B of the 3-3-5 pattern terminates beyond the starting level of wave A, and wave C ends more substantially beyond the ending level of wave A, as shown in Figures 16 and 17. In a rare variation on the 3-3-5 pattern, which we call a running flat, wave B terminates well beyond the beginning of wave A as in an expanded flat, but wave C fails to travel its full distance, falling short of the level at which wave A ended. There are hardly any examples of this type of correction in the price record.
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