Traders Toolbox: Fibonacci - It's all about the numbers

Fibonacci Number Series: The work in mathematics by a thirteenth century Italian has had a profound impact on modern man and has yielded a useful technical analysis tool. Born Leonardo of Piza, he is better known in the trading community as Fibonacci. Fibonacci's best known work is Liber Abaci which is generally credited as having introduced the Arabic number system which we use today.

Fibonacci introduced a number sequence in Liber Abaci which is said to be a reflection of human nature. The series is as follows:1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144 and on to infinity. The series is arrived at by adding each number to the previous. For example, 1 plus 1 equals 2; 2 plus 1 equals 3; 3 plus 2 equals 5; 5 plus 3 equals 8; 8 plus 5 equals 13; and so on.

I use the Fibonacci series in a number of ways, in terms of both time and price movement. I will briefly discuss some basic time movements.

Watch a free video on Fibonacci.

The 13-week pattern in hogs is the simplest application of finding market turns based on a Fibonacci number. Markets will often turn on a time span which is a Fibonacci count from a previous important event. For example, look at the monthly cattle chart to see several turns on or about 21 months from a previous high or low.

Time counts can be done on virtually any type of chart. The turns can be counted in terms of days, weeks, months or even years. I have found weekly counts to be the most practical and very effective.

Another powerful method is to look for areas where Fibonacci time counts from various previous lows and highs converge.

In analyzing price action, the simplest way to use Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144...) is on support and resistance levels or pivot levels. For example: 5.00 and 8.00 soy- beans, 5.50 (55) soybeans, 3.00 corn, 500 gold, 5.00 silver, 1.44 oats, 34.00 hogs, 55.00 cattle, and so on.

Lengths of moves in terms of price commonly are a Fibonacci number. The down move on the weekly crude oil chart was $22, which was followed by a $13 rally. Livestock commonly move in increments of $5, $8 or $13. Grains like to move in 8<;, 13<t! and 21d; swings. Treasury bonds and Treasury bills often move in Fibonac- ci increments in terms of both time and price.

The most common application of Fibonacci numbers is the use of ratios within the number series. Many people do not realize that the common retracement levels are derivatives of Fibonacci relationships. Fifty percent is 1 - 2, 66% is 2 - 3 and thereafter, any number in the series divided by the next results in 62 %. Also, starting with 3, any number divided by the second number following it will result in 38% (3 - 8, 5 - 13, etc.).