Using Fibonacci Retracements to Identify Key Support and Resistance Levels

Technical traders look for any edge they can get in the financial markets. One tool that has stood the test of time is the Fibonacci retracement. Fibonacci retracement levels help traders identify potential support and resistance levels, allowing them to better time entries and exits. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what Fibonacci retracements are, how they work, and how to use them in your own trading.

What Are Fibonacci Retracements?

Fibonacci retracements are horizontal lines that indicate potential support and resistance levels. They are static levels that do not change over time. The levels are based on Fibonacci numbers, a special sequence of numbers identified by mathematic Leonardo Fibonacci.

After a significant price movement up or down, Fibonacci retracement levels can identify where the price might find support or resistance as it pulls back. The levels indicate where traders could enter into a continuation of the original trend.

How Are Fibonacci Retracements Calculated?

Fibonacci retracements are calculated based on Fibonacci ratios of 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8% and 100%. To calculate the levels:

  1. Identify a major swing high and low on the price chart
  2. Draw a trendline between these two points
  3. Divide the vertical distance by the key Fibonacci ratios. For example, the 23.6% retracement would be 23.6% of the vertical move.
  4. Horizontal lines are drawn at these levels and used to identify support and resistance

The most widely used ratios are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8%. The 50% retracement is also significant psychologically as a mid-point level.

Fibonacci Retracement Example Chart

An example of Fibonacci retracement levels on a price chart

Why Do Fibonacci Retracements Work?

There are a few key reasons why Fibonacci retracements tend to work, even in today’s advanced markets:

  • Self-fulfilling prophecies – Traders expect certain levels to hold as support or resistance based on Fibonacci levels. Their trading activity reinforces the importance of the levels.
  • Clustering effect – Fibonacci ratios tend to cluster together around similar price levels. This clustering strengthens the potential support or resistance.
  • Trader psychology – Levels like 50% or 61.8% tend to stand out to traders. The psychological significance means traders take greater notice of these levels.

So in summary, Fibonacci retracements work due to a combination of self-fulfilling expectations, clustering, and trader psychology. The power of the self-fulfilling prophecy and crowd behavior should not be underestimated.

How to Use Fibonacci Retracements

Let’s discuss some practical ways traders use Fibonacci retracements:

  • Identify entry points – Look to enter long positions on pullbacks to support levels, or short positions at resistance levels. Use Fib levels to help time entries.
  • Confirm market bias – If the price is respecting Fib levels, it helps confirm the underlying trend bias. Ignore levels if the market is not reacting at them.
  • Define stop losses – Place stops just above/below key Fib levels. This defines your risk while allowing room for normal market volatility.
  • Spot trend reversals – If key Fib levels are broken, it may signal a reversal. For example, breaking below 0.618 support may be an early heads up on a shift in trend.
  • Forecast price targets – The 161.8% extension level can forecast potential long term price targets in strong trends.

Always maintain a risk/reward mindset when using Fibonacci levels for trading. Have a stop loss and profit target planned before entering any position.

Tips for Using Fibonacci Retracements

Here are some best practices for getting the most out of Fibonacci retracements:

  • Use retracements on longer timeframe charts like the daily or weekly charts. They carry more significance than short term timeframes.
  • Look for levels that line up with other technical indicators for confluence. For example, check if Fib levels align with moving averages.
  • Stick to the most commonly used ratios rather than obscure percentages. The 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8% have proven the test of time.
  • Expect shallow retracements in strong trends. The price may only pull back to the 38.2% before resuming.
  • Use multiple retracements on the same chart for better context. You could have one Fib from the monthly low to high, and another from the weekly swing.
  • If a key level is broken, re-draw new Fib levels based on the latest swing high and low. Levels can shift over time.
  • Combine Fib levels with candlestick patterns, volume, and other indicators for a full context trading approach.

Fibonacci Retracement vs. Extension Levels

Retracement levels calculate support and resistance. Extensions do the opposite – they project future price targets.

While Fib retracements use the 0% to 100% range, extensions begin at 100% and go to higher percentages like 161.8% and 261.8%.

Extensions can forecast upside targets and profit taking levels during strong trends. They identify areas where bulls or bears may exhaustion and the trend could shift.

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Use Fibonacci extensions in combination with retracements for a full view of support, resistance, and price targets.

Does Fibonacci Work in All Markets?

Fibonacci ratios are applicable to all liquid, freely traded markets that exhibit crowd behavior dynamics.

They can be used successfully in stocks, forex, futures, and cryptocurrency markets. Less liquid instruments like certain commodities may be less suited to Fibonacci analysis.

It’s also important to use Fibonacci alongside the trend and momentum of a particular market. For example, retracements are more relevant in trending rather than choppy sideways markets. Apply common sense when using any indicator.


Fibonacci retracements highlight high probability support and resistance zones. They help traders better time entries, place stop losses, and forecast targets. Just like any indicator, Fib levels should be combined with other analysis like price action and trends.

Key takeaways:

  • Fibonacci retracements identify potential reversal points during pullbacks.
  • Major levels are 23.6%, 38.2%, 50%, 61.8% of the prior swing.
  • Work best in trending markets and longer timeframes.
  • Combine with other indicators and technical analysis strategies.

Fibonacci remains an invaluable tool decades after it was first popularized. When used prudently, Fib retracements can improve the timing of trades and provide an edge in the markets.

“If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

- Warren Buffett

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