So I think we can all agree something along the lines of:
Fakeout is an engulf of an obvious swing high/low in order to stop out traders and induce breakout traders to trade in the wrong direction, thus generating liquidity for the move in the opposite direction.
What's not so clear is the definition of the engulf, I'd like to try to give some ideas on the purpose of the engulf and it's definition and see what others think.
An engulf is the consumption of orders at an important level, not necessarily a swing/high low but an area where we expect to see supply or demand. Taking out of the orders tells us that the supply or demand which was or should have been present is now not present and tells us the intent direction of the market. If price runs off as is often the case, this is not tradeable and is effectively just a "breakout", although breakouts are usually considered to be breaks of swing high and lows which are obvious to the average trader. For an engulf to be tradeable there must be a retrace following the engulf back in the original direction. This adds confusion as it initially resembles a fakeout. So the question is, why does price retrace after the engulf? If an engulf to the short side is a genuine engulf and not a fakeout to generate long liquidity, why does it not travel immediately south if market momentum is ultimately south.
A small pocket of demand beneath the engulfed level may make it retrace north as price moves between areas of liquidity, this pocket of demand may give price enough momentum to make it back up to the supply which broke the demand level if key market participants do not favour an immediate market drop.
Alternatively key market participants may step in and drive the market back upwards.
Price moving north back to supply after the engulf may occur or be favourable for various reasons:
1) We often talk about FO generating liquidity because of breakout trading, but an engulf can also generate liquidity from breakout traders. Short breakout traders would place their stop losses a small distance above the engulf (breakout). If key players absorb this selling or allow a demand level to push price back up, they can run price back up to supply taking out the stops of the breakout short traders and make quick profit and/or generate more liquidity for their own shorts.
2) To confuse traders, the ITs don't want the puzzle that is Forex to be easy to solve, if price never retraced after an engulf then engulfs of all levels would be FOs. Price would either break and immediately runoff or it would turn and runoff in the other direction. In order to keep people confused about whether price is faking out or breaking out, sometimes price should whipsaw by breaking out, briefly faking out and then continuing in the direction of the breakout. This whipsaw pattern is to us a tradeable engulf.
3) Market momentum may be mixed, key players are indecisive or inactive or the market is behaving erratically.
4) As previously mentioned there may be a small pocket of supply/demand just past the engulf which is causing a reaction. This could also be viewed as a FO on a different timeframe. If the market engulfs an H1 demand level, then retraces for 30 mins upwards to supply, this engulf would be a valid and very profitable FO for an M1 trader looking to get long.
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