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Simplifying Some Basic Auction Market Theory / Market Profile Concepts Part 3

Single Prints

Single prints are incredibly important in assessing the strength of a move. The exact definition is incredibly boring but understand what they represent certainly is not. I’ll start with boring. 

A single print simply means there was a price or range of prices that traded during only a single 30-minute period in the day. So on the TPO chart this price or range or prices would have only a single letter associated with it. I’ll add that this cannot be determined for certain until the day closes and anything that occurs within the day I call a potential single print(s). Super boring, so what?

Single prints form because of a strong mismatch in supply and demand at price. Single prints generally represent strongly ONE-SIDED (and often emotional) action. Have you ever been caught shorting a trend day all the way up? Sure, you have. We’ve all been there. Did you check if there were potential single prints developing for the day? Probably not if you’ve read this far.

Let’s take an example from March 19, 2024. There were multiple sets of single prints during this day, and it was a very large trend day up. I’ve drawn arrows pointing to the opening and closing candles. The day opened at 5205.75, traded down to 5195.25, traded as high as 5244.75 and closed at 5242.5.

Here I’ve drawn in some levels and some arrows, color coded to illustrate the different sets of single prints. 

Each set quantified here:

The 11:00 candle high was 5211.5 and the 12:00 candle low was 5213.75. Thus, every price in between ONLY traded during the 11:30 candle.

The 11:30 candle high was 5218.5 and the 12:30 candle low was 5224. Thus, every price in between ONLY traded during the 12:00 candle.

The 12:00 candle high was 5225.25 and the 3:00 candle low was 5226.25. Thus 5225.5 5225.75, and 5226 ONLY traded during the 12:30 candle. We should add some extra color here since you’ll notice that I didn’t JUST look at the 12:00 and 1:00 candle to assess for single prints during the 12:30 candle. Again, single prints can’t actually be single prints until the day closes. Until then, they are potential single prints. The 1:00 candle low was 5227.75 so the 12:30 candle at least as of 1:30 had potential single prints of the prices between 5225.25 and 5227.5. Some of these potential single prints were filled (touched again) by the 3:00 candle. We will come back to this in a moment because it is quite important in assessing this move for continuation.

The last set takes place during the last 30-minute period of the day. The prior high of day had occurred during the 1:00 candle at 5239 and then price chopped around for a while before someone fell asleep on the buy button during the last 30-minute candle of the day at 3:30. Therefore the 3:30 candle was the only candle to trade the prices above 5239 and including 5244.75 new ultimate of day. What do we also know about this candle since it made a new high of day during the last period of the day? That’s right, it is also a spike up. So 5239 would be an important level to monitor the next day. EVERY (textbook) spike has single prints by definition because it is the last period of the day and is trading at prices that have not previously been traded.

Let’s look at the 5-minute chart from this day leaving the color-coded levels on there.

It was probably a very frustrating day for those that were trying to short. 

One more picture and then we will come back to the 12:30 period single prints as mentioned above. 

Notice above that there are FIVE-minute candles during which given prices ONLY traded the entire day within that 5-minute candle. I refer to these as 5-minute single prints which are not from the “textbook” per se. In the section on “excess” I suggested that excess often carries forward. A 5-minute excess may translate into a proper 30-minute excess. The same is true of single prints. So, if you see me call out “potential 5-minute singles” in the Discord, this is what I’m referring to and why.

Reiterating: single prints represent strong one-directional (often emotional) buying or selling. Recognizing them as they form can both keep us from fading a move we shouldn’t be fading and can KEEP us in a large move for longer.

Now let’s come back to the third set of single prints from the 12:30 candle. I’ve now updated the levels to represent the potential single prints as they existed before the sell attempt during the 3:00 candle. Remember the low of the 1:00 candle was 5227.75. Sellers make an attempt during the 3:15 5-minute candle to “fill” those single prints by trading all of those prices. The got through 5227.75 down to 5226.25 but could not do so. This is important. It also tested right into the 5-minute single prints. Coincidence, I’m sure.

Why could they not do so? Single prints form because of a strong mismatch in supply and demand at price. Clearly in this instance that mismatch remained. Alternatively, one could characterize the sellers as being too weak to overcome this excess demand. What do you think savvy bulls will do when they sense weakness from sellers? What do you think savvy bears will do if they sense weakness from their fellow sellers? After one last sell attempt during the 3:25 5-minute candle gets stuffed at 5227.75 there is nothing but green candles ripping straight higher into the close. Bulls were emboldened and bears panic covered. The result was the spike up.

I will leave you with one last thing as we end this series. Here is the volume profile from that day. What do you notice about the volume profile, in particular at these areas where the 5-minute single prints occurred? 

If you have read “What is Trading Doggy Style?” you know that my style is a mixture of what I call “Supply and Demand at Price,” Volume Profile Analysis, Balance Range Analysis, Price Action Analysis, Market Profile/Market Structure, and Traditional Technical Analysis. They really are all different ways to represent supply and demand in markets with an incredible amount of overlap. I have selected aspects of each style that complement and reinforce each other in the manner that I feel works best for me to consistently be on the right side of the trade. All of the principles I use and teach can be seen with nothing but a candlestick chart. I don’t need that volume profile on my chart to know almost exactly what it looks like. This is why I say one need not become a master of volume profile, market profile, etc in order to incorporate the most relevant aspects of them into a traditional technical analysis-based trading style.