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Long-legged doji decoded: A key to market sentiment

A candlestick pattern that will help you sail through market uncertainties.

The long-legged Doji in financial markets is a mysterious signal, indicating a pause in buyer-seller dynamics and potential trend reversals. Understanding it is like decoding the market’s hidden language.

In this article, we uncover its role in technical analysis and trading strategies.

What is a long-legged doji?

A long-legged doji is a chart pattern on a price chart that shows uncertainty in the market.

This pattern forms when opening and closing prices are nearly identical, with long upper and lower “wicks” or shadows, indicating a standoff between buyers and sellers without clear control.

It often indicates a potential reversal in the trend, but traders usually wait for confirmation from other indicators before making decisions. In simple terms, it’s like a sign that says, “The market can’t decide which way to go right now.”

The psychology behind the pattern

A long-legged doji signals uncertainty in a security’s future price direction, often occurring at the onset of a consolidation phase with multiple instances before a trend change or narrower pattern develops.

Long-legged dojis are meaningful during strong uptrends or downtrends, suggesting a potential reversal as supply and demand balance.

In an uptrend, where prices usually close higher, a long-legged doji indicates a battle between buyers and sellers with no clear winner, suggesting changing sentiment.

The long-legged doji prompts traders to await price breakouts above or below its high or low, signaling long or short entry opportunities accordingly.

Following a doji breakout, set stop losses below the doji for long entries and above for short entries.

Long-legged dojis are more reliable near significant support or resistance levels. For instance, if one forms near a major resistance level in an uptrend, a price drop is more likely if it breaks below the doji’s low.

Long-legged dojis lack specific profit targets. Traders can use technical indicators, moving averages, or employ a fixed risk/reward ratio to determine profit-taking.

How is the long-legged doji candlestick pattern formed?

A long-legged doji forms with nearly identical opening and closing prices, creating a horizontal line, but significant intraday fluctuations produce long upper and lower shadows.

This pattern signals a tug-of-war between buyers and sellers, indicating market indecision.

Extended shadows show volatility, with prices returning to the starting point. Traders use long-legged dojis to spot potential market turning points, especially following sustained trends.

Difference between classic doji and long-legged doji

FactorsClassic dojiLong-legged doji
Body sizePrices are identical with minimal or non-existent body.Has a distinct body, with open and close prices slightly apart compared to a classic doji.
Shadow lengthShort shadows signal minimal price volatility in the session.Long shadows indicate high price volatility during the session.
Market sentimentIt represents a state of market indecision and potential reversal but may not indicate as much uncertainty as a Long-Legged Doji.It indicates a more pronounced state of market indecision, with stronger battles between buyers and sellers, suggesting higher uncertainty.
InterpretationIt is interpreted as a reversal signal when it appears after a trend. It suggests a balance.It can signal not only potential reversals but also heightened volatility and the potential for significant price swings in either direction.

Trading strategies using the long-legged doji

Reversal strategy: After a long-legged doji forms, wait for confirmation from the next candle. If it reverses the prior trend, consider entering in that direction. Set stop loss.

Continuation strategy: For a long-legged doji within a trend, wait for confirmation from the next candle. Enter in the trend’s direction upon confirmation and set a stop loss.

Range-bound strategy: During consolidation phases with long-legged dojis, establish take-profit and stop-loss levels within the range.

Indicator combination: Enhance accuracy by combining long-legged doji signals with indicators like moving averages. Confirm signals when indicators align.

Risk management: Implement proper risk management with stop-loss orders.

Below given is an example of a recent occurrence of the long-legged doji in the NSE index dated April 12, 2023.

The market rebounded with higher volumes, signaling a potential reversal from the previous bearish trend and a continuation of the medium-term uptrend. Traders await confirmation before considering new long positions.

Risks involved

False signals: Long-legged doji patterns indicate market indecision but not the subsequent direction, occasionally misleading traders.

Market volatility: Long-legged doji in volatile markets can lead to erratic price movements, raising the risk of unexpected losses.

Confirmation needed: Relying solely on long-legged doji patterns without confirmation from other indicators or technical analysis may lead to erroneous trading decisions.

Whipsaw effect: In choppy markets, long-legged doji patterns lead to whipsaw trades, causing sudden reversals and losses.

Overtrading: Trading every long-legged doji tempts overtrading, elevating costs and losses. Exercise restraint; choose setups wisely.


It is vital to remember that the long-legged doji is not a standalone guarantee of success.

To maximise its effectiveness, traders need market insight, extra indicators, and risk control.

Long-legged doji reveals market psychology, aiding skilled traders in navigating volatile markets confidently.


What is the difference between a long-legged doji and a neutral doji?

A long-legged doji and a neutral doji are both candlestick patterns that signal market indecision. The key difference lies in the length of their wicks. A long-legged doji has longer wicks, reflecting higher price volatility. A neutral doji has shorter wicks, indicating lower volatility.

Are doji bullish or bearish?

A doji candlestick by itself is a neutral pattern. It can be either red (bearish) or green (bullish), depending on the day’s price action. However, in the right context, doji patterns often lead to trend reversals. They reflect market indecision and can signal a pause in price action or a temporary stalemate between bulls and bears.

Is doji a reversal pattern?

Yes, a doji candlestick is often considered a reversal pattern. It signals market indecision and can indicate a potential trend reversal, especially when it appears at the end of a significant uptrend or downtrend. However, it’s crucial to confirm this with other indicators.

Which is more bearish harami or doji?

A bearish harami is a two-candle pattern that suggests a potential price reversal to the downside. A doji, on the other hand, represents market indecision. While both can precede bearish reversals, a bearish harami is typically considered a stronger bearish signal.

What is the most powerful reversal candlestick pattern?

The kicker pattern is considered one of the most powerful and reliable candlestick reversal patterns. It is characterised by a sharp reversal in price over two candlesticks, where the trend is reversed by a gap and a large candle in the opposite direction

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