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The Wave Principle is governed by man’s social nature, and since he has such a nature, its expression generates forms. As the forms are repetitive, they have predictive value.
Sometimes the market appears to reflect outside conditions and events, but at other times it is entirely detached from what most people assume are causal conditions. The reason is that the market has a law of its own. It is not propelled by the external causality to which one becomes accustomed in the everyday experiences of life. The path of prices is not a product of news. Nor is the market the cyclically rhythmic machine that some declare it to be. Its movement reflects a repetition of forms that is independent both of presumed causal events and of periodicity.
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The market’s progression unfolds in waves. Waves are patterns of directional movement. More specifically, a wave is any one of the patterns that naturally occur, as described in the rest of this chapter.
The Five Wave Pattern
In markets, progress ultimately takes the form of five waves of a specific structure. Three of these waves, which are labeled 1, 3 and 5, actually effect the directional movement. They are separated by two countertrend interruptions, which are labeled 2 and 4, as shown in
figure 1-1. The two interruptions are apparently a requisite for overall directional movement to occur.
Elliott noted three consistent aspects of the five-wave form. They are: Wave 2 never moves beyond the start of wave 1; wave 3 is never the shortest wave; wave 4 never enters the price territory of wave 1.
R.N. Elliott did not specifically say that there is only one overriding form, the “five-wave” pattern, but that is undeniably the case. At any time, the market may be identified as being somewhere in the basic five-wave pattern at the largest degree of trend. Because the five-wave pattern is the overriding form of market progress, all other patterns are subsumed by it.
[size=32]1.3 Wave Mode[/size]
There are two modes of wave development: motive and corrective. Motive waves have a five-wave structure, while corrective waves have a three-wave structure or a variation thereof. Motive mode is employed by both the five-wave pattern of Figure 1-1 and its same-directional components, i.e., waves 1, 3 and 5. Their structures are called “motive” because they powerfully impel the market. Corrective mode is employed by all countertrend interruptions, which include waves 2 and 4 in Figure 1-1. Their structures are called “corrective” because each one appears as a response to the preceding motive wave yet accomplishes only a partial retracement, or “correction,” of the progress it achieved. Thus, the two modes are fundamentally different, both in their roles and in their construction, as will be detailed throughout this chapter.
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The Complete Cycle
One complete cycle consisting of eight waves, then, is made up of two distinct phases, the five-wave motive phase (also called a “five”), whose subwaves are denoted by numbers, and the threewave corrective phase (also called a “three”), whose subwaves are denoted by letters. Just as wave 2 corrects wave 1 in Figure 1-1, the sequence A, B, C corrects the sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in Figure 1-2.
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When an initial eight-wave cycle such as shown in Figure 1-2 ends, a similar cycle ensues, which is then followed by another five-wave movement. This entire development produces a fivewave pattern of one degree (i.e., relative size) larger than the waves of which it is composed. The result is shown in Figure 1-3 up to the peak labeled (5). This five-wave pattern of larger degree is then corrected by a three-wave pattern of the same degree, completing a larger full cycle, depicted as Figure 1-3.
As Figure 1-3 illustrates, each same-direction component of a motive wave (i.e., wave 1, 3 and 5), and each full-cycle component (i.e., waves 1 + 2, or waves 3 + 4)of a cycle, is a smaller version of itself.
It is neccessary to understand a crucial point: Figure 1-3 not only illustrates a larger version of Figure 1-2, it also illustrates Figure 1-2 itself, in greater detail. In Figure 1-2, each subwave 1, 3 and 5 is a motive wave that must subdivide into a "five," and each subwave 2 and 4 is a corrective wave that must subdivide into a "three." Waves (1) and (2) in Figure 1-3, if examined under a "microscope," would take the same form as waves ① and ②. Regardless of degree, the form is constant. We can use Figure 1-3 to illustrate two waves, eight waves or thirty-four waves, depending upon the degree to which we are referring.
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