Have you ever seen when a stock gaps down (or up) three times in a row?

Technical analysts call this a “sanku” or pattern of “three gaps”. It shows a strong sign that the trend will probably keep going. But what does the Sanku pattern really mean? Why does it form?

In this article, we explore the Sanku pattern. We describe how to spot it, its meanings regarding market psychology, and ways of using it to find possible trading opportunities.

Deciphering the Sanku (Three Gaps) Pattern

The Sanku, also called the Three Gaps Pattern, is a unique signal in the big world of chart patterns. It shows itself by having three separate gaps in the price movements of stocks. This pattern comes from Japanese candlestick charts and “Sanku” means “three gaps,” which describes how this pattern looks. Different from many patterns that focus on how individual candles like the doji candle look and are formed, the Sanku pattern gets recognized by looking at the empty spaces found between two trading sessions – these gaps show important changes in what people feel about the market.

Typically, the Sanku pattern appears in a strong trending market where each gap shows how powerful the market’s movement is. The first gap indicates that a new trend is beginning, usually after prices have stabilized for some time, and this catches traders’ attention. The second gap also shows the trend is strong and going in a clear direction, making people more confident about where the market is heading. When the third gap shows up, that’s when you can really tell it’s a Sanku pattern because it means not only has the trend reached its peak but also that it’s starting to lose its power.

Basically, the Sanku pattern is not only a sign of current momentum but also a signal that there might be a change or big decrease in how fast the trend is moving. It highlights an important stage when market feelings are very strong and then may start to get less, which makes it an important pattern for traders to notice. Its special quality does not come from telling when a new trend will begin, but rather from giving advance notice about the finish of a current one. This makes the Sanku different from other types of chart patterns like flags or triangles because it concentrates on how people feel in the market and whether a trend can keep going.

Mechanics Behind the Sanku Pattern

The Sanku, or Three Gaps Pattern, is an important shape in technical analysis that shows strong movement and possible tiredness in market trends. It is very important for traders to know how it works if they want to take advantage of the big changes it might lead to.

Basically, the Sanku pattern happens when there are three special gaps in an ongoing trend. Every gap shows a big change in price, where the starting price of one period jumps away from the end price of the last one. These spaces show there is a lot of buying when prices go up or selling when they fall, which means more action in the market and that investors are very interested.

To consider a Sanku pattern valid, it must meet these conditions:

  • The market must be in a well-established trend, either upward or downward.
  • Three gaps in a row need to happen following the trend. Usually, these gaps come with more trading volume, showing that those in the market strongly believe in which way the trend is going.
  • The spaces must not cover each other; the starting price of every space needs to be above (when prices are going up) or below (when prices are going down) compared with the high or low from the session before.
  • Technical Requirements: For the Sanku pattern to appear, it often needs a market setting where there is powerful momentum. Other technical signs like moving averages going apart in trend’s way or rising volume measures can back this up. Moreover, the reliability of the pattern usually increases when it appears following an important news event or market driver that agrees with the direction of the trend.

Putting that all together, this is the general structure of the pattern: 

Graphic showing the Sanku candle pattern with three upward gaps, indicating a potential bullish trend in the market.

Illustration of the Sanku Candle Pattern: A Bullish Signal in the Market

Identifying a Sanku pattern gives strategic understanding about what people feel in the market, showing that although the trend is strong it might be close to getting tired. People who trade look for the third gap to finish as an indication that maybe the present movement has gone too far and get ready for signs of possible change in direction or times when things stabilize.

The Significance of the Sanku Pattern in Market Analysis

In the field of technical analysis, there is a pattern called Sanku or Three Gaps. It shows up as three separate gaps that follow one another within an existing trend. This pattern acts like a guard, giving traders clues about where the market’s energy is going and when it might change direction. How people understand this Sanku pattern changes based on whether the market trend is going up or down; from this they get different signs for buying or selling.

In upward price trends, if you see the Sanku pattern, it usually means that those buying are very much in charge and they are increasing the prices strongly. But this situation also acts as a warning sign to be careful. The fast and continuous rise in prices, shown by the three upward spaces, might suggest too much excitement in the market, causing a situation where things are bought too much. People trading see this as maybe a sign that there will be a turnaround or big drop soon because the market needs to process the quick increase.

In negative market movements, if the Sanku pattern appears during a decline with three continuous downward gaps, it means that sellers are stronger than buyers and are pushing prices down quickly. This pattern shows there is heavy pressure to sell. Like its optimistic opposite, this pattern suggests that the market could be oversold and might indicate an upcoming rise or change in direction because it may have shifted very quickly and to a large extent.

The real strength of the Sanku pattern is that it can show not only when a trend will keep going strongly but also when it’s about to run out of steam. People who trade stocks pay attention to this so they can choose good times to start and finish trades, especially after they see the third gap which means looking for signs that prices might change direction or stay steady for a while. It highlights how the market goes in cycles, showing traders that things which go up fast can come down just as quickly.

Strategizing with the Sanku Pattern

The Three Gaps Pattern, known for showing strong signs of market movement and tiredness, can be a useful instrument for traders. Traders can use this pattern in their strategies to decide when to enter or leave trades and how to handle risks.

Entry Points

When we see a bullish Sanku pattern during an uptrend, traders can think about starting a long position after noticing the third gap. A good place to enter might be slightly higher than the top of the day when this third gap happened, to make sure that the pattern is correct.

On the other hand, when the market trend is going down, if you see a bearish Sanku pattern it means that a good time to start selling short could be slightly under the lowest point on the day of the third gap.

Exit Points and Take-Profit Strategies

Traders must look for signs of trend reversal after the Sanku pattern finishes because it usually means the trend has gone too far. The appearance of a candlestick pattern that suggests reversal or a break in the supporting trendline for the gaps might be used as a sign to sell.

Placing a profit-target at important resistance levels for upward trends, or support levels for downward trends, which were found before the Sanku pattern appeared, may assist in securing gains ahead of a possible trend change.

Risk Management

Stop-Loss Orders: If you are positive on Sanku patterns, it’s good to put a stop-loss order under the lowest level of the third space. For negative situations, putting your stop-loss over the top level of that third space is recommended.

When trading the Sanku pattern because of its risk to change direction, it is wise for traders to think about how big their position should be and maybe choose a smaller size to reduce risk.

Navigating the Market with the Sanku Pattern: Real-World Applications

In the changing world of technology stocks, NVDA’s latest movements have shown a clear example of the Sanku pattern. This suggests there are both chances and warnings to pay attention to in the market. From late January, we could see this interesting pattern in NVDA’s stock with two big jumps suggesting that it might keep going up strongly, which is what you would expect from following the pattern’s rules for future increases.

Here it is in action: 

Chart of NVDA showing three upward gaps within a month, forming the Sanku pattern, with circles highlighting each gap.

NVDA’s Rally through Sanku: A Pattern of Gaps Highlighted

In the midst of trading activities, concerns regarding NVDA’s high stock price began to surface, sparked by news of uncertain demand among other potential challenges. This worry about its valuation highlighted the importance of patterns like the Sanku for predicting future movements. As the Sanku pattern made its appearance, it suggested an upward trend might be on the horizon, presenting an opportunity for traders to capitalize on potential gains.

Then the stock’s trajectory took an unexpected turn when traders watched NVDA go down but the market went up. This deviation raised eyebrows among investors, bringing to light NVDA’s vulnerability and sparking speculation about its ability to maintain market leadership. This period of doubt emphasized the value of the Sanku pattern as a navigational tool through uncertain times.

As the broader market ascended, NVDA’s decline stood out, raising questions about the company’s future. Amidst these concerns, 3 other tech stocks began to close the gap, with the potential to leave NVDA in the dust. This competitive pressure underscored the relevance of the Sanku pattern in providing insights into NVDA’s market position and potential recovery paths.

Reflecting on NVDA’s journey through these tumultuous times, the Sanku pattern emerges as a beacon, guiding traders through market fluctuations and sector shifts. Will NVDA manage to rally, or is its dominance waning? Only time will tell. However, leveraging the Sanku pattern offers traders a strategic view, enabling informed decisions amidst the ongoing market and news dynamics.

Sanku Pattern vs. Three White Soldiers

Within the large picture of technical analysis, there are two patterns that are particularly noticeable because they show changes in market direction differently: the Sanku is recognized by its three gaps while the Three White Soldiers pattern has a series of positive candles. Although each predicts possible movement shifts, they do so through different methods and give special understanding to those who pay close attention.

The Sanku’s Saga:

The Sanku pattern has three rising gaps and is like a seldom-seen event in the sky, with each gap showing that the strong upward trend is likely to keep going. When you see it on a chart, it tells a story of power, indicating that those who favor rising prices are firmly leading and increasing their progress. But its main strong point is being careful, because the spaces show it’s not only increasing but also becoming too excited which might cause stretching too far.

The Soldiers’ March:

In contrast, the pattern of Three White Soldiers steps in with a regular rhythm. There are three long and strong positive candles in a row, each closing close to its top, showing a firm and continuous move against the downward trend. The pattern shows a story of continuous effort, slowly taking back the area which indicates a strong base for the increase in value, and it is less likely to quickly go back compared to the very fast climb that is indicated by Sanku.

Interpreting the Tales:

For people who trade, these designs show various sides of what the market feels. The Sanku has spaces that indicate a quick change which might bring profit but also the danger of fast changes in the opposite direction. The Three White Soldiers pattern, on the other hand, tells a story of a more controlled increase suggesting that there is steady demand pushing the prices up.

Basically, deciding to follow the Sanku signal or go with the Three White Soldiers pattern depends on how much risk a trader is willing to take and their understanding of the market situation. Both patterns tell a kind of story about what could happen, good or bad, helping traders who understand these stories make better choices in trading.

Recognizing the Limitations of the Sanku Pattern

To create a fair view of the Sanku or “Three Gaps” pattern, it is important to see its weak points as well as its strong ability to forecast. This pattern gets praise for showing when market trends might keep going or change direction, but there are also mistakes that remind us to be careful in our study.

The Mirage of Certainty:

A big problem with the Sanku pattern is that it depends a lot on gaps in the market. These gaps can show strong feelings from traders, but they might not always be right. Market gaps happen when there are not many trades or when prices move very fast, and these times people sometimes trade based on their emotions instead of thinking carefully. Consequently, gaps might not always reflect true market sentiment, potentially leading to false signals. Tools like the Fear and Greed Index can offer additional context for gauging broader market sentiment and understanding whether these gaps truly reflect the prevailing market psychology.

The Challenge of Context:

Additionally, the success of the Sanku pattern relies greatly on the situation. If it shows up in a chart and there are no other supporting signs or if one does not take into account wider market circumstances, this can cause misunderstandings. Sometimes, the spaces you see in a Sanku shape could be due to unexpected external events, such as natural disasters, political unrest, or major news announcements.  Additionally, broader economic concerns – like the stock market potentially hitting a peak due to inflation – can create unpredictable conditions that make interpreting patterns more challenging.

The Risk of Overextension:

Another important thing to think about is what the pattern might mean for future movement. If there are many gaps one after another, it could show that a lot of people want to buy or sell. But this can also suggest that prices have moved too quickly and may not keep going up or down for a long time. Traders who depend only on this pattern might get trapped in a market adjustment because the market usually tries to close these empty spaces. A limit on close (LOC) order could help mitigate risk by setting a price at which to exit the trade if the market starts to move against the anticipated direction.

A Call for Complementary Analysis:

So, while the Sanku pattern gives useful information about market movements, its shortcomings highlight the need for a full analysis. It is recommended that traders combine different technical tools, a study of basic economic factors like the recent slowdown in the US job market for example, and a sharp awareness of how people feel about the market to really use what this pattern can offer and reduce risks connected with its weaknesses. Within technical analysis, the Sanku pattern is just one instrument among many others, strong but improved through the knowledge of different methods.


Exploring the complex area of technical analysis, one finds the Sanku pattern as a guiding light for those trying to understand market directions. It can show possible turning points or ongoing trends which gives traders an advantage if they use it carefully and with understanding. This pattern, based on supply and demand dynamics, shows how the market moves by capturing times when traders agree or disagree.

Traveling through the terrain of the Sanku pattern emphasizes an important rule in trading: not one instrument alone can assure victory.  While powerful, it’s best combined with a broader trading strategy, considering diverse signals, and a strong plan for managing risks. Tools like real-time trade alerts, providing live updates on market movements and trades, can further enhance your decision-making. This encourages traders to dig deeper, past the simple view of graphs, to understand the psychological factors that move markets.

So, when we finish looking at the Sanku pattern, it makes us think about how trading always involves balancing danger and opportunity. The pattern shows a detailed way of thinking that is important for moving through market challenges well. It is not only a method, but also teaches the importance of being patient, accurate and having a good viewpoint. It encourages people trading to stay alert and adaptable as they pursue their goals for achieving success.

Sanku Pattern: FAQs

How Can Traders Distinguish the Sanku Pattern from Normal Price Gaps?

Traders can identify the Sanku pattern separate from regular price spaces by searching for three successive gaps moving in one direction as part of a trend. When these three gaps exist, together with a move back to where the first gap began, this points out the Sanku pattern that is different from normal price gaps.

What are the Key Indicators That Confirm a Sanku Pattern Formation?

Important signs that show the formation of a Sanku pattern are three gaps one after another, then more trading volume and finally a sign that the trend is changing. Also, people who trade like to see if there are support or resistance levels matching with where the pattern finishes to make sure it is valid.

Can the Sanku Pattern Predict Long-Term Market Trends?

The Sanku pattern is mostly for forecasting quick and mid-term changes in the market, not so much for long-term directions. It works well because it shows when a trend is about to finish and might turn around, which helps traders catch fast shifts in the market.

What are Common Mistakes Traders Make When Interpreting the Sanku Pattern?

Many people wrongly identify the usual price gaps as being the Sanku pattern, but they do not check to see if there are three continuous gaps followed by a trend change. Depending too much on this pattern and not taking into account different market elements or technical signs can cause misunderstandings.

How Does the Sanku Pattern Work Together with Different Tools of Technical Analysis to Create the Best Plan For Trading?

Combining the Sanku pattern with additional tools for technical analysis, like moving averages, RSI or Fibonacci retracements, can give a more complete picture of market behavior. Applying these instruments together supports confirmation of signals from the Sanku pattern and improves pinpointing when to enter and exit trades, making the trading approach better.