Each of the intraday trading techniques discussed so far have relied on reference levels arrived at by means of mathematical calculations. The technique iscussed in this section, in contrast, will deal with a set of support and resistance levels which are much more intuitively obvious. In short, we will discuss a technique for using the prior day's price extremes as a means of determining market-based valuation levels.

If market activity is thought of as an auction process, where bidders and sellers are constantly vying for the most advantageous price, daily timeframe highs and lows represent the outer extremes of accepted value for any particular trading day. The highest price achieved during the day represents the maximum that buyers were willing to offer for the commodity, and the lowest price represents the minimum that sellers were willing to accept. For this reason, subsequent price action has a tendency to remain within the boundaries of apparent value as defined during the previous day of trading.

Under typical market conditions a successful breach of a prior day high or low is normally preceded by several failed attempts. Once achieved, such price action often represents an important shift in market psychology with the potential to create a new trend move. One approach for taking advantage of this market scenario is to use the actual break of the prior day high or the prior day low as the trigger into the trade going long on a break of the high, and short on the break of the low.

Using such a method for market entry is certainly viable, and, in fast market conditions may be the only way of participating. However, it is considered to be a rather aggressive technique, for forays into new areas of market valuation are sometimes rejected in very quick fashion. A more conservative and risk averse approach is to delay entry until some sort of price retracement can occur. Such short-term pullbacks often take place before a new trend move can begin in earnest. Many times, a breach of the prior day high or low will retrace all the way back to the original breakout point.

If not, the next most likely level of retracement will be that of the 5 min. 20EMA. Price analysis relative to prior day highs and lows can also prove helpful when markets get caught in extended, tight-range trading conditions. This kind of market scenario is often followed by extreme range expansion and a pickup in volatility. Sometimes the increase in volatility can be very sudden and dramatic, leading to trading days wellsuited for capturing large profits - but only if you've chosen the correct breakout direction.

Whenever low volatility conditions have been identified, a break of a prior day high or low can often serve as the cue that the expected range expansion move has begun and can put us on watch for reduced-risk ways to participate. But even before such a break occurs, there are a few techniques that offer an advanced assessment of likely breakout direction and allow for earlier entry. For example, we can often determine directional clues from price action relative to the prior day high, prior day low, and the current Daily Pivot.

If the market first approaches the prior day low, and is then repelled upwards through the Daily Pivot, breakout direction is likely to be towards higher prices (below left chart). Similarly, if the prior day high is approached, repelled, and price then moves through the Daily Pivot from above, likely breakout direction is to the downside (below right chart). Furthermore, often directional clues can also be found in market behavior near the Daily Pivot. If price activity is unable to breach this level, the expected breakout will often develop on a path opposite that of the original approach.

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