Triangles appear to reflect a balance of forces, causing a sideways movement that is usually associated with decreasing volume and volatility. Triangles contain five overlapping waves that subdivide 3-3-3-3-3 and are labeled a-b-c-d-e. A triangle is delineated by connecting the termination points of waves a and c, and b and d. Wave e can undershoot or overshoot the a-c line, and in fact, our experience tells us that it happens more often than not.
There are two varieties of triangles: contracting and expanding. Within the contracting variety, there are three types: symmetrical, ascending, and descending, as illustrated in Figure 1-42. There are no variations on the rarer expanding triangle. It always appears as depicted in Figure 1-42, which is why Elliott termed it a “reverse symmetrical” triangle.
Figure 1-42 depicts contracting triangles as taking place within the area of preceding price action, in what may be termed regular triangles. However, it is extremely common for wave b of a contracting triangle to exceed the start of wave a in what may be termed a running triangle, as shown in Figure 1-43. Despite their sideways appearance, all triangles, including running triangles, effect a net retracement of the preceding wave at wave e’s end.