Elliott used volume as a tool for verifying wave counts and in projecting extensions. He recognized that in any bull market, volume has a natural tendency to expand and contract with the speed of price change. Late in a corrective phase, a decline in volume often indicates a decline in selling pressure. A low point in volume often coincides with a turning point in the market. In normal fifth waves below Primary degree, volume tends to be less than in third waves. If volume in an advancing fifth wave of less than Primary degree is equal to or greater than that in the third wave, an extension of the fifth is in force. While this outcome is often to be expected anyway if the first and third waves are about equal in length, it is an excellent warning of those rare times when both a third and a fifth wave are extended.At Primary degree and greater, volume tends to be higher in an advancing fifth wave merely because of the natural long term growth in the number of participants in bull markets. Elliott noted, in fact, that volume at the terminal point of a bull market above Primary degree tends to run at an all-time high. Finally, as discussed earlier, volume often spikes briefly at points of throw-over at the peak of fifth waves, whether at a trend channel line or the terminus of a diagonal triangle. (Upon occasion, such points can occur simultaneously, as when a diagonal triangle fifth wave terminates right at the upper parallel of the channel containing the price action of one larger degree.) In addition to these few valuable observations, we have expanded upon the importance of volume in various sections of this course.
The “Right Look”
The overall appearance of a wave must conform to the appropriate illustration. Although any five-wave sequence can be forced into a three-wave count by labeling the first three subdivisions as one wave “A” as shown in Figure 2-13, it is incorrect to do so. The Elliott system would break down if such contortions were allowed. A long wave three with the end of wave four terminating well above the top of wave one must be classified as a five-wave sequence. Since wave A in this hypothetical case is composed of three waves, wave B would be expected to drop to about the start of wave A, as in a flat correction, which it clearly does not. While the internal count of a wave is a guide to its classification, the right overall shape is, in turn, often a guide to its correct internal count.
The “right look” of a wave is dictated by all the considerations we have outlined so far in the first two chapters. In our experience, we have found it extremely dangerous to allow our emotional involvement with the market to let us accept wave counts that reflect disproportionate wave relationships or misshapen patterns merely on the basis that the Wave Principle’s patterns are somewhat elastic.