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What is a stock gap fill?

Charlie Brooks

Mar 29, 2022 16:39


What are the gaps? 

Stock price charts depict price fluctuations over time. The x-axis represents the trading period, while the y-axis represents the current price of the stock. Anomalies in stock price behavior are of great interest to investors. They are usually followed by extremely predictable price fluctuations, and those who know what these movements are likely to be have a chance to act. Gaps are an example of anomalous behavior that might give a profit opportunity.

Even when prices are very erratic, the pricing information on a stock chart tends to exhibit consistency. There is a link between the end of the previous trading session and the start of a new trading period. A gap occurs when the price at the end of the previous trading session and the start of the current one is sufficiently dissimilar that the two points on the chart are not linked.

The most obvious example of a gap is when something spectacular occurs between the time the market closes and the time it reopens. Investor mood fluctuates overnight, resulting in a flood of purchase or sell orders. As a result, the stock's price opens considerably higher or lower than it ended the prior session. This phenomenon is named after a well-defined area or gap on a chart.

Timeline of gaps

Up and down gaps may appear on daily, weekly, or monthly charts and are regarded as important when accompanied by higher-than-average volume.

Gaps emerge more often on daily charts, where every day is a chance to produce an opening gap. Gaps on weekly or monthly charts are uncommon: for weekly charts, the gap would have to occur between Friday's close and Monday's open, and for monthly charts, the gap would have to occur between the final day of the month's close and the first day of the following month's open.

A price chart with gaps practically every day is characteristic of extremely sparsely traded equities and should be ignored. Prices often gap up or down when the market opens, but the gap does not continue until the market closes. Such brief intraday gaps should not be seen as more significant than usual market volatility.

When do gaps occur?

Gaps often arise as a consequence of insufficient liquidity or overnight, when the market shuts and then reopens the following day.

When gaps appear overnight, it indicates that market sentiment has moved. Market players are no longer prepared to pay the same price at the following day's opening as they were at the previous day's closing. Many times, at least when it comes to the larger gaps, it indicates that fresh information has been revealed and is being considered by market players.

Weekend Gaps

Gaps are also common between Friday's closing and Monday's open. The causes are the same as they are for typical nighttime gaps. In the stock market, however, you can observe how many market participants close their holdings at the end of the week. This is to avoid having their money on the market over the weekend in case anything unexpected happens. As a consequence, many will want to rejoin on Monday's open, resulting in heightened purchasing pressure and a favorable gap.

Thin Liquidity

In general, the wider and larger the gaps, the less liquid the market. Because there may not be anybody to accept the opposing side of the deal at the bid price or closely nearby levels when there is less liquidity, prices are more prone to falling. As a consequence, the market gaps in order to reach the closest offered price.

This also implies that in illiquid markets, gaps in intra-day timescales, such as the 5 or 10-minute timeframe, are significantly more likely. The liquidity, as measured by the number of transactions taking place, simply decreases as the timeframe decreases, increasing the likelihood of gaps arising.

For example, gaps in the widely traded S&P 500 Index futures contract will be difficult to discover. Gaps, on the other side, will be common in much less liquid contracts, such as the Rough Rice Futures market.

Types of gaps

Not all gaps are the same, depending on the market circumstances. The four types of gaps in the stock market are as follows.

Common gap

The common gap, also known as an area gap or a trade gap, is generally created by regular market factors and does not need a special occurrence.

Common gaps, as the name indicates, are non-eventful and recurrent occurrences. As a result, these gaps are filled as rapidly as they occur.

On a price chart, common gaps show as a non-linear decrease or jump from one point to the next.

Breakaway gaps

A breakaway gap happens when the price of a stock crosses over a level of resistance or support. This gap seems like a breakout pattern, however the real breakout takes the shape of a gap.

Breakaway gaps indicate tremendous momentum, and the price of the stock continues to move after the gap.

Furthermore, the larger the breakaway gap, the stronger the present trend and the following candlestick.

Runaway gaps

A runaway gap frequently occurs in the midst of a strong upswing or a slump. This gap signifies an unanticipated movement in traders' perceptions or interest in a stock, followed by a shift in demand as a result of a surge in purchasing or selling.

When a runaway gap arises during an upswing, it indicates a change in traders' interest in the stock. If there are any traders who were left out of the previous rise, they may embark on a purchasing binge once they realize that a correction is unlikely. This results in a quick and considerable increase in trading volume and price.

When a runaway gap occurs in a downturn, it signifies excess liquidity in the market. This might cause a downward spiral in which sellers panic and sell their equities, causing the stock price to fall.

Exhaustion gaps

An exhaustion is a sort of gap that arises at the conclusion of a powerful uptrend or downturn, but in the opposite direction of the underlying trend. Exhaustion gaps indicate that the trend is losing traction and that a reversal is imminent.

These gaps are often connected with a spike in both price and volume. Exhaustion gaps imply that a stock is making one last try to set a new high or low.

It's quite simple to confuse an exhaustion gap for a runaway gap. Traders compare volume and pricing to distinguish between the two. There is an exhaustion gap when both volume and price grow.

How should gaps be traded?

Gap Fading - One common method takes a contrarian approach and seeks for gaps that are likely to be filled. The common gap and exhaustion gap are the most common suspects discovered by scanners while looking for fades, since the motion up (or down) often lacks conviction. When fading a gap, look for a stock that has gapped without significant volume or news, generally in early morning trading. Wait for the first candle to light to validate your concept and make your submission. You may set an exit point at the previous day's closing or let it ride if the price does not find resistance.


Gap and Go - The Gap and Go approach is a momentum strategy that seeks to ride the wave of a stock with a large gap. Gap and go stocks, like gap fading, are discovered before the market opens utilizing a scanner. Look for stocks that move 4-5 percent on heavy volume. Next, look at the float — firms with few outstanding shares are more likely to continue rising when the market opens. Find the ideal entry opportunity around the premarket high and exit when the shares begin to lose momentum.

What is a gap-fill in stocks?

Traders often state, "Gaps usually get filled," "Charts detest gaps," and "Mind the gap."

What is a stock gap fill? What does it signify when a gap on a stock chart has been filled?

When price activity returns to the open gap region where transactions were lacking, the gap is deemed to be filled on a chart. Price must retrace all the way back to the previous day's closing price before the gap. It is technically filled after the price has returned to where it was before the gap day. A partial gap fill occurs when price moves inside the gap region but does not move all the way through it.

Depending on when they occur on a chart, gaps may provide significant technical signs of momentum, trend continuance, or a reversal signal.

A price gap up from a price base to all-time highs might be interpreted as a fresh strong momentum signal to the upside.

A gap down from a price base to new all-time lows might be a fresh strong downward momentum indication.

During a price trend, a gap in the direction of the current move might be a hint that the trend will continue.

During a price trend, a gap in the opposite direction of the current move might be an indication which the trend is about to reverse.

If an opening price gap does not close in the first hour of trading, the market tends to fill in the direction of the gap throughout the remainder of the trading day.

Gaps do ultimately fill, but only after a major move or trend has occurred, and the market might take a long time to reverse course.

In general, the route of least resistance is in the direction of the price action gap. A price gap is one of the most powerful technical indicators. The greater the gap, the more powerful the signal.

Is it true that stock gaps are always filled?

When the price of a gap fill stock returns to its pre-gap level, it is dubbed "filled." Will there always be gap-filling stocks? They mostly do. However, there are outliers. Low volatility penny stocks may never fill a gap.

Filling that occurs on the same trading day is referred to as "fading," and it might occur as a result of overnight news that creates a gap, but then fresh news closes the gap, or calmer heads prevailed, restoring the price. Filling is often performed for one of three reasons:

Support and resistance–The price of the asset is driven back by technical resistance.

Over Optimism/Pessimism–After unreasonable exuberance, there occurs a correction.

Exhaustion Gaps-As they mark the conclusion of a trend, this price pattern is the most likely to be filled. Other forms of gaps, on the other hand, frequently imply a continuous path.

Trading gap fill stocks is an excellent way to make the most money during earnings season, when good or terrible results might cause an overreaction.

How Can You Tell If A Stock Will Gap Up?

There are no reliable strategies for anticipating whether a stock will gap higher since the market does not always respond predictably. Some traders, on the other hand, have been able to generate accurate estimates on a regular basis by carefully analyzing prior behavior.

Overnight news is the best predictor of a probable gap. Earnings report releases are the most typical example, but they are not the only one. World events may also have an influence on markets, and in certain situations, they can propel specific equities upward between the closure of one trading session and the start of another.

Why Do Stocks Need to Fill Gaps?

It's a valid question, particularly for traders interested in playing the gaps. The quick answer is that stocks don't always need to fill gaps, although it occurs more frequently than not.

This is because gaps are a transient reaction to a changing environment. When the immediate shift has passed, or investors have become acclimated to the new circumstances, stock prices tend to return to their pre-gap level.

When someone claims a gap has been filled, it signifies that the price has returned to its pre-gap level. These fills are fairly prevalent and arise as a result of the following:

  • Irrational exuberance: The original increase may have been unduly optimistic or gloomy, necessitating a correction.

  • Technical resistance: When a price goes abruptly up or down, it leaves no support or resistance in its wake.

  • Price Pattern: Price patterns are used to categorize gaps and may predict whether or not a gap will be filled. Exhaustion gaps are often the most likely to be filled because they mark the conclusion of a price trend, but continuation and breakaway gaps are substantially less likely to be filled since they are used to affirm the direction of the present trend.

When gaps are filled on the same trading day that they arise, this is referred to as fading. For example, suppose a firm reports strong profits per share for the current quarter and then gaps up at the open. Let's imagine that as the day develops, individuals recognize that the cash flow statement has certain flaws and begin selling. The price eventually reaches yesterday's closing, and the gap is filled. This method is popular among day traders during earnings season and other times when irrational enthusiasm is strong.

What Happens After A Gap Is Filled?

The time after the filling of a gap may be advantageous for traders who understand how to take advantage of the circumstance. It is usual practice to wait for share prices to hit pre-gap support or resistance levels before buying or selling in the opposite direction.


While it is conceivable that share prices may reach new highs or lows after a gap has formed and subsequently closed, existing support and resistance levels are more likely to hold. Those who closely observe trade activity and price movements may be able to forecast when pricing will shift direction with some accuracy.

How To Trade Gap Fill Stocks

There are several gap fill stocks tactics that traders may utilize to benefit from gaps, and some of which are more popular than others.

Assuming a prospective gap– When fundamental or technical variables favor a gap on the next trading day, some traders purchase or sell. For example, selling in after-hours trading after a surprise negative earnings report is revealed in the hopes of creating a gap the next trading day.

Trading extremely liquid or illiquid positions entails purchasing or selling positions when price movements begin, with the expectation that a favorable gap will remain. For example, an upward gap has been created with limited liquidity and little resistance above. This would come after a trader who placed a position on the expected gap at the start of a price movement.

Filling/Fading- This is when a gap has opened but runs into a brick wall (either top or bottom) due to weakening or a technical analyst play. For example, an upward gap may have grown as a result of anticipation about an imminent announcement, but traders will cause the gap to disappear by shorting the stock and using technical analysis.

Post fill buy/sell- This is when a trader will track the gap filling and after the gap is effectively filled, they will buy or sell in the opposite direction when the price meets any previous support or resistance before the gap.

The Bottom Line

There is a cliche that the market despises vacuums and that all gaps will be filled. While this may be true for frequent and fatigue gaps, maintaining positions in anticipation of breakout or runaway gaps may be disastrous to your portfolio. Similarly, waiting for prices to fill a gap before jumping on board a trend might lead you to miss the major move.

Gaps, on the other hand, are an important technical development in price action and chart analysis that should not be overlooked. Japanese candlestick analysis is full of patterns that depend on gaps to achieve their goals.