Ichimoku Kinko Hyo is an equilibrium chart used in technical analysis. The chart’s name means, roughly, “equilibrium chart at a glance”, which also describes its function: providing information about the equilibrium behavior of an asset with a single look. Ichimoku Kinko Hyo was developed by Goichi Hosoda and released in 1968, although the chart didn’t gain popularity in the West until the 1990s.
Ichimoku Kinko Hyo is composed of five lines. Tenkan-sen averages the highest high and lowest low and is calculated over a fairly short period of time (seven to nine periods.) Kijun-sen uses the same equation, but is calculated over twenty-two periods. Chikou Span plots the current closing price a full twenty-two periods behind. Senkou Span A averages Tenkan-sen and Kijun-sen, and is plotted twenty-six periods ahead. Senkou Span B averages the highest high and lowest low over the last forty-four periods, and is plotted twenty-two periods ahead. The space between Senkou Spans A and B is known as the Kumo.
Traders use Ichimoku Kinko Hyo to generate a variety of signals for market behavior, based on the interaction of the chart’s lines with the Kumo. Because of the comprehensiveness of the chart, traders consider it to be a very powerful tool for technical analysis. However, foreign exchange traders should be aware of the chart’s drawbacks in forex markets: since forex markets never close, no close prices are generated, and it’s unclear how the Chikou Span should be plotted. Good judgment should therefore be used both in choosing the time periods from which to generate the chart, and in deciding which price should be chosen as a forex market’s close price.