Fulcrum Point Definition

What Is Fulcrum Point?

The fulcrum point refers to the turning point for a security—or the economy in general—that marks a major change in direction.

Key Takeaways

  • Fulcrum point refers to a major change in direction for a security or the economy in general.
  • Fulcrum point is a key turning point and can represent an opportunity for investors who are able to identify and act on it.
  • Fulcrum points are used in technical analysis, in which a chart indicates a change in direction for a security or market index.
  • Determining a fulcrum point can be difficult and it is often confirmed only after the fact.

Understanding Fulcrum Point

A fulcrum point can be very profitable for investors who are able to identify that a sharp price move is about to take place. However, fulcrum points are fairly rare and often hard to confirm until they’ve already happened.

In general, the fulcrum point is considered a point where a lever turns; in particular, the pivot point. The fulcrum point is the center of a key activity or situation. Examples of fulcrums can include pivot points on a lever, the most important person—key decision maker—in a company, or when the market makes a key turn.

The fulcrum point is found in technical analysis when a chart’s representation signifies a change in direction for a security or index. Such movements can be difficult to identify and predict, but the potential for very high returns keeps many investors looking for them. It is not always clear whether a swift change in direction is real or just appears to be. Fulcrum points can only be positively identified after the fact because there is always the possibility of a false signal.

For example, if one stock has been on a downward trend for a while and begins to climb again, the fulcrum point is the lowest point in the chart. Similarly, if a stock has been on an upward trend and begins to decline, the fulcrum point is considered the highest point on the chart.

Traders and technical analysts are always looking for a way to identify fulcrum points in advance, but because fulcrum points are so rare, few investors succeed in both predicting when a movement occurs and in timing the movement correctly. Often what may seem initially to be a major sharp reversal may instead turn out to be just a minor movement before the major trend resumes.

The plunging of U.S. equity markets in 2008, and then a sharp recovery in 2009, is an example of a fulcrum point.

Fulcrum Point Vs. Pivot Point

While a fulcrum point signifies a distinct change in the direction of a security or the overall market, a pivot point is a technical analysis indicator used to determine the overall trend of the market over different time frames.

A pivot point is established by finding the average high, low, and closing prices from the previous trading day. Each level is considered a pivot point, and pivot point analysis is often used in conjunction with calculating support and resistance levels. Pivot points are also commonly used indicators for trading futures, commodities, and stocks. Some traders add additional pivots points to expand the range to include up to four additional support and resistance pivot points. Unlike moving averages or oscillators, pivot points are static throughout the day.

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