Gap Trading: Unleashing the Power of Price Gaps and Strategies To Trade Them

Stock market trading is a wide journey. There are multiple tools and strategies that help traders and investors from time to time to make strategic investment decisions. Today, we are going to talk about gap trading – a strategy that offers a simple yet powerful approach to profit from price gaps that occur during market openings.

Trading gaps, specifically gap up and gap down strategy, can be a great addition to your trading arsenal. These gaps often reveal valuable information about market sentiment and can present lucrative prospects for both short-term and long-term traders. With the right understanding and techniques, gap trading can help you with a competitive edge and make informed decisions in your trading journey.

What is Gap?

In the world of financial markets, a gap is a peculiar occurrence that can influence trading outcomes. When the price of security opens at a significantly different level from its previous closing price, it creates what is known as a “gap” in the price chart. This means that there is an empty space or “gap” between the closing price of one trading day and the opening price of the following day, without any trading activity in between.

Causes of Gaps: What Drives Gap Trading

Gaps can emerge due to a variety of factors, often linked to unexpected news or sudden shifts in technical conditions. On the fundamental side, a gap might be triggered by a company surpassing earnings expectations by a wide margin or a major announcement from the Reserve Bank of India, or a decision affecting interest rate expectations.

Gaps can materialise when a security’s price breaks through a previous high or low, breaches key trend lines, or surpasses other crucial technical levels. 

In essence, gaps occur because of swift price movements that take place while the markets are closed, resulting in an apparent discontinuity in the price chart.

Technical Analysis and Gap Trading

Understanding the dynamics of technical analysis is essential for successful gap trading. Traders rely on various tools like chart patterns, various trend lines, moving averages, and other technical indicators to gain precise insights into potential gaps. The analysis of historical price data and patterns empowers traders to gauge the significance of gaps and use them strategically as entry and exit points. Combining technical analysis with gap trading strategies enhances decision-making, enabling traders to navigate market uncertainties with confidence and make well-informed trading choices.

Gap Trading Strategy: Types of Gaps in Trading

Common Gap

A common gap is the most frequently encountered type, and it tends to occur within the trading range of the previous day. Imagine a company’s stock closes at ₹100 on Monday and opens at ₹102 on Tuesday, without any trading activity in between. This creates a small gap, which is a common gap.

Common gaps are like small hiccups in the price movement, and they often get filled relatively quickly, meaning the stock’s price may go back to fill the gap and return to the previous level.

Breakaway Gap

Breakaway gaps are significant price gaps that mark the start of a new trend. For instance, a stock closes at ₹80 on Tuesday and opens at ₹90 on Wednesday, making a noticeable gap-up. This could indicate a breakaway gap, suggesting the stock might be entering a new uptrend.

Breakaway gaps often happen after a period of consolidation or when the stock breaks through a key price level, indicating a potential shift in market sentiment.

Exhaustion Gap

Exhaustion gaps occur near the end of a trend, signalling that the prevailing market sentiment may be losing steam. For example, a stock has been on a steady uptrend, reaching ₹120 on Monday. On Tuesday, it opens at ₹124, creating a gap-up.

However, the stock fails to maintain the upward momentum and starts declining. This could be an exhaustion gap, suggesting the uptrend might be losing its strength, and a potential reversal or correction could be on the horizon.

Runaway Gap (Measuring Gap)

Runaway gaps, also known as measuring gaps, occur within a strongly trending market and are often observed about halfway through the trend’s progress. Let’s say a stock is steadily rising from ₹80 to ₹100. Suddenly, it gaps up to ₹110. This could be a runaway gap, indicating that the uptrend is still robust and might continue further. These gaps act as a measure of the trend’s strength and provide insights into its potential duration.

Understanding Gap Up Gap Down Strategy

Gap trading strategy revolves around harnessing the potential of these price gaps that manifest between the closing price of one day and the opening price of the next. There are two main types of gaps: gap up and gap down.

A gap-up occurs when the opening price is notably higher than the previous day’s closing price, while a gap-down transpires when the opening price is quite lower than the previous day’s closing price. Traders and investors keenly analyse these gaps for promising trading opportunities.

How to Trade Gaps in the Stock Market

Before implementing the gap trading strategy, it is essential to understand the trading gaps. It can be potentially a rewarding strategy for beginner traders. Gaps occur when there is a significant difference between the opening price of a security and its previous day’s closing price. Here are some easy ways to help you understand the process of gap trading strategy.

  1. Identify the Gap Type: Start by recognising the type of gap you are dealing with. Is it a common gap, breakaway gap, continuation gap, or exhaustion gap? Understanding the type of gap can give you valuable insights into its potential implications.
  2. Analyse Market Sentiment: Consider the overall market sentiment and news surrounding the gap. Fundamental factors like earnings reports, economic indicators, or major news events can influence the gap’s sustainability.
  3. Wait for Confirmation: Avoid rushing into a trade as soon as you spot a gap. Wait for some price movement after the gap occurs to confirm the market’s direction and momentum. This confirmation can help reduce false signals and improve the accuracy of your trades.
  4. Go with the Gap: One approach is to enter a trade in the direction of the gap. If the market gaps up, consider going long (buying) the security, or if it gaps down, consider going short (selling) the security. However, always use proper risk management techniques to protect your capital.

Looking for the best online trading platform that offers you something more and a little extra? Try Shoonya, an online zero-commission multi-asset trading platform that caters to the needs of varied traders and investors.

Market Opening Gap Strategy

The market opening gap strategy focuses on trading gaps that occur when the market opens. Here are some steps to implement a market opening gap strategy:

  1. Pre-Market Analysis: Before the market opens, analyse potential gap opportunities based on the previous day’s price action, overnight news, and overall market sentiment.
  2. Set Entry and Exit Levels: Identify the price levels at which you want to enter and exit the trade. Using stop-loss and take-profit orders can help manage risk and lock in profits.
  3. Monitor Market Open: Keep a close eye on the market when it opens. If a gap occurs, observe how the price behaves and if it provides a trading opportunity as per your analysis.
  4. Stay Disciplined: Stick to your trading plan and avoid impulsive decisions. Market openings can be volatile, so maintaining discipline is crucial during the whole process of the market opening gap strategy.

Fair Value Gap Trading

Fair value gap trading involves identifying discrepancies between a security’s fair value and its actual market price.

1. Calculate Fair Value: Use fundamental analysis and valuation techniques to estimate the fair value of the security. This might include analysing earnings, financial ratios, and industry comparisons.

2. Monitor Market Price: Monitor the security’s actual market price. If it deviates significantly from the calculated fair value, a gap might be present.

3. Trade the Convergence: If the market price is below the fair value, consider buying the security, anticipating it will rise to meet the fair value. Similarly, if the market price is above the fair value, consider selling the security, expecting it to decline to meet the fair value.

4.  Exercise Caution: Fair value gap trading requires thorough analysis and a deep understanding of the security’s underlying fundamentals. Be cautious and avoid relying solely on one indicator.

Remember, successful implementation of gap trading strategy and fair value gap trading require practice, patience, and a willingness to learn from both wins and losses. Always start with small positions and gradually increase your involvement as you gain experience and confidence in your trading skills.

Knowing The Gap Trading Risks

Gap trading offers lucrative opportunities, but it comes with inherent risks. Not all gaps result in profitable trades, and unexpected market movements can lead to losses. Traders must exercise caution and consider the factors influencing the gap before executing trades.

Market volatility during gaps can trigger false signals, making it essential to wait for price confirmation.

Proper risk management, including position sizing, is crucial to protect capital.

Acknowledging and understanding these risks empowers traders to make informed decisions and enhances their gap trading success.

Remember, patience and discipline are key to navigating the uncertainties of gap trading.


Gap trading offers promising opportunities for traders, but it comes with risks. Understanding gap types, strategies, and market sentiment is vital. Remember, patience and risk management are key to success.

Key Takeaways

  1. Gap trading involves capitalising on price gaps between closing and opening prices.
  2. Four types of gaps: common, breakaway, exhaustion, and runaway (measuring) gaps.
  3. Gap-up and gap-down strategies help traders anticipate market moves.
  4. Analysing market sentiment and confirmation is crucial in gap trading.
  5. Market opening gap strategy focuses on gaps that occur at the market opening.
  6. Fair value gap trading involves identifying discrepancies between market price and fair value.
  7. Gap trading carries risks; caution and risk management are essential for success.


How can I take advantage of a gap? 

You can benefit from gaps by trading in the direction of the gap and confirming it with technical analysis.

Is it good to invest in the gap?

Investing in gaps can be risky, and thus, you should do proper analysis and risk management before making any final decision. Investing in gaps depends on the type of gap, the market conditions, and your overall trading strategy.

How is the gap up calculated? 

Gap up is determined by subtracting the previous day’s closing price from the opening price.

What are the 4 types of gaps in trading? 

The four types of gaps are common gap, breakaway gap, exhaustion gap, and runaway gap (measuring gap), each providing insights into market sentiment and potential price movements.


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.