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I'm in the process of learning to read candlestick charts.

Many websites using candlesticks will display a single timestamp if you hover the mouse over a candle.

Since a candle is a visualisation of trading data within a timeinterval, I'm confused what the timestamp represents. I can imaging the answer is one of the following options:

  • Beginning of time interval
  • Middle of time interval
  • End of time interval

Any clarification is much appreciated!

  • It represents whatever the author of the chart defines it to represent - there's no standard that defines if the specific time represents the beginning, end, or sometime in between of the period. Usually you can tell from the scale - e.g. if the chart is daily then the stick represents the day portion of the date/time. – D Stanley Aug 16 '17 at 13:22
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A candlestick simply visually represents the Open, Close, High and Low for the particular time period of the candlestick.

A bullish candle is represented by the close being above the open as a solid (usually) green body of the candle and then the low and high being represented by the wicks below and above the body of the candle.

A bearish candle is represented by the close being below the open as a solid (usually) red body of the candle and then the low and high being represented by the wicks below and above the body of the candle.

The time period a candlestick represents can be a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute or any other period you choose and the charting program allows.

For example, on a one minute chart if a trade comes in at 59.9 seconds the data will be represented in that minute. Once the clock ticks over a new minute candle and thus a new timestamp will commence. By the way if there were no trades during a particular minute that minute would be represented on the chart by a sideways dash (-) at the same price as the close of the previous minute (or at the last traded price).

  • upvoted! a curious question, if you had trades coming in with timestamps from 0 to 60 of a minute, is the trade with timestamp at 60 considered a part of the next minute? does it go only from 0 to 59? – PirateApp Oct 2 '18 at 10:36
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    On a one minute chart if a trade comes in at 59.9 seconds the data will be represented in that minute. Once the clock ticks over a new minute candle will commence. By the way if there were no trades during a particular minute that minute would be represented on the chart by a sideways dash (-) at the same price as the close of the previous minute (or at the last traded price). – Victor Oct 2 '18 at 12:58
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    He was not asking what the time period represents. He was asking what the time stamp of a candle represents. It's curious to me that this is the accepted answer since it doesn't at all answer the question. – Sean Lynch Aug 23 at 17:38
  • @SeanLynch - the timestamp represents a particular time on the chart and all the trades within that time period. Also, the candlestick does not only represent the range, but it also represents the direction, how far the price has been tested in one direction or the other, whether the price in that period has closed higher or lower than the open - a single candle provides quite a lot of information, including the time period! – Victor Aug 26 at 12:41
  • @Victor Yes I agree with everything you are saying. The problem however, is that the question was very specifically asking about a particular aspect of the candlestick. The original question was short, to the point, and concise. You answered it with four main points - none of which was actually asked. You literally said nothing about the original question. For context, notice the fact that the word was timestamp was used in the question's title, and two more times in the body of the question, yet you never actually used that word in your answer. – Sean Lynch Aug 26 at 13:39
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As @DStanley mentioned, there is no universally agreed upon standard as to what the timestamp actually represents. You'll have to figure that out based on the context.

In most cases it doesn't really matter much because candlesticks are used as a visual representation. Visually, when you look at a candle, the timestamp is irrelevant because what you're much more interested in the range rather than a particular time in the range (beginning, middle, or end).

Having said that, there is one situation where the timestamp is very relevant, and this is when constructing candlesticks for algorithmic trading.

Since the tick data doesn't come in at predictable, regular intervals, some algorithms require the data to be aggregated into candlesticks. In this case the timestamp will almost always mean the end of the candlestick range. This is because the algorithm is waiting until the end of the candlestick range to be able to make any decisions. With the candlestick timestamp representing the end of the range, that time and the time of any algorithm decisions will coincide.

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This is only a visual display of the movement of prices, and created in order to be easier to perceive information about the price. You can customize yourself different types of bars, as you will be more comfortable. I do not know if it's possible to set one candle to display 1 second, then would it be easier for you to understand the price movement?)

  • Does the length of the candle also indicate how much trading has occurred during the time period as in the volume of trades happening in that time period? Or it's only purely only displaying its range? Can we also assume that bigger price range also means that the instrument or stock have higher demand for that time period than say a shorter candle?? – hawkenfox Aug 16 '17 at 12:16
  • @hawkenfox - no, a candlestick purley represents the prices for that particular period - i.e. Open, Close, High and Low, it does in no way represent the volume of trades in that period. – Victor Aug 16 '17 at 20:17

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