Candlestick charts display the open, high, low, and close of an instrument and shade the “candle” portion white if the close of the period is greater than the open of the period, and black if the close for the period is less than the open. The high and the low of the period are then connected by a thin line which is referred to as the wick.
At their most basic candlestick charts give us a picture of how volatile a particular period was and whether buyers or sellers won the trading period the candlestick represents. If a candle is long and white, this tells us that the period started with buyers in control and remained that way as they drove prices higher throughout the period. If a candle is long and black this is an indication of a volatile period where sellers won out over buyers. The less of a wick there is on a long candle the greater the control of either the buyers or the sellers depending on the color of the candle.
Candlesticks which have long wicks and short bodies indicate periods where there was a lot of action pushing the market either higher or lower but where it ended up closing right near the open.
If there is a long part of the wick on the upper part of the candle means that buyers initially ran the market up against the sellers but then the sellers pushed the market back against the buyers to close the period right where it opened. Conversely if the long part of the wick is below the candle this means that sellers initially pushed the market against the buyers but buyers then pushed back successfully against the sellers to close the period near its opening.
Short candlesticks represent periods in the market where the market closed near its open for the period and can represent either periods of little market activity or periods of activity where neither buyers nor sellers gained much ground.