Contrasting with technical analysis is fundamental analysis, the study of economic factors that influence the way investors price financial markets. Technical analysis holds that prices already reflect all the underlying fundamental factors. Uncovering the trends is what technical indicators are designed to do, although neither technical nor fundamental indicators are perfect. Some traders use technical or fundamental analysis exclusively, while others use both types to make trading decisions.

An evening star is a stock-price chart pattern used by technical analysts to detect when a trend is about to reverse. Traders apply technical analysis tools to charts in order to identify entry and exit points for potential trades. When stock prices continue to rise higher, it is considered to be in an uptrend and vice versa for a downtrend. Uptrends indicate increasing demand for shares, as buyers are willing to pay higher prices as supply diminishes. Downtrends represent an oversupply of shares with waning buying interest resulting in falling prices.

Basics Of Technical Analysis

Another common TA trading strategy involves the relative strength index. RSI is a measure of short-term momentum that varies from zero to 100. RSI traders typically sell or short “overbought” stocks when RSI is above 70 and buy “oversold” stocks when the RSI drops below 30. For example, shifts in investor sentiment often manifest as a particular pattern in a stock’s chart, such as a head-and-shoulders formation. The head-and-shoulders formation doesn’t have magical power over the stock price. It is merely a visual representation that a majority of traders have flipped from bullish to bearish. Schwab does not recommend the use of technical analysis as a sole means of investment research.

So let’s go over the basics of technical analysis and why it’s important for traders. Moving averages are probably the single most widely-used technical indicator. A simple moving average trading strategy might be something like, “Buy as long as price remains above the 50-period exponential moving average ; Sell as long as price remains below the 50 EMA”.


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If you like using charts and data to uncover trends in stocks and other investments, learn more here about technical analysis. Daily pivot point indicators, which usually also identify several support and resistance levels in addition to the pivot point, are used by many traders to identify price levels for entering or closing out trades. Pivot point levels often mark significant support or resistance levels or the levels where trading is contained within a range. Until the mid-1960s, tape reading was a popular form of technical analysis. It consisted of reading market information such as price, volume, order size, and so on from a paper strip which ran through a machine called a stock ticker. Market data was sent to brokerage houses and to the homes and offices of the most active speculators.

What’s Your Expertise With Technical Analysis?

This is particularly true with respect to price action patterns that rely on a large dose of personal opinion. Due to their simplicity, moving averages (MA’s) are one of the most popular technical indicators for identifying support and resistance levels on a chart. The MA represents the average price of a financial instrument over a set period.

  • Technical analysis can be great for scenarios where the analyzer is wrong or right.
  • Different traders may have different trendlines based on the time frame of the chart as well as the starting point.
  • The indicator picks up speed as the trend rises and the dots match the price rise.
  • Looking at things like alternating bull markets and bear markets, the “history-repeating-itself” hypothesis makes sense in a broader sense of market psychology.
  • This can be not any different than some other model that is predictive.

In this study, the authors found that the best estimate of tomorrow’s price is not yesterday’s price (as the efficient-market hypothesis would indicate), nor is it the pure momentum price . One of the problems with conventional technical analysis has been the difficulty of specifying the patterns in a manner that permits objective testing. Applying Kahneman and Tversky’s prospect theory to price movements, Paul V. Azzopardi provided a possible explanation why fear makes prices fall sharply while greed pushes up prices gradually.

Financial Disclaimer

A good example of using technical analysis for mean reversion in sideways markets, i.e. buying support and shorting resistance. Any timeframe within your preferred trading or investing instrument can be studied through the use of technical analysis. When I read in a book or a magazine article or someone tells me that the preferred time period to look at a certain indicator is X, I become very skeptical. If they look at it in period X, I’m sure that I can find many more technical analysts who look at it in time period Y, or Z, or A, etc. The good technical analyst will look at different indicators in different time periods. However, we all become comfortable with certain time periods for certain indicators or securities.

And these trends continue until something happens to change the trend. However, in the overwhelming majority of instances, it’s extremely accurate. Many times I’ve successfully traded securities with only the knowledge of its chart behind me. Investing in stocks is a great way to build wealth and save for retirement, especially when you’re younger.

Using Market Internals To Gauge Market Performance

While charts look very mathematical, they’re really based on plotting and giving a visual representation to investor emotion and market psychology, depicting moves in prices over time. One of the biggest factors technical analysts examine is the price of the security. In fact, price action is the primary measure considered when conducting technical analysis.

My approach is to assign probabilities to each possible outcome. Assigning actual percentages would imply a degree of precision which, is normally unachievable. Most of the time, however, we can tell that price is at least twice as likely to move in a certain direction, as it is to move in the other. That is sufficient edge for a good trader to out-perform the general market. Similarly, let’s assume another stock trading at $5.75 has intraday support at $5.50, $5.25, and $5.

Is Technical Analysis The Holy Grail?

Understanding and acknowledging the potential range after a stock moves through a support/resistance trigger level is crucial so you can plan your exits accordingly. Any and all information discussed is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, legal or investment advice. A referral to a stock or commodity is not an indication to buy or sell that stock or commodity. Technical analysis gets a bad rep among value guys, who stick to the fundamentals.


Pivot and Fibonacci levels are worth tracking even if you don’t personally use them as indicators in your own trading strategy. Caginalp and Balenovich in 1994 used their asset-flow differential equations model to show that the major patterns of technical analysis could be generated with some basic assumptions. Some of the patterns such as a triangle continuation or reversal pattern can be generated with the assumption of two distinct groups of investors with different assessments of valuation.

Setting Up Your Charts

They’re important to recognize when planning trades … And when stocks break out of these areas are broken, they often set good levels to establish new positions. Volume and momentum indicators help determine if a stock’s trend is real and has a chance to continue. He created and used the Dow Jones Industrial Average to show how patterns of highs, lows, and averages explained market events and directions. There are so many different methods and indicators, so, of course, different traders will see different things. In short, this is how you look at a stock’s movements, the overall market, and learn to recognize patterns using historical data. There is another class of technical indicators, however, whose main purpose is not so much to determine market direction as to determine market strength. These indicators include such popular tools as the Stochastic Oscillator, the Relative Strength Index , the Moving Average Convergence-Divergence indicator, and the Average Directional Movement Index .

Past performance, historical or simulated results are not a reliable indicator of future returns and may not account for real world settings. Financial trading is full of risk and margin trading can lead to financial losses totalling more than what is in your investment account. We take care to present accurate analysis but mistakes in backtesting and presenting of analysis regularly occur. The truth is that technical analysis is such a broad and complex area, saying it doesn’t work is like saying psychology or economics doesn’t work. Clearly, there are areas of technical analysis that are effective and areas that aren’t.


Test your strategies and tools using StocksToTrade’s paper trading feature. Candlesticks display the high, low, open, and closing prices for each designated time period. They display the most amount of information that’s easy to view at a glance. Support and resistance levels are areas of consolidation where the bulls and bears wage war. One possibility would be to enter a swing trade a little above the $22 mark when the price started to rise with volume. Technical analysts believe that when it comes to a stock’s history of price action, it tends to repeat. Today’s technical analysts typically agree on three assumptions.

Pay attention to intraday charts, hourly charts, daily charts, etc. This can help you identify significant price points and get a better understanding of the mentalities of other traders. For example, $5.30 may not be a significant price on an intraday chart, whereas it may have major significance on a daily chart. A stock’s trend is the general direction in which the price is moving. Understanding a stock’s trend helps ensure you are on the right side of a trade.

And these sentiment indicators swing back and forth between extremely bearish to extremely bullish. The stock market or any market never reflects what its true value is. It reflects investors perception of the value or what people think it is worth. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading. For example, let’s say you’re an investor who focuses on sustainable growth.

If the stock has support at $8, you may want to wait forconfirmation. Psychological Price Points– Psychological price points are similar to static price points except they don’t require any historical confirmation. For example, a stock $98 stock may run into resistance at $100 due to the psychology surrounding the change in price. Psychological price points tend to exist at whole and half dollar marks.

Technical analysts also widely use market indicators of many sorts, some of which are mathematical transformations of price, often including up and down volume, advance/decline data and other inputs. These indicators are used to help assess whether an asset is trending, and if it is, the probability of its direction and of continuation. Technicians also look for relationships between price/volume indices and market indicators. Examples include the moving average, relative strength index and MACD. Other avenues of study include correlations between changes in Options and put/call ratios with price.

Across the industry there are hundreds of patterns and signals that have been developed by researchers to support technical analysis trading. Technical analysts have also developed numerous types of trading systems to help them forecast and trade on price movements. Commonly used technical indicators and charting patterns include trendlines, channels, moving averages and momentum indicators. The core principle underlying technical analysis is that the market price reflects all available information that could impact a market.

Charting Terms And Indicators

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