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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Essentials of technical Analysis: Part II

By Jack Haddad


The time frame used for forming a chart depends on the compression of the data: intraday, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual data. Traders usually concentrate on charts made up of daily and intraday data to forecast shorterm price movements.

The shorter the time frame and the less compressed data is, the more detail that is available. While long on detail, short term charts can be volatile and contain a lot of noise. Large sudden price movements, wide high-low ranges and price gaps can effect volatility, which can distort the overall picture. Long term charts care good for analyzing the large picture to get a broad perspective of the historical price action. Once the general picture is analyzed, a daily chart can be used to zoom in on the last few months. Four of the most popular methods of displaying price data are by the following charts: line bar, candlestick, and point & figure. The line chart is one of the simplest charts. It is formed by plotting one price point, usually the close. For that matter, I don't favor them because I personally consider the open, low, and high to be as important as the close in technical analysis. However, at times, only closing data are available for certain indices, thinly traded stocks and intraday prices. Bar charts are perhaps the most popular charting method. The high, low, and close are required to form the price plot for each period of a bar chart. The high and low are represented by the top and bottom of the vertical bar and the close is the short horizontal line crossing the vertical bar. On a daily chart, each bar represents the high, low, and close for a particular day. Weekly charts would have a bar for each week based on Friday's close and the high and low for that week. Bar charts can be effective for displaying a large amount of data.

Using candlesticks, 200 data points can take up a lot of room and look cluttered. Line charts show less clutter, but do not offer as much detail (no high-low range). The individual bars that make up the bar chart are relatively skinny, which allows users the ability to fit more bars before the chart gets cluttered. If you're not interested in the opening price, bar charts are an ideal method for analyzing the close relative to the high and low. In addition, bar charts that include the open will tend to get cluttered quicker. If you're interested in the opening price, candlestick charts probably offer a better alternative. The beauty of Point & Figure charts is their simplicity. Little or no price movement is deemed irrelevant and therefore not duplicated on the chart. Only price movements that exceed specified levels are recorded. This focus on price movement makes it easier to identify support and resistance levels, bullish breakouts and bearish breakdowns. Contrary to this methodology, Point & Figure charts are based solely on price movement and do not take time into consideration. The topic on candlestick charting is broad and beyond the scope of this article. This method of charting originated in Japan over 300 years ago, and have become quite popular in recent years. For a candlestick chart, the open, high, low, and close are all required. A daily candlestick is based on the open price, the intraday high and low, and the close. A weekly candlestick is based on Monday's open, the weekly high-low range, and Friday's close.


Trendlines are an important tool in technical analysis for both trend identification and confirmation. The general rule in technical analysis is that it takes two points to draw a trendline and the third point confirms the validity. An up trendline is formed by connecting two of more low points. The second low must be higher than the first for the line to have a positive slope.

Up trendlines act as support and indicate that net-demand (demand less supply) is increasing even as the price rises. A downtrend is formed by connecting two or more high points. The second high must be lower than the first for the line to have a negative slope. Down trendlines act as a resistance and indicate that net-supply is increasing even as the price declines. - 23208

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