When selecting stocks, fundamental analysis is important, but technical analysis of stocks is of equal or greater importance. Stocks trade based on what the future holds (or is expected to hold), not on last quarter’s financial results. A stock’s share price reflects the future prospects of and expectations for the company.
But stocks also have memories. The stock market is simply a collection of investors who buy and sell stocks. These investors remember a stock’s past, which influences their buying and selling behavior.
This is where the technical analysis of stock trends comes into play. It can be a powerful tool to identify trend reversals and entry and exit points. The best way to analyze the trading pattern of a stock is to look at its chart.
As you read Cabot newsletters and listen to investing news, you will probably hear terms like ‘head-and-shoulders pattern,’ ‘trendline,’ ‘support and resistance,’ ‘double top’ or ‘double bottom,’ “triangle,’ and ‘gap.’
Understanding these basic formations and how to read stock charts will make you a better, more profitable investor. Timing is everything, and even a basic understanding of technical analysis will greatly improve the timing of your entry and exit points. And that can be the difference between a successful and a failed investment.
No technical indicator or system is perfect. There will be times when the signal that is given by the charts turns out to be wrong. But in most cases, when technical stock analysis leads you to a certain conclusion, the stock will behave in a way that is similar to what would be expected.
Common Technical Analysis of Stocks and Functions
Momentum is a common term used in technical analysis and is one of the most basic ways of tracking the performance of a stock. Momentum is determined by comparing the Relative Performance (RP) line of a stock to a major market index. If the RP line of a stock is trending higher than the index, than it is performing better than the overall market. And if the RP line of the stock were to trend lower than the index, that means the stock is performing worse than the overall market. An RP line that aligns with that of the index means that the stock is basically performing at the same rate as the market.
Moving averages is another common technical analysis function. A moving average simply determines the average price of a stock over a specific period of time. Calculating a moving average is simple. All you have to do is add up the closing prices of a stock over a certain period of time and then divide by that period of time. For example, if you wanted to find the moving average of a stock over a period of 30 days, you would just add the closing prices of the stock for each day and then divide by 30.
A Guide to Technical Analysis of Stocks
If you want to learn more about technical analysis, consider reading “Technical Analysis of Stocks: How Relative Performance Works, Why Trading Volume is Important, and Other Chart-Reading Lessons”, written by Mike Cintolo, chief analyst of Cabot Growth Investor and Cabot Top Ten Trader.