Technical analysis in stock trading refers to the evaluation of stock price changes over time. These changes are measured and plotted using formulas, charts and graphs and assessed in terms of patterns, and strength of stock price movement. A number of basic technical tools, and techniques are used to help technical analysts or chartists assess if specific indicators have occurred.
After a technical indicator has occurred, a confirmation of that indicator may follow using another technical analysis metric. Technical analysis is not an exact science, and generally shouldn’t be considered as always being reliable. Rather basic technical analysis is sometimes used in stock trading to assist in substantiating or validating other methods of stock analysis.
• Moving averages
Moving averages are measured in days, usually up to 200. When longer-term moving averages have been moved through by stock prices, it sometimes indicates a significant price movement. Sometimes stock price support and resistance are formed near moving averages, and when these price levels are significantly broken it can mean a possible price momentum trend. In other words, moving averages are at times used as pivot points where a stock may have a pattern of rebounding upward or downward.
• Candlestick charting
Candlestick charting is a form of technical analysis that began in East Asia. In this type of analysis price movements are represented by black or white candlesticks with lines at the top and bottom. Sometimes colors such as green or red replace the black and white in candlesticks. The color, length and positioning of these candles are placed on a chart and scaled in terms of time and stock price . The technical analysis of these charts will then interpret the candles based on past patterns of similar candle positioning.
Oscillators are used to determine upper and lower limits of price movements. Examples of oscillators are the Relative Strength Index (RSI), and the Rate of Change (ROC) indicators. These basic stock technical analysis tools plot values on a scale between 0-100 using mathematical formulas. When certain value levels are reached, the oscillators are sometimes thought to show an increased probability of a price being close to a high or low.
• Trading levels
Trading levels constitute the amount of stock trading that takes place during a specific period of time and is another widely used basic aspect of technical analysis in stock trading. Trading levels are measured using volume and when it ncreases it can mean a growing momentum in the movement of a trend may be occurring or about to occur. Volume can also indicate overall market participation. For example, during holidays, volume can be quite low due to the absence of investing activity on those days in holiday when the stock market is open.
• Line graphs
Line graphs are also used in basic technical analysis of the stock market. When stock prices are plotted onto line graphs over time, the movement of that price can be analyzed for patterns in a similar way to candlestick charting. For example, a stock price line graph may create a pattern called ‘head and shoulders’, which literally takes the shape of a left and right shoulder with a head in the middle. If patterns like this become evident, stock prices sometimes follow similar movements to previous occurrences when a similar pattern was observed in that or other financial securities’ line graphs.