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Teach me Technical Analysis!!!

post #1 of 344
Thread Starter 

Welcome to Technical Analysis 101. Have a seat and pay attention, there will be a quiz at the end.

So what is technical analysis (TA)? Simply put TA is the use of charts to identify patterns and predict future activity. It is impossible to accurately predict the future, but by understanding investors emotions, you can always try keep one step ahead of the pack.

Many different factors effect the price of a stock, anything from weather, inventory, fed interest rate hikes, inflation, sales and so forth. Stocks go up and down and there is little we can do to predict exactly how a stock will react tomorrow. What we can do however is look at what a stock has done in the past, and from that, gauge an approximation of how it should act in the future.

Let us begin with Lesson #1: Support and Resistance

Step one: Looking at a stock chart.

The first thing you want to do is change your chart from a line chart to a bar chart. Lines are nice, but they dont give us enough information about what a stock did intraday. A bar chart shows us the open, the daily move and the close (candlesticks also do this, but we will get to those later).


The importance of having a barchart (or candlesticks, which are similar) is that it allows you to quickly see the range your stock has traded within in that time period. The "range" is the highest and lowest level in that period, this will be important later when we learn about candle sticks.

Now that you have a bar chart, lets do the most basic of all analysis, lets look for support and resistance levels.

Finding support: Starting from the left in Jan 2005, (first blue arrow), you can see that INTC hit the $22 level, then rallied. In April the stock dropped and hit $22, the rallied again. It seems that $22 is a nice support level. Investors are basically thinking "Hmm, I like INTC and would buy it if it hit $22..." and so they do. If we connect those two support levels and extend the line to the right, it shows us a nice long term support level.

Finding resistance: After that first support was found, the stock rallied, but then stalled at $25.50 in March. You can see that in May, the stock blasted right through that resistance level. Note that support and resistance levels do not have to be horizontal, in fact they can be almost any angle. INTC hit $28 in June, and pulled back, that is another resistance point. By connecting the March and June peaks, then extending the resistance level outward, we find that the next resistance point in July was predicted correctly! Later in November we can see that the old $25.50 resistance stalled the rally, but as soon as it broke through, it moved quickly.

Think of support and resistance levels as jello like barrier, sometimes a stock will bounce off them, other times it will cut through.


Note: A stock will not change direction because you drew a line on a chart, but if enough traders and investors are all looking at the same levels, this can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Be aware of what others are are looking at and try use it to your advantage.

Stay tuned for Lesson #2 - Moving Averages

post #2 of 344
Thread Starter 

Lesson 2 - Moving averages

Perhaps the most basic of all indicators is the moving average. It is exactly what it sounds like. If your wife spends $100 today, and $110 tomorrow. Her average spending is $105.

Stocks move every day, so if GE (General Electric) closed at $30 yesterday, then at $30.50 today, the average over the past two days is $30.25.

Now lets stretch this out over say... 200 days, we would get a line showing us the average closing price over that time period.

I did not randomly pick 200 days, the 200dma (day moving average) is actually one of the most commonly used indicators. Even those traders or investors who have no clue about technical indicators would know about the 200dma. It is basically the trend line that if a stock is above it, it is doing good, if it is below it, the stock is doing bad. This is obviously an extremely generalized point of view, but it gives us a general frame of reference.

The 200dma is best used with major indices and blue chips, not small or mid cap stocks.

Let us take a look at the 200dma as applied to GE:NYSE. As long as the stock is above the 200dma, it is considered to be in a healthy uptrend. A strong move below the 200dma would indicate some volatility, and if the stock stays below the 200dma for an extended period of time, it is an indication of continued weakness.

The trend of the 200dma itself is important. If the 200dma is uptrending, that tells us the underlying security is in a strong long term uptrend. If the 200dma is downtrending, then the opposite. A stock will often move above and below the 200dma, but as long as it is in an uptrend, its ok.

Next lesson - short term and multiple moving averages
post #3 of 344
Thread Starter 

Lesson 3 - Short term moving MA's

If you want to know the long term trends, a 200dma is fine. But what about shorter term moves?

The same concept applies to short term moving averages. Daytraders will use moving averages based on 14dma or even 5dma for general trends, they even get down to 5min and 1min moving averages, but we are not daytrading here.

Let us focus on long term and mid term trends for now.

Instead of a 200dma, lets use a 100dma and also a 50dma. An interesting thing happens when you put two different time frames together, you get two lines that move around each other.

The blue line is a 100dma, you can see how it showing the general trend of the stock. The brown line is a shorter term 50dma, it is more volatile as it more closely follows the actual day to day moves (averaged over 50 days).

Here comes the fun part: See how the 50dma moved above the 100dma Jan 04 (first blue arrow). This indicates to us that the short term trend was extremely stronger to the upside than the longer term 100 day trend. As you can see, the stock did indeed hit some nice highs. You will also note the opposite (red arrow) when the 50dma fell below the 100dma.

Look at July 04, see how the 50dma once again moved above the 100dma? I good indication of short term strength kicking in. GE went from $32 to $37 over the following months. Now look how the trend changed when the 50dma fell below the 100dma in July 05, this indicator told us that weakness is kicking in and GE subsequently dropped from $35 to $33.

Next lesson - combining what we have learned so far.
post #4 of 344
Thread Starter 

Lesson 3a - Combining what we have learned

Believe it or not, after just these three simply lessons you already have the tools for basic technical analysis... very basic though.

Using the same chart of GE, all I am going to do now is identify a recent support level:

As you can see, in the early part of 2005, the $35 area was strong support. We also see some overhead resistance that stopped the rally in May 2005. Now watch how this signal works out, we see the stock break below $35, next we see the 50dma cross under the 100dma. What followed was a continued drop to $33. If you were a trader, you would have exited the stock at $35 and saved yourself that drop.

Not indicated on that chart is that the $33 area is a support level. Can you see why?

You could have used $33 as a re-entry into the stock.
post #5 of 344
Thread Starter 

Chart patterns

Chart patterns will by far be your most reliable friend when it comes to trading when combined with other indicators.

Since you are already familiar with support and resistance lines, you will find that chart patterns are a simple extension of that concept.

post #6 of 344
Thread Starter 

Lesson 5 - Kicking it up a knotch with RSI and MACD

Do not be scared! This is really not that bad!

All I am going to do in lesson 5 is introduce you to two friends of mine, they are basic oscillating indicators, one is called RSI (Relative Strength Index) and the other is MACD (Moving Averge Convergance Divergance).

I have put RSI at the top of the chart, MACD is at the bottom.


The calculation for RSI is 100-(100/ 1+(U/D)) where U=avg upward price change and D=avg downward price change.

RSI is a oscillator that ranges between 0 and 100. The standard time period that you will find it set at is usually 14 days. Traders will often change this 14d period to make it suit their style of trading. Shorter term for daytrades, longer term (21-50days) for longer term trading.

Simply put, an RSI reading over 70 indicates an overbought situation, below 30 is an oversold situation. Some traders use the peak RSI as a buy or sell signal, others wait for a cross over back below or above the 70 or 30 level to indicate a buy or sell.

This indicator shows you the 'internal strength' of a security. There is also an important divergance signal RSI gives us, which I will cover in a later lesson.

Take a look at this chart. The green arrow shows the RSI touching 30, thats a buy signal. The red arrows show sell signals. You will also note that head n shoulders pattern, combined with the RSI gave a nice sell signal.


MACD is a momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages., it is best used in wide swinging trading. MACD is uses crossovers, overbought/oversold conditions, and divergences.

Using the same concept from our moving averages tutorial, when one line crosses above the other, note how the red line crosses the black like at the first green arrow, thats a buy signal. The opposite is true at the red signal.

Important note: No technical indicator is 100% correct. As you become more advanced, you will pick out and combine indicators which suit your trading style.

Important note #2: These are the basics of these indicators, things get increasingly complexed the more you get into it.




This paragraph is probably the most important one you will read, so pay close attention.


The most important thing to remember when you are using charts to try gauge levels of fear and and greed (which is exactly what you are doing here) is that the market will do what it wants to do.


The market, or a stock does not care if a line says there is support, or if an indicator says it should be oversold. Technical indicators do not tell the market what to do, its the other way around! Technical Analysis is just a tool, much like a hammer is a tool. Just because you have a hammer does not mean you can build a beautiful house. Remember this and you will understand one of the most important lessons in trading you will ever learn.


Technical analysis tries to find trends and patterns in this noise. All you need to do is be better then 50% correct. If you can be right 60% of the time, and if you can manage your losses, that is all it takes to be profitable in the long run.


I hope this fast tracks you into the TA part of your investing education!



Additional resources:


www.Investopedia.com - An encyclopedia for all investing and trading terms, including TA

www.chartpatterns.com - as the name implies

http://www.babypips.com/school/ - Primarily a FOREX site, but techicals are the same anywhere you go, good educational articles.

post #7 of 344
This is awesome. Thanks for the help.
post #8 of 344
yes i agree keep up the good work
post #9 of 344
Thanks Jockey..

Lovin the tips.
post #10 of 344
Thread Starter 



I need to add the following!


The indicators and patterns I put up above are just a few of the thousands that exist out there. I used these ones as a starting point to show some basic techniques, from here on you will most likely experiment with other indicators and develop a system that suits your style of trading!


One thing you should be cautious of is using too many indicators, try keep it simple!


Good luck!

post #11 of 344
Originally Posted by StockJock-e
Wait until I kick it into high gear, then you will cry and ask why I have cursed you with all this information!
LOL Laughing
post #12 of 344
Thanks for the posts. I'm really trying to learn as much as I can before I start dropping money into the market. These lessons are a good start. I was really getting kinda pissed off trying to figure out how to rread these charts.
post #13 of 344
Thanks alot for taking your time to supply us with this, i really cant wait till you r next tutorial.
post #14 of 344
Thread Starter 

The Importance of time frames

Here it is, the next tutorial.

Now that you are fimiliar with the basics such as trend lines, MA's, RSI and MACD, the next step is to use them in multiple time frames.

Using multiple time frames is by far the most important strategy in your arsenal. It gives you a deeper perspective of what a stock has done, and where it could go.

Here we see a 2yr chart of INTC, if you slap on some basic trend lines, we get a nice picture of what is going on:

Next, lets zoom in to a 1yr chart, same thing, but as you can see, some more shorter term trends are now visible:

Next, a 6 month chart, once again, an even clearer picture of what has been happening.

As you can see, knowing what the larger picture holds gives you better insight into trading ranges. Applying your MACD and RSI to different time frames will also give you similar insights.

Daytraders will zoom right into 1hr charts, 15min and 1min charts for daytrades, but for momentum and swing trades, using 1yr and 6 month charts will usually suffice.
post #15 of 344
...are you getting this from a book? cus im reading one, and this is somewhat like it.. and if your not, then, you are well off on a very good direction. yet another one good.
post #16 of 344
Thread Starter 
Books? This stuff comes from years of trading experience. You cant get that in books, although I should consider writing one!
post #17 of 344
great information StockJock-e i learn a lot from what you post i want to thank you for you help to all of us again thanks
post #18 of 344
StockJOe I been browing some books and trying to learn this stuff and happned a few days ago to find this forum.

I have read your post now 3 times and Really want to thank you for taking the time to explain it so well that a total N00b like me could understand .

Thank you Sir.
post #19 of 344
Thread Starter 
My pleasure, Im glad to hear that you are all making use of this information.
post #20 of 344
Absolutely great thread. If you wouldn't mind StockJock-e, you can feel free to write as much TS stuff in this thread as possible. And yes, you should write a book, I'd buy it. Anyway, thanks for the info man, and I will be checking this thread often to see if you add more.

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