Technical Analysis: Basic Principles of Technical Analysis in investment6th September 2020
In finance, technical analysis is an analysis methodology for forecasting the direction of prices through the study of past market data, primarily price and volume. Behavioral economics and quantitative analysis use many of the same tools of technical analysis, which, being an aspect of active management, stands in contradiction to much of modern portfolio theory. The efficacy of both technical and fundamental analysis is disputed by the efficient-market hypothesis, which states that stock market prices are essentially unpredictable, and research on technical analysis has produced mixed results.
Fundamental analysts examine earnings, dividends, assets, quality, ratio, new products, research and the like. Technicians employ many methods, tools and techniques as well, one of which is the use of charts. Using charts, technical analysts seek to identify price patterns and market trends in financial markets and attempt to exploit those patterns.
Technicians using charts search for archetypal price chart patterns, such as the well-known head and shoulder or double top/bottom reversal patterns, study technical indicators, moving averages and look for forms such as lines of support, resistance, channels and more obscure formations such as flags, pennants, balance days and cup and handle patterns.
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 (implied volatility) and put/call ratios with price. Also important are sentiment indicators such as Put/Call ratios, bull/bear ratios, short interest, Implied Volatility, etc.
There are many techniques in technical analysis. Adherents of different techniques (for example: Candlestick analysis, the oldest form of technical analysis developed by a Japanese grain trader; Harmonics; Dow theory; and Elliott wave theory) may ignore the other approaches, yet many traders combine elements from more than one technique. Some technical analysts use subjective judgment to decide which pattern(s) a particular instrument reflects at a given time and what the interpretation of that pattern should be. Others employ a strictly mechanical or systematic approach to pattern identification and interpretation.
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.
A core principle of technical analysis is that a market’s price reflects all relevant information impacting that market. A technical analyst therefore looks at the history of a security or commodity’s trading pattern rather than external drivers such as economic, fundamental and news events. It is believed that price action tends to repeat itself due to the collective, patterned behavior of investors. Hence technical analysis focuses on identifiable price trends and conditions.
Technical analysis employs models and trading rules based on price and volume transformations, such as the relative strength index, moving averages, regressions, inter-market and intra-market price correlations, business cycles, stock market cycles or, classically, through recognition of chart patterns.
Technical analysis stands in contrast to the fundamental analysis approach to security and stock analysis. In the fundamental equation M = P/E technical analysis is the examination of M (multiple). Multiple encompasses the psychology generally abounding, i.e. the extent of willingness to buy/sell. Also in M is the ability to pay as, for instance, a spent-out bull can’t make the market go higher and a well-heeled bear won’t. Technical analysis analyzes price, volume, psychology, money flow and other market information, whereas fundamental analysis looks at the facts of the company, market, currency or commodity. Most large brokerages, trading groups, or financial institutions will typically have both a technical analysis and fundamental analysis team.
In the 1960s and 1970s it was widely dismissed by academics. In a recent review, Irwin and Park reported that 56 of 95 modern studies found that it produces positive results but noted that many of the positive results were rendered dubious by issues such as data snooping, so that the evidence in support of technical analysis was inconclusive; it is still considered by many academics to be pseudoscience. Academics such as Eugene Fama say the evidence for technical analysis is sparse and is inconsistent with the weak form of the efficient-market hypothesis. Users hold that even if technical analysis cannot predict the future, it helps to identify trends, tendencies, and trading opportunities.
While some isolated studies have indicated that technical trading rules might lead to consistent returns in the period prior to 1987, most academic work has focused on the nature of the anomalous position of the foreign exchange market. It is speculated that this anomaly is due to central bank intervention, which obviously technical analysis is not designed to predict. Recent research suggests that combining various trading signals into a Combined Signal Approach may be able to increase profitability and reduce dependence on any single rule.