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Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is a financial market technique that traders use to forecast the future direction of stocks through the study of past performances. The most popular technical indicators include moving average, exponential moving average, Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD), Stochastic and candlestick patterns.

Moving Average

Moving average is one of the most popular and easy-to-use tools available for technical analysts.

Simple Moving Average (SMA)

A simple moving average is formed by computing the average closing price of a security over a specified number of periods. For example, a 10-day moving average is calculated by adding the closing price for the last 10 days and dividing the result by 10. 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10=55, 55/10 = 5.5 (Assuming that the closing prices for the 10 days are 1-10 consecutively).

Exponential Moving Average (EMA)

An exponential moving average gives greater weight to more recent data. It responds to changes faster than a simple MA. EMA is calculated by multiplying by a great percentage to the latest data than the earlier data, as opposed to giving the same weight for both.
Ema = Ptoday* K + Emayesterday * (1-K), where
- K = 2/(N+1)
- N = the number of days in the EMA
- Ptoday = today's closing price
- Emayesterday = yesterday's Ema

Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD)

Moving Average Convergence/Divergence or MACD is a technical analysis indicator created by Gerald Appel in the 1960s. MACD consists of three exponential moving averages. It gives a bullish signal when the two lines crossover. To create MACD:
1. Calculate a 12-day EMA of closing prices.
2. Calculate a 26-day EMA of closing prices.
3. Subtract the 26-day EMA from the 12-day EMA, and plot their difference as a solid line. This is the fast MACD line.
4. Calculate a 9-day EMA of the fast line, and plot the result as a dashed line. This is the slow Signal line.
- When the fast MACD line rises above the slow Signal line, it gives a bullish signal.

MACD-Histogram

MACD-Histogram = MACD line - Signal line
MACD-Histogram is created by the difference between the MACD line and the Signal line, and plots the difference as a histogram. If the fast line is above the slow line, MACD-Histogram is positive and plotted above the zero line. If the fast line is below the slow line, MACD-Histogram is negative and plotted below the zero line. When the two lines touch, MACD-Histogram equals zero.

Stochastic

Created by George C. Lane in the late 1950s, the Stochastic Oscillator is a momentum indicator that shows the strength of a trend for a certain period of time. Stochastic is a number between 0 and 100 where the reading below 20 is considered oversold and the reading above 80 is considered overbought. To create stochastic:
1. %K = (Ctoday - Ln)/(Hn - Ln) * 100, where
Ctoday = today's close.
Ln = the lowest price for the selected number of days.
Hn = the highest price for the selected number of days.
n = the number of days for Stochastic, selected by the user.

2. Calculate %D.
%D = (3-day sum of(Ctoday - Ln)/(3-day sum of (Hn - Ln) * 100
There are two different stochastic - fast and slow. Fast Stochastic consists of two lines - %K and %D. However, fast stochastic is very sensitive to market turns and therefore many people prefer to use slow stochastic. To calculate slow stochastic, the %D of fast stochastic becomes the %K of slow stochastic and by repeating step 2 to obtain %D of Slow Stochastic.

Candlestick Pattern

Bullish Engulfing Pattern is a very bullish signal in candlestick. It signals a major reversal pattern after a downtrend. It opens lower than the pervious day's close and closes higher than the previous day's open.

To scan for technical indicators, try our free stock screener.

Stock Market For Beginners

How Technical Analysis Work
How Candlestock Patterns Works
How To Trade Stocks
How To Analyze A Stock
How To Paper Trade
3 Different Types of Technical Indicators
How To Trade Simple Moving Average
Support and Resistance
How To Trade Channels
How To Use Volume To Trade Stocks

Stock Market Fundamentals

Stock Market Terms
How To Invest In Stocks
Trading Psychology
Commissions and Slippage
What Are Stock Splits
What Are Reverse Splits
Common Stocks vs. Preferred Stocks.aspx
Why Are Economic Indicators
What is Stock Price

How To Use Stock Scanner

Moving Average Crossover Scan
Stochastic Screener
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Candlestick Scan

Intermediate: Trading Strategy

Cycle Trading Strategies
How To Trade Oversold Stocks
How To Trade Breakout Stocks
How To Trade MACD Crossover
How To Trade Head and Shoulders Pattern
Uptrends Downtrends and Trend Lines
How To Trade Triangle Patterns
How To Trade Doji
How to Trade Bullish Engulfing Patterns
How To Trade Bearish Engulfing Patterns

Advanced: Swing Trading Tactics

How To Scan For Stocks
How To Short Stocks
How To Trade Penny Stocks
How To Trade Divergence Pattern
How To Trade Crossover Patterns
How To Trade Double Tops and Bottoms
How To Trade Triple Tops and Bottoms