Introduction to Technical Analysis

Introduction to Technical Analysis

, 5 min reading time

This article will walk you through the basics of technical analysis, including how to trade the chart, use different indicators, and explore other popular methods. We’ll also distinguish technical analysis from fundamental analysis, helping you grasp the nuances of each approach.

Trading the Chart: The Foundation of Technical Analysis

At its core, technical analysis involves interpreting price charts to identify patterns and trends. The primary chart type using in technical analysis are candlestick charts. Although, many other types exist like heikin ashi and renko. Candlestick charts display the opening, closing, high, and low prices for each period. Each bar represents one period and gives more detailed information than a line chart.

Indicators: Tools for Enhanced Analysis

Indicators are mathematical calculations based on price, volume, or open interest. It's important to note that no single indicator is predictive on its own; they are meant to provide a lens through which traders can view the market. The ultimate judgment and decision-making come from the trader. Here are some widely used indicators:

  1. Moving Averages (MA): Moving averages smooth out price data to identify the direction of the trend. There are two main types:

    • Simple Moving Average (SMA): The average price over a specified number of periods.
    • Exponential Moving Average (EMA): Gives more weight to recent prices, making it more responsive to new information.

    • Relative Strength Index (RSI): RSI measures the speed and change of price movements. It oscillates between 0 and 100, indicating overbought (above 70) or oversold (below 30) conditions.

      The image above shows an RSI above 70 when price starts to consolidate around 10am. Price can remain overbought or oversold for a long time so this should only be used as one part of a larger trading strategy.

    • Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): MACD shows the relationship between two moving averages of a security’s price. It consists of the MACD line, signal line, and histogram, helping traders identify bullish or bearish signals.

      Similar to RSI, the MACD indicator identifies a bearish trend when the blue and red lines cross. In this case, the signal came later than RSI.

    • Bollinger Bands: These bands are plotted two standard deviations away from a simple moving average. They help traders identify overbought or oversold conditions and potential price breakouts.

      The image above shows price getting over extended and hitting the upper and lower bollinger bands before pulling back. If the traders bias was short, these pull backs could help with entry points.

    • Volume Indicators: Volume indicators, like the On-Balance Volume (OBV), analyze the volume of trading to confirm trends or warn of potential reversals. It calculates the cumulative volume of red (close < open) and green (close > open) bars.

      In this case, the rising golden OBV line confirms the increasing price action. In cases where it doesn't, this might signal a weakening market since volume isn't keeping up with price action.

    Popular Methods in Technical Analysis

    Besides indicators, several methods and strategies are popular among technical analysts:

    1. Trend Following: This strategy involves identifying and following the direction of the market trend. Traders use tools like moving averages to stay in the trade as long as the trend persists.

    2. Support and Resistance: Support is a price level where a downtrend can be expected to pause due to a concentration of demand. Resistance is a price level where a trend can pause or reverse due to a concentration of selling interest. Identifying these levels helps traders make buy or sell decisions.

    3. Chart Patterns: Patterns such as head and shoulders, double tops and bottoms, and triangles provide visual cues about potential price movements. These patterns are formed by the price action on the chart and can indicate continuation or reversal of a trend.

    4. Fibonacci Retracement: This method uses horizontal lines to indicate areas of support or resistance at the key Fibonacci levels before the price continues in the original direction.

    Differentiating Technical Analysis from Fundamental Analysis

    While technical analysis focuses on price and volume data to make trading decisions, fundamental analysis evaluates a security's intrinsic value by examining related economic, financial, and other qualitative and quantitative factors.

    • Fundamental Analysis: Involves analyzing a company’s financial statements, health, management, earnings, and market position. For stocks, this might include studying earnings reports, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. For broader market analysis, it could involve looking at economic indicators like GDP growth, interest rates, and employment data.

    • Technical Analysis: Relies on historical price and volume data, using charts and indicators to forecast future price movements. It assumes that all known fundamentals are already reflected in the price, and therefore, studying price action and market psychology is more important.


    Technical analysis is an invaluable skill for traders, providing insights into market trends and potential trading opportunities. By mastering chart reading, utilizing various indicators, and understanding different analytical methods, you can make more informed and strategic trading decisions. Remember, while technical analysis offers powerful tools, combining it with fundamental analysis can provide a more comprehensive view of the market, enhancing your trading strategy.

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