Posts Tagged ‘technical trading’

Technical Trading – Stochastics

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

The technical indicator called Stochastics is used to determine patterns of uptrends and downtrends in a stock’s trading pattern. The oscillation of the Stochastics shows you when a stock is nearing or within an oversold area or nearing or within an overbought area.

Stochastics come in two main varieties, fast and slow. Both are graphed between 0-100, where over 80 means overbought and under 20 means oversold.

Stochastics Fast

The Stochastic Fast is charted using the following two lines.

Fast %K: [(Close – Low) / (High – Low)] x 100 (shown as black line above)
Fast %D: Simple moving average of Fast K (3-day MA) (shown as blue “trigger line” above)

Stochastics Slow

The Stochastic Slow is charted using the following two lines.

Slow %K: Equal to Fast %D (3-day MA of Fast %K) (shown as black line above)
Slow %D: Simple moving average of Slow %K (shown as blue “trigger line” above)

Which is better? Well, the Stochastics Slow is usually preferred by most traders because is does not show as many false buy and sell signals.

Stochastic Price Divergences

One other aspect of Stochastics that I would like to touch on are Stochastic Price Divergences. This occurs when the Stochastics begins to oscillate within a smaller and smaller range. If the narrowing range is encompassing high numbers around 70 and above then this is a very strong bullish signal. The opposite is also true, if the narrowing range is encompassing low numbers below 30 then this is a very bearish signal.

Below is an example of a bullish Stochastic Price Divergence.

Understanding Stock Charts – The Basics

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

When used with other stock indicators the following  charting skills can help you greatly improve your trades.

Resistance levels are price levels that a stock has a difficult time busting through. The bottom resistance is called a floor.  The upper resistance is called a ceiling. Typically, buyers enter the market around the floor price to stabilize the price and possibly drive the share price back up. When a stock is reaching its ceiling, sellers will enter the market stopping the upward momentum and even driving the stock price back down. The best way to spot resistance levels on a stock chart is to find prices where the stock moves horizontally. For example, if a stock is trading around 15 and then trades down to 10 but then begins to move sideways at 10 and eventually heads back up in price, then 10 is probably a price floor. The more times a resistance level is tested, the stronger it becomes . However, if a resistance level is broken it usually results in upward momentum. For example, if the stock mentioned above broke through its price floor of 10 then the price floor would become the price ceiling. Keep in mind that resistance levels are usually price ranges not a specific stock price.

Another important feature of stock charts is volume (the number of shares traded each day). Most stock charts will show the volume of shares traded along the bottom of the chart. Look for higher than normal trading activity. If a stock is trading higher on high volume it is much more likely to continue. However, if a stock is trading higher on low volume, it may be a sign of uncertainty and the gains may be short lived. Without the conformation of volume it is very difficult to be sure of any price move or new trend.

A gap is when a stock “jumps” up or down leaving a blank area on a chart. For example, if a stock closed the previous day at $12 but opened the next day at $14, this would be a gap up. In this example the gap will become a resistance floor. However, if the gap is penetrated, it will often fill the entire gap or close the blank space before resuming its trend. Once the gap has been closed it loses much of its significance on stock charts.

Here’s a quick clip for all you beginners with some very basic, but important information about reading stock charts:

Using stock charts can be a helpful tool. However, stock charts use historical data and future price movements may differ. Most active traders rely heavily on stock charts and indicators to make their investment decisions.