Technical Analysis is a method of evaluating future security prices and market directions based on statistical analysis of variables such as trading volume, price changes, etc., to identify patterns.
A stock market term – The attempt to look for numerical trends in a random function. The stock market used to be filled with technical analysts deciding what to buy and sell, until it was decided that their success rate is no better than chance. Now technical stock analysis is virtually non-existent. The Readers Submitted Examples page has more on this topic.
Research and examination of the market and securities as it relates to their supply and demand in the marketplace. The technician uses charts and computer programs to identify and project price trends. The analysis includes studying price movements and trading volumes to determine patterns such as Head and Shoulder Formations and W Formations. Other indicators include support and resistance levels, and moving averages. In contrast to fundamental analysis, technical analysis does not consider a corporation’s financial data.
Technical analysts study trading histories to identify price trends in particular stocks, mutual funds, commodities, or options in specific market sectors or in the overall financial markets. They use their findings to predict probable, often short-term, trading patterns in the investments that they study. The speed (and advocates would say the accuracy) with which the analysts do their work depends on the development of increasingly sophisticated computer programs.
Technical Analysis supposes markets have memory.If so, past prices, or the current price momentum, can give an idea of the future price evolution. Technical Analysis is a tool to detect if a trend (and thus the investor’s behavior) will persist or break. It gives some results but can be deceptive as it relies mostly on graphic signals that are often intertwined, unclear or belated. It might become a source of representiveness heuristic (spotting patterns where there are none)
Technical analysis has become increasingly popular over the past several years, as more and more people believe that the historical performance of a stock is a strong indication of future performance. The use of past performance should come as no surprise. People using fundamental analysis have always looked at the past performance of companies by comparing fiscal data from previous quarters and years to determine future growth. The difference lies in the technical analyst’s belief that securities move according to very predictable trends and patterns. These trends continue until something happens to change the trend, and until this change occurs, price levels are predictable.
There are many instances of investors successfully trading a security using only their knowledge of the security’s chart, without even understanding what the company does. However, although technical analysis is a terrific tool, most agree it is much more effective when used in combination with fundamental analysis.
Fundamental analysis looks at a share’s market price in light of the company’s underlying business proposition and financial situation. It involves making both quantitative and qualitative judgements about a company. Fundamental analysis can be contrasted with ‘technical analysis’, which seeks to make judgements about the performance of a share based solely on its historic price behavior and without reference to the underlying business, the sector it’s in, or the economy as a whole. This is done by tracking and charting the companies stock price, volume of shares traded day to day, both on the company itself and also on its competitors. In this way investors hope to build up a picture of future price movements.