Technical analysis is the study of price movements in a market, whereby traders make use of historic chart patterns and indicators to forecast future trends in the market. It is a visual representation of the past and present performance of a market and allows the trader to use this information in the form of price action, indicators and patterns to guide and inform future trends before entering a trade.
Technical analysis involves the interpretation of patterns from charts. Trader’s make use of historic data, based primarily on price and volume and use this information to identify trading opportunities based on common patterns in the market. Different indicators are applied to charts to determine entry and exit points for traders to maximize a trades potential at good risk-reward ratios.
Many traders have found technical analysis to be a useful tool for risk-management, which can be a key stumbling block. Once a trader understands the concepts and principles of technical analysis, it can be applied to any market, making it a flexible analytical tool. Where fundamental analysis looks to identify intrinsic value in a market, technical analysis looks to identify trends, which conveniently can be caused by the underlying fundamentals.
This is because the most important measure of a market’s past and current performance is the price itself; this is the starting point when delving into analyzing the potential of a trade. Price action can be represented on a chart as this is the clearest indication of what the price is doing.
Whether there's an upward or downward trend, either over the long or short term or to identify range bound conditions. The most common types of technical analysis charts are line charts, bar charts and candlestick charts.
When using a bar or candlestick chart each period will give the technical analyst information on the price from where it opened, the high or low of the period as well as the close. Candlestick analysis is especially useful as the patterns and relationship within them can assist in making forecasts about the future direction of the price.
Once a trader has mastered the basics of charting, they can then make use of indicators to assist in determining the trend.
Indicators are used by technical traders when looking for opportunities in the market. Although many indicators exist, traders often make use of volume and priced-based indicators. These assist in determining where the levels of support and resistance are, how often they are maintained or breached as well ascertaining the length of a trend.
A trader can view the price or any other indicator using multiple time frame analysis, ranging from one second to a month which gives the trader a different perspective of the price action.