Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What is Technical Analysis

When trading in the foreign exchange market, part of the process involves forecasting future price movements in order to determine the best time to buy and sell. One method, called technical analysis, takes a look at the market’s past price movements to determine where the numbers will go in the future. Most investors who employ this type of analysis look mostly at price data, but sometimes information such as volume and open interest in futures contracts are also taken into consideration. If you’re just starting out in forex, the rule of thumb is to keep your methods simple - follow the basics, which have been proven over time, and only when you have gained some experience introduce more difficult techniques into your plans.

Technical analysis is almost always used on some level because price charts provide a good visual representation of the price history of a particular currency. At the very least, they can help you determine ideal entry and exit points for a trade based on the historical data. You can decide whether or not you’re buying at a fair price, selling at the top of a cycle, or entering into a shaky market.

It may seem as if adherents of technical analysis disregard market fundamentals in favor of mounds of charts and data, but they argue that these fundamentals are ingrained in the actual numbers. Something unpredictable may cause the numbers to unexpectedly spike, but you can still analyze the data, and identify patterns that will aid you in forecasting future prices.

Essentially, technical analysis can be summed up in three points. First of all, as mentioned above, technical traders assume that market fundamentals are tied to the price data. This is why factors such as the fear, hope, and mood of market participants are not contemplated directly.

Secondly, the idea that history repeats itself is core to this system of analysis. It is possible to look for patterns in price movement (called signals) because the market is predictable. When you look at past market signals you should be able to predict future signals.

Lastly, technicians rely on trends. From this analytical perspective, the market is not irregular or unpredictable. Rather, you can determine, to a high degree of accuracy, what direction a price will take: up, down, or sideways. In addition, trends are expected to continue for a period of time, making it possible to formulate predictions.

But it’s important to understand that technical analysts use more than price charts to determine good entry and exit points. Price charts are used in conjunction with volume charts, and other mathematical representations of market signals. Called studies, these additional pieces of information add another layer of data to the analysis. They let the trader look at the strength and sustainability of trends, in addition to the bare statistics.

Technical analysis is, of course, quite complicated - but for the new trader just starting out in forex, following the basics is a good place to begin. After you gain some experience and learn more about the foreign exchange market, you can delve into more complex research strategies.

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See also:
How To Use MACD
Easy-Forex? The best trading platform available today.
Forex Trading Explained
Institutional Forex System
The MasterTrader eBook
Forex Profits

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