Article Stock Picking – The Flaws of Technical Analysis

T2W Bot

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Among Wall Street researchers, there are two main approaches to stock picking: fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis subscribes to the belief that the shares of companies will reflect changes in forward progress and financial health. In contrast, technical analysis concentrates on stock price action and how such changes reflect shifts in investor psychology. Technical analysis is totally indifferent to underlying company developments.
Therein lies its fatal flaw. As one might suspect, there are different approaches to technical analysis and there is what purports to be an academic treatise on the subject: Technical Analysis of Stock Trends, the ninth edition of which devotes nearly 800 pages to the subject. Devotees worship this tome much as fundamental analysts pay homage to Security Analysis, by Graham & Dodd. The book is filled with all kinds of lines, shapes, and other graphic devices in a comprehensive attempt to convince the reader that charts of...
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tomorton

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I'm not going to be lectured by someone who makes a living from managing other people's money as to why an individual can't manage their own, whether by TA or any other means. Obviously, if we all did this, Russell would be out of a job, so he certainly isn't an impartial commentator.
 

Trader333

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It is "opinion" and more about how fundamental analysis has given more consistent returns when applied specifically to stocks as opposed to other instruments. Either way we all know that more than 80% of people who use TA to trade lose over an extended period of time which is not the case for long term traders who use FA.
 
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dbphoenix

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It is "opinion" and more about how fundamental analysis has given more consistent returns when applied specifically to stocks as opposed to other instruments. Either way we all know that more than 80% of people who use TA to trade lose over an extended period of time which is not the case for long term traders who use FA.
However, this is an assertion that can't be made unless one is clear with regard to exactly what "fundamental" and "technical" analyses are. If one defines technical analysis incorrectly -- "all kinds of lines, shapes, and other graphic devices in a comprehensive attempt to convince the reader that charts of prior price action foretell the future" -- as a foundation for claiming that it "doesn't work", the ensuing argument falls apart. Interestingly enough, the author stumbles across the meaning of traditional technical analysis in his last two paragraphs and decides that it does after all have practical and demonstrable worth.
 
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Trader333

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Yes fair points and maybe the issue is defining what TA is as there seems to be a lot of everything that is not FA bundled into being classed as TA.
 

dbphoenix

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Yes fair points and maybe the issue is defining what TA is as there seems to be a lot of everything that is not FA bundled into being classed as TA.
Fundamental analysis addresses the value of a company, generally based on revenues, earnings, book value, etc.

Technical analysis addresses the value of the company's stock, i.e., what buyers are willing to pay for it.

Everything else is just mud in the water.
 

tomorton

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It is "opinion" and more about how fundamental analysis has given more consistent returns when applied specifically to stocks as opposed to other instruments. Either way we all know that more than 80% of people who use TA to trade lose over an extended period of time which is not the case for long term traders who use FA.

I don't see evidence that it was an inherent result of the use of TA rather than fundamentals which caused the majority of traders to fail.

Although there's no evidence for this either, I suggest its equally or more likely that the mentality, ambitions, research efforts, available capital, attitudes to and use of leverage, previous experience with more conventional investment, plus the preference for daytrading that sabotages the majority of traders. These are factors arising from the individual, not from their use or even abuse of TA. The two groups, newbie TA traders and newbie FA traders are not alike and their outcomes should not be compared directly.

I continue to argue that the elimination of daytrading alone as a style of trading would eliminate many losing traders before they had a chance to blow up: of course, if daytrading were unavailable, many would-be traders would simply move on to seek other opportunities in other fields.
 

Trader333

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I continue to argue that the elimination of daytrading alone as a style of trading would eliminate many losing traders before they had a chance to blow up: of course, if daytrading were unavailable, many would-be traders would simply move on to seek other opportunities in other fields.
I agree.
 
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dbphoenix

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I continue to argue that the elimination of daytrading alone as a style of trading would eliminate many losing traders before they had a chance to blow up
Or deny traders the option of trading on margin. That alone might motivate traders to determine just what it is that they're doing. Daytrading in and of itself is not the problem.
 

Mr. Charts

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I can only speak from personal experience.
In the early 90s I invested and made some money.
In the mid 90s I traded on T25 and made a much higher return.
From the late 90s I have day traded and done even better, so much so that I sold my dental practice in 2000 to trade for a living.
Why and how in very general terms?
I have a very brief look at fundamentals just in terms of news flow, price moves which demonstrate clear sentiment in various set ups and price action itself as a refining trigger. Sometimes I use margin, usually not. I am in and out of trades in the same day so I repeatedly use the same capital over and over again every day. That you cannot do in investing.
So I read an article such as this which demonstrates a rigid and inflexible and biased (as tomorton rightly points out) attitude and it is all I can do to be polite and not laugh at sneering ignorance masquerading as knowledge and experience.
Yes, of course most day traders blow up, but that is because they think they know what they are doing and plunge in steeped in a total failure to understand what they are doing. Trading appears simple but requires the knowledge and the experience practice and thought bring in their wake, not to mention personality traits including the ability to ignore emotional experience. It's rather like not learning to drive properly as it looks very simple and straightforward so why not just go out and buy a Ferrari and drive round Marble Arch at 80 mph. Or trying to drive on the San Diego Expressway at the same speed in heavy traffic or the Paris Peripherique.
So yes, most people who do that mess up spectacularly.
It's like a lot of things in life, know what you're doing, practice, gain experience, then do the business, enjoy and prosper. Rocket science it isn't.
 
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Winslow

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The author, Russell Wayne, is a CFP who runs an asset management firm (essentially a sell side operation) in CT. He rips technical analysis while appearing to have barely researched the topic. Instead he quotes John Train, a 90 year-old stock market author and strong adherent to fundamental analysis. A technician could respond by quoting prolific financial author and technician Jack Schwager. Neither approach effectively analyzes the wide ranging discipline.

This article is so brief and superficial as to not even be worth reading, something in the past you would have expected in something like Reader's Digest.
 

Lúidín

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Does a lot not depend on the type of trading carried out, as in daytrading v.s position trading.
A chart is nothing more than a graphical representation of price over time. As to the value of price, well that is an altogether different matter, as for a daytrader might have not one little bit of intrest in the price value, but might be very interested in the price volatility.
 

Lúidín

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Fundamental analysis addresses the value of a company, generally based on revenues, earnings, book value, etc.

Technical analysis addresses the value of the company's stock, i.e., what buyers are willing to pay for it.

Everything else is just mud in the water.
Can you explain how this is so in relation to widely used TA such as Fibs, Elliot, Gann, etc.

How is a Fib retracement level used in trading addressing the value of a company's stock?

Or an impulse wave?

Or a proportional assertion?
 

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