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What is technical analysis?

Technical analysis is the forecasting of price direction through studying past market data — primarily, price and volume — over time. In other words, charts are used to identify trading signals and price patterns, which may seem a bit difficult at first.

Technical analysis applies to any instrument you trade – whether it’s stocks, indices, futures or forex – as prices are influenced by the forces of supply and demand.

The objective of the analysis is to try and predict any future price movement, and can be done on any timeframe – from one minute through to one month and all timeframes in between.

Chart analysis can be an integral way of trading the markets, and following a trend could be a good gauge as to when to enter the market.

Take an uptrend for example – a healthy uptrend has a series of higher highs and higher lows, both of which have the potential to enter the market at.

Other indicators that you can use to determine the strength of a trend is the MACD, which is a momentum indicator that incorporates a moving average – the 9 EMA (Exponential Moving Average). The MACD offers both trend following and momentum.

The MACD fluctuates above and below the zero line as the moving averages converge, cross and diverge. You can look for signal line crossovers, centreline crossovers and divergences to generate signals.

If the MACD is above the 9 EMA, the momentum will be bullish and the MACD is below the 9 EMA, the momentum is bearish.

Another momentum oscillator that measures the speed and change of price movements is the RSI (Relative Strength Index).

By using the RSI, you can quickly identify overbought areas (when RSI goes above 70) and oversold areas (when RSI goes below 30) on the chart, and where the price is likely to reverse.

The RSI becomes incredibly useful when there’s divergence between it and the price action. Divergence occurs when pricing action and RSI is not in agreeance – once you spot this, you could potentially start preparing to enter the market, or exit if you already hold a position.