Rick is skeptical about the value of technical analysis:
I would be very skeptical that technical analysis works- here is a link discussing the controversy:
I’ve never heard of anyone getting very rich from technical analysis. Plus neither Peter Lynch nor Warren Buffett believes in it.
A web site that tells you when to buy/sell stocks strikes me as too good to be true. Let’s say that you had a stock purchasing system that WORKED- would you
A Make it available to the world on a website/write a book and make $1M
B Keep it secret, start your own hedge fund and make $1B.
I’m guessing A wouldn’t be too likely… Also if you did have a system that really worked then making it widely known will cause the system to be useless. Why? For every transaction there must be a buyer and seller. If many potential sellers see a “buy” signal at the current prince they will demand a higher price to sell driving the price up. Similarly, if many potential buyers see a “sell” signal at the current prince they will demand a lower price to buy forcing the price down. The final result is that the pool of believers in the system will force the actual price to agree with the system’s prediction of a fair price.
Rick might be a little surprised to know – given my recent posts, apparently condoning technical analysis a lá Phil Town – that I tend to agree with him!
Firstly, keep in mind that I am on record as stating that I am not the ‘go to’ guy on any specific form of investment (perhaps some on business, less on real-estate, even less on stocks, and so on) … my ‘expertise’ (more like ‘passion’) is in the overall strategy of wealth-building, and showing how these individual pieces fall into place.
Also, I am a ‘value guy’ … I love to sniff out a bargain – be it a business, property, or stock – and pounce, and am a fan of Phil Town’s valuation methods (although, I will point out my ‘issues’ with his methodology in a future post).
And, I agree in principle that if you COULD:
a) Identify a stock that was under-priced, and
b) Avoid the market dips by selling out (then rebuying)
… you would increase your returns and – MUCH more importantly – avoid holding onto an under-priced ENRON … one that you thought was cheap but some disaster strikes that the ‘big Boys’ get wind of early.
In principle, that is 😉
1. There have been successful traders, but none that I know of with longevity; it’s a speculation / business … so, if you are prepared to take the chance on the big run up – then sell off – PERHAPS, just perhaps, you can make it big? Jesse Livermore did it 4 times (before putting a gun to his own head when he crashed for the 4th time).
2. Phil Town suggests that the ‘big guys’ (the huge mutual funds) put so much money in/out of the market that they have to make their move over a number of weeks to avoid the sudden price movement that you suggest. IF this is true and IF you can use technical signals to tell you when the run up/down is occurring, then Phil says that the smaller investor can use these signals to move instantly (in 8 seconds, v the ‘big guys’ 6 weeks).
… and, I have certainly used Phil’s methods to suffer ‘only’ a 15% loss when the rest of the market soured by 50+% (and, you need to remember that I have been actively trading since the crash UNTIL it bottomed and have been in cash since for reasons unrelated to the market), so my personal experience is that the ‘3 indicators’ ARE useful.
The catch is, I don’t know why, because they are all PRICE indicators, not VOLUME … in fact, volume only tells you of an increase in activity, there can be no net buying/selling because there are two parties in every trade (the ‘hint’, I guess, is in the price … it goes up/down according to market sentiment).
So, I am a fan of ‘value investing’ (if you can find the right way to reliably value a stock and can then find one that is way under priced … I believe that this happens often enough to make it useful) and am experimenting with the technical indicators to get in/out, but am – like you – skeptical, but not complaining while I am getting positive results …
… but, please DON’T read this post, I am planning to start my own hedge fund 😉
This week’s Carnival of Personal Finance is out; we’re buried in their list somewhere ….