ChartWatchers

Home, Home on the "Ranger" - StockCharts' New Interactive Zoom Control

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

After a couple of big down days, the market had 3 nice up days in the middle of the week to retest the 16450 level on the Dow before closing mixed on Thursday just before the Good Friday holiday.  After my article, you can see what John, Greg and the rest of our commentators think of these developments.  (Arthur Hill is on vacation this week.)  But before that, I need to tell you about two very important happenings here at StockCharts:

Our 15-Year Anniversary Special is Underway!

Yep, you read that right.  We are officially 15-year old now!  Seems like only yesterday we started this crazy journey.  Anyway, we're having a bunch of big specials to celebrate.  Click here for all the details. Do NOT delay however - this special only lasts 15 days...

The "Ranger" Brings More Interactivity to SharpCharts

I'm thrilled to announce that we've just added a new, very interactive, control to our SharpCharts charting tool that we are informally calling the "Ranger."  It allows you to quickly and easily set the start and end dates for your chart just by clicking and dragging your mouse!

To enable the Ranger control, create a SharpCharts and then find the "Range" dropdown located below the chart.  Change the "Range" dropdown so that it says "Select Start/End."  At this point, you should see a "Start" box, an "End" box and a new slider control.  That slider control is the "Ranger."  Here's a snapshot of what that area looks like with the Ranger on the right side:

Ranger1

So the Ranger control consists of three elements:

  1. The Date Scale - A changable set of months/years that make up the middle of the control.  This shows you the range of dates that it is possible to use for your chart.  If you use all of the dates currently shown on the scale, additional time will appear automatically.
  2. The Slider - The wider box in the middle of the date scale is a slider that represents the current date range for your chart.  The left edge of the slider corresponds to the left edge of your chart and the right edge corresponds to the right edge of your chart.  Just like with our PerfChart tool, you can click and drag on the left or right edge of the slider to change its size or you can click and drag the middle to move the slider through time.  As soon as you stop dragging, the chart will refresh with your new start and end dates!
  3. The Arrows - Clicking on either arrow will move the slider forward or backward by 1 time period.  You can also do that by pressing the left or right arrow key on your keyboard. (You may need to click on the Ranger one time with your mouse before the arrow keys will work.)

Ranger is one of those things that is harder to explain than it is to use.  Take a second and try it out for yourself.  Click here and try moving the slider around some.  You should pretty quickly get the hang of it.

Notice that as you move the slider with your mouse, the "Start" and "End" dates are instantly updated.  When you release the slider, the chart then follows suit.

To expand the range of the slider - and thus to create a longer-term chart - drag the left edge of the slider all the way to the left edge of the date scale.  As soon as you get close to the left edge, more dates will appear on the date scale.  When you release your mouse button, Ranger will update its scale to give you even more dates to choose from.  (Note: Because free users only get 3-years of chart data, the Ranger won't expand very much unless you are logged in as a member.)

One last thing - while dragging the slider around with your mouse is lots of fun, personally I think the most exciting thing about the Ranger is the way the arrow buttons/keys work - especially on a daily chart.  This allows you to move through a chart day-by-day and see how the patterns and indicator values develop over time.  That's huge.  Try it for yourself and see.

Here are a couple of additional notes about using the Ranger that you need to be aware of:

  • It cannot work in conjunction with the "Inspect" feature for technical reasons.  If you start to use Ranger, "Inspect" will automatically be disabled.  Just turn it back on when you are done setting the chart's range.
  • Intraday time periods can only be set in daily increments.  In other words, you cannot have a chart start or end in the middle of a day.
  • You can still type dates inside the "Start" and "End" boxes just like you always have.  Use of the "Ranger" slider is optional.
  • You can still use the calendar controls to set "Start" and "End" dates if you prefer those instead.
  • Once you have set Start and End dates that you like for your chart, remember to click the "Update" button to "Finalize" those values - especially if you are going to save the chart into a ChartList.

So we hope you enjoy this new control and find it useful.  Please feel free to send us feedback on it if you have some time.

- Chip

Sector Rotation Picture Quickly Changes to Defensive Outlook

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

If you are looking for lots of near-term optimism, I'm afraid the rest of this newsletter will be very disappointing.  There are numerous technical reasons to think the market is overdue for a pull-back.  And here they are...

Sector Rotation Points to Defensive Outlook

I've written on numerous occasions in the past about how anyone can quickly and easily use our Interactive PerfChart tool to study sector rotation effects.  Rarely however has the picture changed so quickly from a clearly "offensive" (bullish) situation to a clearly "defensive" (bearish) picture.  Check it out.  Here's a picture of the situation at the end of 2013 (only 3 months ago!).  This is a very bullish rotation picture:

PerfDec2013

To create this picture yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Visit our homepage, then click on the "S&P Sector PerfChart" link under all the ticker symbols.
  2. Click on the little "Histogram" button in the lower left corner of the chart.
  3. Right-click on the middle of the date-range slider (located at the bottom of the chart) and select "One Month" from the menu that appears.
  4. Press and hold down the left arrow key on your keyboard until the start date says "26 November 2013"
  5. Right-click in the middle of the chart and select "Show Cycle Line" to add the yellow line
  6. Finally, click and drag the yellow line until most of the bars are "underneath" it like I have on the chart above.

Looking at that chart, see how the bars on the left side (the bullish "offensive" sectors) are all outperforming the market while the bars on the other side are all underperfoming it?  That strongly suggests that the market felt things were picking up and looking good for the future.

(And, to be honest, the rotation picture had been similarly positive for several months prior to December as well.  Move the slider to the left to see for yourself.)

However, if you want to see the market change its mind about things in a short period of time, just press and hold down the right arrow on your keyboard.  By the time the slider gets to now, things are almost 180 degrees reversed:

PerfMar2014

OK, granted, the Health Care sector is still negative, but can you think of anything that might be going on right now to cause that? ;-)

Ignoring Health Care, the "defensive " sectors - lead by Utilities - are currently in control of things.  It's not a bullish situation folks.  As always, you should check out this chart on a regular basis to see how things continue to evolve.  For more details, check out our ChartSchool article on Sector Rotation.

- Chip

P.S. Space at ChartCon 2014 is filling up fast.  I'd love to see you in Seattle this August if at all possible.  John, Arthur, Greg, Erin, Alex, Martin, Gatis, and Dick would too.  If you can make it, I guarantee you'll learn more about charting in those two days that you could ever imagine!  Click here for details.

I Didn't Know StockCharts.com Did That! v.2.0

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Last year, I had an article dedicated to things that many people didn't know about StockCharts.com.  The list was based on our customer support questions and the feedback we get from our live seminars.  I thought now would be a good time to revisit and update that list.

  • Our Twitter Feed - we are still faithfully tweeting out alerts whenever interesting technical events happen.  Yesterday, we had some doozies:
    In case you are not already a member of the "Twitterati," Twitter is totally free and is easy to setup.  Click here for a great article on getting started.


  • Gatis Roze's Secretly Disguised Novel - Have you been reading Gatis' blog articles faithfully?  His advice can definitely help you become a better investor.  And here's the thing - his articles secretly fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces to form a complete book!  So even if you have been reading his articles faithfully, you should still click here and read the entire thing from cover to cover.  It's only by reading it from beginning to end that you will start to see what the phrase "Tensile Trading" really means.

    (And if you want more of Gatis' knowledge, come see him live in Atlanta on March 16.)
     
  • NYSE Common Stock Only Datasets - Our merger with DecisionPoint.com has added a whole slew of new datasets to our system including a collection of 29 new market indicator based solely on common stocks in the NYSE.  No funds, no ETFs, no classes - just regular stocks.  The differences can be significant.  Click here to see a list of these indexes.
      
  • Videos, Videos, Videos - We have a ton of helpful videos that can answer almost any question you may have about using our website.  Watching them all does take time but it really is worth it.  Click here when you have a spare hour (or two).
      
  • Technical ETF Rankings - Our SCTR page for ETFs. when sorted by "Change" really is quite special.  It can show more than just which ETFs are the strongest on that day.  It can also tell you what sectors and industries are strengthening.  Just click here and then read the names of the funds and look for groups of similar names.  Right now - March 1st, 2014 - I'm noticing lots of  Natural Gas and Oil funds moving higher.
       
  • $SPX Seasonality - Is "Sell in May and Go Away" good advice?  Our new Seasonality tool can tell you.  Just use it to chart $SPX (and set the 'Compare' field empty) and then click on the Histogram button and stretch the slider out to 10 years.  Boom!
    Season
    Clearly, May and June have not been kind to $SPX.  Good to know!
      
  • Unadjusted Data - We still get lots of questions about this so here it is again one more time.  Our regular stock ticker symbols are adjusted to remove the "artificial" effects of splits, dividends and distributions.  Always have, always will.  However, if you want to see what the charts look like without those adjustments, just add an underscore character to the front of the ticker symbol and voila!  Gap city.
        
  • A Free Book from John Murphy - We just added a free, online version of John's classic "Charting Made Easy" to our ChartSchool.  Click here to get your copy.
       
  • The Entire History of StockCharts Online - Every single one of our ChartWatcher newsletters is still available on our website.  Just click on the "Archives" link at the bottom of the homepage.  You can even read the very first StockCharts newsletter ever written.  How long ago was that??
       

So there you go.  There are even more gems hiding inside the site of course (like this and this and this) but that's a good list to start with.  Hopefully some of those are news to you.  Enjoy!

- Chip

DecisionPoint Market Analysis Chart Gallery Now on StockCharts.com

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Just in time for the ongoing February rally, I'm thrilled to announce the launch of the DecisionPoint Market Analysis Chart Gallery!

As you probably know, we have recently acquired DecisionPoint.com and are currently in the process of merging their terrific charting tools and datasets into our website.  (If that is news to you, click here for all the details.)  Today, we're taking the next step in that process with the roll out of the DP Market Analysis Chart Gallery.

One of DecisionPoint's greatest strengths - its huge diversity of market indicators - has also been one of its weaknesses.  It has always been a challenge determining which set of indicators to focus on and how much creedence to give each signal from each indicator.  Therefore, as part of the merger process, we've worked closely with Carl Swenlin and Erin Heim (the driving forces behind DecisionPoint) to create a new tool that provides all of the key DP market indicators on one page in an improved format for understanding where the market is most likely headed.

For those of you that can't stand the suspense, just click here and check out the results.

For the three people still reading along, here's a list of some of the improvements you'll find in this new tool when compared to the original charts on DecisionPoint.com:

  • All the key charts on one page.  Just scroll down to review them all.
  • The charts are larger now.
  • In some instances, multiple charts have been consolidated into one.
  • We've added the "Y-Axis Label" feature so that you can see the final value of each indicator.
  • We've added the "Zoom Thumbnail" to all of the charts.
  • We've added short descriptions for how to interpret each indicator.
  • We've linked the descriptions to full-length ChartSchool articles for the major indicators.
  • If the page is printed, the charts should appear one-per-page.
  • And, possibly most importantly, we've made the charts clickable (for members)!  Now you can see exactly how each chart was created, you can change any of the settings that you want, you can add your own annotations, and you can save the results in your own account.

StockCharts members will be thrilled to see that some of the indicators on these new charts are very, very unique and very, very helpful when it comes to analyzing the market.  For example, the "Average Price Relative to 52-Week High" shows you how close all the S&P 500 stocks are (on average) to their 52-week highs.  That's new.  That's wonderful stuff.  That's just one example!

Now, the current version is still in "Beta Release" meaning that we might make a couple of more changes to it in the next couple of days.  It also means that we want your feedback.  Feel free to send it to us via our Support page or by just emailing [email protected]

Enjoy!
- Chip

A Mini-ChartWatchers Newsletter (includes a free Murphy eBook)

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

I've got just a short, mini-version of our newsletter for you this week with some important information on a couple of topics:

  1. John Murphy's latest market outlook
  2. A new, free(!) online book from John Murphy
  3. ChartCon 2014 - our upcoming conference in Seattle in August
  4. The status of our merger with DecisionPoint
  5. Our upcoming Atlanta SCU seminars

 

John Muphy's Latest Market Outlook

The markets had some very positive gains last week to counter-balance their previous declines but is it just a reaction rally?  As John Murphy points out in his latest edition of the Market Message, the gains came as the Dow bounced off of its 200-day moving average.  John also discusses the technical condition of the emerging markets and then goes on to issue his outlook for the rest of 2014 and discusses when you may find the next significant buying opportunities.

In case you weren't aware, all StockCharts.com members can read John's commentary as soon as he posts it by clicking on the "Market Message" tab at the top of any web page.  Don't forget!  John's observations will always help you make better investing decisions.

 

John Murphy's "Charting Made Easy" is Now Online!

CMEI am very pleased today to announce that we have obtained the rights to publish one of John's books on our website.   John's book "Charting Made Easy" is now in our ChartSchool area and anyone can read it for free.  In the book, John covers all of the basics of Technical Analysis including chart creation, trend analysis, chart patterns, and much more.  If you are new to charting, this is the best place to start by far.

Just click here to start reading.

 

Chartcon-logo

Don't Miss ChartCon 2014!

The registration deadline for our big Seattle conference is quickly approaching!  (Way too quickly if you ask me.)  Don't be shut out.  Register now to guarantee your place this August.  Have you heard who we have speaking this time around?

  • Alexander Elder - the author of "Trading for a Living" and "Come Into My Trading Room", two of the most popular trading books of all time.
  • Martin Pring - the author of "Technical Analysis Explained" and inventor of the "Know Sure Thing (KST)" indicator.
  • Richard Arms - the author of "Trading Without Fear" and inventor of the "Arms Index" and CandleVolume charting.
  • and, of course, John Murphy - the author of "Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets" and our Chief Technical analyst.

And that is just the beginning.  We'll also have educational talks by Arthur Hill, Greg Schnell, Erin Heim, Gatis Roze, Gord Greer, Tom Bowley, Bruce Fraser, and myself.  It will be a wonderful event full of great speakers in a very friendly atmosphere.

Plus, it is in Seattle in August!  Our temperatures should be in the upper 70s instead of the low 100s!

Please click here to check out all of the details.  We'd love to see you there.  Again, registrations are limited this year to just 400 people and with that terrific speaker lineup, the conference is filling up fast.  I'll see you in August!

 

DecisionPoint Merger Update

We are continuing to add more and more DecisionPoint features and datasets to StockCharts.com.  At this point, we have all of the DP datasets in our database and we have most of the DP charting features added to SharpCharts.  (Have you tried out the "Zoom Thumbnail" yet?) .

Next week, we will be launching a very important piece of the puzzle - the DecisionPoint Market Analysis Chart Gallery!  The "DPMACG"  (hmm... might need a better nickname) is a collection of ~15 of the most used DecisionPoint charts all on one page.  It is designed to help anyone quickly see where the market is headed.  Comments below each chart help you interpret them easily.  And the best part is that clicking on any chart lets you view it inside the SharpCharts workbench to see how it was constructed.  You can then save the chart into your account, annotate it, change its start date, add/remove indicators, etc. etc. etc.    

Watch for the DecisionPoint Chart Gallery to be announced early next week.

Also, be sure to check out our new ChartSchool articles on many of the new DecisionPoint indicators.  Here is a link to a list of all these new articles:
http://stockcharts.com/search/?q=DecisionPoint

Finally, be sure to read all of the articles in the new DecisionPoint blog located in the "Blogs" area of the site.  Erin will keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings.

 

Atlanta SCU Seminars Will Be the Last SCU Event for 2014

SCUlogo200Our SCU Seminar series has been a big success everywhere it has gone.  Unfortunately, it is also a big drain on our limited resources and with the ChartCon conference coming up in August, we are having to scale back on SCU.  Therefore next month's SCU event in Atlanta will be our last event outside of Seattle for the rest of this year.  If you have been holding off on attending, this is your last chance for some time.

SCU Seminars are one-day, face-to-face training events for groups of about 50 people.  If you want personal assistance with learning how to use every aspect of StockCharts.com, our SCU Seminars are for you.

In Atlanta, we will be holding three seminars back-to-back-to-back.  You can register for one of them, two of them or all three.  The first one is called "SCU 101: Getting the Most Out of StockCharts.com"  and is designed to help ALL StockCharts users get more out of our website.  The second one is called "SCU 102: Customizing StockCharts.com" and can help you organize your account effectively.

Finally, we will also be holding a very special seminar given by Gatis Roze called "SCU 310: Tensile Trading: The 10 Essential Stages to Stock Market Mastery"  Gatis has been teaching investing to sold-out classes in the Seattle area for years.  This Atlanta presentation will be the first time Gatis has presented this material on the east coast.  If you aren't getting the results you want from your investing, Gatis' seminar will get you back on track very quickly.

Don't miss our final SCU seminar event in 2014.  Click here for more details on registering.

(Can't decide between SCU Atlanta and ChartCon in Seattle?  All other things being equal, I recommend going to the SCU event because of the smaller number of people and the more personalized training.)

 

OK, that's all for this week.  Next week, we'll be back for our full-featured edition of ChartWatchers.

Take care everyone!
- Chip

 

Merging DecisionPoint with StockCharts.com

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

And that includes a special "Hello!" to all DecisionPoint.com members that have just joined us.  Yes, in case you haven't heard, StockCharts.com has acquired DecisionPoint.com and we are now working hard to incorporate all of great features that DecisionPoint has into our system.

Dp_logo

My article this week is kind of divided into two halves.  The first half is for everyone, especially existing StockCharts subscribers who are not familiar with DecisionPoint.  The second half is specifically for DecisionPoint.com members who are not familar with StockCharts.

What DecisionPoint Brings to StockCharts.com

The simple answer is a bunch of new charting features, a huge collection of new market indicators (over 1300!), a terrific new blogger, and some new advanced technical indicators.  (And no, we aren't raising prices as part of this either.)

If you haven't heard the story yet, Carl Swenlin and his daughter Erin started DecisionPoint back in 1992 and it quickly grew into an amazing website known for its precision charting, great market timing signals, and a wide range of unique market indicators.  Now they are bringing all of that great content to StockCharts.

At this point, we have implemented and rolled out about 60% of these new features.  For example, you'll now find the following new features in the SharpCharts workbench:

  • The "Zoom" Thumbnail - Did you ever wish you could see a close-up of the right side of your chart without having to change the rest of the chart?  Now you can.  Just check the new "Zoom Thumbnail" checkbox located in the "Chart Attributes" area below the chart.  Here's an example:

    Sc
    (Click on the chart for a live version.)

    The "Zoom Thumbnail" is the new area on the right of the chart.  Extremely useful don't you think?

  • The "Price Momentum Oscillator (PMO)" - Did you ever want to have a momentum indicator that's like the MACD but doesn't have as many whipsaws?  Carl's PMO oscillator is an advanced momentum oscillator that provides more reliable signals.  Here's an example:

    Sc
    (Click on the chart for a live version.)

    Note how the MACD crosses its signal line several times in November?  Now notice that the PMO doesn't(!).  Click here for more details on the PMO.

  • Over 1300 New Market Indicators - Did you ever want to see the Advanced-Decline line for just the Nasdaq 100 stocks?  How about the PE ratio for the S&P 500?  Carl's known for his thoroughness and that extends to all of the new market indicators that DecisionPoint has.  They are all now available for use on StockCharts.com.  Their ticker symbols all start with "!" so to see a list of them, just search for "!" - or just click here.

    Sc


  • New Color Schemes and Legend choices - Did you notice the new color schemes on the charts above?  What about the more descriptive text in the legends?  There are several other small but useful tweaks to SharpCharts that we'll roll out soon as a result of this merger.

  • The New "DecisionPoint" Blog - We've also added a new blog to our free Blogs area.  It is called "DecisionPoint" (surprise!) and it will contain articles writen by Erin and Carl explaining more about how to use these new features to help you make better investing decisions.  Click here to read Erin's first article.

And we still have lots to do before this merger is complete!  In the coming weeks, you can expect to see us roll out:

  • Lots of new ChartSchool Articles documenting the new indicators, indexes and features.

  • DecisionPoint support in our Scan Engine so you can scan for these new signals.

  • The DecisionPoint Chart Gallery - a page containing the most popular charts from the DecisionPoint.com website along with Erin's commentary on what it all means.

  • New ChartPacks containing all of the original charts from the DecisionPoint.com website - over 2000 charts in all.

  • And much, much more!

Keep an eye on the "What's New" area on our homepage for more announcements as those new features are made available.  And enjoy all these new capabilities!  We can't wait to see what you do with them.

 

A Message for Existing DecisionPoint Members

For all of the DecisionPoint members out there that are new to StockCharts, I want to take a moment and emphasize a couple of points about this merger.

  1. The merger is happening slowly over the next three months to give everyone time to become more familiar with using StockCharts.  When that process is complete, everyone will have access to all of the charts from the DecisionPoint.com website, just in a different location.

  2. In addition, optionally, you will also have the ability to add annotations to those charts, to modify the settings on those charts, to save different variations of those charts, and much more.  The full power of the StockCharts charting platform (which we call "SharpCharts") is available to you.

  3. Not all pieces of the merger are in place on StockCharts.com yet.  We have rolled out about 60% of the DP features so far.  Earlier in this article, I listed the things that we are still working on.  That includes the "DP Chart Gallery" and "DP ChartPacks" which will contain pre-created versions of all the charts currently on DecisionPoint.com.  If you are not a "tinkerer" and just want to see specific charts, please wait until those features are available.

  4. If you are a "tinkerer" or you just want to learn more about using StockCharts.com, please start by reviewing the videos in our "Educational Videos" area.  They can get you up and running quickly.

  5. Remember, Erin is also here to be your guide!  She will be writing many articles in the new "DecisionPoint" blog which will help explain and demonstrate how to use the DecisionPoint features on StockCharts.  Remember to click on the "Blogs" tab at the top of our pages often to see if she has posted anything new.

  6. When the transition period is over - in about 3 months - we will send out instructions to all new DecisionPoint members with their options for renewing their accounts.  We have 4 different service plans with prices ranging from $14.95 to $49.95 per month.  All of those plans will have access to all of the DecisionPoint charts and features.  For details on those plans, click here.

  7. If you have any questions or concerns about your new StockCharts account and how to use it, please send them to us using the "Support" tab at the top of any of our pages.

  8. Finally, because this process will take time, we have arrainged for the existing DecisionPoint.com website to remain up and available to all DecisionPoint.com members throughout the transition period.

So again, this is a very exciting time as everyone gets their hands on a huge collection of new capabilities.  Hopefully you are just now beginning to see the possibilities.

Welcome aboard!
- Chip

P.S.  Don't forget to keep checking the "DecisionPoint" blog for more details.

Some Legendary and Eventful Additions to StockCharts

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

The last two days of last week caused everyone to pause and re-evaluate their market opinions.  That includes our stable of ChartWatchers analysts.  Glancing over the headlines for their articles below, you'll see lots of use of the "B"-word... "Bearish."  Clearly if the market continues to drop like it did on Thursday and Friday, more and more technicians will be taking their profits and moving to the sidelines.

But before we get to all the potential gloom and doom, here is the low-down on two new features we've just added to SharpCharts...

"Legendary" and "Eventful" New Features

Pardon the puns, but we've just added more control over the information displayed in the legends of our charts as well as a new "Overlay" that displays when and where we have adjusted the data on our charts.  Let's start with that second item first.

As you may be aware, we adjust our historical data to remove the "artificial" effects of splits, dividends and distributions from our charts.  If we didn't do that, there would be big vertical gaps on our charts whenever a stock underwent a split (for example).  Those gaps would cause misleading technical signals to appear.

For example when a stock has a 2-for-1 split, the price suddenly drops 50% on the chart.  Technical indicators like the MACD would immediately turn bearish because "momentum" has dropped suddenly - but are traders really bearish on the stock because of a split?  No.  If anything, they might be slightly more bullish.  So that big downward gap on the chart can't remain there.

To get rid of it, we divide all of the price data from prior to the split by 2 and multiply all of the corresponding volume data by 2.  That eliminates the gap and gives a true picture of people's opinion of the stock.

The same thing needs to happen for all types of non-market-related adjustments including dividends and distributions.  While not usually as flashy as splits, those adjustments can still cause misleading signals if their effects are not factored out.

(By the way, if you still want to see the un-adjusted data for a stock, just add an underscore to the front of the ticker symbol - e.g., "_IBM")

So all of that is just background for today's new feature - Event markers!

Event markers show you exactly on your chart where and when we made any data adjustments.  To see them, just select "Events" from the "Overlays" dropdown and then "Update" your chart.  Here's an example:

Sc
(Click the chart for a live version.)

See the small boxes at the bottom of the price area with the lines rising up?  Those are the event markers that show you where splits/dividends/distributions happened and how big they were.

Note that the "Events" overlay takes one parameter which can either be "Splits", "Dividends" or "All".  That controls the number of event markers that you see on your chart.  Splits will have two numbers separated by a colon in the box - e.g., "2:1" or "1:3" - while dividends/distributions will show the actual amount of the event in dollars.

In addition to that addition we also have an additional addition for people that want additional control over the legends that appear on their charts.  You'll now see a new dropdown labeled "Legends" on the right side of the "Chart Attributes" area on the SharpCharts workbench.  It replaces the "Show Legends" checkbox and gives you two additional options - "Off" which means "completely, totally, 100% off" and "Verbose" which will show you the complete name of every ticker symbol you add to your chart.

While more control over the Legend display may not seem like a huge deal right now, it is actually the very first hint of a HUGE set of new features that is coming to StockCharts in February.  Yes, they will be very useful.  No, you won't need to pay extra for them.  No, the website won't change in big, confusing ways.  Yes, these new features are way cooler than the "Legends" dropdown.  No, I can't tell you yet what these new feature will be - but I will be able to very soon!

Stay tuned...
- Chip

Registration Now Open for ChartCon 2014 in Seattle this August

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Happy New Year!  2013 was very, very good to technical investors.  Let's hope 2014 continues that trend.

As we mentioned in the previous newsletters, we've put together an amazing line up of speakers for our upcoming ChartCon conference.  Today, I'm please to announce that registration for this great event is now open.  If you already know you want to attend, click here to get an early jump on the registration process.  If you aren't sure, read on.

Announcing ChartCon 2014 in Seattle on August 8th and 9th

ChartCon2014Logo

ChartCon is our annual conference for StockCharts.com enthusiasts.  Each year in Seattle we invite all of our members to join us for several days to talk about chart analysis.  The feedback we get from attendees is universally positive with many of them saying something similar to "This is unlike any other investment conference I've ever been to.  I've learned more here than I have at all other conferences combined!"

This year we are making a couple of exciting changes:

  • We have invited several "titans" of the technical analysis universe to join us including Alexander Elder, Martin Pring and Richard Arms.  That's in addition to our regular speakers which include John Murphy, Arthur Hill, Greg Schell, Gatis Roze, Erin Heim and myself.  The complete speaker list is included below.

  • OK - I have to devote a second bullet point to that list of speakers.  It is truely amazing to have John, Alex, Richard and Martin at the same event, much less at an informal, fun event like ChartCon.  In addition to hearing their presentations, you'll be able to meet and spend time with each of them throughout the conference.

  • We've moved ChartCon to the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown Seattle.  This is a larger venue in a better hotel with more dining and entertainment options.  In addition, the Hyatt has a auditorium that we'll be using for our breakout sessions.

  • Speaking of which, we will be having breakout sessions this year.  For part of each day, we'll split the conference up into 4 different groups in different rooms for presentations that are more focused and more targetted to specific topics.  We'll be holding the same breakout sessions twice (once on each day) so that you can go to several of them.

  • In addition, we'll be having several optional "After Dark" sessions on Friday night.  These will be informal presentations that you can come to after dinner if you have some spare time.  See the schedule below for details.

  • We're also going to have a Mobile App this year for those of you with smartphones.  This optional app will help you keep up with all of the ChartCon presentation details, room maps, nearby resturants, shopping opportunities, and feedback surveys - all right on your phone.

  • We've also put together a wonderful Puget Sound cruise to a gala banquet on a private island to wrap up the conference on Saturday evening.  Spouses/significant others are welcome to attend this event for free as well!

  • Speaking of spouses, we've also included a special "After Dark" session just for them.  Erin Heim from DecisionPoint will be talking about technical investing in a language that most spouses will understand/appreciate on Friday night.

Now keep in mind, that's just the new stuff.  That's on top of the "normal" ChartCon offerings which include:

  • Presentations from StockChart's "regulars" John Murphy, Arthur Hill, Greg Schnell, Tom Bowley, Gord Greer and Gatis Roze.  You'll be able to listen to and hobnob with all of the people that write articles here in ChartWatchers and on our website.

  • Access to the folks that created StockCharts so that you can get any question you have answered in a person-to-person manner.

  • Great food.  Seriously.  We alway get lots of compliments on the food at ChartCon.

  • The Great Pacific Northwest in August, the best time of the year to visit.  We schedule ChartCon deliberately in August so that - when the rest of the country is broiling in 100+ degrees - our attendees can enjoy gorgeous sunshine and sunsets with temperatures that are typically in the mid-80s.  Many attendees combine their ChartCon experience with a cruise - either whale watching up by the San Juan Islands or on a big cruise ship up to Alaska!

OK, are you sold yet?  If so, click here to get started.  If not, check out the schedule for this year's event:

ChartCon2014Schedule
(Schedule is subject to change.  Click on the schedule to see a larger version.)

 Now that's my definition of fun!  One last think to consider - this year we have a hard limit on the number of people that our main conference room can hold.  That limit is 400 people.  With the superstar line up of speakers we have, I'm pretty sure that this event will sell out fast.  I really don't want you to be left out so, if you are at all interested, be sure to sign up soon!

ChartCon 2014 FAQs

Q: How much?
A: $599 per person.  Includes breakfasts, lunches and the gala banquet dinner.

Q: Do you have a special deal for hotel rooms at the Hyatt?
A: Yes!  We've negotiated rates of $199 per night for a one-bed room or $214 per night for a double-bed room.

Q: What can my spouse do while I'm at the conference?
A: Spouses can attend the evening events - the After Dark sessions and the banquet dinner - for free.  Unfortunately, we do not have room for them to attend the regular conference sessions unless they register seperately.  Seattle offers lots of daylight alternatives however including museums, site seeing and shopping.

Q: What's the cancellation policy?
A: You can cancel anytime up until August 1st.

Q: What's the difference between ChartCon and your SCU Seminars?
A: ChartCon is our big conference in Seattle with presentations from a larger number of different experts.  SCU Seminars are one-day events for 50-70 people where we take you step-by-step through all the features of the website.

Q: What's the optional SCU Seminar on Thursday about?
A: We are holding a special SCU 101 seminar for ChartCon attendees on the Thursday before the conference.  This event is optional.  Chip, Greg, John Murphy and Tom Bowley will be teaching it.  Once you register for ChartCon 2014, we'll send you additional details on how to register for this optional seminar.

Q: I live in the Seattle area.  Can I attend ChartCon?
A: Absolutely!  We'd love to see you there.  There's ample parking right next to the hotel at the convention center.

Q: I have another question that you haven't addressed.  Where can I send it?
A: The good folks at [email protected] will answer all other questions.

I hope you have the time and ability to join us at ChartCon this year.  I know that all of the speakers would love to meet you and hear how you are using StockCharts to analyze stocks and the market.  Is it a date?  If so, click here to register.  Thanks!

- Chip

2013 - The Year in Technicals

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Well, 2013 is almost over - this is the last ChartWatchers newsletter until 2014 - and I thought now would be a good time to review some of the key technical developments during the past year.

Things got off to a good start as stocks surged higher in early January when the "Fiscal Cliff" situation in Washington appeared to be resolved.  That sent small-caps into record territory where they stayed for essentially the entire rest of the year.  Small-caps outperformed large-caps during much of 2013 - a situation that was under reported by many financial news outlets (but not us).

Here's an updated version of a chart John Murphy created back on January 3rd when he was pointing out the strength in small-caps.

Sc

That was a great call on John's part because - as today's chart shows - $RUT continued to out-perform and move higher throughout 2013.  Our Market-cap PerfChart confirms that as well.

Sc

The Dow broke above 15000 in May but ran out of steam around 15500 later that same month.  It then essentially moved sideways in a large trading range between roughly 14600 and 15700 testing both levels several times.  After testing its 200-day MA in October it finally broke through the 15700 resistance level in mid-November.  It then went back and tested 15700 as a support level just last week.  Currently $INDU is setting new highs once again - a good overall sign for the market.

In many ways, 2013 was a classic "wall of worry" scenario where stocks generally moved higher despite the constant drumbeat of bearishness from the "pundits."  Technicians who stuck to their charts should have profited handsomely as stocks (especially small-caps) moved higher and higher over the course of the year.  Investors who ignored the charts and over-focused on the negativity in the financial press were left behind.

Again, there are still several more trading days left in 2013 but you can use these PerfCharts to see the winning sector, the winning capitalization, and the winning major index - just click the link, then right-click the "200 day" thumbnail below the chart and select "Year-to-date" from the dropdown.

As always, my New Year's resolution will be to focus on the message that the charts are telling me - not the "talking heads", not the "pundits" - but the actual trading action on Wall Street that's reflected in my charts.  Here's hoping that 2014 is even more profitable for ChartWatchers everywhere!

- Chip

 

P.S. Don't forget to take advantage of our Holiday Special before it ends on Dec. 31st!

Tis the Season... for Seasonality Charts!

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Almost everything is at record highs right now.  Dow is above 16,000.  S&P is above 1800.  All of the S&P Sectors are higher year-to-date with Health Care being the strongest (+40.3%) and Utilities being the weakest (+13.9%).  Is it exuberance?  It is a bubble?  As technical investors, we shouldn't care.  We identify and ride trends - and the current trend is up.

Check out John, Arthur, Greg, Carl, Tom and Richard's articles below for more on the current state of the market.  I, on the other hand, want to tell you about our latest new feature!

Tis the Season... for Seasonality Charts!

Some stocks work like clockwork.  At a certain point each year, their business picks up and their stock perks up.  Many of these stocks are tied to the retail holiday season.  Others are tied to people's heating/cooling needs.  Others are tied to the planting cycle.  Etc. etc. etc.

Finding and analyzing these seasonal situations requires a new kind of chart - one that overlays each year's performance for a stock so that monthly up/down patterns can be seen.  A chart like this:

RLXSeasonLine

This is a snapshot from our new Interactive Seasonality Charting tool.  Each line represents a different year of $RLX's values.  The grey background shading shows you the divisions for each month of the year.  Do you notice any months where things are moving higher/lower consistantly?  Check out March and April.

Did you know that every year for the past five years, the Retail Index has moved higher in March and April?  That's pretty useful to know!

The Seasonality Charting tool lets you look at this kind of data in three different ways:

  1. "Separate" Line Mode - Each year is represented by a different colored line and the lines are separated vertically on the chart.  This is the default mode for the tool.
  2. "Same Scale" Line Mode - Each year is represented by a different colored line but the lines are start at the same point and use the same vertical scale.
  3. "Histogram" Mode - Each month is represented by a histogram bar that shows the percentage of times the stock moved higher (and the average move).

You can use the buttons in the lower left corner of the chart to switch between those three modes.  Here is an example of Histogram Mode for $RLX:

RLXSeasonHist

Boy, March and April really stand out.  (So does May, but for a different reason. Interesting...)

Histogram mode also allows you to enter a second, optional "Comparison" ticker symbol so that you can see how your main ticker symbol did compared to that second symbol.  Much of the time, that second symbol will be an index like $SPX (the S&P 500).

There's also a slider at the bottom of the charts that works just like the slider in our popular PerfCharts tool.  You can use it to select the number of years you'd like to compare.  You can also click on the "Year" buttons at the top of the chart to turn off a year that might be skewing your analysis.

For now, you'll find a links to our Seasonality Charts on our homepage in the "What's New" area and on the "Free Charts" page.  Soon, we'll also have it linked in to the "Create a Chart" dropdown at the top of every page.

So now you have the gift of Seasonality for this upcoming Holiday Season.  Enjoy!

- Chip

November is "Get Certified" Month at StockCharts.com!

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

October didn't live up to its fearsome repution this year.  The major averages were all up somewhere between 2 and 4% for the month with the exception of the Russell 2000 (which was up only 0.7%).  Will things stay in positive territory for November?  See the other articles in this newsletter for some thoughts on that.

November is "Get Certified" Month!

Today I want to show you how, with a little bit of work, StockCharts members can double their membership discount - guaranteed - saving themselves money (potentially lots of it) next month.  I'm talking about taking advantage of the combination of our traditional year-end holiday special combined with passing our new ChartWatchers Certification Exam.

So first off, if you are somewhat new to StockCharts, you might not know that we have always offered a special membership deal during the holiday season at the end of the year.  Each year the terms of the special change slightly but, in general, if you renew your members during that time, you will get additional time for free.

In addition, members can use their Loyalty Discount on top of the holiday special to save even more.  What is the Loyalty Discount?  Well, members get an electronic coupon each year that they can use to save money on their next subscription.  Normally, the coupon is worth 1% off the total cost for each year that you've been a member.  While that doesn't sound like much, it adds up over time and can drop your per-month cost significantly.  For example, a 5-year PRO subscriber who takes advantage of both the holiday special and their normal loyalty coupon could drop their per-month cost from the standard $49.95 per month to only $35.28 per month (over 14 months) saving them over $14.50 every month.

So, my first point is this: If you are a member and you like our service, always try to renew for at least a year during one of our Specials and always use your Loyalty Discount.

But now, this year, we've added a new wrinkle - the ChartWatchers Certification Exam.  There are two major benefits to taking and passing this exam:

  • You will definitely learn more about technical analysis and about using StockCharts.com.  The exam gives you a great reason to spend some time and dive down into topics that you've probably been meaning to spend time learning anyway, right?  That right there is a big benefit.
  • You will DOUBLE your Loyalty Discount!  After passing the exam, your discount will be worth 2% per year instead of just one.  And that doubling will continue for each year you remain a member.

Going back to our example of the 5-year PRO subscriber from above, if they take some time and pass the Certification Exam before December and then renew during the special, their per-month cost would then drop to only  $33.42 saving them over $16.50 every month!

My point here is that if you are a happy StockCharts member and you are at all interested in taking the ChartWatchers Certification Exam, then this month is the month to do it so that you can double your Loyalty Coupon before our traditional holiday specials kick in.  Make sense?

Q: Is the exam hard?  Does it take a long time?
A: Yes and yes - but hear me out...

Anything worth doing requires effort.  What can be frustrating is if the reward for a lot of effort isn't worthwhile.  The rewards for the effort involved in preparing for and taking the Certification Exam are clear:  you will become a more knowledgeable technical investor, you will get more out of the tools on StockCharts.com, and you will double your Loyalty Discount saving you money in the long run.

After reviewing the results from the first group of people who have taken the exam, I can also give you a couple of tips that should ensure you pass on your first attempt:

  • Before taking the real exam, read the Certification Study Guide that we've prepared.  It's not long and it will really help you prepare effectively.
  • Have the StockCharts website open in a second browser window while taking the exam.  The exam is essentially "open book" - you can look up the answers on the site while taking it.
  • Always, always, always use the "Search" box on our homepage to search for answers/definitions/etc. for every question on the exam.  "Search" is your friend.

Finally, because you are a great ChartWatcher and have read to the end of this article, here is the answer to the #1 most missed exam question:

In order to calculate a 100% accurate 50-day Exponential Moving Average value, you need to use every daily data point going back to the day the stock first started trading.  More details

So try to find some time this month to get certified.  As a more knowledgeable technical investor, you'll reap the rewards forever - but especially in December!

- Chip

Where Are You on Your Technical Investing Journey?

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Whether you realize it or not, all ChartWatchers are on a journey of self-improvement.  We are all trying to become better stock market investors.  As users of StockCharts, our journeys have many similar paths and common milestones.  See if you recognize the steps that I have described below.  As you read through them, ask yourself "Where am I right now on this path and what is my next step?"

Stage I - Discovery & Experimenting with SharpCharts

At some point, you discovered StockCharts.com.  It may have been via a friend's recommendation or a search engine or a magazine article, but somehow we all visited the website for the first time.  Soon after that, you discovered the SharpCharts workbench page for the first time and you started playing with all of the settings - entering ticker symbols, adding overlays, changing colors, sizes, periods, etc.  You continued to experiment with the settings until you got something on the screen that you really liked.  Many of us did that without even looking at the instructions - which is fine and a very normal way of getting into technical charting. Despite the scissors-like name, tinkering around with SharpCharts cannot harm you in any way and is greatly encouraged.

Stage II - Learning More via ChartSchool, Support & Search

Eventually, if you did not already know about technical analysis, you probably started to wonder what all the wiggley lines on your SharpCharts meant.  Those questions lead you to another important area of our site:  ChartSchool.  You quickly discovered that ChartSchool is chocked full of articles on all aspects of charting.  Hopefully, before getting too overwhelmed, you read the "Overview" articles at the top of the ChartSchool page which gave you a sense of what Technical Analysis is really about.

You probably also started coming up with questions about how our SharpCharts page actually works.  Maybe some feature wasn't intuitive or you started seeing results that you didn't understand.  Regardless, you then started looking at our "Support" page for assistance.  You may have found the official documentation page (or not).  You may have read the FAQs.  You may have even sent us a question (which hopefully we were able to answer for you).  Regardless, your comfort level for using SharpCharts continued to increase.

And then one day you tried out the "Search" box on our homepage and found that it could answer lots of your questions quickly.  You started using Search regularly from then on.

Stage III - Reading Blog Articles

Somehow - maybe via the Search box - you also stumbled into our "Blogs" area and starting reading some of the articles there.  You soon realized that there were too many articles to read all of them, but "Search" helped you find the ones you needed and they were all very helpful.  Maybe "Mailbag" answered a question you'd been meaning to look into or maybe "Don't Ignore This Chart" caused you to try out a new kind of chart.  Regardless, you got more interested in learning more about Technical Analysis as a result.

Stage IV - Becoming a Member

At some point you decided that you needed more that what the free tools on StockCharts provided and you became a subscriber.  You may have needed intraday data bars, or bigger charts, or the ability to save charts, or access to our Scan Engine, etc.  Regardless of the exact reason, you immediately noticed the additional SharpCharts settings and capabilities that members had access to.

Stage V - Reading the Market Message

It might not have been at the top of your list of reasons for subscribing, but soon reading John Murphy's Market Message newsletters becomes an important part of your day.  You enjoy the high-level perspective that John and Arthur provide.  You also start trying to duplicate some of their charts yourself.  And Arthur Hill's videos and daily commentary give you even more ideas for investing and analyzing the market.

Stage VI - Scribbling On & Saving Your Work

Early on you discovered our ChartNotes annotation tool which allows you to add trendlines, comments, etc. to your charts.  But now, as a member, you can save your "masterpieces" into your accout for later review - much easier than recreating them from scratch each time.  And that if you save an annotated chart, the annotations get updated automatically for you.

You also go back to ChartSchool to learn more about all of the various tools and line studies that ChartNotes provides.  There are almost too many to deal with but you thought that Fibonacci Retracements looked promising...

Stage VII - Tossing Out the Kitchen Sink

At some point you get overwhelmed with all of the indicators and options and squiggly lines.  "How is this supposed to make things better?" you ask yourself.  And then you find John Murphy's essay - The 10 Laws of Technical Trading - which helped you get back on track.  John's message for keeping things simple started to make more sense after that.

Stage VIII  - Scanning for Dollars

The Advanced Scan Workbench looked very scary when you first saw it.  But, on the other hand, you needed something to help you find a manageable number of "interesting" stocks that you might actually want to invest in and the Scan Engine seems to be just the thing for that.  The "Predefined Scans" page had lots of interesting possibilities but you needed something more tailored to your situation.

Soon after you started trying to create a scan, things were looking bleak - but then you discovered the video tutorials on scanning in our Video Library and soon you had several promising scans up and running.  You also got some helpful tips from your friends on the s.c.a.n. board.

Stage IX - Trading & Managing Risk with Technicals

One day, you finally found it - the perfect chart.  But you didn't (couldn't?) pull the trigger.  You weren't comfortable with the mechanics of trading and you didn't know how to manage your risk with such a trade.  (And you agonized as the stock climbed higher and higher!)  Then you found Gatis Roze's blog - "The Trader's Journal" - and Alexander Elder's eBook - "To Trade or Not To Trade."  Both of those helped you approach trading in a more disciplined way using sound risk management practices.  The next time the perfect chart appeared in your scan results, you were ready.

Stage X - Getting Better by Going in Circles

At the start of this journey, you thought it would be simple - just find that one chart with the one indicator that would tell you when to buy and sell accurately without fail.  Over time you realized that this was a cyclical process of improvement.  You needed to be constantly learning and testing out new ideas.  You needed to have patience and gradually incorporate hard-won lessons into your trading routine.  Looking for the "magic bullet" gave way to creating repetitive, disciplined processes that paid off again and again but in smaller ways.

The books in the StockCharts Store became very interesting to you.  Many of them go deeper into topics than the articles on the website.  In addition, you decided to attend an SCU Seminar event - even though you were a very experienced StockCharts user by that time - and boy did that open your eyes to everything you'd overlooked on the website.

Stage XI - Validating Your Knowledge

Ultimately, your trading results validated your improved knowledge of technincal analysis and StockCharts' tools.  However, when StockCharts announced a new Certification Exam for members in October of 2013, you were the first to sign up and take it.  Becoming a Certified ChartWatcher confirmed your progress so far on your journey.

Does any part of this 11-stage journey that I described above sound familar?  Are there any parts of the journey which you haven't worked on yet?  Again, the journey never really ends, but you need to make sure that you are investigating all of the nooks and crannies along the way.  Each one contains part of the key to becoming a successful technical investor.

- Chip

P.S. Join me in Dallas next month for a full day (or 2!) of hands on training in all of these topics and more.  I'd love to see you there.

Don't Fall for "Visual Coincidences" on Overlaid Charts

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

We have several bearish-sounding articles for you this week as several of the major markets continue moving lower.  The Dow has been down 9 of the past 12 trading days and its chart reflects that decline.  However all is not lost.  There are still some positive developments if you know where to look.  Check out this PerfChart of the major markets for that same period of time:

MajorMarketPerf

The Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 are bucking that large-cap downtrend in a very significant way.  Will that trend continue?  If so, for how long?  Keep checking our "Blogs" page throughout the week for the latest technical charting news as things continue to develop.

Don't Fall for "Visual Coincidences" on Overlaid Charts

Everytime I present our SCU 101 seminar, I pull out the following slide and I ask a question:

OverlaidChart

"What is the significance of the red line crossing the blue line on this chart?"

Think about that question for a second and answer the question in your own head before reading on.

Invariably, several people throw out some very good possibilities:  "It's a bullish crossover."  "Bonds are going to continue rising." "Its a support level for stocks."  etc.

Other people suspect, rightly, that I'm trying to trick them.  Just like I'm doing now. ;-)

The real answer is... "Nothing!"  It is a visual coincidence that those two line cross where the do on that overlaid chart.  They are on two different scales - $SPX uses the scale on the right and $UST uses the scale on the left - and we have programmed our system to make sure that each scale causes the line to "fill up" the vertical space on the chart.  If we had programmed things differently, the lines would cross in different locations.

(Click here to learn how to create an Overlaid chart like the one above.)

So this is a big warning for everyone who is using the "Behind Price" position setting for their indicators - if two datasets use different scales, you cannot attach any significance to any crossing signals that you see.

So, given that, why overlay things at all?

You overlay things because you can still draw very valid conclusions from the "shape" of the two lines.  Divergences in particular are very significant and they are often easier to spot on overlaid charts.  Is the trend of one line different from the trend of the other line?  If so, you've found a divergence and you have used an overlaid chart correctly.

Take care everyone!
- Chip

 

P.S. If you want to learn about all the tools on our site, all the pitfalls to avoid, all the controls on our SharpCharts workbench, and all the ways you can improve your results on your way to becoming a successful, disciplined technical investor - why not join myself, Greg Schnell, and Gatis Roze in Dallas next month for our live SCU 101, 102 and 310 seminars?  We'd love to see you there.   Click here for more details (and be sure to watch the testimonial video) 

 

The Mighty Mo - Momentum

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

We've just complete a terrific visit to the New York area where we held our two day SCU seminars and where I was able to squeeze in a visit to the Long Island Stock Traders Meetup Group.  During my presentation to the Long Island group, I needed to show them exactly how the MACD indicator works.  As one of the most popular technical indicators, understanding the MACD is something that everyone should know.  The typical answer is something like "Well, it shows a stock's momentum."  OK, that's fine, but what exactly is "Momentum"?

To make it visual, I created the following chart for my presentation:

Sc
(Click the chart for a live version)

As you can see with this chart, momentum is the concept of "the rate of increase for a uptrend."  During the initial part of the uptrend for BA on the chart, not only were prices moving higher, they were moving higher at an increasing rate.  That's what the green curve represents.  Later, prices were still moving higher, but the rate started to decrease (the red curved line).  Eventually, around the start of August, prices were just moving sideways.

So, the MACD and the MACD Histogram quantify that "rate of increase" that the curved lines show.  First off, notice that the black MACD Line was above zero for most of this time - meaning that in general the stock was in an uptrend for most of the chart.

Now look at what happened to the MACD while the stock was moving higher with increasing momentum (i.e., the green box).  First off, notice that during that time, the black MACD line moved higher (mostly).  Also notice that the blue MACD Histogram bars (which represent the difference between the black MACD Line and the red MACD Signal Line) were (mostly) above zero during this time.  That is how the MACD indicates that a stock has positive momentum.

Later, when momentum started to decrease (during the red box), the MACD Line was moving lower and the blue histogram bars were (mostly) below zero.  That is how the MACD indicates negative momentum.

Understanding a stock's momentum is critical to understanding the strength of its current trend.  And since riding trends is ultimately how technical investors make money, that means that understanding the MACD is very important indeed.  Hopefully this chart has helped you better understand how it works.

Take care,
-- Chip

I Didn't Know StockCharts Could Do That!

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Things are heating up in the markets now that we are past the Labor Day holiday and people are returning from their vacations.  Currently the market averages appear to be driven largely by news (Syria, G20, etc.) but that should change soon as the Fed clarifies its intentions for the remainder of the year.  Be sure to check out the articles below for more thoughts on where things might be headed from John Murphy, Arthur Hill, Greg Schnell, Richard Rhodes and Tom Bowley.

"I Didn't Know StockCharts Could Do That!"

 We get this all the time.  Whether it is from users who have written to us with a problem or face-to-face at one of our SCU seminars, we love it when members say that phrase.  So I thought I would try to get you to say (or at least think) that phrase right now.  Here are some of the top things that many people didn't know that StockCharts could do:

(Note: Member-only tips start with an asterisk *)

Send a chart as a nice HTML Email message -
        Click the "Share" link located underneath the SharpChart you want to send and then select "Email."  Tip: Some people email charts to themselves for archival purposes.

See the 10 technically strongest stocks in the S&P 500 with one click -
        Click the "CandleGlance" link located inside the "S&P 500 SCTRs" box on our homepage

See what the current Sector Rotation picture is -
        Click the "S&P Sector PerfChart" link in the middle of our homepage, then click the  "Histogram" button in the lower left corner of the PerfChart.  Finally, right-click in the middle of the chart and select "Show Cycle Line."  Click and drag on the yellow cycle line to move it until it "contains" the histogram bars.  (You probably want to adjust the duration of the chart using the slider at the bottom as well.)

See a slideshow of random charts created by other users -
        Click on the "SharpCharts Voyeur" link on the right side of our homepage, then sit back and watch.  (Note: Charts with text annotations do not appear here in order to protect people's privacy.) 

*Read the latest issue of Stocks & Commodities magazine online for free(!) - 
         Click on the "Members" tab, then on the "Stocks & Commodities Archive" link on the right side of that page.  Next, click on the "Enter Now" button underneath "Digital Edition."  Finally, click on picture of the most recent edition of the magazine (requires Adobe Reader).

*Scroll through your saved charts quickly with your keyboard -
        Pull up a chart in the SharpCharts Workbench, then select the ChartList that you want to review from the "ChartList" dropdown.  Now just hold down the CTRL key and press the period key (which has the foward pointing ">" symbol on it).  That should move you forward to the next saved chart in that list.  Press CTRL+Comma (with "<" on it) to move backwards.

Quickly count the number of periods between two points on a SharpChart -
        Pull up the chart in the SharpCharts workbench then click "Inspect."  Click and drag your mouse from the starting bar to the ending bar.  The number of periods between those two points will be displayed on the left of the chart until you release your mouse button.

Display a chart using non-adjusted price data -
        Simply add an underscore character to the start of the ticker symbol (e.g., _AAPL)

 Add a moving average for volume to a SharpChart -
        In the Chart Attributes area of the workbench, set the "Volume" dropdown to "Off" then scroll down to the "Indicators" area and add a "Volume" indicator to your chart.  Find the "Overlay" dropdown located to the right of the "Volume" indicator you just added, select the "Moving Average" that you want and enter the period in the "Parameters" box.  Finally click "Update" to see the result.

*Get an email notification whenever your favorite blogger posts an article -
        Click on the "Blogs" tab, then click on an article from your favorite blog author, then click the "Email updates" link located to the right of the article.

Search the website for any topic regardless of which page you are on -
        Find the "Create a Chart" bar at the top of the page, then click the "SharpChart" dropdown and select "Site Search" then enter the term you are interested in finding and click the "Go" button.

Make the text of our articles larger and easier to read -
        Find the "Font Size" buttons on the right side of the page near the top and then click on the "+" button until the article's text is a comfortable size.

Find today's strongest stock in the strongest industry in the strongest sector with just 3 clicks -
        Click on the "Sector Summary" link on our homepage (just below the yellow chart).  Click on the name of the sector at the top of the table that appears.  Click on the name of the industry in the top of the table that appears.  Voila!

See the important technical conditions that recently appeared for the major indexes and sectors -
        Click on the "Predefined Technical Alerts" link on the right side of the homepage.

See which cities have the most StockCharts members -
        Click on the "Free Charts" link, then click on the "Top Subscriber Cities" link on the right side of that page.

 See which sectors are strengthening and which are declining -
        Click on the "Free Charts" link, then find the "CandleGlance Groups" area and finally click on the "Sector Bullish Percent Indexes" link.

Learn more about any of the topics I just mentioned -
        Type the name of the topic (e.g., "Bullish Percent") into the "Search" box on our homepage and click the "Search" button. 

Attend a live presentation covering everything that you may not know about from myself, Greg Schnell and John Murphy -
        Sign up for one of our StockCharts University seminars.  We've never had someone attend one and not leave with multiple "Ah ha!" moments - even long-time users.  Check out the video in the middle of this page for some examples.  I hope to see you at one of these events soon.

Take care everyone!
- Chip 

 

The Best Chart You've Never Heard Of

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Three consecutive down days at the end of the week confirmed that August is going to be a rough month for stocks.  A couple of quick clicks on our Interactive PerfChart tool show that all of the major market averages moved lower this week by between 1.6% (Nasdaq) and 2.30% (Russell 2000).  A couple more clicks on our S&P Sector PerfChart show that Utilities was the weakest sector losing over 4% for the week while Technology stocks got the week's "Least Terrible" award for only losing 0.5%.

(For those of you following along at home, be sure to un-click the "S&P 500" button at the top of the Sector PerfChart to get absolute readings.)

Our Major Markets CandleGlance page provides another view of the damage with both the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing below their 50-day moving averages on Friday.

So what's doing well right now?  How about HOG?  Harley-Davidson is racing up our SCTR rankings thanks to a strong rebound on Friday.  WPX Energy did even better.

"Stealing" Arthur Hill's Market Analysis Routine

OK, so I've just led you on a "tour" of my routine for understanding the market and finding interesting stocks to look at.  It's pretty simple:  PerfCharts -> CandleGlance -> SCTRs

The key point is that it is an easy, quick, repeatable routine that can be done consistantly every day. Finding a routine that gives you a useful picture of the market is one of the most important things you can do as a technical investor.  I preach about this all the time in the SCU Seminars that I give.

If you don't have a routine that you are happy with, I have some great news for you - now you can "steal" Arthur Hill's daily routine and add it to your StockCharts account with just two clicks.  That is because we've just released another free ChartPack called "Arthur Hill's Market-in-a-Nutshell."

(In case you are new to StockCharts, Arthur Hill is our Senior Technical Analyst who works with John Murphy to publish the "Market Message" area of our website.  Arthur also wrote much of our ChartSchool area and appears in many of the Videos we have.  Did I mention that he also writes many of our free blog articles including one lower down in this newsletter?  Art's awesome.)

(Oh, and if you haven't heard about them already, click here to learn more about ChartPacks.  Members can install Art's ChartPack by clicking on the "Your Account" link at the top of any page and scrolling down to the "ChartPacks" section of that page.)

The "Nutshell" ChartPack contains the 10 charts that Arthur reviews every morning before the market opens.  They give him a complete picture of where things are currently and where they may be headed.

And of the 10 charts that Arthur considers essential for understanding the market, here is the most essential - the creme of the crop.  (And I bet you've never heard of the ticker symbol before now!)

Presenting... $SUPHLP!   (Wait, what?)

ScSUPHLP
Click on the chart to see a live version.

$SUPHLP is the "Percentage High-Low Line" for the stocks in the S&P 1500.  It's the number of S&P 1500 stocks making new 52-week highs minus the number of stocks making new 52-week lows divided by 1500).  This chart plots that percentage as a black cumulative line with a pink 10-period EMA signal line.

To quote Art:

The market has a bullish bias when the High-Low Line is above its 10-day EMA (rising) and a bearish bias when below (falling). 

Below the main price plot is SPY, the S&P 500 ETF, and its 10-period EMA.  Below that is the non-cumulative version of $SUPHLP plotted as an area graph.  Note that it dipped briefly into negative territory on Thursday.  The question now is how long will it stay at or below zero in the coming days?

The reason this chart is so important is because the S&P 1500 is an extremely broad index and if it is weakening internally (as measured by the High-Low Line) then you should be cautious.  Make sense?

So there is a great chart for you to build into your own market analysis routine.   If you want the rest of Arthur's key charts (and you are an Extra member), just install the "Nutshell" ChartPack using the yellow button near the bottom of the "Your Account" page.  After installation, click on the "Members" tab, scroll down and click on the "10 per page" link beside Art's list.  You'll see the charts and Art's notes that fully explain each chart.

Take care everyone!
- Chip

Announcing StockCharts ChartPacks - "Plug-Ins" for StockCharts Members

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Today I am thrilled to announce a big change in how people can configure and use StockCharts to understand the markets and make better investing decisions.  StockCharts Members can now add pre-created collections of SharpCharts, ChartLists and ChartStyles to their account with just a couple of clicks by installing a StockCharts ChartPack.  Think of ChartPacks as optional "Plug-Ins" or "Add-Ons" for StockCharts Extra and PRO accounts.

The StockCharts Essentials ChartPack

Today we are releasing our very first ChartPack - the "StockCharts Essentials."  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will be releasing several more packs - each with a different focus - but for now I want to tell you about the Essentials ChartPack and help you decide if it is useful to you.

Designed for any technical investor regardless of their experience level, the StockCharts Essentials ChartPack contains 13 core ChartLists with over 140 charts that can give anyone a complete overview of the market. The charts are clean and uncluttered - ready for you to add your own personal indicators, annotations and commentary.

Cpessentials

The Essentials ChartPack also includes 10 invaluable ChartStyles that let you quickly create charts for analyzing stocks, market indicators and economic datasets with a single click.

In many ways this is the quintessential ChartPack - a large, but not overwhelming, collection of useful market analysis charts.

To install the StockCharts Essentials ChartPack, follow these steps:
1.) Log In to your Account
2.) Click on the "Your Account" link in the upper right corner of the page
3.) Scroll down to the new "ChartPacks" area  of the "Your Account" page. (Note: This section is only available to Extra, ExtraRT, and PRO members.)
4.) Click on the yellow "Details" button next to the "StockCharts Essentials" ChartPack listing.
5.) Review the information presented and then click the yellow "Install ChartPack"  button at the bottom of the page if you want to install the pack.

Voila!  You've just installed your first ChartPack and made your StockCharts account much more valuable.  To see for yourself, scroll to the bottom of the "Members" page and look at how your new ChartLists are arranged and organized.  If your account was previously empty, it should look something like this:

Essentuals

At this point, you could click on the "10 per page" link beside any of your new lists to see their contents.  You could also click on the "Summary" link for the "Essentials US Industry Indexes" to see a very useful page.  You could also click on the "CandleGlance" link for any of the "Bullish Percent Index" lists.  The point is you now have lots of options!

It is important to keep in mind that when a ChartPack is installed, COPIES of the pack's charts and ChartLists are created and placed into your account.  You are then free to change those copies in any way that you want.  You can annotate them.  You can rename them.  You can even delete them (not recommended).  Once the charts are copied into your account, there is nothing special about them - they are exactly like any other SharpChart that you created.  The same goes for the ChartStyles and ChartLists.

Something else you probably want to do after installing the Essentials ChartPack is to check out the SharpCharts workbench to see the new ChartStyles that were added to the "ChartStyles" dropdown.  You'll probably also want to assign StyleButtons to some/all of them for quick access.

Finally, if you had any old lists in your account, you can "move" them into the Framework by adding an appropriate 4-digit number to the front of your ChartList's name.  For example, if you had ChartList called "My Watchlist", you could rename it to "6100 My Watchlist" and it will "slot" into the area of the Framework that is reserved for Watchlists. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about ChartPacks

Q: Do ChartPacks cost money?

A: The StockCharts Essentials ChartPack is free.  Most of the ChartPacks we plan on releasing in the near future will also be free.  Down the road, we may have more advanced versions of ChartPacks with customized settings from known analysts that will be available for a fee, but that is still in the planning stages.

Q: What is the "StockCharts ChartList Framework" that I see mentioned in several places?

A: The "Framework" is a collection of special, empty ChartLists that are designed to help you organize your saved charts.  (Specifically the ChartLists that have lots of equals signs in their name.)  They are also used by ChartPacks to ensure that their ChartLists are grouped correctly.  You can choose to install the Framework separately or have the Framework installed automatically when you install your first ChartPack.  Use of the Framework is completely optional (but recommended for people that have not developed their own organization scheme already).  For more information on the ChartList Framework, please read this article.

Q: What if I don't have enough room left in my account for these new ChartPack lists?

A: We've increased the limits on ChartLists for Extra, Extra RT and PRO members to make room for these new ChartLists.  Extra and Extra RT members can now have up to 250 ChartLists while PRO members can now have up to 350 ChartLists.

Q: Do the numbers that are in front of the ChartList names and chart names really matter?

A: Only to the degree that they cause the ChartLists and saved charts to appear grouped in a particular order.  The most important numbers to try and keep organized are the 4-digit numbers in front of ChartList names.  Ideally, each of the different numbers areas (1000s, 2000s, 3000s, etc.) should only contain charts that match the area's useage (i.e.,  watchlists in the 6000s, open positions in the 7000s, etc.)  But ultimately, the numbering is just a suggestion and you can change it if you want.

Q: I've worked hard to organize my account the way that I like it.  Why are you forcing me to change everything?

A: The use of our ChartPacks and the ChartList Framework are completely optional.  If your account is organized in a way that works for you, you don't need to change anything.  On the otherhand, if your account is disorganized and you never seem to find the time to straighten it out, ChartPacks and the ChartList Framework could be just what you've been looking for!

As always, I am very interested in your feedback on this new feature.  Please send it to me via blog comments, email or our support form.

- Chip

 P.S. If you are a member, you can simply click here and scroll down to the ChartPack area to get started. 

 

 

Sorted PerfCharts Give Additional Sector Perspective

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

In case you haven't noticed, the Financial sector has been dominating the market for over a year now with the Consumer Cyclicals not far behind.  How do I know?  I used our S&P Sector Performance chart.  Here's how you can do that analysis for yourself:

1.) Click on the "S&P Sector Performance" chart link located on our Home page (just below the collection of ticker symbols in the middle of the page).

2.) After the PerfChart appears, click the grey "S&P 500" button in the upper, left corner of the chart.  This will convert the chart into "Absolute" mode where each line represents the absolute performance of each sector ETF.

3.) Click the "Histogram Chart" icon in the lower left corner of the chart to change the chart into a histogram chart where each vertical bar represents the overall percent change for each ETF over the time selected.

4.) Finally, move your mouse pointer over the center of the chart and click the right mouse button to bring up the popup menu, then select "Performance Sort On."

If everything goes well, you should see something similar to this:

200days

This chart shows that over the past 200 days, the S&P Financial Sector ETF (XLF) has outperformed all of the other sectors with a 34.19% gain.  It also shows that the Technology sector - the sector that outperforms other sectors when a recovery is well under way - had the worst performance during that period.

(If you are unfamiliar with PerfCharts, check out this video for more information on using them.)

As you might be aware, you can use your mouse to move and resize the date slider at the bottom of the chart.  If you can, take a moment to click on the "d" in "days" located in the middle of the slider and drag it to the left.  As you do that, the size and position of the histogram bars change to show you the strength of each sector over that time period that corresponds to the slider's position.

After you are don't experimenting, move the slider all the way back to the right side of the chart.  Next, right-click on the "d" in "days" in the middle of the slider.  A popup menu should appear with several date range choices.  Select "Year-to-Date" from that menu and the date range will change accordingly.  Here's what you should see:

Ytd

Note that Health Care is now in the #1 spot with Financials close behind on the Year-to-Date chart.  Also note that Tech stocks have improved (slightly) to the next-to-last position.  Now use that same popup menu to see how things look over the past 3 months.

3months

Did you get the same results?  Again, the Financials is the top performer and the Tech sector has moved even more to the left of the chart.  Finally, let's check out the 1 month verson of this chart:

1month

Again, Financials is still in the forefront however Utilities has moved into the #2 position and the Tech sector lagged badly.  This suggests a setback any near-term prospects for a strong recovery.

Hopefully you can also see the value of the "Performance Sort" feature of our PerfCharts tool.

Take care out there,
- Chip

P.S. Toronto, I will see you next weekend for our SCU 101 and 102 seminars!

Customizing CandleGlance Charts

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

The big news at the moment is the big move in bonds ($TNX is at highest point since mid-2011) and gold ($GOLD is at lowest point since mid-2010).  Several of the other commentators will have more to say about those developments below.  As for me, I've got another big improvement to announce for people that like to look at lots of charts.

Customizable CandleGlance Charts Now Available!

We've just released a new feature that allows members to customize their CandleGlance charts.  This is similar to the Customizable GalleryView feature that we announced in June and, depending on how you use your account, could have an even bigger impact on your use of StockCharts.com.

CandleGlance charts are deliberately designed to be small charts that let you quickly evaluate (and optionally delete) large numbers of saved charts.  We have several collections of pre-created CandleGlance charts in our "Free Charts" area and members can view any of their saved ChartLists in "CandleGlance View" as well.

In my SCU Seminars, I show how critical CandleGlance view is for validating and further refining scan results as well.  All-in-all CandleGlance is a wonderful tool that I use several times every day.  (If you are not familiar with it, check out some of these articles for more details.)

Until now however, CandleGlance charts have been limited in what they can display.  There was a limited number of duration choices.  The overlays were fixed to just 2 moving averages.  Furthermore, each chart was limited to a single, optional indicator.  Here's an example of what that looks like:

CandleGlanceNormal

Over the years we've had many people ask us if they could change the format of the CandleGlance charts to better fit their investing style.  As of today, I am happy to be able to say "Yes, you can do that!"  Check out this version:

CandleGlanceCustom

The key is to create and save a ChartStyle named "CandleGlance" (all one word, no spaces).  That style will then be available to use in CandleGlance view by selecting the "My CandleGlance Style" choice in the "Duration" dropdown on the CandleGlance page.

Notes:

  • This is still CandleGlance, meaning that the sizes of the charts are still small and the height of indicator panels are adjusted accordingly.
  • The original CandleGlance styles are still available.  Just select a "regular" duration from that same dropdown to switch back.
  • If you need help creating a ChartStyle, be sure to review the "Getting Started with StockCharts" video (recently updated by Arthur Hill!)

Again, if you are a fan of CandleGlance (especially for using it in conjunction with scans), this could be a HUGE game-changer for how you use our website.  Enjoy!

- Chip

 

P.S. Several people had trouble with the instructions for customizing GalleryView in the last newsletter.  Be sure to use style names that are all one word - no spaces.  i.e., "GalleryIntraday", "GalleryDaily" and "GalleryWeekly"

 

P.P.S. Hey Toronto!  We've just gotten approval to give out IIROC/CECAP credits for our SCU Seminars that we are holding in Toronto on July 26th and 27th.  That's in addition to the 3 free months of service and free DVD seminar that are included with every registration.  Interested?  Click here for more details.

 

Now You Can Customize GalleryView Charts - This Might Just Change Everything!

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

GalleryView has been a often overlooked gem here at StockCharts going all the way back to the beginning of the website.  Today we're pleased to announce an important new feature for GalleryView but first, I wanted to go over exactly what GalleryView is and how it can be used.

GalleryView takes any ticker symbol and shows you four, fixed-format charts for that symbol on one page.  The first chart shows you five days of 10-minute candles.  The next chart shows you several months of daily candles followed by a chart with a couple of years of weekly data.  Finally, we have a P&F chart at the bottom of the page.

In case you weren't aware, you can access GalleryView in any of several ways:

  • Click on the "Free Charts" tab and then enter a ticker symbol into the GalleryView box that appears in the middle of the page.
  • Select "GalleryView" from the "Create a chart" dropdown in the gray bar at the top of any of our web pages, then enter a symbol and click "Go"
  • Click on the GalleryView icon at the bottom of the SharpCharts Workbench.
  • Choose to view one of your saved ChartLists in GalleryView mode.
  • Click on the GalleryView icon next to any ticker symbol on the Scan Results page after running a scan.
  • Select "GalleryView" from any of the dropdowns on the Homepage in the "Top Ten" or "SCTRs" lists, then click on a ticker symbol in the corresponding list.
  • Click here
  • (There are probably a couple more ways I've fogotten about too...)

The design of the GalleryView charts was a collaboration between myself and John Murphy many years ago.  The goal was to have a series of charts that would instantly give someone a complete technical overview for a given stock using the indicators and multi-period approach that John preaches in his books - the short-term picture, the daily view, the longer-term picture and a P&F view.  Personally, I think that the default GalleryView charts do an outstanding job of meeting that goal.

Unfortunately, despite the myriad of ways to access it, GalleryView isn't heavily used and many of the people that do use it invariably ask us one question: "How can I change the settings in GalleryView to something else?"

Well, now we finally have an answer for that question.  We now allow members to customize their GalleryView charts with any settings/indicators/overlays that they want!  It is done via three specially named ChartStyles: "GalleryIntraday", "GalleryDaily" and "GalleryWeekly".

In other words, to change the way that the Daily chart on the GalleryView page looks, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your account and go to the SharpCharts Workbench and create a chart using daily bars that looks exactly like you want your Daily GalleryView charts to look like.  The symbol that you use doesn't matter, just make sure the other settings are all like you want and the chart looks correct.
  2. Click on the "+" icon located to the left of the chart so that you can save your chart settings as a ChartStyle.
  3. Enter the name "GalleryDaily" in the "ChartStyle Description" box that appears and then click the "Add New" button to save the style into your account.

That's it!  Now visit any of our GalleryView pages and you should see your new settings/indicators in the Daily chart slot.  You can also repeat those steps for "GalleryIntraday" and "GalleryWeekly" to change those charts.  Please note the following restrictions:

  • The Intraday chart will still only show 10-minute bars.  Similarly, the Daily chart only shows Daily bars and the Weekly chart only shows weekly bars.
  • The P&F chart cannot be customized unfortunately.
  • The width of the charts will remain fixed at the current width of 800 pixels.

Beyond that, anything goes!  Here are some tips for creating effect Gallery styles:

  • Use the "Fill the Chart" range option to prevent the bars on the chart from getting scrunched.
  • Consider using different color schemes for each Gallery style to remind you that they contain different bar periods.
  • Don't add too many indicators to the Gallery charts otherwise the page will get very long.

In conjunction with this announcement, we have also increased the number of ChartStyles that members can have in their account from 30 to 35.  In addition, we have increased the number of StyleButtons that members can create from 9 to 12.

So what might this mean for people that like to study lots of charts in different timeframes?  Well, it means that you can now study lists of ticker symbols in GalleryView instead of 10-per-page view and still see your own custom indicators and overlays.  Depending on how you do your analysis, it could become your preferred way of reviewing your charts.

Enjoy!
- Chip

P.S. Watch for an announcment in my blog about customizing CandleGlance charts soon. 

"Hindenburg Omen" Triggered after Friday's Big Market Reversal

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

It happened in mid-April and it happend again on the last day of May.  The ominous sounding "Hindenburg Omen" signal has been given.  Here's the chart:

Sc
StockCharts members can click here for a live version of this chart.

Here's the definition from our ChartSchool Glossary page:

"Hindenburg Omen: Created by James Miekka, the Hindenburg Omen warns of potential weakness in the stock market. There are three criteria to activate the omen. First, NYSE new highs and new lows must both be more than 2.8% of advances plus declines. Second, the NY Composite is above the level it was 50 days ago. Third, the number of new highs cannot be more than double the number of new lows. The activation period is good for 30 days. Once active, a sell signal is triggered when the McClellan Oscillator moves below zero and negated when the McClellan Oscillator moves back above zero."

So Friday's big drop triggered the Omen signal by causing $NYLOW:$NYTOT (the ratio of NYSE Lows to NYSE Total Stocks) to spike up above 2.8% (the red area graph above).

Given that this is the second time in two months that this signal has occured, ChartWatchers would be well advised to look for additional signs of technical weakness in this market.  The rest of this newsletter, unfortunately, has several.

Take care everyone,
- Chip

P.S. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone next week at the SCU Seminar in Seattle.  This will be the first time we present the SCU 102 course that focuses on how to customize your account's settings and ChartLists.  There are still a few seats available if you have time to join us.

Our Spring Special is Now In Effect! Here's the Deal...

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

Today we started our Spring Special for 2013.  As long-time ChartWatchers know, it is important to take advantage of our specials when we hold them in order to minimize your charting costs.  That is true regardless of whether or not your account is about to expire.  I hate hearing from people that miss out on our specials because they didn't think that they could participate.

The deal is simple - while the special is running, all of our long-term subscriptions include an additional month of service beyond what they normally provide:  7 months for the price of 6, 14 months for the price of 12, or 29 months for the price of 24.  This reduces the "effective rate" for our subscriptions to the lowest levels we offer.  Here's our complete pricing matix with all the rates.

So, should you subscribe/renew right now?  To help with that question, I've prepared a little "decision tree" below that will help you regardless of your current situation.  Let's get started:

Q1.) Are you a current StockCharts member?

No?   Well you are in luck!  Now is the perfect time to subscribe for 6 or 12 months.  If you sign up for 6 months, you'll get 1 additional month for free (usually you don't get anything for a 6-month signup).  If you subscribe for a year, you'll get 2 additional months of service for free (usually you only get 1). And remember that all new subscriptions come with a free 10-day trial period - cancel within the first 10 days and we won't charge you a penny. To see all the benefits of subscribing and to take advantage of our Spring Special, click here

Q2.) Do you have less than 200 days remaining on your current subscription?

(Click on the "Members" tab to see your number of remaining days.)

Yes?  You should consider placing a long-term renewal order now if possible because your account will expire before our December special starts.  If you renew now, we'll give you the special deal and just add the additional time you renew for to the end of your current subscription.  Click here to see your renewal options

(Be sure to use your loyalty coupon when you renew too!)

Q3.) Do you have between 200 and 360 days remaining on your current subscription?

Yes? I'd still consider renewing now to lock in our special rates.  That way, if you miss the December special for some reason (vacation?), your charts, scans and settings will still be protected.  Click here to see your renewal options

Q4.) Do you have more that 360 days remaining?

Yes? Then you can consider skipping this special.  We will probably hold at least two other specials before your account expires.

Now, how long should you signup/renew for?  First, remember that in order to take advantage of our special, you need to signup for at least 6 months of service.  Anything less than that doesn't qualify for the extra months.

Second, note that the longer you signup for, the more you save.  For example, if you paid for 1 year of our Extra service on a month-by-month basis, it would cost you $24.95/mo x 12 months = $299.40.  However, if you bought our pre-paid 1-year Extra package, you'd only pay $249.95 and you'd get 2 additional months of service for free.  That works out to $99.35 less than the month-to-month cost for that same 14-month time period.

Lastly, if you have been a member already for more than one year, you have a loyalty discount coupon code waiting for you that you can use to further reduce the cost of your order.  That coupon is percentage based, meaning that the larger your order, the bigger your discount.

Here are some other questions you might have about our special:

  • Does it matter which service I use?
    Not in terms of how the special works.  Of course each service have different abilities.  Click here and scroll down to see a comparison for each of our service plans.
  • Can I use the special to upgrade my account?
    Not exactly.  The cost of upgrading an account isn't affected by our special however, after you have upgraded, you have the option of renewing your account for more time in which case our special pricing would apply.
  • I forgot to use my loyalty code with my order. Can you add it?
    We hate this question.  Please do not be "this guy."  Make sure to include your loyalty coupon in your order.  Adding it later is often not possible.
  •  When does the special end?
    Our specials usually end at the end of the month but please don't wait until the last second.  All kinds of things could happen between now and then.  People who play timing games with our specials are often disappointed. 

Sorry to be so salesman-like this time around, but I want to eliminate the complaints that we get after our specials are over from people that didn't understand how important they are.  But you are smarter than that, right?  ;-)

- Chip

 

P.S.  Because we still have a couple of spots left in our live Seattle SCU seminar on June 7th and 8th, I'm leaving our special "early-bird" pricing in effect until Monday.  Save up to $100 if you register before then.  And remember, three free months of service are included with each registration!  If you are not getting the most out of all the tools and information on our website, come to an SCU Seminar and learn directly from the people that created the website (hey, that's me!).  Click here for more details.

Testing Our New Economic Indicators

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

As I mentioned last time, we've recently started adding key economic datasets to our database so that you can chart them with our SharpCharts charting tool.  This week, we added the weekly Unemployment Indexes including the Initial Jobless Claims number.  The symbol for that index is $$UNEMPCIN.

$$UNEMPCIN behaves inversely to the stock market - when the market is doing well, initial jobless claims are falling and vice versa.  We can see this directly by charting the inverse index - $ONE:$$UNEMPCIN and overlaying that with the S&P 500.  Check out the following chart to see what I mean:

ScUNEMPCIN
(Click here for a live version of this chart.)

This chart is a monthly line chart.  I'm using months instead of weeks to smooth out some of the noisyness of the data.

Now, in addition to the two overlaps price plot lines, I've also added the 12-month Correlation indicator and the 24-month Correlation indicator.  As you can see, both of those lines spend most of their time above the zero line in the middle of that plots.  That confirms what we can intuitively see - that the red and blue lines move more-or-less in unison (i.e., they are positively correlated).

What's interesting is that points in time where the correlation lines dip below zero.  That happens when the red and blue lines start moving in opposite directions.  Note that on the 24-month correlation line, those dips correspond with major changes in market direction.  Those same signals are on the 12-month Correlation indicator as well, but they aren't quite as easy to pick out.  Still, whenever the 12-month Correlation of these two lines dips below zero, it might be time to look for the market to change direction.

- Chip

Swinging from the Chandeliers

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

I'm very happy to announce that we've just added a new overlay to our system - the Chandelier Exit.  This overlay is a favorite of our good friend Dr. Alexander Elder.  He discusses it extensively in his books.  It is a trailing stop overlay meaning that it tries to determine a good price level for exiting an existing position.  In that regard, it is similar to Welles Wilder's Parabolic SAR overlay.  Here's what it looks like in action:

Chand-03-etn-uptrend

Notice that the red line on this chart could have been used effectively as a trailing stop-loss during the uptrend.

For more details on Chandelier Exits including how they are calculated and used, please see our new ChartSchool article on them.

- Chip

Upgrades Galore: Stocks & Commodities Articles, Economic Data, UDI for Extra Members

Hello Fellow ChartWatchers!

StockCharts continues to grow and expand, providing more value for its users (hey! that's you!) for free.  Here are three great improvements we rolled out last week:

1.) Stocks & Commodities Articles for StockCharts Members

Our "Search" feature now automatically includes results from the complete archives of Stocks & Commodities magazine.  Members can click on any of those results to see a PDF version of the article in question.  Some of these go back as far as 1982!

In addition, members can now click on the "Stocks & Commodities" link on the right side of the "Members" page for free access to the current editions of S&C as well as the companion magazine Working Money.

And soon, watch for relevant S&C links to be included at the bottom of our ChartSchool articles!

Thanks again to Jason Hutson and his crew for making this happen.  S&C has been an amazing resource for the technical analysis community for decades and we are thrilled to have this new partnership.

2.) Economic Indicators Added -

We've started rolling out the first of many economic indicators on our website.  These new symbols all start with two dollar signs ($$).  Most are monthly datasets from the FRED website.  Here's an example that uses the new $$GDP symbol (the gray area plot):

GDP
(Click the chart for a larger version.  PRO users click here for a live version.)

To see the complete list of the economic datasets we currently have, just type "$$" into the "Create a Chart" box at the top of any of our pages.  Here's the current list (but keep in mind it will be expanding over the next couple of days and weeks):

$$

3.) Extra Members Can Now Create and Chart Their Own Personal Data -

Last year we rolled out our User-Defined Index feature to our PRO subscribers.  We've now made a limited form of UDIs available to all Extra and ExtraRT members.  Those members can now create and use a single UDI called "@MYINDEX" by clicking on the new "User-Defined Index Workbench" link on the "Members" homepage.

A User-Defined Index allows you to upload and chart data from a spreadsheet.  The data can contain any time-series information you want.  It is a really powerful feature.  Here are some articles that illustrate how it can be used. 

4.) Bonus Improvement #4 - More Speed!

As I mentioned last time, we are continuing to upgrade our datacenter and the new servers are making a noticable improvement in the time it takes to generate charts during market hours.  Check out these charts from our independent monitoring service Pingdom:

Pingdom1
Pingdom2

The top chart shows the average time it took for us to generate charts during March.  The bottom charts shows the times during the first days of April.  See the nice drop on March 30th and 31st?  It represents a roughly 20% improvement in the time it takes for us to send out a SharpChart!  That improvement has continued in April as well. (Click here to see for yourself.)  And we're not done yet - hopefully we can squeeze out even more speed soon.

Do you want even more improvements?  Trust me, we're working on some doozeys.  Just stay tuned!

- Chip

 

P.S. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of features StockCharts offers, why not join me for a personal tour of everything we have to offer?  I'm personally giving our SCU 101 seminar in several locations throughout the country this year including Long Beach, Seattle, Toronto, New York and Dallas.  Click here for more info.  I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

 P.P.S.  Oh yeah, one more thing...  Have you picked up your copy of Arthur Hill's first book?  What?  You didn't know Arthur Hill published a book?  OK, that's my fault for not making a bigger deal of it.  But now that you know, why not take advantage of our 50% special on Art's book?  He'd really appreciate it!  Just click here for details.

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