Stock Charts Key Terms
Learn to read stock charts by knowing these key termsKnowing how to read stock charts is an important skill not only for day traders, stock analysts and other financial professionals. It is important for anyone who runs a business to know how to read stock charts. With experience, you can use your knowledge of the charts to plan your investments, predict market trends and even track your own company's performance. However, before spending hours pouring over the latest graphs and data sets, it's helpful to familiarize yourself with these basic terms.
Point and figure chartPoint and figure charts show movements in stock price without showing the passage of time. They consist of columns of X's, which denote a rising price, and O's, which denote a falling price.
Support and resistanceWhen a stock moves below or above a certain price, it has reached its support or resistance level. These appear on stock charts as horizontal lines that cap peaks and valleys in the stock price.
Head and shouldersThe head and shoulders is one of the classic stock chart patterns. Caused by fluctuations in supply and demand, the pattern has three peaks and is a fairly reliable way to predict trends, especially when prices are on the rise.
Bull marketThe term bull market describes a trend of rising prices. Increasing investor confidence usually spurs on bull markets and shows that stocks are in good health.
TickerA ticker is a three- or four-letter abbreviation for a stock's name. For example, the tickers for Target and Wal-Mart are TGT and WMT, respectively. Memorizing tickers for the companies you've bought stock in is a good way to save time and avoid confusion while reading quotes and charts.
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